5 Parts of a Bullet: Exploring the anatomy with Names & Diagram

A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition, shot from a gun barrel. It is designed to be fired from a gun barrel and is composed of various materials, such as copper, steel, rubber, lead, polymer, or wax. The bullet’s shape and construction depend on its intended use, whether it be for hunting, target shooting, training, or combat.It is important to note that the term “bullet” is often misused to refer to the entire cartridge. In reality, the cartridge is the complete assembly that contains several key components, including the casing, primer, projectile (bullet), gunpowder, and wad. In this article, we will see all the bullet parts & their functions.

Parts Of A Bullet Diagram

Parts of a Bullet, Names, Functions & Diagram

Bullet Parts Names

  • Casing
  • Primer
  • Projectile
  • Gunpowder
  • Wad

Parts Of A Bullet


In the domain of ballistics, the casing plays a pivotal role in ammunition, serving as a container for propellant or gunpowder, enveloping the bullet at the muzzle end, and encapsulating the primer at the base. This vital element confers upon the bullet its characteristic size and shape, while also shielding it against external forces.

In the realm of munitions engineering, casings are typically constructed from materials such as brass, steel, copper, or aluminum, each with their own unique properties and performance characteristics.

Upon ignition, the cartridge undergoes a complex sequence of events, with the extractor mechanism elevating the casing and the expanding gases propelling it out of the chamber.

It is worth noting that the dimensions of the casing are subject to variation based on the specific firearm used. The cartridge case design is a crucial factor in achieving optimal ballistic performance, as even minor deviations in dimensions can have a significant impact on bullet behavior.

Therefore, meticulous attention to detail is paramount when producing casings for high-performance ammunition.


At the heart of a primer lies a metal cup, typically made of brass or aluminum, which holds a highly sensitive primary explosive compound. This compound is carefully chosen for its exceptional ability to initiate and propagate a chain reaction of explosive energy.

When the firing pin strikes the primer, it sets off a chain reaction of events that unfold with incredible speed and precision. The primary explosive compound detonates, releasing a high-pressure shock wave that travels through the flash hole and into the propellant charge.

The propellant, which is typically made up of a blend of nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, and other additives, rapidly burns and produces hot gases that propel the bullet out of the barrel at tremendous speeds.

To ensure consistent and reliable ignition, modern primers use highly stable and efficient primary explosives, such as lead styphnate, lead azide, DDNP, or tetrazene.

These compounds are carefully formulated to deliver consistent performance in a variety of environmental conditions and provide optimal ignition of the propellant charge.

Manufacturers invest significant resources in testing and developing primers to ensure they meet strict quality control standards. This rigorous testing includes environmental and impact sensitivity testing, as well as performance testing under various conditions, such as extreme temperatures and humidity levels.


A projectile is an indispensable constituent of firearm ammunition, discharged through a gun barrel with explosive force. Its composition encompasses a diverse array of materials, including copper, steel, rubber, lead, polymer, and even wax, meticulously chosen to meet specific operational requirements.

The intricate design of a projectile is optimized to deliver superior performance, based on the intended application.

Bullets, being a particular type of projectile, are precision-engineered with a tapered shape to maximize their aerodynamic efficiency, enabling them to travel farther and faster.

Projectile dimensions are typically expressed in terms of mass and diameter, using both imperial and metric systems of measurement, which facilitates accurate assessment of their physical attributes.


Gunpowder, the incendiary compound powering the projectile launch mechanism, is a high-risk agent that, if improperly handled, could cause a fatal disaster. The explosive nature of gunpowder, which induces an exothermic reaction on combustion, creates a substantial pressure differential that accelerates the bullet towards the target.

However, due to its inherent instability, gunpowder has been surpassed by a chemical compound that comprises saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur.

This novel amalgam, a more stable and fast-burning substance, offers a much safer and efficient option for firearm propellant. The rapid oxidation of the elements in the compound fuels the release of energy, propelling the bullet with precision and accuracy.


The shotgun cartridge is a complex and precise piece of engineering, designed to provide maximum ballistic performance with every shot. At the heart of this precision lies a component known as the wad. Composed of either plastic or paper, the wad serves a crucial role in the cartridge’s function.

As the name suggests, the wad is situated between the projectile and the propellant charge. However, its importance lies not in its location, but in the function it performs. When the shotgun is fired, the wad creates an airtight seal within the cartridge, preventing any gas or pressure from escaping.

This airtight seal is critical because it allows the pressure to build up to an extreme level within the cartridge. As the propellant burns, it releases energy, which is converted into an explosive force that propels the projectile forward.

The airtight seal created by the wad ensures that this explosive force is focused entirely on the projectile, with no energy wasted on escaping gases.

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