All equipment carried by a soldier on outside of uniform, such as buckles, belts. or
canteens, but not including weapons.
ACTION - The heart of the gun, receiver, bolt or
breech block feeding and firearm mechanism - see Box Lock, Rolling Block, or Side Lock.
ADJUSTABLE CHOKE - A device built into the
muzzle of a shotgun to change from one choke to another.
AIR GUN - A gun which utilizes compressed
air or gas to launch the projectile.
APERT'URE SIGHT - A rear sight consisting of
a hole or aperture through which the front sight and target are aligned.
AUTO LOADING - See semi-automatic.
BACKSTRAP - That part of the revolver or
pistol frame that is exposed at the rear of the grip.
BARREL BAND - A metal band, either fixed or
adjustable, around the forend of a gun that holds the barrel to the stock.
BARREL THROAT - The breech end of a revolver
barrel is chambered and somewhat funneled for passage of bullet from cartridge case mouth
BEAVERTAIL FOREND - A wider than normal
BLUING - The blue or black finish of the
metal parts of a gun. The process is actually one of controlled rusting and brushing and
is usually created with an acid bath. Bluing minimizes light reflection, gives a
"finish" to the bare metal, and protects somewhat against rust.
BORE - Inside of a barrel. Also the diameter
of the barrel as measured across the lands of a rifled barrel.
BOXLOCK ACTION - Typified by Parker shotgun
in U.S. and Westley Richards in England. Generally considered not to be as strong as the
side lock. Developed by Anson & Deeley, the box lock is hammerless. it has two
disadvantages: Hammer pin must be placed directly below knee of action, which is its
weakest spot, and action walls must be thinned out to receive locks. These are inserted
from below into large slots in action body, which is then closed with a plate. Greener
crossbolt, when made correctly, overcomes many of the box lock weaknesses.
BREECH - That portion of a gun which
contains the action, the trigger or firing mechanism, the magazine, and the chamber
portion of the barrel(s). An imprecise term generally including all the essential working
parts of a gun.
BUCKHORN SIGHT - An open, metallic rear
sight with sides that curl upward and inward.
BULL BARREL - A heavier, thicker than normal
barrel with little or no taper.
BUTT PLATE - A protective plate attached to
CALIBER - The diameter of the bore.
CHAMBER - Rear part of the barrel that has
been reamed out so that it will contain a cartridge. When the breech is closed, the
cartridge is supported in the chamber, and the chamber must align the primer with the
firing pin, the bullet with the bore.
CHAMBER THROAT - Also called THROAT, is that
area in the barrel that is directly forward of the chamber and that tapers to bore
CHARCOAL COLOR CASEHARDENING - A method of
hardening steel and iron while imparting to it colorful swirls as well as surface figure.
Metal is heated by means of animal charcoal to 800-900° C, then plunged into cold water.
CHECKERING - A functional decoration applied
to pistol grips and forends consisting of pointed pyramids cut into the wood.
CHOKE - The muzzle constriction on a shotgun
to control spread of the shot.
COCKING INDICATOR - Any device which the act
of cocking a gun moves into a position where it may be seen or felt in order to notify'
the shooter that the gun is cocked. Typical examples are the pins found on some highgrade
hammerless shotguns which protrude slightly when they are cocked, and also the exposed
cocking knobs on bolt-action rifles. Exposed hammers found on some rifles and pistols are
also considered cocking indicators.
COMB - The portion of the stock on which the
shooter's cheek rests.
COMBINATION GUN - Generally a breakopen
shotgun configuration fitted with at least one shotgun barrel and one rifle barrel. Such
guns may be encountered with either two or three barrels, and less frequently with as many
as four or five, and have been known to chamber for as many as four different calibers.
COMPENSATOR - A recoil-reducing device which
mounts on the muzzle of a gun to deflect part of the powder gases up and rearward. Also
called a "muzzle brake".
CRANE - In a modern solid-frame, swingout
revolver, the U-shaped yoke on which the cylinder rotates, and which holds the cylinder in
CROWNING - The rounding or chamfering
normally done to a barrel muzzle to insure that the mouth of the bore is square with the
bore axis and that the edge is countersunk below the surface to protect it from impact
damage. Traditionally. crowning was accomplished by spinning an abrasive coated brass ball
against the muzzle while moving it in a figure eight pattern until the abrasive had cut
away any irregularities and produced a uniform and square mouth.
CYLINDER - A rotating cartridge container in
a revolver. The cartridges are held in chambers and the cylinder turns, either to the left
or the right, depending on the gunmaker's design. as the hammer is cocked.
CYROGENIC TEMPERING - Computer controlled
cooling process that relieves barrel stress by subjecting the barrel to a temperature of
-310 degrees F for 22 hours.
DAMASCENE - The decorating of metal with
another metal, either by inlaying or attaching in some fashion. Damascene is often
confused with Damaskeening or engine turning.
DAMASCUS BARREL - A barrel made by twisting,
forming and welding thin strips of steel around a mandrel.
DERRINGER - A small, usually large caliber
DOUBLE ACTION - The principle in a revolver
or auto-loading pistol wherein the hammer can be cocked and dropped by a single pull of
the trigger. Most of these actions also provide capability for single action fire. In
autoloading pistols, double action normally applies only to the first shot of any series,
the hammer -being cocked by the slide for subsequent shots.
DOUBLE-BARRELED - A gun consisting of two
barrels joined either side by side or one over the other.
DOUBLE-SET TRIGGER - A device which consists
of two triggers one to cock the mechanism that spring-assists the other trigger,
substantially lightening trigger pull.
DOVETAIL - A flaring machined or hand cut
slot that is also slightly tapered toward one end. Cut into the upper surface of barrels
and sometimes actions, the dovetail accepts a corresponding part on which a sight is
mounted. Dovetail slot blanks are used to cover the dovetail when the original sight has
been removed or lost; this gives the barrel a more pleasing appearance and configuration.
DRILLING - German for "triple",
which is their designation for a three-barrel gun.
EJECTOR - Mechanical device used to eject
empty cartridges from chamber(s).
ENGINE TURNING - Overlapped spots of
ENGLISH STOCK - A very straight,
ENGRAVING - The art of carving metal in
decorative patterns. Scroll engraving is the most common type of hand engraving
encountered. Much of the factory engraving is roll on engraving; this is done
mechanically. Hand engraving is a tedious and costly job.
ETCHING - A method of decorating metal gun
EXTRACTOR - A device that withdraws the
fired case from the chamber.
FALLING BLOCK - A single-shot action where
the breech block drops straight down when the lever is actuated.
FIT AND FINISH - Terms used to describe
over-all firearm workmanship.
FLOATING BARREL - A barrel bedded to avoid
contact with any point on the stock.
FLOOR PLATE - The piece which closes the
bottom of the magazine body.
FORCING CONE - Forward part of the chamber
in a shotgun where the chamber diameter is reduced to bore diameter. The forcing cone aids
the passage of shot into the barrel.
FOREND - The forward portion of a rifle or
FREE RIFLE - A rifle designed for
international-type target shooting. The only restriction on design is weight maximum 8
kilograms (17.6 lbs.).
FRONT STRAP - That part of the revolver or
pistol grip frame that faces forward and often joins with the trigger guard. In target
guns, notably the .45 ACP, the front strap is often stippled to give shooter's hand a slip
GAUGE - The bore diameter of a shotgun.
GROOVES - The spiral cuts in the bore of a
rifle or handgun barrel that give the bullet its spin or rotation as it moves down the
HAMMERLESS - Some "hammerless"
firearms do in fact have hidden hammers, which are located in the action housing. Truly
hammerless guns. such as the Savage M99, have a firing mechanism that is based on a
spring-activated firing pin.
HEEL - Back end of the upper edge of the
buttstock at the upper edge of the buttplate or recoil pad.
LAMINATED STOCK - A gunstock made of many
layers of wood glued together under pressure. They are very resistant to warpage.
LANDS - Portions of the bore left between
the grooves of the rifling in the bore of a firearm- In rifling, the grooves are usually
twice the width of the land. Land diameter is measured across the bore, from land to land.
MAGAZINE - The container which holds
cartridges under spring pressure to be fed into the gun's chamber.
MAGNUM - A modern cartridge with a
higher-velocity load or heavier projectile than standard.
MAINSPRING - The spring that delivers energy
to the hammer or striker. The recoil or operating spring in semiautomatic guns is a part
of the breech closing system; is not the same as the mainspring.
MANNLICHER STOCK - full-length slender
forend extending to the muzzle.
MICROMETER SIGHT - A finely adjustable
MONTE CARLO STOCK - A stock with an elevated
comb used primarily for scoped rifles.
MUZZLE - The forward end of the barrel where
the projectile exits.
MUZZLE BRAKE - A recoil-reducing device
attached to the muzzle.
OVER UNDER - A two-barrel gun in which the
barrels are stacked one on top of the other.
PARALLAX - Occurs in telescopic sights when
the primary image of the objective lens does not coincide with the reticle. In practice.
parallax is detected in the scope when, as the viewing eye is moved laterally. the image
and the reticle appear to move in relation to each other.
PARKERIZING - A matted rust-resistant oxide
finish, usually gray or gray-green in color, found on military guns.
PEEP SIGHT - A rear sight consisting of a
hole or aperture through which the front sight and target are aligned.
PEPPERROX - An early form of revolving
repeating pistol in which a number of barrels were bored in a circle in a single piece of
metal resembling the cylinder of a modern revolver. Functioning was the same as a
revolver, the entire cylinder being revolved to bring successive barrels under the hammer
for firing. Though occurring as far back as the 16th century, the pepperbox did not become
practical until the advent of the percussion cap in the early 1800's. Pepperboxes were
made in a wide variety of sizes and styles, and reached their popularity peak during the
percussion period. Few were made after the advent of practical metallic cartridges. Both
single- and doubleaction pepperboxes were made. Single barreled revolvers after the 1 840s
were more accurate and easier to handle and soon displaced the rather clumsy and muzzle
POPE RIB - A rib integral with the barrel.
Designed by Harry M. Pope, famed barrel maker and shooter, the rib made it possible to
mount a target scope low over the barrel.
PROOFMARK - On European guns, is quite
specific, indicating proof house and all proofs performed, sometimes also date of proof.
Proof marks are applied to all parts actually tested, usually on the barrel, and that in
the white that is, not blued, and without sights. In the U.S., there is no federalized or
government proof house, only the manufacturer's in-house proofmark indicating that a
firearm has passed their internal quality control standards per government specifications.
RECEIVER - That part of a rifle or shotgun
(excluding hinged frame guns) that houses the bolt, firing pin, mainspring, trigger group,
and magazine or ammunition feed system. The barrel is threaded into the somewhat enlarged
forward part of the receiver, called the receiver ring. At the rear of the receiver, the
butt or stock is fastened. In semiautomatic pistols, the frame or housing is sometimes
referred to as the receiver.
RELEASE TRIGGER - A trap shooting trigger
that fires the gun when the trigger is released.
RIB - A raised sighting plane affixed to the
top of a barrel.
RIFLING - The spirally cut grooves in the
bore of a rifle or handgun. The rifling stabilizes the bullet in flight. Rifling may
rotate to the left or the right, the higher parts of the bore being called lands, the cuts
or lower parts being called the grooves. Many types exist, such as oval, polygonal,
button, Newton, Newton-Pope, parabolic, Haddan, Enfield, segmental rifling, etc. Most
U.S.-made barrels have a right-hand twist, while British gunmakers prefer a left-hand
twist. In practice, there seems to be little difference in accuracy or barrel longevity.
ROLLING BLOCK ACTION - Single shot action,
designed in the U.S. and widely used in early Remington arms. Also known as the
REMINGTON-RIDER action, the breechblock. actuated by a lever, rotates down and back from
the chamber. Firing pin is contained in block and is activated by hammer fall.
SCHNABEL FOREND - Erroneously also called
shnobel or schnobel. A curved and sometimes carved shape at the forend that resembles the
beak of a bird (Schnobel in German). This type of forend is common on Austrian and German
guns; was popular in the U.S., but the popularity of the schnable forend comes and goes
with the seasons. A schnabel forend is often seen on custom stocks and rifles.
SHORT ACTION - A rifle designed for shorter
SIDELOCK - A type of action, usually
shotgun, where the moving parts are located on the lock plates inletted in the stock.
Usually found only on high quality shotguns and rifles.
SIDE PLATES - Ornamental additions to
simulate a side lock gun on a boxlock.
SINGLE ACTION - A revolver design which
requires the hammer to be manually cocked for each shot. Also an auto-loading pistol
design which requires manual cocking of the hammer for the first shot only.
SINGLE TRIGGER - One trigger on a
double-barrel gun. It fires both barrels singly by successive pulls.
SLING SWIVELS - Metal loops affixed to the
gun on which a carrying strap is attached.
SPUR TRIGGER - A trigger mounting system
that housed the trigger in an extension of the frame in some old guns. The trigger
projected only slightly from the front of the extension or spur, and no trigger guard was
used on these guns.
SUICIDE SPECIAL - A mass-produced variety of
inexpensive rimfire single action revolvers, usually with a spur trigger. So named because
many suicides were committed with this type of inexpensive handgun. These guns carried
many fancy names; those in good condition have become true collector's items.
TAKE DOWN - A gun which can be easily taken
apart for carrying or shipping.
TANG - An extension of the receiver into the
TOP STRAP - The upper part of a revolver
frame, which often is either slightly grooved - the groove serving as rear sight - or
which carries at its rearward end a sight that may be adjustable.
TRAP STOCK - A shotgun stock with greater
length and less drop for trap shooting.
TWIST BARRELS - A process in which a steel
rod (called a mandrel) was wrapped with "skelps" - ribbons of iron. The skelps
were then welded in a charcoal fire to form one piece of metal, after which the rod was
driven out to be used again. The interior of the resulting tube then had to be laboriously
bored out by hand to remove the roughness. Once polished, the outside was smoothed on big
grinding wheels, usually turned by water power.
VENTILATED RIB - A sighting plane affixed
along the length of a shotgun barrel with gaps or slots milled for cooling purposes.
YOUTH DIMENSIONS - Usually refers to shorter
stock dimensions and/or lighter weight enabling youth/women to shoot and carry a lighter,