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Old November 17, 2002, 04:54 AM   #1
Nightcrawler
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Check this out: Flechette Ammunition

Sabot Designs LLC is selling flechette 12 gauge ammunition. Pretty expensive ($200 for 100 rounds), but I'm interested enough to buy a five round box and give it a go one of these days.

They claim a point target range of 75 meters. That's impressive. (Remember, they're going by military standards. What the military considers "effective range" might be different than what you do.)

If anything, this company seems to have gotten some government certifications. They also make a sabot flechette 105mm shell for tanks (for antipersonnel use). All I can say to that is...well, COOL! Apparently they have buckshot type rounds for tank cannon as well, for use against dismounted infantry at up to like 700 meters. Any tankers here care to varify?
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Old November 17, 2002, 06:22 AM   #2
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Might want to check your local laws first. They are illegal in some jurisdictions.
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Old November 17, 2002, 06:24 AM   #3
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They're fine in MI. It's mostly places like NY, NJ, CA, etc. that have silly laws like that.
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Old November 17, 2002, 06:55 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, you can add Florida to that list.
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Old November 18, 2002, 02:47 PM   #5
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Once read an oral history by various SEAL vets who served in Vietnam, which included some comments on the various weapons they tried out. One was that the shotgun flechette rounds had greatly extended range but zero knockdown effect- the VC would keep running and probably bleed out later. Not what I want for an SD load.

Just found the book- Hunters & Shooters edited by Bill Fawcett, Avon Books 1995, ISBN 0-380-72166-X. Mike Boynton, a famous SEAL, makes the comment on Page 80 that "Flechette was also good, at least I thought so. You could hit a man at longer range with it than with a regular shot load. But when a man was hit with flechettes, he would keep on running as if he hadn't been shot at all. The targets would bleed to death with a flechette hit rather than get knocked down as with a buckshot load."

He goes on to say that he liked #4 Buck because of the large number of pellets.

I stand by my opinion that a longer dangerous range and poor knockdown effect is the exact opposite of what you want from a defensive load.

Last edited by mjn; November 18, 2002 at 10:22 PM.
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Old November 18, 2002, 02:54 PM   #6
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I was in the M1 Abrams series tanks for 6 years and I never heard of a "buckshot load" for either the 105 or 120mm.
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Old November 18, 2002, 05:23 PM   #7
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Flechettes are not good stoppers. The guys at Aberdeen a coupla decades ago went through all this, and they found that fletchettes were an answer in search of a question.

This is secondhand, but reliable. The guys were trying to develop ambush busters for lighter APCs and Command vehicles. One approach had dual,belt fed, full auto shotguns with a 9mm Subgun mounted between them firing only tracers for directing the fire. There were probs with the setup but one datum emerged,there was very little stopping power with fletchettes,tho they did kill slowly most of the time.

Rate of fire was about 400 RPM each, figure what damage a 3 second burst would do from two shotguns loaded with depleted Uranium 00 and a 9mm buzzgun with WP tracers on a triple mount.
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Old November 18, 2002, 05:46 PM   #8
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Flechettes out of artillery are one thing. Out of a 12 gauge, they're a waste of time. And, oh yeah, after "nailing" that late night home invader you can just explain......Well, YOUR HONOR, I was in fear for my life, and I didn't think OOBUCK was mean enough, so I gave him a taste of these cutesy novelty loads. Hmmmmm
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Old November 19, 2002, 09:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
They also make a sabot flechette 105mm shell for tanks (for antipersonnel use). All I can say to that is...well, COOL! Apparently they have buckshot type rounds for tank cannon as well, for use against dismounted infantry at up to like 700 meters. Any tankers here care to varify?
We had flechette "beehive" rounds in the M1IP (105mm cannon), but not for the M1A1 (120mm cannon). As someone already mentioned, there are no "buckshot type rounds" that I know of.
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Old November 19, 2002, 03:15 PM   #10
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I must've been confused, then. What, exactly, is a beehive round? Does it just have a lot of small fragments designed for antipersonnel use (like a very large frag grenade)?
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Old November 19, 2002, 07:42 PM   #11
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Well, this company actually makes flechette shells, too.

How big are the flechettes in these rounds, and how many do they fire at a time?
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Old November 19, 2002, 08:06 PM   #12
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Oh, no, I meant in the beehive rounds the tank fires.
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Old November 21, 2002, 02:13 AM   #13
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The South African army developed an anti-personnel round for use in the 90mm. smoothbore cannon on the AML-90 armored car (known locally as the Eland), the turret of which was also later fitted to the Ratel APC. IIRC, this didn't use flechettes, but rather ball bearings - several thousand of them... We used to call it the "brush-cutter" (or several less polite names). One thing's for sure: a squad caught in its pattern simply ceased to exist. All that was usually recovered were rather mangled, torn body parts and badly dented or perforated equipment.

Flechettes were also tried over there, and had the same dismal results as US testing: extended range, but no knock-down power whatsoever. They were never made a standard issue for that reason.

The same "ball-bearing principle" was applied to aircraft bombs. After testing, it was found that in the thick brush of the combat area in Southern Africa, cluster bombs simply didn't have the same effectiveness as they did over flatter, clearer terrain. As a result, bombs were developed in 500-, 1,000- and 2,000-pound equivalent weights (250kg., 500kg. and 1,000kg.), although the largest size saw little if any combat use. These things contained many thousands of ball bearings around an explosive core (something over 36,000 in the 1,000-pound version, IIRC). They were detonated at a given height above ground by a radar fuse. A pattern of these things from an aircraft would effectively clear a new football field in the thickest brush - trees, bushes, etc. simply vaporized into so much sawdust and wood chips. Anything below, whether in trenches or light vehicles, was utterly destroyed. Only heavier armored vehicles could stand up to the fragments, and the crew inside were pretty shaken up, to judge by after-action reports.
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Old November 21, 2002, 09:39 AM   #14
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Flechettes are one of those things that sound like they would be a real effective anti-personnel round, but they just have not panned out. At $2 a round, that is a lot of money for ineffective shooting.

The one question you need to make when considering a new ammo for defense is whether or not it is going to be better than the options already available to you. Since Flechettes are not new, you gotta figure that they were never great performers since the only folks promoting them as defensive rounds are the makers. I don't think anyone instructing shotgun classes would suggest flechettes over more standard loads such as buckshot.

The one thing flechettes may do well is fish-hooking inside the body. That means that while they may enter straight, the lead end will often curl or fish hook in the body. This means that removal by a doctor is a little more difficult. You can't just pull them out straight since they are no longer straight.

If you are still sold on trying some, but 50 and a whole pig carcass and blast away at it from various distances, starting at the extreme far end first. Then keep track of just how many hit the thing at 75 yards, then 50, then 25, etc. I would suggest live animal tests, but flechettes would be very cruel especially since the animal is probably going to survive being hit multiple times from multiple shots.
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