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Velocity and Function Firing

Home > Small Arms Ammunition > Ballistic Testing > Velocity and Function Firing
DIagram of ballistic test setup, showing spans between the test weapon, a chronograph, the start trigger, the stop trigger, armor, and backing material, all labeled.

Ballistic test setup

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At the same time that the cartridge is tested for pressure, equipment mounted in the test tunnel determines the bullet velocity. Velocity is also a parameter that must fall within a range of values in order to ensure uniform performance and to reflect the advertised specifications for the load.

Function Firing

A portion of the statistical sample must be fired in production firearms. This is termed function firing. For each cartridge type, the most popular firearms likely to receive the ammunition are selected for testing. Semiautomatic arms are the most critical because they can malfunction due to minor changes in loading that would not show up in testing with a bolt-action firearm.

Click here to watch a video on function firing provided by Federal Cartridge Company.

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