Firearms Definitions You Need To Know

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OFF

Oregon Firearms Federation. OFF is a Pro-Gun rights group based in Oregon and was founded in 1998.

Wad

A felt, paper, cardboard or plastic disk that is used in a shotshell. Also in muzzle loading, a piece of cloth used to seal the bullet in the barrel. It's purpose and function is the same as a shotgun wad.

Cocked

A state of readiness of a firearm. The hammer (or similar mechanism if there is no hammer) only needs to be released by the trigger to cause the gun to fire.

Bottlenecked (Bottle Necked)

A type of cartridge whose bullet diameter is substantially less than the body diameter of the casing.

Feed Ramp

An inclined, polished area on a repeating firearm, just behind the chamber, that helps guide a cartridge into the chamber when pushed forward by the closing bolt or slide.

FFL

Abbreviation for Federal Firearms [Dealer's] License.

Yaw

The heading of a bullet, used in external ballistics that refers to how the Magnus effect causes bullets to move out of a straight line based on their spin.

Muzzle Velocity

The speed of a projectile or a load of shot at the point that it exits the muzzle of a firearm, normally expressed feet per second.

Spray and Pray

A term often used to refer to the very poor and dangerous practice of rapidly firing many shots at a target as possible in the hope that one or more may hit the target. This practice is a danger not only to bystanders but also to the shooter.

Charging Handle

A device on a firearm which, when operated, results in the hammer or striker being cocked or moved to the ready position.

Stock

The back part of a rifle or shotgun, excluding the receiver.

Pistol Whip

To hit someone with the grip of a pistol.

Touchmark

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

Magazine

A secure storage place for ammunition or explosives. On a firearm, it is the container, either fixed to a firearms's frame or detachable, which holds cartridges waiting to be fed into the gun's chamber.
Detachable magazines for the same gun may be offered by the gun's manufacturer or other manufacturers with various capacities. A gun with a five-shot detachable magazine, for instance, may be fitted with a magazine holding 10, 20, or 50 or more rounds.
Box magazines are most commonly located under the receiver with the cartridges stacked vertically.
Tube or tubular magazines run through the stock or under the barrel with the cartridges lying horizontally (like on a shotgun or lever action rifle.
Drum magazines hold their cartridges in a circular mode (for example the famous drum magazine on a Thompson submachine gun).
On a revolver, the magazine is known as the cylinder.
Internal magazines are built into the firearm and are not removable. Examples of internal magazines are the tube magazines of a shotgun or the magazine on a Mosin Nagant.
A magazine is not a clip!

Port

An opening. The ejection port is the opening in the side of a semi-auto from which spent cases are ejected.

Anson & Deeley Action

A type of internal hammer side by side shotgun boxlock action. It was patented in 1875 and is the essence of simplicity utilizing only two springs and three moving parts (per barrel). One of the most successful action designs ever, and still produced to this day by most SxS shotgun manufacturers.

Rimfire

Helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.

Dum-Dum

A bullet designed to expand on impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger diameter wound. The two typical designs are the hollow point bullet and the soft point bullet. Expanding bullets were given the name Dum-dum, or dumdum, after an early British example produced in the Dum Dum Arsenal, near Calcutta, India by Captain Neville Bertie-Clay in the the mid-1870s. Modern sef-defensive, JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point), ammunition are based on the original dum-dum ammunition design and principles.

Bang Stick

A specialized firearm used underwater that is fired when in direct contact with the target.

Recoil Spring

The recoil spring is the powerful spring that cushions the slide in its rearward travel and then sends the slide forward again with enough force to drive the fresh round firmly into the chamber. The strength of the recoil spring is calibrated to run the slide without any outside assistance.

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