Bullet Basics

As a reputable bullet casing jewelry seller, you must be able to speak knowledgeably with your customers about bullet casings! To achieve a basic knowledge of firearm operation and bullet characteristics, begin by watching the following video:

Pictured below- disassembled .223 caliber ammunition:

Bullet Basics 223

When the firing pin of the gun strikes the primer, a chemical reaction occurs that ignites the gunpowder. As the gunpowder expands, it forces the bullet down the chamber of the gun. The casing is the metal container that houses the gunpowder and projectile.

For your jewelry, you will use empty casings, bullets by themselves, or “dummy rounds” (bullet + casing, no gunpowder and no live primer). These are the only safe components- DO NOT USE LIVE BULLETS! If you need help determining if a bullet casing is live, check the safety information page.

Your customers will likely request jewelry in specific “calibers”- this is simply a measurement of the bullet casing’s size. Below is a chart of the most commonly requested calibers. The “opening” refers to the diameter of the hole in the casing, where the projectile once was. The “length” refers to the length of the bullet casing after the projectile has been fired. The “slice” will refer to the diameter of the cut off top (or slice) of a bullet casing.


.22 Caliber             .22″ (5.59mm) opening   x   .594″ length

9mm                       .380″ (9.65mm) opening   x   .754″ length   x   .394″ slice

.40 Caliber            .423″ (10.74mm) opening   x   .850″ length   x   .424″ slice

.45 Caliber             .473″ (12.01 mm) opening   x    .898″ length   x   .480″ slice

.38 Special             .379″ (9.63mm) opening   x   1.155″ length   x   .440″ slice

.223 / 5.56             .253″ (6.43mm) opening   x   1.760″ length   x   .378″ slice

.50 Caliber BMG  .562″ (14.27mm) opening   x   3.95″ length   x   .804″ slice