Extractor (firearms)

Extractor (firearms)

An extractor is a part in a firearm that holds onto the rim of the ammunition being fired. When the gun's action cycles, the extractor removes the spent casing from the firing chamber. Extractors can be found on bolt action, lever-action, semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms. Break-action shotguns, such as those with single or double barrels, typically have an extractor that operates when the action is broken open. Extractors are also found on revolvers, removing cases either singly (as in a fixed-cylinder single action revolver) or all at once (as in a double action revolver with a swing-out or top-break cylinder).

Extractors typically work in conjunction with ejectors to remove a fired, empty cartridge from the chamber. The extractor removes the cartridge case from the chamber, essentially pulling the case to the rear. At some point in the rearward travel the case makes contact with the ejector which actually "kicks" the expended case out of the firearm making room for an unfired cartridge to be loaded.

Some firearms have no ejectors, only extractors, requiring the user to manually remove spent cartridges. In this situation the extractor pulls the case out of the chamber far enough to give the user a good grip on the cartridge, but not far enough to remove the entire cartridge from the chamber. This situation is encountered on some single shot rifles and on some single and double-barreled shotguns.


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