Are Bullets Made of Iron?

The answer to this question is NO; bullets are almost never made out of iron; the reason for that is that the material of the bullet should be softer than the gun’s barrel and body. An iron bullet can result in eroding of the rifling in the barrel, and erosion of the barrel in general.

Why Are The Bullets Not Made Of Iron?

Iron is not a suitable material for bullets for many reasons.

  • For example, all the rifled barrels are plated by chrome metal spiral lines, which are so strong that they can grind the lead bullet because it is soft and spins the projectile. If you try to make a bullet from silver, steel, or iron, it will damage the barrel or even explode if it impacts the spiral lines.

  • Some metals are cheaper than iron/steel and easier to melt and cast. The best example which is widely used is lead metal.

  • The impact of the bullet is 1/2m V^2, in which m is the mass. The equations show that mass should be maximized for the bullet to perform better. Lead is heavier than iron; that’s why it is more suitable.

  • Bullets should be smaller to reduce effect from winds, escpecialy cross winds which can push them off target. Lead is denser than iron. That’s why a lead bullet can be kept smaller than iron.

  • Iron is a hard metal, and it can’t convert into a bullet mushroom when it hits the target; the mushroom is an important part in hunting bullets as it causes more damage to the quarry resulting in a quicker, more ethical kill.

  • The most common problem with iron is oxidation. Iron buulets would be at a big risk of oxidising, rendering useless and unsafe to use.

Which Materials Are Used To Create The Bullets?

Bullet projectiles nowadays are made of different materials, from metals to highly developed plastic polymers; the bullets these days are the wonder of innovations.

Different material bullets have different uses. The most common type is lead bullets.

Bullets are made of:

  • Lead 
  • Brass
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Rubber
  • Plastic
  • Nylon

Is It Possible To Make Bullets From Iron?

The answer to this question is yes, but as mentioned above, it would not be as effective as other materials. Some bullets are provided that are made of steel and used in rifles but not for normal use.

Iron is a poor choice because it has less density per volume. Because the iron is harder, it will erode the bore every time you shoot it, and with time, the gun will lose accuracy.

If you want an iron bullet for better penetration, then the use of harder metal like tungsten alloy or steel is a better choice for you. The world’s militaries have used steel or tungsten bullets for decades; they use these bullets to pierce the armors of rivals.

On the other hand, iron oxidizes very easily; it needs prevention from oxidation at manufacturing, transport, and storage steps.

In World War II, the Germans used the 9mm sintered iron bullets with steel cases, which was only because of a shortage of lead. Some frangible bullets have also been made of the compressed iron powder; the Al and iron powders are compacted by cold pressing in a die and then sintered.

Steel pellets are common in shotgun loads and a legal requirement in some areas. The old cannonballs were also made of iron. 

Conclusion

Bullets are almost never made out of iron; the reason for that is that the material of the bullet should be softer than the gun’s barrel; otherwise, an iron bullet can shred or explode the gun’s barrel.

Most guns are made of steel, though steel is stronger than iron but not strong enough to handle the force of gunpowder and the iron bullet. Most of the time, bullets are made of lead which is relatively a softer material.

Iron oxidizes very easily, which affects the performance of bullets. Iron is hard and light, whereas a soft and heavy metal is what’s best for making bullets.