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A List of 20 Ammunition Terms You Should Know
Ammo: A shortened form of “ammunition,” used to refer to cartridges or rounds in general.
Round: A single unit of ammunition, originating from the early use of round lead balls as projectiles.
Bullet: The projectile fired from a firearm, derived from the French word “boulette,” meaning “small ball.”
Shell: A term for ammunition used in artillery or large-caliber firearms, originating from the early use of hollow, explosive-filled projectiles resembling shells.
Slug: A slang term for a solid, typically lead projectile used in shotguns, likely named for its resemblance to the slow-moving gastropod.
Shot: A term for the small pellets used in shotgun shells, derived from the practice of using small lead balls as projectiles.
Birdshot: Shotgun ammunition containing small pellets, intended for hunting birds or small game. The name comes from its intended use for bird hunting.
Buckshot: Shotgun ammunition containing larger pellets, typically used for hunting larger game or in self-defense scenarios. The name originates from its use in hunting deer, also known as “buck.”
Magnum: A term for high-powered or larger cartridge, originating from the Latin word “magnus,” meaning “great” or “large.”
FMJ: Abbreviation for “full metal jacket,” referring to bullets with a lead core encased in a harder metal, such as copper or steel.
Hollow Point: A type of bullet with a hollowed-out tip, designed to expand upon impact. The name is derived from the bullet’s hollowed tip design.
Dum-dum: A slang term for expanding bullets, originating from the British arsenal in Dum Dum, India, where early versions of these bullets were developed.
Tracer: A bullet that produces a visible trail when fired, named for its ability to “trace” the bullet’s trajectory.
AP: Abbreviation for “armor-piercing,” referring to ammunition designed to penetrate armor or other hardened targets.
Double-Ought Buck (00 Buck): A specific size of buckshot used in shotgun shells, often used in self-defense or hunting larger game. The name comes from its size designation, “00.”
Deuce-deuce: A slang term for .22 caliber ammunition, derived from the phonetic pronunciation of the numeral “22.”
Five-oh: A slang term for .50 caliber ammunition, inspired by the phonetic pronunciation of the numeral “50.”
Pea-shooter: A colloquial term for a small-caliber firearm or the ammunition used in such firearms, likely named for the small size of the projectile, resembling a pea.
Hot loads: A term for ammunition loaded with a higher-than-standard amount of propellant, providing increased velocity and power. The name likely comes from the increased pressure and heat generated by the extra propellant.
Green tip: A nickname for 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition with a green-painted tip, indicating an armor-piercing capability. The name comes from the color of the bullet tip.