Hammer - A component part of the firing mechanism which strikes the firing-pin, transfer bar, primer or percussion cap.
Hammerless - A misnomer, it refers to any firearm having a concealed hammer.
Hand Stop - A device attached to the weapon's fore-end (modified with a metal rail) designed to prevent the supporting hand from sliding forward.
Handload/Reload - Verb: the process (non commercial) of assembling cartridges from their component parts (usually by hobbyists). This gives the handloader the opportunity to assemble ammunition that is far more accurate in his specific rifle than factory ammunition will be, and/or is best suited for his needs. Noun: the product of this process.
Hangfire - Extended delay (up to a second or more) between the firing pin blow and the ignition of the powder, usually caused by old or contaminated primer/propellant which ignites slower than usual. 1. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. 2. Count to ten SLOWLY. 3. With the opening in the action pointed away from your face, eject the cartridge and examine it. 4. Attempt to determine the cause of the failure. Also see Dud.
Hasty Search - A very rapid check for enemy activity; primarily used as a security measure to determine immediate threats or danger to the sniper when occupying positions.
Head Separation - Separation of the case head from the case body, caused by stretching of the brass, usually due to oversized chamber or excessive headspace. Also caused by cases that has been reloaded many times, with resulting weakening of the brass.
Headspace - The distance from the bolt face (when the bolt is closed) to that surface in the cartridge chamber which stops the case’s forward movement. For bottle-necked cases, the measuring point is centered on the shoulder and is known as the datum line. For belted magnum cases, the headspace is measured from the front of the belt to the head of the case. In practical terms, the amount of free movement a cartridge has in a closed chamber. This dimension is critical for the safety of the shooter, as well as the accuracy of the weapon system. Insufficient headspace hinders complete chambering; excessive headspace permits case stretching, separation or rupture, endangering the shooter.
Heel - The outer edge of the bullet base.
Hide - The term used to describe sniper positions, normally concealed from the enemy.
Hold-off - A shooting technique used to compensate for bullet trajectory by using a modified point of aim above or below the desired point of impact. Also used to describe the modified point of aim used to compensate for wind or target movement. Also known as "Kentucky Windage."
Hold-over - When aiming at a target beyond the ‘zero’ or ‘sighted-in’ range of a particular rifle/load combination, holding over is the height one must aim above the target (without making mechanical adjustments to the sight) to drop the bullet onto the target. See Bullet Drop.
Hold-under - The modified point of aim used below the target to compensate for a projectile on its upward axis of its trajectory. This is also used when shooting at angles (slopes).
Hollowpoint ( HP ) - Bullet with a cavity in the nose, designed for rapid expansion on impact. The Sierra MatchKing bullets have this design feature to improve accuracy, not for improved terminal effects. This bullet type has been approved by the JAG for combat use. Not generally recommended for hunting. See Controlled Expansion.
Hooded Sight - A front sight that is equipped with a metal canopy. Designed to eliminate light reflections, as well as to protect the sight pillar.
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