Irrational ammunition sizes?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Vincine, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

    3,495
    0
    0
    Is there any rhyme or reason to ammunition sizes that I seem to be missing? The range of calibers sizes appear to me fairly arbitrary. We have .17, .22, .32, .38, .40, .45 etc. The metric sized ammunition at least hits the round numbers, but they also have 5.56mm, 7.62mm among others. How come we don’t have sizes in .15, .20, .25, .30, .35, etc?

    Is there some regular interval of foot pounds, or drop, or something that physics dictates these are the sizes required? I don’t see it on the ballistic charts. Is it decided by the tooling required to make the rounds? Or what?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  2. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

    3,852
    0
    0
    We do have .30 that's what a 7.62 is. We have .20 as in .204, .25 as in 25 acp or 25-06, .35 as in 35 whelen.
     

  3. Rugers9

    Rugers9 New Member

    202
    0
    0
    I'm not the most knowledge known guy here but I'm sure is a measure of some sort to the round.
     
  4. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

    3,495
    0
    0
    Ah, I see. Thanks. So, where do the other 'odd' in between sizes come from?
     
  5. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

    4,991
    46
    48
    Actually a .38 is really a .357. Hmm...perhaps I just made this a little more confusing. Sorry.
     
  6. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,335
    193
    63
    There are literally THOUSANDS of different cartridges and calibers. Some were successful, some were not. Some had a good marketing department- some did not.

    5.56mm is the metric designation for .223. 7.62 is the metric .308, which is the TRUE size of the .30 cal.

    Some measured from land to land, some from bottom of groove to bottom of groove. Which is why 7.62 NATO is .308, but 7.62x54R is .311.

    Originally, measure was the Gauge- how many round lead balls that size to make a pound. 12 round lead balls that weigh a pound are 12 Gauge. That transitioned to muskets and early rifles.

    You can find all sorts of oddball stuff if you look. I have .33 caliber rifle cartridges, .35 pistol, 14 g shotgun, .46 cal revolver, and some really weird stuff.

    Borrow a copy of Cartridges of The World (large paperback, published yearly) - it is a START to introduce you to some of the stuff out there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  7. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

    3,495
    0
    0
    Of course I hoping c3 would add his.02. :)

    From what I just gleened from the ‘Cartridges of The World’ intro on Amazon (thanks). There isn’t any rhyme or reason to the sizes. Some names and sizes are ‘grandfathered’ in from black powder days, some names are just to be distinct from similar sized rounds made by others, some names include digits representing the year of invention. While all are made for a purpose, some more successful than others, none were/are made to evenly cover the range of ballistic characteristics and effects you’d would expect if you were starting with a white sheet.
     
  8. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,335
    193
    63
    You nailed it! Back in the black powder day, you had caliber and powder charge- as in 45-70. But then you have the 30-30, which was never a black powder round, but was sorta EQUAL to 30 grains of black. THEN the 30-06 (30 cal, made in 1906) to distinguish it from the .30 US (aka 30-40 Krag) The .38 Special- so it did not get compared to the old weak black powder .36 ball and cap. and the "fouty-faw" which is really .430, and the .50 Browning- which is NOT .50 caliber......


    See? Marketing department! Myself, always liked one of the big bore straight sided rifle cartridges- the Peabody What Cheer. No, really. :p
     
  9. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

    4,466
    65
    48
    The case is a .38...
     
  10. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

    4,466
    65
    48
    When did cartridges quit being proprietary and why? I know in the old days a .38 S&W revolver shot .38 S&W and .38 Colt revolver shot .38 Colt... But now many guns shoot .38 Special (which is actually S&W Spl.) and .40 S&W, why doesnt S&W care? Or why doesnt colt make a .40 to compete? Like the olden days? :p

    In military cartridges Ive noticed its mainly someone comes up with a better bullet design and then other countrys try to "copy" the round just with some differences so it wont shoot in the other sides guns..

    Ive noticed Americans like naming their cartridges too, the metric way is so much simpler.. 7.62x54r, 7.7x58, 9x19, etc.. Caliber and case length with a little r to tell you if its rimmed.. But us Americans have .30 Winchester Centerfire (.30-30), .30 US Army/.30-40 Krag, two .30 Governments: .30 Govt. M1903; .30 Govt. M1906 - which became .30-06 Springfield, 9x19 is called 9mm Luger... Whats with all the names?

    I dont have a Luger, why do I have to shoot "Luger" bullets? Or "Krag" bullets outta my Winchester?? :(:p
     
  11. Durangokid

    Durangokid New Member

    1,799
    0
    0
    Metric calibers vary from one nation to the other. Metrics maybe based on any number of internal barrel demensions. Some metric calibers reflect the first boreing of a new barrel or groove demension etc. There are many names applied to Ctgs. The 9X19 or 9MM Parabellum AKA 9MM Lugar may be chambered in any kind of firearm rifle or pistol. Bottom line, it takes years to learn and understand ammunition there are no shortcuts. If you study ammo all you can for 50 years you will not yet have a working knowledge of world Crtgs.:(
     
  12. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,335
    193
    63
    Trez- originally, the cartridge was the S&W .38 Special- anyone that made guns that shot it put that name on their gun. This hacked off Colt to no end (same company that owned the name to the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge- .45 ACP) so...... Colt began making and selling the .38 Colt Special cartridge. Identical to the S&W in every way- except Colt had a flat tipped bullet in theirs, S&W had a round nosed. I have ONE Colt marked cartridge. But after that, Colt did not have to mark their .38 Specials with S&W.

    Also, remember that at one time, cartridges had "heel seated" bullets. Like the .22LR, the case was crimped to the "heel" or base of the bullet. That was fine for outside lubed bullets- but inside lubed bullets fitted down inside the case. Heel seated bullets were same diameter as the case- but the newer bullets were smaller than the case.
     
  13. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,335
    193
    63
    Actually, you don't. The proper name is 9mm Parabellum, but Lugers were sexy, the name caught on, and is even used by ammo makers. But the NAME is Parabellum.

    And we also had the .25 caliber auto pistol catridge- created by John Browning- but known as .25 Auto. And the .50 BMG- Browning Machine Gun- even if you are shooting a Barret that is not a Browning nor a machine gun.
     
  14. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    29,445
    311
    83
    I gave up trying to figure out 'calibers' and concentrate only on what my guns shoot. It was driving me nuts I couldn't figure this all out. I've eased up on myself since then. :(
     
  15. Rugers9

    Rugers9 New Member

    202
    0
    0
    I'm new to guns this cartridge talk is confusing me
     
  16. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

    3,495
    0
    0
  17. Durangokid

    Durangokid New Member

    1,799
    0
    0
    A very good place to start is, Cartridges Of the world. This is a very good book and will cover most of your questions on ammo.:)
     
  18. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

    4,466
    65
    48
    99% of the 9x19 brass I see is marked "9mm Luger" Its hard to find any thats marked with "9x19" or "9mm Para" Why is the majority still marked Luger when the majority of the guns that shoot it arnt Lugers? Same with the .30-40.. I dont think you can even get ".30 USA" brass anymore its all marked with "Krag" :(

    Why is there no 7.62 Mosin? or 7.62 Simonov?

    Although I did find some .30-06 the other day that was marked ".30-G-M1906" See? Why cant more manufactures mark their brass with the "real" caliber name?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  19. Trez, an older and wiser man used to tell me, "If the world made sense, men would ride sidesaddle."

    9mm Luger is from the time - long ago but in my memory - when about the only pistol that fired the round was the "German Luger", largely in pistols brought back from the war by participants. Yes, the Browning High Power was in existence, but it wasn't all that common in the U. S. until the late 50s to middle 60s. So nearly all the manufacturers marked that ammo as "9mm Luger". And they still do.

    The proper title for the .45 Automatic round is ".45 Automatic Colt Pistol". However, everybody and everybody's dog makes a semi-auto pistol these days chambered for that round. So many makers stamp them ".45 Auto".

    If you do not have a copy of Cartridges of the World, get one. (I think the latest edition is #12.) Just the historical information is worth the price. And it either explains or implies some of the reasons cartridges are so named. Some of it is political. Some of it is marketing. Some of it is ego. Some of it is actually informational.