For those who role-play around firearms and are interested in putting more detail into their role-play: I've created a small guide for you to read. I'm not very experienced with firearms myself (I've never touched one in my life), but I like to do the necessary research before role-play a subject and thought I'd share the knowledge with you guys.
The main goal of this guide is for you to learn the basics of firearms, ammunition, terminology, cleaning, and maintenance. I hope this guide will help you in your future role-play. Enjoy.
Table of contents
- Determining a firearm's condition
- Cleaning and maintenance
A handgun is a firearm designed to be handheld in either one or both hands. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns (which usually can be braced against the shoulder). Handguns are small, lightweight (well, most of them), and provide good firepower. They are suitable—not only for defensive situations—but for offensive ones as well. Of course, for each situation, careful choice of the proper handgun and ammunition must be made. Handguns are divided into a few classes: semi-automatics (or pistols), revolvers, and non-automatics (single or multibarreled, single-shot, or magazine fed).
Semi-automatic handguns use part of the energy produced by burning cartridge powder to remove the used cartridge from the chamber, cock the hammer, and load a new cartridge into the chamber. This way the pistol will be ready for the next shot. Cartridges are usually fed from a box magazine which is located in the pistol's handle. Box magazines may contain up to 15 cartridges (or more) in single or double columns, depending on the pistol model. They are easy and very quick to reload.
Revolvers got their name from the rotating (or revolving) cylinder, which contains cartridges. Usually the cylinder holds from 5 to 7 loads, although some .22 caliber revolvers may contain up to 8-10 cartridges. Loads in the cylinder may be reloaded in 2 ways (depending on revolver design): one by one, as, for example, the Colt PeaceKeeper does (and almost all old-timers), or all simultaneously—when the cylinder is switched to the side or when the is frame "broke open." Both revolvers and semi-autos have two main "action styles": Single Action and Double Action.
Single Action means that the Revolver must be manually cocked (and, thus, the cylinder is rotated to the next cartridge) for each shot. This mode was the only one available in all old-time revolvers (such as the Peacekeeper), and is still available in most double-action revolvers. This mode improves accuracy but slows the fire rate.
For semi-automatic handguns, Single Action means that the pistol must be manually cocked for the first shot (this is usually done by pulling the slide, which then cocks the hammer and feeds a cartridge into the chamber). For the second—and all consecutive shots—cocking is done automatically when recoil force pulls back the slide.
Double Action for the Revolver means that the hammer for each (including the first) shot is cocked by trigger pull (this action also rotates the cylinder to the next position). This mode speeds up the firing rate and simplifies shooting actions, but greatly increases trigger pull.
For the semi-automatic handguns, the hammer is usually cocked by trigger pull for the first shot only. The second and the rest are done in single-action mode. However, the first load must be fed in the chamber by the slide pull. Most semi-autos and revolvers employ Double-action-only mode, which cocks the trigger for each shot, thus excluding single-action.
The submachine gun is an automatic or selective-fired shoulder weapon that fires pistol-caliber ammunition. The concept of submachine gun dates back to World War I; the trench warfare of this war required effective and compact weapons for short-range fighting in trenches; additionally, a lightweight and maneuverable fully automatic weapon was desirable to complement light machine guns in both defensive and offensive scenarios, to cover last 200 meters of assault on enemy positions.
The first weapon which can be considered to some extent as the world's first submachine gun was the Italian Villar-Perosa. This was a twin-barreled automatic weapon that fired 9mm Glisenti pistol ammunition from top-mounted box magazines. It was compact, but its primary tactical role was of short-range machine gun; therefore it was usually fired from some sort of mount, and fitted with machine-gun type spade grips instead of more conventional rifle-type stock.
Main advantages of shotguns are their versatility and short-range firepower. Shotguns can fire multiple projectiles of various sizes, creating a lethal pattern, which will increase chances of hitting target, or single large projectile, powerful enough to drop down a large brown bear, or incapacitate a human being protected in all but the heaviest body armour. Shotguns also can fire special purpose ammunition, such as door buster slugs, and even a high explosive and incendiary rounds, as well as the less lethal ammunition, useful for riot control and other police operations. Most, if not all modern combat shotguns are magazine fed repeaters, with the under barrel tubular magazines being the most common type. Those magazines offer a sleek, slim profile of the gun, but are slow to reload. Some recently developed combat shotguns featured a detachable, box-type magazines, which can be replaced very quickly. Few combat shotguns were developed with rotary, revolver-like magazines or drum-type magazines of relatively large capacity (10-12, and up to 28 rounds), but those magazines are extremely bulky, heavy, expensive and sometimes slow to reload.
The disadvantages of the combat shotguns are the limited effective range of fire (about 50-70 meters with standard buckshot, up to 100-150 meters with specially designed sub-caliber or fleschette loadings). Shotguns also are sometimes relatively large (especially when compared to modern submachine guns), and can have a heavy recoil with the most powerful loadings. The size and weight of the shotgun ammunition effectively limits both the magazine capacity and the amount of ammunition a soldier can carry in the mission.
Pump action shotguns
Pump action means, that for each shot shooter cycles the handguard back and forward (in some guns, such as Russian RMB-93 or S. African Neostead - forward then back). This movement removes the used shell, cocks the action and chambers the new shell. This design is little slower than semi-auto, but offers greater flexibility in shotshells selection, allowing mixing of the different types of loads and usage of low-power or unreliable loads. This feature especially useful for police and home defense usage, since the pump-action shotguns can fire low-powered less-lethal ammunition (with tear gas or rubber buckshot).
Semi-automatic shotguns can use several different actions - inertia recoil (Benelli), gas (Russian AK-47-derived Saiga-12 and Italian Franchi SPAS-15), barrel recoil (Browning designed Auto-5 and Remington 11). Semi-autos usually have less recoil (especially gas-operated ones), and higher rate of fire, but somewhat more sensitive to the loads selection. The greater firepower, offered by semi-automatic shotguns, is especially useful for military applications, where short-range encounters are usually very rapid, and the amount of firepower used in a short period of time is essential to win the scenario and save one's life.
To use advantages of both pump and semi-auto designs, some manufacturers designed select-action shotguns, where user may select the action style with just turn of the lever or so. Such shotguns are Franchi SPAS15, or Benelli M3S90, for example. The disadvantages of those selective systems are somewhat increased weight and greater unit price.
Bolt action rifles
Bolt action rifle is a weapon, which requires a manual operation to reload a weapon prior to each shot. Term "bolt action" comes from the "bolt" - a part of the weapon that is used to feed cartridges into the chamber and to lock the barrel upon the fire. This part also is more generally known as "breech block", but the term "bolt" is usually referred to the longitudinally movable breech block. So, to fire each shot from bolt action rifle, one must manually unlock the bolt, open it to extract and eject spent case, close the bolt, feeding a fresh round into the chamber simultaneously, and then lock the bolt. When trigger is pulled, rifle goes off and another set of manipulations described above is required prior to the next shot can be fired. Bolt action rifles could be further divided in numerous sub-categories, such as single-shot or magazine-fed rifles, rotating bolt or straight pull bolt action rifles etc, but this will not be discussed here, at least for now.
Semi-automatic (self-loading) rifles
Semi-automatic rifles differ from the manual repeaters in fact that semi-automatics used some amount of the energy, generated by the each shot fired, to commence the reloading cycle (extract and eject the spent case, feed a live round and lock the action, cock the hammer or striker). Due to this, semi-automatic rifles are often referred as a self-loading rifles, too. So, as long as a cartridge supply to the action remains uninterrupted (magazine is not empty), gun will fire each time the trigger is pressed, without any other manual operations. However, when gun is loaded for the first shot, it usually requires at first manual loading cycle to be commenced. The key difference between automatic and assault rifles and semi-automatic rifles is that the semi-automatic rifle will fire exactly one shot per each trigger pull, while automatic (assault) rifle will continue to fire continuously as long as the trigger is pulled and cartridge supply to action is not interrupted.
An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles were first used during World War II. Though Western nations were slow to accept the assault rifle concept after World War II, by the end of the 20th century they had become the standard weapon in most of the world's armies, replacing battle rifles and sub-machine guns. Examples include the StG 44, AK-47 and the M16 rifle.
The term assault rifle is generally attributed to Adolf Hitler, who for propaganda purposes used the German word "Sturmgewehr" (which translates to "storm rifle" or "assault rifle"), as the new name for the MP43, subsequently known as the Sturmgewehr 44 or StG 44. Although, other sources dispute that Hitler had much to do with coining the new name besides signing the production order. The StG 44 is generally considered the first selective fire military rifle to popularize the assault rifle concept. Today, the term assault rifle is used to define firearms sharing the same basic characteristics as the StG 44.
The U.S. Army defines assault rifles as "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges." In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:
|Basic firearms components|
The action is really the guts of the gun. It includes all the moving parts that load, fire, and eject the firearm's shells or cartridges.
The stock (or handle) of the gun in composed of two pieces: the butt and the fore-end.
A gun's barrel is the long metal tube, bored out to provide an exit path for the discharging projectile. Once the projectile is fired, it’s forced down the barrel and out of the muzzle by expanding gas forces. In a rifle or a handgun, the bullet travels through the barrel. In shotguns the shot or the slug is shot through the barrel.
The bore in the inside of the bun's barrel through which a projectile travels when fired.
The breech is the area of the firearm that contains the rear end of the barrel. This is where the cartridge is inserted.
The cylinder is the part of a revolver that holds cartridges in separate chambers. The cylinder of a revolver rotates as the gun is cocked, bringing each chamber into alignment with the barrel.
The grip is the portion of a handgun that is being used to properly hold the firearm.
The hammer on a revolver is the part that strikes the firing pin or the cartridge primer directly, detonating the primer which discharges the gun.
A magazine is a spring-operated container, that can be fixed or detachable, which holds cartridges for a repeating firearm. This should not be confused with a 'clip'.
The muzzle of a gun is the front end of the barrel where the projectile exits the firearm.
The trigger is the lever that is being pulled or squeezed to initiate the firing process.
The trigger guard is the portion of a firearm that wraps around the trigger to provide both protection and safety.
|Glossary of firearms terms|
|The caliber of any firearm is the measurement of the bore of its barrel. It could be measured directly as the diameter of the bore, or some intermediate system could be used as in the case of shotguns, where the caliber or gauge equals the number of lead ball bullets of that diameter which could be molded from one pound of lead. In the case of rifled firearms, the caliber is the measured diameter between lands or grooves of the rifling (see the picture). However, for many reasons actual (measured) caliber may differ from the caliber designation. Most often this misnomer is based on historical or marketing issues. Another source of complications is that there are two measuring systems used worldwide – the metric system and the imperial or inch system. Metric calibers are measured in millimeters, i.e. “7.65 mm” or “9 mm”; Inch calibers are measured in hundredths or thousandths of an inch, with the omission of the leading zero, i.e. “.30” or “.300” (0.30 inch or 7.62mm) or “.45” (0.45 inch or 11.43mm). The direct relationship between metric and inch calibers is represented as 1 inch = 25.4 millimeter, or 1 millimeter = 0.039 inch. In some cases, the nominal inch caliber is the same as the bore diameter (between the lands), as in the case of many .30 caliber weapons that have bore diameters of 0.30 inch or 7.62mm. In other cases, the nominal caliber may match the bullet diameter (slightly wider than the bore) e.g. the .40 S&W. However, in a few cases, the nominal inch calibers have no direct relationship with actual bore or bullet diameter, as with .38 caliber rounds which have bullet diameters ranging from 0.357 to 0.401 inches; these cartridges retain their misleading designations from the age of black powder revolvers. Metric caliber designations tend to be more accurate, but may still vary between whether bore (e.g. 7.62mm) or bullet (e.g. 9mm) diameters are used.|
Even if two firearms have exactly the same actual caliber, they may use cartridges of very different size and power, i.e. Soviet TT pistol and US M1 Garand rifle both have bores of 7.62mm diameter, but their cartridges are very different in size and power. Therefore, in most cases it is insufficient to know just the caliber of a firearm to procure suitable ammunition, and some additional information needs to be provided. The simplest way is to give any cartridge its own name, i.e. 9mm Steyr and 9mm Luger, or .357 Magnum and .357 SIG. In either case, the calibers (bullet diameters) are the same, but the cartridge shapes, dimensions and power are different, and they are NOT interchangeable. However, there are far too many cartridges to give them all names, so the most convenient (and most common) way with metric designations is to use the case length in conjunction with the caliber. The typical designation that follows this pattern is 9x19, where “9” means the caliber and “19” is the cartridge case length, both measured in millimeters. If several cartridges of different properties have same caliber and case length, some additional information must be provided, usually in the form of a name or suffix, which distinguishes the shape of case head. The sample of the “name” use is 9x23 Largo / Bergmann and 9x23 Steyr cartridges, which were independent developments but are virtually indistinguishable in size and power. Another example is 9x23 Winchester, which, while having the same external dimensions as previous two 9x23 cartridges, has thicker case walls and thus can withstand heavier pressures; this cartridge can be easily loaded into firearm designed for either of former cartridges, but to do so would be extremely dangerous! Yet another example is a fourth cartridge with the same caliber and case length, the 9x23SR, more generally known as .38 Super Automatic or simply .38 Super. This cartridge has semi-rimmed case, that is, it has both the extraction groove and a diminutive rim, as it was designed in around 1898 to be used both in semi-automatic pistols and revolvers. Another example of similar designations but different actual dimensions are 9x18 PM and 9x18 Police cartridges. While these are identical in designations, actual calibers are different, as the 9mm PM bullet has an actual diameter of 9.2mm, and the 9mm Ultra has an actual bullet diameter of 9.02mm. Therefore, mismatching one such cartridge for another may be very dangerous for both gun and shooter. The source of this mismatch is that most western calibers are measured between the grooves of the rifling, and therefore are same as actual bullet diameter; in Russia and USSR, some calibers were measured between the lands of the rifling, therefore actual bullet diameter is bigger than measured caliber.
Considering all said above, great care must be exerted when selecting proper ammunition for any firearm.
|Many and various bullet types have been developed for fighting, training and other applications; only the most common are mentioned below.|
Lead bullets are the oldest type and today used mostly in revolver and small-bore rimfire ammunition. These are formed from lead, or more often, an alloy of lead and antimony. Such bullets are inexpensive but usually can’t withstand higher velocities, and produce significant lead fouling in a rifled bore during prolonged use. Lead bullets are most often used for target shooting and practice, and (sometimes) for hunting.
Jacketed bullets are the most common and are the only available for military weapons due to international treaties. Such bullets are designed using a lead core that is enclosed by a gilding-metal jacket. These bullets are known for good penetration, but stopping power is often less significant than that of expanding bullets. Jacketed bullets are sometimes referred as “ball” bullets on historical grounds.
Hollow-point bullets are currently the most popular choice for police and self-defense ammunition. Such bullets are designed with the hollow cavity in the nose (therefore the common name “hollow-point”). This cavity causes the bullet to expand once it hits the soft tissue of human or animal body; thus results in reduced penetration but a wider wound channel and faster target incapacitation.
Armor-piercing pistol ammunition is nowadays mainly intended for use against adversaries with body armor. The simplest AP bullets for handgun ammunition are usually made from solid brass or bronze; sometimes these bullets are made with pointed tips to further improve penetration. Since such bullets, because of their hardness, may cause excessive wear to the barrel, they may be covered with some a softer materiel, such as Teflon. In some cases, AP bullets are made with the traditional soft brass or other gilding-metal jacket and with a composite core, made of a hardened steel penetrator together with some other filler. One example of such ammunition is the Belgian FN 5.7mm SS190 bullet, which has core made partly of steel (front) and partly of aluminum (rear). Another example is the Russian 9mm 7N21 bullet, which has a hardened steel core that passes throughout entire bullet and is exposed at the tip; the space between the jacket and core is filled with polyethylene.
Determining a firearm's condition
Look at the overall condition of the firearm. Notice the condition of the bluing, stock finish, checkering, butt plate or recoil pad, pistol grip cap, forearm tip, and so on. Check the crown at the muzzle end of the barrel. There should not be any obvious dings that might affect the accuracy of the firearm. Look for rust pitting on external metal surfaces. The firearm doesn't have to be perfect in every area, but it should show care rather than neglect. A firearm could be rough on the outside, yet perfect on the inside, but the chances are that an owner who didn't care for the external parts of a gun also didn't care for the parts you can't see. Look carefully down the external length of the barrel to see that it looks straight and there are no subtle bulges. Don't buy the firearm if you suspect that the barrel has been bulged, no matter how slightly, or is not straight.
|State of the bore|
If a firearm is used, the bore can get worn down. Of course, it can be maintained and the grooves restored or have the entire barrel replaced, but as the bore gets worn down it can lose its spin, lose velocity and suffer at a loss of accuracy. The first thing any gun owner will do before buying a firearm is inspecting the bore. If its gritty, scratched and damaged they generally won't buy it.
This is equally as important as the first two requirements. There are some very good quality guns that have a very rough trigger from the factory. However, a good gunsmith can usually fix this with no problem. Having a smooth trigger is very important. Most of the time when a shooter pulls a shot, it is due to a poor trigger press or trigger control. A smooth trigger on a good pistol will make it easier to have better trigger control, thus, better accuracy.
Cleaning and maintenance
|1. Get a cleaning kit|
Whether you purchase a pre-assembled cleaning kit from a sporting goods store or you assemble the necessary components individually, you'll need a few basic things to have in your arsenal of cleaning supplies. A basic set includes:
2. Unload the firearm
Always take the time to properly unload your gun and double-check to make sure that it's unloaded every time you pick it up to clean it. Remember that your gun may still have a round ready to fire after you remove the magazine, so check and remove this round.
After opening the chamber, look through the barrel from back to front. Confirm that no round remains inside, either in the chamber or stuck in the barrel. No gun can be considered unloaded until you have looked through the barrel.
3. Disassemble the firearm
Semi-automatic pistols and rifles will generally be stripped into their major components: barrel, slide, guide rod, frame and magazine. Revolvers, shotguns, and most other sorts of guns will not need to be stripped to clean them.
Field stripping is not necessary to clean the gun thoroughly. Don't take apart your gun more than you have to unless it requires repair. Likewise, some guns can't be stripped at all and it won't be necessary to do anything but open the chamber to clean it.
4. Clean out the barrel with cleaning rod and patches
Soak the bore, or inside of the barrel, using a cleaning rod, patch holder and the right size cotton patches for your gun. Work from the back of the bore if you can. If not, use a muzzle guard. The muzzle guard keeps the cleaning rod from banging against the muzzle, which can cause your gun to malfunction.
To thoroughly clean the barrel out, push a solvent-soaked patch through the bore until it exits the other end. Remove the patch, don't pull it back through. Pulling it back through will just redeposit all the gunk you clean off.
5. Alternate the bore brush and patches to thoroughly scrub the barrel
Remove the patch holder and attach the bore brush. Run the bore brush back and forth along the full length of the bore 3 or 4 times to loosen any debris. Next, reattach the patch holder and run solvent-soaked cotton patches through the bore. Remove them when they exit the front. Repeat this process until a patch comes out clean.
Run one more dry patch through to dry it out and inspect it closely for any build-up you may have missed.
6. Lubricate the barrel
Attach the cotton mop to the cleaning rod. Apply a few drops of gun conditioner or lubricant to the cotton mop and run it through the bore to leave a light coating of gun oil on the inside.
7. Clean and lubricate the action with solvent
Apply solvent to the gun brush and brush all parts of the action. Wipe them dry with a clean cloth.
Next, lubricate the moving parts of the action lightly. A light coating helps prevent rust. A heavy coating gets gummy and attracts debris, so only use a small amount.
8. Wipe down the rest of your gun with a luster cloth
This is a flannel cloth that comes pre-treated with a silicon lubricant. It will remove any remaining debris, including acid from fingerprints, and add shine.
If you don't have a particular cloth designated for cleaning guns, old t-shirts and pairs of socks work really well for the purpose. Use something you've got lying around and won't need to reuse.
|1. Clean your gun after every use|
A good-quality firearm is a significant investment, whether you're using it for sport, hunting, or home defense. Make sure you give it the attention it deserves whenever you get back from a round of firing it.
The whole cleaning process, start to finish, only takes 20 or 30 minutes. It's worth it to do it regularly. You might even consider getting out old guns from the back of the closet and doing them all at once while you've got the materials out. Can't hurt.
2. Consider investing in a barrel snake and/or ultrasonic cleaners
Like everything else, gun cleaning technology is cutting edge. For rifles and shotguns, barrel snakes are long multi-purpose cleaners that make the job much quicker and easier, some featuring lights on the end that allow you to see the interior of the barrel much more easily. It cuts down on time and makes the job more efficient.
3. Store your guns unloaded in a cool and dry environment
To ensure the longest life for your gun, don't store them anywhere they'll be significantly affected by the elements. Keep them indoors, in temperature-controlled environments. Consider investing in trigger locks to keep your gun safe and tamper proof.
Soft or hard cases are available for guns, anywhere as cheap as $15 or $20. If you have a higher budget, there are also lockable gun cabinets and safes made for the purpose of storing guns in a controlled and locked environment.