Bulk for ammo? Stupid question


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Had this come up, want to check. For the ammo listings in the core book, is the bulk cost per round, or the entire purchase? For example, on the table it says it's 90 credits for 20 heavy rounds, which has bulk L. Is that bulk L for 20 heavy rounds, or 1 heavy round?


star20 wrote:
Had this come up, want to check. For the ammo listings in the core book, is the bulk cost per round, or the entire purchase? For example, on the table it says it's 90 credits for 20 heavy rounds, which has bulk L. Is that bulk L for 20 heavy rounds, or 1 heavy round?

The bulk is for 20 rounds.

Sovereign Court

Just remember, you ain’t paid to bring ammo back.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Additionally, it's worth noting here that, when you purchase a weapon, it comes fully loaded, and the bulk of the ammo is included within the listed bulk of the weapon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where is that noted at? This does not make much sense with a number of weapons.
For instance:
Flame pistol has bulk L but the replacement tank has a bulk of 1. most flame weapons have this issue though.
Pulsecaster has a cost of 100, battery costs 60. So its the cheapest weapon at 40.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kochean wrote:
Where is that noted at? This does not make much sense with a number of weapons.
Core Rulebook > Equipment > Weapons (pg. 168) wrote:
Weapons that use standard ammunition (arrows, charges, darts, mini-rockets, petrol, rounds, scattergun shells, etc.) are sold preloaded. For weapons with other forms of ammunition (such as grenades), ammunition must be purchased separately.

As for the flame weapons? I dunno.


Jimbles the Mediocre wrote:
Additionally, it's worth noting here that, when you purchase a weapon, it comes fully loaded, and the bulk of the ammo is included within the listed bulk of the weapon.

True. Though this has wierd interactions when dealing with weapons that have less bulk than their ammo. The Flame Pistol and the Standard Petrol Tank, for example.


Jimbles the Mediocre wrote:
Additionally, it's worth noting here that, when you purchase a weapon, it comes fully loaded, and the bulk of the ammo is included within the listed bulk of the weapon.

It does come fully loaded, so you get the ammo for free, but the bulk of the ammo is not included in the bulk of the weapon. The ammo is a separate line item in your inventory with its own bulk.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Fuzzypaws is correct.


Ravingdork wrote:
Fuzzypaws is correct.

I disagree. The stats are for a loaded weapon. Remember that bulk (like encumberance) is not purely about weight.

I've not seen a developer comment, clarification or FAQ either way though.


Andy Brown wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Fuzzypaws is correct.

I disagree. The stats are for a loaded weapon. Remember that bulk (like encumberance) is not purely about weight.

I've not seen a developer comment, clarification or FAQ either way though.

I also disagree with fuzzypaws on this point. Weapon bulk includes bulk of loaded ammunition because the weapon's price reflects the weapon being fully loaded.

That said, I don't really understand why Starfinder includes the price of ammunition in the weapon. Just seems impractical both because it requires shops to sell loaded weapons and it otherwise adds further complication to interactions with the weapon like this debate on bulk, or with which types of ammunition are preloaded into the weapon.


The line says that the weapon comes fully loaded. It says nothing about the weapon's entry including the bulk of the ammunition.


It also says nothing about not including the ammunition in bulk even though it includes the ammunition in the price.


The bulk of the ammo is very clearly not included in the bulk of the weapon, because there are multiple weapons where the bulk of just ammo refills would equal or exceed the listed bulk of the weapon itself. That's just basic logic. This really shouldn't be a debate unless you're trying to munchkin your carrying capacity. The book explicitly says you get a set of ammo for free in the price of the weapon but nowhere does it say that the ammo is included in the bulk of the weapon.


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In the case of the flame weapons at least I think the odds are that there is an error in the rules with the size of the ammo tank bulk. I believe that the weapons lines include the ammo weight in their bulk listings and in the few cases where this does not make sense that the bulk of the ammo is probably off.


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OK then, let's take the semi-auto pistol as an example. What's the bulk of 9 rounds of ammunition?


In real life, ammunition is very heavy. A box of bullets is heavier than most guns; on average, your standard box of 100 bullets works out to 8 to 12 pounds depending on caliber. A gallon of petrol is about 6 pounds but is certainly more massive and bulky than a box of bullets. Since that is also factored into bulk, if a petrol cannister is 1 bulk then 100 bullets should also be 1 bulk. The listed average of about 25 bullets being "light" bulk (so 250 per 1 bulk) is definitely out of line unless they are special lightweight handwaved "space bullets." If we are talking about more advanced refined and gelatinized "space petrol" so maybe a 1 liter / 1 quart cannister is what they are assigning 1 bulk to, then their assigned bulk for bullets is even crazier.

So yeah, I definitely don't buy the bulk of the ammo being included in the listed bulk of the weapon.

Sovereign Court

Um, Fuzzypaws, where in the world are you coming up with that kind of weight for real-world ammunition? Bullets are tiny, man.

Just this morning I placed an order for 1,000 rounds of .223 Remington 75 grain JHP... 75 grain is approximately 0.011 pounds, the cardboard boxes that the ammo is in has negligible weight, so all one-thousand rounds will work out to be just shy of eleven pounds. Ten rounds is less than a tenth of a pound.

Something like the much heaver 230 grain .45 ACP or 158 grain .357 Magnum that I use in my preferred handguns are a whooping 0.033 lbs. and 0.023 lbs. respectively per round. Ten rounds of each is well under a half pound. The Smith & Wesson Model 649 that I carry weighs a mere 1.4 lbs, fully loaded with all five rounds its 1.5 lbs. Believe me, I'd notice if the ammunition weighed more than the firearm!

The massively huge .50 BMG used by heavy weapons like the M2 Browning machine gun or anti-materiel rifles is usually 650 grains (0.09 lbs), so basically ten rounds per pound.

Now, the grain weight of ammunition can vary. Gun geeks will spend countless hours debating the pro's and con's of 125 grain Brand X versus 130 grain Brand Y versus 132 grain Brand Z... But for the most part, we're talking pedantic technical details of only a few dozen grains (so less than tenths of an ounce) at the most.


Batgirl_III wrote:

Um, Fuzzypaws, where in the world are you coming up with that kind of weight for real-world ammunition? Bullets are tiny, man.

Just this morning I placed an order for 1,000 rounds of .223 Remington 75 grain JHP... 75 grain is approximately 0.011 pounds, the cardboard boxes that the ammo is in has negligible weight, so all one-thousand rounds will work out to be just shy of eleven pounds. Ten rounds is less than a tenth of a pound.

Something like the much heaver 230 grain .45 ACP or 158 grain .357 Magnum that I use in my preferred handguns are a whooping 0.033 lbs. and 0.023 lbs. respectively per round. Ten rounds of each is well under a half pound. The Smith & Wesson Model 649 that I carry weighs a mere 1.4 lbs, fully loaded with all five rounds its 1.5 lbs. Believe me, I'd notice if the ammunition weighed more than the firearm!

The massively huge .50 BMG used by heavy weapons like the M2 Browning machine gun or anti-materiel rifles is usually 650 grains (0.09 lbs), so basically ten rounds per pound.

Now, the grain weight of ammunition can vary. Gun geeks will spend countless hours debating the pro's and con's of 125 grain Brand X versus 130 grain Brand Y versus 132 grain Brand Z... But for the most part, we're talking pedantic technical details of only a few dozen grains (so less than tenths of an ounce) at the most.

The weights you are quoting are for projectiles only Batgirl, cases and propellant add much more mass. The mass of each .223 cartridge is on the order of 12.3 grams. 1000 rd would be 12.3 kg, about 27lb.

Having carried 250 rd boxes of 9mm, they are reasonably heavy and a bit awkward; I’d happily decide that those boxes were 1 bulk. Carrying 6 by hand would slow me down and reduce my ability to manipulate items or dodge. Assuming I’m Str 10, that seems pretty fair.

Sovereign Court

Fuzzypaws was speaking specifically about the weight of "[a] box of bullets," so I based my reply on exactly that, the weight of bullets not whole cartridges.

The grain weight of a complete cartridge can vary and will be more than that of just the bullet, but its very rare to be more than 125-150% of that of just the bullet. Bullets are solid lead or steel, cartridges are empty brass or steel tubes filled with fairly lightweight powder. The bullet is by far the heaviest part for most calibers of ammunition.


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Batgirl_III wrote:

Fuzzypaws was speaking specifically about the weight of "[a] box of bullets," so I based my reply on exactly that, the weight of bullets not whole cartridges.

The grain weight of a complete cartridge can vary and will be more than that of just the bullet, but its very rare to be more than 125-150% of that of just the bullet. Bullets are solid lead or steel, cartridges are empty brass or steel tubes filled with fairly lightweight powder. The bullet is by far the heaviest part for most calibers of ammunition.

I was trying not to be pedantic but yes I meant the complete cartridge, with bullet, casing, propellant etc. :p What pretty much everyone means when they talk about a "bullet," especially when not in a more formal context or niche interest board where the distinction actually matters.


I just find it funny that in a game with Laser Rifles and cryo guns we think that tech for slug throwers has not advanced to the point where caseless rounds are the norm, that the propellant and materials used are not better and the corresponding rounds smaller since the tech allows the same energy with smaller rounds.

I am in no way arguing that the real world stuff posted is not accurate. I am saying it may not be accurate any more for the specific setting we are talking about.


Just to throw another thought in here. Ammunition in use is inside the weapon (OK, flamethrowers may be an exception to this, depending on future tech), so in some cases it's not making the weapon more difficult to carry.

I was also pointing out that for projectile weapons the ammunition you buy separately doesn't all go into the gun at once, so even if you're going to insist that the weapon stats don't include any ammo, you can't just say "add on the bulk of a box of ammunition", it has to be some lesser amount.


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Off the top of my head, I can't remember a game system that I know of that requires you to add the weight/encumbrance of loaded ammo to that of the weapon. Values listed are always for a fully loaded gun, and you only take into account weight/encumbrance for extra clips/reloads.

Bulk is highly abstract and is a rough measure of how annoying it is to carry something. I'm perfectly okay with the system saying that it's more annoying to carry ammunition as extra reloads than already loaded in a weapon.

In Starfinder, skimming through the weapons table, to two worst offender I can find are flamethrowers and heavy projectile weapons.
A lot of Flamethrowers bulk is fuel, so I'm okay with the game implying that the bulk of the rest is somewhat negligible compared to that.
Heavy weapons ammo adds up for half a bulk for a full clip, but it's in the weapon, which likely comes with straps and is (hopefully) designed to be as practical as possible to lug around fully loaded, so again, I'm okay with the players getting a discount.

Enforcing bulk for loaded ammo is likely to end up, through rounding, as players being only 1 bulk higher at most than without. This could also encourage a focus on energy weapons, because batteries are light. Personally, I can't see any significant gameplay gain and wouldn't bother.

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