Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics Section


Below is a list of modern firearm cartridges that are used in the handguns found in our database. Some of these cartridges are were actually designed for use in rifles, but many handguns in our database have variants that are chambered for rifle cartridges. As such, those cartirdges are also included in our list.

Common Handgun Cartridges

.22 Short Introduced: 1857
.22 Short
This cartridge holds the record for being in continuous production longer than any other commercial cartridge. It began in the black-powder era when it was introduced with Smith & Wesson's First Model revolver. At the time it was intended as a self defense round, but today its in the category of small varmint shooting and short-range gallery plinking.
Case Type:Rimfire, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:0.686in Muzzle Velocities:from560to1164ft/sec
Case Length:0.423in Muzzle Energies:from20to83ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.225in Bullet Weights:from27to29gr
Bullet Diameter:0.223in
More Info
.17 HM2 (.17 Mach II) Introduced: 2004
.17 HM2
This cartridge is based on a .22 caliber LR rimfire case that is necked down to seat a 17 grain, .17 caliber Hornady V-Max bullet. Although the overall length of the .17 Mach 2 is the same as the .22 LR, the necked portion of the casing is extended to support the smaller projectile. Keeping the overall size the same as the .22 LR made it easier for manufacturers to re-tool .22 caliber rimfire guns to the new .17 Mach 2 cartridge. This is a lightweight supersonic varmint round that, as its name indicates, travels almost twice the speed of sound. Its speed and weight provide a near-flat trajectory to 100 yards, but past that distance it looses effective energy.
Case Type:Rimfire, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1in Muzzle Velocities:from2010to2100ft/sec
Case Length:0.714in Muzzle Energies:from152to166ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.226in Bullet Weights:from17to17gr
Bullet Diameter:0.172in
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.25 Automatic (6.35mm Browning) Introduced: 1908
.25 Automatic
This cartridge was introduced in the United States along with the Browning-designed, Colt manufactured 'Vest Pocket' pistol. Also referred to as the 6.35mm Browning, this semi-rimmed centerfire cartridge has fairly high velocity for such a small size. However, the energy it delivers at any range is quite low. This, combined with the full metal jacketed bullet, adds up to a very poor stopping or killing power on anything. The .25 ACP is not powerful enough for hunting anything but pests, nor is it adequate for serious self defense. However, the .25 auto caliber pistols are popular because of their small size and low cost.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:0.91in Muzzle Velocities:from750to900ft/sec
Case Length:0.615in Muzzle Energies:from62to73ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.278in Bullet Weights:from35to50gr
Bullet Diameter:0.251in
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.25 NAA (.25 North American Arms) Introduced: 2002
.25 NAA
The .25 NAA was introduced by North American Arms company for their Guardian model pistol. It is simply the .32 ACP necked down to accept .251"" diameter bullets. Its performance is very similar to the .32 ACP cartridge.
Case Type:Semi-rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.03in Muzzle Velocities:from1050to1200ft/sec
Case Length:0.68in Muzzle Energies:from86to112ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.337in Bullet Weights:from35to35gr
Bullet Diameter:0.251in
More Info
.17 HMR (.17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire) Introduced: 2002
.17 HMR
This cartridge is based on a .22 Magnum (WMR) rimfire case that is necked down to seat a 17 grain, .17 caliber Hornady V-Max bullet. As done with the .17 Mach 2, the .17 HMR is sized such that manufacturers can easily re-tool .22 WMR gun designs to the new .17 HMR cartridge. This is a supersonic varmint round that travels over twice the speed of sound with near flat trajectory to 100 yards. The larger cartridge and load gives the .17 HMR more than 1-1/2 times the energy at 100 yards than the smaller .17 Mach 2.
Case Type:Rimfire, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.349in Muzzle Velocities:from1966to2375ft/sec
Case Length:1.06in Muzzle Energies:from146to250ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.238in Bullet Weights:from17to20gr
Bullet Diameter:0.172in
More Info
.22 LR (.22 Long Rifle) Introduced: 1887
.22 LR
The Stevens Arms Co. developed the .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge from the .22 Long cartridge case developed 16 years earlier, with a 40 grain round nose bullet loaded to a higher velocity than the older 29 grain .22 Long bullet. Modern .22 Long Rifle High Velocity cartridges drive a 40 grain copper-plated bullet at a muzzle velocity of 1255 fps and muzzle energy of 140 ft-lbs from a rifle barrel. This rimfire cartridge has become the most popular sporting and target shooting cartridge in the world.
Case Type:Rimfire, straight
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:0.975in Muzzle Velocities:from1050to1435ft/sec
Case Length:0.6in Muzzle Energies:from98to191ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.226in Bullet Weights:from32to40gr
Bullet Diameter:0.223in
More Info
.32 Automatic (7.65mm Browning) Introduced: 1899
.32 Automatic
Initially introduced in europe, this semi-rimmed centerfire cartridge came to the United States when Colt introduced its 'Pocket Model' semiautomatic pistol. Like the .25 ACP, the .32 ACP is considered by many as too weak to be an effective self-defense round. But it has been an extremely popular caliber, notably by the fact that practically all minor and major manufacturers of autoloading handguns in the world have built millions of small pocket autoloaders in .32 Auto.
Case Type:Semi-rimmed, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.03in Muzzle Velocities:from800to980ft/sec
Case Length:0.68in Muzzle Energies:from100to130ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.337in Bullet Weights:from60to71gr
Bullet Diameter:0.309in
More Info
.22 Magnum (.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR)) Introduced: 1959
.22 Magnum
This cartridge pushes the limits of pressure possible with a rimfire case. Also referred to as the .22 WMR, the .22 Magnum was initially offered with 40 grain FMJ and JHP bullets at an advertised muzzle velocity of 2000 fps from a rifle barrel and 1550 fps from a pistol barrel. Due to the high supersonic velocity, .22 WMR cartridges are loaded with jacketed bullets. The various 30-40 grain JHP bullets are best for varmint hunting, but are overly destructive on small game.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.35in Muzzle Velocities:from1875to2200ft/sec
Case Length:1.052in Muzzle Energies:from312to324ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.241in Bullet Weights:from30to40gr
Bullet Diameter:0.224in
More Info
.32 S&W Long (.32 Smith & Wesson Long) Introduced: 1896
.32 S&W Long
This cartridge was developed for the Smith & Wesson First Model solid-frame hand-ejector revolver. The cartridge is known for its high accuracy and light recoil. It is considered by many as the smallest revolver cartridge deemed adequate for defense use.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.27in Muzzle Velocities:from680to837ft/sec
Case Length:0.93in Muzzle Energies:from102to154ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.335in Bullet Weights:from83to100gr
Bullet Diameter:0.312in
More Info
5.7x28mm FN Introduced: 1989
5.7x28mm FN
This cartridge was developed by Belgium gunmaker Fabrique Nationale for its new personal defense gun, the P90 and its companion pistol, the FN Five-Seven. The military armor-piercing variant of the round is claimed to be far superior to the NATO standard 9mm cartridge. The civilian variants of this cartridge are not available with armor-piercing bullets, and as such have a much weaker performance, closer to that of the .22 WMR (.22 Magnum).
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.71in Muzzle Velocities:from1890to2790ft/sec
Case Length:1.13in Muzzle Energies:from222to538ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.31in Bullet Weights:from23to40gr
Bullet Diameter:0.22in
More Info
.32 NAA (.32 North American Arms) Introduced: 2002
.32 NAA
This cartridge is basically a .380 ACP case necked down to house a 32-caliber bullet. In 2002 North American Arms offered this chambering in its Guardian mini-pistol product line. The cartridge uses a proprietary bullet designed by Hornady. It is touted by its developer to have performance better than or equal to the .380 ACP cartridge, with less recoil.
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:0.98in Muzzle Velocities:from1222to1222ft/sec
Case Length:0.68in Muzzle Energies:from199to199ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.373in Bullet Weights:from60to60gr
Bullet Diameter:0.312in
More Info
.22 TCM (.22 Tuason-Craig Micromagnum) Introduced: 2011
.22 TCM
The .22 TCM is a proprietary cartridge developed by Fred Craig and Rock Island Armory. It is a bottlenecked cartridge, similar in case capacity, general shape, and performance to the 5.7x28 FN cartridge.
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.265in Muzzle Velocities:from1875to1875ft/sec
Case Length:1.025in Muzzle Energies:from312to312ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.372in Bullet Weights:from40to40gr
Bullet Diameter:0.224in
More Info
9x18mm Makarov () Introduced: 1948
9x18mm Makarov
This is the current Russian military cartridge used in the Makarov and Stechkin auto pistols. It was adopted shortly after the end of World War II, and its design was probably inspired by an experimental German cartridge called the 9mm Ultra. This cartridge is intermediate in size and power, between the .380 Automatic and the 9mm Parabellum. It is a well-designed cartridge for its purpose, although a little underpowered by Western standards.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:0.97in Muzzle Velocities:from977to1060ft/sec
Case Length:0.71in Muzzle Energies:from173to237ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.389in Bullet Weights:from90to100gr
Bullet Diameter:0.363in
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.380 Automatic (9mm Browning Short) Introduced: 1912
.380 Automatic
Designed by John Browning and introduced by Fabrique Nationale of Belgium, this cartridge has achieved world-wide acceptance and has even been adopted as the standard pistol cartridge by several governments. One reason for the round's success is that it is the largest practical cartridge that can be easily adapted to small automatic pocket pistols. Ballistics fall far short of even the 9mm Luger, but still prove adequate for most self-defense situations. The round has established quite a niche position in this role, often being chosen over more traditional small calibers such as the .25 and .32 Autos.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:0.98in Muzzle Velocities:from900to1050ft/sec
Case Length:0.68in Muzzle Energies:from168to220ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.373in Bullet Weights:from88to115gr
Bullet Diameter:0.356in
More Info
.32 H&R Magnum (.32 Harrington & Richardson Magnum) Introduced: 1984
.32 H&R Magnum
This cartridge was the result of a joint project between Harrington & Richardson and Federal Cartridge Company. It was introduced in 1984 for the five-shot H&R Model 504, 532 and 586 revolvers. The cartridge is simply the older 32 Smith & Wesson Long case lengthened by 0.155 inch. Therefore, any 32 Magnum revolver will also accept and fire both the .32 S&W and the .32S&W Long cartridges. The .32 H&R Magnum cartridge performance level is well above that of any other 32-caliber handgun cartridge currently available.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.35in Muzzle Velocities:from1030to1100ft/sec
Case Length:1.08in Muzzle Energies:from225to230ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.333in Bullet Weights:from85to95gr
Bullet Diameter:0.312in
More Info
.22 Hornet (5.6x36Rmm) Introduced: 1930
.22 Hornet
This cartridge is the oldest of the centerfire .22 calibers in use today. It was developed from an old black-powder cartridge called the .22 Winchester Center Fire. Although not quite as powerful as the .218 Bee, the .22 Hornet has begun to acquire new popularity as a varmint round. It has a mixed reputation for accuracy and its range is limited to about 200 yards.
Case Type:Rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.72in Muzzle Velocities:from2346to2690ft/sec
Case Length:1.4in Muzzle Energies:from550to723ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.294in Bullet Weights:from45to45gr
Bullet Diameter:0.223in
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7.62x25mm Tokarev Introduced: 1930
7.62x25mm Tokarev
This was the official Soviet pistol cartridge adopted in 1930 for the Tokarev Model TT-30 and modified Model TT-33 automatic pistols. The cartridge is very similar in dimension to the 7.63mm Mauser cartridge. Most brands of Mauser ammunition can be fired in the Tokerev pistol. The 7.62mm Tokarev is a fair cartridge with good velocity and flat trajectory but needs softpoint bullets for maximum effectiveness.
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.35in Muzzle Velocities:from1230to1390ft/sec
Case Length:0.97in Muzzle Energies:from290to365ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.38in Bullet Weights:from85to90gr
Bullet Diameter:0.307in
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.32-20 Winchester (.32-20 WCF) Introduced: 1882
.32-20 Winchester
Although originally designed for the Winchester Model 73 lever-action rifle, the 32-30 became very popular as a revolver cartridge in its time. Now, the cartridge is in a semi-obsolete status, having been replaced by the likes of the .32 H&R Magnum and the .357 Magnum rounds for for performance in a revolver.
Case Type:Rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.592in Muzzle Velocities:from1210to1210ft/sec
Case Length:1.32in Muzzle Energies:from325to325ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.353in Bullet Weights:from100to100gr
Bullet Diameter:0.312in
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.218 BEE Introduced: 1938
.218 BEE
Introduced by Winchester, the .218 BEE was originally developed for the Model 65 lever-action rifle. Today Ruger, Marlin, Thompson/Center and Browning chamber guns for this cartridge. The cartridge design is based on a .32-20 case necked-down to .22 caliber. The larger case provides a somewhat greater powder capacity and as such, a higher velocity and greater effective range than the .22 Hornet. While still an effective cartridge, the .218 BEE has been largely displaced by the .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington.
Case Type:Rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.68in Muzzle Velocities:from2500to2800ft/sec
Case Length:1.35in Muzzle Energies:from697to763ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.349in Bullet Weights:from40to50gr
Bullet Diameter:0.224in
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.38 Special (.38 Smith & Wesson Special) Introduced: 1902
.38 Special
Developed by Smith & Wesson and introduced along with its Military & Police Model revolver in 1902, this was originally a military cartridge intended to replace the unsatisfactory .38 Long Colt then in use by the Army. Colt brought out its own version of the .38 Special in 1909, which differs from the original only in bullet shape, being a flat-point style. The .38 Special is considered one of the best-balanced, all-round handgun cartridges ever designed. It is also one of the most accurate and very widely used for match shooting.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.55in Muzzle Velocities:from710to1250ft/sec
Case Length:1.16in Muzzle Energies:from166to382ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.379in Bullet Weights:from110to158gr
Bullet Diameter:0.357in
More Info
9mm Luger (9mm Parabellum) Introduced: 1902
9mm Luger
This cartridge was introduced along with the Luger semi-automatic pistol. The pistol and cartridge was first adopted by the German Navy in 1904 and then by the German Army in 1908. This cartridge has since been adopted by the military of practically every non-Communist power. It has become the most popular and widely-used handgun cartridge in the world. Performance wise, the 9mm cartridge has somewhat more power than the .38 Special but falls well short of the .357 Magnum.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.16in Muzzle Velocities:from985to1500ft/sec
Case Length:0.754in Muzzle Energies:from294to450ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.392in Bullet Weights:from90to147gr
Bullet Diameter:0.355in
More Info
.327 Federal Magnum Introduced: 2008
.327 Federal Magnum
The .327 Federal Magnum is a new cartridge introduced by Sturm, Ruger and Federal Cartridge, intended to provide the power of a .357 Magnum in six shot, compact revolvers, whose cylinders only hold 5 rounds of the larger .357 Magnum cartridge. The .327 Federal provides performance similar to the high velocity rifle loadings of the old .32-20 Winchester, though in much shorter barrel.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.47in Muzzle Velocities:from1300to1500ft/sec
Case Length:1.2in Muzzle Energies:from334to500ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.333in Bullet Weights:from85to115gr
Bullet Diameter:0.312in
More Info
9x21mm (9mm IMI) Introduced: 1985
9x21mm
In many countries such as Italy, Mexico and France, it is illegal for private citizens to own handguns in military chamberings such as the NATO 9mm Luger. Israel Military Industries designed the 9x21mm cartridge for those markets. Based on the 9x19mm Luger cartridge, the casing was lengthened from 19mm to 21mm. The bullet sits slightly deeper in the casing, which results in almost the same overall length as the 9x19mm Luger cartridge. While not physically interchangeable, the 9x21mm is the ballistic equal of the 9mm Luger.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.16in Muzzle Velocities:from1090to1300ft/sec
Case Length:0.83in Muzzle Energies:from380to420ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.392in Bullet Weights:from115to147gr
Bullet Diameter:0.355in
More Info
.38 Super Automatic (.38 Super Auto Colt) Introduced: 1929
.38 Super Automatic
Introduced by Colt as an improved version of the older .38 Auto, the Super Auto is identical to the original cartridge except that it uses a more powerful loading. For many years this cartridge was considered the most powerful automatic pistol cartridge made in the US from the standpoint of both velocity and energy. It can give greater penetration than the .45 Auto cartridge, bit is inferior to the .45 Auto in actual stopping power for defense use.
Case Type:Semi-rimmed, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.28in Muzzle Velocities:from1148to1557ft/sec
Case Length:0.9in Muzzle Energies:from368to500ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.383in Bullet Weights:from90to150gr
Bullet Diameter:0.358in
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357 SIG Introduced: 1994
357 SIG
The 357 SIG cartridge was developed by SIGARMS in partnership with Federal Cartridge.The cartridge uses a bottlenecked .40 S&W casing crimped to a 9mm bullet. This is why the 357 SIG is not written as '.357', as it is not truly a .357 caliber bullet, but is instead a standard 9mm bullet (.3550 in). The 357 SIG design is an attempt to create a cartridge with stopping power that would approach the larger .357 Magnum revolver round, but in a smaller package that can fit comfortably in the grip of a semi-automatic weapon. Despite the manufacturer's claims, it is not quite as powerful as an actual .357 Magnum, but it exceeds the power of a .40 S&W cartridge.
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.14in Muzzle Velocities:from1130to1500ft/sec
Case Length:0.865in Muzzle Energies:from410to575ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.425in Bullet Weights:from115to150gr
Bullet Diameter:0.357in
More Info
.40 S&W (.40 Smith & Wesson Auto) Introduced: 1990
.40 S&W
This cartridge was developed as a joint venture between Winchester and Smith & Wesson. It was an effort to to create a cartridge with the same power as the 10mm Norma round that the FBI had just started using, but in a shorter case. The shorter cartridge would facilitate accuracy and allow use of a smaller, more comfortable grip frame. The .40 S&W has become the cartridge of choice for many law enforcement agencies in the United States.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.135in Muzzle Velocities:from985to1325ft/sec
Case Length:0.85in Muzzle Energies:from355to500ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.423in Bullet Weights:from135to180gr
Bullet Diameter:0.4in
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.223 Remington (5.56x45 mm NATO) Introduced: 1957
.223 Remington
The 223 Remington was developed as an experimental military cartridge for the Armalite AR-15 assault rifle. It is now a US military standard as well as an extremely popular commercial sporting round. The cartridge is nearly identical to the 222 Remington Magnum with the only difference being a slightly shorter case. Classified as a long range centerfire 22 round, its velocity is still supersonic at 500 yards. Note that while the military version (5.56x45mm NATO) is dimensionally the same, its higher pressure loads may be unsafe in civilian guns designated only for the .223 cartridge.
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:2.1in Muzzle Velocities:from2790to3800ft/sec
Case Length:1.76in Muzzle Energies:from1140to1296ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.373in Bullet Weights:from47to75gr
Bullet Diameter:0.224in
More Info
.44 S&W Special (.44 Smith & Wesson Special) Introduced: 1907
.44 S&W Special
This is one of the first generation pistol cartridges designed to use smokeless powder. Its performance is modest compared to the .44 Remington Magnum but is very potent compared to the .38 special. The .44 S&W Special round can be fired in modern revolvers chambered for the .44 Remington Magnum.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.62in Muzzle Velocities:from755to1150ft/sec
Case Length:1.16in Muzzle Energies:from310to485ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.457in Bullet Weights:from165to246gr
Bullet Diameter:0.429in
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.357 Magnum (.357 Smith & Wesson Magnum) Introduced: 1934
.357 Magnum
Smith & Wesson introduced this cartridge for its heavy-frame revolver. Ammunition was developed by Winchester in cooperation with Smith & Wesson. Using a lengthened and strengthened version of the .38 Special case, the .357 Magnum was rapidly accepted by hunters and law enforcement. At the time of its introduction, it was claimed to easily pierce the body panels of automobiles and crack engine blocks. While it has less power than the .44 Magnum, it compares favorably to the 10mm Norma and .45 ACP, but with better armor penetration. Today factories offer over fifty different loadings in this caliber.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.59in Muzzle Velocities:from1145to1542ft/sec
Case Length:1.29in Muzzle Energies:from397to834ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.379in Bullet Weights:from110to180gr
Bullet Diameter:0.357in
More Info
.45 Automatic (.45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP)) Introduced: 1904
.45 Automatic
This cartridge was developed by John Browning and was adopted by the United States Ordnance Department along with the Colt-Browning automatic pistol in 1911. It has also been made the official military handgun chambering by several other governments, notably Argentina, Mexico and Norway. The 45 Automatic is the most powerful military handgun cartridge in use today. This is a heavy and powerful sub-sonic round. Although its muzzle energy can exceed 400 ft-lbs, its velocity and bullet weight creates a steep trajectory curve that limits its effective range to self-defense distances.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.17in Muzzle Velocities:from830to1140ft/sec
Case Length:0.898in Muzzle Energies:from333to573ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.476in Bullet Weights:from165to230gr
Bullet Diameter:0.452in
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.45 GAP (.45 Glock Automatic Pistol) Introduced: 2003
.45 GAP
A joint development program by Glock and Speer resulted in the .45 Glock Automatic Pistol. This new cartridge was designed by GLOCK to be used in the medium frame sized GLOCK 37 semi-auto pistol. It is based on the .45 ACP pistol cartridge, but is shorter, having the same overall length as a 9 mm Luger or .40 S&W. The .45 GAP operates at a higher pressure than the .45 ACP to make up for the smaller chamber volume. It was first believed that the traditional .45 ACP loading of a 230-grain bullet at 830 ft/sec would not be possible in the .45 GAP, but careful gunpowder selection on the part of ammunition manufacturers has realized that standard.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.07in Muzzle Velocities:from850to1090ft/sec
Case Length:0.755in Muzzle Energies:from356to488ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.476in Bullet Weights:from185to230gr
Bullet Diameter:0.452in
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.38-40 Winchester Introduced: 1874
.38-40 Winchester
This was originally a blackpowder cartridge designed as one of the chamberings in the Winchester Model 73 lever-action rifle. Around 1878 Colt began chambering revolvers for it. No rifles have been chambered for the 38-40 since 1937. It is still a popular cartridge chambering for cowboy shooting revolvers
Case Type:Rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.59in Muzzle Velocities:from1000to1200ft/sec
Case Length:1.3in Muzzle Energies:from444to538ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.465in Bullet Weights:from155to200gr
Bullet Diameter:0.401in
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10mm Auto Introduced: 1983
10mm Auto
Initially made by Norma and chambered in the Bren Ten pistol in 1983 the 10mm Auto was right off a formidable round. While the Bren Ten was not successful, the 10mm cartridge was. In 1989 the FBI announced the 10mm Auto as their officially favored sidearm. While the cartridge has proven itself over time, many felt that the cartridge was a little long for semi-auto pistols, making the pistol grip a little big for some comfort levels. When the shorter .40 S&W cartridge with very similar ballistics was introduced, it soon won popularity over the 10mm round. The 10mm Auto cartridge still has a strong following and manufacturers are still making pistols chambered for this round.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.26in Muzzle Velocities:from1030to1400ft/sec
Case Length:0.99in Muzzle Energies:from425to587ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.423in Bullet Weights:from135to200gr
Bullet Diameter:0.4in
More Info
.400 Cor-Bon Introduced: 1995
.400 Cor-Bon
Cor-Bon is a brand of small arms ammunition produced by Dakota Ammo Incorporated. This cartridge is simply a .45 Auto case necked down to accept a .40 caliber bullet. The advantage of this design is the ease of conversion of .45 Auto pistol models to accept the .400 Cor-Bon cartridge. The performance of this cartridge falls somewhere between the .40 S&W and .45 Auto cartridges.
Case Type:Rimless, bottleneck
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.2in Muzzle Velocities:from1100to1450ft/sec
Case Length:0.898in Muzzle Energies:from480to625ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.47in Bullet Weights:from135to180gr
Bullet Diameter:0.401in
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.45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) Introduced: 1872
.45 Colt
This cartridge was adopted by the US Army in 1873 for the legendary Colt Single Action Army 'Peacemaker' revolver. This is yet another cartridge that was originally a black-powder design. This cartridge is still very popular today, used in many derringers and cowboy action revolvers.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.6in Muzzle Velocities:from860to1100ft/sec
Case Length:1.285in Muzzle Energies:from355to537ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.48in Bullet Weights:from200to255gr
Bullet Diameter:0.454in
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.30 Carbine (.30 M1 Carbine) Introduced: 1941
.30 Carbine
This cartridge was developed just prior to WWII for the military to use in its newly selected Winchester semi-automatic 30 M1 carbine. It is basically a modification of the Winchester 32 Self-Loading round of 1906. It is considered in the same class as the 32-20 WCF round with an effective range of about 150 yards.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.65in Muzzle Velocities:from1930to1990ft/sec
Case Length:1.29in Muzzle Energies:from910to967ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.355in Bullet Weights:from110to110gr
Bullet Diameter:0.308in
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.44-40 Winchester (.44 Winchester Centerfire (WCF)) Introduced: 1873
.44-40 Winchester
This cartridge was developed for Winchester's Model 1873 rifle. It is yet another example of an early centerfire, black-powder cartridge that has been used in both pistols and rifles. While it is greatly outperformed by the .44 Remington Magnum, this caliber is making a comeback in Cowboy Action Shooting events.
Case Type:Rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:1.592in Muzzle Velocities:from750to1235ft/sec
Case Length:1.31in Muzzle Energies:from281to734ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.471in Bullet Weights:from200to225gr
Bullet Diameter:0.429in
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.357 Maximum (.357 Remington Maximum) Introduced: 1983
.357 Maximum
This cartridge was announced as a joint venture between Remington Arms Co.and Sturm, Ruger and Co. It is a .33 inch elongation of the .357 Magnum case. The first handgun to chamber the round was the Ruger Blackhawk. The cartridge was conceived primarily as an ultra-velocity, flat-trajectory silhouette cartridge, but also became popular for hunting small and medium sized game.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.97in Muzzle Velocities:from1300to1825ft/sec
Case Length:1.59in Muzzle Energies:from676to1168ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.375in Bullet Weights:from125to180gr
Bullet Diameter:0.357in
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.41 Remington Magnum Introduced: 1964
.41 Remington Magnum
This cartridge was introduced in June 1964 along with the Smith & Wesson Model 57 revolver. This cartridge filled the power gap between the .357 Magnum and the .44 Remington Magnum cartridges. Many police departments initially adopted the .41 Remington Magnum revolver prior to the introduction of 9mm Luger and .40 S&W semiautomatic pistols.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.58in Muzzle Velocities:from1160to1400ft/sec
Case Length:1.28in Muzzle Energies:from607to833ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.433in Bullet Weights:from170to250gr
Bullet Diameter:0.41in
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.44 Remington Magnum () Introduced: 1955
.44 Remington Magnum
This cartridge was developed by Smith & Wesson and Remington, and was introduced for a new heavy-frame 44 Magnum revolver. Today Ruger, Colt, Smith & Wesson and others make revolvers for this cartridge. This is a high powered pistol cartridge designed primarily for hunting. The .44 Magnum offers less power than .50 AE and .454 Casull, but much more than .357 Magnum.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.61in Muzzle Velocities:from1180to1700ft/sec
Case Length:1.29in Muzzle Energies:from741to1219ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.457in Bullet Weights:from180to300gr
Bullet Diameter:0.429in
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.45 Winchester Magnum Introduced: 1979
.45 Winchester Magnum
This cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1979 to be used in the gas-operated Wildey pistol. Winchester's new pistol was not much of a success, but the powerful .45 Wincheter Magnum cartridge was. The cartridge is essentially an elongated version of the .45 ACP round. It was the most powerful semi-auto cartridge of its time, until the introduction of the .50 Action Express in 1988.
Case Type:Rimless, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.55in Muzzle Velocities:from1150to1850ft/sec
Case Length:1.198in Muzzle Energies:from934to1406ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.477in Bullet Weights:from185to320gr
Bullet Diameter:0.451in
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.30-30 Winchester (7.62x51Rmm) Introduced: 1895
.30-30 Winchester
The 30-30 was the first American small-bore, smokeless-powder sporting cartridge. For nearly 100 years it has been what most hunters would consider the basic deer hunting cartridge. It was originally marketed as one of the chamberings available for the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle. It's effective range is about 200 yards.
Case Type:Rimmed, bottleneck
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:2.53in Muzzle Velocities:from2350to2800ft/sec
Case Length:2.03in Muzzle Energies:from1903to2207ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.422in Bullet Weights:from110to180gr
Bullet Diameter:0.308in
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.445 Super Magnum Introduced: 1986
.445 Super Magnum
This cartridge is essentially a .44 Magnum case with approximately 3/8-inch added to the overall length. It was designed primarily for competition silhouette shooting but is also popular for handgun hunting of large game. The .445 Super Magnum can drive a heavy 300 grain bullet 120ft/sec faster than the .44 Magnum cartridge can.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.985in Muzzle Velocities:from1300to1500ft/sec
Case Length:1.6in Muzzle Energies:from1045to1215ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.457in Bullet Weights:from240to300gr
Bullet Diameter:0.432in
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.480 Ruger Introduced: 2003
.480 Ruger
From a performance perspective this cartridge falss in between the .44 Remington Magnum and the .454 Casull cartridges. It has slightly less relative recoil than either the .454 Casull or the .50 Action Express cartridges. Designed initially for use in Sturm Ruger's Super Redhawk revolvers, MAgnum Research and Taurus now also have revolvers chambered for this big game hunting round.
Case Type:Semi-rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.65in Muzzle Velocities:from1350to1350ft/sec
Case Length:1.285in Muzzle Energies:from1315to1315ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.504in Bullet Weights:from325to325gr
Bullet Diameter:0.475in
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.50 AE (.50 Action Express) Introduced: 1988
.50 AE
This cartridge was developed in 1988 for the IMI (now IWI) Desert Eagle semi-auto pistol, exclusively marketed by Magnum Research. Just like the pistol, this is a mammoth round and is considered one of the world's most powerful semi-automatic cartridges. This cartridge is almost exclusive to the Desert Eagle semi-auto pistol, although AMT produced the Automag V in this caliber for a while, and now Magnum Research is also marketing a revolver in this caliber.
Case Type:Rebated, straight
Made For:Semi-Auto
Cartridge Length:1.61in Muzzle Velocities:from1305to1579ft/sec
Case Length:1.285in Muzzle Energies:from1227to1568ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.547in Bullet Weights:from300to325gr
Bullet Diameter:0.5in
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.454 Casull Introduced: 1959
.454 Casull
This cartridge employs a special case, similar to the .45 Colt, but 0.1 inch longer to prevent the round from chambering in .45 Colt revolvers. This is because the higher pressure loading in the .454 Casull would be dangerous in revolvers chambered for the milder .45 Colt cartridge. The .454 Casull is one of the most powerful revolver cartridges available and is primarily used for hunting.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:1.7in Muzzle Velocities:from1300to1900ft/sec
Case Length:1.39in Muzzle Energies:from938to1923ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.48in Bullet Weights:from240to335gr
Bullet Diameter:0.452in
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.460 S&W Magnum (.460 Smith & Wesson Magnum) Introduced: 2005
.460 S&W Magnum
This cartridge is a lengthened, more powerful version of the .454 Casull. Revolvers that fire .460 S&W are usually also capable of firing the less powerful .454 Casull and .45 Colt rounds. The .460 cartridge achieves high velocities by operating at pressures normally reserved for magnum rifle cartridges. This cartridge is typically used for hunting medium to large game.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:2.29in Muzzle Velocities:from1900to2300ft/sec
Case Length:1.8in Muzzle Energies:from2350to2860ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.478in Bullet Weights:from200to300gr
Bullet Diameter:0.452in
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.444 Marlin Introduced: 1964
.444 Marlin
This cartridge was designed for the Marlin Model 336 lever-action rifle. It was an improvement over the .44 Magnum revolver round, which had gained its own popularity as a rifle round but was lacking in effective range and stopping power. The .444 Marlin cartridge extends both the effective range and stopping power inherent in the .44 Magnum round.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:2.57in Muzzle Velocities:from2082to2500ft/sec
Case Length:2.16in Muzzle Energies:from2499to3080ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.469in Bullet Weights:from180to305gr
Bullet Diameter:0.429in
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.45-70 Government Introduced: 1873
.45-70 Government
This cartridge was adopted by the US Army in 1873 along with the single shot 'Trapdoor' Springfield rifle. It continued as the official service cartridge for 19 years. It is still in use today, often for short range deer or bear hunting.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:2.55in Muzzle Velocities:from1330to2025ft/sec
Case Length:2.105in Muzzle Energies:from1590to3167ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.5in Bullet Weights:from300to450gr
Bullet Diameter:0.458in
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.450 Marlin Introduced: 2000
.450 Marlin
Marlin and Hornady teamed up in 2001 to develop a high-performance cartridge that would pick up in modern guns where the older .45-70 cartridge left off. The volume of .450 Marlin cartridge is similar to the .45-70 but the working pressure is nearly double. This produces a significant performance increase over the .45-70 cartridge.
Case Type:Belted, straight
Made For:Rifle
Cartridge Length:2.55in Muzzle Velocities:from2100to2100ft/sec
Case Length:2.09in Muzzle Energies:from3427to3427ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.511in Bullet Weights:from300to300gr
Bullet Diameter:0.458in
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.500 S&W Magnum (.500 Smith & Wesson Magnum) Introduced: 2003
.500 S&W Magnum
This cartridge is the most powerful factory load ever developed specifically for handgun use. It was developed by Cor-Bon with the 'X-Gun' engineering team at Smith & Wesson for use in their Model 500 series revolvers. The .500 S&W Magnum can develop over 2600 ft-lb of muzzle energy, nearly three times as much as the 900 ft-lb generated by the .44 Magnum.
Case Type:Rimmed, straight
Made For:Revolver
Cartridge Length:2.1in Muzzle Velocities:from1625to1975ft/sec
Case Length:1.625in Muzzle Energies:from2346to3031ft-lb
Case Diameter:0.526in Bullet Weights:from350to450gr
Bullet Diameter:0.5in
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