Military guns

The hunt after the perfect gun and cartridge combination is what has driven the gun evolution forward. The first army to be issued rifles was Great Britain.. The year of 1960 they got flintlocks to fight with. Gunpowder making at that time was a dangerous thing to work with, explosions (even today) destroyed many factories.

The gun making business was all handmade, expensive and slow. All guns at that time where reloaded with powder first down the barrel and the bullet afterwards, slow, the need for training was high also the price to it, powder was expensive to make. In the middle of 1800 cartridges as we now today entered the picture and the rate of fire increased.
When rifles with magazines came available allot of people where scared that the soldier would use all the cartridge at once and not bothered to aim, that way of thinking put some brakes on what one armed the soldiers with.

Sidearms? to begin with we gave the soldier a sword or a bayonet. If no time to reload his front loading gun, he could defend himself or charge with the sword in hand or the bayonet on the rifle.

Later on handguns where available but costly, tank crews couldn't have rifles in there, so we armed those with pistols, revolvers or submachine guns that used pistol ammo.

When guns changed from single shots to magazine rifles the diameter of the bullet got down too. When again changed to semi and full auto the cartridge size shrank even more. The guns have to use smaller cartridges, in that way we could make the mechanism smaller, the powder and bullet technology was better so we could use smaller cartridges but they could carry a punch still at longer ranges. Many of the military cartridges where made available to the civilian shooters too. Some of them where perfectly adaptable to hunt animals also and not only humans. The 30-06 is a much used cartridge for hunting, the .308 Win and .223 Rem are kings when accuracy is needed. The .45 ACP is perfect for both target shooters and for those that want a gun for defence. The 9mm is also one of the most used cartridges for semiautomatics both for the army and civilian shooters. A few of them will never make susses but the cases maybe. Wildcatters can use them and design new cartridges from them. Cartridge designing for both army and civilian use goes hand in hand way back and in too the future.

Let us take a closer look at some of the guns and cartridges for initially military use:

Handgun cartridges.

.45 Colt

This cartridge was born in 1873 together with the Colt SA revolver. Adopted by the Army and lasted as a sidearm cartridge on to 1892.Big lead round nosed bullet, 255 grains and with a velocity of 810 fps. In 1892 it was replaced by the 38 Long Colt, a big mistake that was later on fixed with the adoption of the .45ACp in 1911.

USFA SA in 45 Colt

.45 ACP

This cartridge was designed by Moses Browning in 1905, in it was adopted by the army in the 1911 Colt pistol. The first loading was with a 230 grains roundnosed hardball bullet with a velocity of 840 fps. It is still used very much for target shooting and as a self defence cartridge/gun combination too.

9mm Para bellum, or 9mm Luger or 9x19 Nato.

The 9mm was designed by George Luger in 1902 for his (redesign from Borchardt's pistol) well known Luger pistol. DWM. The cartridge was loaded first with a full metal jacketed round nosed bullet in about 123 grains weight and to a velocity of 1200 fps. This is the cartridge that was beaten 1911 from the 45 ACP but now it has replaced the same, chambered in a Beretta gun. A nice cartridge for both pistols and submachine guns, most of the armies around the world use it

Rifle cartridges.


30-06 SpringfieldSpringfield 1903

30-06 Springfield, a cartridge that was used both world wars and in Korea afterwards. This cartridge is loved by many for hunting and ammunition can be found around the world.

8x57 mm JS

.Mauser K98

This cartridge was designed by Paul Mauser, one of the first military cartridge cases to go rimless. The cartridge was first introduced in the 1888 with a bullet diameter of .319" and 226 grains round nosed bullet. The Germans adopted an S version (Spitzer) in 1905 and the diameter was changed to .323". The J stands for Infanteri. Take care here, you must know what bullet diameter you gun is made for before you start shooting. This cartridge saw some use in Africa too for hunting lighter to medium games at those years before the Second World War.

7.62x51 mm Nato, .308 Winchester.

The .308 Winchester was born from the T-65 experiment cartridge, introduced to civilians in the 1952, next year, 1953 it was adopted by Nato forces as the 7.62x51Nato. Later on it was replaced by the smaller 5.56x45 but it is still in use for machine guns. For hunting and competition? Hard to find a better one. If iam pushed out there in the line of fire this gun would be my choice. Iv had seen it work from over 35 Celsius in the sun to the 40s below in harsh environment on North Sweden. Never failed me!

5.56x45mm, .223 Remington

.Colt M16 A1

This one replaced the bigger 7.62x51 Nato .Faster and lighter plus less recoil made it a better solution for the soldier who has to carry his gun (M16) and lots of ammo all the time. The M16 is designed from the AR-15 made by Eugene Stoner. This cartridge is perfect for varmint shooting, small game hunting or target competition. The gun and ammunition itself has evolved a lot since the troubled M16A1 version used in Vietnam.

7.62x39mm SovietAk47

This cartridge and gun (AK47) combination can be found everywhere in the world. Soviet did spread those around the globe hoping to strife capitalism. Mr Michail Timofejevitj Kalasjnikov never got a penny for all the copies made around the world; otherwise he would be a millionaire now.

5.45x39mm Soviet.

This is the new cartridge taking after from the older 7.62x39, chambered in the "new" AK74.What they did was to adapt the old AK47 to the new cartridge with minimal modifications.


Iv tested a few different versions of the M16 guns and also the Ak47 and 74, my vote goes to the HK in cal 308, more weight to carry around, and more recoil too but a hell of a lot more power to the target and quality sights to do it with.

Is this the future for military cartridges and guns? It seems so and it’s a bit sad, handloaders can’t use the case because its not there anymore :( Here you can see the HK G11 with the caseless cartridge it’s made for. Lots of new problems (how to get rid of the heat for example) with this design but it would solve a lot. Less weight and less costly and this type of gun and ammo will probably be the link between ordinary guns and the laser beams from the star wars