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Ammunition can be a very intimidating subject for those who do not know much about firearms. Selecting ammunition for hunting or personal defense is a very important decision with strong implications for the performance and safety of your firearm.

Ammunition is generally expressed in a measurement. Most of the world uses a metric rating, while the commercial market in the United States uses a U.S. standard measurement.

The measurements in metric are almost always a “diameter to length” ratio; for example, a bullet in the caliber:

  • 5.56x45mm is 5.56mm wide and 45mm long
  • 9x19mm cartridge is 9mm wide and 19mm long
  • Shotshells are measured in “gauge”, with a lower number being a larger diameter.
    Typical 12 gauge shells are 70mm long, which works out to be 2.5", but offered in a 3” magnum as well.


It’s important to note that a cartridge is made of four components:

  1. Case (generally brass, nickel, or steel)
  2. Primer – an ignition for the propellant; look for the round dimple on the base of the cartridge.
  3. Powder/propellant – also known as “gunpowder”
  4. Projectile – also known as the bullet (technically it's the only part of the cartridge that is a bullet)

Types of Bullets:

  • Lead Round Nose (LRN)
  • Wad Cutter (WC)
  • Semi Wad Cutter (SWC)
  • Semi-Jacketed (SJ)
  • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
  • Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP)
  • Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)
  • Special (RCBD)

Zia Kayak Outfitters maintains inventory of Handgun, Rifle and Shotgun ammunition. We will always discuss your needs offering suggestions for defense or target shooting.