The Basics of Ammunition

Recreation & Sports Blog

Whether you need a firearm for personal defence or for hunting, getting the right ammunition for your firearm is important. Proper ammunition will ensure that your firearm functions properly, and that it is safe to operate. "Ammunition talk" can be confusing, especially if you have little knowledge regarding firearms. To assist you, below are the basics of ammunition:

The four components of a cartridge

Some people usually refer to ammunition as bullets, but this is not the right terminology, because a bullet is actually part of a cartridge, which makes up the ammunition. Cartridges have four main parts:

  • Case: this is the outer container that holds all the other components together. The case is usually made from steel or brass material, while others such as shotshells are made from a combination of plastic and brass.
  • Primer: this part consists of a small but highly explosive chemical compound. The primer is what causes an ignition of the gunpowder. This ignition is achieved when a firing pin strikes the primer.
  • Propellant- also known as the powder or gunpowder, is a chemical mixture, which when ignited will instantly convert into a forcefully expanding gas. Gun powder can be the modern smokeless type or the traditional black powder.
  • The bullet – also known as the projectile, this is the solid object that is fired from a firearm.  

The different kinds of Ammunition

  • Centre fire: in this kind of ammunition, the primer is usually a separate piece located at the centre of the cartridge. Examples of fire arms with centre fire cartridges include most rifles, handguns and shotguns. These types of ammunitions are known to be reliable and have a high tolerance to high pressure.
  • Rim fire: the primer is loaded into the outer edge (rim) of the case. This type of cartridge consists of low pressure and low power. Types of rim fire ammunition include, small calibre rifles and hand guns. These types of ammunition cannot be reloaded.

Types of Bullets

There are many types of bullets you can find at the gun shop, with each being used for a specific purpose. It is common habit to refer to bullets using their suffixed acronym. Here is a list of a few types of bullets:

  • Soft Point (SP)
  • Boat Tail (BT)
  • Armor Piercing(AP)
  • Boat Tail Hollow Point (BTHP)
  • Semi-Jacketed (SJ)
  • Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP)
  • Special (RCBD)

If you are looking into owning a firearm, or already possess one do not hesitate to visit a gun shop and ask about ammunition. This will ensure efficiency and safety. 


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