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Precision Perfected

Anyone who goes hunting expects the best performance from his ammunition. But only the best ammunition will guarantee a humane and successful hunt. RWS rifle cartridges meet the most demanding requirements for reliability and performance. 

This is ensured by a manufacturing process that puts precision first. Cartridge and components are subject to over 100 production steps; final assembly of the cartridge is only approved after all the components have met and passed these stringent controls. 

Here too quality assurance is placed first and the load is a combination of components that have been matched together with great care. Conformity with the parameters specified by proof laws has the highest priority during manufacture as well as the high demands of ballistic performance and accuracy that is the hallmark of all RWS ammunition. 

Our staff are another quality factor in this high-quality production process. They are often enthusiastic hunters themselves, and their experience is continually fed back into the manufacture of RWS rifle cartridges.   


Perfect down to the smallest detail 

RWS cartridges 

The perfect cartridge is distinguished by the high quality of its components and the fact that they have been optimally matched to one another. RWS cartridges fulfill all aspects of these requirements – from the primer through the case and powder to the projectile. This is guaranteed by our high quality method of making up a load. 

First, every case receives the primer that has been perfectly matched to it. Then, the groove between primer and case is sealed with a colored lacquer, so that one can distinguish between heavy and light bullets in cartridges of the same calibre. Powder is added in very fine doses for absolutely consistent ballistics, the bullet is precisely seated and crimped to ensure it is firmly seated. Finally the overall cartridge length is checked to ensure maximum accuracy. 

Every one of these steps is accompanied by electronic and visual checks. Before the cartridge is packed, the tests are concluded by using a standard chamber as a gauge to make a precise check on the ability of the round to chamber in rifles of the specific calibre.  

A lot more than just an empty case

The demanding production procedure ensures the recognised high quality standard of RWS cartridge cases is maintained. Brass strip for case production is supplied in reels and only accepted after detailed metallurgical analysis in our laboratory. Brass cups are formed from the strip using stamping pressures of 150 tons and then these are drawn through several processes to form the finished case. The developing cases are repeatedly annealed, pickled and washed and this improves the grain structure of the material which helps the cases withstand the gas pressure with an optimum obturation. It also becomes an ‚intelligent‘ material that expands in response to the increased pressure and then returns to its original condition. 

The pickling and washing creates the brilliant appearance of RWS cases. The two press operations that form the cartridge base and the primer pocket make the case very hard in this region. The high hardness level ensures that the primer is seated securely and prevents stretching of the primer pocket at high gas pressures. When the shoulder and neck have been formed, the flash hole is created, the rim is turned, and the case is trimmed to length once more. Then the case mouth is annealed for a last time. Every one of these production steps is followed by a manual size check with various gauges, to ensure the highest level of dimensional accuracy for the cases. The subsequent 100% visual check is mainly an optical matter – at this stage, any cases that are out of tolerance have long been weeded out.  

To check their quality, the finished cases are then subjected to an extreme overload: The sample loads are fired in specially prepared proof barrels that create 10 % excess pressure, with head spaces of 0.2 to 0.4 mm, which would normally not be acceptable. Such head spaces are intended to simulate shot-out guns that may well appear in the real-world market. In addition, they are test fired with 30 % excess pressure in proof barrels that have been manufactured to CIP specifications. 

This testing program goes way beyond the legal regulation requirements. Even other manufacturers confirm that we have a no-compromise test methodology that will reliably reveal any potential weaknesses in the cartridge case. After all, rifle cartridge cases must withstand extremely high gas pressures – up to 7,000 bar – and are a kind of life insurance for the shooter. We have developed the most demanding test in the business – so that you are always on the safe side. A cartridge case that passes through our quality control is something special – it’s from RWS.  

Peter Eismann (Hunter and Case Production Foreman at RWS)

"RWS cases mean safety and quality. That may sound like a cliché, but we really work hard at it. It starts in our materials testing laboratory, which conducts a meticulous examination of all the raw materials, and ends with a 100 % visual check by specially trained personnel. The most precise dimensioning and the cleaning of the cases after every production step are a matter of course for us. So we achieve precise dimensions and a brilliant appearance. For me, both of these are very significant factors, and I reckon that this effort is unique in the business."



Reliable Ignition

The smallest component of the RWS cartridge sets world standards.  

  1. The sealing lacquer protects against moisture. 
  2. The primer compound is a cleverly devised composition containing a primary explosive, a sensitizer, an oxidation agent and a reducing agent, and ensures a reliable, continuous combustion of the powder mass. 
  3. The primers have innovative surface coatings that guarantee protection even from extreme climatic conditions. 
  4. The shape and perfect seating of the anvil ensure reliable, fast ignition. 


RWS primers are manufactured in a modern production plant using advance production techniques. Primer production processes include stamping and drawing out the cup, loading the primer composition,drying and pressing and finally fitting the anvil. We use the most modern optoelectronic test equipment to check for any deviations in the assembly and dimensional accuracy. Ignition sensitivity is adjusted so precisely that a deep and central blow from the firing pin will produce 100% ignition. 

By 1918 RWS had developed the now world famous mercury free Sinoxid technology based on the substances Trizinate and Tetrazene. Trizinate has excellent storage properties and outstanding ignition characteristics and the addition of Tetrazene adjusts the ignition sensitivity of the primer. 

This results in a primer that offers excellent performance and functionality and a high level of handling safety. The latest primers with Super Clean Technology (Sintox) are insensitive to temperature changes and guarantee perfect performance and reliability even under extreme conditions, from -60 to +60 Celsius. As there is no lead in this primer there is no heavy metal pollution to affect the user or nearby range officers when used in indoor ranges. 

Super Clean – tomorrow’s world standard.  

Dr. Ulrich Bley (Head of the Chemistry Laboratory at RWS)  

"Primer technology is part of our core competence. The apparently smallest part of the cartridge is a determining factor for the performance of the entire assembly. Good ignition means steady combustion of the powder and thus helps to achieve accuracy and reliability. Here in Fürth we are setting world standards for primer compounds. The SINOXID compound is now the standard for just about every high-quality rifle cartridge. But we also produce the SINTOX primer compound, better known as Super Clean. We think that the future belongs to this primer compound which is free of heavy-metal."



The secret is in the mix

Powder is not just powder. Propellant powders consist mainly of gelatinized nitrocellulose, with special additives: Single-base propellant powder is a powder made basically from pure nitrocellulose. But for ammunition with a relatively low projectile mass but high muzzle velocity – i.e. high-performance ammunition with a flat trajectory – nitrocellulose does not provide enough energy. In this case, double-base or even triple-base powders are used, in which an increased quantity of nitroglycerine or similar substances provides increased energy. 

The basic components, the geometry and the surface treatment determine the combustion characteristics of the powder. Rifle cartridges are predominantly loaded with progressive propellant powders. With these powders, the burning rate is initially somewhat slower, but becomes continuously faster as combustion progresses. 

RWS uses more than 40 different propellant powders, which we purchase to our specifications from renowned European manufacturers. Before they are used, we carry out laboratory tests to check that the specified parameters are being maintained. RWS is also significantly involved in the development of various powder additives. In this way, we ensure that our rifle cartridges contain special additives that, for instance, act to reduce fouling or muzzle flash (Flash Control). 

Absolutely effective

RWS is the only manufacturer of rifle cartridges that exclusively uses bullets made in its own production facilities. RWS has over a century’s experience in designing and producing its own bullets and this knowledge is at the heart of today’s production. 

Manufacturing our special bullets involves a lot more than just putting a core into a jacket and to be able to manufacture such a wide range of quality projectiles, RWS has a highly complex production facility. In this plant the most up to date technology ensures the fusion of core and jacket. 

Depending on the ballistic requirements the bullet core is drawn from one of six different hardness grades of lead wire; the jacket cup is drawn and trimmed several times and depending on the bullet type one or two core sections are pressed in and specific features such as cannelures are applied. All bullets are then subject to a 100% visual inspection. 

Production can involve up to 14 manufacturing steps and 11 quality checks. Rigourous tests during the loading procedure ensures that the highest quality RWS specifications and standards are vigorously maintained. RWS feels it has a duty to maintain the very highest standards of production and performance, its quality aspirations are continually under review.  

As a rule, we distinguish 3 different types of bullet

Expansion bullets 

Designed to expand when they strike the game but to largely retain their mass. RWS EVO bullet is an excellent example of an expansion bullet; the shock effect is achieved by the controlled deformation while the bullet retains its mass.  

Partial fragmentation bullets

These are designed so that they partially disintegrate in a controlled manner, leaving a defined residual portion. DK is an example of this type: It is a partial fragmentation bullet that always retains a residual mass of 60 %. A soft nose bullet, such as the KS or TM types, may be considered to be a partial fragmentation bullet, whereby the retained mass varies slightly according to the bullet velocity and the resistance of the target. The operating principle of this type of projectile is based on the massive destruction of internal organs caused by its controlled fragmentation and the defined retained mass. The suction effect of the retained portion ensures that most of the fragments from the frontal core will be drawn out of the body of the game.  

FMJ (full metal jacket) bullets 

FMJ bullets are projectiles with a stable form and mass. They do not disintegrate, and there is little deformation, depending on the resistance of the target. The penetration shock and energy transfer are achieved by the delayed tumbling of the bullet within the body of the game. 

Our development programme includes testing in the laboratory and field. We conduct tests on gelatine blocks as these have a similar density to muscle tissue and the results indicate how the bullets energy will affect the body of the game. We also carry out extensive field testing to be able to evaluate the performance of the bullet in game. Pages 30-38 show the results of test firing .30 cal. bullets in gelatine. High speed films are also available on line at and they show the impressive effects of our range of special bullets. 

Simulated wound cavity in a gelatine block 

Friedrich Müller (Test Firing Foreman at RWS)  

"For half a century, my family has been looking after the RWS test hunting grounds south-west of Nuremberg. As a result, I have been carrying out field tests of new developments for some considerable time. And have observed time and again that the special bullets have an absolute advantage with respect to the initial shock effect. The game drops quickly, without fleeing very far. The difference is particularly noticeable when guests are in our hunting grounds and try out other products."



The right choice

Understanding calibres 

Calibres are designated and expressed in different ways, for example, metric calibres include bore and case length. As an example take 7 x 64, the figure ‘7’ is the nominal rounded value of the calibre (bore diameter) in millimeters and the ‘64’ is the case length, again rounded in millimeters. English speaking countries use the Imperial system where calibres are expressed in inches (1” = 25.4 mm) and omit the case length, e.g. .243 Win. In some instances an extra figure can indicate the origin of the calibre, e.g. .30-06; this is a .30 inch calibre introduced in 1906. 

Sometimes the name of the manufacturer that developed and introduced a cartridge is included in its description e.g. 6.5 x 65 RWS or the .30R Blaser. 


Close hunting season calibres 

Close hunting season calibres” is a term used for those calibers which are popularly used in the close season for pest control and varmint. These are usually in a fairly small calibre, such as the .22 Hornet.  

Circular seam coating 

Cartridges of the same calibre may have bullets that have the same design but different weights. RWS makes it easy to recognize the cartridge; those with heavy projectiles have a red or green circular seam coating

  • Bullet with the lightest weight: no circular seam coating
  • Bullet with a medium weight: green circular seam coating
  • Bullet with the heaviest weight: red circular seam coating

Special situation 8 x 57 IS / IRS 

RWS has two different caliber versions (IS, IRS) of the 8 x 57 cartridge. Although they both have a case length of 57 mm, there are slight differences in the bore and groove diameters. In order to make a reliable distinction between these two calibers, the cartridges with the larger bullet diameter have the additional designation letter “S”. RWS cartridges in the “S” caliber are also identified by black lacquer in the groove.  

Information on the spot

The package 

Every RWS cartridge package is printed with a clear summary of the ballistic information, so that it is available on the spot when you are out hunting. A special fold-out card on the back of the package presents a detailed picture of the bullet, its effect on game, and other practical information for the hunt.  

Tear-off fold-out card with ballistic data and bullet details, for use during the hunt.

  1. Ballistic data in the metric system for spot-on aiming point correction or fast correction of the scope reticule and ballistic reticules 
  2. Stages of bullet deformation / disintegration to illustrate the method of operation 
  3. Bullet type 
  4. Caliber designation 
  5. Bullet weight in grams and grains (1 grain = 0.0648 grams) 
  6. Ballistic data in the imperial system 
  7. Production code / batch number (2 numbers and two letters) provides information about the pro- Doris Adam (International Sales Manager at RWS) – The duction series of the cartridges

Doris Adam (International Sales Manager at RWS)  

"The duction series of the cartridges. new RWS package includes just about all the information that a hunter needs to answer the question: “Is this the bullet I need?” The advantages of the product are visible at a glance, and one can see a picture of the operation of the specific projectile. With our enormous range of products, we think that it is important to provide some orientation. Especially when combined with the brochures, the RWS web site, and the new RWS app, everybody can find their optimum bullet or caliber. What you might call a tip from hunters for hunters."



Reliably on Target

Ballistics is “the science of the shot”. 

We distinguish between 4 different areas: 

Internal ballistics covers all that happens as the shot is made, such as gas pressure and bullet velocity within the barrel. Rotationless flight (freebore) is that short distance where the bullet is no longer held in the neck of the cartridge, but has also not yet been pressed into the lands (the raised sections of the barrel cross-section) of the barrels, so it has not yet started to spin. The grooves (deeper sections of the barrel cross-section) and the lands impart a stabilizing spin to the bullet as it travels down the bore. 

Muzzle ballistics refers to what happens around the muzzle as the bullet leaves the barrel. 

Exterior ballistics deals with the free flight of the projectile after it has left the muzzle and before it reaches the target, taking into account all exterior influences, such as gravity, air resistance and atmospheric parameters. 

Finally, target ballistics concerns the effect of the projectile on the target.   


Acquiring ballistic data 

The ballistic data for RWS cartridges are not absolute values, but average values derived from a large number of measurements with guns from various manufacturers. Different barrel lengths, for instance, can effect these values quite significantly. The testfiring results for all cartridges are acquired and evaluated under constant test conditions in our physical ballistics laboratories. As a rule, the values shown in our ballistics data apply to a horizontal shot at mean sea level. 


The trajectory 

As well as cartridge description we also give the barrel length used to obtain our data; for RWS calibers this is normally 600 mm. If the length of the barrel in a particular gun is a few mm longer or shorter than the specified length, then the velocity will be correspondingly higher or lower and for high-power cartridges this value may therefore vary by up to 20 meters/sec. The data also assumes that the telescopic sight is mounted so that the line of sight is 5 cm (2”) above the axis of the bore. Positive values indicate a high shot; negative values indicate a low shot. 


Point-blank range – PBR 

Point blank range is defined as the point where the projectile trajectory falls and crosses the line of sight again and assuming that the bullet has not risen more than 4cm above the sight line while in flight. So in the example illustrated above, it is not necessary to alter the point of aim for distances up to 209 meters and so it is possible to zero the rifle (sighting-in) at 100 meters. For instance, when using a 7 x64m at this distance, it should shoot 4 cm high in order to use it at all ranges up to the 209 meters shown in the example without correcting the point of aim. The RWS sighting-in target, with the corresponding tips for accurate zeroing, is ideal for zeroing a rifle. (Available as a download under

It is well known that the point of impact of RWS cartridges hardly alters from one batch to another, however a hunter should always take a test shot when using new ammunition with a different batch number.  

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