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MyOAN! Hunting & Shooting Jargon

We want to provide you information on every buzzword, lingo, terms and the jargon you've ever wanted to know about hunting/shooting. If we are missing a definition or two email them to us so we can add them. The directions are simple - just click on the letter your suspect the term begins with and scroll from there.



Action - the moving parts that allow you to load, fire and unload your shotgun.(See Breech, Chamber, Trigger)

Aperture Sight-See Sights

Autoloader- See Semiautomic

Automatic - Any firearm which continues to fire, to the extent of the capacity of its magazine, so long as the trigger is depressed. Sometimes erroneously applied to semiautomatic firearms.

Automatic Safety- See Safety

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Backing - An expression of a dog's pointing instinct, when a dog comes to point at sight of another dog's point, to "back" him, or "honor" his point.

Balance - In theory, the balance is that point between butt and muzzle where a gun balances when rested on a fulcruim. A gun balances properly when the point of balance is midway between the points where the hands naturally hold the gun in shooting. However, this is not the common understanding of the term. In most cases, balance is understood to mean the feel it gives the shooter in handling the gun, that is, whether correctly balanced or either muzzle-light or muzzle-heavy.

Ball - Common term for the round projectile fired by many muzzleloading arms.

Ballistics - The theory of the motion of projectiles. The shooter loosely considers "ballistics" to mean data relative to the velocity, energy, trajectory, and penetration of a cartridge, and sometimes to related factors such as chamber pressure and a powder's burning characteristics.

Barrel - The steel tube down which the bullet or ball travels on its path to the target. Either rifled (in "rifles) or smooth (in muskets).

Barrel Selector - determines which barrel of a double barrel gun will fire first.

Barrens - Flat wasteland with low, stunted vegetation. Also, a broad, flat marsh.

Battery - The 18th century term for what we call the frizzen. Also sometimes refers to the cock (or hammer) and frizzen together as a unit.

Bay - Second point of antlers, after the brow and before the tray, sometimes spelt "bey".

Bead - See Sights.

Beat (n)- An area to be beaten or driven to flush out game.

Beat (v) - To beat bushes etc., to drive out game.

Beater (n) - One who beats, in order to send the game over the shooters at a covert shoot or grouse drive.

Bed - Where big game, or even hares or rabbits, have been sleeping or resting. Another term for a rabbit or hare bed is "form."

Belted Cartridge - A cartridge, primarily of the heavy-caliber, high-velocity type, which is rimless but has a belt around the base.

Belton - A type of color formed in English setters when two colors blend so closley as to lose individual identity. Blue Belton is a combination of black and white; orange belton a combination of orange and white.

Bench Rest - A wooden shooting bench, heavily constructed and firmly placed, with suitable "rest" for the muzzle or barrel, at which the shooter may sit to engage in accuracy tests of the firearm.

Bevy - is a group of game birds such as a brood or sometimes a flock.

Big-Bore - A rather loose adjective, normally applied in North America to rifles of calibers larger than .25, but applied in some countries only to much larger calibers. Also, large-bore.

Blacking/Blueing - the blue coloration applied to protect gun barrels.

Black Powder- The black powder ;) we use to shoot these guns. It is the only safe propellant you may use in a blackpowder arm because it develops lower pressures than the modern smokeless powders. Most commonly available in four grades:
#F - the coarsest granulation. Often used for cannons.
#FF - the next coarsest - often used in black powder cartridge shooting or in large caliber rifles or muskets.
#FFF - a finer granulation used in many rifles and, historically, for priming. It is now thought that #FFF was the powder used for both loading and priming flintlocks in the 17th and 18th centuries, and can still be used so today.
#FFFF - the very finest granulation, like sugar.
Now used only for priming flintlocks. This granulation should not be used for the main powder charge because it develops very high velocities and inconsistent accuracy. Remember - the finer the granulation, the higher the velocity. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for loading your rifle!!

Blind - A natural or man-made hiding place from which a hunter shoots ducks, turkeys, or other game. The British term is "hide."

Block - Colloquial word for a duck decoy.

Blowback - Automatic or Semiautomatic action in which extraction, ejection, and reloading are accomplished by means of the force exerted rearward by the gas of the fired cartridge.

Blowdown - A thick tangle of fallen trees and brush, usually the result of severe winds.

Blown Primer - A cartridge case in which the primer was blown out during firing. Can cause serious injury, even blindness, to the shooter; one good

argument for use of shooting glasses.

Bluebird Weather - Sunny, Windless conditions which are the bane of the wildfowler's existence, as waterfowl normally do not move in such weather or else fly very high.

Boat-Tail Bullett - A bullet with a tapered rear end designed to obtain greater efficiency at longer ranges.

Bore - in simple terms the interior diameter of a gun barrel, which will vary according to the gun's design and intended use. The size of the bore is indicated by the term gauge. Also someone who goes on interminabley about shooting to the exclusion of all other subjects.

Box-Lock - a type of gun action, often recognizable by its squared appearance.

Brace - Standard term for two quail, partidge, pheasant grouse, hares or dogs.

Breech - The threaded steel plug at the rear end of the barrel, which holds the explosion of firing and thereby forces the bullet forward. Also a term for the rear end of the barrel.

Breeding - The ancestry of a dog.

Brocket - A male red deer in his third year.

Broken - Term for a finished, completely trained bird dog.

Broken Gun - in a hinge type gun, where the barrels are dropped open and clear of the action, exposing the chambers to view.

Brood - All young together born or hatched by one female. See Bevy and Covey.

Brow - The first, or brow, point of antlers.

Browse - Branches of trees, small saplings, or low brush, which serve as food for members of the deer family and other ruminants.

Brush-cutter - A bullet, usually of large caliber and considerable weight, having enough velocity and weight to continue its original course without being deflected by light brush.

Brush Gun - A rifle or shotgun with a barrel shorter than average, designed for ease of movement through heavy brush.

Buck - American term for the male of various species, including antelope, goat, deer, and rabbit; in Britain, of non-native deer imported to Britain, and of the rabbit. Also, an accessory used in teaching retrieving, sometimes called a retrieving dummy.

Buckshot - Large lead or alloy shot used in shotgun shells, principally for big game such as deer.

Buffalo Bullet- the name brand of only one of many new types of projectiles that are commercially available now. It is similar in some ways to the minie ball, and there are may brands available. All of them attempt to provide the high velocity of a tightly patched ball with the ease of loading of a minie ball, with sometimes varying success. They are often conical but not always, and usually are grooved and lubricated. Their accuracy can be phenomenal or mediocre depending on your own rifle. They depend on the lead edges of the bullet to fill the rifling grooves and therefore it matters a lot what diameter the bullet is, as well as the exact diameter of your rifle's bore. But never fear, most everything is highly standardized these days, and a .58 rifle will very probably shoot a .58 projectile very well. They vary a great deal, and it would be wise to experiment to find the one your gun likes best.

Buffer - A biological term used to designate small forms of animal life upon which predators will feed, thus reducing the mortality of game. When enough 'buffers' are present, predators eat fewer game animals.

Bugle - The sound a bull elk (wapiti) makes during the rutting (breeding) season to advertise his presence to the females and to issue challenges to the other bulls. The British term is "roaring" for stags of European red deer. In some regions, "bugling" is also used to describe the cries of hounds.

Bullet - The projectile fired by the rifle or musket. Also called a ball.

Bump - Slang for accidental flushing of game birds by a pointing dog.

Burn - An area which has been burned over by a forest fire; also, a stream in Scotland.

Burst - Generally, the first part of the run when hounds are close upon the fox; any fast part of a chase.

Butt (1) - The rearmost end of a shoulder arm, on which is affixed the buttplate, which is placed against the shoulder.

Butt (2) - Camouflaged embrasure in which a shooter waits for the birds at a grouse drive. Also the backing behind a target that stops the bullets.

Butt Plate - The metal, plastic, or hard-rubber plate covering the rear of a gunstock, usually checkered or corrugated to prevent slipping. See Recoil Pad or Stock.

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Calf - Young, either sex, of the red deer until a year old.

Caliber - The diameter of the bore of a rifled arm in hundredths of an inch or in millimeters, usually measured from land to land (raided portion between grooves), which gives the true diameter of the bore prior to the cutting of grooves.

Caller - A hunter who does the calling when hunting ducks, geese, or turkeys, or other game.

Cap - Also called the percussion cap, this is a small copper cap placed on the nipple of a percussion arm. The percussion technology was a great improvement over the flintlock, as it was far more dependable and weather-proof. It did create a problem though...if you were out of caps, you were out of luck!

Cape - The hide or pelage covering the head, neck, and foreshoulders, of a game animal, often removed for mounting as a troply. The British term is headskin.

Carbine - A short-barreled rifle, normally much lighter in weight than a standard rifle.

Carrier - The mechanism in a magazine or repeating firearm (other than a revolver) which carries the shell or cartridge from the magazine into a position to be pushed into the chamber by the closing of the breechbolt.

Carry the Line - When hounds are following the scent, they are "carrying the line."

Cast - The spreading out, or reaching out, of a pointing dog in search of game or of hounds in search of a scent. Also, in archery, the speed with which the bow will throw a arrow. Also, in falconry, a group or flight of hawks.

Centerfire - A cartridge of which the primer is contained in a pocket in the center of the cartridge base.

Chalk - White excreta of a woodcock, indicating the presence of birds in a covert.

Chamber - the part of the action, at the breech end of the barrel, into which the shot shell is placed in position for firing.

Charge - Load of powder and/or shot in a shotshell, or the load of powder in a muzzle-loading gun. Also, an old command, still occasionally used, to a hunting dog to lie down; it derives from the time when gun dogs were required to lie down while the guns were charged.

Cheeper - Game bird too young to be shot.

Chilled Shot - Shot containing a greater percentage of antimony than soft lead. All shot except buckshot and steel shot is dropped from a tower. Buckshot of the large sizes is cast, as are single balls.

Choke - the degree of narrowing or constriction of the bore at the muzzel end of the barrel, intended to increase the effective range of the gun. (see Full, Modified, and Improved Cylinder).

Choke Constriction - The amount of constriction at the muzzle of various gauges, which produces choke.

Clip - Detachable magazine of a rifle or a pistol. A metal container designed to contain a given number of cartridges for a repeating rifle.

Cock (n) - Male bird.

Cock (v)- The 18th century term for what we today call the hammer, especially on a flintlock. Also refers to pulling the hammer back in the ready position, preparing to fire the arm.

Comb - The upper and forward edge of a gunstock that fits against your cheek.

Coon - A colloquialism for raccoon.

Cope - Muzzle for a ferret.

Couple - Two woodcock, snipe, waterfowl, shorebirds, or rabbits. Also used to describe two hounds.

Course - In fox hunting to run by sight and not by nose. Also, the territory to be covered in a field trial for bird dogs and spaniels.

Cover - Trees, undergrowth, grass, or reeds in which game may lie. A place to be hunted.

Covert - In fox hunting a place where fox may be found. Also, woodland. Also, the name for a place where any game may be found. Same as cover.

Covert-shoot - Pheasant shooting in which the shooters wait in line outside woodland from which the birds are driven by beaters.

Coverts - The wing feathers which cover the base of the flight feathers.

Covey - A group of game birds such as quail; a bevy. Also, a British term for a family group of grouse or partridge, generally four to sixteen birds.

Crimp - That portion of a cartridge case or shotshell, which is turned inward to grip the bullet or to hold the end wad in place, respectively.

Cripple - A game bird that has been shot down but not killed. This term is normally employed in duck shooting. (In upland shooting, the term "winged" is more often used.)

Cross Hairs - The cross-hair reticule or aiming device in a telescopic sight on a rifle. Wire or nylon is now used instead of hair.

Cry - The voice of a hound. The cry varies during the chase. By its tone, the other hounds can tell how strong the scent is and how sure the line is.

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Dancing Ground - An area where such birds as prairie chicken, sharptail grouse, sage grouse, and black grouse perform their courtship dances in the spring.

Doe - Female of fallow, roe or imported deer, and of the hare or rabbit.

Dogging - The shooting of grouse or partidges over pointers or setters.

Double - Any shotgun with two barrels, whether the side-by-side type or the over-and-under. Also, when a fox, raccoon, or other game animal turn back on his course to elude hounds.

Drag - Scent left by a fox as he returnes to his den; or an artificial trail made by dragging a scented bag for hounds to follow.

Dram - Unit of weight, which is the equivalent of 27.5 grains. There are 256 drams in one pound avoirdupois (454 g).

Dram Equivalent - In the early days of black-powder shotshells, the powder charge was measured in drams. Dram for dram, today's smokeless powder is more powerful. The term "3 dram equivalent" means that the amount of smokeless powder used produces the same shot velocity as would 3 drams of black powder.

Drift - Deviation of any projectile, bullet, or arrow from the plane of its departure, caused by wind. Also, the deviation of the projectile from the plane of departure due to rotaton. In all sporting firearms, the drift from the plane of departure due to rotation is so slight as to be of no consequence.

Drive (n) - A self-contained operation during a day's shooting in which the shooters remain stationary while game is driven from a particular direction.

Drive (v) - To move game toward the shooters.

Driven Game - Birds which are moved toward the shooters by beaters.

Driving - Method of hunting in which the hunters are divided into two groups. One group moves to an area to take up stands or watches covering a wide terrain; the other group moves toward the first, making sufficient noise to drive the game toward the group on watches. The individuals on watch are termed "standers" and those driving the game "drivers," or in Britian, "beaters."

Drop - Distance below the line of sight of a rifle or shotgun from an extension of this line to the comb and to the heel of the stock. See Drop at Comb and Drop at Heel.

Drop at Comb - Vertical distance between the prolonged line of sight and the point of the comb. The drop and thickness of the comb are the most important dimensions in the stock of a shotgun or rifle, They are affected by the drop at heel. If the demensions are correct, the eye is guided into and held steadily in the line of aim. For hunting purposes, the best standard drop at comb on both rifles and shotguns is 1 1/4 to l 5/8 inches (3.8-4.1 cm). Drop differs for target shooting. Ideal stock dimensions for field or target shooting are attained only by custom fitting.

Drop at Heel - The vertical distance between the prolonged line of sight and the heel of the butt. The amount of drop varies, depending upon the ideas and build of the shooter. Most shotgun hunters require a drop of about 2 1/4 inches (6.4 cm).

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Eclipse Plumage - The plumage of a male bird before the time when he takes on his full breeding plumage.

Ejector - the mechanism on shotguns by which spent shot cases are automatically ejected from the gun when it is opened after firing. In a double-barreled shotgun, ejector often means extractor; "selective ejection" means automatic ejection of the fired shell only and is otherwise called automatic ejection.

Ejector Hammers - In a double-barreled shotgun, the driving pistons which eject the fired shells.

Elevation - The angle which the rear sight must be raised or lowered to compensate for the trajectory of the bullet and ensure the desired point of impact at different ranges.

Exotic - Any game bird or animal which has been imported.

Extractor - The hooked device which draws the cartridge out of the chamber when the breech mechanism is opened.

Earth - The hole of some burrowing animal, such as a woodchuck, appropriated by a fox. Also, the den.

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Fault - A check or interruption in a run by hounds caused by loss of scent.

Fawn - Offspring of the year of any deer other than red deer.

Field Dressing - The minimum dressing-out of a game animal in the field, merely enough to ensure preservation of the meat and the trophy, means usually the removing of the entrails and visceral organs.

Firing Pin - The pointed nose of the hammer of a firearm or the separate pin or plunger which, actuated by the hammer or the mainspring, dents the primer, thus firing the cartridge.

Flag - The tail of a whitetail deer. Also, the long hair on a setter's tail.

Flask - The metal powder flask was known and used before the horn, actually, and was the common means for carrying powder on the person in Europe and among the gentry on both sides of the ocean. Cased pistols often included a powder flask. While the flask wasn't as widely used by the foot soldier and pioneer rifleman who preferred horns or preloaded paper cartridges, the flask did have the great advantage of being a carrying container and powder measure in one, speeding up and simplifying loading. Today flasks are commonly used with blackpowder arms and are very handy for loading percussion revolvers where the speed and convenience really shine.

Flat Trajectory - A term used to describe the low trajectory of high-velocity bullets which travel for a long distance over a flatter arc than other bullets. Scientifically an incorrect term, for no trajectory is truly flat. See also Trajectory.

Flighting - Ambushing duck or pigeon at their roosts or feeding grounds.

Fling - A period of aimless running before a enthusiastic bird dog settles to hunting.

Flint - the carefully chipped gun flint that is clamped in the cock of the flintlock arm. The size varies with the size of the lock, and there are both machine-made and hand-knapped flints available on the market.

Flintlock - The firing mechanism most commonly seen in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a complex but dependable mechanism whereby flint is scraped onto steel to create fire. Other mechanisms used this principle as well, but differ from the true flintlock in various ways. It was developed in the 16th century and was used until...well it's still being used, isn't it?

Flush (n) - The act of a questing dog putting game birds into the air, or an animal on foot.

Flushing Wild - Rise of game birds which have not been obviously disturbed, or birds that have been flushed out of shotgun range.

Flyway - Migration route of birds between breeding and wintering grounds. Also, the route waterfowl use between feeding and roosting areas.

Forearm - The wooden extension of the stock which is under the barrel and held by the shooter's left hand (or right hand, if he or she is a southpaw.)

Fore-end - Portion of the wooden gunstock forward of the receiver and under the barrel.

Fowler - Or fowling piece. This is the term for a shoulder arm intended for use in game shooting. It would have been lighter and more delicate than a rifle or musket, but with often very long barrels of 50" or more. Fowlers, often exquisitely graceful and beautifully decorated, were carried by persons of means who could afford a purpose-built arm for bird shooting.

Fresh Line - Opposite of "cold line" - a fresh, or "hot" scent of game pursued by hounds.

Full Choke - the tightest constriction or narrowing of the bore, producing the greatest effective range.

Fur - All Four-legged quarry.

Fusil - A term for a light musket often carried by trappers, explorers, and military officers in the 18th century. The fusil is similar in many ways to a fowler.

Frizzen - Also called the battery or the steel (in 18th century terminology) this is the high carbon steel plate that the flint of a flintlock scrapes against, making a shower of hot sparks to ignite the priming powder. It hinges forward for priming, or back for firing. Forward, it exposes the priming pan and touchhole.

Frizzen Spring- The spring which provides snap and resistance to the travel of the frizzen in priming or firing. It is nowadays always found on the exterior or the lock at the front, ahead of the frizzen. On older locks, especially very highly finished and decorated ones, the frizzen spring was sometimes internal, and not seen from the outside. This allowed for more engraving and ornamentation on the lock plate.

Front Site- The sight on the very end of the barrel, near the muzzle. Usually a thin blade of light metal like silver, it is visually lined up with the rear sight and thus aligns the barrel on the target.

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Gaggle - A flock of geese. An old British term.

Game - In British law, pheasants, all partidges, all grouse, woodcock and snipe; by custom, also deer and hares.

Gang - A flock of brant. Also, an old British term for a group of European elk (moose.)

Gas-operated - Said of a semiautomatic firearm which utilizes the gases generated by the powder combustion, before the bullet emerges from the muzzle, to operate a piston which extracts, ejects, and reloads the arm to the extent of the number of rounds in the magazine.

Gauge - the term used to describe the interior diameter of the bore. The smaller the gauge number, the larger the bore size. Modern shotguns are available in 10, 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge. An exception is the .410 bore shotgun, which is actually a 67 gauge.

Ghillie - Attendant, usually in charge of the pony, who accopanies a stalking party in Scotland, Also, an attendant on a fisherman.

Glass (v) - To scan terrain with binoculars or telescope to locate game.

Grain - Abbreviated gr. Weight measurement. One ounce equals 437.5 gr. There are 7,000 gr in 1 lb (454 grams). In reference to gunstocks, grain indicates the direction of the fibers on the surface of the stock.

Gralloch (v) - To field dress big-game animals immediately after shooting by removing the viscera and entrails. See Field Dressing.

Gram - Abbreviated g. Weight measurement. The equivalent of 15.43 grains.

Graze - Grasses, weeds, and similar low growths upon which deer and other ruminants feed.

Grip - That part of the stock of a rifle or shotgun which is grasped by the trigger hand when firing the gun. The two most comon types of grips are the "pistol grip" and the "straight grip" found on some double-barreled shotguns.

Group - A series of shots fired at a target with a constant sight setting and point of aim. The diameter of the group is measured from the centers of the outer holes.

Group Diameter - The distance between centers of the two shots most widely separated in a group.

Gun - Any smooth-bore weapon projecting a charge of pellets; see also Rifle. Also, a participant in a British shooting party, as distinct from a helper or spectator.

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Hair Trigger - A trigger requiring extremely light pressure for the release of the hammer.

Hammer - That part of a firearm, actuated by the mainspring and controlled by the trigger, which strikes either the caratridge rim or primer, or strikes and drives forward the firing pin so that it indents the primer or rim of the cartridge, to discharge the cartridge.

Hammerless - Of firearms having the hammer concealed within the breech mechanism.

Handgun - A firearm that is normally fired with one hand. A pistol or revolver.

Handloads - Cartridges loaded by hand for precision shooting, as opposed to commercial or "factory loads."

Hang-fire - Delayed ignition of the powder in a cartridge after the hammer has fallen and the primer has been struck.

Hard-mouthed - Of a dog that chews or crushes birds when retrieving.

Hart - The male deer. Usually used to refer to male red deer in Britain. A Stag.

Hawken - see Plains Rifle

Head (n) - The antlers of a deer, of any species and of either sex.

Head (v) - For a shooter to take post in advance of others to intercept birds flushing out of range of the rest.

Headspace - The space between the head of the bolt or breechblock and the base of the cartridge. Excessive headspace is exceedingly dangerous and can result in the bursting of the receiver.

Headstamp - The letters or number, or both, on the base of a cartridge.

Heel (n) - Upper part of the butt of a shotgun or rifle. Also, a command to a dog to walk quietly beside or at the heel of the person giving the order.

Hide - Camouflaged embrasure in which a shooter waits for duck or pigeon. See Blind. Also, the skin of an animal.

High-base Shell - A shotgun shell furnished with high inside base wad, approximately 3/4 inch (19 mm) thick before forming.

High-brass Shell - High-velocity shotgun shell on which the brass base extends a considerable distance up the plastic tube.

High Intensity - A term associated with a rifle or cartridge having a velocity of more than 2,500 foot-seconds (762 m/seconds.)

High Power - A term associated with a rifle or cartridge having a velocity of more than 2,000 foot-seconds (609 m/seconds.)

Hind - The female of the red deer.

Hinge - a type of action in which a hinge mechanism separates the barrel from the standing breech block, providing access to the chamber.

Hochstand (Ger.) - The seat at tree-top height from which deer are shot in woodland.

Horn - or powder horn. The most common way that powder (or rum, or salt,) was carried on the body. Beautifully scrimshawed (scrimshanded?) horns of the 18th century are a testament to the horn's place as an object of pride, and are still being made today. The powder horn was not commonly carried by foot soldiers as they carried preloaded cartridges made of paper. The horn was carried well into the twentieth century by residents of mountain regions like the Appalachians, and is hard to beat as a naturally occurring item that lends itself beautifully to the purpose. It is waterproof, attractive, readily obtainable, can be fashioned either crudely or beautifully, and is a natural funnel. See Flask.

Hull - Empty cartridge or shell.

Hummle - A mature red deer stag which has grown no antlers.

Hunting - In British usage, the pursuit by a pack of hounds of ground quarry (fox, deer, hare) with followers mounted or on foot; gun sport is "shooting" in British idiom.

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Imperial Bull - A bull elk (wapiti) that has seven points on each antler; a relatively rare and highly desirable trophy. Also, imperial stag in the case of European red deer.

Improved-Cylinder - least constricted or narrowed choke causing shot pattern to widen relatively quickly.

Inline - a term for the modern, highly accurate and efficient muzzleloading arms that have an enclosed, weather-proof percussion mechanism. They look basically like a bolt-action rifle, and are nearly as dependable. The accuracy is so good with these that most are fitted with scopes. Many purists dislike them intensely simply on aesthetic grounds, but you can't argue with success. Hunting regulations vary from state-to-state as regards these rifles, so don't automatically assume that an inline rifle is legal to use in your state for muzzleloading season.
Iron Sight - See Sights.

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Jack - The male of the hare.

Jacklighting - The illegal practice of shooting game at night with the help of artificial light, which is reflected by the eyes of the game. Synonymous with firelighting.

Jump-shooting - A method of duck hunting in which the hunter stealthily approaches ducks by boat, or by stalking toward water, until within range and then flushes them out.

Juvenile - A bird which, though having attained full growth, has not attained full adult characteristics or plumage. See also Cheeper.

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Kentucky Rifle- also called Pennsylvania rifle, is the subject of much myth and legend in American culture and history.

Kentucky Windage - A term used by American riflemen to describe the process of "holding off" to the left or right of a target to allow for the effect of the wind on the bullet, but making no adjustment in the sight setting.

Knobber - Male red deer in his second year.

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Lead (n) - Term used to designate the distance it is necessary to hold ahead of any bird or animal to compensate for its speed of movement and the time required for the bullet or hot charge to reach it. The British term is forward allowance.

Lead (v) - To cause a dog to follow under restraint, by means of a cord or leather thong attached to the dog's collar.

Leash - A group of three quail, partridge, pheasant, grouse, or hares. Also, a cord to lead a dog, a dog lead.

Length of Stock - The distance in a straight line from the center of the trigger to a point midway between the heel and the toe of the buttplate, on the surface of the plate. Required stock length depends upon the build of the shooter, men of short stature or short arms requiring short stocks. The standard length for hunting arms is 14 inches (35.6 cm) for shotguns and 13 1/2 inches (34.3 cm) for rifles. Also called length of pull.

Line - The track or trail of an animal indicated by the scent the hounds are following. Also, the shooters deployed at a formal shoot, called "the line".

Line of Sight - The straight line between the eye of the shooter and the target. See Trajectory.

Line-running - Of a dog that casts in straight lines rather than hunts in places where birds are usually found.

Line Shooting - A form of scoter (sea duck) shooting along the North American Atlantic coast, in which several boats line up across a known scoter flyway to shoot at the birds as they fly past.

Live Weight - The computed or estimated weight of a game animal before it is dressed out.

Loader - Attendant who holds and re-loads the second weapon when a shooter uses two guns at a covert shoot where many birds are expected.

Lock - The mechanism which fires the rifle. The combination of hammer, firing pin, sear, mainspring, and trigger which serves to discharge the cartridge when the trigger is pulled. It can be flintlock, percussion, inline (another form of percussion) or even the old methods like miquelet, snaphaunce or matchlock.

Lockplate - The large flat plate seen from the outside of the rifle. The hammer and frizzen (or nipple, in a percussion rifle) all sit atop the lockplate. It is often engraved or case-hardened for ornamentation.

Lock Time - The time elapsed between the release of the hammer by the sear and the impact of the firing pin on the primer. Also called lock speed.

Lubrication of Bullets - Most lead bullets have to be lubricated with grease or wax on their surface or in their grooves to prevent leading the bore. Outside-lubricated cartridges have the lubricant placed on the surface of the bullet outside the case. Inside-lubricated bullets have the lubricant in grooves or cannelures on the bullet where it is covered by the neck of the case.

Lug - In a break-down, breech-loading shotgun or rifle, a lug on the barrel secures the barrel to the frame. Lugs on the front of a bolt or breechblock which rotate into slots to lock the action for firing are termed locking lugs.

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Magazine - The tube or box which holds cartridges or shells in reverse for mechanical insertion into the chamber of a repeating firearm.

Magazine Plug - Plug or dowel placed inside or against the magazine spring of a slide-action or semiautomatic shotgun to limit the capacity of the magazine in order to comply with the law. (In the United States, waterfowlers may have no more than three shells in their guns; some individual states limit magazine capacity for other game.

Mainspring - The main spring ;) of the lock. This is where the force necessary for firing the lock comes from, and this is what is compressed when the hammer (or cock) is pulled back.

Mark - A call used to warn another shooter of the flushing or approach of a game bird. The term is often accompanied by a direction: "mark right" or "mark left."

Mark Down - To use some terrain feature to mark the location of a fallen game bird in order to facilitate retrieving.

Market Gunner - One who hunted for the purpose of selling the game he killed, a practice now illegal in North America. A market hunter.

Mask - The head or pate of a fox, raccoon, wolf, or coyote.

Match Rifle - A rifle designed for competitive shooting, a target rifle.

Minnieball - Named after its inventor, this is a pointed (conical) projectile most commonly associated with Civil War - era rifles. It has grooves around its flat, hollow base which can be filled with a lubricating grease. This projectile allowed much faster loading in combat as it didn't need to be patched. The explosion of the powder charge "upset" the hollow base and expanded it to fit into the rifling. Also, the pointed shape was efficient and accurate at longer ranges than a round ball. See Buffalo Bullet.

Minute of Angle - This is the unit of adjustment on all telescopic, and most aperture, sights, being indicated by a series of fine lines.

Modified Choke - Moderate constriction or narrowing of the bore.

Moor - High, treeless land such as that inhabited by grouse.

Mounts - Metal bases used to secure a telescopic sight to the barrel or receiver of a firearm.

Musket - Commonly refers to a shoulder arm, designed to fire a single projectile, in which the barrel's bore is smooth, not rifled, similar to a shotgun barrel. This was the most common form of military arm in the 17th and 18th centuries, although the rifle was well-known and widely used as well. The musket was a weapon of rather short range, usually 100 yards or less, and was often fitted with a bayonet for charges and hand-to-hand combat. It helped shape the form of land warfare in the 18th century, and straight-line ranks of troops advancing slowly together was the result. (You couldn't hit them if you weren't pretty close to them!) Much of the incredible carnage of the Civil War can be attributed to the use of these older, musket-based tactics in an age of rifles, which had effective ranges out to 300 yards or more.

Muzzel - the very end of a firearm, or basically the hole that the bullet comes out of, on its way to the target. In a muzzleloader, it is where loading takes place, thus the name.

Muzzle Brake - A device on the muzzle of a shotgun or rifle which, by means of vents and baffles, deflects gases to the rear to reduce recoil.

Muzzle Energy - The energy of a bullet or projectile on emerging from the muzzle of the firearm that discharges it. Usually designated in foot-pounds or kilogram-meters.

Muzzle Velocity - The speed of a bullet or projectile at the moment of emerging from the muzzle. Usually expressed in feet or meters per second.

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Nipple - The small hollow tube onto which is placed a percussion cap. The hammer then falls on this cap, exploding a small chemical charge. The fire travels down the nipple, turns a corner, and finds access to the main charge.

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O'Clock - A means of indicating a location on the target or over a range or field, corresponding to similar locations on the face of a clock, 12 o'clock being at the top of the target, or at the target end of the rifle range. Thus, a shot striking the target immediately to the left of the bull's-eye is a hit at 9 o'clock, and a wind blowing from the right at a right angle to the line of fire is a 3 o'clock wind.

Octagon - a very common shape for barrels on many muzzleloading arms. The eight-sided profile is a common one, and came into being for many different reasons. One is that in an age before readily available lathes for turning metal, a round tube was quite a feat of craftsmanship, and a smooth round profile was more challenging to file, whereas flat surfaces of an octagon were easier to accomplish. This is just one theory, and could be argued against. For whatever reason, the octagon barrel is a beautiful thing that is here to stay. Many modern custom high-powered rifles are fitted with octagon barrels for beauty's sake.

Offhand - Shooting in a standing position, without the use of a rest or sling.

Over-and-Under - a two-barreled shotgun with one barrel placed over the other. (The American version of the standard British game shooting weapon.)

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Palmated - Of the shape of the antlers of moose, caribou, and fallow deer that is similar to the shape of the palm of a hand with fingers outspread.

Pan - Also called the priming pan. It is a shallow depression next to the touchhole which gets a small dribble of fine powder poured onto it. The frizzen is then closed over it. When fired, hot sparks will fall into the pan, ignite the priming powderd this fire will go through the touchhole and fire the rifle. Usually.

Pass-shooting - A form of shooting in which the hunter places himself in position under a known flyway or travel route of ducks, geese, pigeons, or doves. The birds are shot as they pass, without the enticement of decoys.

Patch Box- called just "the box" in the 18th century. This is the brass, hinged box found on the stocks of different types of rifles. No, it is not found only on Kentucky rifles, and no, the American gunmaker didn't invent it. It is of German origin and is of two types. The hinged brass box is found on German rifles that predate the American Longrifle, and is most commonly seen today. The sliding wooden box has a dovetailed lid that slides off the box cavity and gets frequently lost through time. Old rifles often have missing or replaced wooden box lids.

Patching - The material - usually cloth - which is placed around a rifle ball to allow a tight fit between the ball and the rifling grooves. It forms a gasket, as it were, which uses the full power of the powder charge without allowing gas to escape past the ball and be wasted. In use long before the days of the American Longrifle, it allowed higher velocity and greater accuracy, although it was slower to load. Muskets often were loaded without patching, which allowed greater speed but much shorter range and lower velocity.

Pattern - The distribution of a charge of shot fired from a shotgun.

Pattern Control - Control of the shot pattern by means of choke.

Peep Sight - See Sights.

Peg - The numbered stick indicating the position of a shooter at a covert shoot or partridge drive.

Pelage - The fur, hair, or wool covering of a mammal.

Pellet - Round shot, of any size, a given number of which make up the shot charge.

Percussion - A firing mechanism commonly seen on 19th century arms. It allowed a more dependable, more weather-proof firing system. See Cap.

Picker-up - One who, helped by dogs, finds and gathers what is shot.

Piece - The mid-day meal carried by a shooter.

Piston - In an automatic or semiautomatic arm, a metal plunger which, when forced down a cylinder by powder gases, operates a mechanism to extract and eject the fired cartridge, and to reload and cock the arm.

Pitch - This can be observed by resting a gun upright beside a wall with the butt or butt plate flat on the floor. If the barrel is exactly parallel with the wall, the gun is said to have no pitch. If the breech touches the wall and the barrel inclines away from it, the distance between the muzzle and the wall is the "negative pitch."If the barrel inclines toward the wall, so that there is a distance between the breech and the wall, this distance is what is called, simply, the "pitch." A pitch of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) is desirable on a repeating rifle because it causes the butt to remain in place at the shoulder when the rifle is fired rapidly.

Plains Rifle- The shorter, later version of the Longrifle that went west over the Rockies. As time wore on, riflemen saw less and less need for a very long barrel, or the slim, delicate fullstock underneath it. Pioneers going west seemed to prefer a shorter rifle that could be loaded and fired on horseback, and several gunshops catered to the trade. Trappers moving west often stopped in St. Louis to order a rifle from the Hawken brothers, Sam and Jake (who were, by the way, the sons of the York County, Pennsylvania gunsmith Nicholas Hachen), although there were other rifle makers who made similar arms for these travelers. Nowadays, the Hawken-style rifle is extremely popular and available in many more or less historically accurate recreations not only because it is suggestive of the highly colorful era of the fur trapper, but also because it lends itself well to commercial manufacture unlike the earlier Longrifles.

Point - The motionless pose assumed by a dog which indicates the proximity of game birds.

Points - The horn features of an antlered head which determine its ranking as a trophy (e.g. "a twelve-pointer" is brow, bay, tray, and three on top of each antler).

Point of Aim - The bottom edge of the bull's eye for a target shooter using iron sights; the center of the bull's -eye for one using a telescopic sight.

Pointing Out - A method of shotgun shooting in which the shooter selects a point ahead of the moving target at which to shoot so that the shot charge and target will meet. Opposite shooting style to "swinging past."

Post Sight - See Sights.

Pot-hunter - One who hunts primarily for meat rather than sport.

Powder - The finely divided chemical mixture that supplies the power used in shotgun and metallic ammunition, technically propellant powder. When the powder is ignited by the flash of the priming composition it burns with a rapidly increasing gas which develops a pressure of 6,ooo to 55,ooo lb per square inch (420 to 3900 kg per square cm) in the chamber and bore of the gun. This gas furnishes the propelling force of the bullet or charge of shot. Originally, all propellant powder was black powder formed in grains of varying size, with the size of the grain determining the rate of burning and sutability for various cartridges. Modern powders are smokeless and their base is nitroglycerine or nitrocelluilose or a combination of both, the product then being called double-base powder. The rate of burning is controlled by the composition, by the size and shape of the grains, and whether or not coated with some retarding substance called a deterrent. Those so coated are called progressive-burning.

Primaries - The outer and longest flight feathers of a bird; quill feathers.

Prime Pan - See Pan.

Primer - The small cup, or cap, seated in the center of the base of a centerfire cartridge and containing the igniting composition. When the primer is indented by the firing pin, the priming composition is crushed and detonates, thus igniting the charge of powder. Rimfire cartridges contain the priming composition within the folded rim of the case, where it is crushed in the same manner. The British term is cap.

Pull - The distance between the face of the trigger and the center of the butt of the gunstock. Also, the amount of pressure, in pounds, which must be applied to the trigger to cause the sear to disengage and permit the hammer to fall. Also, the command given to release a skeet or trap target.

Pump - a type of action that loads and ejects shells by "pumping" the forearm of the stock back and forth.

Pump Gun - Common name for the slide-action rifle or shotgun. See Slide Action.

Pyrodex - One of several black powder substitutes recently developed, along with others like Golden Powder and Elephant Powder. They are all variations on a theme, attempting to overcome the mess of clean-up involved with shooting black powder. Some substitutes are better than others at various jobs, and it is part of the fun when you experiment to find what works best for you. Always follow the gun manufacturer's instructions regarding black powder or substitutes, and if you decide to use a substitute, follow its manufacturer's instructions to the letter when loading. You absolutely cannot always use the same powder charge in one as the other, nor can you always use the same measuring device without resetting it for the particular substitute. Pyrodex, for instance, is loaded volume for volume instead of black. But the same volume of Pyrodex will weigh less than an equal volume black. If you used the same weight of Pyrodex as you did of black, you would be using a heavier charge of powder! See what I mean? Be extremely careful. The substitutes are safe and useful when used according to their manufacturer's specifications, but you have to be extra mindful of what you are using.

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Quartering - A hunting-dog term for the act of ranging back and forth across the course.

Quartering Bird - A bird which approaches the shooter at an angle, either right or left.

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Ramrod - Or Rammer, in the 18th century. This is the long wooden shaft which allows the ball to be pushed down the barrel and onto the powder charge. Always make sure that you push the ball down onto the powder, until it stops!! To stop part of the way down, or "short starting", is a potentially deadly mistake and can burst a barrel when the gun is fired.

Ram Sight- the sight placed farthest back on the barrel, near the shooter's eye. Usually it is some form of notch, but it can also be a small aperture or hole through which the shooter looks at the front sight, and then the target.

Rat-tailed - Lacking long hairs on the tail, as in the case of such dogs as the Irish water spaniel.

Receiver - The frame of a rifle or shotgun includng the breech, locking, and loading mechanism of the arm.

Receiver Sight - See Sights.

Recoil -The force with which the gun moves backwards into the shoulder when fired. The "kick" of the firearm when discharged.

Recoil-operated - Of a firearm which utilizes the recoil, or rearward force exerted by the combustion of the powder, to operate the action and extract, eject, and reload to the extent of the number of rounds in the magazine.

Recoil Pad - A soft rubber pad on the butt of a firearm to soften its recoil.

Reduced Load - A cartridge loaded with a lighter than standard powder charge, for use at a short range.

Reticule (or Reticle) - The crossed wires, picket, post, or other divisional system installed in a telescopic sight to permit its use as a gunsight, or in a pair of binoculars to permit the use of a scale for estimating distances.

Retrieving - Dog's act of finding and bringing an object, generally dead or wounded game bird, to the handler.

Revolver - Any handgun embodying a cylindrical magazine, as opposed to a single-shot or semiautomatic handgun, either of which is usually called a "pistol."

Rib - The raised bar or vane, usually slightly concave on its upper surface and usually matted, which forms the sighting plane extending from breech to muzzle of a gun. It is used on all double-barreled shotguns.

Rifle - refers to a shoulder arm with a barrel having twisting, spiral grooves in the bore projecting a single rotating bullet. Also, as the Rifle, the member of a stalking party who will fire the shot (cf. the Gun).

Rifled Slug - A bullet-shaped projectile with hollow base and rifled sides used in a shotgun for hunting big game. Will not harm shotgun barrels and will not "ream out" any type of choke.

Rifling - Parallel grooves cut into the bore of a rifle or postol, spiraling from the breech to the muzzle, causing the bullet to spin in its flight.

Rig - A setting of decoys in front of a boat or blind; also used to describe the entire hunting outfit.

Rimfire - A cartridge in which the priming compound is contained in a rim at the base.f

Ring Hunt - A form of driving in which a large number of shooters and beaters form a ring and gradually close in, to drive the game toward its center. An ancient method, still used in Europe, primarily for hunting hares and foxes.

Rough-shooting - The pursuit and taking of game and other quarry by Guns who have no human assistants but are generally aided by spaniels. See also Dogging.

Royal - Fourth point, after the tray and before the fifth, of antlers.

Royal Bull - A bull elk (wapiti) that has six points on each antler. A very desirable trophy. Also, royal stag of the European red deer.

Run - In some regions, a game trail or path created by animals over a period of time.

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Safety - The device which locks a firearm against the possiblity of discharge; sometimes called a safety catch. In common practice, the term applies primarily to the button, pin, or toggle which, when set in the "safe" position, prevents the discharge of the arm by pulling the trigger. A safety which automatically resets itself in the "safe" position when the gun is opened during the reloading process is called an automatic safety. Such a safety is most common on double-barreled shotguns.

Scapulars - The feathers on each side of the back of a bird's shoulders.

Scope - Telescope or telescopic sight on a gun.

Sear - The mechanism which holds the lock at a half or full cock position. The sear is what is actually tripped by the trigger in firing.

Sear Spring - The small spring that acts against the sear, causing the small "click" as the hammer is pulled back.

Secondaries - The wing feathers inside the primaries.

Semi-Automatic - a type of action in which gas from the burning gunpowder in the shell automatically ejects the spent shell and loads another. Semi-automatics are noted for minimal recoil.

Set - A "rig" or setting of decoys.

Set Triggers- A mechanism whereby two triggers (or sometimes one) are used to create a very delicate "hair trigger" for precise shooting. Usually, the rear trigger is pulled back thereby compressing a spring which "loads" the front trigger. Then, a very light touch on the front trigger will fire the rifle. They are nowadays always adjustable and usually always "double action". In double action triggers, the forward trigger can still be used to fire the rifle without pulling the rear one first. You would not have a hair trigger in this case unless you wanted one. In single action triggers, the rear trigger would have to pulled every time the rifle was fired. Not often seen today, but they are available from some parts suppliers.

Sewelling - Cords carrying colored streamers which, when activated, cause birds to flush far enough back to ensure that they are flying high when over the Guns.

Shell - Empty case of any cartridge. Also, an American term for a loaded shotgun cartridge.

Shock Collar - A collar with an electronic device which can be set off by remote control to give a dog an electric shock to punish it when it does not obey or does something wrong. The shock collar is a dangerous instrument in the hands of a novice trainer because it can ruin a dog when used incorrectly.

Shot - round projectiles, usually of lead or steel. Depending on shot size and load, a shell can contain from 45 to 1,170 shot.

Shot Pattern - the concentration of shot measured in a circle at a given range, usually 30 to 40 yards.

Shotshell or Shell - the ammunitin fired by shotguns, consisting of five components: the case, primer, powder charge, wad, and shot.

Side-by-Side - a shotgun with two barrels sitting side by side. In Great Britain, the standard game shooting weapon.

Sight Radius - The distance between the front and rear sights. The longer the distance the greater the accuracy of the firearm.

Sights - The aiming device on a firearm. On most rifles and handguns, the factory-installed sights consist of two elements called "front sight" and "rear sight," which together frequently are called "iron sights" because they are made up of principally metal. The front sight, located on the barrel near the muzzle, is usually post-shaped or bead-shaped and hence sometimes called post or bead. The rear sight is usually located partway down the barrel, near the breech or on the receiver. If it consists of a V- or U-shaped notch in a flat piece of metal, it is called an "open" sight. An open sight with a deep U-shaped notch with protruding wings is called a "buckhorn sight." The rear sight can also consist of an aperture in a disk. It is then called an aperture, or peep, sight. When the aperture sight is attached to the receiver it is called a "receiver sight" and when it is attached to the tang it is called a "tang sight." When the aperture adjustments have micrometer settings, such a sight is cometimes called a "micrometer sight." A hunting shotgun usually has only one sight consisting of a bead near the muzzle, but most trap and skeet guns have a second bead halfway down the barrel. There are also telescopic sights for rifles and handguns.

Sign - Any indication of the presence of game. Sign may include tracks, droppings, marks on trees, or any other indication that the area has recently been visited by a game animal.

Silvertip - Colloquial name for the grizzly bear.

Singing Ground - An open area used by the male woodcock for its courtship display.

Six o'Clock, or Six-o'Clock Hold - A term for the aiming point indicating that a rifle or handgun has been sighted-in to place the bullet not at the point of aim on a bull's-eye but well above it, so that the shooter aims at the center of the bottom edge. If the bull's-eye is a clock face, the point of aim is at 6 o'clock, but the impact point is at the exact center, midway between 6 and 12 o'clock. Target shooters prefer to aim in this way, when using iron sights, as it permits them to "rest" the bull's-eye on the top of the front sight and center the bull's-eye in the rear-sight aperture. See O'Clock.

Slide Action - A repeating firearm action in which the breech is closed and opened and the action operated by means of a sliding fore-end that acts as a handle for sliding the breech into the opened or closed position. Also Pump Gun.

Small-bore - Specifically, of a .22-caliber rifle chambered for a rimfire cartridge. Sometimes applied to rifles chambered for centerfire cartridges up to .25 caliber and shotguns under 20 guage.

Smoked Sights - Sights after they have been blackened by soot from a candle or blackening lamp, thus eliminating any shine or glare. Commercial spray blackeners are also available.

Smoothbore - A firearm without rifling.

Sneakbox - A term for the Barnegat Bay duck-boat.

Spike-collar - A dog-training accessory-- a slip collar with small spikes on the inside, used to force obedience to commands.

Spook (v) - To frighten game. A term used by a hunter to indicate that a bird or animal flushed or jumped from cover at his approach, or when it winded or heard him.

Spooky - Of any animal or bird that is extremely wary or constantly alert.

Spoor - Tracks or footprints of animals. Sometimes used to mean all game sign.

Spotting Scope - A telescope with sufficient magnification to permit a shooter to see bullet holes in a target at long range, and to permit hunters to see game and evaluate trophy animals at long range. The average sporting scope is 24 power.

Spread - The overall area of a shotgun pattern. Also, the inside distance between right and left antlers or horns at their widest separation or at the tips.

Spy - An interlude of halting, waiting, and watching in which a deer shooter observes his quarry and its movements before deciding the tactics of his approach.

Stag - The mature male of the red deer.

Stalker - A method of hunting in which the hunter locates game and then stealthily follows a predetermined route to arrive within shooting range of the quarry.

Stanch - Firm and decisive; describing a dog's style while pointing. The dog that establishes a point and holds it, without caution or admonition, until his handler flushes his birds, may be regarded as stanch. Also, spelled "staunch".

Stand - The position at which the shooters are placed for each drive at a covert shoot (hence "first stand," "second stand," etc.).

Start - The moment when a hound first finds scent or a trail.

Steady - Of a dog's behavior after birds are flushed. The dog is "steady to wing and shot" when he retains his position after the birds are flushed and the shot is fired.

Still-hunt - A method of hunting in which a hunter moves very slowly and silently through cover in search of game, pausing frequently to scan the terrain. The word "still," in this context, means silent rather than motionless.

Stock (n)- the "handle" of the shotgun, the part held to the shoulder, comprising the butt, comb, grip and forearm.

Stock (v) - In game management or preserve operation, to stock is to release game into a suitable habitat.

Stop - An assistant tactically placed to prevent pheasants approaching the shooters too closely, or evading them, at a covert shoot.

Swamped Barrel- term describing the tapered and flared profile commonly seen on barrels up until the 19th century. The breech end of the barrel would be heavy and strong for safety; then the barrel would gradually taper down to an area about eight or ten inches behind the muzzle, at which point it would flare back out to a diameter slightly less than the breech. Frequently, the barrel would be an inch wide at the breech, taper down to around 3/4" at the narrowest part, and back out to around 7/8" at the muzzle. While it sounds strange, these barrels are incredibly graceful and beautiful, giving a feeling of balance to the arm that must be felt to be appreciated. A lot of unnecessary weight is gotten rid of, as well, and the lines of the architecture of the entire rifle flow so much more beautifully than in a straight-barreled arm. Today, swamped barrels are only found on custom made rifles and are available only from custom barrel makers.

Swinging Past - A method of shotgun shooting in which the target is overtaken and passed by the sight, and the swing with the target is continued as the trigger is pressed. See Pointing Out.

Switch - A mature male deer whose antlers have no points.

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Take-down - Of a firearm in which the barrel and adjacent parts can be readily separated from the receiver or action, thus permitting the arm to be packed in a short container.

Tang Sight - See Sights.

Team - An old British term for a flock or group of ducks.

Telescopic Sight - A telescope with reticule, permitting an aim of greater accuracy and clearness than that of an ordinary sight.

Tertials - The wing feathers inside the secondaries that are closest to the body.

Throwing Off - Of a rifle that is performing erratically or failing to give reasonable accuracy. This often results from improper bedding of the barrel.

Timberline - The upper limit of forest growth at high altitude.

Toe - The lower part of the butt of a shotgun or rifle.

Tolling Dog - A dog once widely used in Europe, and used now only in Nova Scotia, to entice wildfowl to enter a trap or to lure them within range of the gun. The action of the dog in running back and forth on the shore stimulates the birds' curiosity. In Nova Scotia, these dogs are bred to resemble a red fox and are registered by the Canadian Kennel Club as the Nova Scotia tolling retriever.

Tourchhole - The small hole in the barrel, right through to the bore, whereby the fire of the lock is allowed entrance to the main charge. It is plainly visible in a flintlock, but is covered by the nipple assembly in a percussion arm.

Trade (v) - Of game, to move back and forth over a given area: "The ducks were trading along the far shore."

Trailer - A dog which continually or frequently follows his bracemate.

Trailing - Act of following game. See Tracking.

Trajectory - The course described by a projectile in flight. It forms an arc due to the effect of gravity. Usually, measured in terms of height above the line of sight at midrange.

Tray - The third point of antlers of a deer, after the brow and bay (or bez). The word is sometimes spelt "trez."

Trigger - finger-pulled lever-single, double and release-that drives the firing point forward and fires the gun.

Trigger Guard - A guard surrounding the trigger or triggers of a firearm.

Trigger Pull - The pressure required to bring about the release of the sear notch on the hammer, permitting the hammer to fall.

Tularemia - A virulent disease, known also as "rabbit fever." Rabbits are its major victims, and great care should be exercised when skinning rabbits. The disease can be communicated to humans if a cut or scratch on the hands or arms makes contact with an infected animal. The disease can be fatal. No harmful effects result from eating of an infected bird or animal, as thorough cooking destroys the virus.

Tumbler - The part of the lock that the hammer is screwed onto. Inside the lock, it is also the place where the mainspring "hooks on", transferring the force of the mainspring to the hammer.

Turkey Shoot - Originally, turkey shoots utilized a turkey as a target as well as a prize. The bird was placed behind a shield with only its head protruding. In early turkey shoots, contestants were permitted one shot in the standing position at 10 rods (55 yards/50 m); later, the ranges varied. At modern turkey shoots, a regulation target is used or clay targets are thrown from a trap, and the turkey going to the shooter with the best score.

Turning to Whistle - A hunting-dog term for breaking the cast and turning the dog in response to the handler's whistle.

Twist - The angle or inclination of the rifling grooves off the axis of the bore. Twist is designated by measuring the number of turns or fractions of turns to the inch of barrel length. A "14-inch twist" means that the grooves make one complete turn inside the bore every 14 inches (35.6 cm).

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Upland Game - A general term for all small game, including birds and mammals.

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Various - In Britain, fair but unexpected quarry for which no category is provided in normal game records (e.g. jay, gray squirrel).

Varmint - A colloquial American Term (stemming from "vermin") for a generally undesirable animal. Woodchucks and foxes are widely considered varmints. In some regions, the term is also used for predators such as bobcats. However, many predatory and non-predatory animals that were formerly classed as varmints are now protected or managed as game animals.

Varmint Cartridge - Cartridge designed to give exceptionally good accuracy, high retained velocity, and consequently flatter trajectory. Varmint cartridges are so called becase they were originally developed for long-range shooting at woodchucks and prairie dogs.

Varminter - A rifle employed primarily for long-range varmint shooting. Many such rifles have long, heavy barrels for maximum velocity and accuracy.

Velocity - The speed of a bullet or shot chargek usually designated in feet per second or meters per second.

Velvet - Soft vascular tissue which covers the antlers of deer until they have attained their full growth and form, at which time membranous tissue dies and is removed when the animal rubs its antlers against brush and trees.

Ventilated Rib - A raised sighting plan affixed to a shotgun barrel by posts, allowing the passage of air to disperse the heat from the barrel which would otherwise distort the shooter's view of the target. Very useful on trap and skeet guns.

Vernier Sight - A rear sight, the aperture of which is raised or lowered by means of a threaded post with a knurled knob. A vernier scale on the frame indicates the elevation in hundredths of an inch.

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Walk-up - A shooting method, chiefly for partridges and grouse, in which the shooters and their companions advance in line through a crop, stubble or heather, taking birds as they flush.

Wild Flush - The rise of game birds for no apparent reason, usually far from the gun.

Wing - All feathered quarry. See Fur

Winged - A term indicating that a game bird has been hit but not killed. Used primarily by upland shooters. See Cripple.

WORM an 18th century term for the small steel jag that screwed onto the rammer. This was used to hold flax or cloth patching for cleaning. Can also refer to the screw used to pull a ball accidentally loaded without powder in the gun first.

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Yard - An area, usually within a forest, in which a large number of deer, moose, elk, or similar mammals herd together, tramping down the snow and feeding on the browse supplied by the low branches. Used especially by whitetail deer when snow becomes deep enough to impede normal travel through browse areas.

Yaw - To vary from a straight course. A bullet which does not travel exactly "nose on" but wobbles slightly sideways is said to "yaw".

Yeld - A female deer without offspring; if a red hind, and barren, generally the leader of the herd.

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Zero - The adjustment of the sights on a rifle to cause the bullet to strike a calculated impact point at a given range. A rifle with the sights zeroed for 100 yards will, under normal conditions, place the bullet in the center of the target at that range.

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