AMMUNITION DATA TABLES
AMENDED 30 MAY 2013
The data in these tables may be reproduced elsewhere without permission, provided that the source is acknowledged
Much of the dimensional data for the larger cartridges has been provided by Robert Hawkinson Jr. Thanks for additional information to Steve Chaskin, Fabian Langbroek, Warren Mitchell, J Peelen, Greg Spahr and Lauri Vuorinen
The purpose of these tables is to provide a simple ID guide for 20th century military metal-cased cartridges, both service and experimental, larger than the standard rifle/MG types. Some basic ballistic information is also provided, where known. The tables have been broken up into different calibre ranges to keep their size manageable and facilitate printing. The tables will be introduced in stages, and added to as time permits.
The following notes are common to all tables:
COLUMN 1: METRIC DESIGNATION
The two key dimensions of a cartridge are the calibre and length of the case. The calibre is the approximate diameter of the projectile, or the inside diameter of the empty case. The length is the length of the case only, not including the projectile. These dimensions are expressed in millimetres, so for example a 12.7 x 99 cartridge has a case with a calibre of 12.7mm and a length of 99mm (this is, in fact, the dimensions of the 0.50 inch Browning cartridge). Where more than one number is given for the case length, it could be found with different lengths. The third identifier is the type of rim. Most military cases of less than 40mm calibre are rimless, that is the rim is the same size as the case body and separated from it by an extractor groove. Most larger cases are rimmed; the rim is larger than the body and forms a flange at the base. These are identified by the letter R after the metric measurements. Other less common rim types are: semi-rimmed or semi-rimless (SR) with both a small extractor groove and a rim slightly larger than the body; belted (B) which is like the rimless type except there is a raised belt just above the extractor groove (see drawing below); and rebated (RB, or RR) in which the rim has a smaller diameter than the body. Examples of these case types can be seen in the Ammunition Photo Gallery on this site. A drawing of the main elements of a typical cannon cartridge is shown below.
COLUMN 2: RIM DIAMETER
Occasionally two different cartridges may have the same calibre and case length. In this instance, it is useful to know the rim diameter. This can also provide a clue to the relationship between cartridges, as it is common for new cartridges to be created by taking an existing one and altering the calibre. Further information about military cartridge relationships can be found here.
COLUMN 3: NATIONALITY
This uses the standard vehicle codes to identify the country of origin or main use, with certain exceptions. The Soviet Union/CIS/Russia is identified by the letters SU. China is PRC, and the United Kingdom is UK. More than one country may be listed.
COLUMN 4: PROJECTILE
This indicates the type and weight of the projectile. Initially, it is intended to list just the most common type for each cartridge, but at a later date I hope to include a range of service types. The key to the ammunition types is as follows (definitions may be found in the Glossary on this site):
B = ball (i.e. inert metal, no chemical contents)
I = incendiary
HE = high explosive
AP = armour piercing
APCR= AP, composite, rigid (also known as HVAP = high velocity AP, and APHC = AP hard core)
APDS = AP discarding sabot
APFSDS = AP fin stabilised DS
FAP = frangible AP
F = Frangible training
T = tracer
COLUMN 5: VELOCITY
This is the velocity of the projectile in Column 4, measured in metres per second at or close to the muzzle. To convert to feet per second, multiply by 3.28
COLUMN 6: NAME / WEAPONS
This gives the common name of the cartridge where this is different from the metric designation in the first column (e.g. .50" Browning) and also indicates the period during which it was developed (the + symbol indicates it is still in use) and the principal weapons the cartridge is associated with. Abbreviations used include: AMR = anti-materiel rifle, AT = anti-tank, ATR = anti-tank rifle, a/c = aircraft, AA = anti-aircraft, AFV = armoured fighting vehicle, Oe = Oerlikon, HS = Hispano-Suiza, RhB = Rheinmetall Borsig, RCL = recoilless
Data in italics concerns limited service or experimental types. Data in bold concerns cartridges still made today. Data in red font highlights the most recent additions or amendments.
ANTI-TANK AND HEAVY MACHINE GUN CARTRIDGES PLUS VARIATIONS 10-19 MM CALIBRE AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
20 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
21-29 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 30 MAY 2013
30 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
31-37 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
38-47 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 30 MAY 2013
48-74 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 30 MAY 2013
75 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
76-77 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
78-100 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 30 MAY 2013
101-105 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013
106-128 MM CALIBRE CARTRIDGES AMENDED 15 JANUARY 2013