Some time ago, innovations were a once-in-a-few-years occurrence, celebrated even by people not directly related to the sphere where the discovery was achieved. Today, innovations are so frequent and ample in every sphere that it calls for a real breakthrough to raise brows. Though the air of novelty is slowly fading, improvements and changes still grace us with their presence now and then. Recent years saw an increased demand for more efficient and effective ammunition, and manufacturers have responded to that call by developing new technologies and innovations poised to revolutionize the industry. Some only exist in blueprints and nebulous ideas, while others already appeared in prototypes. In this article, Gritr Sports will shed some light on the current developments in ammunition.
The Current State of the Industry
Quality ammunition is often seen as one of the key elements of a precise shot equation. While the ammo itself can’t help your target acquisition, it does impact your shooting experience. The current state of ammunition production is driven by tradition and demand for improvements. Improved ballistics and range also rank among priorities for ammo users.
Currently, the typical round comprises four primary components: the bullet, powder, primer, and casing. This design has been consistent for nearly two centuries, and there haven’t been any radical changes. There were, however, some changes in materials.
Modern casing materials can vary, with brass and aluminum being the most common. Brass casings are preferred due to their excellent durability, corrosion resistance, and ease of reloading. Some shooters prefer aluminum casings because they are lightweight and often less expensive than brass. However, aluminum cases cannot be reused, making them less eco-friendly than brass.
Propellants vary by manufacturer and application, with different powders having special burn rates and performance characteristics. Propellant powders are typically made of nitrocellulose, which burns quickly and cleanly, leaving minimal residue in the firearm’s bore. Other powders may contain additives to help reduce fouling or improve accuracy. As we ponder what the future holds for ammunition, enthusiasts, and reloaders are delving into the specifics, exploring elements like caliber variations. For those interested in the nuances of 357 Magnum ammunition, dive into the details with more on 357 Magnum brass from reliable sources to understand the evolving landscape of firearms technology.
Traditional options are somewhat limited in their ability to meet the rising standards of buyers. That’s where new technologies kick in.
Technologies In Work
One technology that has been recently introduced and is gaining attention is caseless ammunition. This ammunition removes the metal casing surrounding traditional cartridges and encases the gunpowder and bullet in combustible material. Not only does it reduce the weight of the ammunition, but it also makes ammo cheaper to produce. The technology is far from perfect, though. Increased heat sensitivity creates conditions for premature firing, and the cartridge’s build requires firearm manufacturers to seek other means to ensure the chamber is completely sealed while firing. While much work still needs to be done, it’s a promising direction.
Polymer-cased ammunition is another notable invention that morphed the ammo landscape into its more diverse version. One of the most significant advantages of polymer-cased ammo is its lightweight nature. This type of ammunition is typically up to 50% lighter than traditional brass-cased ammo, making it an excellent option for those looking to reduce the weight of their gear. The ammunition is not subject to the same oxidation and corrosion that can occur with metal casings. Additionally, polymer-cased ammunition is more elastic, storing more bullets in a given space. The use of polymer casings also significantly reduces the cost of production and allows for easier recycling and disposal, as the material is more environmentally friendly than traditional metal casings.
Biodegradable and Smart Bullets
The presence of lead makes ammo a tangible danger to the environment. In response to the demand for eco-friendly ammunition, ammo engineers began researching biodegradable bullets. Unlike traditional ammunition that uses lead or copper, biodegradable bullets should be made of materials that can organically decompose. Two years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory introduced the first drafts of how this ammo could work. Not much has been heard since then, but such a profound reimagining takes time to bring to life.
Smart bullets are an invention coveted by many firearm owners. Who wouldn’t want unprecedented precision and minimal chances of missing and causing collateral damage? While smart munitions are already implemented in missile guidance systems, it doesn’t look like smart ammo reaches regular firearm owners anywhere. The last known attempt, the EXACTO system, was last heard of in 2014. Due to the project’s classified nature, whether it’s been successfully adopted by the army or abandoned whatsoever is unknown. While the progress and expectations keep the idea of smart bullets alive, it doesn’t seem like they will soon become part of our lives.
Laser-initiated ammunition is a groundbreaking technology that has the potential to transform the world of shooting. This innovative type of ammunition works by incorporating a laser into the cartridge design. When the laser is triggered, it ignites the primer, then sets off the gunpowder. One of the biggest benefits of laser-initiated ammo is its increased reliability, even in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Additionally, this technology can potentially reduce traditional ammunition’s environmental impact. With laser-initiated ammo, shooters can enjoy greater consistency in their shooting. This type of ammunition is definitely one to watch, as it could change how we shoot for years.
Army scientists have developed a novel initiation system utilizing LEDs. These tiny, low-cost devices allow for insertion directly within the body of the cartridge with minimal technical challenges and only minor modifications to fabrication and assembly equipment. The substitution does not affect existing weapon hardware’s weight, performance, form, fit, or function.
The future of the ammunition industry is certainly exciting, with innovations big and small offering alternative ways of shooting. Ultimately, these new technologies will offer firearm enthusiasts significant accuracy, range, consistency, and sustainability benefits. We are waiting for these technologies to move from the world of ideas to reality.