Cartridge (firearms)

A modern round consists of the following:
1. bullet, as the projectile;
2. cartridge case, which holds all parts together;
3. propellant, for example gunpowder or cordite;
4. rim, which provides the extractor on the firearm a place to grip the casing to remove it from the chamber once fired;
5. primer, which ignites the propellant.

A cartridge[1][2] or a round is a type of pre-assembled firearm ammunition packaging a projectile (bullet, shot or slug), a propellant substance (usually either smokeless powder or black powder) and an ignition device (primer) within a metallic, paper, or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the barrel chamber of a breechloading gun, for the practical purpose of convenient transportation and handling during shooting.[3] Although in popular usage the term "bullet" is often informally used to refer to a complete cartridge, it is correctly used only to refer to the projectile.

Cartridges can be categorized by the type of their primers - a small charge of an impact- or electric-sensitive chemical mixture that is located: at the center of the case head (centerfire); inside the rim (rimfire); inside the walls on the fold of the case base that is shaped like a cup (cupfire, now obsolete); in a sideways projection that is shaped like a pin (pinfire, now obsolete); or a lip (lipfire, now obsolete); or in a small nipple-like bulge at the case base (teat-fire, now obsolete). Only the centerfire and rimfire survived mainstream usage today.

Military and commercial producers continue to pursue the goal of caseless ammunition. Some artillery ammunition uses the same cartridge concept as found in small arms. In other cases, the artillery shell is separate from the propellant charge.

A cartridge without a projectile is called a blank; one that is completely inert (contains no active primer and no propellant) is called a dummy; one that failed to ignite and shoot off the projectile is called a dud; and one that ignited but failed to sufficiently push the projectile out of the barrel is called a squib.

  1. ^ "Glossary - SAAMI". Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2021. CARTRIDGE: A single round of ammunition consisting of the case, primer and propellant with or without one or more projectiles. Also applies to a shotshell. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "DEFINITIONS OF C.I.P. TERMS" (PDF). Commission internationale permanente pour l'épreuve des armes à feu portatives. 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2021. Cartridge - Cartouche: A means to fire a propellant charge by means of a percussion device, with or without a projectile, all contained in a case. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Sparano, Vin T. (2000). "Cartridges". The Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia. Macmillan. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-312-26722-3.