Gun ammunition manufacturers such as Winchester ammunition and others all have one common goal. To deliver the highest quality compatible bullets for their guns. A huge selection of pistols, rifles, shotguns and automatic weapons use small arms cartridges. Cartridges are better known as bullets. However, it actually refers to the projectile. If you want to get technical the correct terminology should be bullet, primer, case and propellant. The manufacturers make these components separately before assembling into a cartridge. Although there are specifications for size, ignition type, ballistic performance and shape you will find one-of-a-kind cartridges as well.
Pre-19th Century Guns
Prior to the 19th century you loaded guns by pouring powder into a barrel. Then you placed a greasy cloth patch around lead bullets. Lastly, you had to ram the bullet down the barrel. After all this, a flintlock produced a spark which ignited the powder and fired the bullet. You can see for yourself that this was a tedious process often resulting in inaccurate shooting. In the 1800s two men, an American named Hiram Berdan and an Englishman called Colonel Boxer developed a metal case incorporating the primer into the base of cases. This concept is the basis of all modern arms ammunition design until today.
Modern Day Bullets
Bullet manufacturers create today’s bullets out of lead alloy, mostly containing antimony and tin as components as well. Some have thick copper jackets for improved performance. They create cases from aluminum, steel, or brass, with brass being the common type. Most manufacturers make shotgun shells from polypropylene. The propellants vary from modern smokeless powder to black gunpowder. Each are meticulously formulated to ignite and create expanding gas which accelerates bullets down the barrel.
Firearm manufacturers determine the case manufacturing and design, but most use brass alloy for cases. They form cases from annealed sheeting using multiple punch and die sets. Most manufacturers will heat treat and stress relieve. This improves the durability of the cases. The manufacturers will always stamp the cartridge with important information such as manufacturer, caliber, and year of manufacture and munitions codes.
Manufacturers shoot their own cartridges as part or quality control process and programs and record consistency, velocity, reliability, pressure and accuracy. These weapons used by manufacturers are specifically made for this purpose and equipped with data gathering electronics, highly accurate and particular cartridge productions are given lot codes. This enables the tracing and inventory of ammunition in the field as this information as also on the ammunition box as well as the bullet itself.