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A cartridge is a type of ammunition packaging a projectile (bullet, shots or slug), a propellant substance (usually either smokeless powder or black powder) and a primer within a metallic, paper or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the barrel chamber of a breechloading firearm. In popular use, the term "bullet" is often misused to call a complete cartridge, though it technically only refers to the projectile part of the cartridge.
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 of the case base (rimfire, and the now obsolete cupfire), in a sideway projection that is shaped like 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).
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.

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  1. RicInOR

    Sharpen Cartridge Razors?

    Anyone sharpen, or strope, their cartridge razors ( ex Mach 3 or Fusion ) perhaps something like this https://www.amazon.com/RazorPit-Razor-Blade-Sharpener-Black/dp/B004W2UMDW?th=1
  2. D

    Any cartridge collectors in the house?

    I was digging through my rimfire ammo stash, and stumbled across something I forgot I had. It's a 175th Anniversary commemorative tin with 325 rds. of high velocity .22 LR in it. Nice looking collector's tin, Remington green, of course, and is also in the original box. BTW, their 175th...
  3. CountryGent

    Cartridge you wish you got into much earlier?

    The .44 Magnum has inspired this thought. I got into said earlier in the year and wondered why I had not earlier. I can, and have, run everything from delightfully light .44 Specials to hot loaded, wrist-cracking heavy .44 Magnum loads. I've found the factory-loaded 240-grain loads seem like...
  4. No_Regerts

    Cartridge Choice: Military vs You

    I can see why the military chooses the cartridges they do. Cost, weight, weapon design, weapon cost, and somewhere way down the line...performance. What I don’t get is why hunters care what the military carries. In every martial bullet diameter, there is a civilian option that is more...
  5. 2DaMtns

    Cartridge overlap between .22-250, .243, and .25-06

    I have a rifle in each of these chamberings. I feel there is some overlap between the 243 and .22-250, with the .243 being much more versatile. I also feel there is a lot of overlap between the .243 and the .25-06, with the .243 having cheaper ammo, more factory load options (important until I...
  6. Tinker Pearce

    Just Finished- Walker Cartridge Conversion

    Last year I picked up an Armi San Marcos Walker reproduction with a plan to convert it to fire metallic cartridges. You can buy a Kirst converter to fire .45 Colt, and while this is a potent cartridge it seems a little... small for a Walker. I found that others had the same thought. .45 BPM...
  7. jordanka16

    Black powder cartridge

    Anyone else here load and shoot black powder in cartridge rifles? I bought a trapdoor about a year ago and have been enjoying it immensely, and looking for others to add to my collection. If you do, what are some of your favorite techniques? what do you do different than for smokeless?
  8. R

    Where can I dispose used cartridge/shot shell?

    Hello all, I went to wolf creek range few times and after use, I picked up my spent case. It includes brass/metal/Shotshell and almost everything. I am not sure where I can recycle them or dispose them. Any idea? -Thanks Raj
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