Centerfire and rimfire cartridges for rifles and handguns

There are two types of cartridges: centerfire and rimfire. Their main difference is in the location of the primer. A rimfire cartridge’s primer is inside the rim of its casing base; a centerfire cartridge’s primer is inserted inside its casing base. These cartridges consist of the following parts:

  • Projectile (bullet)

For handguns and rifles, a bullet serves as the projectile. The bullet fits into the top of the cartridge case and is fired through the barrel of the firearm. It is usually made out of lead and may have a copper jacket. The most common hunting bullet types are the pointed soft point, rounded soft point, hollow point and polymer tip.

  • Case

The casing is a metal container which holds all of the components together. The case is usually made of steel, brass or aluminum.

  • Gunpowder

Gunpowder is a high-energy propellant of a specific quantity (charge) that, when ignited, creates a high pressure inside the case. This pressure then sends the bullet or projectile down the firearm’s barrel to exit at the muzzle.

  • Primer

Primer is an explosive compound used to ignite the gunpowder charge.

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