What are bullets made of?« Back to Questions List

Bullets and guns are known to have a negative  effect on people. You may have seen in movies or heard in news how people are killed or threatened using bullets. But you may be surprised to learn that bullets are actually one of the simplest things that don’t contain much of explosive stuff.

bullet, gun, explosive, lead


A gun normally consists of 4 main parts – the bullet, the gunpowder, a brass casing and a primer that ignites the gunpowder.  The brass casing houses the actual bullet. The primer and the gun powder is hold by the brass casing. The firing pin strikes the  primer causing a small explosion and lighting off the gun powder. The gunpowder's burning produces a lot of gas which pushes the bullet out of the cartridge, down the barrel of the gun, and out.


Technically, the bullet is the projectile part of a cartridge. A projectile is an object projected into the atmosphere by the exertion of a force and the only force that acts upon it is gravity. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but cause heavy damage on the intended target by sheer impact and penetration. Bullets are almost always made from a core of lead. Many have a jacket of copper on them. Lead or a lead alloy (typically containing antimony) is the core material of a traditional bullet. Traditional bullet jackets are made of gilding metal, an alloy,  or copper . Gliding metal  is  an alloy of copper and zinc. 


bullet, gun, explosive, lead

Bullets made out of only soft material such as lead expand on impact causing more damage to the target. Bullets made out of a harder material such as steel penetrate further into thicker targets, but without much expansion.


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