Glossary of firearms terms

Return to index, Previous page, Next page

Rammer
1 Loosely, a ramrod.
2 Of a small arm, a ramrod attached in a manner to permit its use without being detached from the weapon. Usually a hinge allows the rammer to be aligned with the bore axis when needed.

Ramp
In mechanics, a sloping surface connecting areas at different levels.

Ramp sight see Sight

Ramrod
1 Of a muzzle loader, a rod employed in charging the weapon by ramming the wad and bullet or shot down the barrel against the powder charge. Ramrods are made of either wood or metal.
2 Colloquially, a cleaning rod.

Range
1 Of a projectile, the horizontal distance travelled from the weapon to the point of contact. Effective range refers to the maximum distance a projectile will travel accurately. Extreme range denotes the maximum distance the projectile will travel unobstructed, disregarding accuracy. Point blank range, a popular usage, refers to the distance a projectile will travel before dropping enough to require sight adjustment.
2 A location where target shooting is practiced. An indoor target range is referred to as a gallery range when short range .22 calibre weapons are used, otherwise the more general term indoor range is employed.

Range dummy
In ammunition, a cartridge resembling live ammunition but incapable of being exploded, and used for instructional purposes on the rifle range.

Rear sight see Sight

Receiver
1 Of a rifle, the metal housing to which the barrel is attached and in which the bolt mechanism, the magazine assembly and the trigger assembly are contained.
2 The frame of an automatic or semi-automatic pistol. The terms receiver and frame are used interchangeably in referring to this type of weapon.

Receiver bridge
The rear portion of a receiver, forming an arch over the end of the groove in which the bolt moves. A split bridge denotes an opening cut through the receiver bridge to allow passage of the bolt handle.

Receiver ring
The circular forward portion of the receiver into which the barrel is threaded.

Recoil
The rearward motion immediately subsequent to discharge caused by expansion of powder gasses. In ballistics recoil is generally measured in foot pounds along the line of the bores axis. Since this line of thrust is generally above the point of resistance to recoil (where the butt rests against the shoulder in a long arm and where the hand holds the grip in a hand gun), the firearms muzzle tends to swing upward, describing an arc around the point of resistance. Different grips of the weapon will change the point of resistance and with it the apparent recoil. The term kick denotes the apparent recoil felt by the individual shooter.

Recoil lug
A projection on the underside of a firearms receiver extending into the stock wood to distribute the shock of recoil through that portion of the stock best able to withstand the shock without danger of cracking. Sometimes called a recoil shoulder.

Recoil operated see Action, recoil operated

Recoil spring
An alternate term for operating spring.

Repeater
Colloquially, any firearm equipped with a magazine.

Repeating rifle see Rifle, repeating

Residual pressure see Pressure

Retracting spring
Alternate term for operating spring.

Revolver
Hand gun with a fixed barrel and revolving coaxial cylinder composed of chambers holding ammunition to be presented successively before the barrel. Revolving firearms were invented in the 16th century, but the first practical model was a flintlock. In 1835 Colt introduced the first revolver to see extensive use. A pepperbox is sometimes termed a revolver, though the use of the term in this connection is colloquial. Cylinders of revolvers have been designed to hold as few as four cartridges and as many as twenty four.

Revolver, double action
A double action revolver is so designed that repeated trigger pressure both revolves the cylinder to align a chamber with the bore and cocks and releases the hammer to discharge the piece. Such weapons are usually designed to allow manual cocking as well.

Revolver, semiautomatic
Utilises the forces of recoil in conjunction with spring action to revolve the cylinder, align the chamber and cock the weapon. Trigger pressure will then discharge the piece and repeat the process.

Revolver, single action
Requires manual cocking of the hammer, trigger pressure will not cock the weapon. Manual cocking revolves the cylinder to align a chamber with the bore and cocks the weapon. Trigger pressure then releases the hammer to discharge the weapon.

Ricochet
In ballistics, a bullet which strikes a surface and glances off. The bulletís very rapid rotary motion allows it to ricochet with very little loss of forward velocity.

Rifle
A long barrelled gun, the bore of which carries longitudinal spiral grooves to impart spin to the bullet in flight. A rifle is intended to be fired from the shoulder.

Rifle, repeating
Also referred to as a magazine rifle and is capable of discharging several rounds with a single loading of the magazine contained in or attached to the weapon. Extraction and reloading are however performed by hand.

Rifle, semiautomatic
Also referred to as a self loading rifle is a repeating rifle wherein extraction and reloading are performed automatically by the action of recoil or powder gasses.

Rifled musket
A term current in the mid 19th century to designate a rifled arm of musket size and rifle calibre.

Rifle grenade discharger see Tromlon

Rifling
The grooves cut into the bore of a firearm to impart rotary motion to a bullet for gyroscopic stabilisation.

Rimbase
The shoulder of a rifle stock on which the breech rests.

Rolling block action see Action, rolling block

Ruptured case see Case