Glossary of firearms terms

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Wad
A piece of paper, cardboard or felt used to retain the charge in the cartridge or barrel.

Wad cutter see Bullet

Watering
Also called damascus, a wavy lustrous pattern imparted in metal at the time of manufacture, caused by a difference in the hardness of the individual steels used.

Wedge type action see Action, wedge type

Wheel lock
Mechanism igniting a firearmís charge by sparks produced by holding pyrites against a rapidly revolving serrated wheel. The system was devised in the first quarter of the 16th century and employed on both hand and long arms.

Windage
The lateral drift caused by wind of a bullet during flight. To take left or right windage means to move the rear sight to the left or right to compensate for lateral drift.

Wiper
The slotted attachment on the end of a ramrod which will hold a piece of cleaning rag when wiping or cleaning the bore.

Worm
Twisted corkscrew like device that is screwed to a ramrod and used to withdraw a charge from a muzzle loader.