Muzzle Loader Terms Glossary

May 24, 2013 in Glossary

  • Aperture Sight – peep rear sight with a small hole through which the eye automatically centers the front sight
  • Back Action Lock – type of percussion side-lock in which the mainspring is to the rear of the hammer
  • Ball – spherical lead projectile used in the majority of muzzleloaders
  • Ball and Swan Drops – combination load consisting of a ball over which were a number of large shots used in swan hunting, approximately .27 caliber
  • Ballistics – the science of a projectile’s actions after the propellant’s explosion
  • Ball Screw – attachment for the threaded end of a ramrod to remove lead ball
  • Band Spring – spring which depressed to remove a barrel band
  • Barrel – metal tube from which the projectile emerges
  • Barrel Band – metal band that holds the barrel to the for-end
  • Barrel Key – flat key that holds the barrel and for-end together
  • Barrel Pin – round metal pin which holds barrel to for-end
  • Bench Rifle – target rifle, often heavy, designed to shoot from a bench
  • Black Powder – standard propellant of a muzzleloader made of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur
  • Blunderbus – firearm with a flared muzzle
  • Bore – hole in metal tube through which the projectile passes
  • Bore Gauge – to determine the exact diameter of the bore
  • Box Lock – mechanism with the hammer inside the lock
  • Breech – rear end of the barrel
  • Breech Plug – threaded plug which provides a tight gas seal at the rear of the barrel
  • Bridle Plate – provides support on locks
  • Browning – oxidation process for finishing metal parts
  • Buck & Ball – load with one ball behind three buckshot
  • Buckshot – lead shot from .24 to .36
  • Bullet Mold – metal tool used to cast lead balls
  • Bullet Patch – cloth patch surrounding a ball to help make a better gas seal
  • Butt Plate – metal plate on rear of buttstock
  • Buttstock – the widening part of the wooden stock that goes against your shoulder
  • Caliber – diameter of the bore
  • Cap Box – hinged metal door in the stock
  • Case Hardening – metal heating process which hardens the metal and gives a nice finish
  • Cast-Off – variation to the right in a stock from alignment with the barrel
  • Checkering – decorative roughening of the wrist of the stock
  • Cheek Piece – raised portion behind the comb of the stock
  • Cock – action of drawing back the hammer, also early term for the hammer
  • Comb – raised top of stock just back of the wrist
  • Corrosion – deterioration of a bore or other metal surface
  • Creep – erratic rough pull of the trigger when sear and tumbler are not smooth
  • Curley Maple – favorite wood for American long rifle stocks, with figure in the grain
  • Detent – or fly is on the tumbler and cams over the sear when firing, to miss half cock
  • Dog Lock – manually operated catch that engaged the rear of the hammer
  • Double Neck Hammer – a reinforced hammer stronger than the standard goose neck
  • Double Rifle – or side by side as a double barrel shotgun
  • Drop – distance from the line of sight to the top of the comb and the top of the heel of the stock
  • Erosion – enlargement of a bore, touch hole or nipple vent from intense heat
  • Esctcheon – small metal inlay
  • False Muzzle – accessory, which is placed upon the muzzle of fine target, rifles during loading to prevent damage to the rifling
  • Fence – projection on the rear of the pan to divert the flash from the shooter
  • Final – decorative end of the patch-box or other metal part
  • Flash – ignition of the priming powder and the main charge failed to explode
  • Flintlock – lock of a flint striking steel, sending hot metal flash into pan
  • Fore-end – ore forearm, portion of wooden stock under the barrel
  • Fowler – early shot gun
  • Freshening – rejuvenation of the worn bore by deepening each groove then smoothing the top of the lands
  • Frizzen – steel part which the flint scrapes to fire a flintlock
  • Frizzen Spring – outside spring which controls the frizzen position
  • Fulminating Powders – fulminating of mercury is used in percussion caps
  • Furniture – minor metal trim on a muzzle loader
  • Gauge – any measuring device, also size of a shotgun bore
  • Globe Sight – fine front sight like an erect small head pin, shaded by a short metal cylinder
  • Goose Neck Hammer – single necked hammer of the flint and percussion eras
  • Grooves – spiral cuts of rifling which causes a bullet to rotate
  • Gunflint – hand shaped piece of flint stone with a chiseled edge
  • Gunpowder – propellant explosive used in arms
  • Hair Trigger – forward or firing trigger of a set trigger, with an adjustment to release the sear with a hair touch
  • Hammer – the piece that holds the flint
  • Hammer Spur – thumb piece on upper rear of hammer
  • Hang Fire – a dangerous condition when a apparent misfire goes off after a brief delay
  • Heel – corner of butt-stock at the top of the butt plate
  • Ignition – method by which the charge is fired
  • Incised – surface area is cut to a given depth
  • Inlays – decorative shaped pieces that are let into the surface of the stock
  • Inletting – precise wood working which permits barrel, lock, and other parts to fit into the wood stock
  • Iron Pyrites – mineral which was used on wheel-locks to make sparks for ignition
  • Jaeger Rifle – early German arm
  • Jag – serrated, ridged, or button end tip for end of cleaning rods
  • Knapper – skilled workman who chips out gun-flints using hand tools exclusively
  • Lands – raised spiral ridges between grooves of the rifling
  • Lock Plate – flat metal plate on which the firing mechanism is mounted
  • Lock Screw – long screw running laterally through the stock to hold the lock in place
  • Lock Screw Plate – or side plate opposite the lock plate which supports the lock screw
  • Main Spring – heavy spring which actuates the hammer
  • Main Spring Vice – clamp to compress the main spring
  • Matchlock – earliest firearm using a smoldering, nitrated, hemp cord which was lowered into the pan
  • Miquelet – forerunner of the true flintlock, and had an external main spring
  • Misfire – failure of a loaded gun to fire
  • Mule Ear Lock – percussion system with a flat side hammer
  • Muzzle – front end of a barrel
  • Nipple – tuny tube of a percussion arm where the cap is set upon
  • Nipple Wrench – tool for removing percussion nipples
  • Nose Cap – metal cap on the front of the stock
  • Octagonal Barrel – conventional 8 sided barrel
  • Open Sight – standard V shaped rear and blade front sight
  • Pain – receptacle which holds priming powder
  • Patch Box – lidden recess in butt stock of rifles
  • Patent Breech – one in which the breach plug and nipple are cast into one block
  • Patina – the mellow finish that comes with age
  • Percussion – cap and ball, last type of muzzleloader
  • Percussion Cap – small copper or brass cup shaped primer, containing a tiny amount of detonating powder
  • Pick – fine steel wire to clean out touch hole
  • Pipes – short tubes on the under side to hold the ramrod
  • Priming – finer powder in the pan
  • Pull – measurement from the trigger to the center of the butt plate
  • Ramrod – generally hickory which pushes the ball into the barrel
  • Rifle – shoulder firearm with grooves cut into the bore
  • Rifling – spiral grooves in the rifle’s bore
  • Sear – lock part that engages the tumbler
  • Sear Spring – small spring that actuates the sear
  • Set Trigger – mechanism in which a rear trigger is cocked so that a slight touch on the front trigger fires the arm
  • Side Plates – plates on either side of the patch box
  • Smooth-Bore – a bore without rifling
  • Starter – short wooden rod for placing the ball part way down the bore
  • Stirrup – pivoting piece connecting main spring to tumbler on some locks
  • Stock – main wood portion of the arm
  • Straight Cut Rifling – early bore grooved without any spiral
  • Striking the Barrel of Draw Filing – lengthwise finish on octagonal barrel with a file
  • Tennon – slip on metal dovetailed into the bottom of the barrel to have a pin or wedge pass through
  • Thimble – pipe or short tube for holding ramrod
  • Toe – corner of butt stock at the bottom of the plate
  • Toe Plate – metal strip on bottom of stock to the butt plate
  • Tompion – plug inserted in muzzle for storage to dirt out
  • Top Jaw – upper half of clamp that holds flint
  • Top Jaw Screw – heavy screw which clamps flint
  • Touch Hole – vent through which ignition travels to main load inside barrel
  • Trigger – small lever by which the firearm fires
  • Trigger Guard – metal bow which guards against accidental tripping
  • Trigger Plate – metal trap that trigger passes through to keep trigger aligned
  • Tumbler – center piece of the lock, contains half cock and full cock notches, the main spring rest on one side and the sear on the other with the hammer attached to the other side of the lock plate
  • Twist – pitch or angle of the spiral of the rifling grooves
  • Under Rib – metal rib on underside of a half stock and supports the ramrod thimbles
  • Under Hammer – percussion lock with hammer underneath
  • Upper Tang – extension of the breech plug
  • V-Spring – flat V-shaped spring
  • Vent – small aperture through which flame goes to ignite the main charge
  • Wrist – small of stock, grasped by the firing hand

Home  •  News  •  Society Information  •  Hours & Directions  •  Educational Programs
History  •  Society Collections  •  Newsletters  •  Events  •  Links  •  Contact

402 Henry Road, Nazareth, PA. 18064  •