Modern hunting bullets fly truer, have higher ballistic coefficients and better terminal performance than ever before. Long gone are the days of your grandfathers hard cast lead bullets that could either pencil hole or blow apart depending on what part of the animal you hit.

Todays high-quality hunting bullets are specially designed to provide a wide array of traits depending on what you need it to do, what kind of game you are hunting, and what kind of rifle you are using.

Follow the category links below to learn more about bullets, cartridges, calibers, reloading, and more.

Bullets and cartridges are two of the most important components of a firearm, because they are what allow it to shoot. A bullet is just the piece of lead or other metal that flies out when you pull the trigger on your gun. The cartridge is the entire assembled round and is one of the most important parts of what makes a rifle work. They aren’t that complicated but it is a good idea to understand the parts that make them and how they work, so let’s take a look at all the different parts!

What Is A Cartridge?

A cartridge is the entire assembled round and one of most important parts in what makes a rifle work. They are made up four different components: The case, bullet, primer, and the gunpowder/black powder which propels it out from your barrel when you pull that trigger!

Many people mistakenly call a round of ammunition a bullet. However, to be technical, the bullet is the actual projectile that is fired from the gun where as the cartridge is the fully assembled round.

What Are The Different Parts Of A Cartridge For?

Bullets are the projectile that is fired from a gun. Primers ignite upon impact from the firing pin, the gunpowder is ignited by the primer which causes it to combust and shoot the bullet out of your barrel! The case holds all these components together while also offering safety for them so there isn’t any risk at combustion time which would cause an explosion.

What Are The Different Types Of Cartridges?

Types include: rifle cartridges, shotgun cartridges, pistol cartridges, rimfire cartridges, and Blanks.

Rifle cartridges include centerfire rounds such as the .30-06 Springfield and 30.378 Weatherby Magnum, these are both high powered rounds for hunting purposes. The term centerfire means that the primer is mounted in the center of the case which provides a smooth and even powder ignition.

Rimfire cartridges are similar, however they do not have a separate primer assembly. Instead, the rim of the case is pinched (crimped) by the firing assembly which then ignites the powder charge. Most rimfire cartridges are significantly smaller and less powerful than their centerfire counterparts.

Shotgun Cartridges are generally much larger bore (caliber) than both rimfire and centerfire rounds and they usually shoot many smaller pellets in a scattered shot rather than one single projectile. You can get shotgun slugs which are a single projectile however, these are not the most common type of shotgun cartridge. Shotgun cartridges cases are also usually made up of two separate components, A metal case that holds the powder and primer and a plastic component that holds the projectiles, unlike a single piece of brass for a centerfire round.

What Are Bullets Made Of?

Bullets can be made with lead, steel, copper, or other metals. Modern hunting bullets often have a lead or lead alloy core which can be coated in copper or similar alloy to protect the softer inner core and provide controlled expansion and terminal performance. Bullets can also be made of a lead alloy with no outer sheath, and are more durable and harder than pure lead, but it’s less dense so the bullets have less mass per volume than solid lead.

What Are The Different Types Of Bullets Used For?

Different bullets have different uses; for example: armor-piercing rounds can pierce through metal or other hard objects while hollow point rounds expand on impact to cause maximum damage.

Modern hunting bullets have very different performance characteristics than traditional older bullets and are designed for maximum expansion while maintaining maximum mass upon impact. They are much better at punching through bone such as a shoulder shot without breaking apart and still expanding through softer tissue to maximize energy transfer to the animal.

What Is Ammunition?

Ammunition is the general term for any type of cartridge or shell that contains a projectile 

Ammunition comes in many different calibers and sizes to fit the firearm it will be used with. The caliber is the measurement of a projectile’s diameter in terms only from its base.

Some typical calibers you will see are .22, 12-gauge shotgun shells and 20mm cannons that fire ordinance for aircraft or other military vehicles such as fighter jets.

How Do I Choose The Best Cartridge For My Next Hunt?

Cartridge choice is a critical decision based upon the type of rifle you use, the animal you want to hunt, and other personal preferences.

Check out our numerous articles linked above to read about many different cartridges, calibers, and specific bullet types to find out which cartridge would be the best for your next hunt!