Rifle Anatomy

Sellier & Bellot rifle ammunition combines technological advancement with strict testing and quality control to build the best rifle ammunition made.  There’s really not much need to handload for performance since our rifle ammunition is carefully assembled using the best primers, powders and brass combined with the finest, most sought after bullet designs in the industry.  That’s why hunters and shooters from around the world pursue their passion with the unmatched quality of Sellier & Bellot rifle ammunition.

Click a thumbnail below to view the Sellier & Bellot rifle anatomy slideshow.
A loaded centerfire rifle cartridge consists of a case (usually brass), a projectile (bullet), powder and a primer.

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Rifle Cartridge Case: The rifle case has a head on one end that houses the primer and seals the back of the chamber. The flash hole is the hole connecting the primer pocket to the inside of the case. This head can be of several different designs such as belted, rimless, semi-rimmed, rimmed, and rebated (meaning the diameter of the rim is smaller than that of the body). Besides sealing the back of the chamber, the head of the case is used to extract the case from the chamber. The body of the case will be one of three styles; straight, tapered or bottlenecked. The bottleneck cases will have a shoulder that steps down to a smaller diameter, while the tapered case will have a slight taper to achieve proper diameter. Straight wall cases are uniform diameter all the way up the body. The inside of the case will be of uniform thickness from the case mouth down to just past where the base of the bullet will seat. It will then become gradually thicker toward the bottom ending in a radius. The area of material between the bottom of the primer pocket and the bottom of this radius is called the web.

Projectile: This component of the loaded round of ammunition is usually called the bullet. It is usually referenced by diameter (such as .30”), the grain weight of the bullet (180 grains), and the bullet style (hollow point, full metal jacket, etc.). A bullet is generally made of lead alloy with or without a jacket made of a copper alloy (some are produced with other materials for various purposes including solid copper, frangible and lead free ammunition).
Powder: The general term for any chemical compound or mixture used in firearms that burns upon ignition. The gases produced by this rapid combustion propel the bullet down the bore. One major type is black powder, which is a mixture of charcoal, sulfur and potassium nitrate (saltpetre). It's used in older cartridges. Another major type is smokeless powder, which is principally used in modern ammunition. It's a granular nitrated chemical compound made with either a nitrocellulose base or a combination of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. Smokeless powder and black powder are the two basic forms of gunpowder.

Primer: The boxer primer is a round device that is placed in the center of the “head” area of the cartridge case. This little device has a cup, which holds the priming compound, and an anvil. The anvil rests lightly on the priming pellet, which is crushed between the dent made by the impact of the firing pin and the anvil to initiate ignition. The firing pin strikes the primer and ignites the sensitive priming mixture causing a flame to be generated. The standard primer sizes for metallic centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges are small (.175" diameter) and large (.210" diameter). The standard primer types are pistol, pistol magnum, rifle, and rifle magnum. The small rifle and small pistol use the same diameter and depth primer pocket. The large rifle pocket is slightly deeper than the large pistol pocket. Rifle primers use tougher cups than pistol primers because the firing pin blow of rifles is usually harder than the firing pin blow of pistols. Rifle primers also contain more priming compound than pistol primers, since rifle cartridges typically contain more powder than pistol cartridges. Magnum primers are "hotter" than standard primers.

When a firearm is fired- The firing pin indents the primer, which ignites the priming compound, sending a flame through the flash hole of the brass, which ignites the powder. The quickly burning powder then creates large amounts of gas that expand the case to seal the chamber and pushes the bullet down the barrel. The now empty brass case is then removed manually or by the action of the firearm.

NOTE: Rifle bullets may perform differently in different rifles. What shoots well in your rifle may not be the best choice for another rifle of the same make and model. To maximize the full potential of your rifle, try various Sellier & Bellot rifle bullet styles and weights to determine which round performs best in your rifle.

SAFETY: Make sure that you double check that your ammunition is the appropriate caliber for the firearm by matching the caliber markings on your firearm with those on the ammunition head stamp.