A cartridge houses all three in either a plastic, metallic, or (historically) paper casing designed to fit inside the barrel chamber of a particular breechloading firearm. Cartridges provide various advantages, not the least of which include convenience and handling.
The word "bullet" has been popularized in pop culture and has widely come to refer to what is more accurately described as a cartridge. The bullet is in reality only the projectile portion of the overall cartridge.
Very broadly, cartridges fit into different categories or classifications based on the location of the primer or the location of the cartridge in the chamber. Countless modern firearms are designed to use this convenient, all-in-one solution for firing a weapon. Here are some examples of important and widely used cartridges:
Although the first evidence of paper cartridges dates as far back as the 14th century in western Europe, widespread adoption and use was not more prevalent until the 17th century. The cartridge was later used in muzzle-loading weapons used for military purposes and in flint-lock muskets. Over time, advances in other materials and design concepts were forwarded that made possible integrated cartridges, first developed in Paris in the early 1800’s, which featured copper bases, mercury fulminate powder and a round bullet with either paper or brass as a casing. They became the first self-contained cartridges in history. Later, the mide-1900’s saw the advent of modern metallic cartridges. Since this time, cartridge technology has continued to advance, as they have been adopted in most modern firearms, regardless of the end use or application.