After reading this chapter on ammunition types, you should understand the different ammunition used inrifles and shotguns, and how to use them safely. Let's review the important points presented in this chapter:
- 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 data stamp on the side of the rifle's barrel, indicating the caliber of the rifle. Always be sure to use the correct ammunition 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 data stamp on the side of the shotgun's barrel, indicating the gauge and size of ammunition to use in the shotgun. Always be sure to use the correct ammunition to avoid injury to yourself or damage to your firearm.
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.
NOTICE: Please be aware that some of the images you see throughout the Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course DO NOT reflect the legal hunting apparel requirements for all hunting scenarios. Chapter 6: Hunting Safety will cover the legal apparel requirements for Big Game Hunting in Saskatchewan. It is always the hunter’s responsibility to consult Saskatchewan’s annual Hunters’ and Trappers’ Guide to be aware of current hunting regulations before heading into the field.