Bullet Abbreviations

What’s with the alphabet soup?

There are TONS of different abbreviations for the projectiles used in cartridges. Here are a few that we use:

RN- Round Nosed bullet. A round nose bullet offers more reliable feeding in finicky semi-auto firearms that may not function well with other types of bullets.

FN- Flat Nose bullet. This is sometimes referred to as Flat Point as well, but we use the language "Flat Nose" for consistency. A flat nose projectile is ideal for cutting a clean hole through a paper target to help you see the point of impact from greater distances from the target.

FMJ- Full Metal Jacket- the projectile is essentially pushed into the “jacket”, leaving exposed lead on the back.

TMJ- Total Metal Jacket, meaning the lead projectile is totally encompassed in the plating.

P- Plated. For us, a shorter way of saying TMJ. P will often precede the letters indicating the shape of the projectile.  Ex: PRN= Plated Round Nose

BT- Boat tail. Refers to the shape of the back of the bullet. Boat tails are widely known for having less drag.

SP- Soft point. Provides more penetration before expansion when compared to a hollow point.

HP- Hollow point. Provides a lot of expansion on impact. Mostly use for hunting/defense.

THP- Target Hollow Point. This projectile flies like a hollow point, but doesn’t expand the same way a modern defensive hollow point will.

HB- Hollow Base. The Hollow Base on some of our rounds allows the bullet to be longer and provides more contact area with the barrel and rifling which will stabilize the bullet and improve accuracy.  The bullet profile is longer but the weight of the bullet remains the same.  The hollow base bullet is a favorite among target and competitive shooters.

TMK- Tipped Match King. This is a projectile with polymer tip, ideal for precision rifle rounds.

SMK- Sierra Match King. Sierra Bulletsmiths are the manufacturers of these incredibly precise projectiles. This is an open-tipped match king. The hollow point on these is designed for less drag on the projectile rather than a defensive-style hollow point.


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