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The Biggest Bullets Ever Made in History

Posted Apr 23rd, 2020

How big is big? Sure, a .45 magnum round is seen as quite a large bullet and packs a nasty punch but it’s microscopic when we compare it with the biggest of the biggest. Not surprisingly, many such bullets required massive guns to fire but some could be housed in fairly small handheld weapons. Regardless, all of the mentions on this list were as deadly as the technology of the time could allow. 

From hunting bullets designed to instant-kill bull elephants to ones that could level a small town, here are the biggest bullets ever made in history

Biggest Rifle Bullet Ever Made – .950 JDJ

Weight: 3,600 grains 

Caliber: 24. 1 mm 

The largest true rifle cartridge ever designed is the .950 JDJ. An individual round, on average, weighs a massive 3,600 grain (or 8.2 ounces) and when fired, punches with an energy of approximately 38,685 ft/lb of force. For comparison, a standard .308 Winchester produces between 2,000–3,000 ft/lb of force. 

What’s amazing is the usage of these rounds is completely legal here in the US. Rifles chambered for these rounds are classified as Title I weapons, hence, depending on your local state laws (INSERT LINK: Gun Laws by U.S State – The Complete Guide 2020), you may require little or no paperwork to own one, provided your 18 or over. 

With a bullet of this size, shoulder recoil could be a real hazard. To counter it, .950 rifles boast incredibly thick barrels with an 18 lb muzzle brake. Depending on the options, the whole weapon can weigh anywhere between 85 to 120 lbs. Despite this, the dampened recoil is still immense and can even damage the gun’s components not designed to withstand such force. 

Biggest Shotgun Bullet Ever Made – 2 Bore 

Weight: 3,500 grains

Caliber: 33.7 mm

Designed to not kill a waterfowl but an entire flock of them in one shot, the 2 bore is a massive bullet. It’s so huge that many punt guns, which were among the biggest shotguns ever produced, had camber too small to fit these rounds. In fact, very few specifically designed guns are able to boast being able to house these bullet behemoths. 

However, despite the size, due to its relatively low velocity, the rounds carried muzzle energy of ‘only’ 17,500 ft/lb of force. The 2 bore is no longer in production and is a largely obsolete firearm caliber. 

Biggest Handgun Bullet Ever Made – .700 Nitro Express 

Weight: 1000 grains 

Caliber: 17.8 mm

While originally a hunting rifle cartridge, thanks to the request of one eccentric big game hunter (The Largest Handgun Ever Can Kill Elephants), handguns also exist that camber these rounds. The .700 Nitro Express is an extremely deadly round designed to down elephants with a single shot. 

The bullet weighs 2.3 and carries a muzzle velocity of 8,900 ft-lb of force. Managing the recoil from these hefty rounds when fired from a handgun is no easy feat. At 160 ft-lb of force, it is more than ten times the average recoil from a standard .308 Winchester hunting round. 

Hunters may be happy to know that these bullets are still in production. However, don’t expect them to be cheap – factory loaded cartridges can cost around $100 USD apiece.

Largest Autocannon Bullet Ever Made – German BK 7.5

Weight: 105,000 grams

Caliber: 75 mm

The autocannon is a fully automatic, rapid-fire weapon that serves a key pillar in modern military firepower. Most autocannon bullets typically feature caliber of 20mm. However, the biggest one ever made was the German BK at a whopping 75 mm. It was developed during World War 2 for the famed Pak 40 anti-tank gun, which served as the backbone of the German anti-tank corp. Later, it was also utilized for usage in the guns of its latest ground attack aircraft. 

A standard projectile weighted an extraordinary 15 lb and when fired, packed enough energy to make quick work of even the thickest of tank armor at the time.

The Biggest Bullet Ever Made in History – Unnamed 800mm 

Weight: 15,700 lb

Caliber: 800 mm

Unsurprisingly, the biggest bullet ever made was for the biggest gun ever made – the World War 2 era Schwerer Gustav. This gargantuan bullet weighted as much as a fully grown African elephant. When fired, it could easily level a bunker and a few of these rounds were enough to devastate a small town. Before the arrival of the nuclear bomb, arguably this was the apex when it came to raw firepower. 

While the two siege guns which fired the bullet were destroyed during the war, their bullets can still be founded displayed in various museums such as the Imperial War Museum in London. 

And that concludes our article on the biggest bullets ever made in history. We hope you enjoyed reading the article and found its content to be informative as well. Do give a share so that others can also get to read it. If you are hunting for ammo, be sure to also check out the excellent range of products available in our store