Monday, October 24, 2016

Rifle Receiver

Jim from Traverse City called in a question about firearm terminology. He pointed out that the body of a handgun is called a frame, but in a rifle, it’s called the receiver.

Receiver in its general sense goes all the way back to the late 14th century, when it was established as a receptacle, a repository, something that holds and receives an object. The receiver of a rifle houses or receives the loading and firing mechanisms—the hammer, the trigger, the bolt, the barrel, and the magazine, if the weapon is a repeater. The receiver is where the serial number is usually engraved. In England, it is simply called the body. As the specific name of the core of a rifle, in print it dates back to 1851.

A related term is the stock of a firearm. That’s the part that’s held in the hand in a pistol, and rested against the shoulder in a rifle. In the late-15th century, it referred to the wooden support for a ship’s cannon. By the 16th century, it was used as the name of the wooden section of a musket or fowling piece. In the early 19th century, it became part of a cliché: lock, stock, and barrel. It originally came from an Old English word that meant a tree trunk.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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