Rifle Terminology 101

At Archer Custom Rifles, we believe in responsible gun ownership. We believe that as Americans, we have an undeniable right to bear arms, but we also believe that with that right comes a responsibility to be knowledgeable about the firearms in our possession, the power those firearms have and above all else, gun safety. 

Most visitors to this website probably already have a solid knowledge of rifles and general gunsmithing procedures. BUT…what about those people who WANT to know more but may be too intimidated to ask? There is absolutely no shame is asking questions!!!! 

This blog is just a simple overview of rifle components and gunsmithing terminology. We’re focusing on bolt action rifles in this blog because that’s our main focus at Archer Custom Rifles. But stay tuned….Seminars about Handguns and Reloading are coming up.

On a personal note…
This is a touchy time for gun owners, hunters, benchrest competitors and the like.

Now more than ever, we must be good stewards; we must not be aggressive, nor quick-tempered. We must not be overly wise. The best way to educate is to be a good example.

•••••••• Gun Safety Refresher ••••••••

  1. Always be aware of anyone walking near or around you when you are carrying a rifle or shotgun. As a gun owner, you know that people should always be at least horizontal to your shoulder (preferably behind) but the people with you may not know that. As a responsible gun owner, it is your obligation to educate them. 
  2. Always be conscious of what is behind your intended target. And by behind, I mean ANYWHERE behind it and at least 30 yds on each side. I don’t care if you are shooting at a tractor tire size target in the middle of a 1,000 acre pasture, it is your responsibility to know that if something goes wrong there is nothing that is going to be hit accidentally. There is no room for accidents. 
  3. Always keep your trigger finger away from your trigger or trigger guard until you are ready to fire. (Same goes for the safety remaining on.) 
  4. Always flip your bolt up before you climb up or down from a tree stand or in and out of a hunting blind. 

Rifle Components (Bolt Action Rifle)

Action: the functional mechanism of a breech-loading firearm that handles (loads, locks, fires, extracts and ejects) the ammunition cartridges, or the method by which that mechanism works
Barrel: metal tube through which the projectile travels
Bolt Handle: handle used to open a bolt action
Bolt: movable metal block that seals a cartridge into the chamber on some actions
Butt: the part of the stock that you hold against your shoulder when shooting
Chamber: base of the barrel used to hold the cartridge or shotshell ready for shooting
Forestock: front portion of the stock extending under the barrel in front of the receiver
Magazine: container on a repeating firearm that holds ammunition before it’s loaded into the chamber
Muzzle: the end of the barrel through which the projectile (bullet or shot) exits
Recoil Pad: padding on the end of the butt
Safety: mechanical device that blocks the trigger or hammer to help prevent accidental firing
Stock: the “clothes” that “dress” the guts of your rifle; wood, fiberglass, plastic, or other material shaped to support the rifle’s barrel and action
Trigger Guard: piece that surrounds the trigger to protect it from being squeezed or bumped accidentally
Trigger: small lever that is squeezed to start the firing process

Terms We Use A LOT at ACR

Ballistics: the flight path of a bullet (travel down the barrel, path through the air, and path through a target)
Bore: the interior of the barrel of a gun or firearm
Carbon Fiber Barrels: lighter weight, a little higher priced, very popular nowadays
Chambering: fitting a weapon’s chamber for a particular caliber

Crowning: shaping of the point on a muzzle where the end of the bore intersects with the face of the end of the barrel (hunting rifle crowning is much different than crowning a bench rest rifle)
Dry-Firing: firing your rifle with no ammunition in it; great way to practice, zero damage to bolt action rifle (Exceptions apply.)
Flinch: anticipation of recoil
Grain: the weight of the bullet; super important for accuracy
Grouping: pattern of bullet holes fired on a paper target at a known distance
Gun Smith: Larry J. Archer

Reloading (Handloading): the process of making firearm cartridges by assembling the individual components (case, primer, propellant, and projectile), rather than purchasing mass-assembled, factory-loaded ammunition (This requires specialized equipment, but is a life-long skill that we all need to know….be on the look-out for Reloading Seminars hosted by Archer Custom Rifles.)
Tuning: In simple terms having a rifle that is in tune means that the rifle will shoot multiple bullets in the same spot (It is very complex process and I will be blogging about it later.) BUT….having a properly tuned rifle is of key importance.
Zeroing: Sighting in a rifle; even if you haven’t moved your rifle from the end of last season until the next, you still need to check your rifle and have it zeroed.

Because Every Shot Counts,
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