Shooty 101: bullits* and stuff

Lesson 1: Basic Cartridge Identification

If your haranguing Prog scolder gets that last one wrong, you need not give them any credibility on this subject or any other subject, for that matter, ever again; because they’re just lazily and unquestioningly parroting misinformation they learned from the teeeveee, movies, irresponsible/ignorant/stupid/disingenuous politicians, blatherers, and other ignorance-sucker-uppers.
(What? No, or nor me, neither either neither.)

Exercise #1: Center-Fire Rifle

Exercise #2: Identifying pistol cartridge components based on what we’ve learned above

Here’s a cartridge display I use during training classes. It isn’t current, but it’ll give you an idea of the
relative sizes of the cartridges you’ll normally encounter.
Identify which items are bullets, cases, or cartridges below.

Howdja do? Didja notice that there aren’t any cartridges, just bullets and cases? Goooood!
Recess !

Reading Assignment
Yes, there will be a quiz, but not by me.
Extra credit for the first one to identify the word I used against my own advice in the Exercise-#1 graphic.

* Not to be confused with Bilitis.

Pro tip BTF: »
FIREARMS BALLISTICS is the science of projectile dynamics (the motion of the erstwhile bullet) from the time it starts moving in the chamber until it stops moving. It’s generally broken down into three phases:
• INTERNAL BALLISTICS — interaction with the firearm’s gases, chamber, throat, barrel, and muzzle
• EXTERNAL BALLISTICS — free flight as influenced by muzzle-exit conditions (due to shooter motion, barrel whip, muzzle imperfections, suppressor, muzzle blast, etc.), gravity (plane and spherical); atmospherics (standard, ambient, and changing in flight); projectile geometry (shape, weight, mass distribution, imperfections), spin (stability, gyroscopic effects, rate change with time), Earth’s rotation (coriolis effect), etc.
• TERMINAL BALLISTICS — dynamics while in contact with the target and beyond
… basically, kind’a, sorta.


  1. Ironic in Denver
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm |

    Actually, you could have a hundred bullets (or more!) in your gun if you can figure out how to stuff them in there. So long as there’s no cartridges, there’s no menace.

    Unless, of course, we are talking about whatever you call one of those non-cartridge, loose powder muzzle loaders so popular in the matchlock, flintlock and cap-and-ball era. America fought one of it’s bloodiest wars without much use of cartridges. Perhaps our progressive “friends” are still stuck in technology concepts that were starting to fade 150 years ago?

    As a side note, if I have my Remington cap-and-ball work-alike stuffed with balls instead of bullets, does this count in the progressive banning of things?

    Second side note: although the Walker Colt was about half the size of a Volkswagen Beatle, it did have the virtue of developing velocities that were only exceeded by the introduction of the .357 Magnum… or maybe after.

    (note to everyone: you might want to evaluate whether there should be a lead mold or two in you immediate future, before “bullets” are too difficult to get…. and the stuff to go with them, of course.)

  2. Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

    The most difficult thing for me to get my mind around in scout sniper training, was the Ballistics Physics that:

    Given a perfectly Level trajectory, a “bullet” dropped from your hand, at the same exact moment that a round is fired,….. Both the dropped and the fired hit the earth at the same time………given no obstacles to the fired round.

    Once I got that…….. And got over my instinct for Kaintucky Windage, it was all good.

  3. mech
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

    My curiosity is up for the label blotted out next to the .44 mag

    Good presentation.

  4. Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

    ^^ it’s basically a hollow tip with a plastic insert, gives better ballistic delivery…. Cuz it’s pointy, and still blossoms and fragments…. I think they are illegal in a lot of places……

  5. Ironic in Denver
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm |

    My curiosity is up… My first guess was the non-PC AP, but, having no direct experience, I don’t know … it didn’t look quite like I would have thought. Maybe that flat part is the front of a tungsten carbide core?

    I’m likely just embarrassing myself here, though I have managed that so often it no longer bothers me much.

    By the way Doug, the W-W Silvertip in both 10mm and .44 mag is just awesome as a cougar and/or human stopper*. I could likely send you a sample of each for that board, if you liked.

    * (Though I have no urge to use Silvertips to subdue human cougars. Generally, a glass of nice white wine is better for them.)

  6. Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm |


    Yeah, it is a bit counter-intuitive, until you remember that everything falls at the same rate of acceleration. Mythbusters did an excellent job of confirming this exact thing. So did one of the Apollo teams – one of the astronauts dropped a moon rock and a feather. With no atmospheric resistance, the feather accelerated just as fast as a rock.

    So, which weighs more, a ton of bricks, or a ton of feathers??


  7. Ironic in Denver
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm |

    Wollf: you mean like the Hornady Critical Duty/Defense? I thought of that too, but it doesn’t look quite like I expected for that either….

    Didn’t know that stuff was illegal anywhere. Hard to please lawmakers politicians: first they complain about bullets having hollow-points, then they complain when you fill the hollow-points back up.

    By the way, I see Hornady has announced a Critical Defense round for the M1 carbine, if anyone has one and you can actually get the ammo. Likely a step up from the W-W hollow-points, which was the ammo of choice for defense up till now.

  8. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm |

    mech (3)
    Oops, uploaded the wrong picture. Fixed it. It’s a wad-cutter, but the lighting kind’a makes it look like a Hornady polymer-tipped hollowpoint where the polymer plug keeps the cavity from jamming up with clothing material which sometimes interferes with a hollowpoint spreading properly. It might initiate and control the spread, too; but I’m really up on that. Some hunting bullets use a polymer tip, but I think that’s mainly for good aerodynamics on a meat-smackin’ hollowpoint. Again, don’t really know.

    Ironic (5)
    Yeah, I could use a 10 mm case & bullet and a .44 Silvertip for the display (disassembled, without primer or powder would be legal). Email me and I’ll reply you my POBox address. Thanks! (DougMKisP at

    Wollf (2)
    The scout-sniper thing reminds me that I won’t ask you to “send one.”

    As for the gravity comments, here’s a classic monkey hunter physics demo.
    Aim at the monkey, monkey releases from branch at the same instant he sees the gun fire.
    Don’t buy it? Wellp, physics is nothing if not repeatable.

  9. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm |

    Newbies may also be interested in the Glazer at the top of the 9mm stick. That’s a hollow copper jacket containing rat-shot and a plastic nose. It penetrates into flesh like a solid bullet, but it breaks up into salt-size dust when it hits something solid like drywall. It’s considered safer to use in home/urban environments, since it won’t over-penetrate as a conventional bullet could.

    The frangible bullet just below the Glazer kind’a does the same thing, but it’s filled with sintered metal dust. I think air marshals use that, dunno really.

    Hmm … looks like I need to reorganize that display. It’s kind’a confusing.
    Various bullet types should go on one stick,
    while just one representative jacketed bullet should go with each case,
    rimmed revolver cases together, semi-autos together. Yeah, good.
    (What? Uh, nope, don’t know where the .25/.32 stick went.)

  10. Ironic in Denver
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm |

    ^ 9: I like the Magsafe myself, but I’m not in an environment where there’s about a hundred people crowded around without much of a barrier, so maybe Glazer or whatever is better then.

    ^^ 8: Doug, my inertia bullet puller (or whatever it’s called) is packed away in storage somewhere, I’ll see if I can come across it by the end of the month. Otherwise I have the problem of catching the fired bullet after it’s plowed through who knows how many jugs of water, an event my neighbors aren’t going to like anyway… oh wait, you likely don’t want it expanded anyhow.

    I’ll also look to see if I have a visually interesting .40 bullet as well. Would you like an actual .38 (NOT semi) wadcutter? I found some of those old 148gr target loads in storage and I’m finding them pleasant to shoot in my j-frames. Who knows where I’ll find more then they’re done.

    Footnote: DAMN!!!! First we had to suffer through 8 years of ammo shortages during the Bush Wars, and now, just as it’s over, we get this. There is no worthwhile ammo to be had, and the fucking sellers have all jacked up the price of anything they get by an average of 100% — at least.

    Other footnote: about those Silvertips, for anyone who doesn’t know, the silver is reputed to actually be an aluminum alloy. They are reputed to work great on cougars, coyotes and people, but I do not know of any actual field results on werwolves. I would strongly recommend getting some reliable lab results before trusting your life to them in a werwolf encounter. A cast silver/tin alloy in the .44 mag would be a more certain choice in that circimstance. You can also use cast bullets in the Glock 29 & 30 for the 10mm if you replace the factory barrel with a Lone Wolf barrel (pun intended – hee).

  11. Ironic in Denver
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm |

    (bet Doug though all that to-do about the Unlabeled Bullet was pretty funny)

  12. rickn8or
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm |

    And if you know people that get tripped up on that cartridge/bullet thing there’s this.

  13. mojo
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:23 am |

    1968 Mustang 390 GT


  14. DougM (Progophobe)
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |

    rickn8or (12)
    Yeah! That’s iiiiiiiit !
    I searched high and low for that video.
    As you undoubtedly guessed, the “shooty” thing came from that.

    No sweat.
    For my purposes, the only thing I neeeed to add to that display is the 10mm.
    That’s ’cause I don’t know anybody around here that shoots one.
    Yeah, sure, I could buyyy a box of ammo, but then I’d feel compelled to buy a pistol to shoot it, but that caliber’s not on my wish list.
    Now, if somebody were to give me one for Christmas …

  15. drew458
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:33 am |

    Hur hur hur, you said “tip”. The word you wanted was “meplat”.

    You also left “ogive” off your graphic, whether tangential or secant.

    Overall this is a nice little post, and gives the beginning firearms knowledge seeker about 2% of the information that a seasoned expert will be able to drone on by the hour about. You know, stuff like double bass vs single base powders, extruded vs ball, the 500 or more cartridges that are not listed on that Readin Assignment graphic, the great and noble works of Joeseph Whitworth, why the .45-70 is the world’s most adaptable cartridge, twist rates and surface feet per minute in relation to straight line penetration and mushrooming, and so on.

    Note to non-shooters: did you notice just how tiny the “.223 Rem” cartridge is compared to almost all the others? This is the cartridge fired by those horrible AR15 “assault rifles” that the media always tells you are “high powered”. Compared to nearly all the other cartridges, it isn’t even close. It’s barely even a “medium powered” one really. Barely.

  16. Ironic in Denver
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

    Doug 14: okay, cool. Got that.

    Seems to me you could use a .357 case & Golden Saber bullet to round out that .38 part, though. Don’t know how you teach, just occurred to me that the “.38 fits the .357 but not vice-versa” concept might be well supported by the space on your board, though I expect you would have already done it if you’d thought it worthwhile.