Action: The part of a firearm that loads fires, and ejects a cartridge. Includes lever action, pump action, bolt action, and semi-automatic. The first three are found in weapons that fire a single shot. Firearms that can shoot multiple rounds (“repeaters”) include all these types of actions, but only the semi-automatic does not require manual operation between rounds. A truly “automatic” action is found on a machine gun.
AFTE: Association of Firearms and Tool Mark Examiners
Ammunition: One or more loaded cartridges consisting of a primed case, propellant, and projectile(s). Three main types are rimfire, centerfire, and shotshell.
Barrel: The metal tube through which a projectile or shot charge is fired. May be rifled or smooth.
Base: 1. That portion of a cartridge case which contains the primer, usually called the head. 2. The rear portion of the bullet.
Ballistics: The study of a projectile in motion. Often confused with Firearms Identification, there are three types of ballistics: Interior – within the firearm, Exterior – after the projectile leaves the barrel, and Terminal – impact on a target.
Black Powder: The old form of gunpowder invented over a thousand years ago and consisting of nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur.
Bolt: The locking and cartridge head supporting mechanism of some firearm designs that contains the firing pin, extractor, and sometimes the ejector.
Bore: The inside of the barrel. “Smoothbore” weapons (typically shotguns) have no rifling. Most handguns and rifles have “rifling”.
Brass: A slang term sometimes used for fired cartridge cases.
Breech: The end of the barrel attached to the action.
Breech face: The area around the firing pin, which is against the head of the cartridge or shotshell during firing.
Buckshot: Lead or steel pellets ranging in size from .20” to .36” diameter normally loaded in shotshells.
Bullet: The projectile. They are shaped or composed differently for a variety of purposes.
“round-nose” – The end of the bullet is blunted.
“hollow-point” – There is a hole in the bullet that creates expansion when a target is struck, creating more damage.
“jacketed” – The soft lead is surrounded by another metal, usually copper, that allows the bullet to penetrate a target more easily.
“wadcutter” – The front of the bullet is flattened.
“semi-wadcutter” – Intermediate between round-nose and wadcutter.
Sometimes incorrectly called a slug or round.
Bullet wipe: The discolored area on the immediate periphery of a bullet hole, caused by bullet lubricant, lead, smoke, bore debris, or possibly jacket material.
Butt or buttstock: The portion of the gun that is held or shouldered.
Caliber: In Firearms, the diameter of the bore measured from land to land, usually expressed in hundredths of an inch (.22 cal) or in millimeters (9mm). In ammunition, a naming system that indicates cartridge dimensions as well as bore diameters, and can be the same as the Firearm caliber.
Cannelure: A groove (knurled or smooth) around the circumference of a bullet or cartridge case. Three uses include crimping, lubrication, and identification.
Cartridge: A unit of ammunition, made up of a cartridge case, primer, powder, and bullet. Also called a “round”, or “load”. Sometimes incorrectly called a “bullet”.
Cartridge case: The container for all the other components that comprise a cartridge. Sometimes incorrectly called a shell, shell casing, brass, or a hull.
Centerfire: The cartridge contains the primer in the center of the case head or base, where it can be struck by the firing pin of the action.
Chamber: The portion of the “action” that holds the cartridge ready for firing.
Choke: An interior constriction of a shotgun bore at the muzzle for the purpose of controlling the pattern of the fired shot.
Class Characteristics: Measurable features of a specimen which indicate a restricted group source. They result from design features and are therefore determined prior to manufacture.
Clip: A separate cartridge container used to rapidly reload the magazine of a firearm. Also called a stripper clip.
Cock: Place a firing mechanism (i.e. hammer, or firing pin) under spring tension prior to firing
Comparison Microscope: Essentially two microscopes connected to an optical bridge, which allows two objects to be viewed simultaneously with the same magnification.
Cylinder: Part of a revolver that holds ammunition in individual chambers that are rotated in turn into firing position.
Discharge: To cause a firearm to fire.
Double-action: Pulling the trigger both cocks the hammer and fires the firearm.
Double barrel: Two barrels side by side or one on top of the other, usually on a shotgun.
Ejector: The mechanism on a firearm which ejects or expels a cartridge or cartridge case from a firearm.
Extractor: The mechanism on a firearm that withdraws a cartridge or cartridge case from the chamber of a firearm.
Firearm: An assembly of a barrel and action from which a projectile(s) is discharged by means of a rapidly burning propellant. Also called a weapon, gun, handgun, long gun, pistol, revolver, etc.
Firearms Identification: A discipline of Forensic Science which has as its primary concern to determine if a bullet, cartridge case, or other ammunition component was fired in a particular firearm to the exclusion of all others.
Firing Pin: That part of a firearm mechanism that strikes the primer of a cartridge to initiate ignition. Also called a striker.
Firing Pin Impression: The indentation in the primer of a centerfire cartridge case or in the rim of a rimfire cartridge case caused when it is struck by the firing pin.
Forensic Science: The scientific examination of physical evidence for a court of law.
Gauge: Refers to the diameter of the barrel on a shotgun in terms of the number of lead balls the size of the bore it would take to weigh one pound (12 gauge is the diameter of a lead ball weighing 1/12 of a pound.) “.410 gauge” really refers to caliber, but is worded as such to refer to a shotgun.
Griess Test: A chemical test for the detection of nitrites. It is used to develop patterns of gunpowder residues (nitrites) around bullet holes.
Grip: The handle of a handgun, the portion of the stock to the rear of the trigger on a long gun.
Gunpowder: Any of various powders used in ammunition as a propellant charge.
Gunpowder Residues: Unburned gunpowder (nitrites), partially burned gunpowder, and smoke from completely burned gunpowder.
Gunshot Residues: the total residues resulting from the discharge of a firearm; including gunpowder (nitrite) and primer residues (lead vapor), metallic residues from projectiles, fouling, etc.
Hammer: A device that strikes the firing pin or cartridge primer to detonate the powder.
Hammer block: A safety device on some firearms which separates the firing pin from the hammer except when the trigger is pulled.
Headstamp: Numerals, letters, and/or symbols stamped into the head of a cartridge case or shotshell case to identify the manufacture, caliber, gauge, or give additional information.
Individual Characteristics: A pattern of marks produced by the random imperfections or irregularities of tool surfaces. These random imperfections or irregularities are produced incidental to manufacture and/or caused by use, corrosion, or damage. They are unique to that tool and distinguish it from all other tools.
Ignition: The way in which powder is ignited. Modern guns use “primers” that are “rimfire” or “centerfire”.
Lands and grooves: Rifling. Lands are the raised portions between the grooves inside the barrel after the spiral grooves are cut to produce the rifling.
Magazine: This is a device for storing cartridges in a repeating firearm for loading into the chamber. It has a spring and follower to feed those cartridges into the chamber of a firearm. The magazine may be detachable or an integral part of the firearm. Also referred to as a “clip”
Magnum: An improved version of a standard cartridge that uses the same caliber and bullet, but has more powder (generally in a longer cartridge case), giving the fired bullet more energy. Magnum shotgun loads, however, refer to an increased amount of shot pellets in the shell.
Muzzle: The end of the barrel out of which the bullet comes.
Pellet: The small spherical projectiles loaded in shotshells. Also known as “shot”.
Pistol: Synonym for a handgun that does not have a revolving cylinder, the chamber is part of the barrel.
Powder: Commonly used term for the propellant in a cartridge or shotshell. Modern gun cartridges use “smokeless” powder that is relatively stable, of uniform quality, and leaves little residue when ignited. For centuries, “black powder” was used and was quite volatile (ignited at low temperature or shock), was composed of irregularly sized grains, and left a heavy residue after ignition, requiring frequent cleaning of the bore.
Primer: An explosive substance that ignites when struck to detonate the powder in a cartridge. “Rimfire” cartridges have a primer mixture crimped inside the base, while “centerfire” cartridges have a primer mixture in a ‘cup’ in the middle of the base of the cartridge case.
Projectile: An object propelled by the force of gases produced by rapidly burning gunpowder.
Pyrodex: The trade name of a black powder substitute with similar burning characteristics, but safer and designed to produce less fouling in the firearm.
Recoil: The rearward movement of a firearm resulting from firing.
Reload: A cartridge or shotshell that has been reassembled with a new primer, powder, projectile(s), and/or other components.
Receiver: The basic unit of a firearm which houses the firing and breech mechanism and to which the barrel and stock are assembled.
Revolver: Handgun that has a cylinder with holes to contain the cartridges. The cylinder revolves to bring the cartridge into position to be fired. This is “single-action” when the hammer must be cocked before the trigger can fire the weapon. It is “double-action” when pulling the trigger both cocks and fires the gun.
Rifle: A firearm having rifling in the bore and designed to be fired from the shoulder. Also called a long gun.
Rifling: The spiral grooves cut or swaged inside a gun barrel that gives the bullet a spinning motion. The metal between the grooves is called a “land”. The spiral can have either a left or right twist.
Rimfire: The cartridge has the primer distributed around the periphery of the base.
Round: A military term for a cartridge.
Safety: A mechanism or device on an action to prevent firing of the gun and may be manually operated or is a design feature intended to automatically prevent inadvertent firings
Shotgun: A shoulder fired (long gun) with a smoothbore designed to fire shotshells containing numerous pellets or sometimes a single projectile.
Shotshell: A cartridge containing projectile(s) designed to be fired in a shotgun. The cartridge body is generally made of plastic with a metal base, but may be made of paper or metal.
Sights: The device(s) on top of a barrel that allow the gun to be aimed.
Silencer: A device that fits over the muzzle of the barrel to muffle the sound of a gunshot. Most work by baffling the escape of gases.
Single-action: The hammer must be manually cocked before the trigger can be pulled to fire the gun.
Slug: A term applied to a single projectile loaded into a shotshell.
Smokeless powder: Refers to modern gunpowder, which is really not “powder” but flakes of nitrocellulose and other substances. Not really “smokeless” but much less so than black powder.
Sodium Rhodizonate Test: A chemical test to detect the presence of particulate lead or lead vapor around a bullet hole.
Stock: A wood, metal, or plastic frame that holds the barrel and action and allows the gun to be held firmly.
Striation: A set of parallel surface contours (scratches or scrapes) on an object caused by a combination of force and motion.
Submachine gun: A short barreled automatic firearm, most commonly firing pistol ammunition. It is intended for close-range combat.
Tool: An object used to gain mechanical advantage. Also thought of as the harder of two objects which when brought into contact with each other, results in the softer one being marked.
Toolmark, Impressed: A tool is placed against an object and enough pressure is applied to the tool so that it leaves an impression in the object. The shape of any individual characteristics can be used to identify the tool with the mark left on the object.
Toolmark, Striated: A tool is placed against an object softer than itself and with pressure applied the tool is moved across the object producing a scrape or series of scratches. The parallel surface irregularities produced by this scraping action are known as a striations.
Trajectory: The curved path of a projectile from muzzle to target.
Trigger: That part of a firearm mechanism that is moved manually to cause the firearm to discharge.
Wad: A cylindrical component(s) that is assembled into the head end of a shotshell.
Airtime: Length of time a rider is in the air during a jump.
ATV (All Terrain Vehicle): Commonly known as 4-wheeler or Quad. Also includes 3-wheelers.
Bottoming Out: Landing so hard from a jump that the suspension uses up all of its travel.
CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission): A fully automatic transmission consisting of two variable width pulleys and a belt. Different gear ratios are achieved when the pulleys automatically changes width and results in the belt riding higher or lower on the pulleys.
Four-Stroke: A type of engine with valves and cam(s) that produces combustion every four piston strokes.
GNC (Grand National Champions or the Nationals): A 12-race MX/TT series in the U.S.
GNCC (Grand National Cross-Country): A 13-race woods racing series in the U.S.
Goosing It: Applying lots of throttle in short burst to jump the ATV forward.
Holeshot: The first rider to get to the first turn.
Hydraulic Disc Brake: Stops the ATV by forcing brake fluid through lines when the brake lever is pulled. The fluid actuates the brake pads that contact a rotating rotor or disc to stop the ATV.
Independent Rear Suspension: Each rear wheel is suspended and moves independent of the other.
Knobbies: The type of tires usually on Quads. These tires have large knobs of rubber tread that are arranged and designed in various ways to grab the dirt or mud effectively.
Limited Slip: A type of differential which allows the wheels (front or rear) to spin at different speeds.
Mechanical Drum Brakes: Stops the quad when a brake lever is pulled which in turn pulls a cable which activate shoes that contact the interior of the drum.
Off-Camber Jump: A jump on a turn.
OHV: Off Highway Vehicle.
ORV: Off Road Vehicle.
Plastic: generally refers to the body on an ATV.
Powerslide: Sliding the rear end of an ATV by applying the throttle.
Quad: Another name for an ATV with 4 wheels.
Razorback: A sand dune peak that drops off steeply on each side.
Rollover: Rolling your ATV or tipping it on its side.
Skidplates: Plates that protect the underside of your ATV.
Speed Shifting: Shifting through the gears without letting off of the throttle.
Sport ATV: Generally refers to a 2WD ATV without cargo racks that is built for performance.
Sport/Utility or Utility: A 2WD or 4WD ATV with racks that is suited for limited sport riding and work related activities.
Swingarm: The pivoting support that connects the rear axle and shock absorber to the ATV frame.
Tear-Offs:Strips of clear plastic connected to your goggles. They are removed as they become dirty.
Two-Stroke: A type of engine with valves and cam(s) that produces combustion every two piston strokes. The fuel used in this type of engine requires a gas and oil mixture.
Wheelbase: The distance from the center of the front wheel hub to the center of the rear wheel hub.
Whip or Flag: A long flexible rod with a flag at the top.
Whoops: Rolling bumps anywhere from five to ten feet apart and one to three feet high.
Armguard: A leather pad worn on the inside of the forearm of the bow hand to protect the arm from the slap of the bow string.
Arrow Plate: An inlay just above the handle on the side of the bow where the arrow passes as it leaves the bow.
Ascharm’ A cabinet in which Bows, arrows, and archery tackle are stored.
Back: The surface of the bow farthest from the archer when the bow is held in the shooting position.
Backing: Various materials including: fibre glass, cellulose products, raw hide, etc. glued to the back of the bow to improve its cast.
Backed Boiv: A bow to which a backing has been glued.
Barb: A projection on a hunting head which prevents its easy withdrawal.
Barreled Arrow: An arrow whose shaft is tapered from the middle toward each end and having its greatest cross-sectional area in the middle of the shaft.
Boss or Bast: The twisted and coiled straw back of a target to which the face is attached.
Bow Stave: A billet of wood from which a bow is to be manufactured.
Bowyer: A maker of bows.
Brace: To string the bow.
Belly: The belly of the bow is the side that you see when you hold the bow in shooting position.
Bend: The act of bracing or placing the string in the bow nocks.
Bobtailed Arrow: An arrow that has its greatest cross section at the pyle and tapers toward the nock.
Bodkin: A three bladed broadhead arrow.
Broadhead: A flat triangular shaped hunting head made of steel.
Butt: A backstop to which faces are attached, such as bales of straw.
Carriage Bow: A bow that has its two limbs joined under the handle in a ferrule. It can be disjointed to permit easy transportation. (Takedown).
Cast: The inherent ability of a bow to propel an arrow.
Chested Arrow: An arrow that has its greatest cross-section toward the nock and tapers from this point toward both the nock and pyle.
Chrysal: A compression failure i.e., a fracture of the fibres usually appearing as a line across the belly of the bow.
Clout Target: The standard four foot target enlarged twelve times and laid out in a horizontal position on the ground.
Cock Feather: The feather on the arrow which is at right angles to the nock. Usually the odd colored feather.
Crest: Colored bands of varying width and spacing, painted on the arrow for identification purposes.
Crossbow: A short bow set crosswise on a stock, drawn by mechanical means, and discharging a dart by trigger release.
Cross Wind: A wind blowing across the target.
Curl: A swirl in the grain of a bow stave.
Down Wind: A wind blowing toward the target.
Draw: The act of pulling the bow string the full length of the arrow.
Drawing Fingers: The first three fingers of the hand used in pulling the string.
Drawing Weight: The force in pounds required to bring a bow to full draw.
Drift: The sidewise movement of the arrow as it travels toward the target due to a cross wind.
End: A unit number of arrows used in scoring. In target com¬petition six arrows constitute an end.
Eye-’ The loop or loops in a bow string.
Field Captain: The official in charge of a tournament.
Finger Tips: Leather finger stalls used to protect the tips of the three shooting fingers.
Fistmele: The distance from the base of the clenched hand to the tip of the extended thumb. Used as a measure of the proper distance from the handle to the string when a flat
bow is braced or strung.
Fletch: Placing the feathers on an arrow.
Fletcher: A manufacturer of arrows. Arrow maker.
Fletching: The feathers which guide the arrow in flight.
Flight Arrow: A long, light arrow with very small fletching or vanes. Used in distance shooting.
Flirt: A jerky or jumping movement of an arrow from its theoretical flight line.
Follow the String: A bow that has taken a permanent set in the drawing direction.
Floo Floo: An arrow used in wing shooting. It is generally fletched with a complete spiral. The size of the fletching is such that the flight distance is short.
Footing: A hardwood splice at the pyle end of a wooden shafted arrow.
Gold: The bulls-eye in the regulation four foot circular target. A circle nine and three-fifths inches in diameter.
Grip: The part of the bow held in the shooting hand.
Hen Feathers: The two feathers, generally of the same color,which are not at a right angle to the arrow nock.
High Braced: When the fistmele distance exceeds seven inches.It is better to high brace a bow than to low brace one.
Hold: The pause at full draw position prior to release of the arrow.
Home: When the arrow is fully drawn with the pyle even with the back of the bow it is said to be “home”.
Horns: Tips of the bow made from animal horn in which the bow string nock is cut.
Jointed Bows: Same as a carriage bow.
Kick: A jar which is felt when a bow is shot. Generally due to unevenly tillered bow limbs.
Lady Paramount: A lady assistant to the field captain. In charge of the women’s shooting line or division in a tournament.
Laminated Bow: A bow that is built up in layers. It may consist of different kinds of wood, wood and metal, wood and
fibre glass, etc.
Limb: Half of the bow. From the handle or grip to the tip.Upper and lower limbs.
Loose: The act of shooting. Letting the drawn bow string slip
from the shooting fingers.
National Archery Association. (NAA): National Association of Target Archers.
National Field Archery Association. (NFAA): National Asso¬ciation of Field Archers.
Nocks: The grooves at the tips of the limbs of a bow into which the bow string is fitted, also the slot at the feathered end of an arrow.
Nocking Point: The point on the bow string where the arrow nock rests.
Overbowed: A bow with a drawing weight in excess of that which the archer can shoot properly.
Overdraw: To draw the bow beyond the arrow length for which the bow is designed.
Overstrung: When the fistmele is exceeded by the use of too short a bow string.
Pair: Two arrows and a spare, also three feathers.
Pennant: A small flag with the fly longer than the hoist. Placed at the line of targets on a staff to indicate the direction and velocity of the wind at the targets.
Petticoat: The border outside of the last or white ring of the target.It has no scoring value.
Pyle: The metal tip attached to the head of the arrow shaft,the point of the arrow. Anglo-Saxon (pil) meaning dart,also spelled pile.
Pin: A very small knot in bow woods, especially yew or osage.
Pinch: To crush the fibres of the bow by compression. See Chrysal.
Pinch: To squeeze the arrow between the drawing fingers.
Pin Hole: The center of the gold of the target, i.e., dead center.
Point Blank: The act of aiming directly at the target.
Point of Aim: An object at which an archer aims by sighting over the tip of the arrow.
Quiver: A container for arrows. Shape, size and materials vary.They may be carried at the waist, over the shoulder, on the bow, or on the bow arm.
Quiver, Ground: In the simplest form, a metal rod approximately 18 inches long, pointed at one end and a loop formed at right angles to the stem at the other end. Inserted in the ground, arrows may be dropped through the loop and withdrawn one at a time.
Range: The terrain used in archery competitions. Also called a Field Course.
Recurved Bow: A bow that is bent back from a straight line at the ends of the limbs.
Reflexed Bow: Unstrung and held in a shooting position, the limbs of the bow curve away from the archer.
Release: Same as Loose.
Round: A fixed number of shots at a given distance or set of distances.
Rover: An archer who engages in field shooting. See Roving.
Roving: Shooting over fields and woodlands at natural targets.
Run: When a single one of the strands which make up a bow string frays, stretches, or breaks, the string is said to have a run.
Sap Wood: The wood immediately underneath the bark.
Self: Used in reference to a bow or an arrow made from a single piece of wood, i.e., self bow, self arrow.
Serving: The winding or wrapping around the bow string at the nocking points to protect the bow string from wear.
Shaft: The body or main section of the arrow. The term “feathered shaft” is frequently used in print to designate an arrow.
Shaftment: That section of the shaft to which the feathers are attached.
Shake: A longitudinal crack in a bow stave.
Shooting Glove: A three fingered glove used to protect the shooting fingers.
Shooting Tab: A flat piece of leather designed to be worn on the shooting fingers for protection.
Spiral: The curved position in which the feathers are attached to the arrow shaft.
Spine: The quality of resiliency in an arrow which permits it to bend as it passes the bow in flight and then recover its original shape.
Stacked Bow-’ A bow with an oval cross section. One in which the thickness of the limbs is little greater than the width.
Steele: Same as shaft.
Tab: See shooting tab.
Tackle: The equipment of an archer: bow, arrows, quiver, tabs,strings, etc.
Takedown: See Carriage Bow.
Tiller: Shaping the bow to proper curvature. To tiller a bow.
Toxophilite: One fond of, or devoted to, archery. Derived from the Greek toxen meaning bow and philos meaning loving.
Turn: A term used to describe a bow that has a twist to right
or left of the string. Underboived: A bow having too little drawing weight for the
Unit: Fourteen targets of a field roving course.
Upshot: The last shot in an archery contest.
Vane: The web or flat expanded part of a feather. The flat extended plastic surfaces attached to a shaft to serve as fletching.
Wand: A wooden stick two inches wide, standing upright in the ground. Six feet in height. Used as a mark at which to shoot.
Weight: The weight in grains of an arrow. See also Drawing Weight.
Whip Ended: A bow which has limbs that are too weak at the tips.
Whipping: See Serving.
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