Artillery ammunition has developed to meet the diversified use of its in the battlefield and for personal safety purposes. Also, the ammunitions, especially the guns and firearms, are designed variedly, and so, their parts name varies significantly.
One such integral item of all firearms, including guns and pistols, is the shell casing. But what is a shell casing in actuality? Also, many people distinguish between the shell and the casing, which most beginner and intermediate firearm users don’t know.
Today, we will shed light on these topics to inform you of the definition and uses of shell casing, the true difference between the casing and the shell, and finally, shells manufacturing and what happens to once you spent it.
This discussion will illuminate your true knowledge of guns and the use of their shell casing. So, let’s begin the journey.
What Is A Shell Casing?
Let’s put it straightforward-
A shell casing truly refers to a piece of ammunition used in guns and pistols. It is made of metals of different kinds. The metal used to manufacture the shell casing is mostly brass material. However, you will also see the use of any sturdy yet flexible material for shell casing production.
Also, it is made of various ammunitions. The key is that it has to be usable with guns, pistols, and rifles. You will also see its application on shotguns too.
Nonetheless, you must understand that the shell casing itself isn’t the bullet itself. Instead, it is a small part of the larger ammunition mechanism used in firearms.
The large ammunition mechanism, including the shell casing, is loaded into the barrel of the firearm. It is then used to shot the firearm. You have to know the way a gun or pistol works to know how the shell casing operated within the ammunition mechanism.
A gun or pistol, or any firearm is designed to fire bullets through its loaded barrel using the spring. Its explosion comes mainly from the bullet. The bullet has three parts in it-
- The primer
- Propellant substance
- The main part of the bullet
These three parts of the bullet need to be integrated into one uniform structure. Thus, bullet manufacturers use a brass or metal jacket to house these various parts of the bullet. This brass housing is the actual shell casing that we talk about mostly.
Nonetheless, a shell casing has much more application and purpose than only housing the parts of the bullet. It is engineered in such a way that propels the bullet in one direction. So, you can hit the aim accurately.
The casing has a different thickness in different sections of it. Usually, the front is the thinnest allowing the explosive inside the casing to explode when it hits the target. On the contrary, the strike plate of the casing is the thickest. It prevents the bullet explosion close to the shooter saving his life.
What Is The Difference Between A Shell And A Casing?
Although many people mistakenly consider the shell and casing of the gun different, they usually refer to the same thing. So, there’s no big difference between the two terms.
The shell, as Britannica describes, is the casing used to accommodate the propulsive material. Also, the bullet sits right at the neck of the casing. The primer sits right at the opposite end of the bullet, and it has an open end.
However, if you are using shotgun ammunition, the entire scenario is different. Here, the shell will refer to the entire cartridge of the bullet, not the casing differently. It includes-
- Shot-It contains the entire projectile that you will shot to hit the target.
- Powder- This is the explosive material that will ignite the fire and cause maximum destruction once it hits the target.
- Primer– It is a piece of an explosive substance. It will ignite when you detonate the cartridge power for the explosion.
- The case- It accommodates everything inside the cartridge in a systematic way and helps you inserting the bullet into the barrel for shots. The case is made of thin plastic or paper and then fitted on the base of the metal of the shell. It also contains the primer cap.
Thus, you now should clearly know the true distinctions between the shell and casing. The difference is, however, only applicable in the shotgun ammunition mechanism and not in regular guns or pistols.
What Are Shell Casings Made Of?
The primary material of the shell casing is any metal found in our surroundings. It should have the combustible ability. The most common metals used to prepare the shell casings are-
- Brass material– A combination of zinc and copper formed as an alloy. It is the most common shell casing material you will find.
- Steel: Steel casings are more found in military uses.
- Aluminum: Many manufacturers use aircraft-grade aluminum to manufacture shell casings. These are lightweight casings and have better speed propulsion.
Some ordinary guns or pistols even have plastic shell casings that use HDPE materials. But it is rarely seen these days.
Do All Guns Leave Shell Casings?
No, not all guns leave shell casings behind. The revolver actually leaves the shell casing once you shot the bullet. It happens because the shell casing is placed inside the cylinder when you fire the revolver. It is mostly seen in Colt Python revolver.
Also, some pistols will leave marks of shell casings once you shot the gun.
Can Shell Casings Be Traced?
In the large and fully equipped gun, you will be less likely able to trace the shell gun. But it still can be traced back in a revolver.
Nonetheless, it is possible to trace the bullet of the gun. It happens because it has the left behind rifling imprints on the bullet. The imprint is produced when the bullet travels past the gun barrel. The serial number will allow you to find the gun owner too.
What Happens To Spent Shell Casings?
The shell casing is collectible once you shot the fire. If you practice shooting indoor, you can easily collect the brass and hand it down to any scrap purchasers.
However, in the military field, the shell casing rule is sometimes pretty harsh. After each session of firing and practice, the trainee is required to return the shell casing to the authority. In some countries, the military follows the shell casing, counting loosely.
Nonetheless, in British Army, it is expected that after the training session, the trainee will return 100% of his used brass shells. It is painstaking.
Do Hitmen Use 22 Calibers?
Yes, many hitmen will use a 22-caliber gun. The 0.22 gun is popular among hitmen for its quieter operation. It uses a suppresser to reduce the sound generated during the shot. Likewise, the 9mm shot, the 0.22 shot is deadly too. But its advantage is its quietness.
So, what is a shell casing? It is a small part of the large ammunition mechanism to accommodate the three parts of the bullet. It is made of ultra-strong metal like brass or steel and houses the explosives, igniting materials, and other elements of the bullet.
Its lower end is the thickest for the safety of the gunner. The shell casing will not leave imprints behind when used in a gun. But in revolvers, you could still trace back the casing. The shell gun, with its strong construction, is made to propel the bullet forward with accurate direction as well.