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Glossary Gun Terms Beginning S

SABOT
A lightweight carrier surrounding a heavier projectile of reduced caliber, allowing a firearm to shoot ammunition for which it is not chambered. For example, a hunter could use his .30-30 deer rifle to shoot small game with .22 centerfire bullets.

SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL
A catchy phrase having no legal or technical meaning.

SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN (RIFLE)
Common term for federally restricted "short-barreled shotgun (rifle)" i.e. a conventional shotgun with barrel less than 18" (rifle less than 16") or overall length less than 26."

SELECTIVE-FIRE
A firearm's ability to be fired fully automatically, semi-automatically or, in some cases, in burst-fire mode at the option of the firer.

SEMI-AUTOMATIC
A firearm designed to fire a single cartridge, eject the empty case and reload the chamber each time the trigger is pulled.

SHOTGUN
A shoulder gun with smooth-bored barrel(s) primarily intended for firing multiple small, round projectiles, (shot, birdshot, pellets), larger shot (buck shot), single round balls (pumpkin balls) and cylindrical slugs. Some shotgun barrels have rifling to give better accuracy with slugs or greater pattern spread to birdshot.

SHOTSHELL
The cartridge for a shotgun. It is also called a "shell," and its body may be of metal or plastic or of plastic or paper with a metal head. Small shotshells are also made for rifles and handguns and are often used for vermin control.

SIGHT ALIGNMENT
The proper relationship of the pistol’s front and rear sights. With post-and-notch sights the tops of the front and rear sights are even and the front post is centered in the rear notch.

SIGHT PICTURE
Is obtained when the aligned sights are put into their proper relationship with the target.

SILENCER
A strictly regulated device for attachment to a gun`s muzzle for reducing (not silencing) the report. Better terms would be "sound suppressor" or "sound moderator."

SINGLE-SHOT
A gun mechanism lacking a magazine where separately carried ammunition must be manually placed in the gun's chamber for each firing.

SLIDE-ACTION
A gun mechanism activated by manual operation of a horizontally sliding handle almost always located under the barrel. "Pump-action" and "trombone" are synonyms for "slide-action."

SLUG
A slug is a single projectile rather than the more common "shot".

SNUB-NOSED
Descriptive of (usually) a revolver with an unusually short barrel.

SQUIB LOAD
A cartridge developing less than normal pressure or velocity upon ignition. A squib load can cause a bullet to fail to exist the muzzle and lodge in the bore.

WARNING: If signs of a squib load are encountered, such as reduced noise, reduced muzzle flash, reduced recoil, STOP FIRING IMMEDIATELY, safely open the action and check the bore for obstructions.

SUBMACHINE GUN
An automatic firearm commonly firing pistol ammunition intended for close-range combat.

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