Cartridge components

Case, primer, propellant, and bullet

By definition, a case consists of four components: case, primer, propellant, and bullet. In a legal context, it does not matter whether the bullet is made of plastic, or the case is made of aluminum or cardboard instead of brass.
Patrone: Zündhütchen, Hülse, Treibladung und Geschoss
In the following, we will explain the individual cartridge components and their properties.



Aside from some exceptions such as shot shells, standard cases used by reloaders are made of brass. The case provides the housing for bullet, propellant and primer. Its primary task is to create a gas-tight seal in the chamber against the gas pressure developing when the cartridge is fired.


Berdan-Zündhütchen und Boxer-Zündhütchen mit beiliegendem Amboss

The primer cap (short: primer) is used to ignite the propellant. There is a distinction between Berdan and Boxer primers. Both types consist of a capsule containing the priming compound, which is usually sealed with protective varnish. The boxer primer has the anvil included.



The most commonly used type of propellant today is the so-called smokeless powder. The name was derived from the term ‚black powder‘, even though granular types have long replaced propellant in powder form.

The smokeless powders we use today are quite a novelty compared to black powder. The first
smokeless powders were only introduced shortly before the end of the 19th century, some 500
years after the first experiments with black powder.



Bullets are available in a wide range of types and designs, each made for a specific purpose. Hunting bullets must ensure a high terminal performance in order to deliver sufficient energy for a clean, instant kill of the game animal. Target bullets have a different performance objective: accuracy. Bullets used for military purposes are designed for very specific requirements. Bullet mass and shape are usually matched to the barrel‘s length and twist rate.

Reloading H&N bullets

This book, which appears here in English for the first time, provides both experienced reloaders and beginners with extensive and well-illustrated information about reloading with H&N High-Speed bullets.

youtube icon facebook icon Follow us Follow us facebook icon youtube icon