Category Archives: Guns

7.62x38R Nagant


Developed during 1890s, this cartridge was especially designed for Belgian Nagant revolvers which featured unique gas-seal action. The bullet is seated deep into the cartridge case, and prior to firing the cylinder of the revolver moves forward, so the cartridge mouth enters the barrel to provide gas seal between the cylinder and bore. It was extensively used in Russia and USSR, as well as in Poland.

 Today, this round is obsolete!

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.38 Smith & Wesson (.38 SW)


.38 Smith & Wesson (.38 SW)

Developed by famous company Smith & Wesson, this revolver cartridge was introduced in 1877 and over the following decades it was widely popular for compact revolvers. During WW2, a ‘ball’ (FMJ) version of this round was issued to British troops as .380/200 revolver cartridge. A slightly different version of the same round was also known as the .38 Colt New Police. Today this round is mostly obsolete.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
LRN Remington 9.4 208 205

.38 Smith & Wesson Special (.38 SW Special)


.38 Smith & Wesson Special (.38 SW Special)

This cartridge was introduced in 1902 as a stretched, more powerful version of the older .38 SW cartridge. It quickly became very popular in USA, and during better part of the 20th century it was the most widely used revolver cartridge there, for both civilian and police applications. It was also issued to certain military personnel, most notably to USAF and USN pilots during 1950s and 1960s.
It is still quite popular and is currently produced by many ammunition manufacturers worldwide in a large number of versions, with loadings especially intended for target shooting, practice or self-defense. It must be noted that modern ‘high pressure’ rounds, usually marked with +P suffix, are NOT suitable for older revolvers, designed for standard pressure loadings.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
JHP Remington 7.12 290 299 modern loading
JHP +P High Velocity Federal 8.36 290 346 modern high pressure loading with Hydra Shok bullet
LSWC +P Remington 10.2 270 374 modern high pressure loading

.357 Magnum


.357 Magnum

This round was created in around 1935 as a joint effort between Smith & Wesson and Remington to produce more powerful revolver round for American law enforcement. It caught up from the start and is still extremely popular for most practical purposes – sport shooting, self-defense, hunting. Over the time, quite a few carbines (mostly lever-action type) were also chambered for this round, and few semi-automatic pistols were built to fire it. Today .357 Magnum is produced by many ammunition manufacturers worldwide and in great many loadings.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
Golden Saber JHP Remington 8.1 372 560
Express JHP Remington 8.1 442 792
Hydra-Shok JHP Federal 10.23 378 727
Express SP Remington 10.23 376 723
Express JHP Remington 11.66 350 714 Muzzle velocity shown from long (8″) barrel

.41 Magnum


.41 Magnum

The .41 Magnum was created in 1964 to fill the gap between .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum rounds. This round failed to achieve high popularity of its older magnum-class ‘neighbors’ but still has a strong, although small, following among revolver shooters. It is still produced by several major ammunition manufacturing companies.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
Silvertip JHP Winchester 11.34 380 825
Express JHP Remington 13.6 396 1070

.44 Smith & Wesson Special (.44 Special)


.44 Smith & Wesson Special (.44 Special)

This round was created by Smith & Wesson in 1907 as a stretched-out and more powerful version of the older .44 Russian round. Originally a black-powder number, it was soon converted to smokeless powder and is still produced in this form.

This round is still popular for target shooting and self-defense.

.44 Magnum


.44 Magnum

When first introduced in 1956 as a joint effort between Smith & Wesson and Remington, this revolver round was advertised as a most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. While it is no longer holds this title, being outperformed by a number of monstrous loads of larger caliber, it is still a formidable number, suitable for a number of applications including long-range target shooting, self-defense (especially against dangerous animals) and hunting. Several semi-automatic pistols and carbines (lever-action and semi-automatic) were produced over the years to fire this cartridge. Today it is still manufactured by a number of makers worldwide.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
Express JHP Remington 11.66 490 1409
Hydra-Shok JHP Federal 15.55 360 1006
Core-Lockt JHP Remington 17.82 376 1266

.45 Colt (.45 Long Colt, .45 LC)


.45 Colt (.45 Long Colt, .45 LC)

This is one of the oldest revolver cartridges still in production today. It was introduced in 1873 along with famous Colt Single Action Army revolver, and was adopted by US military. Originally a strictly blackpowder loading, today this round can be found in both blackpowder versions (for old revolvers) and in smokeless loadings for modern revolvers and carbines.
The alternate (and unofficial) designation .45 Long Colt (or .45LC in short) comes from relatively recent times, to distinguish it from another .45caliber military revolver loading of the 1875 era, the .45 Shofield, which featured shorter case and lighter charge.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
LRN 16.2 274 610 original black powder load of 1873
Silvertip JHP Winchester 14.58 280 575 modern smokeless load
Express LRN Remington 16.2 262 558 modern smokeless load

.500 Smith & Wesson Magnum


.500 Smith & Wesson Magnum

The .500 SW Magnum is most recent and most monstrous revolver magnum-class round. It is chambered in specially designed S&W X-frame revolvers and several carbines. The most obvious purposes for this round are hunting and protection from large and dangerous animals such as grizzly bears.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
JHP Corbon 22.68 488 2700
LRN Corbon 28.5 495 3500

.455 Webley


.455 Webley

The .455 Webley Mk.I ammunition was adopted by British army in 1887. With introduction of the cordite propellant this round was changed to .455 Mk.II with slightly longer case, which was also used for latter versions (Mk.III to Mk.V), which featured different bullets. All .455 revolver ammunition was officially declared obsolete by British military in around 1950. Some manufacturers still produce this ammunition for older guns, although no new guns were made for these loadings for quite some time.
Designation Manufacturer Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
.455 Mk.I 17.7 213 390 original black powder load
.455 Mk.II 17.2 177 268 original cordite loading of WW1 era
.455 Mk.II Fiocci 16.9 259 566 modern commercial loading

5.45×39 Soviet


5.45×39 Soviet

This cartridge was originally developed during late 1960s as a direct rival to the US 5.56×45 M193 carttridge then in use by US Army. Originally it featured a long, low-drag bullet with mild steel core and a hollow cavity in the nose to provide optimum balance, and a laquered steel case. This version was adopted in 1974 and oficially designated in USSR as 5.45mm 7N6. Later on, this cartridge was generally replaced in production in Russia by 7N10 ammunition, which has improved penetration thanks to harder steel core. Other bullet types in the 5.45×39 range of military ammunition include tracers, armor piercing and subsonic cartridges (for use by Spetsnaz troops in silenced AKS-74UB compact assault rifles).
The 5.45×39 is still a general issue caliber in the Russian military and a few of other ex-USSR republics. In most other the ex-Warsaw pact countries this caliber was gradually replaced in service with 5.56×45 NATO ammunition and appropriate weapons.
Designation Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
5.45×39 7N6 3.43 880 1328 bullet with mild steel core
5.45×39 7N10 3.62 880 1400 bullet with enhanced penetration
5.45×39 7N22 3.68 890 1430 armor-piercing bullet with hardened steel core
5.45×39 7U1 5.2 303 239 subsonic, for use with silenced AKS-74UB compact rifle only

5.56×45


5.56×45

The story of this cartridge begins in around 1950, when US Army initiated the study in small arms effectiveness, that culminated in famous ORO reports by Hall (An Effectiveness Study of the Infantry Rifle) and Hitchman (Operational Requirements for an Infantry Hand Weapon). Among other conclusions, these reports called for weapon with effective range of about 300 yards, with controlled pattern dispersion of hits in bursts, to improve hit probability. One of proposed solutions was to create burst-firing small-caliber weapon firing conventional projectile. In 1952, an M2 carbine re-barreled to experimental .22 caliber round (based on shortened .222 Rem case) was studied and found promising. Various other rounds with .22 caliber projectiles, based on .30-06 and T67 (.30 / 7.62 NATO) were tseted as well. In 1957, the Armalite Ar-15 rifle, firing the newly developed .222 remington Special cartridge was tested, and in 1959 the .222 Special cartridge, developed to fulfill new military requrements for 500 meters effective fire, was renamed to .223 Remington (as a commercial offering). In 1961 US Air Force and ARPA requested a number of .223 caliber Ar-15 rifles, and military service of the new round commences in early 1962, when US AF standartised Ar-15 rifle as M16. US Army adopted the .223 cartridge as 5.56x45mm in 1963, and Remington commercially introduced the .223 as a hunting round in 1964.
Following the problems with 7.62mm M14 rifle and protracted delays with SPIW program, the M16 rifle and its .223 caliber (5.56×45) ammunition was adopted as a next US Military infantry rifle system. After much field use in Vietnam and elsewhere, and extensive trials, an updated version of the .223 cartridge, loaded with heavier SS109 bullet of Belgian design, was officially adopted in 1979 as a new NATO round, known as 5.56×45 NATO. Recent issues with insufficient stopping power of M855 5.56mm NATO ammunition in Iraq and Afghanistan (especially when firing from short-barreled carbines) resulted in development of an even heavier loading, the Mk.262, with bullet of enhanced ballistic and striking performance. Many other types of projectiles also available for this caliber in ‘military’ versions, ranging from blank and short-range tpractice and up to armour-piercing and tracer. The variety of civilian versions (intended for small-game hunting, plinking, target shooting and self-defense) is almost infinite, and this round is produced in many countries. Great many weapons, both military and civilian, are available for this caliber.
Designation Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
5.56×45 M193 3.5 991 1750 from standard assault rifle barrel (20″)
5.56×45 M885 4.15 930 1790 from standard assault rifle barrel (20″)
5.56×45 M885 4.15 880 1600 from carbine barrel (14″)
5.56×45 Mk.262 5 895 2000 from standard assault rifle barrel (20″)
5.56×45 Mk.262 5 772 1490 from carbine barrel (13″)

5.8×42 DAP-87


5.8×42 DAP-87

This is a relatively new cartridge, developed by Chinese experts during mid- to late 1980s. Today it is a main infantry cartridge in the PLA, which is chambered in assault rifles, light and universal machine guns and sniper rifles. For latter applications (machine guns and sniping) a long-range version was developed that features heavier bullet and higher pressure load. It is believed that this long range version might replace standard version as a general issue ammunition, which apparently displayed unsatisfactory medium- and long-range performance in PLA use.
Designation Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
5.8×42 DAP-87 4.15 790 1290 standard military ball bullet from carbine barrel
5.8×42 DAP-87 4.15 930 1790 standard military ball bullet from standard assult rifle barrel
5.8×42 DAP-87 5 895 2000 heavy ball from machine gun or sniper rifle barrel

6.5 Grendel (6.5×39)


6.5 Grendel (6.5×39)

This cartridge was developed in around 2002 to provide Ar-15 type rifles with long-range capabilities and terminal effectiveness that are generally not possible with standard 5.56 mm / .223 ammunition. The 6.5 Grendel is based on .220 PPC cartridge, developed for shooting matches, which in turn is based on Soviet 7.62×39 catridge case. The 6.5 Grendel provides longer range and better terminal effectiveness over the 5.56×45, thanks to heavier bullets with better balistics. The price for this improvement is somewhat stronger recoil (although it’s still noticeably less than that of 7.62×51 / .308), and decreased magazine capacity (due to a larger diameter case). The 6.5 Grendel is viewed by many as an ‘ideal compromise’ assault rifle round, although today its practical use is limited mostly to civilian applications (hunting, target shooting, self-defense). This cartridge is manufactured in USA and Serbia, and weapons for it produced mostly in USA.
Designation Bullet weight, g Muzzle velocity, m/s Muzzle energy, J Comments
6.5 Grendel 5.8 880 2250 Speer TNT bullet
6.5 Grendel 8.0 820 2600 Sierra MK bullet