"round" and "bullet"

AE   Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 14:15 GMT

I've got a little vocabulary problem while working with my SuperMemo program and I hope you can help me to remedy the issue.

At the very first page of the pocket book "RESIDENT EVIL Caliban Cove" by S.D. Perry I've read this part of a sentence: "... the responding crack of nine-millimeter rounds resonating behind her."

I've never seen the word "round" in such a context before.

Thus I looked it up in one of my dictionaries (the famous Collins Cobuild) and I found the definition: "A round of ammunition is the bullet or bullets released when a gun is fired."

Okay, the definition is obvious. But my problem is that I cannot make a clear picture in my head about the real difference between "round" and "bullet". When to use "round", when "bullet"? Does it make any difference?

Maybe the problem is in my native tongue, German, in which we have three words for this case: "die Kugel", "das Projektil" and "das Geschoss" (which can be easily translated with just "the bullet"). But what would be the suitable German equivalent for "round"?!?!?

I was also searching in google but I still can't say "Yes, that's it!" (maybe this is a very easy issue but I really have no clue)
Paul   Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 14:30 GMT
Round usually refers an intact unit of ammunition that hasn't been fired.
"I have 12 rounds of ammuntion left in my submachine gun"

The 'slug' is the term for the actual projectile (I'd assume this would be "das projektil"), and a 'cartridge / shell' is the casing. Bullet can mean just the slug, or the intact slug and cartridge (round).
Harvey   Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 15:17 GMT
Good explanation Paul.

'Shell' is also the general term used for shotgun ammunition, the stuff that comes out is called 'shot' or sometimes 'pellets'. Different sizes of shot have different names... like buckshot, or birdshot (depending on what it is intended for).
AE   Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 17:53 GMT
Thank you very much for your explanations! Very helpful!

I think going into the little details of a foreign language is always the most difficult but also the most exciting part of language acquisition.
Like the little difference between "round" and "bullet".
D   Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 18:39 GMT
'shell' has different meanings in different contexts.

For a shotgun, the entire piece of ammo is called a shell --
including the metal cap, the plastic outside, the gunpowder,
the shot, and everything else.

For large-caliber ammo (the kind that explodes when it lands), such as a mortar gun would fire, the word shell often refers to just the piece that leaves the end of the barrel.
AE   Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 20:08 GMT
to Paul

The explanation you gave was very good!

But your definition of "round" is exactly contradictory to the one of the Collins Cobuild.

Or did I get something wrong? Doesn't "A round of ammunition is the bullet or bullets released when a gun is fired" mean *round = just fired bullets*?

(I don't wanna say that you're wrong and the Collins is right cause I think sometimes even some definitions of the Collins Cobuild are a little bit confusing.)
Jim   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 00:51 GMT
... banktellershot
Paul   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 01:46 GMT
Someone was using google language tools. lol

You can say "He fired of several rounds of ammunition" but it doesn't refer specifically to the slug. I didn't know this, but it can also refer to a volley of fire from a whole military unit.

Here's the MW definition of round (in reference to ammo)

a : one shot fired by a weapon or by each man in a military unit
b : a unit of ammunition consisting of the parts necessary to fire one shot
Jewanda   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 02:42 GMT
I call 'em caps, yo.
Paul   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 04:36 GMT
AE - are you planning on going on a shooting spree or something ;)
AE   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 09:25 GMT
No, not really ;-)

But as you can imagine, in a book like RESIDENT EVIL every third word is like "blood", "bullet", "weaponry", "zombie", "terror" etc. etc. etc.

And btw, thank ya for the new word "spree"! (lol, call me just a typical add-every-new-English-word-you-see-to-your-SuperMemo learner)