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WORLD GUNS
Vocabulary

WORLD GUNS

Guns In General
Sniper Rifles
Shotguns
Hand Guns
Machine Guns
Ammo
Vocab
Bibliography

Ammo, Ammunition

Ammunition is the consumable component of firearms system.  Ammunition is required to fire a gun.  A single unit of ammunition in modern firearms is called a cartridge.  The units of measure for quantity of ammunition are rounds

Barrel

A narrow hollow cylinder portion of a firearm through which the bullet travels during the acceleration phase of its journey to the target.

Bipod

A two legged support for the front end of a rifle to stabilize the gun while shooting.

Boat Tail

A type of projectile  that has a tapered base (rear end) that reduces the drag from the air as it travels to its target.

Bolt

The mechanism of some firearms that holds the cartridge in place during the firing process.  See also Bolt Action.

Bolt Action

A type of firearm, almost always a rifle, in which an empty shell casing (remnant of a cartridge) is removed from the firing chamber by the turning and retraction of a metal cylinder shaped mechanism called a bolt.  A new, unfired, cartridge is inserted and secured into the chamber by reversing the action of the bolt.  Bolt action firearms are typically the most accurate and are the most common type of firearm at the Boomer Shoot.

Bore

1) The hollow portion of a barrel through which the bullet travels during it's acceleration phase.

Bullet

A generally cylindrical shaped projectile that travels through the air after being fired from a firearm.  This is only one component of a cartridge, which is a single piece of ammunition.

Bull Barrel

A barrel which has the same outside diameter it's entire length. This type of barrel has the advantage of being very stiff and hence a greater potential to be accurate.  It has the disadvantage of being heavy.  Many of the rifles shot at the Boomer Shoot will have bull (or very slight taper) barrels.

Brass

1) A slang term for an empty shell casing.  Most shell casings are made of the metal alloy known as brass. 

Chamber

The portion of a barrel where a cartridge is placed just prior to being fired.  This is a high pressure containment area which is very precisely aligned with the bore of the barrel.  A gun cannot be fired when the chamber is empty.  At the Boomer Shoot guns must have the chamber visibly open when not on the firing line or when people are down range.

Cartridge

The assembly of a bullet, shell casing, gunpowder, and primer that is put in the chamber of a firearm.

Caliber

1) The diameter of the bore of a firearm.  Typically in millimeters or a decimal fraction of an inch.  2) Common usage, but imprecise -- the name of the cartridge used in a firearm.  Examples include .223 Remington, 220 Swift, 22-250 which all use the same bullet, but different cartridge, because they have the same diameter of bore.  Other examples include 7.62 NATO, .308 Winchester (same as 7.62 NATO), 30.06, and .300 Winchester Magnum.  Again these all used the same bullet but a different cartridge.

Clicks

A unit of adjustment for a sight.  Typically equal to one quarter of one MOA, but may range from one eighth to one half of one MOA.

Clip

A device that holds cartridges in place prior to be put into a magazine of a firearmHollywood, the media in general, and even a lot of shooters get this wrong.  A clip is not the same as a magazine. 

Center fire Cartridge

A cartridge that has a primer located in the center of the base of the shell casing.  This is as opposed to a rim fire cartridge.

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.

Cold clean bore

The first shot from a rifle that has been cleaned, and not fired recently may go to a different point of impact, for the same point of aim than a rifle that has been fired recently.  This first shot is referred to as a shot from a cold, clean, bore.  See also fouling shot.  

Down Range

The area of a gun range where firearms are pointed when they are fired.  The area of the range forward of the firing line.

Ears

Slang for ear protection.  A set of specially designed ear muffs or plugs that reduce the intensity of the sound reaching the ears.  Some of the guns are so loud that a single shot can cause permanent damage to unprotected ears.  Because of the high tax and restrictions on firearm sound suppressors very few people in the US shoot firearms with suppressors.  In some European countries it's considered impolite to shoot a firearm without a sound suppressor.  At the Boomer Shoot ear protection is required for shooters, spotters and nearby spectators while shooting is in progress.

Elevation

1) The setting on the sights of a firearm that controls the vertical placement.  2) The altitude above mean sea level.  This is important for long range precision shooting because the air density changes with elevation and affects the path of the bullet.

Eyes

Slang for safety glasses or other protection for the eyes.  Although very rare, firearm accidents do happen.  The biggest danger at the Boomer Shoot is flying brass (cartridge shell casings) which carries a very low risk of serious injury.  In the case of a serious accident such as an accidental discharge into the nearby ground or a catastrophic structural failure of a firearm during the firing process there may be high speed dirt or metal particles flying around.  These could result in serious eye injury if safety glasses are not used.  All shooters and spotters are required to wear eye protection while shooting is in progress.

Factory Ammo

Ammunition that has been assembled by a commercial vendor of ammunition and sold in retail stores.  This is as opposed to hand loads which have been assembled by individuals and are not typically sold.  

Firearm

A gun which uses the combustion of some chemical mix, typically smokeless gunpowder, to propel a projectile.  Firearms are typically divided into long guns and handguns.   

Firing Line

A line, either imaginary or marked, from which people shoot their firearms down range.

Firing Pin

A needle like metal part of a modern firearm that gives a vigorous strike to the primer initiating the firing of the cartridge

Fouling Shot

A shot fired in a clean rifle barrel to put the barrel into the normal slightly dirty state from which it is fired.  Often, a rifle will shoot to a different point of aim with this shot as compared to the subsequent shots.  See also, cold clean bore.

Full Metal Jacket

A type of bullet in which the lead core is encased in a copper jacket on the front and sides.  The copper jacket may also include the base, but this is rarer.  This type of bullet is relatively cheap and used for target practice or by the military.  Sometimes called "Ball" ammo.

Grains

A unit of weight (mass actually) used for measuring bullets and gunpowder.  There are exactly 7000 grains in one pound.  Typical .30 caliber bullets range from 125 to 220 grains.  .22 caliber bullets for center fire cartridges range from about 50 grains to 70 grains.  Typical weights of gunpowder used in one cartridge range from about 20 grains to 80 grains depending on the cartridge type, powder type, bullet weight, and desired muzzle velocity.

Gun Control

1) Being able to hit your target. 2) A political tool to disarm victims.

Gunpowder

A chemical mixture or compound that burns rapidly with or without the presence of air to produce hot pressurized gases capable of propelling a bullet.  There are two basic types of gunpowder, Black Powder and Smokeless Powder.  Black Powder is composed of a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate and produces a cloud of white noxious smoke when it burns.  Smokeless powder burns much cleaner but may still produce a small puff of smoke.  All modern firearms use smokeless powder, not only because there is less smoke, but because the bullets can be made to exit the gun faster.  There are some people that love the challenge of shooting a black powder type firearm and organizations exist that cater to that group of people.

Hammer

Similar in function to the carpenter and mechanics tool the hammer of a firearm is propelled by a spring to strike either directly or via a firing pin the primer of a cartridge causing the gun to fire.

Handgun

Handguns are designed to be fired from outstretched arms and include pistols and revolvers

Hand loads

Hand loads are cartridges assembled by an individual person from the individual components (primer, shell casing, gunpowder, and bullet) and are typically tailored specifically for their firearm.  Hand loads are usually cheaper than purchasing factory ammo

Iron Sights

Sights made of metal with no optics.

Kick

Slang term for recoil.

Long gun

Long guns are designed to be fired while in contact with the shoulder of the shooter and include rifles and shotguns

Lever Action

A type of gun that uses a lever operated mechanism to remove an empty shell casing and insert a new cartridge in the chamber of a rifle.  Other types of mechanisms include bolt action and pump action

Magazine

1) A ammunition feeding device that holds the cartridges just prior to them being put in the chamber of the firearm by the operation of a mechanism on the firearm.  This mechanism may be operated manually as in a bolt action or semi-automatically when the gun fires after pulling the trigger.  The magazine may be detachable or part of the gun (as in a tubular magazine common with lever action rifles and most semi-auto and pump shotguns).  The detachable ones are what Hollywood, the media in general, and many shooters refer to as a clip.  This is wrong.  A clip is different from a magazine.  2) A storage area for explosives.  The Boomer Shoot range has an ATF approved and inspected explosives magazine for the reactive targets.  It is bullet and theft resistant.  See pictures and find out more about it by clicking here3) A periodical such as Precision Shooting.

Magnum

A cartridge that has more powder and shoots the same weight bullet faster than some previous similar cartridge.  As much a marketing term as a technical description.  Familiar magnum cartridges include .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .300 Winchester Magnum.

Match Grade

A higher quality item used to increase accuracy -- generally used for competition in a match.  Match grade ammo and barrels are the most common improvements made to a firearm to improve accuracy for competition.

MOA

See Minute Of Angle.

Mil-Dot

A type of 'viewfinder' in a telescopic sight that has dots spaced one mill radian (a unit of angle related to degrees -- as in 360 degrees in a circle).  There are 2000 times Pi or 6283.2 milliradians in a complete circle.  This spacing of dots lends itself to relatively easy measuring of range to the target under many circumstances.

Minute of Angle

Also called MOA.  A unit of angle that is equal to one1/60 of one degree.  Used to adjust sight angles to aim a firearm.  At 100 yards one MOA is equal to very nearly 1 inch.  Typical telescopic sights used for competition have adjustments (clicks) in one quarter MOA increments.

Muzzle

The end of the barrel where the bullet exits as it is being fired.

Muzzle Brake

An attachment to the end of a barrel that redirects some of the pressurized, gas that propelled the bullet out the muzzle to the sides and possibly rearwards from the direction of the bullet travel.  This reduces the recoil of the firearm.

Muzzle Velocity

The speed of the bullet as it leaves the muzzle of the gun.  Typically this is measured in feet per second.  For handguns typical velocities range from about 800 feet per second to about 1400 fps.  For center fire rifles the range is from about 2200 fps to 4000 fps.

Projectile

An object given an initial velocity which proceeds on its one inertia through the air and perhaps solid objects in its path.  A bullet fired from a gun is a projectile.

Pistol

A handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel.  This is opposed to a revolver.

Powder

See gunpowder.

Primer

A small metal cup that contains a tiny explosive charge that is sensitive to impact.  A primer is placed in the base of a shell casing to ignite the powder of the completed cartridge.  It is detonated by the striking of a firing pin in the firearm.

Pump or Pump Action

A type of mechanism for removing a spent shell casing from the chamber of a firearm and inserting a fresh cartridge into the chamber.  This type of mechanism is most commonly used in shotguns and rim fire rifles

Range Finder

A device used to determine the range to a target.  Range finders of recent manufacture used by Boomer Shooters work by bouncing a laser beam off the target or nearby object and measuring the time for the reflection to arrive back at the instrument.  It is also possible to use various passive optical devices such as a mil-dot telescopic sight.

Recoil

The sudden rearward push made against the shooter when a firearm is fired. 

Revolver

A type of handgun which has multiple chambers which each revolves into position to fire a cartridge.  Six chambers in a revolver are common, but five, seven, and nine are not unusual.

Rifle

A firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and fire only a single projectile at a time, as opposed to a shotgun which can throw many small projectiles (shot) at the same time.

Rim fire Cartridge

A type of cartridge whose primer is integral to the shell casing and located along the edge of the base in a rim.  When the firing pin strikes it pinches the rim against the chamber and causes it to detonate and ignite the powder

Rounds

A unit of measurement for ammunition.  1 round equals one shot

Safety (mechanical)

A mechanical device used to block the firing pin or trigger such that the firearm cannot be fired.

Semi-Auto

A firearm that uses the energy and momentum of the just fired cartridge to eject the spent shell casing and load a new cartridge into the chamber.  This makes it an automatic loader.  This is sometimes shortened to 'automatic' which some people confuse with a full-auto (machine gun). 

Shot

One shot equals one time the bullet exists the muzzle

Shotgun

A (typically) smooth bore long gun that shoots a group of pellets called shot instead of bullets.  Depending on the bore size and the size of the pellets there may be from less than 10 to two hundred or more pellets in a single shotgun cartridge.  Shotguns are designed for shooting moving targets (such as flying birds or running rabbits) at close range shooting.

Shell Casing

A hollow, bottle or drinking glass shaped, piece of metal that is closed on one end except for a small hole which holds a primer.  The open end holds the bullet.  The hollow portion holds the powder.  Together the assembled unit is called a cartridge

Sights

The device that aids the eye in aiming the barrel of a firearm in the proper direction to hit a target.  The most common sights are iron and telescopic.  Nearly all Boomer Shooters use telescopic sights.

Soft Point

A bullet that has an exposed lead tip.  These types of bullets are typically used for hunting game animals with a rifle because they expand to create a larger wound channel than a full metal jacket bullet.  A hollow point bullet would be used with a handgun for the same reason.  A hollow point bullet fired from a rifle frequently fragments upon impact and fails to penetrate deep enough to cause a humane kill in game animals.  A hollow point varmint bullet is often used when hunting small animals not intended to be used for food or fur.  

Spotter

The spotter is a helper who gives the shooter guidance on how to hit a particular target.  In some cases the spotter may just report the location of the bullet impact.  In other cases they may judge the speed and direction of the wind, determine the range, and give the shooter the settings to be used on the sights.  If the atmospheric conditions are good and he/she is using quality optics the spotter may even see the bullet as it travels through the air towards its' target.  

Stock

The supporting structure of a long gun to which the receiver, barrel, trigger, and other components are attached.  Typically the portion of the firearm that the shooter holds onto while firing it.

Telescopic Sight

A sight which has an integral telescope. 

Trigger

The mechanism used by the shooter to initiate the firing of a cartridge.  Typically this is a lever type piece of metal that must be pulled with the index finger.

Trigger Guard

A metal (or sometimes hard plastic) mechanical device which partially covers the trigger and reduces the chance the gun will be accidentally fired.

Trigger Lock

A locking device put on a firearm to render it unable to be fired.  This can be useful in a home which does not have a gun safe and has small children.  It can be a disaster when it is legislated as a "one size fits all" solution because it renders all home stored firearms useless for self-defense.

Varmint Bullet

A hollow point, thin jacketed, bullet that is designed to fragment into many (perhaps hundreds) of pieces upon impact.  This type of bullet is designed to humanely kill a small animal such as a prairie dog or ground squirrel.  Because they break up into so many pieces while still retaining high velocity a hit from one of these bullet will cause the animal to essentially explode even if hit a long way from a vital organ.  A full metal jacket bullet that hit in the same location would typically pass through the animal.  The animal would die minutes, hours, or perhaps even a day later from dehydration, infection, or from inability to escape from a predator.  Because varmints are typically hunted at long distances the bullet are typically made to be very accurate as well.

Windage

The setting on the sights used to accommodate the wind or adjust for horizontal errors in the alignment of the sights with the bore of the firearm.