Ammunition weight is not universal. Since it is a different material (lead, copper, copper plated lead…), each type of ammunition will have a different weight. However, there are some general guidelines that can be used to come up with a good ballpark figure. The ammo weight chart below answers the question: “how much do bullets weigh?” by charting 9 real-world ammunition weights (by caliber).
How much do bullets weigh? The average weight of a bullet ranges between 0.02 kilograms and 0.05 kilograms, or between .04 pounds and .11 pounds.
Ammunition weight depends on several factors. The weight of a bullet would typically depend on the bullet’s caliber and the type of gun you are using. This is why the same bullet can be shot at different speeds when different guns are used.
A bullet’s caliber represents its diameter in millimeters or centimeters. The caliber would usually range from 0.22 to 0.60 inches.
Every ardent gun user understands that different types of bullets feature different calibers. However, the two most common types of bullets available today are the jacketed bullet and the lead bullet.
Pistol Ammo Weight Chart by Caliber
Throughout this article, we’ll review different types of bullets and their average weight, as well as factors that influence a bullet’s weight. Before starting, here’s an ammo weight chart of common pistol calibers.
|Caliber||Rounds Per 100 Lbs.||Weight Per 100 Rounds|
|9mm LugerHornady 115gr JHP||38.10||2.63|
|.357 Magnum Remington UMC 125gr||30.77||3.25|
|.357 Magnum Handload 158gr JHP||28.07||3.56|
|.40 Smith & Wesson||28.07||3.56|
|.44 Magnum 240gr LSWC Bullet||19.7||5.07|
|.44 Magnum 240gr LSWC Bullet||19.7||5.07|
|.45 ACP230gr Winchester Ball||21.33||4.69|
Breaking Down Bullets
It’s typical to see people refer to cartridges as bullets. Unfortunately, even learned gun enthusiasts make these mistakes too.
The bullet is only the metal projectile present at the tip of the cartridge. The cartridge consists of other parts too, so it’ll be wrong to call the complete lot a bullet.
A cartridge typically consists of a bullet, a primer, an explosive propellant, and a casing.
Types of Bullet
Before reviewing the factors that affect a gun’s weight, it’s only right that we understand the different types of bullets. Below is a brief review of the different types.
Full Metal Jacket
If you’re a gun enthusiast, chances exist that you’ll know this bullet. It is one of the most common types of bullets out there. Its structure consists of a soft metal core and a hard metal casing.
The history of full metal jackets can be traced to the days when guns with internal loading mechanisms were invented. The bullets were also developed to allow for more effortless loading and better shots. However, the inventors failed to make the bullets expandable within their targets, making them less deadly.
Another popular type of bullet is the primer. This type of bullet comes in two categories: Rimfire primers and Centerfire primers.
Rimfire primers are designed to allow the firing pin to land on the primer’s edge. This working mechanism allows for the disbursement of more energy to the cartridge. However, they are usually less accurate, and this is probably the reason for their relative affordability.
On the other hand, Centerfire primers are designed for the gun’s firing pin to land directly in the center part of the cartridge. This working mechanism leads to a direct and more precise force. Compared to Rimfire primers, they are typically more expensive and more powerful.
From the name of this type of bullet, you can tell that they are designed with hollow tips. This is because they were designed to satisfy the need for lighter, faster bullets. However, it was later discovered that the bullet expanded upon impact, thus creating more significant damage. In addition, the expansion of the bullet lowers the bullet’s chances of traveling through the intended target.
This type of bullet typically looks similar to the hollow point bullet, although the hole at the end of the bullet is typically narrower. The narrow hole is not meant to expand the bullet.
Unlike regular FMJ bullets, this type of bullet features a dome as its base. It’s worth mentioning that they are very accurate; hence, their use for snipping and long-range hunting.
Otherwise known as plastic tip bullets, ballistic bullets are hollow point bullets that feature plastic tips. The plastic end of the bullet is designed to mimic the shape of a full metal jacket.
A combination of the features of the FMJ and hollow-point means that the bullet is not only accurate but it also expands upon impact.
What Does Bullet Grain Mean?
For context, let’s mention that the basic unit of measurement for bullet weight is grain. The unit, which is usually written as “gr,” represents one 7,000th of a pound. So, put simply, we can say that one pound equals 7,000 grains.
While in the market to buy bullets, you’ll usually see bullets listed with grain size before the bullet type. For instance, you may see a 9mm round listed as “115 gr FMJ.” This listing typically means that the cartridge is loaded with 115 grains of full metal jacket bullets.
From the chart above, you can see that cartridges come with several different bullet sizes, and the size of a bullet will typically affect the weight impact of each shot.
How Does Grain Weight Impact Shooting?
Obviously, bullet weight affects its performance. This is why different bullets will perform differently when used under the same circumstances. In addition, bullet weight directly affects the recoiling mechanism of a firearm. It also affects the bullet’s trajectory. Finally, weight affects the terminal ballistic of a bullet, changing its performance level when it hits a target.
When talking bullet weight, you should also think about how you’ll use the cartridge. For example, if you simply want to plink (casual shots of smaller cartridges at short distances), you won’t care so much about bullet weight. Instead, most people that just want to plink would care about budget when purchasing bullets.
On the other hand, if your profession requires that you shoot for maximum accuracy, then bullet weight is something you want to look out for. However, it’s more complicated than just saying lighter or heavier bullets would work better.
Generally, lighter bullets have greater speed, meaning that shooters can expect a straighter trajectory, even at longer distances. However, their lightweight means that they typically deliver less energy and can be blown off target by strong winds.
Why You Should Choose A Heavy Bullet
Most gun enthusiasts understand the relationship between bullet weights and targets. In fact, the bullet’s energy at the target is the most crucial reason why many people select heavier bullets. It improves terminal ballistics. This means that shooters looking for better penetration and expansion would typically opt for heavier bullets. Of course, factors like bullet shape and material affect penetration and expansion, but weight plays an important role.
This is why hunters and people buying bullets for self-defense would typically want heavier bullets. Heavier bullets will more likely deliver more energy into the target when shot from a hunting gun. Therefore, heavier bullets would help you deliver better shots when shooting for self-defense to stop the threat.
On the other hand, you should also choose lighter bullets to improve the speed and distance covered. Target shooters generally prefer speed because it helps them cover longer distances without losing targets. As you probably know by now, heavier bullets would drop with continuous distance, meaning that a lighter projectile will give you a straighter trajectory.
Lighter bullets may be ideal for people that participate in distance rifle shooting, especially to hit targets. If, as a hunter, you want to take out targets from very far distances, you’ll need to opt for lighter bullets, although this would mean sacrificing energy.
So, What Is The Right Bullet Weight For You?
In the end, not everything would work for you. You’ll need to choose a bullet that suits your needs and preferences. Well, the key to finding the ideal bullet for you is knowing what you’ll need the gun for and finding around that will provide everything you need for that purpose. Once you have around that meets every requirement you’ve set, hold a few practice sections with it to be sure it would work perfectly with your gun. Bear in mind that different guns handle different bullet weights differently. This is why some guns will fire certain bullet weights better than others.
Of course, you must find the bullet that offers you the best in terms of accuracy. It is also vital that the said bullet provides you the best penetration and least recoil. Also, note that even the same weight rounds from different companies may function differently in your gun. Therefore, we often advise shooters to hit the range with several different weights. Practicing with the different weights will help you find an option that’s perfect for you.