There is a wide range of ammo grains available in the market. The concept of grains can be kind of confusing that’s why in this article, we’ll take a look at what ammo grains are and why they matter.

The weight of a bullet is measured in grains. When you go shopping for ammo, you’ll see that grains are written as gr. or grs. Grains are one of the smallest units of measurement. For scale, there are 7000 grains in 1 pound and a penny weighs about 38.6 grs.

There are four main components to a cartridge – the primer, case, powder, and bullet. Both the powder and the bullet are measured in grains, but normally when shooters are talking about grains, they are more than likely talking about the weight of the bullet, not the powder.

This is because each powder is weighed specifically by the type – whether it’s 2400, Unique, or any other kind – and the caliber of the cartridge. Luckily, only reloaders pay attention to the weight of powder. If you’re just looking to shoot and are going to only buy boxes of pre-loaded ammo, you only need to know about bullet grains.

cartridge components

Components of a cartridge

The lightest grain for bullets is 15 gr while the heaviest is 750 gr.

Picking The Right Grain

A lot of amateur shooters don’t care about grain weights. But it’s important to note that the weight you choose will directly impact the way your ammo performs. You should consider the type of shooting you’ll be doing when choosing the right grain. We’ve listed the most popular uses for firearms and the grain weights that work best for them below.

Self Defense – When it comes to self-defense, expansion and penetration should be considered before the weight of the bullet. However, heavier grain bullets are recommended since they deliver more impact and penetration.
When choosing ammo for self-defense, you’ll want to look for 9mm rounds with a grain up to 147gr.

Hunting – Heavier bullets are used in hunting because they deliver a clean kill. You might have to do more stalking to get closer to the animal because the cartridges travel slower.
The weight of the bullet you use for hunting will vary depending on the game you’re shooting and the rifle you’re using. For example, if you’re hunting deer, antelope, or wild boar 180 gr. Winchester Super X 308 is recommended.

Range Training – For the range you’ll want to stick to a standard size and grain. Using standard cartridges will take the guess work out of shooting and help you get in the range sooner. They’re more affordable too!
There’s no specific grain that’s best for practicing.

Competition Shooting – Competitive shooters want the least amount of recoil as possible. Shooters that use light polymer guns choose heavier bullets while those that use heavy guns choose lighter bullets.
The caliber of ammo you choose depends on the competition you’re in. Recommended grains for competition ammo is around 147gr.

Precision Shooting – Heavier bullets are preferred for marksman shooting. Heavier bullets travel further making them ideal for shooting from long distances. Other factors contribute to successful precision shooting include barrel length and twist rate.
Choose a bullet around 140gr for the best results.

Ammo Auctions at Compass Auctions

Our Ammo & Accessories auctions feature a large selection of ammunition in various brands, grains, and gauges. You’ll be able to find brands like Winchester, Remington, Hornady in calibers such as 45Auto, .308 ACP, 17HMR, and more.  

There are 3 more ammo auctions left in March. Check out the auction calendar to find out when the next one is!

Ammo & Accessories Auction

March 13, 2023 @ 6pm ET | Online Only

Ammo & Accessories Auction

March 20, 2023 @ 6pm ET | Online Only

Ammo & Accessories Auction

March 31, 2023 @ 6pm ET | Online Only

About Compass Auctions

Compass Auctions and Real Estate hosts monthly auctions featuring heavy equipment, firearms and ammo, industrial equipment, vehicles, jewelry and collectibles, and restaurant equipment. Our team is here to help! If you have questions about any of the items for auction, call 800-729-6466 or send an email to

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