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The components of the cartridge

In a cartridge there is a set of delicate and complicated production processes.

A cartridge is much more than a cylindrical object that we put in the shotgun. In a cartridge there is a set of delicate and complicated production processes. Only with the quality and good performance of each one of them separately, together with the appropriate combination of load and their correct dosage, give rise to the perfect cartridge so that when we aim and shoot we have absolute certainty that at that moment the shot will be executed with precision.

As in any recipe, everything begins with the ingredients, so the secret to making good cartridges, fundamentally lies in using good components. Said components are: Piston-Pod-Gunpowder-Taco-Perdigón.

If Nobel Sport Spain is privileged in something, it is in having the best components on the market, since it belongs to the largest European group of cartridge and component manufacturers. The group in its different plants in France and Italy manufactures gunpowder, plugs, pods and pistons. Therefore the quality, homogeneity and continuity of the components is always assured.



It is the soul of a cartridge, whether metallic or semi-metallic. The right choice and dosage defines the behavior of ammunition.

The powder used for the loading of cartridges is called smokeless, non-explosive, and it involves very little risk to users.

There are different types, and large differences between the powders for loading, therefore we must keep in mind that not all are equal, nor are good for everything.

There are more active or slower depending on the needs and benefits required from the cartridge.

Currently, limiting yourself to the use of one or two varieties of powder for the entire range of cartridges
means optimal components are not being used and that instead there is a cost strategy being followed. The product will work but not properly.


Gunpowder is a living element, and thus it varies to different environmental circumstances.

You have to be careful how a cartridge is stored if we want it to respond as the manufacturer claims it will do. Nobel Sport España uses a variety of propellants in the production of ammunition of our own and private brands and currently uses up to 14 different types of gunpowder in terms of the range and type of cartridge, also depending on their weight and the desired performance.


The powder grain surface determines its liveliness and end use, and is modulated by the addition of salts to achieve a higher or lower porosity, a quality that determines its liveliness.

Nobel Sport differentiates its different powders by color, shape and density to facilitate industrial load and to avoid operator mistakes.


Another difference is the burning rate of each powder. At a higher load -36 grams- it burns more slowly, as a larger mass of buckshot has to move along the canyon: that is why it is more progressive.

The ideal combination would be the one giving the speed / pressure ratio, which universally references for hunting with 400/600 (400 meters per second of initial velocity and 600 kilos per square centimeter of pressure). Based on the highest quality nitrocellulose in existence and with the right chemical mixtures, gunpowder of highest
quality on the market is achieved: A Series.


The powders used for charging hunting cartridges in Europe generally are single base, unlike those used in the United States: double base.

This difference is explained through production processes that existed on either side of the Atlantic, creating a cultural custom among shooters and hunters. The first leave no residue along the canyon. European hunters -and shooters- do not like to see waste dirtying their shotgun, something irrelevant to American hunters, used to clean their shotgun every time they use it.




Manufacturing the mixture out of which the explosive is obtained, which is later introduced in the initiating capsule of a cartridge -the cartridge itself- is highly sensitive and extremely dangerous.

Keep in mind that the piston and the powder are both agents with explosive substances of any cartridge and, therefore, are high risk elements for their processing and handling The piston or fulminant is the first element necessary to produce the shot; vitally important because, after the pressure from the firing pin, ignition of the cartridge occurs, which in turn leads to the launch of the missiles, whether in a bullet or pellet form; hence its sensitivity and importance.

The functioning principle of a piston consists of five elements:

• Three metallic elements: container of explosive, piston capsule, and anvil.
• The paper element: the disc.
• The explosive element: in this case, the initiating mixture.

This involves subjecting the pistons to a drop of weight of 56 grams, with a tip of 2 mm in diameter, so that the piston starts at 100% if the height is 178 mm, and it will not fire if the fall is that of 38 mm (CIP and Military Standard 105 D).




With respect to the case; its function is to protect the pellet and the powder, three elements are necessary for its manufacturing:

• A tube, usually plastic.
• A metal head, which determines the category or type of cartridge.
• The inner lid, which helps a perfect linkage between the plastic tube and the metal head.

The mounting of these three elements is done by means of pressure so that, in order to separate the metal head from the case, it should undergo a pressure of over 100 kilos.

Only the high technology that allows the production of billions of these elements ensures perfect uniformity.


In the manufacturing of the different colors of case tubes that are available, we can say that the easiest to obtain are red and black and the most difficult, gold and silver-gray.

However, the choice of color for different cartridges cases is related to trends, aesthetic aspects, or established conventions. In shooting shells it is common to find bold, bright colors such as orange or blue; in hunting, reds and greens, and -by agreement between manufacturers- 20 calibre cartridges are usually loaded into yellow cases.


It is common for higher-end cartridges to be made using noble colors like black, gold, dark red or green, combined mostly with a high metallic head generally golden, which gives it not only a more aesthetically pleasing look, but also a more robust image as a whole.

Therefore, and without generalizing, if you find any of these symbols in your cartridges J&G-Excopesa, be sure you are using the best.


Firstly, plastic is melted in a furnace. It takes the case shape and is cooled down before being stored in large coils. Then it is cut to the desired size.

A special press shapes the head cartridges. We now have all the elements.

In the last step the sheath is crimped to the pellet and the piston is inserted.




The wad is the great forgotten component of the cartridge, although their role is critical in achieving regularity in ballistic pressures and speeds. In fact, the quality of ammunition depends largely on that of its wad: the better it is the better performance and higher guarantee of optimal functioning of the ammunition. It is the part of the cartridge which separates the pellet from the powder. It is usually plastic and incorporates flaps that protect the pellets, avoiding any friction with the barrel.

Firstly it prevents that it becomes lead; pellets come out very hot and when they meet the shock, they tend to release small particles, residues of lead which, eventually, get stuck in the mouth of the shotgun. If not properly cleaned, subsequent shots will be deformed.

A second task is to make the most of the resulting combustion gases of the powder, so its back, which is in contact with it, should be slightly larger in diameter. Also, if you have a good buffering capacity it will make the shot smoother.

Its flaps also play a role: when the wad leaves the barrel they open to make it fall as soon as possible, which also prevents any possible distortion in the pellet shooting cone. Although it is something that is very standardized today, we still see malfunctioning wads with no opened flap, causing it to accompany the pellets for too long, possibly creating holes in the shot.

Sometimes, the cartridge is equipped with a completely biodegradable fat pad with a cardboard cover that guarantees the airtightness necessary for gases and specially designed to produce the least environmental impact, attending to the ecological restrictions of some countries. Degradation consists of a progressive loss of chemical property and physico-mechanical of the macromolecular chain that constitutes the polymer. This photodegradability process is about two years, depending on the degree of exposure to sunlight - time and intensity– and the structure of the block itself –thickness–.



They are each of the small lead balls found in a cartridge, they are made using a main element.

Following former British rules, they are greater when their number is smaller, and vice versa: one of the 9 is 2 millimeters in diameter by 2.75 of one of the 6. Central European countries, especially Germany, Austria and Switzerland, resort to its diameter in millimeters for identification; this makes sense to clearly know the size of the buckshot and to unify criteria because, for example, the number 8 in Italy measures 2.30 mm, 2.25 in Spain and 8.20 in Britain.

Generically, you should be using a soft buckshot to hunt with maximum 1.5% antimony in its composition; to throw to the plate, as hard as possible, with a minimum of 2.5% and up to 5% -. Some fine pellets, 9th or 10th, will lose a lot of speed once they leave the barrel, as their specific weight is very small and the speed tends to decrease rapidly.