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Old December 9, 2004, 11:46 PM   #1
Cowled_Wolfe
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9mm/45acp... Sabots legal?

Hi all. I'm just wondering -- if someone made a sabot for 9mm or .45acp or [pistol caliber here], would they be legal? Or would they be considered 'armor piercing'? What if they were made using soft (pure lead?) bullets?

Finally, what about a smoothbore pistol/SMG to fire a finned sabot round?
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Old December 10, 2004, 10:15 AM   #2
p99guy
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Folks that own cz52's and handload have experimented with sabot cartridges
as there are readily availible componants to do so (.30sabot w/.224 bullet)
they arent AP by legal definition because they are not steel core or posess a steel penetrator. but because there are different levels of soft body armor
there are bullets that will go through them that are not considered AP.
High velocity and smallish bore diameter seem to be the key...example:
its much easier to stab an icepick through something than a bowie knife, as the icepick has a smaller frontal area. Level one armor such as made of woven layers of Ballistic nylon(viet nam era flak jackets that you see at army surplus stores) with stop low velocity bullets such as a 158gr RNL .
38 special and a .45acp 230FMJ...but 9mm/ .357 mag/41mag/.44mag all go through without hardly slowing down. the key is anything going over 900fps
will do the job. now the lowest Level of armor we commonly see is the so called "2A" that is worn under a shirt....(16 layers Kevlar)1400fps seems to be its theshhold
and it stops most common service pistol threats such as 9mm and .357,
but put those same two in a carbine and at close range they will go through.
the better Level 2 armor which has about 22 layers of Kevlar will stop a good amount of things a BG might use on you short of a carbine. its threash hold is at around 1600fps...which allows stoppage of common service type and magnum ammo from pistols and for the most part 9mm from a 16" barrel.
now there are pistols such as a old ruger blackhawk revolver chambered in .30US Carbine, 7.62x25 FMJ fired from cz52's and Tokarevs and the 5.7x28mm FN SS192 civilian Hollow Point....that due to the .30/.22 bullets driven at considerably over the 1600fps....will go right on through even though they are not specially constucted as "AP"
the next step up the armor chain is Level "3A" which is around 48 layers of kevlar....with a thresh hold of close to 1900fps this is a bulky vest even without trauma plates or ceramic anti rifle inserts...and is typically worn over your shirt rather than under. It stops most all common pistol and pistol rounds fired from a carbine lenth barrel.....30carbine from a pistol no longer works, 7.62x25 from a pistol no longer works....the 5.7x28mm Hollow point will just make it though at 15 yards or so(the 5.7AP round SS190 will punch this vest at 50 yards from a FN57 pistol and does have a steel insert)
of course any of these vests can be penetrated by rifle fire if they dont have the hard ceramic inserts which add 16 to 25 lbs in most cases.
As they say" there are no vests that cant be penetrated, yet no round that cant be stopped. you wear the level of armor to counter the threat you expect to face at that moment.....and too little armor against an unplanned for threat will result in your vest and you having a new hole in them.
here is what the 5.7 civilian hollow point will do to a L2

Now back to the sabot 9 and .45...I think most things like that have allready been tried and just not found to be of merit, or reliable with too lite a projectile. and flechettes have certainly been tried as a small arms projectile and millions spent to make it work......and it still seems the best place for them is in "beehive " artillery shells. as getting hit with just one flying finishing nail isnt a sure stopper.......several hundred from a 105mm is a different story
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Last edited by p99guy; December 10, 2004 at 11:12 AM.
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Old December 10, 2004, 11:39 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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A smoothbore pistol to fire fletchettes (or in my case, round ball) is NOT ordinarily legal. It comes under the same heading as a sawn off shotgun. Based on a regulatory interpretation issued in the 1950s which shut down the manufacture of smoothbore snake revolvers.
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Old December 10, 2004, 04:39 PM   #4
gunsmith1
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smoothbore

Smoothbore pistols are illegal but they don't have to have much rifling to make them legal. I remember looking at al egal one somewhere that had grooves cut in the last inch or so to make it legal. Might be worth looking into.
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Old December 10, 2004, 06:02 PM   #5
Jim Watson
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Yeah, I thought of that, but doubt I'll pursue it. A reamer would convert a barrel to Paradox style, but I don't have the pressure test gear to learn what I would need to know. It is my theory that a round ball with low sectional density and hardly any bearing surface could be fired at very high velocity out of a smooth bore, with no losses to friction or engraving force into rifling. It would probably be accurate enough for self defense.

Some of the sabot & flechette rifles developed in the ACR program had very slow twist rifling, not to stabilize the long finned flechette, but to spin the sabot off of the projectile.
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Old December 10, 2004, 06:28 PM   #6
cvicisso
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I don't reload yet, but was toying with the same (or at least similar) idea myself. Not sure about 9mm, but there are quite a few places that sell .45 cal sabots (for muzzleloaders) that take either .40 (10mm) or .429 bullets. These will work in 'pistol-diameter' .45's (.451") - not in rifle ones (like the .45-70, .450 Marlin, .458 WinMag, etc). Also available are .50" to .451" sabots for launching .45 cal bullets from .50 cal tubes. The increased surface area for the gasses to push on, decreased friction from rifling, and potentially greater sectional density (from same weight bullet in smaller caliber) should make for an interesting combination. Not sure about how they would feed in an auto or how well they would go through the forcing cone of a wheelgun though... Plus, you would have to make sure to get the right size (smaller diameter) bullet for the twist rate of your particular gun.
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Old December 10, 2004, 08:53 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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Like I said, the problem with these neat-oh thought experiments is that to really get the most out of any such gimmick is going to take chamber pressure instrumentation. Or a darned sharp eye on the ol' traditional pressure signs like casehead expansion. Which I will not rely on. Oh, well.
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Old December 10, 2004, 10:26 PM   #8
Cowled_Wolfe
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Hmm... I'd think a block of gel would be a better test than any pressure guage can give... That is, unless you want to know how high a load you can go.

Btw, I was thinking something more like a .224 bullet in a .45acp cartridge. I figure that if you're going to use a sub-caliber/high-velocity round, you may as well go for something really small/fast... As opposed to a .30 in a .45...
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