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Rifle Ammunition Overview

Most rifle cartridges in use today originated as hunting or military calibers. As such, they typically provide strong medium or long range performance and relatively stout recoil (which may not be felt as such by the user, if a good pad is fitted to the rifle's stock).

Ammunition for bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles typically uses necked down cases to fire relatively long, low caliber bullets. Cartridges intended for lever action rifles are distinguished by their use of round-nosed (or polymer-tipped) bullets. This allows the cartridges to sit end to end in the tubular magazines of lever actions without risk of accidental ignition.

Among hunting rounds, soft point bullets (whether polymer tipped or not) are the most common projectile. These are especially good for taking game animals because they expand (or ""mushroom"") to kill the target without fragmenting and destroying meat or trophies.

Hollow point projectiles fall into two distinct categories for rifle calibers. Some are designed to expand or fragment to stop predators or human assailants in self-defense situations. However, many match grade rounds fire bullets designated OTM (open tipped match) or BTHP/HPBT (hollow point boat tail) which are not intended to expand, but rather to produce optimal accuracy.