Why is it called "Ball" Ammo?


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Rustynuts
April 7, 2007, 09:35 AM
Just wondering where the term ball ammo came from? Is it left over from the old ball and musket days? Because it doesn't fragment or mushroom on impact, but forms a "Ball"?

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TexasRifleman
April 7, 2007, 09:39 AM
You will get several versions, but the majority seem to think that it's indeed a holdover from when ammo was really a ball.

In the military manuals you will see ball, tracer, incendiary etc.

So, the definition of ball ammo is "standard military ammo" with the others being specialty. The origin being when round balls were the standard ammo.

Now get ready for 3 or 4 other versions :)

Matt King
April 7, 2007, 10:25 AM
Most people use it to refer to FMJ ammunition.

Hope that helps.

ProficientRifleman
April 8, 2007, 07:20 AM
When arms were primarily muzzle loading muskets, you might load shot, or even what we would call a blank round today, a loaded powder charge tamped with wadding to make noise.

Or...if you were serious, you could load ball and kill someone with it.

At the Battle of Lexington, when the militia faced down the Brits at the bridge, the Brits fired their muskets into the water at the feet of the Colonial Militia. The response history has recorded was "By God they're firing Ball! Let 'em have it boys!"

Frog48
April 8, 2007, 07:27 AM
the majority seem to think that it's indeed a holdover from when ammo was really a ball.

Agreed, thats what I've always heard.

Hypnogator
April 8, 2007, 03:05 PM
Most people use it to refer to FMJ ammunition.

Yes, but that's not entirely accurate. The military differentiates ammo by types; ball, tracer, armor piercing, incendiary, blank, etc. "Ball" simply designates a projectile that is used as only a projectile.

Technically, a JHP round would be a "ball" round. The fact that "ball" has become equated to FMJ is because the military now only uses FMJ for its "ball" ammo.

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