Understanding the various types of ammo available on the market is very crucial. Many beginning gun owners put a lot of their time and research into the kind of weapon they are looking for, which is all well and good. I am a firm believer in putting in your due diligence, and never as much so as when it comes to the purchasing of a firearm.
However, most buyers fail to put as much energy into researching the ammunition as they do the firearm. It is a critical decision, once you determine if you want a gun for hunting or personal defense that you select the proper ammunition.
Many beginners tend not to realize that to keep your firearm both safe and optimal in performance is dependent on the use of the proper ammunition. Admittedly, the topic can be both confusing and overwhelming, which is why I am going to simplify it a bit for you.
Terms Of Measurement
When it comes to the type of measurement used with ammunition, the United States market uses a US standard measurement, while most of the rest of the world chooses to use a metric system.
When you see measurement in metric, it is almost always indicating a ratio of diameter to length. For example, if the ammo is stated as 5.56x 45mm, then the ammo is 5.56mm in width and 45mm in length.
Shotguns are measures by a different term referred to as “gauge.” With this type of ammo, the lower the number, the larger the shell is in diameter. As an example, a 12 gauge shell, which is 70mm in length, generally works out to be 2 ½”.
Layout Of The Cartridge
All ammo is comprised of four essential components—that of the case, the primer, the powder (with works as a propellant), and the projectile.
- The case is standardly made of one of three metals—brass, nickel, or steel.
- The primer is the ignition for the propellant, somewhat like the key is to the car. Without an igniter, the ammo would just be a piece of metal which had not function.
- The powder (or propellent) is the gunpowder that is ignited by the primer.
- The projectile is the part of the ammo that is the actual bullet.
As you can see, in every type of ammo, these four components must be present and come together in the “perfect storm” in order to make the ammo “work.”
The types of bullets available vary as do their different purposes. The ammunition industry makes use of acronyms in the naming of the different kinds of ammunition, which are listed below.
- Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
- Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)
- Lead Round Nose (LRN)
- Semi-Jacketed (SJ)
- Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP)
- Semi Wad Cutter (SWC)
- Special (RCBD)
- Wad Cutter (WC)
Along with those listed above are a few other types to be considered.
- Armor Piercing (AP)-features a core that, instead of lead, is composed of alloy.
- Boat Tail (BT)-to provide stabilization of the projectile in flight, the rear end of this ammo is tapered.
- Boat Tail Hollow Point (BTHP)-this ammo features a combination of both the boat tail and hollow point.
- Soft Point (SP)-this bullet features a nose that is exposed lead.
If you feel you are in the market for a weapon, it would be in your best interest to not only research the types of firearms available but the types of ammo as well. Making sure that you have the proper ammo for the appropriate gun and situation could end up saving your life.