Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Green" Ammunition

I've posted once before on the subject of "green" ammunition. It seems the U.S. Army wanted to switch to a non-lead projectile due to the incredibly high volume of ammunition fired during training contaminating their ranges, so they chose a tungsten/nickel/cobalt alloy - lead free! Unfortunately in laboratory tests where tiny grains of the alloy were surgically placed into rats, this produced a fast-moving cancer in 100% of the rats in pretty short order.


As I understand it, the Pentagon has dropped that idea for the moment.

The ammunition we shot this weekend at Blackwater is also "green" but it contains no tungsten, nickel or cobalt. It is sintered copper and tin. Sintering is a process by which powdered metals are bonded together under carefully controlled heat and pressure conditions. By controlling the process, the final physical characteristics of the sintered metal can be manipulated. Sintering is being used in industry for everything from piston engine connecting rods to decorative gee-gaws. Now they're using it in projectiles.

And they work.

I shot several hundred rounds of International Cartridge Corporation's 155 grain .45ACP Green Elite TR non-toxic frangible flatpoint (loaded to 1,150fps) through my Para Tac-S this weekend without a single failure of any kind. I popped 8" steel plates with it from 35 yards, and I did full magazine dumps on a steel plate from a distance of about three feet without anything splashing back on me but some dust. I didn't have to worry about pieces of jacket coming back and sticking me (which has happened at distances considerably farther than three feet), nor did I need to worry about lead exposure.

In addition to their training ammunition, ICC also makes a line of Duty ammunition. It's still frangible, but by controlling the sintering process it is not as delicate as the training ammo (which, as far as Robb Allen and I could tell, blew up on impact with the plywood interior walls of the shoot house without penetrating.) The duty ammo is the same weight and velocity as their training ammo, but it performs entirely differently. The bullet design is a hollow point, and the forward section of the bullet is designed to fragment, much like the "prefragmented" ammo we've all heard of. The base of the bullet remains intact for deep penetration but if the bullet strikes a hard surface it disintegrates like an frangible should, reducing the possibility of hitting a bystander. They even manufacture pistol ammo capable of defeating a Level II vest, that still performs as though it never hit the vest at all. (But not in .45 ACP. Not enough velocity, I'd imagine.)

This is all very tacticool, and I appreciate the need for such ammunition, especially at places like indoor ranges and Blackwater where so many rounds are fired in a very short period of time. However, I'm more than a little disturbed by the fact that California has outlawed lead projectiles for hunting, that the Violence Policy Center is going hard after lead as a pollutant on public shooting ranges, and, according to the rep, California's law is going to migrate to Arizona.

This stuff is not (at present) available as a component. The bullets are, as you might imagine, brittle. If improperly crimped, the bullet can break just as if it were ceramic, so they don't sell anything but loaded ammunition. I would imagine the same is true for other manufacturers of similar technology - the physics of sintered metal technology makes the bullets rather fragile (though they stand up to being dropped on concrete with no evidence of damage.)

If "Green" ammunition gets a good running start at the legislatures, then handloading is in trouble. I don't have a problem with new and better technologies, but I do have a problem with legislatures destroying old ones.

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