New Jersey Hunter Safety Course


Chapter 2 Summary

After reading Chapter 2, you should understand ammunition types for rifles, handguns and shotguns, and how to use different ammunitions safely. Let's review the important points presented in Chapter 2:

  • You should know the four different parts of a cartridge and where they are located: Projectile, Casing, Powder, Primer.

  • Centerfire and rimfire cartridges primarily differ on the location of the primer. Centerfire cartridges have the primer inserted into the cartridge base whereas rimfire cartridges have the primer on the inside rim of the cartridge base.

  • There are four steps on how a cartridge is fired. You should know these steps and be able to identify them in the correct order.

  • There is a barrel stamp on the side of the rifle's barrel, indicating the caliber of the rifle. Always match this to the cartridge's head stamp in order to avoid injury to yourself or damage to your firearm.

  • Rifled barrels have spiraled lands and grooves which give the bullet a spin as it exits the muzzle, increasing accuracy. A firearm's caliber is determined by the distance between opposite lands inside the barrel.

  • A shotgun shell has five components: Case, projectile, wad column, powder, primer. Be sure you can identify these parts on a shot shell.

  • Unlike rifles, shotguns used to fire shot pellets have a smoothbore barrel, meaning there is no rifling in the barrel.

  • Shotguns are measured in gauges. Gauge is determined by the number of lead balls of size equal to the diameter of the bore required to weigh one pound. Thus, the higher the gauge, the smaller the diameter of the barrel.

  • There is a barrel stamp on the side of the shotgun's barrel, indicating the gauge and size of ammunition to use in the shotgun. This must be matched to the head stamp on the shot shell, in order to avoid injury to yourself or damage to your firearm.

  • Chokes help control the spread of the shot from a shotgun. The farther the target, the tighter the choke you need to use. Be sure to know the types of chokes available, as well as the target distances they are used for.

  • Shotgun slugs are used in semi-rural areas since they tend to travel less far than high-power rifle cartridges. To increase a slug's accuracy, it is recommended to use a shotgun with a rifled barrel, or to use a rifled choke.