Different Types of Bullets

Most of us don’t know much about guns. They all just fire ammunition, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn that there are many different types of bullets. The science behind how they work is actually quite fascinating. The very first bullets were basic lead balls but as the rifle developed, so too did the bullet and it was now possible to have an elongated bullet shape. This is the shape that we are most familiar with. As well as different bullets for different purposes, they can also have different coatings. Here are some of the different bullet base types:

  • Flat Base – This is the most popular type of bullet and it is the easiest and cheapest to manufacture. A flat base bullet is mostly found in hunting rifles and handguns.
  • Boattail Standard – This bullet has a low drag due to its design and the efficiency varies depending on the length, diameter and weight of the individual bullet.
  • Boattail Rebated – These bullets are ideal for long distance range hunting and target shooting thanks to their streamlined design and low drag. Whilst not as effective as the boattail standard, these bullets are simpler to manufacture.
  • Hemispherical – This bullet variety is more commonly found in Europe as hunting ammunition.

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These are some of the bases of commonly used bullets but there are also some unique designs of bullet, such as :

  • Hollowpoint – This is an increasingly popular bullet design which is used in both handguns and lightweight rifle bullets. They are commonly used for rifle hunting competitions as they are lightweight and small calibre which are better for small animal hunting.
  • Full Metal Jacket – These are primarily military bullets used in training, practice and sometimes hunting and competitions too.
  • Softpoint – This is a good all-rounder that is regularly used in hunting due to its versatility.
  • Frangible – This bullet type is designed to break up into tiny fragments on impact. They are made from composite materials and contain no lead.
  • Solid – These bullets can be made completely of one metal or have a lead core surrounded by a metal jacket. Their strength is designed for taking down large or difficult game.

Bullet cartridges are safe until they are fired. When a trigger is pulled, a spring shoots a metal pin into the back end of a cartridge, lighting an explosive charge in the primer. This primer then ignites the propellant which makes up the majority of the inside of a bullet cartridge. Barrels are often coated with PTFE to lower friction between the barrel and the bullet. For more information on PTFE Coating, visit https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/electroless-nickel-plating.

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As the propellant burns, it creates an extremely high volume of gas very quickly and it is this that provides the force to expel the bullet (not the cartridge) from the gun. The bullet leaves the chamber at incredible speeds of up to 1000 feet per second!

Author: Richard Brown

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