Types of Ammunition

Ammunition can be an intimidating subject if you are not knowledgeable in the firearm department. Selecting the right ammunition for your firearms whether for hunting or personal defense is an important decision. Having the proper ammunition is necessary to keeping your firearm safe while having optimal performance. This topic can be overwhelming and confusing but we have simplified it for you.

Ammunition is general indicated in a measurement. The United States commercial market uses a U.S standard measurement while most of the world uses a metric system. The measurements in metric are almost always a “diameter to length” ratio. For example: 5.56x45mm is 5.56mm wide and 45mm long. Shotshells are measured in “gauge”, with a lower number being a larger in diameter. For Example: A typical 12 gauge shell is 70mm long, which works out to be 2½”.

Parts of a Cartridge

A cartridge is made up of four components: case, primer, powder/propellant, and projectile.

  1. Case
    The case is typically made from brass, nickel, or steel.
  2. Primer
    This is the ignition for the propellent, see the round dimple on the base of the cartridge.
  3. Powder/Propellant
    This is the gunpowder.
  4. Projectile
    This is the only part of the cartridge that is the actual bullet.

Types of Bullets

Bullets come in a variety of types that are used for different purposes. Each bullet is commonly referred to by it’s suffixed acronym making The different types of bullets are listed and pictured below.

  • Lead Round Nose (LRN)
  • Wad Cutter (WC)
  • Semi Wad Cutter (SWC)
  • Semi-Jacketed (SJ)
  • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
  • Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP)
  • Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)
  • Special (RCBD)

Along with the most common bullets there are a few additional types to consider:

Soft Point (SP): The tip of this bullet is exposed lead.
Armor Piercing (AP): The core is composed of alloy instead of lead.
Boat Tail (BT): The rear end of the cartridge is tapered to stabilize the projectile in flight.
Boat Tail Hollow Point (BTHP): This is a combination of the boat tail and hollow point features.

If you are new to owning firearms don’t hesitate to ask questions when purchasing your ammunition. Unless you have a fairly uncommon firearm, it should be simple to get the ammo you need. Just as it’s important to use the right ammunition for your firearms, it’s also important to store your gun in a safe place. For more information on ammunition or gun safes contact GunVault at 800-242-1055 or online.

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