Glossary of firearms terms

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Gain twist see Pitch

Gallery
An indoor range for pistol or rifle practice.

Gas check
Copper cap placed over the base of a lead alloy bullet as protection from the action of powder gasses.

Gas cylinder
In semi automatic gas operated weapons, the gas expansion chamber carrying the tappet or piston that actuates the weapon.

Gas port
In semi automatic gas operated weapons, a hole drilled from the bore through the barrel to channel powder gasses into the gas cylinder.

Gatling gun
An American machine gun consisting of a cluster of barrels circled about an axis which were revolved, loaded and fired continuously by winding a crank handle.

Gauge
The bore diameter expressed as the number of round lead balls of the bore diameter required to weigh one pound. 12 gauge, for example, denotes a bore diameter which will accommodate a round ball, its weight being the weight of which 12 such balls would weigh one pound. Normally used to describe shotguns.

Gewehr
In German means a rifle.

Gilding metal
An alloy of copper and zinc used as a bullet jacket.

Gizzen see check

Grapeshot
Cluster of small iron balls cased to be fired as a whole from a cannon. It was replaced by shrapnel during the 19th century.

Graze
Of a trajectory, the point at which a projectile bursts or rebounds on impact.

Grenade
1 Originally, a spherical shell, so called before "shell".
2 A small bomb capable of being hurled either by means of hand, catapult or rifle.

Grip
1 On handguns it is the portion gripped by the hand firing the weapon, often improperly called the butt.
2 On shoulder arms it is that portion of the stock immediately behind the breech. Grips may be made of wood, bone, plastic or precious metal. Often custom grips are fitted individually to improve handling.

Groove
One of several spiral cuts in the bore of a firearm, designed to impart a rotary motion to a projectile passing through the barrel.

Groove diameter
Diameter as measured from the bottom of one groove to the bottom of the groove opposite.

Guard screw
A screw securing the receiver to the stock by extending from the trigger guard upward through the stock into the receiverís underside.

Gun
1 Any weapon firing a projectile. Originally the term harquebus meant gun, though later it became confined to a light and ornate weapon used by the wealthier classes for sport. The term musquet was used to designate the military arm as distinct from the sporting gun. Until the term rifle, musquet or a variant of that word continued to signify any type of gun that was a standard military arm. A caliver was a military lighter than a musket but of larger calibre. The haquebut was a very light gun, only a little larger than the early dags or pistols. The petronel was still smaller with a peculiarly curved stock for firing from the breast. Dragons and carbines were guns shortened for cavalry use.
2 In more restricted and technical usage, especially in artillery, a long barrelled, long range weapon with a flat trajectory and fired from a carriage or fixed mount. The term is used to distinguish such weapons from howitzers.

Gunlock
The firing mechanism on a small arm.

Gun metal
Dark blue or black finish applied to metal parts. A greyish dull finish called Parkerizing is also used, as is bluing and browning.

Gunpowder
A propellant mixture, discovered in Europe in the early 13th century, composed of saltpetre, hardwood charcoal and sulphur. Coarser grained powder generates nearly the same muzzle velocity with much less pressure than finer grains. Since 1700 the composition of all powders has remained substantially unchanged, though powders differ greatly in grain size. Early powders were mechanically mixed to form black powder. Present powders are compounded chemically.

Gun stick
A rammer or ramrod.