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Modern ammunition varies depending on the type of firearm. Rifles and handguns use a cartridge containing a single projectile (bullet). Shotguns use a shotshell containing either a single slug or a large number of small projectiles (shot or pellets). However, the basic components of cartridges and shotshells are similar.

Centerfire and Rimfire Ammunition

Centerfire ammunition is used for rifles, shotguns, and handguns. In this type of ammunition, the primer is located in the center of the casing base. Most centerfire ammunition is reloadable.

Rimfire ammunition has the primer contained in the rim of the ammunition casing. Rimfire ammunition is limited to low-pressure loads. Rimfire cartridges are not reloadable.

In tubular magazines, the bullet tip of one cartridge rests directly on the primer of the cartridge immediately ahead. For this reason, use only rounded or blunt tips in tubular magazines.