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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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Terminology & Nomenclature

Self Loading Action (Semiautomatic)

Note: The Self-loading action is utilized in the design and function of rifles, shotguns and pistols. This illustration exhibits the primary characteristics of a rifle but most component parts are applicable in a revised configuration to both the shotgun and pistol categories. The pistol configuration does differ significantly (see separate illustration).

A diagram showing various parts of a self loading action weapon and their defined names: the operating handle, forearm cap, grip cap, etc.

Group Callout Schedule [a]



Group (1)

Three magazine configurations available on this type action.
A-Hinged, B-Detachable, C&D-Tubular (Front and Rear)

Group (2)

Four various safety configurations which may appear on the available models.
A-Crossbolt (front or rear), B-Top Tang, C-Trigger Guard

Group (3)

Two buttstock appointments available in this group.
A-Recoil Pad, B-Buttplate

Group (4)

Two barrel configurations which may appear on this type action.
A-Smooth Bore, B-Rifled

  1. Group callouts identify various configurations of a specific component which may be incorporated in the function of the various models employing the bolt action in their design. However, only one type component from each callout group will appear on any given subject firearm.