Reloading Ammo-Bullet Basics Part 2
In part 1 of this 2-part series, we looked at the beginning
forms of bullets as they were used in the first years of shooting. Today, we
are going to look at some of the advancements today’s technology has allowed us
to have in bullet types for reloading
This type of bullet is the most common used in reloading
brass intended for
plinking around, or target practice. Lead bullets are
extremely hard on the rifling of a barrel, as the lead actually scrapes off
inside the rifling as the bullet is fired from the gun. To solve this, jacketed
bullets were invented.
the lead core in a thin sheath of copper so that no lead touches the bore on
the bullet's trip down the barrel was a great innovation. The copper jacket is
usually formed in the shape of a tall cup into which the lead is forced. The
base of the lead bullet can still be seen, but it does not touch the bore. The
front and sides of the bullet are entirely copper clad.
Full Metal Jacket
Also, one of the most used bullet types in reloading brass,
“full metal jacket” describes bullets with no lead exposed at the front.
Interesting to note, the Geneva Convention declared it illegal to use any other
type of bullets in military conflict besides full metal jackets.
FMJ bullets were round nose in shape, but later it was realized that the jacket
made possible truly streamlined bullets that allowed a flatter trajectory and
carried more energy downrange. This dramatically increased the range and
lethality of rifle bullets. FMJ bullets are less expensive to manufacture than
most other jacketed bullets. They are available for use in reloading brass for
many pistols and some rifle calibers and are often used solely for target
practice. They are a reasonable substitute for plain lead bullets for practice, but should never be used to hunt with, due to the lack of lead expansion upon
Soft Point Jacketed Bullets
Point Bullets are bullets that have the base of the bullet covered and the tip
exposed. This allows the lead to expand, making these rounds perfect for
hunting and self-defense reloading brass. Today jacketed expanding bullets come
in all manner of shapes, from flat point and round nose to aerodynamic spire
point and spitzer (pointed) designs. Sometimes the jackets are of uniform
thickness, but often the jacket tapers from thin at the nose (to facilitate
expansion) to heavier toward the base of the bullet (to limit and control the
later stages of expansion).
Jacketed Hollow Point
hollow point, simply a cavity cast or otherwise formed in the lead tip, can
also be used to initiate expansion. Hollow point bullets are particularly
popular in handgun cartridges, which lack the energy of rifle bullets to
initiate expansion at impact. Carefully designed jacketed hollow point (JHP)
pistol bullets can be made to expand reliably at even moderate handgun
velocities. Medium caliber JHP pistol bullets have proven far more lethal than
non-expanding (either hard-cast or FMJ) big bore pistol bullets, a fact that
big bore pistol advocates denied for decades (some still do!). However, there
are also very effective big bore JHP bullets on the market.
For the purpose of reloading brass, these are the basic
types of bullet categories. From these three types, any bullet design imaginable
is possible. Choosing a bullet should be done so based off your shooting needs
and what you wish to accomplish with your reloading brass.