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Glossary Gun Terms Beginning D

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.

DEELEY FOREND RELEASE
A latch for securing the forend to the barrels of a break-open gun, operated by a short pull-down lever mounted to the center of the forend.

DEMI-BLOC BARRELS
A method of joining the two separate tubes of a set of barrels where the right-hand half of the pair of lumps under the barrels are forged integrally with the right barrel and the left-hand half of the pair of lumps under the barrels are forged integrally with the left barrel.

DERRINGER
A small single-shot or multi-barreled (rarely more than two) pocket pistol.

DETONATE
To explode with great violence. It is generally associated with high explosives e.g. TNT, dynamite, etc., and not with the relatively slow-burning smokeless gunpowders that are classed as propellants.

DOLLS 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.

DOMINANT EYE
Eye used for sight alignment

DOUBLE-ACTION
A handgun mechanism where pulling the trigger retracts and releases the hammer or firing pin to initiate discharge.

DOUBLE RIFLE
Two independent rifles, built on one frame, designed to allow two virtually instantaneously quick, totally reliable shots. The barrels may be arranged either side-by-side or over-and-under.

DOVETAILED BARRELS
The usual way of building a set of side-by-side barrels. Two raw tubes are filed to approximate their final contour. A solid block of steel is then filed to shape, fitted between the two tubes at the breech end with about 3/4" exposed on the underside and soldered or brazed into place to form the lump(s).

DRILLING
A three-barrel shoulder-fired gun, typically with two identical side-by-side shotgun barrels mounted above one rifle barrel.

DROP
The distance from an imaginary straight line of sight extended along the rib of a shotgun rearward towards the butt---to the top of the stock at the comb or the heel.

DROP-BOX MAGAZINE
An extra-deep magazine typical of large calibre rifles for dangerous game.

DROPLOCK
A variation on the Anson & Deeley boxlock design, introduced by Westley Richards at the end of the 19th Century, whereby the locks themselves are removable, without tools, from the action body for cleaning or repair through a hinged or a detachable floorplate.

DROPPER POINTS
Small, raised-carved details on either side of a double gun, behind the lockplates of a sidelock or behind the flat sidepanels of a boxlock, in the shape of teardrops.

DRY FIRE
To pull the trigger and release the hammer of a firearm without having a cartridge in the chamber. While innocuous enough with a Mauser action, it can shatter the differentially-hardened internal parts of a break-open gun which, upon firing, are designed to have the shock of the hammer's blow absorbed somewhat by the soft brass of the primer. If you must experiment with the trigger(s) and the action of a fine double gun, be sure to use snap caps---which safely replicate the buffering effect of an actual cartridge.

DUELLING PISTOLS
Single shot pistols, of a design originating in England, in vogue circa 1770 - 1850, built necessarily in pairs, either of flintlock or percussion ignition, usually finely made and cased together with loading accessories.

DUM-DUM BULLET
A British military bullet developed in India`s Dum-Dum Arsenal and used on India`s North West Frontier and in the Sudan in 1897 and 1898. It was a jacketed .303 cal. British bullet with the jacket nose left open to expose the lead core in the hope of increasing effectiveness. Improvement was not pursued, for the Hague Convention of 1899 (not the Geneva Convention of 1925, which dealt largely with gas warfare) outlawed such bullets for warfare. Often "dum-dum" is misused as a term for any soft-nosed or hollow- pointed hunting bullet.

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