Shooter's Glossary: Ammunition Projectiles

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Shooter's Glossary: Ammunition Projectiles

Ammunition Projectiles refer to the components that are expelled from the firearm's barrel upon firing and are intended to hit a target.

These projectiles play a central role in determining the purpose, performance, and impact of the ammunition.

A fully assembled cartridge has a few key components: the casing or shell, the propellants and primer, and the bullet itself. Contrary to popular belief, the whole round cannot technically be referred to as a bullet.

Ammunition Projectile Breakdown

Here's a further breakdown of Projectiles:

Basic Definition
An ammunition projectile is the forward-facing component of a cartridge (in the case of rifles and handguns) or a shotshell (in the case of shotguns) that is propelled toward a target when the gun is fired.

Types of Ammunition Projectiles

These are typically used in rifles and handguns. They can come in various designs, including:

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
Standard for military use and general target practice, this bullet type has a soft lead core encased in a harder metal shell, usually copper or a copper alloy.

Hollow Point (HP)
Designed to expand upon impact, creating larger wound channels, making them popular for self-defense and hunting.

Soft Point (SP)
These bullets have an exposed lead tip and are designed to expand slower than hollow points, making them suitable for hunting certain game.

Open Tip Match (OTM)
Primarily used for precision shooting, not designed to expand like hollow points.

And various others like frangible, ballistic tip, and boat tail designs.

Used in shotguns, "shot" refers to small pellets that spread out upon firing. They can vary in size and material and are used for different purposes:

Small pellets suitable for bird hunting or clay shooting.

Larger pellets used for larger game or self-defense.

A solid projectile designed for shotguns, providing rifle-like performance.

Specialty Projectiles

Frangible Bullets
Designed to break apart on impact to reduce the risk of over-penetration.

Bullets that emit light or smoke to visualize the projectile's trajectory.

Factors Influencing Choice

Intended Use
Target shooting, self-defense, hunting, and competition shooting all may require different projectile types to optimize performance.

Firearm Compatibility
Not all firearms are designed to handle all types of projectiles. For instance, some rifling might not stabilize certain bullet designs effectively.

Ammo Projectiles

In summary, ammunition projectiles are the heart of any cartridge or shotshell, determining its primary function and performance.

In the shooting sports world, understanding the nuances of different projectiles helps enthusiasts and professionals alike make informed decisions about their ammunition choices.

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Steven Crothers
I'm gonna' show my Ol' Dawg creds here; I'm lost in the current Shotgun Ammo spec. terms re: projectile. I'm familiar with "X" & "XX" [often spoken as "ought" & "Dbl. ought"] as regards the larger shot loads ~> not typically