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Question about firearm terminology.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by halmbarte, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. halmbarte

    halmbarte PDX Active Member

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    When somebody describes a rifle as being a 'automatic' what do they mean?
  2. doubletap007

    doubletap007 Beaverton Active Member

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    it means the bullets keep firing as long as your finger is on the trigger,some rapid fire and some 3 round burst.(assult rifle)
    semi auto means one shot per trigger pull(ar platform semi auto rifle)not to be confused with an assult rifle.
  3. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Not sure how one would "Vote" on a definition
  4. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Automatic describes how it loads. Full or semi describe how it does that.

    If a guy walks into a store and wants a self loading rifle they usually ask about semi-auto rifle.

    If a guy wants a full-auto they ask for a full auto or machine gun.

    Then again there are lots on here that get hung up on the fact that there are many different names for the same thing.
  5. Gaius

    Gaius Oregon Member

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    Like was said, means auto-loader. The gases from the round charges the bolt. Full- or semi- denotes how many rounds are fired with the trigger pull.
  6. halmbarte

    halmbarte PDX Active Member

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    As of 1400 votes are split darn close to 50-50.

    Which was not what I expected.

  7. Sling Blade

    Sling Blade Yamhill County Well-Known Member

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    I'd say your poll is flawed in its wording, as "somebody" is too loose of an identifier. I would have used either A) the general shooting public, or B) non-shooters. In general, these two groups likely have disparate definitions that would sway your poll one way or the other.
  8. sadiesassy

    sadiesassy Prescott Active Member

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    I alway think in terms of :
    If it just says "Automatic" implies Full Auto
    That the use of "Semi Auto" clarifies the type
  9. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    To me all automatic means is a firearm is self loading. I don't have to pump a shot gun, work a bolt action, or rotate a cylinder to get the next bullet ready for firing. Semi automatic or fully automatic are descriptions of how a firearm dispenses those loaded rounds. When talking about firearms it should always be this. Think about a select fire automatic rifle. It could be semi or full auto but it is always an automatic.

    Discussing what it means to the general public is pointless as the term is rarely used correctly. Media incorrectly use it to further a story and the general public will incorrectly use to further an agenda. Many time its simple ignorance on the part of the user, but we as enthusiasts should know better.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC
    Nwcid and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Malibu38368

    Malibu38368 Unincorporated WA Co. Member

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    I draw a distinction between an "automatic" firearm and an "autoloading" firearm.

    Strictly speaking, that may not be correct, but there are too many people out there who don't understand the difference, and if I speak of my "automatic rifle" they'll just assume that I'm building an arsenal for some nefarious purpose. I do sometimes use "fully automatic" and "semi-automatic" to distinguish as well, but I'm inconsistent about it, at best.

    I suppose it boils down to what you mean by automatic: are you referring only to the action of ejecting the spent casing and chambering a fresh cartridge, or are you referring both to that action, and the release of the sear as well?
  11. One-Eyed Ross

    One-Eyed Ross Winlock, WA Well-Known Member

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    The original meaning was "auto loader" but the media types (books, movies, etc) have changed it in the century or so since the evolution of the auto-loader. It has come to mean "pull the trigger and spray"....
  12. EMP9596

    EMP9596 Two Trees West of Camas, WA. Active Member

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    Correct terminology gets misused and incorrectly taught.


    One of my pet peeves. (<:}-

    Swedish K, Malibu38368, ogre and 3 others like this.
  13. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    You can thank the news industry for having to ask the question. Thanks to "if it bleeds it leads" reporting tactics and wanting to sound like experts, or at least impress the uneducated masses, reporters have been adding a bit of dramatic flare to the stories. As long as I can remember reporters have been using "automatic rifle" to imply machine gun the same way they use "large caliber weapon" to broadly paint everything every firearm bigger than a 22 of the rim fire variety.
    Ever hear about the newspaper (think it was out of Sacramento) back in the 70s that only reported good news? only reported positive (in their view) news - feel good stories like firemen rescue kitten/puppy. They went so far as to only report on the stocks that went up. They were a short lived business as the public wants to see the news about criminal x being gunned down by a rival drug dealer, even stories about the family home that burned down because their kid was using a candle to cook his heroin fix and knocked it over starting the fire. Lets face it, Society wants to hear about the bad news, the worse the better, because it makes us feel better about our own lives. It gives us Hope by showing us how bad it could be.
    This mentality lead to writing stories that overstate how bad a situation is because it sells more papers/ ad time, etc. - The end result? Now, if you pick up a paper or watch the news and there was a shooting in a financially challenged part of town you can bet that the hi point 9mm rifle will be referred to as a high power or large caliber automatic rifle, also it will be listed as a probable drug/gang related crime unless the police state otherwise in a press conference well before reporting deadlines.

    (steps off soap box)
    Ok - in answer to your question a clear definition would be "semi-automatic" or "fully automatic" when dealing with firearms in the news/media. In my opinion, if a reporter refers to a firearm as simply "automatic" it means: A) They don't know if it is full auto or semi auto. B) they are trying to lead you to the conclusion that it was an "evil machine gun". or C) both.

    In a non news related scenario, say your neighbor says he has an auto rifle, I would take it that he is implying he has a fully automatic rifle or has succumbed to the cut down description embraced by the media for its vagueness.