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Glossary Gun Terms Beginning M

A firearm of military significance, often crew-served, that on trigger depression automatically feeds and fires cartridges of rifle size or greater. Civilian ownership in the U.S. has been heavily curtailed and federally regulated since 1934.

A spring-loaded container for cartridges that may be an integral part of the gun`s mechanism or may be detachable. 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. Drum magazines hold their cartridges in a circular mode. A magazine can also mean a secure storage place for ammunition or explosives.

A plate, mounted to the top of a spring, inside a magazine, over which cartridges may slide smoothly as they are guided into the chamber of a repeating firearm.

A term indicating a relatively heavily loaded metallic cartridge or shotshell and, by extension, a gun safely constructed to fire it.

An early system of ignition for muzzle-loading firearms where a priming charge is loaded into a flashpan with a separate, manually-operated cover. To fire, the cover is opened and then a slowly smoldering wick, held in the nose of the curved arm, is lowered by means of a lever (precursor to a trigger) to ignite a priming charge which then ignites the main propellant charge inside the barrel.

Failure of a cartridge to ignite when the primer or case rim is struck by the firing pin. Causes: defect in the cartridge or defect in the pistol.

A method of building a pair of barrels where the entire breech end of both barrels and the lumps together are machined from one solid piece of steel. The barrel tubes are then fitted separately into this monoblock and the ribs attached. Often identifiable by a distinctive ring around the barrels about three inches in front of the breech end. The favored jointing method of the Beretta company. An incorrect euphemism for sleeved barrels.

An personalized marking consisting of initials, often artistically engraved or inlaid in which the letter for the surname is central and prominent.

A metal stamping, vaguely in the shape of a half-moon, which holds three cartridges, typically .45ACP, for use in revolvers, particularly those originally manufactured for .45 Colt or .455 Eley whose cylinder has been subsequently milled down at the rear. In WW2, to allow the use of the ubiquitous .45ACP cartridge with a variety of different revolvers. Also acts as a speed-loader.

A gun with more than one barrel, the most common being the double-barreled shotgun.

A description of a bullet whose forward diameter has expanded after penetration.

An older form of military long arm. Usually with a long barrel, barrel bands and a smooth bore.

The open end of the barrel from which the projectile exits.

An attachment to or integral part of the barrel intended to trap and divert expanding gasses and reduce recoil.

A fitting attached to the muzzle of a firearm, with a series of perforations designed to deflect some of the forward-rushing gasses and pull the firearm forward off the shoulder, reducing recoil. While muzzle brakes can be effective in reducing recoil, their resultant blast is at least mildly offensive to anyone else standing nearby.

The power of a projectile or a load of shot at the point that it exits the muzzle of a firearm, normally expressed in foot-pounds.

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.

The earliest type of gun, now also popular as modern-made replicas, in which blackpowder and projectile(s) are separately loaded in through the muzzle. The term is often applied to cap-and-ball revolvers where the loading is done not actually through the muzzle but through the open ends of the cylinder`s chambers.

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