Some words from the ammunition history
The ammunition occurred much later then the first samples of the manual fire arms. The powder and the bullet were put inside the barrel separately and the charge ignition was made from outside as the result of priming combustion – some powder fired by the smouldering fuse or, later, by the sparks from the silicium or pyrite. The searching of the best ways of preliminary charge preparation led to the occurrence of the first cartridges that were a paper bag with a bullet and the certain quantity of the powder inside. Though those cartridges did not have the inflammable adjustment, they made the gun loading more convenient.
The first unitary cartridges were the cartridges for the acicular guns. Unitary means that all the components (powder, powder charge, primer-igniter) are combined as the whole with the help of the case.
It is necessary to say briefly about the bullets for the military weapon – it is so called standard bullet. The arrangement of such bullet is very simple. Usually they consist of the lead core with jacket of more hard metal. But there is an exception – the core can be from any other metal or it can be compound or there can be no any core at all. The first standard bullets for cartridges with smokeless powder were the cylindrical ones with the round off head. In due course there was developed another bullet, more alleviated, sharp-pointed, of so called arched form (from French “Ogival”- pointed). The bullets of such form had better velocity and were able to spread the impact force by the circle at different sides increasing by this its strike effect.
Special bullets, used more often for the machine-guns, are intended mainly for the enemy military technique defeat. Together with the simple aim impact such bullets can have any other special effect. So, for instance, they can be incendiary (filled with inflaming composition), armour-piercing (with very strong, usually steel core), explosive (with the explosive inside). At firing the mentioned above bullets are invisible and for better accuracy providing it is used the aim adjustments. They help to correct the fire and use the tracer bullets that have the track at firing – shining or smoky. Special bullets can also be the combined ones, for example, armour-piercing tracer, armour-piercing incendiary, armour-piercing incendiary tracer. The cartridges with the special bullets have the distinctive peculiarities: the bullet heads have the definite colour. The bullets can be coloured fully or can have the coloured fillet, more often at the case mouth (Pic.1).
Pic.1. Special bullets distinctive peculiarities
All modern cartridges have the marking. Except for the caliber and the cartridge name at the case bottom, it also can be indicated the country or the manufacturer name, cartridge or case production time, case material; cartridge destination; weapon type or weapon model for this caliber.
At cartridges for the military weapon of JSC “Novosibirsk Cartridge Plant” production it is indicated the year production (below) and the manufacturer code (above). (Pic. 2).
Pic.2 The case bottom of the military cartridge
For small arms ammunition it is indicated the caliber and the case length (7,62 x54R), trade mark (LVE) and the year of production (05) (Pic.3).
Pic.3 Case bottom of the hunting cartridge