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A cartridge or a round is a type of pre-assembled
firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water guns/ cannons, spray guns for painting ...
ammunition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons (e.g., bombs, missiles, grenades, land mines) and the component parts of other weapon ...

ammunition
packaging a
projectile A projectile is a missile propelled by the exertion of a which is allowed to move free under the influence of and . Although any objects in motion through space are projectiles, they are commonly found in and s (for example, a thrown , kicked ...

projectile
(
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
,
shot Shot may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *Shot (album), ''Shot'' (album), by The Jesus Lizard *''Shot, Illusion, New God'', an EP by Gruntruck *''Shot Rev 2.0'', a video album by The Sisters of Mercy *Shot (song), "Shot" (song), by The Ra ...
or
slug Slug, or land slug, is a common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. ...
), a
propellant A propellant (or propellent) is a that is expelled or expanded in such a way as to create a or other in accordance with , and "propel" a vehicle, , or payload. In vehicles, the engine that expels the propellant is called a . Although technical ...
substance (usually either
smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and less fouling when fired compared to gunpowder ("black powder"). The combustion products are mainly gaseous, compared to ...
or
black powder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder file:N110 ruuti.jpg, Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and les ...
) and an ignition device ( primer) within a
metallic Metallic may be a reference to: *Metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts El ...
,
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * ...
, or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the
barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
chamber of a
breechloading A breechloader is a firearm in which the user loads the ammunition (cartridge (firearms), cartridge or shell (projectile), shell) via the rear (breech) end of its gun barrel, barrel, as opposed to a muzzleloader, which loads ammunition via the fro ...
gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water guns/ cannons, spray guns for painting Painting is the practice of ...

gun
, for the practical purpose of convenient transportation and handling during
shooting Shooting is the act or process of discharging a projectile from a ranged weapon (such as a gun, bow and arrow, bow, crossbow, slingshot, or blowgun, blowpipe). Even the acts of launching flamethrower, flame, artillery, dart (missile), darts, har ...

shooting
. Although in popular usage the term "bullet" is often informally used to refer to a complete cartridge, it is correctly used only to refer to the projectile. Cartridges can be categorized by the type of their primers - a small charge of an
impact Impact may refer to: * Impact (mechanics), a high force or shock (mechanics) over a short time period * Impact, Texas, a town in Taylor County, Texas, US Science and technology * Impact crater, a meteor crater caused by an impact event * Impact e ...
- or electric-sensitive chemical mixture that is located: at the center of the case head (
centerfire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartridge is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to lau ...
); inside the rim ( rimfire); inside the walls on the fold of the case base that is shaped like a cup (cupfire, now obsolete); in a sideways projection that is shaped like a pin (
pinfire A pinfire cartridge is an obsolete type of metallic firearm cartridge in which the priming compound is ignited by striking a small pin which protrudes radially from just above the base of the cartridge. Invented by Frenchman Casimir Lefaucheux Ca ...
, now obsolete); or a lip (lipfire, now obsolete); or in a small nipple-like bulge at the case base ( teat-fire, now obsolete). Only the centerfire and rimfire survived mainstream usage today. Military and commercial producers continue to pursue the goal of caseless ammunition. Some
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

artillery
ammunition uses the same cartridge concept as found in
small arms A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water guns/ cannons, spray guns for painting ...
. In other cases, the
artillery shell A shell is a whose payload contains an , , or other filling. Originally it was called a bombshell, but "shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context. Modern usage sometimes includes large solid s that is properly termed shot. ...
is separate from the propellant charge. A cartridge without a projectile is called a ''
blank Blank or Blanks may refer to: * Blank (archaeology), a thick, shaped stone biface for refining into a stone tool * Blank (cartridge), a type of gun cartridge * Blank (Scrabble), a playing piece in the board game Scrabble *Blank (solution) A blank ...
''; one that is completely inert (contains no active primer and no propellant) is called a ''
dummy Dummy may refer to: Dolls * Mannequin, a model of the human body * Puppet used as a prop for ventriloquism People * Dummy (nickname), a list of people * Dummy, the Witch of Sible Hedingham (c. 1788–1863), pseudonym of a man accused of being a wi ...
''; one that failed to ignite and shoot off the projectile is called a ''
dud
dud
''; and one that ignited but failed to sufficiently push the projectile out of the barrel is called a '' squib''.


Design


Purpose

The cartridge was invented specifically for
breechloading A breechloader is a firearm in which the user loads the ammunition (cartridge (firearms), cartridge or shell (projectile), shell) via the rear (breech) end of its gun barrel, barrel, as opposed to a muzzleloader, which loads ammunition via the fro ...
firearms. Prior to its invention, the projectiles and propellant are carried separately and had to be individually loaded via the muzzle into the
gun barrel with its massive bore and the stacked barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical container with a bulging center, longer than it is wide. They are traditionally made of wooden stave (wood), staves and bound by wood or metal hoops. The w ...
before firing, then have a separate ignitor compound (from a
slow match Slow match, also called match cord, is the slow-burning cord or twine Fuse (explosives), fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, shell (projectile), shells, and petards. Slow match ...
, a small charge of
gunpowder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal) and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). The ...
in a
flash pan The flash pan or priming pan is a small receptacle for priming powder, found next to the touch hole A touch hole, also called a vent, is a small hole near the rear portion (''breech'') of a cannon A cannon is a large-caliber A 45 AC ...
, or a
percussion cap The percussion cap or percussion primer, introduced in the early 1820s, is a type of single-use percussion ignition device for muzzle loader A muzzleloader is any firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and us ...
) to set off the shot. Such loading procedures often necessitates adding paper/cloth
wadding Wadding is a disc of material used in guns to seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, f ...

wadding
and ramming repeatedly with a rod to optimize the gas seal, and are thus clumsy and inconvenient, severely restricting the practical
rate of fire Rate of fire is the frequency at which a specific weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of ac ...
of the weapon, as well as complicating the
logistics Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption to meet the requ ...

logistics
of ammunition. The primary purpose of a cartridge is to offer a handy pre-assembled "all-in-one" package that is convenient to handle and transport, easily inserted into the breech (rear end) of the barrel, as well as preventing potential propellant loss, contamination or degradation from
moisture 150px, Dew on a spider web Moisture is the presence of a liquid, especially water, often in trace amounts. Small amounts of water may be found, for example, in the air (humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air ...
and the elements. In modern self-loading firearms, the round also enables the
action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now ) in the south and in the north. The service was first known as Canberra City Omnibus Se ...
mechanism to utilize part of the
propellant A propellant (or propellent) is a that is expelled or expanded in such a way as to create a or other in accordance with , and "propel" a vehicle, , or payload. In vehicles, the engine that expels the propellant is called a . Although technical ...
energy (carried by the cartridge itself) and cyclically load new rounds of ammunition to allow quick repeated firing. To perform a firing, the round is first inserted into a "ready" position within the chamber aligned with the bore axis (i.e. "in ''battery''"). While in the chamber, the cartridge case obturates all other directions except the bore to the front, reinforced by a
breechblock A breechblock (or breech block) is the part of the firearm action of a typical double-barreled shotgun, with the action open and the extractor visible. The opening lever and the safety catch can also be clearly seen. In firearms A firearm is ...
or a locked
bolt Bolt or bolts may refer to: Implements and technology * Bolt (fastener) A bolt is a form of threaded fastener with an external male thread requiring a matching pre-formed female thread such as a nut. Bolts are very closely related to screw ...
from behind, designating the forward direction as the
path of least resistance Image:Cartoon_mountain_pass_symbolizing_path_of_least_resistance.png, 250px, Hikers choose the easy way to cross hills. The path of least resistance is the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion by a ...

path of least resistance
. When the
trigger Trigger may refer to: Notable animals and people * Trigger (horse), owned by cowboy star Roy Rogers * Trigger Alpert (1916–2013), American jazz bassist * Bruce Trigger (1937–2006), Canadian archaeologist * Damon Trigger (born 1972), New Zealand ...
is pulled, the sear disengages and releases the
hammer A hammer is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool A stone tool is, ...
/ striker, causing the
firing pin #REDIRECT Firing pin , showing the integral firing pin A firing pin or striker is part of the firing mechanism used in a firearm or explosive device, designed to ignite combustions/detonations by delivering an impact (mechanics), impact force to ...
to impact the primer embedded in the base of the cartridge. The shock-sensitive chemical in the primer then creates a jet of sparks that travel into the case and ignites the main propellant charge within, causing the powders to '' deflagrate'' (but not ''
detonate Detonation () is a type of involving a exothermic front accelerating through a medium that eventually drives a propagating directly in front of it. Detonations occur in both conventional solid and liquid explosives, as well as in reactive ga ...

detonate
''). This rapid
exothermic In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these qu ...

exothermic
combustion Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction between a fuel (the reductant) and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxygen, that produces oxidized, often gaseous products, in a mixture termed as smoke. Combustion ...
yield Yield may refer to: Measures of output/function Computer science * Yield (multithreading) is an action that occurs in a computer program during multithreading * See generator (computer programming) Physics/chemistry * Yield (chemistry), the amou ...
s a mixture of highly energetic gases and generates a very high
pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving fr ...

pressure
inside the case, often
fire-forming
fire-forming
it against the chamber wall. When the pressure builds up sufficiently to overcome the fastening
friction Friction is the force In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related en ...

friction
between the projectile (e.g.
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
) and the case neck, the projectile will detach from the case and, pushed by the expanding high-pressure gases behind it, move down the bore and out the muzzle at
extremely high speed
extremely high speed
. After the bullet exits the barrel, the gases are released to the surrounding as
ejecta Ejecta (from the Latin: "things thrown out", singular ejectum) are particles ejected from an area. In volcanology, in particular, the term refers to particles including pyroclastic materials (tephra) that came out of a volcanic explosion and magma ...
e and the chamber pressure drops back down to atmospheric level. The case, which had been elastically expanded by high pressure, contracts slightly, which eases its removal the chamber when pulled by the extractor. The spent cartridge, with its projectile and propellant gone but the case still containing a used-up primer, then gets ejected from the gun to clear room for a subsequent new round.


Components

A typical modern cartridge consists of four components: the cartridge case, the projectile, the propellant, and the primer.


Case

The main defining component of the cartridge is the case, which gives the cartridge its shape and serves as the integrating
housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to the construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford Eng ...
for other functional components — it acts as a
container A container is any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in storage, packaging, and transportation, including shipping. Things kept inside of a container are protected by being inside of its structure. The term is most frequently ...

container
for the
propellant A propellant (or propellent) is a that is expelled or expanded in such a way as to create a or other in accordance with , and "propel" a vehicle, , or payload. In vehicles, the engine that expels the propellant is called a . Although technical ...
powders and also serve as a protective
shell Shell may refer to: Architecture and design * Shell (structure)A shell is a type of structural element which is characterized by its geometry, being a three-dimensional solid whose thickness is very small when compared with other dimensions, and ...
against the elements; it attaches the
projectile A projectile is a missile propelled by the exertion of a which is allowed to move free under the influence of and . Although any objects in motion through space are projectiles, they are commonly found in and s (for example, a thrown , kicked ...

projectile
either at the front end (
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
for
handgun A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automatic pistols, although other handgun-types such as derringers and machine pistols als ...

handgun
s,
rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water gu ...

rifle
s and
machine gun A machine gun is an auto-firing, rifling, rifled long gun, long-barrel action (firearms)#Autoloading operation, autoloading firearm designed for sustained direct fire with fully powered cartridges. Other automatic firearms such as assault ri ...

machine gun
s) or inside the hull (
wadding Wadding is a disc of material used in guns to seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, f ...

wadding
/ sabot containing
shot Shot may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *Shot (album), ''Shot'' (album), by The Jesus Lizard *''Shot, Illusion, New God'', an EP by Gruntruck *''Shot Rev 2.0'', a video album by The Sisters of Mercy *Shot (song), "Shot" (song), by The Ra ...
s or
slug Slug, or land slug, is a common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. ...
for
shotgun A shotgun (also known as a scattergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a long gun, long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge (firearms), cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small ...

shotgun
s), and align it with the barrel bore to the front; it holds the primer at the back end, which receives impact from a
firing pin #REDIRECT Firing pin , showing the integral firing pin A firing pin or striker is part of the firing mechanism used in a firearm or explosive device, designed to ignite combustions/detonations by delivering an impact (mechanics), impact force to ...
and is responsible for igniting the main propellant charge inside the case. While historically
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...
had been used in the earliest cartridges, almost all modern cartridges use
metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

metal
lic casing. The modern metallic case can either be a "bottleneck" one, whose frontal portion near the end opening (known as the "case ''neck''") has a noticeably reduced
diameter In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space ...

diameter
than the main part of the case ("case ''body''"), with a noticeably angled slope ("case ''shoulder''") in between; or a "straight-walled" one, where there is no narrowed neck and the whole case looks
cylindrical A cylinder (from ) has traditionally been a Solid geometry, three-dimensional solid, one of the most basic of curvilinear geometric shapes. Geometrically, it can be considered as a Prism (geometry), prism with a circle as its base. This traditi ...
. The case shape is meant to match exactly to the chamber of the gun that fires it, and the "neck", "shoulder" and "body" of a bottleneck cartridge have corresponding counterparts in the chamber known as the "chamber neck", "chamber shoulder" and "chamber body". The front opening of the case neck, which receives and fastens the
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
via crimping, is known as the ''case mouth''. The closed-off rear end of the case body, which holds the primer and technically is the case ''base'', is
ironic Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what on the surface appears to be the case or to be expected differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony can be categorized into differ ...
ally called the ''case head'' as it is the most prominent and frequently the widest part of the case. There is a circumferential
flange A flange is a protruded ridge, lip or rim, either external or internal, that serves to increase strength Physical strength *Physical strength, as in people or animals *Hysterical strength, extreme strength occurring when people are in life ...

flange
at the case head called a '' rim'', which provides a lip for the extractor to engage. Depending on whether and how the rim protrudes beyond the maximum case body diameter, the case can be classified as either "rimmed", "semi-rimmed", "rimless", "rebated" or "belted". The shape of a bottleneck cartridge case (e.g. body diameter, shoulder slant angle and position, neck length) also affects the pressure generable inside the case, which in turn influences the accelerative capacity of the projectile.
Wildcat cartridge .243 Winchester Ackley Improved (left) and .243 Winchester (right) A wildcat cartridge, often shortened to wildcat, is a custom cartridge (weaponry), cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often ...
s are often made by reshaping the case of an existing cartridge. In addition to case shape,
rifle cartridge A rifle cartridge is a firearm cartridge (firearms), cartridge primarily designed and intended for use in a rifle/carbine, or machine gun. Types Full-powered A full-powered cartridge is a rifle cartridge used interchangeably between service ...
s can also be grouped according to the case dimensions, which in turn dictates the minimal receiver size and operating space (
bolt Bolt or bolts may refer to: Implements and technology * Bolt (fastener) A bolt is a form of threaded fastener with an external male thread requiring a matching pre-formed female thread such as a nut. Bolts are very closely related to screw ...
travel) needed by the
action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now ) in the south and in the north. The service was first known as Canberra City Omnibus Se ...
, into either "mini-action", "short-action", "long-action" or " magnum" categories. ''Mini-action'' cartridges generally refer to
intermediate cartridge An intermediate cartridge is a rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also pr ...
s, typically with a cartridge overall length (COL) below ; ''short-action'' cartridges include all full-powered cartridges with a COL between , most commonly exemplified by the
.308 Winchester
.308 Winchester
; ''long-action'' cartridges, also known as the "standard length" cartridges, are full-powered cartridges with a COL between , exemplified by the
.30-06 Springfield
.30-06 Springfield
; ''magnum'' cartridges include all cartridges with a COL above , as well as some long-action cartridges with a case head larger than diameter (e.g. the .300 Winchester Magnum). The most popular material used to make cartridge cases is
brass Brass is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appea ...

brass
due to its good
corrosion resistance Corrosion is a Erosion, natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide, hydroxide, or sulfide. It is the gradual destruction of materials (usually a metal) by chemical and/or electrochemical reactio ...
. The head of a brass case can be work-hardened to withstand the high pressures, and allow for manipulation via extraction and ejection without rupturing. The neck and body portion of a brass case is easily annealed to make the case
ductile Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically a ...
enough to allow reshaping so that it can be reloaded many times, and
fire formingImage:Fire_forming.jpg, Fire formed .284 Achilles case (right) Cold formed .425 Westley Richards case (center) and .425 Westley Richards parent case (left), 300px The term fire forming in firearms refers to the process of thermomechanical processing, ...

fire forming
can help accurize the shooting. Steel casing is used in some plinking ammunition, as well as in some military ammunition (mainly from the former Soviet Union and China). Steel is less expensive to make than brass, but it is far less corrosion-resistant and not feasible to reuse and reload. Military forces typically consider service weapon, service
small arms A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water guns/ cannons, spray guns for painting ...
cartridge cases to be disposable, single-use devices. However, the mass of the cartridges can affect how much ammunition a soldier can carry, so the lighter steel cases do have a Military logistics, logistic advantage. Conversely, steel is more susceptible to contamination and damage so all such cases are varnished or otherwise sealed against the elements. One downside caused by the increased strength of steel in the neck of these cases (compared to the annealed neck of a brass case) is that
propellant A propellant (or propellent) is a that is expelled or expanded in such a way as to create a or other in accordance with , and "propel" a vehicle, , or payload. In vehicles, the engine that expels the propellant is called a . Although technical ...
gas can blow back past the neck and leak into the chamber. Constituents of these gases condense on the (relatively cold) chamber wall, and this solid propellant residue can make extraction of fired cases difficult. This is less of a problem for small arms of the former Warsaw Pact nations, which were designed with much looser chamber engineering tolerance, tolerances than NATO weapons. Aluminum-cased cartridges are available commercially. These are generally not reloaded, as aluminum fatigue (material), fatigues easily during firing and resizing. Some calibers also have non-standard primer sizes to discourage reloaders from attempting to reuse these cases. Polymer-cased ammunition, Plastic cases are commonly used in shotgun shells and some manufacturers offer polymer-cased
centerfire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartridge is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to lau ...
cartridges.


Projectile

As firearms are projectile weapons, the projectile is the effector component of the cartridge, and is actually responsible for reaching, impacting and exerting damage onto a target. The word "projectile" is an umbrella term that describes any type of kinetic objects launched into projectile motion, ballistic flight, but due to the ubiquity of rifled firearms shooting
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
s, the term has become somewhat a technical synonym for bullets among the handloading crowds. The projectile's motion in flight is known as its external ballistics; and its behavior upon impacting an object is known as its terminal ballistics. A bullet can be made of virtually anything (see #Projectile design types, below), but lead is the traditional material of choice because of its high density, malleability, ductility and low cost of production. However, at speeds of greater than , pure lead will deposit fouling in rifled bores at an ever-increasing rate. Alloying the lead with a small percentage of tin and/or antimony can reduce such fouling, but grows less effective as velocities are increased. A cup made of harder metal (e.g. copper), called a gas check, is often placed at the base of a lead bullet to decrease lead deposits by protecting the rear of the bullet against melting when fired at higher pressures, but this too does not work at higher velocities. A modern solution is to cover bare lead in a protective powder coat, as seen in some rimfire ammunitions. Another solution is to encase a lead core within a thin exterior layer of harder metal (e.g. gilding metal, cupronickel, copper alloys or steel), known as a ''jacketing''. In modern days, steel, bismuth, tungsten and other exotic alloys are sometimes used to replace lead and prevent lead poisoning, release of toxicity into the environment. In armor-piercing bullets, very hard and high-density materials such as hardened steel, tungsten, tungsten carbide, or even depleted uranium are used for the penetrator core. Non-lethal weapon, Non-lethal projectiles with very limited penetration (weaponry), penetrative and stopping powers are sometimes used in riot control or training situations, where killing or severely wounding a target would be undesirable. Such projectiles are usually made from softer and lighter materials, such as plastic bullet, plastic or rubber bullets. Wax bullets are occasionally used for force-on-force tactical engagement simulation, tactical trainings, and pistol dueling with wax bullets used to be a shooting sport, competitive Olympic sport prior to the First World War. For smoothbore weapons such as
shotgun A shotgun (also known as a scattergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a long gun, long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge (firearms), cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small ...

shotgun
s, small metallic balls known as
shot Shot may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *Shot (album), ''Shot'' (album), by The Jesus Lizard *''Shot, Illusion, New God'', an EP by Gruntruck *''Shot Rev 2.0'', a video album by The Sisters of Mercy *Shot (song), "Shot" (song), by The Ra ...
s are typically used, which is usually contained inside a
wadding Wadding is a disc of material used in guns to seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, f ...

wadding
(actually a sabot). When fired, the wadding is launched from the gun as a payload-carrying projectile, loosens itself after exiting the barrel, and then inertially releases the contained shots as a hail of sub-projectiles. Shotgun shots are usually made from bare lead, though copper/zinc-total metal jacket, coated steel balls (such as those used by BB guns) can also be used. There are also unconventional projectile fillings such as bundled flechette#Shotguns, flechettes, riot gun#Rubber buckshot, rubber balls, rock salt and magnesium shards, as well as non-lethal weapon, non-lethal shotgun#Specialty ammunition, specialty projectiles such as baton round, rubber slugs and bean bag rounds. Solid projectiles (e.g.
slug Slug, or land slug, is a common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. ...
s, baton rounds, etc.) are also shot while contained within a wadding, as the wadding obturates the bore better and typically sliding (motion), slides less frictionally within the barrel.


Propellant

The propellant is what actually fuels the main function of any firearm (i.e.
shooting Shooting is the act or process of discharging a projectile from a ranged weapon (such as a gun, bow and arrow, bow, crossbow, slingshot, or blowgun, blowpipe). Even the acts of launching flamethrower, flame, artillery, dart (missile), darts, har ...

shooting
out the
projectile A projectile is a missile propelled by the exertion of a which is allowed to move free under the influence of and . Although any objects in motion through space are projectiles, they are commonly found in and s (for example, a thrown , kicked ...

projectile
). When a propellant deflagrates (subsonic ammunition, subsonic
combustion Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction between a fuel (the reductant) and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxygen, that produces oxidized, often gaseous products, in a mixture termed as smoke. Combustion ...
), the redox reaction breaks its molecular bonds and releases the chemical energy stored within. At the same time, the combustion
yield Yield may refer to: Measures of output/function Computer science * Yield (multithreading) is an action that occurs in a computer program during multithreading * See generator (computer programming) Physics/chemistry * Yield (chemistry), the amou ...
s significant amount of gaseous product (chemistry), products, which is highly energetic due to the
exothermic In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these qu ...

exothermic
nature of the reaction. These combustion gases become highly pressurized when confined in a rigid space — such as the cartridge casing (reinforced by the chamber wall) occluded from the front by the projectile (
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
, or
wadding Wadding is a disc of material used in guns to seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, f ...

wadding
containing
shot Shot may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *Shot (album), ''Shot'' (album), by The Jesus Lizard *''Shot, Illusion, New God'', an EP by Gruntruck *''Shot Rev 2.0'', a video album by The Sisters of Mercy *Shot (song), "Shot" (song), by The Ra ...
s/
slug Slug, or land slug, is a common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. ...
) and from behind by the Primer (firearms), primer (supported by the
bolt Bolt or bolts may refer to: Implements and technology * Bolt (fastener) A bolt is a form of threaded fastener with an external male thread requiring a matching pre-formed female thread such as a nut. Bolts are very closely related to screw ...
/
breechblock A breechblock (or breech block) is the part of the firearm action of a typical double-barreled shotgun, with the action open and the extractor visible. The opening lever and the safety catch can also be clearly seen. In firearms A firearm is ...
). When the pressure builds up high enough to overcome the crimp (joining), crimp
friction Friction is the force In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related en ...

friction
between the projectile and the case, the projectile separates from the case and gets ''propelled'' down the
gun barrel with its massive bore and the stacked barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical container with a bulging center, longer than it is wide. They are traditionally made of wooden stave (wood), staves and bound by wood or metal hoops. The w ...
by further expansion of the gases like a piston engine, receiving kinetic energy from the propellant gases and accelerating to a very high muzzle velocity within a short distance (i.e. the barrel length). The projectile motion driven by the propellant inside the gun is known as the internal ballistics. The oldest gun propellant was black gunpowder, a low explosive made from a mixture of sulfur, carbon and potassium nitrate, invented in China during the 9th century as one of Four Great Inventions, and still remains in occasional use as a solid propellant (mostly for antique firearms and pyrotechnics). Modern firearm propellants however are
smokeless powder Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and less fouling when fired compared to gunpowder ("black powder"). The combustion products are mainly gaseous, compared to ...
s based on nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, first invented during the late 19th century as a cleaner and better-performing replacement of the black powder. Modern smokeless powder may be corned into small spherical balls, or extrusion, extruded into cylinders or strips with many cross section (geometry), cross-sectional shapes using solvents such as ether, which can be cut into short ("flakes") or long pieces ("cords"). The performance characteristics of a propellant are greatly influenced by its grain size and shape, because the specific surface area influences the burn rate (chemistry), burn rate, which in turn influences the rate of pressurization. Short-barrel firearms such as
handgun A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automatic pistols, although other handgun-types such as derringers and machine pistols als ...

handgun
s necessitates faster-burning propellants to obtain sufficient muzzle energy, while long guns typically use more slower-burning propellants. Due to the relatively short distance a gun barrel can offer, the mechanical seal, sealed acceleration time is very limited and only a small proportion of the total energy generated by the propellant combustion will get transferred to the projectile. The residual energy in the propellant gases gets dissipation, dissipated to the surrounding in the form of heat, vibration/deformation (physics), deformation, light (in the form of muzzle flash) and a prominent muzzle blast (which is responsible for the gunshot, loud sound/shockwave, concussive shock perceivable to bystanders and most of the recoil felt by the shooter, as well as transitional ballistics, potentially deflecting the bullet), or as unusable kinetic energy transferred to other
ejecta Ejecta (from the Latin: "things thrown out", singular ejectum) are particles ejected from an area. In volcanology, in particular, the term refers to particles including pyroclastic materials (tephra) that came out of a volcanic explosion and magma ...
byproducts (e.g. unburnt powders, dislodged foulings).


Primer

Because the main propellant charge are located deep inside the
gun barrel with its massive bore and the stacked barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical container with a bulging center, longer than it is wide. They are traditionally made of wooden stave (wood), staves and bound by wood or metal hoops. The w ...
and thus impractical to be directly lighted from the outside, an intermediate is needed to relay the fire making, ignition. In the earlist
black powder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder file:N110 ruuti.jpg, Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and les ...
muzzleloaders, a fuse (explosives), fuse was used to direct a small flame through a touch hole into the barrel, which was slow and subjected to disturbance from environmental conditions. The next evolution was to have a small separate charge of finer gunpowder poured into a
flash pan The flash pan or priming pan is a small receptacle for priming powder, found next to the touch hole A touch hole, also called a vent, is a small hole near the rear portion (''breech'') of a cannon A cannon is a large-caliber A 45 AC ...
, where it could start a "priming" ignition by an external source such as a
slow match Slow match, also called match cord, is the slow-burning cord or twine Fuse (explosives), fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, shell (projectile), shells, and petards. Slow match ...
(matchlock), or a pyrite (wheellock) or a flint striking a steel frizzen (snaplock and flintlock) to create sparks. When the primer powder starts combusting, the flame is transferred through an internal touch hole called a ''flash hole'' to provide activation energy for the main powder charge in the barrel. The disadvantage was that the flash pan could still be exposed to the outside, making it difficult (or even impossible) to fire the gun in rainy or humid conditions as wet gunpowder burns poorly. After Edward Charles Howard discovered fulminates in 1800 and the patent by Reverend Alexander John Forsyth expired in 1807, Joseph Manton invented the precursor
percussion cap The percussion cap or percussion primer, introduced in the early 1820s, is a type of single-use percussion ignition device for muzzle loader A muzzleloader is any firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and us ...
in 1814, which was further developed in 1822 by the English-born American artist Joshua Shaw, and caplock fowling pieces appeared in Regency era England. These guns used a spring (device), spring-loaded
hammer A hammer is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool A stone tool is, ...
to strike a percussion cap placed over a conical ''nipple'', which served as both an "anvil" against the hammer strike and a transfer port for the sparks created by impactfully crushing the cap, and was easier and quicker to load, more resilient to weather conditions, and more reliable than the preceding flintlocks. Modern primers are basically improved percussion caps with shock-sensitive chemicals (e.g. lead styphnate) enclosed in a small button-shaped capsule. In the early paper cartridges, invented not long after the percussion cap, the primer was located deep inside the cartridge just behind the
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
, requiring a very thin and elongated
firing pin #REDIRECT Firing pin , showing the integral firing pin A firing pin or striker is part of the firing mechanism used in a firearm or explosive device, designed to ignite combustions/detonations by delivering an impact (mechanics), impact force to ...
to pierce the paper casing. Such guns were known as needle guns, Dreyse needle gun, the most famous of which was decisive in the Kingdom of Prussia, Prussian victory over the Austrian Empire, Austrians at Battle of Königgrätz, Königgrätz in 1866. After the metallic cartridge was invented, the primer was relocated backwards to base of the case, either centerfire, at the center of the case head, Rimfire ammunition, inside the rim, inside a cup-like concavity of the case base, pinfire, in a pin-shaped sideways projection, in a lip-like
flange A flange is a protruded ridge, lip or rim, either external or internal, that serves to increase strength Physical strength *Physical strength, as in people or animals *Hysterical strength, extreme strength occurring when people are in life ...

flange
, or teat-fire cartridge, in a small nipple-like bulge at the case base. Today, only the
centerfire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartridge is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to lau ...
and rimfire have survived the test of time as the mainstream primer designs, while the
pinfire A pinfire cartridge is an obsolete type of metallic firearm cartridge in which the priming compound is ignited by striking a small pin which protrudes radially from just above the base of the cartridge. Invented by Frenchman Casimir Lefaucheux Ca ...
still exists but only in rare novelty miniature guns and a few very small blank cartridges designed as noisemakers. In rimfire ammunitions, the primer compound is injection moulding, moulded integrally into the interior of the protruding rim (firearms), case rim, which is crushed between the firing pin and the edge of the barrel breech (serving as the "anvil"). These ammunitions are thus not handloading, reloadable, and are usually on the lower end of the muzzle energy, power spectrum, although due to the low manufacturing cost some of them (e.g. .22 Long Rifle) are among the most popular and prolific ammunitions currently being used. Centerfire primers are a separately manufactured component, seated into a central recess at the case base known as the ''primer pocket'', and have two types: Berdan and Boxer. Berdan primers, patent by American inventor Hiram Berdan in 1866, are a simple capsule, and the corresponding case has two small flash holes with a bulged bar in between, which serves as the "anvil" for the primer. Boxer primers, patented by Royal Artillery colonel Edward Mounier Boxer also in 1866, are more complex and have an internal tripedal "anvil" built into the primer itself, and the corresponding case has only a single large central flash hole. Commercially, Boxer primers dominate the handloading, handloader market due to the ease of depriming and the ability to transfer sparks more efficiently. Due to their small size and charge load, primers lack the power to shoot out the projectile by themselves, but can still put out enough energy to separate the bullet from the casing and push it partway into the barrel — a dangerous condition called a squib load. Firing a fresh cartridge behind a squib load obstructing the barrel will generate dangerously high pressure, leading to a catastrophic failure and potentially causing severe injuries when the gun blows apart in the shooter's hands. Actor Brandon Lee's The Crow (1994 film)#Brandon Lee's death, infamous accidental death in 1993 was believed to be caused by an undetected squib that was dislodged and shot out by a
blank Blank or Blanks may refer to: * Blank (archaeology), a thick, shaped stone biface for refining into a stone tool * Blank (cartridge), a type of gun cartridge * Blank (Scrabble), a playing piece in the board game Scrabble *Blank (solution) A blank ...
.


Manufacturing

To manufacture cases for cartridges, a sheet of brass is punched into disks. These disks go through a series of deep drawing, drawing dies. The disks are annealing (metallurgy), annealed and washed before moving to the next series of dies. The brass needs to be annealed to remove the work-hardening in the material and make the brass malleable again ready for the next series of dies. Manufacturing bullet jackets is similar to making brass cases: there is a series of drawing steps with annealing and washing.


Specifications

Critical cartridge specifications include neck size, bullet weight and caliber, maximum pressure, headspace (firearms), headspace, overall length, case body diameter and taper, shoulder design, Rim (firearms), rim type, etc. Generally, every characteristic of a specific cartridge type is tightly controlled and few types are interchangeable in any way. Exceptions do exist but generally, these are only where a shorter cylindrical rimmed cartridge can be used in a longer chamber, (e.g., .22 Short in .22 Long Rifle chamber, and .38 Special in a .357 Magnum chamber). Centerfire ammunition, Centerfire primer type (Boxer or Berdan, see below) is interchangeable, although not in the same case. Deviation in any of these specifications can result in firearm damage and, in some instances, injury or death. Similarly, use of the wrong type of cartridge in any given gun can damage the gun, or cause bodily injury. Cartridge specifications are determined by several standards organizations, including SAAMI in the United States, and C.I.P. in many European states. NATO also performs NATO EPVAT testing, its own tests for military cartridges for its member nations; due to differences in testing methods, NATO cartridges (headstamped with the NATO cross) may present an unsafe combination when loaded into a weapon chambered for a cartridge certified by one of the other testing bodies. Bullet diameter is measured either as a fraction of an inch (usually in 1/100 or in 1/1000) or in millimeters. Cartridge case length can also be designated in inches or millimeters.


History

Paper cartridges have been in use for centuries, with a number of sources dating their usage as far back as the late 14th and early 15th century. Historians note their use by soldiers of Christian I, Elector of Saxony and Christian II, Elector of Saxony, his son in the late 16th century, while the Dresden Armoury has evidence dating their use to 1591. Capo Bianco wrote in 1597 that paper cartridges had long been in use by Neapolitan soldiers. Their use became widespread by the 17th century. The 1586 round consisted of a charge of gunpowder, powder and a
bullet A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is Shooting, shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word ''boulle'' (''boullet''), which means "small ball". Bullets ar ...

bullet
in a paper cartridge. Thick paper is still known as "cartridge paper" from its use in these cartridges. Another source states the cartridge appeared in 1590., p. 2-3, stating "1590. Cartridges with ball and power combined were introduced for small arms." King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden had his troops use cartridges in the 1600s. The paper formed a cylinder with twisted ends; the ball was at one end, and the measured powder filled the rest. This cartridge was used with muzzle-loading military firearms, probably more often than for sporting shooting, the base of the cartridge being ripped or bitten off by the soldier, the powder poured into the barrel, and the paper and bullet rammed down the barrel. In the Civil War era cartridge, the paper was supposed to be discarded, but soldiers often used it as a wad. To ignite the charge an additional step was required where a finer-grained powder called priming powder was poured into the pan of the gun to be ignited by the firing mechanism. The evolving nature of warfare required a firearm that could load and fire more rapidly, resulting in the flintlock musket (and later the Baker rifle), in which the pan was covered by furrowed steel. This was struck by the flint and fired the gun. In the course of loading a pinch of powder from the cartridge would be placed into the pan as priming, before the rest of the cartridge was rammed down the barrel, providing charge and wadding. Later developments rendered this method of priming unnecessary, as, in loading, a portion of the charge of powder passed from the barrel through the vent into the pan, where it was held by the cover and hammer. The next important advance in the method of ignition was the introduction of the copper
percussion cap The percussion cap or percussion primer, introduced in the early 1820s, is a type of single-use percussion ignition device for muzzle loader A muzzleloader is any firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and us ...
. This was only generally applied to the British military musket (the Brown Bess) in 1842, a quarter of a century after the invention of percussion powder and after an elaborate government test at Woolwich in 1834. The invention that made the percussion cap possible was patented by the Rev. A. J. Forsyth in 1807 and consisted of priming with a fulminating powder made of potassium chlorate, sulfur, and charcoal, which ignited by concussion. This invention was gradually developed, and used, first in a steel cap, and then in a copper cap, by various gunmakers and private individuals before coming into general military use nearly thirty years later. The alteration of the military flint-lock to the percussion musket was easily accomplished by replacing the powder pan with a perforated nipple and by replacing the cock or hammer that held the flint with a smaller hammer that had a hollow to fit on the nipple when released by the trigger. The shooter placed a percussion cap (now made of three parts of potassium chlorate, two of mercury fulminate, fulminate of mercury and powdered glass) on the nipple. The detonating cap thus invented and adopted brought about the invention of the modern cartridge case, and rendered possible the general adoption of the Breech-loading weapon, breech-loading principle for all varieties of
rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water gu ...

rifle
s,
shotgun A shotgun (also known as a scattergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a long gun, long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge (firearms), cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small ...

shotgun
s and pistols. This greatly streamlined the reloading procedure and paved the way for semi- and full-automatic firearms. However, this big leap forward came at a price: it introduced an extra component into each round – the cartridge case – which had to be removed before the gun could be reloaded. While a flintlock, for example, is immediately ready to reload once it has been fired, adopting brass cartridge cases brought in the problems of extraction and ejection. The mechanism of a modern gun must not only load and fire the piece but also provide a method of removing the spent case, which might require just as many added moving parts. Many Firearm malfunction, malfunctions occur during this process, either through a failure to extract a case properly from the chamber or by allowing the extracted case to jam the action. Nineteenth-century inventors were reluctant to accept this added complication and experimented with a variety of caseless or self-consuming cartridges before finally accepting that the advantages of brass cases far outweighed this one drawback.


Integrated cartridges

The first integrated cartridge was developed in Paris in 1808 by the Swiss gunsmith Jean Samuel Pauly in association with French gunsmith François Prélat. Pauly created the first fully self-contained cartridges:"Chemical Analysis of Firearms, Ammunition, and Gunshot Residue"
by James Smyth Wallace p. 24.
the cartridges incorporated a copper base with integrated mercury fulminate primer powder (the major innovation of Pauly), a round bullet and either brass or paper casing.http://www.sil.si.edu/smithsoniancontributions/HistoryTechnology/pdf_hi/SSHT-0011.pdf .''Firearms''
by Roger Pauly p. 94.
The cartridge was loaded through the breech and fired with a needle. The needle-activated centerfire breech-loading gun would become a major feature of firearms thereafter. Pauly made an improved version, protected by a patent, on 29 September 1812. Probably no invention connected with firearms has wrought such changes in the principle of gun construction as those effected by the "expansive cartridge case". This invention has completely revolutionized the art of gun making, has been successfully applied to all descriptions of firearms, and has produced a new and important industry: that of cartridge manufacture. Its essential feature is preventing gas escaping the breech when the gun is fired, by means of an expansive cartridge case containing its own means of ignition. Previous to this invention shotguns and sporting rifles were loaded by means of powder flasks and shot bags or flasks, bullets, wads and copper caps, all carried separately. One of the earliest efficient modern cartridge cases was the pinfire cartridge, developed by French gunsmith Casimir Lefaucheux in 1836.Kinard, Jeff (2004) ''Pistols: An Illustrated History of Their Impact'', ABC-CLIO
p. 109
It consisted of a thin weak shell made of brass and paper that expanded from the force of the explosion. This fit perfectly in the barrel, and thus formed an efficient gas check. A small percussion cap was placed in the middle of the base of the cartridge and was ignited by means of a brass pin projecting from the side and struck by the hammer. This pin also afforded the means of extracting the cartridge case. This cartridge was introduced in England by Lang, of Cockspur Street, London, about 1845. In the American Civil War (1861–65) a breech-loading rifle, the Sharps, was introduced and produced in large numbers. It could be loaded with either a ball or a paper cartridge. After that war many were converted to the use of metal cartridges. The development by Smith & Wesson (among many others) of revolver handguns that used metal cartridges helped establish cartridge firearms as the standard in the US by the late 1860s and early 1870s, although many continue to use percussion revolvers well after that.


Modern metallic cartridges

Most of the early all-metallic cartridges were of the
pinfire A pinfire cartridge is an obsolete type of metallic firearm cartridge in which the priming compound is ignited by striking a small pin which protrudes radially from just above the base of the cartridge. Invented by Frenchman Casimir Lefaucheux Ca ...
and rimfire types. The first centerfire metallic cartridge was invented by Jean Samuel Pauly in the first decades of the 19th century. However, although it was the first cartridge to use a form of obturation, a feature integral to a successful breech-loading cartridge, Pauly died before it was converted to percussion cap ignition. Frenchman Louis-Nicolas Flobert invented the first rimfire ammunition, rimfire metallic cartridge in 1845. His cartridge consisted of a percussion cap with a bullet attached to the top. Flobert then made what he called "gallery gun, parlor guns" for this cartridge, as these rifles and pistols were designed to be shot in indoor shooting parlors in large homes. These 6mm Flobert cartridges do not contain any powder. The only
propellant A propellant (or propellent) is a that is expelled or expanded in such a way as to create a or other in accordance with , and "propel" a vehicle, , or payload. In vehicles, the engine that expels the propellant is called a . Although technical ...
substance contained in the cartridge is the percussion cap. In English-speaking countries, the 6mm Flobert cartridge corresponds to .22 BB Cap and .22 CB Cap ammunition. These cartridges have a relatively low muzzle velocity of around 700 ft/s (210 m/s). French gunsmith Benjamin Houllier improved the Lefaucheux pinfire cardboard cartridge and patented in Paris in 1846, the first fully metallic pinfire cartridge containing powder (and a pinfire), in a metallic cartridge. He also included in his patent claims rim and centerfire primed cartridges using brass or copper casings. Houllier commercialised his weapons in association with the gunsmiths Blanchard or Charles Robert. In the United States, in 1857, the Flobert cartridge inspired the .22 Short (another rimfire), especially conceived for the first American revolver using rimfire cartridges, the Smith & Wesson Model 1. A year before, in 1856, the LeMat revolver was the first American (French-designed) breech-loading firearm, but it used pinfire cartridges, not rimfire. Formerly, an employee of the Colt's Manufacturing Company, Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, Rollin White, had been the first in America to conceive the idea of having the revolver cylinder bored through to accept metallic cartridges (circa 1852), with the first in the world to use bored-through cylinders probably having been Lefaucheux in 1845, who invented a pepperbox-revolver loaded from the rear using bored-through cylinders. Another possible claimant for the bored-through cylinder is a Frenchman by the name of Perrin, who allegedly produced in 1839 a pepperbox revolver with a bored-through cylinder to order. Other possible claimants include Devisme of France in 1834 or 1842 who claimed to have produced a breech-loading revolver in that period though his claim was later judged as lacking in evidence by French courts and Hertog & Devos and Malherbe & Rissack of Belgium who both filed patents for breech-loading revolvers in 1853. However, Samuel Colt refused this innovation. White left Colt, went to Smith & Wesson to rent a licence for his patent, and this is how the S&W Model 1 saw light of day in 1857. The patent didn't definitely expire until 1870, allowing Smith & Wesson competitors to design and commercialise their own revolving breech-loaders using metallic cartridges. Famous models of that time are the Colts Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top, Open Top (1871-1872) and Colt Single Action Army, Single Action Army "Peacemaker" (1873). But in rifles, the lever-action mechanism patents were not obstructed by Rollin White's patent infringement because White only held a patent concerning drilled cylinders and revolving mechanisms. Thus, larger caliber rimfire cartridges were soon introduced after 1857, when the Smith & Wesson .22 Short ammunition was introduced for the first time. Some of these rifle cartridges were used in the American Civil War, including the .44 Henry and 56-56 Spencer (both in 1860). However, the large rimfire cartridges were soon replaced by
centerfire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartridge is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to lau ...
cartridges, which could safely handle higher pressures. In 1867 the British war office adopted the Eley Brothers, Eley-Edward Mounier Boxer, Boxer metallic centerfire cartridge case in the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifles, which were converted to Snider-Enfield, Snider-Enfield breech-loaders on the Snider principle. This consisted of a block opening on a hinge, thus forming a false breech against which the cartridge rested. The priming cap was in the base of the cartridge and was discharged by a Firing pin#Firing pin vs. striker, striker passing through the breech block. Other European powers adopted breech-loading military rifles from 1866 to 1868, with paper instead of metallic cartridge cases. The original Eley-Boxer cartridge case was made of thin-coiled brass—occasionally these cartridges could break apart and jam the breech with the unwound remains of the case upon firing. Later the solid-drawn, centerfire cartridge case, made of one entire solid piece of tough hard metal, an alloy of copper, with a solid head of thicker metal, has been generally substituted. Centerfire cartridges with solid-drawn metallic cases containing their own means of ignition are almost universally used in all modern varieties of military and sporting rifles and pistols. Around 1870, machined tolerances had improved to the point that the cartridge case was no longer necessary to seal a firing chamber. Precision-faced bolts would seal as well, and could be economically manufactured. However, normal wear and tear proved this system to be generally infeasible.


Nomenclature

The name of any given cartridge does not necessarily reflect any cartridge or gun dimension. The name is merely the standardized and accepted moniker. SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute) and the European counterpart (CIP) and members of those organizations specify correct cartridge names. It is a common misconception to refer to a cartridge as a certain "caliber" (e.g., "30-06 caliber"). The correct full name for this round is .30-06 Springfield, .30-'06 Springfield. The "-'06" means it was introduced in 1906. In sporting arms, the only consistent definition of "caliber" is bore diameter. Dozens of unique .30-caliber round types exist. There is considerable variation in cartridge nomenclature. Names sometimes reflect various characteristics of the cartridge. For example, the .308 Winchester uses a bullet of 308/1000-inch diameter and was standardized by Winchester. Conversely, cartridge names often reflect nothing related to the cartridge in any obvious way. For example, the .218 Bee uses a bullet of 224/1000-inch diameter, fired through a .22-in bore, etc. The 218 and Bee portions of this cartridge name reflect nothing other than the desires of those who standardized that cartridge. Many similar examples exist, for example: .219 Zipper, .221 Fireball, .222 Remington, .256 Winchester, .280 Remington, .307 Winchester, .356 Winchester. Where two numbers are used in a cartridge name, the second number may reflect a variety of things. Frequently the first number reflects bore diameter (inches or millimeters). The second number reflects case length (in inches or mm). For example, the 7.62×51mm NATO refers to a bore diameter of 7.62 mm and has an overall case length of 51 mm, with a total length of 71.1 mm. The commercial version is the .) In older
black powder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder file:N110 ruuti.jpg, Finnish smokeless powder Smokeless powder is a type of propellant used in firearms and artillery that produces less smoke and les ...
cartridges, the second number typically refers to powder charge, in Grain (unit), grains. For example, the .50-90 Sharps has a .50-inch bore and used a nominal charge of of black powder. Many such cartridges were designated by a three-number system (e.g., 45-120-3 Sharps: 45-caliber bore, 120 grains of (black) powder, 3-inch long case). Other times, a similar three-number system indicated bore (caliber), charge (grains), and bullet weight (grains). The 45-70-500 Government is an example. Often, the name reflects the company or individual who standardized it, such as the .30 Newton, or some characteristic important to that person. The .38 Special actually has a nominal bullet diameter of (jacketed) or (lead) while the case has a nominal diameter of ,. Hence the name. This is historically logical. The hole drilled through the chambers of .36-caliber cap-and-ball revolvers when converting those to work with cartridges was , and the cartridge made to work in those revolvers was logically named the .38 Short Colt, .38 Colt. The original cartridges used a heeled bullet like a .22 rimfire where the bullet was the same diameter as the case. Early Colt Army .38s have a bore diameter that will allow a .357" diameter bullet to slide through the barrel. The cylinder is bored straight through with no step. Later versions used an inside the case lubricated bullet of .357" diameter instead of the original .38" with a reduction in bore diameter. The difference in .38 Special bullet diameter and case diameter reflects the thickness of the case mouth (approximately 11/1000-inch per side). The .357 Magnum evolved from the .38 Special. The .357 was named to reflect bullet diameter (in thousandths inch), not case diameter. "Magnum" was used to indicate its longer case and higher operating pressure.


Classification

Cartridges are classified by some major characteristics. One classification is the location of the primer. Early cartridges began with the pinfire, then the rimfire, and finally the centerfire. Another classification describes how cartridges are located in the chamber (headspace (firearms), headspace). Rimmed cartridges are located with the rim near the cartridge head; the rim is also used to extract the cartridge from the chamber. Examples are the .22 long rifle and .303 British. In a rimless cartridge, the cartridge head diameter is about the same as or smaller than the body diameter. The head will have a groove so the cartridge can be extracted from the chamber. Locating the cartridge in the chamber is accomplished by other means. Some rimless cartridges are necked down, and they are positioned by the cartridge's shoulder. An example is the . Pistol cartridges may be located by the end of the brass case. An example is the .45 ACP. A belted magnum, belted cartridge has a larger diameter band of thick metal near the head of the cartridge. An example is the .300 Weatherby Magnum. An extreme version of the rimless cartridge is the rebated case; guns employing Blowback (firearms)#Advanced primer ignition (API) blowback, advanced primer ignition need such a case because the case moves during firing (i.e., it is not located at a fixed position). An example is the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, 20mm×110RB.


Centerfire

A centerfire cartridge has a centrally located primer held within a recess in the case head. Most centerfire brass cases used worldwide for sporting ammunition use Boxer primers. It is easy to remove and replace Boxer primers using standard reloading tools, facilitating reuse. Some European- and Asian-manufactured military and sporting ammunition uses Berdan primers. Removing the spent primer from (decapping) these cases requires use of a special tool because the primer anvil (on which the primer compound is crushed) is an integral part of the case and the case therefore does not have a central hole through which a decapping tool can push the primer out from the inside, as is done with Boxer primers. In Berdan cases, the flash holes are located to the sides of the anvil. With the right tool and components, reloading Berdan-primed cases is perfectly feasible. However, Berdan primers are not readily available in the U.S.


Rimfire

Rimfire priming was a popular solution before centerfire priming was perfected. In a rimfire case, centrifugal force pushes a liquid priming compound into the internal recess of the folded rim as the manufacturer spins the case at a high rate and heats the spinning case to dry the priming compound mixture in place within the hollow cavity formed within the rim fold at the perimeter of the case interior. In the mid- to late-1800s, many rimfire cartridge designs existed. Today only a few, mostly for use in small-caliber guns, remain in general and widespread use. These include the .17 Mach II, .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (HMR), 5mm Remington Magnum (Rem Mag), .22 (BB, CB, Short, Long, Long Rifle), and .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR). Compared to modern centerfire cases used in the strongest types of modern guns, existing rimfire cartridge designs use loads that generate relatively low pressure because of limitations of feasible gun design – the rim has little or no lateral support from the gun. Such support would require very close tolerances in design of the chamber, bolt, and firing pin. Because that is not cost-effective, it is necessary to keep rimfire load pressure low enough so that the stress generated by chamber pressure that would push the case rim outward cannot expand the rim significantly. Also, the wall of the folded rim must be thin and ductile enough to easily deform, as necessary to allow the blow from the firing pin to crush and thereby ignite the primer compound, and it must do so without rupturing, If it is too thick, it will be too resistant to deformation. If it is too hard, it will crack rather than deform. These two limitations – that the rim is self-supporting laterally and that the rim is thin and ductile enough to easily crush in response to the firing pin impact – limit rimfire pressures. Modern centerfire cartridges are often loaded to about maximum chamber pressure. Conversely, no commercialized rimfire has ever been loaded above about maximum chamber pressure. However, with careful gun design and production, no fundamental reason exists that higher pressures could not be used. Despite the relative pressure disadvantage, modern rimfire magnums in .17-caliber/4.5mm, .20-caliber/5mm, and .22-caliber/5.6mm can generate muzzle energies comparable to smaller centerfire cartridges. Today, .22 LR (Long Rifle) accounts for the vast majority of all rimfire ammunition used. Standard .22 LR rounds use an essentially pure lead bullet plated with a typical 95% copper, 5% zinc combination. These are offered in supersonic and subsonic types, as well as target, plinking, and hunting versions. These cartridges are usually coated with a hard wax for fouling control. The .22 LR and related rimfire .22 cartridges use a heeled bullet, where external diameter of the case is the same as diameter of the forward portion of the bullet and where the rearward portion of the bullet, which extends into the case, is necessarily smaller in diameter than the main body of the bullet.


Semi-automatic vs. revolver cartridges

Most revolver cartridges are rimmed at the base of the case, which seats against the edge of cylinder (firearms), cylinder chamber to provide headspace (firearms), headspace control (to keep the cartridge from moving too far forward into the chamber) and to facilitate easy extraction. Nearly every
centerfire Two rounds of .357 Magnum, a centerfire cartridge; notice the circular primer in the center A centerfire cartridge is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to lau ...
semi-automatic pistol cartridge is "rimless", where the rim is of the same diameter as the case body but separated by a circumferential groove in between, into which the extractor engages the rim by hooking. A "semi-rimmed" cartridge is essentially a rimless one but the rim diameter is slightly larger than the case body, and a "rebated rimless" cartridge is one with the rim smaller in diameter. All such cartridges headspace on the case mouth (although some, such as .38 Super, at one time seated on the rim, this was changed for accuracy reasons), which prevents the round from entering too far into the chamber. Some cartridges have a rim that is significantly smaller than case body diameter. These are known as rebated-rim designs and almost always allow a handgun to fire multiple caliber cartridges with only a barrel and magazine (firearms), magazine change. File:380 ACP - FMJ - SB - 2.jpg, Rimless .380 ACP semi-automatic cartridge File:38 Special - FMJ - SB - 2.jpg, Rimmed .38 special revolver cartridge


Projectile design types

* A shotgun shell loaded with multiple metallic "shot", which are small, generally spherical projectiles. * Shotgun slug: A single solid projectile designed to be fired from a shotgun. * Flexible baton round, Baton round: a generally non-lethal projectile fired from a riot gun. * Bullets ** Armor-piercing bullet, Armor-piercing (AP): A hard bullet made from steel or tungsten alloys in a pointed shape typically covered by a thin layer of lead and or a copper or brass jacket. The lead and jacket are intended to prevent barrel wear from the hard core materials. AP bullets are sometimes less effective on unarmored targets than FMJ bullets are. This has to do with the reduced tendency of AP projectiles to yaw (turn sideways after impact). ** Flat Nose Lead (FNL): Similar to the above, with a flattened nose. Common in Cowboy Action Shooting and plinking ammunition loads. ** Full metal jacket bullet, Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): Made with a lead core surrounded by a full covering of brass, copper, or mild steel. These usually offer very little deformation or terminal performance expansion, but will occasionally yaw (turn sideways). Despite the name, a FMJ bullet typically has an exposed lead base, which is not visible in an intact cartridge. ** Glaser Safety Slug: copper jackets filled with bird shot and covered by a crimped polymer endcap. Upon impact with flesh, the projectile is supposed to fragment, with the birdshot spreading like a miniature shotgun pattern. ** Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP): Soon after the invention of the JSP, Woolwich Arsenal in Great Britain experimented with this design even further by forming a hole or cavity in the nose of the bullet while keeping most of the exterior profile intact. These bullets could theoretically deform even faster and expand to a larger diameter than the JSP. In personal defense use, concerns have arisen over whether clothing, especially heavy materials like denim, can clog the cavity of JHP bullets and cause expansion failures. ** Jacketed Soft Point (JSP): In the late 19th century, the Indian Army at Dum-Dum Arsenal, near Kolkata, developed a variation of the FMJ design where the jacket did not cover the nose of the bullet. The soft lead nose was found to expand in flesh while the remaining jacket still prevented lead fouling in the barrel. The JSP roughly splits the difference between FMJ and JHP. It gives more penetration than JHP but has better terminal ballistic characteristics than the FMJ. ** Round Nose Lead (RNL): An unjacketed lead bullet. Although largely supplanted by jacketed ammunition, this is still common for older revolver cartridges. Some hunters prefer roundnose ammunition for hunting in brush because they erroneously believe that such a bullet deflects less than sharp-nosed spitzer (bullet), spitzer bullets, regardless of the fact that this belief has been repeatedly proven not to be true. Refer to American Rifleman magazine. ** Total Metal Jacket (TMJ): Featured in some Speer cartridges, the TMJ bullet has a lead core completely and seamlessly enclosed in brass, copper or other jacket metal, including the base. According to Speer literature, this prevents hot propellant gases from vaporizing lead from the base of the bullet, reducing lead emissions. Sellier & Bellot produce a similar version that they call TFMJ, with a separate end cap of jacket material. ** Wadcutter (WC): Similar to the FNL, but completely cylindrical, in some instances with a slight concavity in the nose. This bullet derives its name from its popularity for target shooting, because the form factor cuts neat holes in paper targets, making scoring easier and more accurate and because it typically cuts a larger hole than a round nose bullet, a hit centered at the same spot can touch the next smaller ring and therefore score higher. ** Semi-Wadcutter (SWC) identical to the WC with a smaller diameter flap pointed conical or radiused nose added. Has the same advantages for target shooters but is easier to load into the gun and works more reliably in semi-automatic guns. This design is also superior for some hunting applications. ** Truncated Cone: Also known as Round Nose Flat Point, etc. Descriptive of typical modern commercial cast bullet designs. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, Hague Convention of 1899 bans the use of expanding projectiles against the military forces of other nations. Some countries accept this as a blanket ban against the use of expanding projectiles against anyone, while othersThe US did not sign the complete Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, Hague Convention of 1899 in any case, but still follows its guidelines in military conflicts. use JSP and HP against non-military forces such as terrorists and criminals.


Common cartridges

Ammunition types are listed numerically. * 22 Long Rifle (22 LR): A round that is often used for target shooting and the hunting of small game such as squirrel. Because of the small size of this round, the smallest self-defense handguns chambered in 22 rimfire (though less effective than most centerfire handguns cartridges) can be concealed in situations where a handgun chambered for a centerfire cartridge could not. The 22 LR is the most commonly fired sporting arms cartridge, primarily because, when compared to any centerfire ammunition, 22 LR ammunition is much less expensive and because recoil generated by the light 22 bullet at modest velocity is very mild. * .22-250 Remington: A very popular round for medium to long range small game and varmint hunting, pest control and target shooting. The 22-250 is one of the most popular rounds for fox hunting and other pest control in Western Europe due to its flat trajectory and very good accuracy on rabbit to fox sized pests. * .300 Winchester Magnum: One of the most popular big game hunting rounds of all time. Also, as a long-range sniping round, it is favored by United States Navy SEALs, US Navy SEALs and the German Bundeswehr. While not in the same class as the 338 Lapua, it has roughly the same power as 7 mm Remington Magnum, and easily exceeds the performance of 7.62×51mm NATO. * 30-06 Springfield (7.62×63mm): The standard US Army rifle round for the first half of the 20th century. It is a full-power rifle round suitable for hunting most North American game and most big game worldwide. * .303 British: the standard British Empire military rifle cartridge from 1888 to 1954. * : the commercial name of a centerfire cartridge based on the military 7.62×51mm NATO round. Two years prior to the NATO adoption of the 7.62×51mm NATO T65 in 1954, Winchester (a subsidiary of the Olin Corporation) branded the round and introduced it to the commercial hunting market as the 308 Winchester. The Winchester Model 70 and Model 88 rifles were subsequently chambered for this round. Since then, the 308 Winchester has become the most popular short-action big-game hunting round worldwide. It is also commonly used for civilian and military target events, military sniping and police sharpshooting. * .357 Magnum: Using a lengthened version of the .38 Special case loaded to about twice the maximum chamber pressure as the 38 Spc., the 357 Magnum was rapidly accepted by hunters and law enforcement. At the time of its introduction, 357 Magnum bullets were claimed to easily pierce the body panels of automobiles and crack engine blocks (to eventually disable the vehicle). * .375 Holland & Holland Magnum: designed for hunting African big game in the early 20th century and legislated as the minimum caliber for African hunters during the mid-20th century * .40 S&W: A shorter-cased version of the 10mm Auto. * .44 Magnum: A high-powered pistol round designed primarily for hunting. * .45 ACP: The standard US pistol round for about one century. Typical 45 ACP loads are subsonic. * .45 Colt: a more powerful 45-caliber round using a longer cartridge. The 45 Colt was designed for the Colt Single Action Army, circa 1873. Other 45-caliber single action revolvers also use this round. * .45-70 Government: Adopted by the US Army in 1873 as their standard service rifle cartridge. Most commercial loadings of this cartridge are constrained by the possibility that someone might attempt to fire a modern loading in a vintage 1873 rifle or replica. However, current production rifles from Marlin, Ruger, and Browning can accept loads that generate nearly twice the pressure generated by the original black powder cartridges. * .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO): Originally designed to destroy aircraft in the First World War, this round still serves an anti-materiel round against light armor. It is used in heavy machine guns and high-powered sniper rifles. Such rifles can be used, amongst other things, for destroying military matériel such as sensitive parts of grounded aircraft and armored transports. Civilian shooters use these for long-distance target shooting. * 5.45×39mm Soviet: The Soviet response to the 5.56×45mm NATO round. * 5.56×45mm NATO: Adopted by the US military in the 1960s, it later became the NATO standard rifle round in the early 80s, displacing the 7.62×51mm. Remington later adopted this military round as the .223 Remington, a very popular round for varminting and small game hunting. * 7×64mm: One of the most popular long range varmint and medium- to big-game hunting rounds in Europe, especially in the countries such as France and (formerly) Belgium where the possession of firearms chambered for a (former) military round is forbidden or is more heavily restricted. This round is offered by European rifle makers in both bolt-action rifles and a rimmed version, the 7×65mmR is chambered in double and combination rifles. Another reason for its popularity is its flat trajectory, very good penetration and high versatility, depending on what bullet and load are used. Combined with a large choice of different 7 mm bullets available the 7×64mm is used on everything from fox and geese to red deer, Scandinavian moose and European brown bear equivalent to the North American black bear. The 7x64mm essentially duplicates performance of the 270 Winchester and 280 Remington. * 7 mm Remington Magnum: A long-range hunting round. * 7.62×39mm: The standard Soviet/ComBloc rifle round from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, this is easily one of the most widely distributed rounds in the world due to the distribution of the ubiquitous Mikhail Kalashnikov, Kalashnikov AK-47 series. * 7.62×51mm NATO: This was the standard NATO rifle round until its replacement by the 5.56×45mm. It is currently the standard NATO sniper rifle and medium machinegun chambering. In the 1950s it was the standard NATO round for rifles, but recoil and weight proved problematic for the new battle rifle designs such as the FN FAL. Standardized commercially as the 308 Winchester. * 7.62×54mmR: The standard Russian rifle round from the 1890s to the mid-1940s. The "R" stands for rimmed. The 7.62×54mmR rifle round is a Russian design dating back to 1891. Originally designed for the Mosin-Nagant rifle, it was used during the late Tsarist era and throughout the Soviet period, in machine guns and rifles such as the SVT-40. The Winchester Model 1895 was also chambered for this cartridge per a contract with the Russian government. It is still in use by the Russian military in the Dragunov and other sniper rifles and some machine guns. The round is colloquially known as the "7.62 Russian". This name sometimes causes people to confusion this round with the "7.62 Soviet" round, which refers to the 7.62 × 39 round used in the SKS and AK-47 rifles. * 32 ACP, 7.65×17mm Browning SR (32 ACP): A very small pistol round. However, this was the predominant Police Service round in Europe until the mid-1970s. The "SR" stands for semi-rimmed, meaning the case rim is slightly larger than case body diameter. * 7.92 x 57mm Mauser, 8×57mm IS: The standard German service rifle round from 1888 to 1945, the 8×57mmIS (aka 8 mm Mauser) has seen wide distribution around the globe through commercial, surplus, and military sales, and is still a popular and commonly used hunting round in most of Europe, partly because of the abundance of affordable hunting rifles in this chambering as well as a broad availability of different hunting, target, and military surplus ammunition available. * 9×19mm Parabellum: Invented for the German military at the turn of the 20th century, the wide distribution of the 9×19mm Parabellum round made it the logical choice for the NATO standard pistol and Submachine gun round. * 9.3×62mm: Very common big game hunting round in Scandinavia along with the 6.5×55mm, where it is used as a very versatile hunting round on anything from small and medium game with lightweight cast lead bullets to the largest European big game with heavy soft point hunting bullets. The 9.3×62mm is also very popular in the rest of Europe for Big game, especially driven Big game hunts due to its effective stopping power on running game. And, it is the single round smaller than the 375 H&H Magnum that has routinely been allowed for legal hunting of dangerous African species. * 12.7×108mm: The 12.7×108mm round is a heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle round used by the Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, and other countries. It is the approximate Russian equivalent of the NATO .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) round. The differences between the two are the bullet shape, the types of powder used, and that the case of the 12.7×108mm is 9 mm longer and marginally more powerful. * 14.5×114mm: The 14.5×114 mm is a heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle round used by the Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, and other countries. Its most common use is in the KPV heavy machine gun found on several Russian Military vehicles.


Snake shot

Snake shot (AKA: bird shot, rat shot and dust shot) refers to
handgun A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automatic pistols, although other handgun-types such as derringers and machine pistols als ...

handgun
and
rifle A rifle is a long-barrelled firearm A firearm is any type of gun A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube ( gun barrel) to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid (e.g. water gu ...

rifle
rounds loaded with small lead shot. Snake shot is generally used for shooting at snakes, rodents, birds, and other Pest (organism), pests at very close range. The most common snake shot cartridge is .22 Long Rifle loaded with #12 shot. From a standard rifle these can produce effective patterns only to a distance of about - but in a smoothbore shotgun this can extend as far as .


Caseless ammunition

Many governments and companies continue to develop caseless ammunition (where the entire case assembly is either consumed when the round fires or whatever remains is ejected with the bullet). So far, none of these have been successful enough to reach the civilian market and gain commercial success. Even within the military market, use is limited. Around 1848, Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company, Sharps introduced a rifle and paper cartridge (containing everything but the primer) system. When new these guns had significant gas leaks at the chamber end, and with use these leaks progressively worsened. This problem plagues caseless cartridge and gun systems to this day. The Daisy V/L, Daisy Heddon VL Single Shot Rifle, which used a caseless round in .22 caliber, was produced by the air gun company, beginning in 1968. Apparently Daisy never considered the gun an actual firearm. In 1969, the ATF ruled it was in fact a firearm, which Daisy was not licensed to produce. Production of the guns and the ammo was discontinued in 1969. They are still available on the secondary market, mainly as collector items, as most owners report that accuracy is not very good. In 1989, Heckler & Koch, a prominent Germany, German firearms manufacturer, began advertising the G11 assault rifle, which shot a 4.73×33 square caseless round. The round was mechanically fired, with an integral primer. In 1993 Voere of Austria began selling a gun and caseless ammunition. Their system used a primer, electronic firing, electronically fired at 17.5 ± 2 volts. The upper and lower limits prevent fire from either stray currents or static electricity. The direct electrical firing eliminates the mechanical delays associated with a striker, reducing lock time and allowing for easier adjustment of the rifle trigger. In both instances, the "case" was molded directly from solid nitrocellulose, which is itself relatively strong and inert. The bullet and primer were glued into the propellant block.


Trounds

The "Tround" ("Triangular Round") was a unique type of cartridge designed in 1958 by David Dardick, for use in specially designed Dardick 1100 and Dardick 1500 open-chamber firearms. As their name suggests, Trounds were triangular in cross-section, and were made of plastic or aluminum, with the cartridge completely encasing the powder and projectile. The Tround design was also produced as a cartridge adaptor, to allow conventional .38 Special and 22 Long Rifle cartridges to be used with the Dardick firearms.


Blank ammunition

A blank is a charged cartridge that does not contain a projectile or alternatively uses a non-metallic (for instance, wooden) projectile that pulverizes when hitting a blank firing adapter. To contain the propellant, the opening where the projectile would normally be located is crimped shut and or it is sealed with some material that disperses rapidly upon leaving the barrel. This sealing material can still potentially cause harm at extremely close range. Actor Jon-Erik Hexum#Death, Jon-Erik Hexum died when he shot himself in the head with a blank, and actor Brandon Lee was famously killed during filming of ''The Crow (1994 film), The Crow'' when a blank fired behind a bullet that was stuck in the bore drove that bullet through his abdomen and into his spine. The gun had not been properly deactivated and a primed case with a bullet instead of a dummy had been used previously. Someone pulled the trigger and the primer drove the bullet silently into the bore. Blanks are used in training, but do not always cause a gun to behave the same as live ammunition does; recoil is always far weaker, and some automatic guns only cycle correctly when the gun is fitted with a blank-firing adaptor to confine gas pressure within the barrel to operate the gas system. Blanks can also be used to launch a rifle grenade, although later systems used a "bullet trap" design that captures a bullet from a conventional round, speeding deployment. This also negates the risk of mistakenly firing a live bullet into the rifle grenade, causing it to instantly explode instead of propelling it forward. Blanks are also used as dedicated launchers for propelling a grappling hook, rope line or flare, or for a training lure for training gun dogs. The power loads used in a variety of nail guns are essentially rimfire blanks.


Dummy rounds

Drill rounds are inert versions of cartridges used for education and practice during military training. Other than the lack of propellant and primer, these are the same size as normal cartridges and will fit into the mechanism of a gun in the same way as a live cartridge does. Because dry-firing (releasing the firing pin with an empty chamber) a gun can sometimes lead to firing pin (striker) damage, dummy rounds termed snap caps are designed to protect centerfire guns from possible damage during "dry-fire" trigger control practices. To distinguish drill rounds and snap-caps from live rounds these are marked distinctively. Several forms of markings are used; e.g. setting colored flutes in the case, drilling holes through the case, coloring the bullet or cartridge, or a combination of these. In the case of centerfire drill rounds the primer will often be absent, its mounting hole in the base is left open. Because these are mechanically identical to live rounds, which are intended to be loaded once, fired and then discarded, drill rounds have a tendency to become significantly worn and damaged with repeated passage through Magazine (firearms), magazines and firing mechanisms, and must be frequently inspected to ensure that these are not so degraded as to be unusable—for example the cases can become torn or misshapen and snag on moving parts, or the bullet can become separated and stay in the breech when the case is ejected.


Mek-Porek

The bright-colored Mek-Porek is an inert cartridge base designed to prevent a live round from being unintentionally chambered, to reduce the chances of an accidental discharge from mechanical or operator failure. An L-shaped flag is visible from the outside, so that the shooter and other people concerned are instantly aware about the situation of the weapon. The Mek-Porek is usually tethered to its weapon by a short string, and can be quickly ejected to make way for a live round if the situation suddenly warrants. This safety device is standard-issue in the Israel Defense Forces.


Snap cap

A snap cap is a device which is shaped like a standard cartridge but contains no primer, propellant or projectile. It is used to ensure that dry firing firearms of certain designs does not cause damage. A small number of rimfire and centerfire firearms of older design should not be test-fired with the chamber empty, as this can lead to weakening or breakage of the firing pin and increased wear to other components in those firearms. In the instance of a rimfire weapon of primitive design, dry firing can also cause deformation of the chamber edge. For this reason some shooters use a snap cap in an attempt to cushion the weapon's firing pin as it moves forward. Some snap caps contain a spring-dampened fake primer, or one made of plastic, or none at all; the springs or plastic absorb force from the firing pin, allowing the user to safely test the function of the firearm action without damaging its components. Snap caps and action-proving dummy rounds also work as a training tool to replace live rounds for loading and unloading drills, as well as training for misfires or other malfunctions, as they function identically to a live "dud" round that has not ignited. Usually one snap-cap is usable for 300 to 400 clicks. After that, due to the hole at the false primer, the firing pin does not reach it.


Eco Friendly cartridges

They are meant to prevent pollution and are mostly biodegradable (metals being the exception) or fully. They are also meant to be used on older guns.https://www.gunsonpegs.com/articles/cartridges/gamebores-groundbreaking-eco-friendly-cartridges?ref=related Cartridges themselves may have also norms on all type of ammo about pollution yet polluting.


See also

* Ammunition * Ammunition box * Antique guns * Handloading * List of handgun cartridges * List of Magnum pistol cartridges * List of rifle cartridges * Nitrocellulose * Percussion cap * Shotgun shell * Snake shot * Table of handgun and rifle cartridges


Notes


References


External links


Cartridge Collectors


{{DEFAULTSORT:Cartridge (Firearms) Ammunition Pistol and rifle cartridges,