Yesterday I posted about an event I co-organise with some mates of mine here in Australia; It's an event that revolves around the sport of practical shooting and is focused on probably the cheapest, and arguably one of the most popular, firearms one can buy which is the .22LR. You can see that post here if you are interested.
One of the comments I got related to the size of the .22LR ammunition and what it might be good for; Competition use only or small game. I answered of course, it's a competition round and a small game round, however I couldn't really offer much perspective on the size in comparison to other rounds. (Ammunition.)
What we have above is a selection of some of my ammunition for the firearms I own. I have others but they are all pretty similar in size to these so I figured I'd make it easy on myself and only photograph these.
What we have there from left to right is:
- .50 cal (50 calibre)
- 6.5mm Creedmoor
- .243 (6mm)
- .223 (5.56 Nato)
- Orange Lego (This is not ammunition)
All of the above ammunition is centrefire, except the .22LR which is, of course, rimfire.
Centrefire means that the firing pin strikes the primer in the centre of the base of the round which explodes into the case and ignites the gun powder, the gas produced expands and only has one way to go, down the barrel and out of the muzzle, pushing the projectile before it.
Rimfire uses the same principle except the primer is in the base of the case, on the rim, and so the firing pin strikes the rim of the cartridge and the process goes from there.
It's pretty straight forward and is demonstrated below. The right hand round is a .303 centrefire round and you can see the round primer in the base. The middle is the .22LR, the rimfire round, with no visible primer and the left is the Lego...You will note it has no primer at all...Because it is Lego.
All of these rounds are used for different purposes and I don't really want to get into it as it is extremely complicated as ballistics tends to be. They can be loaded with different powders and powder-weights (it's done by weight, not volume) and have different projectiles (weights, shapes and characteristics) fitted which all do vastly different things. I make my own ammunition so am quite familiar with the process of course and enjoy working up a load for my different needs...It's called load development which I've posted about before.
Essentially though, the 50 calibre round on the extreme left is a military round. It is generally brought to bear on vehicles and can be found in various formats including armour-piercing. It is a brutal round fired from such weapon systems as the awesomely effective M2, M3 and M85 machine guns. You may have seen one in the movies mounted on a tank or some other such vehicle. Snipers sometimes use them too...If they need to disable a vehicle...It will shoot right through the engine block. It has other uses of course but that's not for today.
The .303 is an old round, commonly used in the SMLE .303 rifle extensively used by the British and her dominion countries (like Australia) in World War One and Two. I have one of those rifles (it served in the first World War, I didn't) and so I have the ammunition. I use it too. An excellent hunting round.
I use the 6.5mm Creedmoor as a long range competition round when competing in practical rifle competitions. It shoots out to great distance as has a very flat trajectory. I load develop the round for precision accuracy and so use a projectile to suit however it makes for a lethal hunting round too when configured correctly. Below is my rifle that shoots this round.
The same, as above, goes for the .243 and .308 and I use both for hunting and have competed in long range practical matches with both. The .308 has a trajectory that is far more arced, meaning it sort of lobs into the target, not as flat as the 6.5mm or .243 although it is still effective. It is also a military round used in sniper rifles, machine guns and as primary weapon systems for the infantryman. It's a good, faithful, round. The .243 is my go-to calibre for when I cull on the farm. Great trajectory, fast-moving and imparts a lot of energy into the target. (Faster kill).
The .223/5.56 is also a hunting and military round. It's more lightweight and is very widely used by militaries and hunters around the world. (Not big game though). The difference between the .223 Rem and the 5.56 Nato cartridge is that the 5.56 runs at greater pressure - 58,000psi opposed to 55,000psi. Also, the chamber on a gun running the 5.56 has a longer throat, by .125", which allows for the greater pressure (more powder in the cartridge) and so it has a better performance. Running the 5.56 in a gun chambered for .223 could result in harm to the rifle, the operator, or both, due to the increased pressures. I won't go right into it though; You get the idea.
Where was I? Oh yeah, 9mm. This is a handgun round and the one I run in my CZ Shadow 2 and CZ P09 semi-autos. It is a good all-rounder however many don't feel it packs enough punch. Getting hit in the chest at 50 metres though, well, that'll fuck up your day. I don't want to get into the specifics as I'm not here for calibre-arguments but suffice it to say that it's a great little round and I use it to good effect.
And...The .22LR is next. So cute huh? Lol. This is used for small game like rabbits, foxes, possums, squirrels etc. It's also a great plinking round and I would say about a gazillion cans have felt its caress over the years. It's cheap, as are the guns that fire them generally speaking, and is typically the calibre people transition to as kids when stepping up from the BB gun or slingshot. This round is also used extensively in competition in both handguns and rifles.
Below you can see me holding the .22LR and the 50 cal for size comparison.
Below you can see that the entire .22LR is not even close to just the projectile (the bit that hits the target) of the 50 cal. Getting hit by a .22 would tickle compared to getting hit by the 50 cal. (Lego trying to muscle in on the shot too.)
Lastly...The lego. I used this only for size comparison. It is clearly not ammunition and only an idiot would think it was. But, it can still inflict the most excruciating pain known to mankind. Step on one of these lethal things with bare feet in the middle of the night and you'll know. I've done it. Still in rehab. Lol.
This post is by no means a definitive instructional piece on ammunition or firearms. It is designed only to show a difference is size and use of a few different types. Ballistics and calibre are extremely complicated topics and here I wanted to just touch on a few things. Not even scratching the surface really.
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