Letter W

The Definition of WCF

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19 Other Firearms Definitions You Need To Know


Matchlock

A black powder muzzleloading firearm action which relies upon a serpentine or S-shaped piece of metal to hold a smoldering match. By pressing the lower end of the serpentine, the upper end holding the burning match contacts the priming powder in the pan.

Hardball

Slang for a full metal jacket bullet with a round nose. The term is most commonly used in referring to .45 ACP caliber ammunition, but may be used for other calibers as well.

Dry Fire

To pull the trigger and release the hammer of a firearm without having a cartridge in the chamber.

Ballistic Coefficient

A measure of projectiles ability to overcome air resistance in flight. It is inversely proportional to the deceleration—a high number indicates a low deceleration. Ballistic Coefficient (abbreviated as BC) is a function of mass, diameter, and drag coefficient. In bullets it refers to the amount that drop over distance and wind drift will affect the bullet.

Doughnut Pattern

A shotgun pattern with a hole in the middle generally caused by the interference of the top wad.

Monte Carlo Comb

The Monte Carlo comb came to rifles via shotgun stocks. It rises well above the ordinary comb line of the stock at the butt and tapers downward toward the point of the comb. This raised portion of the stock lifts the face of the shooter and his or her line of sight well above the standard elevation provided by the classic style. However, the same amount of drop is maintained at the buttstock. A shooter with a long neck who often has trouble getting his or her face down far enough on the comb of the regular stock benefits from the Monte Carlo style.

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.

Primer Ring

Refers to a visible dark ring created by the primers in centerfire ammunition around the firing pin hole in the frame after much use.

Drum Magazine

A type of firearms magazine that is cylindrical in shape, similar to a drum. Probably the most recognizable drum magazine is the magazine for a Thompson carbine rifle, also known as the Tommy Gun.

Headspace Gauge

Plugs of hardened steel, precisely machined in relation to the standard dimensional specifications of a given cartridge, normally in sets of three: "GO", "No-Go" and "Field". By loading these plug-gauges into the chamber in succession, one can check that the action should close on the "Go" gauge. It should not close on the "No-Go" gauge, but might were enough force to be used. And, it absolutely should not close on the "Field" gauge.

Accidental Discharge

An unexpected and undesirable discharge of a firearm caused by circumstances beyond the control of the participant(s) such as a mechanical failure or parts breakage. There are very, very few firearms related "accidents" and if the "Three Rules" are followed there will hopefully be no injury. Accidental Discharge should not be confused with "Negligent Discharge".

Chain Gun

A type of machine gun or autocannon that uses an external source of power to cycle the firearm.

Energy

The amount of work done by a bullet, expressed in foot pounds.

Touchmark

A craftsman's signature stamp, discretely placed to identify his work.

Slide Catch

Sometimes also known as a slide lock, slide release or slide lever. On a semi-autmatic gun, the lever or catch that holds the slide open (after the last round is fired or when racking an empty gun). Typically they are located on the left side of the frame about mide barrel. Some of the newer semi-automatic pistols have an internal slide lock. Even though on pistols with an external slide catch, you can push down on the lever to release the slide, it should never be used in such a manner. The proper way to release the slide is to rack the slide.

Misfeed

Is a failure of the next round to completely enter the chamber. Misfeeds and failures to feed are very similar, a failure to feed is a round that never even leaves the top of the magazine, while a misfeed is a round that leaves the magazine but does not enter the chamber.

Low Kneeling

A shooting position in which one or both knees are touching the ground and the shooter is as low as possible.

Trace

Visible disturbance in the air by a bullet. Typically this takes the form of image distortion that persists for a fraction of a second in the shape of an inverted V similar to that of a boat wake.

Mortar

An artillery piece used to fire shells over short ranges at very high trajectories.