|length of pull|
jacket: A metal, usually copper, wrapped around a lead core to form a bullet.
iron sights are a system of aligned markers used to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in a scope. Iron sights are typically composed of two component sights, formed by metal blades: a rear sight mounted perpendicular to the line of sight and consisting of some form of notch (open sight) or aperture (closed sight); and a front sight that is a post, bead, or ring.
high brass: A shotgun shell for more powerful loads with the brass extended up further along the sides of the shell, while light loads use "low brass" shells. The brass does not provide significantly more strength, but the difference in appearance helps shooters quickly differentiate between high and low powered ammunition.
headspace: The distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Used as a verb, headspace refers to the interference created between this part of the chamber and the feature of the cartridge that achieves the correct positioning.
hang fire: An unexpected delay between the triggering of a firearm and the ignition of the propellant. This failure was common in firearm actions that relied on open primer pans, due to the poor or inconsistent quality of the powder. Modern weapons are susceptible, particularly if the ammunition has been stored in an environment outside of the design specifications.
hammer: The function of the hammer is to strike the firing pin in a firearm, which in turn detonates the impact-sensitive cartridge primer. The hammer of a firearm was given its name for both resemblance and functional similarity to the common tool.
half-cock: The position of the hammer where the hammer is partially but not completely cocked. Many firearms, particularly older firearms, had a notch cut into the hammer allowing half-cock, as this position would neither allow the gun to fire nor permit the hammer-mounted firing pin to rest on a live percussion cap or cartridge. The purpose of the half-cock position has variously been used both for loading a firearm, and as a safety-mechanism.
gunpowder, also called black powder, is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. It burns rapidly, producing a volume of hot gas made up of carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, and a solid residue of potassium sulfide. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. The term gunpowder also refers broadly to any propellant powder. Modern firearms do not use the traditional gunpowder (black powder) described here, but instead use smokeless powder.
grain is a unit of measurement of mass that is based upon the mass of a single seed of a typical cereal. Used in firearms to denote the amount of powder in a cartridge or the weight of a bullet. Traditionally it was based on the weight of a grain of wheat or barley, but since 1958, the grain (gr) measure has been redefined using the International System of Units as precisely 64.79891 mg. There are 7,000 grains per avoirdupois pound in the Imperial and U.S. customary units.