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Old September 2, 2010, 08:49 PM   #1
chris in va
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Tracer rounds

Any way to 'deactivate' tracer rounds? I bought a couple bags, reloaded about 250 rounds of 30-06 only to discover I can't shoot them at the range due to the lack of rain.

These are pulled military surplus and have this copper cup in the base.
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Old September 2, 2010, 08:54 PM   #2
dawico
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I am curious myself. I have a bunch also, and have thought about drilling the bases out, but am hoping for an easier way.
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Old September 2, 2010, 11:36 PM   #3
Dave R
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Might be better to pull 'em, save 'em and replace 'em with another bullet. Then you still have the tracers for another place and time.
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Old September 2, 2010, 11:52 PM   #4
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Trade the tracer rounds at a gun show with someone who wants them. I shoot lots of them. As far as I know there's no practical way to "deactivate" the trace compound without firing the round. If you removed the compound somehow the weight would be far off as well.
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Old September 3, 2010, 07:17 AM   #5
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I've seen plenty of fires started on military ranges by tracers so be darn careful where (if) you shoot them. DO NOT try to drill the tracer element out as it will probably ignite and start a fire. I personally don't see any legit use for tracer ammo outside the military. I'd pull the bullets and as suggested trade or sell them at a gun show.
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Old September 3, 2010, 12:47 PM   #6
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Tracers are fun to watch, and do have a legitimate use (training), and as emergency rescue ammo. The old rule about firing 3 shots in the air when hopelessly lost, or injured, searchers just might see tracers better, but they are only safe in certain areas, or at certain times of the year. I have started a fire with a single tracer round into a sagebrush at 200+yards. Yes, it was accidental, but it did happen. In dry climes, tracers are not good, unless you want to play fireman, a lot.

Take them to a show and sell/trade them to somebody who wants them. I have a bag of them, but I'm not going to load them, unless we come to the end of the world. Then, all bets are off.
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Old September 3, 2010, 01:12 PM   #7
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Last time I was lost in the woods I kept firing 3 shots in the air and no one ever came.

The only thing I did was waste a lot of arrows...
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Old September 3, 2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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Kinda off topic so if mods wanna remove it that's fine.

I was stopped at a gas station on the way to a gun show and was talking with an older gentleman. After finding out he was going to the same place we started swapping shooting stories and one way or another we got on the topic of tracers. His father worked at an army base by their house when he was growing up and when their ammo shipments came in he was allowed to load up what he could fit on his truck and take it home for personal use. Well one day the man I was talking to (around 12 or so at the time) and his brother saw a woodchuck, so they grabbed their rifle and a box of ammo from their father's truck. They loaded up, took aim, fired and missed. The round hit a large pile of hay, set it on fire, and almost burnt down their barn. Upon reading the box they discovered that they had grabbed tracer rounds. The moral of the story is, check your ammo .
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Old September 3, 2010, 01:40 PM   #9
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No, it's not off topic, because tracer rounds are very capable of starting a fire. When things get good and dry like they are in a lot of the country right now the last thing you want to do is to run the risk of starting a fire, and tracers heighten that risk significantly.

Hell, there was a recent story in the news out of California that a golfer hit a shot into the rough, and in trying to get out he hit a rock with his golf club, which generated enough sparks to start a wildfire that eventually burned 20 acres.
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Old September 3, 2010, 01:46 PM   #10
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Chris---are these a .308 or possibly upward of a .310? If .310 to .311 I can swap you out with some pulled mil surp .3105 FMJ steel core in 147gr. I have about a thousand of those for my AK and Mosin and wouldn't mind mixing them up a little.
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Old September 3, 2010, 03:55 PM   #11
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Just keep in mind tracers are considered hazardous material and have to be shipped common carrier with a hazmat surcharge. Can't mail them, it's a serious federal offense.
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Old September 3, 2010, 04:05 PM   #12
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^^^ Maybe--maybe not. But every seller selling tracer bullets on gunbroker is shipping priority or standard ground. No hazmat even referenced on a single one.

Example:
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=188241130
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Old September 3, 2010, 05:16 PM   #13
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See below

Last edited by Winterhawk56; September 3, 2010 at 05:26 PM.
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Old September 3, 2010, 05:21 PM   #14
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Tracer rounds are fun and we used them often in the Military. Great at night fires and you can also see where you’re hitting!

That being said, I am not sure what a civilian would need with them. I am retired from the Military.

You cannot deactivate the WP in the butt of the projectile! Should you try with a drill or scrape it out IT MAY and PROBABLY WILL IGNITE! It also burns until all the chemical is gone so anything you get on, in or around you will also burn you. You cannot put it out!

My experience is with Military rounds in 7.63 (.308), 30-06 5.56 (.223). They do cause some additional heating of the barrel when ignited by the powder and can cause some corrosion/errosion of your barrel.

I know others have different ideas/opinions of the level of corrosion but believe me it WILL HAPPEN to some degree!

The other issues are: if misused they will start fires! They burn and will set most anything on fire if they hit before all the WP is burnt from the base! How far will it travel before the WP is burnt varies? So could not offer a time, distance or ?

Again some have different ideas here but this is from my personal experience with the excepting of trying to de-activate them! NEVER DID THAT ONE! Nor have I tried to drill or remove WP from anything containing the chemical!

This is my two cents worth but unless you know what you are doing, LEAVE them alone, sell them or turn them over to someone that does!

Again others have differing opinions here and that is OK. This is my opinion and based on Military training and use of these rounds both in training and military actions.

Not trying to make anyone madd but have a STRONG OPINION concerning tracers and Hopefully anyone reading this will use some common since if they have tracer rounds! Also in allot of states it is illegal to own or shoot them unless Military or Law Enforcement!

Thanks for reading, Ralph
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Old September 3, 2010, 06:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
That being said, I am not sure what a civilian would need with them. I am retired from the Military.
Quote:
...and you can also see where you’re hitting!
There's your answer.

Don't get me wrong, I've only shot tracers once. At a designated night-time tracer shoot event that raised $$ for charity. So I'm not a tracer geek. But I bought some online, and have yet to shoot them. My intent is to use for quicker sighting in at long-range, when I can do it safely.

The other use I have heard of, but never tried, is for use in a semi-auto rifle with no bolt hold-open. AK, CETME, HK 91, etc. You load a couple tracers first, then fill a mag. If you see a tracer when you fire, time to swap mags. Kinda an incendiary alternative to a proper bolt hold-open.
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Old September 3, 2010, 07:13 PM   #16
chris in va
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Just keep in mind tracers are considered hazardous material and have to be shipped common carrier with a hazmat surcharge. Can't mail them, it's a serious federal offense.
I wasn't charged a hazmat fee when they were shipped to me. The company is reputable and has been doing this a long time.

Rangefinder...these measure .308 so probably wouldn't work too well in your .311 guns.
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Old September 4, 2010, 12:56 AM   #17
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Chris>> Worth a shot to ask--pun fully intended. It wouldn't quite be as bad as throwing a golf ball down a stove pipe, but sloppy enough to negate the purpose. Thanks anywho

Quote:
That being said, I am not sure what a civilian would need with them.
Winterhawk, isn't that kind of like saying "what would any civilian need with an NFA weapon?" No offense, but post that one on the NFA forum and see how friendly the atmosphere gets. Need really isn't the issue, but any responsible individual that can have them has no reason to be denied based simply on a lack of need defined by someone else. Just food for thought.
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Old September 4, 2010, 08:13 AM   #18
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lets face it, they are neat to fire, that's it.

Use them to zero in at long range? Every bullet fly's different and this would be a waste of ammo IMO.

Dave R

That is what they did in WWII fighters so the pilots would know when they are near the end of there belts. Unfortunately the Japanese learned this also and knew when the Americans were running out and hammer them. The Black sheep squadron took their tracers out of the belts and the kill ratio increased immediately. Partly due to the pilot had to conserve ammo never knowing when he was running low and the Japanese never knew if the enemy was out.
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Old September 4, 2010, 11:11 AM   #19
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tracers are considered hazardous material and have to be shipped common carrier with a hazmat surcharge.
Check DOT regs very carefully. There are a lot of screwing exceptions. For instance, blank ammo cannot be sent on planes, but loaded ammo can. IT is a real quagmire. The rule book CFR whatever the damn number is is about 4 inches thick. Its all in there somewhere, but good luck finding it, and not missing some other applicable regulation!

It could be tracers are hazardous when loaded in ammo, and not when just bullets. It could be the other way around (most likely), or it could be something else entirely.

Its also possible the shipping company is just charging extra and shipping as hazmat to avoid any possible rule violation. There's nothing that says shipping non-hazmat material as hazmat is a violation. If it were me, and I wasn't sure, I'd do that. The small extra cost is way less than the fine.
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Old September 17, 2010, 08:12 PM   #20
Winterhawk56
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Good Point Rangefinder! Good Point and I do support the second amendment so if we start limiting this then what is next?

Guess I did not really think it through other than I have some personal experience with tracer rounds being fired at me! THey are not for me!

Thanks,

Ralph
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Old September 17, 2010, 08:54 PM   #21
Mike Irwin
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"That is what they did in WWII fighters so the pilots would know when they are near the end of there belts."

Huh?

STANDARD belt load out for all .30 and .50 caliber machine guns and 20mm cannons was 4 ball rounds and 1 tracer round.

The tracer rounds showed pilots or gunners where their bullets were going and allowed them to adjust their aim accordingly.

Removing those marker tracers from the belts would have greatly hampered the ability to get a kill because you then would never be sure where your bullets were going in relation to another aircraft that was also moving in three dimensions.
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Old September 17, 2010, 09:27 PM   #22
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I use them just because I bought them cheaper than I could get any other projectiles. That said, to deactivate, why not just soak them in water or oil?
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:17 PM   #23
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That said, to deactivate, why not just soak them in water or oil?
Because that probably won't deactivate them. Just like you can't count on water or oil to deactivate primers.
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Old September 18, 2010, 12:43 PM   #24
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because phosporus will burn under water, so soaking it will do nothing.
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Old September 18, 2010, 02:02 PM   #25
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As an emergency signal, the use of tracers is probably not as effective as
it sounds. I kept some in a survival vest I put together for my plane, and
only recently had the opportunity to fire some off at night. My impression
was that they were so faint you'd have to practically lob them in the general
vicinity of your rescuers to be seen. That, and the fire hazard others have
brought up had me rethink the idea.
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