Rifle and Handgun Cartridges
It’s critical to select the correct cartridge for your rifle or handgun. Carefully compare the data stamp on the barrel of the firearm against the description on the ammunition box and the stamp on each cartridge.
Bullets used in rifle and handgun cartridges come in various designs, sizes, and weights. The bullet is made of lead but sometimes has a copper jacket. New copper and brass bullets are also gaining popularity. Bullets used for hunting game may have soft or hollow points designed to expand (mushroom) upon impact. Bullets used for target shooting usually have solid points that make smaller holes.
Common Types of Rifle Bullets
- Pointed Soft Point: High-velocity, accurate bullets with a flat travel path (trajectory); excellent mushrooming
- Rounded Soft Point: Popular for low-velocity calibers; recommended for tubular magazines
- Protected Tip: Highly accurate with excellent expansion
- Full Metal Jacket: Maximum penetration without mushrooming. These bullets are legal in Alaska, but they aren’t recommended for big game hunting because they don’t expand upon impact like bullets designed for hunting.
Common Types of Handgun Bullets
- Roundnose Lead: Good penetration, little expansion
- Full Metal Jacket: No expansion, high penetration
- Semi-Wad Cutter: Balances penetration and expansion
- Hollowpoint: Designed for high expansion on impact
- Wad Cutter: Flat-ended, used for target shooting; creates clean hole in paper