Some folks may be surprised to learn that the bullet is actually just one component of the ammunition itself. The bullet, also known as the projectile, is the part that travels down and then out of the barrel. The proper term to use when describing the entire thing, including the bullet, is “cartridge.”
The cartridges are what makes up a box of ammunition that you can then load into your firearm and shoot.
The cartridge consists of the bullet, gun powder, primer, and holding it all together is the cartridge case.
Let’s take a look at each component more in depth.
What is a bullet?
The bullet, also known as projectile, is the part found on the very tip of the cartridge case, and can be pointed, round, flat, hollow, or another shape. The bullet is the part of the ammo that hits the target after it leaves the barrel.
More often than not, the bullet is comprised of a base metal called lead, and is coated with copper or brass. Though they are sometimes made completely of lead or even copper without any coatings. Even less often, they’re made of steel.
Each bullet has an associated weight that plays a direct part in the flight path of the bullet itself, how long it stays flying, how well it bucks the wind, and how much energy transfer takes place upon impact.
What is a cartridge case?
The ammunition case is the hollow part of the cartridge that technically holds everything together. These are usually made out of brass, less commonly made of steel or aluminum.
In the middle of the case is the gun powder. At the front of the case is the opening where the bullet sits. The flat base of the cartridge case is where the primer is installed, waiting for the firing pin or hammer to strike it.
What is gun powder?
The gun powder is the granular part of the cartridge case. The powder is what is responsible for forcing the bullet out of the barrel, after it’s ignited by the primer. It’s a flammable material that causes a combustion inside the cartridge case. That combustion raises the case pressure enough to push the bullet out as fast as it needs to.
The gun powder is not the same as it was when it was first invented. Today’s gun powder is smokeless in type and burns a lot cleaner with controlled burns and is a lot more efficient than the powder of yesteryear.
Each ammunition manufacturer and hand loader measures the gun powder to exact specifications per cartridge to ensure that there isn’t a weak charge that may cause a dangerous squib malfunction (where the bullet obstructs the barrel), or for the cartridge to be over loaded and explode.
What is a cartridge primer
The cartridge primer is the part of gun ammunition that detonates the gun powder inside the cartridge case. The primer is usually struck by the hammer or firing pin after the trigger is pulled. After the hammer or firing pin falls on the cartridge primer, it causes a small spark, igniting the flammable gun powder on the inside the of the cartridge case.
The cartridge primer sits on the back side of the case, opposite of the bullet itself.
There tend to be a few different kinds of primers, with the most popular being boxer or berdan primers.
Rimfire cartridges have the primer on the inside of the rim without any part being visible, whereas the berdan and boxer style primers are a circle on what is known as a centerfire cartridge.
The question of “what are the parts of a bullet,” is false because the bullet is a component in the overall ammunition cartridge case. The above article hopefully addressed your questions about what are the parts of the ammunition cartridge case.
Next, read up on what the letters and numbers on your box of ammo mean.