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Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war (from the Latin munire, to provide), but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery The purpose of ammunition is predominantly to project force against a selected target
The components of ammunition intended for rifles and munitions may be divided into these categories: Explosive materials and propellants Projectiles of all kinds Cartridges
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm
COMPONENTS OF THE CARTRIDGE:
1. The Projectile or BULLET
2. The CARTRIDGE CASE
3. The PROPELLANT or “Powder”
4. The PRIMER
Propellant (inside cartridge)
“Bullet” refers to the projectile(s) which actually exits the barrel of the gun when fired Bullets vary in shape and composition and can be optimized for minimum time of flight, minimum dispersion, maximum retained kinetic energy, minimum cross wind sensitivity, minimum ballistic drop, maximum penetration, and limiting maximum range
Most types are variations on three main shapes & three basic compositions
Maximum penetration Cheapest shape to manufacture
Easily loads into chambers
Spreads or mushrooms on impact Causes additional damage to target Inhibits penetration
LACERATION AND CRUSHING - Tissue damage through laceration and crushing occurs along the path or "track" through the body that a projectile, or its fragments, may produce. CAVITATION - A "permanent" cavity is caused by the path (track) of the bullet itself with crushing of tissue, whereas a "temporary" cavity is formed by radial stretching around the bullet track from continued acceleration of the medium (air or tissue) in the wake of the bullet, causing the wound cavity to be stretched outward. For projectiles traveling at low velocity the permanent and temporary cavities are nearly the same, but at high velocity and with bullet yaw the temporary cavity becomes larger SHOCK WAVES - Shock waves compress the medium and travel ahead of the bullet, as well as to the sides, but these waves last only a few microseconds and do not cause profound destruction at low velocity. At high velocity, generated shock waves can reach up to 200 atmospheres of pressure The ballistic pressure wave from distant bullet impact can induce a concussive-like effect in humans, causing acute neurological symptoms.
Used exclusively as a practice load Minimizes penetration A wadcutter has a flat or nearly flat front that cuts a very clean hole through the paper target
A semiwadcutter or SWC is a type of allpurpose bullet commonly used in revolvers. The SWC combines features of the wadcutter target bullet and traditional round nosed revolver bullets
Jacketed (Full metal jacket)
Cheap Dense Soft Easy to mold
A lead bullet coated with copper half way up the exposed portion of the bullet Used primarily for hollow points
Copper improves exit velocity
Lead promotes mushrooming
A full metal jacket (or FMJ) is a bullet consisting of a soft core (usually made of lead) encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel or less commonly a steel alloy
It prevents damage to bores from steel or armor-piercing core materials
The cartridge case seals a firing chamber in all directions except down the bore Gases from the burning powder (deflagration) expand the case to seal it against the chamber wall. After the projectile leaves the barrel the pressure drops, allowing the cartridge case to contract slightly easing its removal from the chamber
Energy from the propellant is transferred to the bullet Energy waves from expanding gas push bullet forward. Primer ignites propellant Propellant burns, doesn’t explode Propellant burns from end to end and from outside to inside Rate of gas production is key If produced to fast, acceleration can’t be supported and bullet slows down If produced too slow, the bullet will leave the barrel before the propellant is converted to gas Rate is dependent on: Size Shape Surface coatings
Gunpowder, also known as BLACK POWDER, is a mixture of sulphur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate(saltpetre) Gunpowder is classified as a low explosive because of its relatively slow decomposition rate Powder packed behind a bullet must generate enough pressure to force it from the muzzle at high speed, but not enough to rupture the gun barrel
Velocity is equal to the square root of the mass of the propellant times the “heat evolved per gram of propellant” divided by the mass of the bullet.
When hit with a small force, primer creates a small explosion
This explosion lights propellant creating a large explosion (propels bullet)
The percussion cap is a small cylinder of copper or brass with one closed end. Inside the closed end is a small amount of a shock-sensitive explosive material such as fulminate of mercury. The percussion cap is placed over a hollow metal "nipple" at the rear end of the gun barrel Pulling the trigger releases a hammer which strikes the percussion cap and ignites the explosive primer. The flame travels through the hollow nipple to ignite the main powder charge
Primer located in center of casing base.
Ammunition has primer contained in rim of ammunition casing. Rimfire ammunition limited to low pressure loads. Rimfire cartridges not reloadable.
The inside diameter of the barrel of a firearm is called the caliber The word caliber is used to differentiate bullets according to their diameter and guns by the bullet size they fire. The final number is represented as 1/100th of the actual diameter (inches) So if the diameter is .32 inches, it is a .32 caliber bullet. when spoken, making it “thirty-two caliber".
In Europe bullet calibers are expressed as mm for example, 9mm bullet.
Determination of the nose cone geometrical shape for optimum performance
OGIVE :The profile of this shape is formed by a segment of a circle such that the BULLET body is tangent to the curve of the nose cone at its base; and the base is on the radius of the circle. The popularity of this shape is largely due to the ease of constructing its profile.
The ballistic coefficient (BC) of a body is a measure of its ability to overcome air resistance in flight. It is inversely proportional to the negative acceleration
BCBullets = ballistic coefficient SD = sectional density, SD = mass of bullet in pounds or
kilograms divided by its caliber squared in inches or meters; units are lb/in2 or kg/m2. i = form factor, i = ; (CG ~ 0.5191) CB = Drag coefficient of the bullet CG = Drag coefficient of the G1 model bullet M = Mass of object, lb or kg d = diameter of the object, in or m
A bullet with a high BC will travel farther than one with a low BC since it will retain its velocity better as it flies downrange from the muzzle, will resist the wind better A higher BC results in a flatter trajectory which in turn reduces the effect of errors in estimating the distance to the target
A bullet with a high BC arrives at the target faster and with more energy than one with a low BC.
The effect of a wind on a bullet’s trajectory depends on the speed of the wind and the direction in which it blows HEADWIND TAILWIND CROSSWIND
RIFLING : Rifling is the process of making helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy. Lands
Inside of barrel has hills (lands) and valleys (grooves) Lands and grooves twist down length of gun
ARMOR PIERCING ROUNDS
Tracer ammunition (tracers) are bullets that are built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Ignited by the burning powder, the phosphorus tail burns very brightly, making the projectile visible to the naked eye. This enables the shooter to follow the bullet trajectory relative to the target in order to make corrections to their aim.
The “bullet” part of the shotgun shell can either be tiny pellets or “shell” that spray out or a single “slug”.
Wad (plastic) Propellant (inside cartridge) Primer
Armor Piercing Shell is a type of ammunition designed to penetrate armor and detonate. They are generally used against body armor, vehicle armor, concrete, tanks and other defences, depending on the caliber of the firearms The most widely used armor piercing bullets in the world are made of a HARDENED STEEL, TUNGSTENCARBIDE, OR DEPLETED URANIUM PENETRATOR ENCLOSED WITHIN A SOFTER MATERIAL, SUCH AS COPPER OR ALUMINUM. The depleted uranium rounds, for instance, take advantage of their highdensity material, designed to retain its shape and carry the maximum possible amount of energy as deep as possible into the target.
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