Slug (projectile)

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A slug is a term used for a bulky solid ballistic projectile. It is "solid" in the sense of being composed of one piece; the shape can vary widely, including partially hollowed shapes. The term is occasionally applied to bullets (just the projectile, never the cartridge as a whole), but is most commonly applied to one-piece shotgun slugs, to differentiate them from shotshells containing numerous shots. Slugs are commonly fired from choked smoothbore barrels, but some specially-designed slug barrels have riflings that can impart gyroscopic spin required for in-flight stability.

An airgun slug is a new type of pellet recently developed for pre-charged pneumatic airguns. Unlike the conventional diabolo-shaped pellet, which is aerodynamically poor and relies heavily on drag-stabilisation to maintain accuracy, the slug pellet is cylindro-conoidally shaped like a Minié ball and relies predominantly on spin-stabilisation from a rifled barrel. Because of the greater contact area with the barrel bore, these pellets require more power from the gun to overcome the frictional resistance, and therefore are mainly used in PCP airguns, which generally have much higher muzzle energy ratings than other types of airguns such as spring-piston, pump pneumatic or HPA/CO2 airguns.

A water-slug refers to operating a submarine's torpedo tube that has been filled with water rather than a torpedo, thus shooting a "slug of water." In simulated naval battles and exercises this is to represent the dispatch of an actual torpedo as, to sonar detectors, the sounds are very alike. [1]

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Shotgun Firearm intended for firing a bolus of small pellets

A shotgun is a long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small pellet-like spherical sub-projectiles called shot, or sometimes a single solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns are most commonly smoothbore firearms, meaning that their gun barrels have no rifling on the inner wall, but rifled barrels for shooting slugs are also available.

Bullet Projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun

A bullet is a kinetic projectile, a component of firearm ammunition that is shot from a gun barrel. The term is from Middle French, originating as the diminutive of the word boulle (boullet), which means "small ball". Bullets are made of a variety of materials, such as copper, lead, steel, polymer, rubber and even wax. Bullets are made in various shapes and constructions, including specialized functions such as hunting, target shooting, training and combat. bullets are often tapered, making them more aerodynamic. Bullet sizes are expressed by their weights and diameters in both imperial and metric measurement systems. For example: 55 grain .223 caliber bullets are of the same weight and caliber as 3.56 gram 5.56mm caliber bullets. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but strike or damage the intended target by transferring kinetic energy upon impact and penetration.

Air gun Gun that uses compressed air to launch projectiles

An air gun, air rifle or airgun, is a gun that shoots projectiles pneumatically with compressed air or other gases that are mechanically pressurized without involving any chemical reactions, in contrast to a firearm, which pressurizes gases chemically via oxidation of combustible propellants that generates propulsive energy by breaking molecular bonds.

BB gun Air gun that uses metallic ball projectiles called BBs

A BB gun is a type of air gun designed to shoot metallic ball projectiles called BBs, which are approximately the same size as BB-size lead birdshot. Modern BB guns usually have a smoothbore barrel with a 4.5 mm (0.177 in) caliber, and use steel balls that measure 4.3–4.4 mm (0.171–0.173 in) in diameter and 0.33–0.35 g (5.1–5.4 gr) in weight, usually zinc- or copper-plated for corrosion resistance. Some manufacturers still make the slightly larger traditional lead balls that weigh around 0.48–0.50 g (7.4–7.7 gr), which are generally intended for use in rifled barrels.

Sabot (firearms)

A sabot is a supportive device used in firearm/artillery ammunitions to fit/patch around a projectile, such as a bullet/slug or a flechette-like projectile, and keep it aligned in the center of the barrel when fired. It allows a narrower projectile with high sectional density to be fired through a barrel of much larger bore diameter with maximal accelerative transfer of kinetic energy. After leaving the muzzle, the sabot typically separates from the projectile in flight, diverting only a very small portion of the overall kinetic energy.

Gun barrel Firearm component which guides the projectile during acceleration

A gun barrel is a crucial part of gun-type ranged weapons such as small firearms, artillery pieces and air guns. It is the straight shooting tube, usually made of rigid high-strength metal, through which a contained rapid expansion of high-pressure gas(es) is used to propel a projectile out of the front end (muzzle) at a high velocity. The hollow interior of the barrel is called the bore, and the diameter of the bore is called its caliber, usually measured in inches or millimetres.

Internal ballistics, a subfield of ballistics, is the study of the propulsion of a projectile.

A combat shotgun is a shotgun that is intended to be used in armed conflicts, typically by a military force. The earliest shotguns specifically designed for combat were the trench guns or trench shotguns issued in World War I. While limited in range, the multiple projectiles typically used in a shotgun shell provide increased hit probability unmatched by other small arms.

Pump-action or slide-action is a repeating firearm action that is operated manually by moving a sliding handguard on the gun's forestock. When shooting, the sliding forend is pulled rearward to eject any expended cartridge, and then pushed forward to cock the hammer/striker and load a new round of cartridge into the chamber. Most pump-action firearms use an integral tubular magazine, although some do use detachable box magazines. Pump-action is typically associated with shotguns.

Shotgun shell Self-contained cartridge loaded with lead shot or a solid slug

A shotgun shell, shotshell or simply shell is a type of rimmed, cylindrical (straight-walled) cartridges used specifically by shotguns, and is typically loaded with numerous small, pellet-like spherical sub-projectiles called shot, fired through a smoothbore barrel with a tapered constriction at the muzzle to regulate the extent of scattering. A shell can sometimes also contain only a single large solid projectile known as a slug, fired usually through a rifled slug barrel. The shell casing usually consist of a paper or plastic tube mounted on a brass base holding a primer, and the shots are typically contained by a wadding/sabot inside the case. The caliber of the shotshell is known as its gauge.

Accurizing Process of improving the accuracy and precision of a gun

Accurizing is the process of improving the accuracy and precision of a gun.

Riot shotgun

A riot shotgun is a shotgun designed or modified for use as a primarily defensive weapon, by the use of a short barrel and sometimes a larger magazine capacity than shotguns marketed for hunting. The riot shotgun is used by military personnel for guard duty and was at one time used for riot control, and is commonly used as a door breaching and patrol weapon by law enforcement personnel, as well as a home defense weapon by civilians. Guns of this type are often labeled as breaching shotguns, tactical shotguns or special-purpose shotguns to denote the larger scope of their use; however, these are largely marketing terms.

Shotgun slug Type of ammunition used mainly in hunting game

A modern shotgun slug is a heavy projectile made of lead, copper, or other material and fired from a shotgun. Slugs are designed for hunting large game, self-defense, and other uses. The first effective modern shotgun slug was introduced by Wilhelm Brenneke in 1898, and his design remains in use today. Most shotgun slugs are designed to be fired through a cylinder bore or an improved cylinder choke, rifled choke tubes, or fully rifled bores. Slugs differ from round-ball lead projectiles in that they are stabilized in some manner.

In the field of firearms and airguns, obturation denotes necessary barrel blockage or fit by a deformed soft projectile. A bullet or pellet, made of soft material and often with a concave base, will flare under the heat and pressure of firing, filling the bore and engaging the barrel's rifling. The mechanism by which an undersized soft-metal projectile enlarges to fill the barrel is, for hollow-base bullets, expansion from gas pressure within the base cavity and, for solid-base bullets, "upsetting"—the combined shortening and thickening that occurs when a malleable metal object is struck forcibly at one end.

Airsoft pellets

Airsoft pellets are spherical projectiles used by airsoft guns. Typically made of plastic, they usually measure around 6 mm (0.24 in) in diameter, and weigh 0.12–0.40 g (1.9–6.2 gr), with the most common weights being 0.12 g and 0.20 g, while 0.25 g, 0.28 g, 0.30 g and 0.40 g pellets are also commonplace. Though frequently referred to as "BBs" among airsoft users, these pellets are not the same as either of the 4.5 mm metal projectiles that BB guns fire, or the 4.6 mm (0.180 in)-sized birdshot from which the term "BB" originated.

Hunting weapons are weapons designed or used primarily for hunting game animals for food or sport, as distinct from defensive weapons or weapons used primarily in warfare.

Pellet (air gun) Non-spherical projectile designed to be shot from an air gun

A pellet is a non-spherical projectile designed to be shot from an air gun, and an airgun that shoots such pellets is commonly known as a pellet gun. Air gun pellets differ from bullets and shot used in firearms in terms of the pressures encountered; airguns operate at pressures as low as 50 atmospheres, while firearms operate at thousands of atmospheres. Airguns generally use a slightly undersized projectile that is designed to obturate upon shooting so as to seal the bore, and engage the rifling; firearms have sufficient pressure to force a slightly oversized bullet to fit the bore in order to form a tight seal. Since pellets may be shot through a smoothbore barrel, they are often designed to be inherently stable, much like the Foster slugs used in smoothbore shotguns.

The following are terms related to firearms and ammunition topics.

Potato cannon Pipe-based cannon

A potato cannon is a pipe-based cannon which uses air pressure (pneumatic), or combustion of a flammable gas, to launch projectiles at high speeds. They are built to fire chunks of potato, as a hobby, or to fire other sorts of projectiles, for practical use. Projectiles or failing guns can be dangerous and result in life-threatening injuries, including cranial fractures, enucleation, and blindness if a person is hit.

Gun Ranged weapon that shoots projectiles

A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid, gas or even charged particles. Solid projectiles may be free-flying or tethered. A large-caliber gun is also referred to as a cannon.


  1. Pacific Missile Range Facility, Enhanced Capability. Kekaha, HI: US Department of the Navy. December 1998. p. 126.