, also commonly referred to as a spire point bullet
, is an aerodynamic bullet design used in most intermediate and high-powered rifle cartridges. The name 'spitzer' is a anglicized form of the German word Spitzgeschoss
, literally meaning pointy bullet
The modern spitzer bullet design was first introduced in 1898 as the Balle D
by a soldier in the French Army, Captain Desaleux, in order to improve the ballistic performance of the existing French 8mm x 50R Lebel service cartridge, which used a 232-grain flatnose bullet at 2,060 fps. In contrast, Capt. Desaleux's new Balle D
- a 198-grain pointed, boattail bullet - achieved a muzzle velocity of 2,297 fps in the new 8 mm Lebel
The 8×50mmR French rifle cartridge was the first smokeless gunpowder cartridge to be made and adopted by any country. It was introduced by France in 1886. Formed by necking down the 11 mm Gras black powder cartridge, the smokeless 8 mm Lebel cartridge started a revolution in military rifle...
cartridge, while providing a somewhat flatter trajectory and a greatly improved maximum effective range.
In 1904, after reviewing French success with the Balle 'D' cartridge, German ordnance authorities decided to revise the Army's 8x57J cartridge and its round-nose bullet design. A new spitzgeschoss (aerodynamic) bullet, credited to a man by the name of Arthur Gleinich, was selected. The final design, adopted in 1905, used a relatively lightweight 154-grain bullet with a slightly increased diameter of 0.323" along with a new smokeless powder loading, which delivered a greatly improved muzzle velocity of 2,850 fps. This cartridge was adopted by the German Army and Navy as the 8x57JS cartridge. The combination of increased velocity and improved bullet aerodynamics provided a much flatter bullet trajectory, which increased the probability of hitting an individual target at most typical combat distances.
In 1906, United States ordnance authorities arranged to purchase the production license for the spitzgeschoss bullet design from Herr Gleinich. Now referred to as a 'spitzer' design, the new bullet was incorporated into the 30-06 Springfield cartridge adopted by U.S. armed forces in 1906. The next nation to adopt the pointed bullet design was Imperial Russia, which introduced its "L" 147-grain bullet for the Russian 7.62mm cartridge in 1908. Britain officially adopted the .303 Mark VII cartridge with a spitzer bullet in 1914, just before or soon after the outbreak of World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
Some rifle cartridges specify this feature in their name, such as the 8x60 Spitz or the German 8x57 IS (I