Letter M

The Definition of Malfunction

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Malfunction

A misfeed or other failure to fire which can be cleared on the spot and without tools.


19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Charger

A device typically made from stamped metal which holds a group of cartridges for easy and virtually simultaneous loading into the fixed magazine of a firearm.

Magna

Smith & Wesson term for a revolver grip design introduced in the 1930s where the top of the grip extends higher than it had in earlier configurations, to provide a more comfortable hold.

Curio and Relic

Firearms which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;
  2. Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  3. Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary channels is substantially less.
A special Curios or Relics license is available from the BATF, which allows collectors to buy eligible firearms in interstate commerce.

Necking Up

Expanding the neck of an existing cartridge to make it use a bullet of a different caliber. A typical process used in the creation of wildcat cartridges.

Underbolts

A sliding bar, running longitudinally through the watertable of a break-open side-by-side gun's action, with openings through which the lumps of the barrels pass when the gun is closed. Under spring tension, this bar moves forward when the opening control is released and its two locking surfaces engage complementary slots (bites) in the rear of the two barrel lumps. Originally operated by a hinged tab in front of the trigger guard. Now invariably operated by a cam from Scott's [toplever] spindle. Most modern side-by-side guns lock closed in this manner.

Damascus Barrels

Barrel tubes built up by twisting alternate strips of iron and steel around a fixed rod (mandrel) and forge-welding them together in varying combinations according to the intended quality and the skill of the maker. The rod was withdrawn, the interior reamed and the exterior filed until the finished tube was achieved. Damascus barrels may be recognized by any of a variety of twist or spiral patterns visible in the surface of the steel. Before the 20th century, barrels were typically built in this manner because gunmakers did not have the technology to drill a deep hole the full length of a bar of steel without coming out the side.

Point Blank Range

The farthest distance that a target of a given size can be hit without holding over or under with the sights. The exact range is determined by the performance of the cartridge used, the ZERO range, and the accepted size of the target area. This term is not to be confused with point blank shooting.

LDA

Abbreviation for Light Double Action

Full Stock

A rifle or carbine with a one-piece stock extending to the muzzle. Sometimes called a Mannlicher stock, although such a term is confusing because Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles are built with both full and half stocks. Traditional in Europe for close-range woodland hunting, but not noted for extreme, long-range accuracy.

Scout Rifle

A concept created by eminent gun writer Col. Jeff Cooper. A scout rifle, generally, is a bolt action carbine firing a medium power round suitable for taking large game (e.g., .308), fitted with a long eye-relief telescopic sight mounted on the barrel, and a back up set of iron sights.

External Safety

A safety lever or button found on the outer surfaces of the firearm and is accessible to the user. Enabling the external safety should prevent accidental pulling of the trigger. However, the best safety is always you.

Doll's Head

A rib extension on a break-open gun, ending in a circular or semi-circular shape in plan (resembling the head of a doll), mating into a similarly-shaped recess in the top of the receiver, designed to resist the tendency of the barrels to pull away from the standing breech when firing. Because an action's centerpoint of flexing when firing is at the base of the standing breech, not at the hingepin, a passive doll's head extension makes an effective extra fastener, even without additional mechanical locks operated by the opening lever.

Selective-Fire

A firearm's ability to be fired fully automatically, semi-automatically or, in some cases, in burst-fire mode at the option of the firer.

Percussion Cap

A small metal explosive-filled cup which is placed over the nipple of a percussion firearm. As the cap is struck by the hammer, it explodes and sends a flame through the flashhole in the nipple to the main powder charge.

Snap Cap

An inert ammunition-shaped object, used in practice to simulate misfeeds and other malfunctions. Some folks also use them during dry fire practice to cushion the firing pin as it strikes.

Fouling Shot

A fouling shot is a shot fired through a clean bore, intended to leave some residue of firing and prepare the bore for more consistent performance in subsequent shots. The first shot through a clean bore will behave differently from subsequent shots through a bore with traces of powder residue, resulting in a different point of impact.

Rate of Fire

The frequency at which a firearm can fire its projectiles.

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