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Cartridge Information

This page is for educational purposes to simply learn more about cartridges and the proper components, names, etc. of them.

Although we sell "bullet slices", a cartridge is not a bullet. The phrase "bullet slice" seems to be the name 'Joe Public' gave such items. A projectile (commonly called a "bullet"), is what's fired from the casing when the firing pin/striker of a firearm hits the primer and ignites the propellant inside the case.


Types
There are three basic types of self-contained cartridges which are used by modern-day firearms - included are the components that make up each of those types;

  • Centerfire: Case, Primer, Propellant/powder, Projectile (often called a bullet).
  • Rimfire: Case (with the primer built into the inside edge of the rim), Propellant/powder, Projectile (often called a bullet).
  • Shotshell: Hull, Primer, Propellant/powder, Wad, Shot/Projectile.

Calibers
The following is for centerfire and typically rimfire cartridges.
  • A caliber is determined by the bore diameter of the barrel which the projectile will be shot through.
  • Calibers are measured in English units or metric units.
  • The caliber size is written to the left of the name/brand.

Shotshells, while still using the measurement of the bored diameter, use a different naming system. The bore diameter of a shotgun converts to a shotshell "gauge". A shotshell gauge refers to the number of equal-sized lead balls that can be cast from one pound of lead. So if you divided that pound of lead up into 12 balls (each being 1/12th of a pound), they would fit the diameter used for a 12 gauge barrel. Divide it up into 20 (each 1/20th of a pound), they would fit the diameter used for a 20 gauge barrel, and so on. The .410 is the exception to this. It refers only to the bore diameter. Therefore is it properly called a .410 bore, not a .410 gauge.


The number of cartridges created for firearms is huge! CartCMDR has spent the time to create such a list, which you can find HERE.


Abbreviations
There are lots of abbreviations on cartridge casings, but here is a list to start with:

+P: overpressured
+P+: overpressured max
ACP: Automatic Colt Pistol (same as AUTO - this was a change SAAMI required in 1926)
BMG: Browning Machine Gun
FC: Federal Cartridge
R-P: Remington-Peters

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