History and Evolution of Bullets

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The history of bullets might surprise you because it actually predates the history of firearms. These olden bullets have been found on the ancient ruins and were fired from handheld catapults and slings. Made out of stones and metal, people used these weapons until 12th century A.D when they found out about the gunpowder. This is where it all started for projectiles as it continues till this modern era. The process of its evolution took many necessary turns as we see the results with our very eyes in present day bullets. Click here to find out more Bullets of xxl-reloading

Early Repetition

As mentioned before, the birth of bullets precedes the makings of firearms. One of the earliest projectile based firearms of human history was a hand cannon, developed around in the late 1200s. This weapon harboured the stone balls as projectiles. Some historians suggest that sling bullets were first used in Athens in the early 4th century B.C, but not became popular among people until matchlock came into existence. The matchlock wooden weapon was widely spread and embraced because of its accuracy and easier use. 

Muzzleloading Bullets

Round musket balls slowly fell behind in the competition with muzzleloading bullets as the bullet manufacturers began experimenting with new designs. Minnie ball and Nesslar ball were the first muzzleloading bullets developed in the mid 1800s and. There were also other muzzleloading bullets going under production, but heavily shadowed by Minnie and Nesslar as they got popular among people.  The Minnie ball was a combination of metal and lead materials which allowed the bullet to expand. The lead Nesslar bullet was also similar to the Minnie ball, but it had just one wide groove running around the skirt. It also made the release action similar; better accuracy with increased range and damage capacity.

Self-contained Cartridge

Even with all the improvements, the guns were still problematic to handle. The self-contained Cartridge was built to solve these problems. It has powder propellant, primer and bullet altogether in a neat case. Cartridge shape designs also increased the performance which allowed quick reloading too. The cartridge was designed specifically to hold the primer at the bottom rim of the base. In order to fire the bullet, the pin has to crush the rim. 

Ballistic Upgrades

As time passed, the core designs of bullets became more and more complex which was necessary in a way. The engineers were determined to solve the bullet’s ballistic flight problem and trajectory of the bullet as it passes through the barrel. A hard metal jacket was often added to the soft lead core because high velocity firearms cause the cast bullets to deform. And also the layer of steel alloy kept the bullets from leaving waste metal in the case.

“Modern” Day cartridges

The first modern day cartridge as we know it was patented in 1846, Paris by Benjamin Houllier. The cartridge was patented in both center-fire and rimfire format and was used in either copper casings and brass casings. From this day, the primary draft of ammunition had become widely popular and agreed upon as the first imitation of .22 short rimfire cartridge was designed for the Smith and Wesson Model 1 revolver. It became so famous that the design of the weapon led to many more imitations. As time passed, though rimfire cartridges are still around, center-fire cartridges have taken the lead since 1900.

Future of Cartridges

It’s not easy to predict the outcomes of events in the future. It might surprise you, but the civilian market of firearms seems to be diverging from military terms. In the battlefield arena, firepower is overpowered by mobility. The military is showing interest in small caliber rounds as it allows them to roam more easily in combat, but civilian firearm practitioners are more concerned about heavy duty calibers. And yet the best is still to come, military research is focusing on lightweight electronic power based blaster rounds which can reshape the world of firearms. We might see it with our very eyes before we die.

Small or heavy, ancient or modern, the projectiles have always served its purpose and continued to satisfy humankind as a useful tool of destruction; to draw blood and to kill. A firearm is never harmful, it can be used for protection. The choices we make is what that defines us, so it’s also upto us that how we use these weapon.0


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