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Ballistics, Cartridge, & Ammunition Components P1: Case

Ballistics, Cartridge, & Ammunition Components P1: Case

Ballistics, Cartridge, & Ammunition Components P1: Cartridges

Ballistics, Cartridge, & Ammunition Components P1: Cartridges


Today, I start another series.  I really hope the series are wanted, because it is a good way to deliver a bunch of information in small bites so people can learn and retain the information.  If you don’t like the series set up, then you have to comment, if you want that to change.

This series is titled, “Ballistics, Cartridges, & Ammunition Components” and today I will be discussing the parts of a cartridge.

It is common that people call a cartridge a bullet, or call a case a cartridge and other words used incorrectly.  Do I really care?  No, but there are some ridiculous people out there that will get all up in arms over the fact that you called it a bullet.

I will be fully transparent here.  Even though I know the components of a cartridge, I will still catch myself calling it a bullet.  I think it is unimportant to some degree.  I will never bash someone that is ignorant of the term that is intent on learning more.

It can be helpful to get into the habit of proper names for things when you begin to research more technical information or having more technical conversations.

Let’s get started…

Ballistics, Cartridge, & Ammunition Components P1: Case

Ballistics, Cartridge, & Ammunition Components P1: Case

  • The whole thing, bullet, case, powder and all is called a cartridge.
  • The biggest part of the cartridge is the case.  It is typically the big brass hollow thing that holds your charge.  If you look at the part of a rifle case that goes down in diameter and resembles a bottle neck is called… THE NECK.
  • At the bottom flat part of the case.  There is a small metal circle in the center.  This is the primer and what gets hit to ignite the powder.  The  brass ring around the primer, that usually will have some writing on it, is called the rim.  Some cases will have no primer that you can see, like the .22.  That is because it is called a “rim-fire” cartridge.
  • Also the indention around the bottom of the case is called the cup.
  • Inside the case is housed the powder charge.  Sometimes this is a black powder, or a new smokeless powder.
  • Now, the part of the cartridge that is in the neck of the case.  The infamously misused word… bullet.  The bullet is the shiny copper part that has lead inside it.  It can be pointed on the nose, rounded, or even have a hollow point on it (the nose is drilled out and notched.)  The lead is the weight of the bullet, and the jacket (along with other shape and design characteristics) are a large part of determining penetration of a bullet.  “Full metal jacket” is a term that means that the entire bullet core (the lead) is encased in a copper jacket.  There is no softening of the nose, or tip.  It is all copper and is a very efficient way of getting penetration, which is why it is used by the military to get through body armor.

I think that I just about covered all of it.  If I didn’t cover it, you don’t need it.  Learn the correct words for the parts, not to sound smart or be a jerk, but so you can understand more technical information and to understand what I am talking about in the rest of my posts!

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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