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Old January 22, 2010, 08:49 AM   #1
akfedor7
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Advantages of flechette loads?

I just remembered hearing about these years ago. Seemed kinda neat, but never could figure out the real advantages of them. Anybody here know?
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:57 AM   #2
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They work well in a M203, however, I believe the canister doesn't open until it exits the bore. They are made of steel.
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Old January 22, 2010, 09:03 AM   #3
LukeA
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I guess in a shotshell they would have better sectional density and velocity retention than round pellets.

Single flechettes in sabots can also make some screaming-fast rifle loads with really low recoil.
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Old January 22, 2010, 09:12 AM   #4
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There is no advantage except to the manufacturers who make money selling them.
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Old January 22, 2010, 09:12 AM   #5
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This site has some performance data and historical info...interesting read.
http://www.antipersonnel.net/sdllc/index.html



Quote:
COMBAT COMPARISON

During the United States Vietnam War of 1965-1972 shotguns played an active role with ground forces and buckshot and flechette ammunition were actively evaluated for combat effectiveness. Combat evaluations from May 1967 to February 1968 were made with flechettes, M162 00 buckshot, and XM257 #4 buckshot. Flechette ammunition indicated a high lethality at all ranges with several one shot kills at engagement ranges to 100 yards, flechettes were prefered by combatants equally to 00 buckshot during this test phase. Flechette ammunition and 00 buckshot were also equally prefered over the issued XM257 #4 buckshot, which proved ineffective under combat conditions, lacking the penitration and terminal performance of either flechettes or 00 buckshot. Adoption of a standardized flechette cartridge was hindered by the United States govenment decision to begin disengaging from the Vietnam War. Flechette superiority to buckshot has proven manifest for all aspects of performance in velocity, grouping, and terminal effects.
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Old January 22, 2010, 09:17 AM   #6
akfedor7
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I'm behind on my physics, so not sure... would the flechette travel farther than a round shot of the same diameter? Seems like it would have more drag and slow down quicker. But perhaps flechettes might pattern better?
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Old January 22, 2010, 11:36 AM   #7
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It seems like it would be the difference between a football and a basket ball as to how the flechette and the BB travel through the air.

I am not that good a physics either, but it seems like if the canister opens later then the group could achieve higher velocity.
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:52 PM   #8
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The x-ray I saw of someone hit with flechettes showed that the flechettes bent when they went in.The ones I handled were aluminum .Delivery was by rocket with colored powder to mark impact. IIRC the Brits experimented with rifle cartridges containing just one flechette !
Flechette rounds are not recommended for HD - they don't do well in court !!!
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Old January 22, 2010, 01:00 PM   #9
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buy a few boxes of them and shoot some junk with it. old coffee cans,plastic soda bottles,drywall. i would'nt want get shot with or shoot anyone with them. might not kill you,but it'll definetly get your attention. very effective in 105mm artillery and 40mm grenade rounds.
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Old January 22, 2010, 01:24 PM   #10
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Flechettes are far superior to round balls in regards to maintaining energy once they leave the barrel. Energy loss in flight if related to cross sectional density, and a long thin projectile has the highest cross sectional density. The reverse is true for the acceleration phase, which is why we use sabots to get the cross sectional density down.
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Old January 22, 2010, 01:38 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
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Interesting. Everything I've heard about flechette use in Vietnam says that they were largely a failure in that they punched numerous small holes through someone that did very little damage whereas buckshot did significantly greater physical damage, caused greater shock, loss of blood, and far faster incapacitation.
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Old January 22, 2010, 01:45 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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I bought some of the cheap fletchette shotgun shells from the Dragsonsbreath people and thought them a terrible flop. Surplus fletchettes nested in opposite directions, most of them hit a 15 yard target sideways.

Maybe this outfit does them better.
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Old January 22, 2010, 02:08 PM   #13
Bill DeShivs
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There is nothing to keep flechettes stable in flight. There is nothing to keep them directional (point first) in flight. They have no advantage whatsoever, and lots of drawbacks.
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Old January 22, 2010, 02:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
There is nothing to keep flechettes stable in flight. There is nothing to keep them directional (point first) in flight. They have no advantage whatsoever, and lots of drawbacks.
Well a flechette, by definition, is drag stabilized. Assuming they are designed properly, they will point straight.
Think of fletching on a bow and arrow...

No experience in commercial or milsup flechettes though...
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Old January 22, 2010, 02:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Surplus fletchettes nested in opposite directions
That alone will screw up the flight of all of them. The ones pointing rearward, are going to naturally try turning forward, thus disrupting the whole bunch...if they are loaded all facing in the right direction, performance is much better.
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Old January 22, 2010, 03:18 PM   #16
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flecaette loads

depending on whose your useing, their is going to be a lot of screaming until the slug follows.
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Old January 22, 2010, 03:30 PM   #17
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Here's some, price is kinda steep though $10.50 per 3 rounds . I'll stick to buckshot.

http://alamoammo.com/cart/shotgun-am...lechettes-3-ct
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Old January 22, 2010, 04:30 PM   #18
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I never spoke with anyone who actually used shotgun flechettes in combat, but I have read enough about them that it sounds like a good idea on paper, but the execution of the idea was poor. The idea was high velocity with small frontal area would make them good for anti-personnel in areas with lots of leaf cover. Artillery flechettes are awesomely effective, but they are relatively heavy and propelled by high explosive in the shell. Shotgun flechettes at shotgun velocities did not have enough mass to either penetrate well or retain velocity well, and a shotgun could not get them going fast enough to overcome this shortcoming.

BTW, the British and French experiment with flechette rifle rounds was designed to overcome assailants in flak vests or light vehicles common at the time, but they were tremendously inaccurate. Regular ball ammo was more effective due to increased accuracy of delivery on target.
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Old January 22, 2010, 06:18 PM   #19
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Flechette shafts frequently get bent by ignition forces.

Never heard anything good about them when fired from a 12 guage shotshell. I question the validity of the report posted by SilentHitz.

If they fly and penetrate true then the surface area of a flechette is very small - poking a small hole.

Cheers!
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Old January 22, 2010, 06:36 PM   #20
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i don,t know about shotgun shells,but a 75mm pack howitzer round at 75-100 yds, takes the worry out of being close.eastbank.
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:19 PM   #21
Dfariswheel
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Shotgun Flechetts were a failure in Vietnam tests.

In order to pack the shell full of Flechetts, 1/2 of them have to be packed backward to allow proper stacking of the tiny fins on the rear.
Since the Flechetts stabilized very poorly, many of the backward needles failed to turn point first.

Stabilization was a major problem with even the point-first needles failing to stabilize, and far too many hit the target sideways and failed to penetrate.

Due to the low mass, many of the Flechetts that did hit point first failed to penetrate and were buried only point deep, producing very minor superficial wounds.

Last, even those that did perform as intended lack enough mass to provide any real trauma and there were many cases of enemy soldiers hit with the needles who while they were bleeding out internally failed to realize the seriousness of the wounds and continued to run and shoot until blood loss dropped them.

The official finding was that as a shotgun round the Flechetts were a failure and they were withdrawn from use.
In other words, if they were of any value as a shotgun round the military would still be using them..... they aren't.

Bottom line: To date, no shotgun round yet discovered is better than a load of lead buck shot.
The Flechetts were one of those great ideas that simply failed to pan out in the real world.
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:20 PM   #22
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Someone's selling nails, it seems. A newly developed load, it seems. Interesting. See attached, below.

There were some Vietnam era shotgun flechette loads that worked reasonably well, up to a point. Not all of them loaded flechettes base to point- the better performing rounds (Whirlpool, Winchester, Remington, AAI) all loaded their payloads all point forward.

The AAI L-L1 (AA-32) round did well in testing- but was never used in combat, apparently. Its 32 flechettes had fins that were angled to provide an optimum rate of stabilizing spin, and nested very compactly within the hull and sabot assembly. The round produced patterns of 6- 8 feet at 100 meters, and would penetrate the then-issued flak vest at that range, despite its relatively low muzzle velocity of 1260 fps.

Remington's Beehive shotgun round found a good deal of favor among USMC shotgunners, but was not so well received by the US Army. The Remington Model SP-12F-20 load pushed 20 7.5 grain flechettes at a tested MV of 2200 fps, produced patterns of 6 feet at 100 meters, and could be combat effective out to about 275 meters. It was found that penetration with this load actually improved beyond 35 yards, as yawing had ceased and the flechettes had stabilized. One other thing was discovered- this load did not like choked barrels, and the tighter the choke, the more open the patterns.

These flechettes did not do well at penetrating intervening vegetation in the jungles of Vietnam, however. The light weight of the individual projectiles meant they shed velocity quickly in brush, and were easily deflected. In open country, their flat trajectories and high initial velocity meant that they could still produce wounds at 500 meters, though there was no way of guaranteeing what might be hit at such ranges. That sort of thing seemed to worry the Army much more than it did the USMC for some reason, one of the reasons flechette loads were not as popular with the Army.

Shotgun flechette loads have always exercised a certain mystique among some shotgunners, almost legendary in some ways. Yet their actual performance fails to live up to the legend in most cases when shotgunners have bought some of these legendary loads and tested them on their own.

Does Sabot Designs LLC have the design of their flechette round 'right'? It drives nineteen eight-grain flechettes at a MV of 1925 FPS- not a far cry at all from the old Remington Beehive round that the USMC used to like so much in the Vietnam era.

So it might well work as advertised, I don't know. As I see it, the main question prospective purchasers need to ask is, do they really need a round that offers these performance specifications in a defensive shotgun round, given that most defensive uses of shotguns occur at relatively short range? And secondly, do they really want to pay as much as these rounds cost (admittedly, these rounds certainly don't sound inexpensive to produce) to find out?

fwiw,

lpl

(info on specific flechette loads mentioned above comes from Swearengen's The World's Fighting Shotguns (c 1978, TBN Enterprises).
==============

http://www.antipersonnel.net/sdllc/006.html

//snip//

PRODUCT PRICES


FLECHETTE SABOT AMMUNITION, 12 GA, 200 ROUND DOUBLE CASE

PER UNIT COST $2.30

FA-12-200(INCLUDES 11% FET)-------------------------------------$510.60
SHIPPING---------------------------------------------------------$35.00
CASH TOTAL------------------------------------------------------$545.60


CREDIT CARD PURCHASE TOTAL------------------------------------- $567.77
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
I question the validity of the report posted by SilentHitz.
That was a quote from their site, not my knowledge of their product...I take it with a grain of salt since they wouldn't give a bad review of something they're trying to sell...thought everyone else would too.

My comment on getting them to fly straight was more of a improvement on distance...no way do I think they even come CLOSE to out performing buckshot. The OP asked for a little info and history on them, I provided just one link of many that come up when you do a search.
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Old January 22, 2010, 10:45 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody Selling The Things
Combat evaluations from May 1967 to February 1968 were made with flechettes, M162 00 buckshot, and XM257 #4 buckshot. Flechette ammunition indicated a high lethality at all ranges with several one shot kills at engagement ranges to 100 yards,
The "evaluations" time frame, they probably got that about right. I was there throughout that whole period, saw a few of the fleschette rounds fired (from a 12 Gauge). My admittedly limited experience with them beyond 10 yards is that you might as well be chucking rocks. As far as a 100 yard kill, the only way I believe that happening is a hit at 10 yards, man runs off 90 yards, headlong into a tree, breaks his neck and dies. That "report" rings about as true as LBJ's "body counts".

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Old January 23, 2010, 05:07 AM   #25
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Having never owned a flechette round nor tearing into one, I will pose what little I know... Ball pellet ammo is proven! The flechette rounds contain multiple wire "darts" these are stamped fin stabilized but staggered with forward and rearward orientation to maximize payload...

That is the first negative issue! Second is the fact that each projectile is severely limited in overall mass... Steel round shot was frowned on by duck hunters for lack of "git on out and kill" capability.

The record shows that these projectiles failed to penetrate deeply enuff on a routine to make a reasonable "manstopper" in combat... If they had, we would have them on the shelves of the local shops along side or replacing 00 Buck!

Penetration reviews by DOD showed very shallow wounds compared to that of Buck used by combat forces in combat...

In combat, the only positive aspect was the "3 for 1" rule... for every wounded troop, you can remove 3 soldiers as 2 carry the wounded off the battle field. But a dead troop can be left to lay until a break in the fighting.

In real world use, you have minimal lethality backed by an un determined flight path caused by many issues none the least is less than precise straightness. Flight cannot be guaranteed to a nearly straighht path...,


Now to back this up I revert back to my days of throwing darts in the barroom. I bought parts and assembled sets. I paid good money for tips, weights, shafts and flights... A "Cheap" set was 20 bucks and a nice set was near or above $50. I preferred heavy weights to compensate for a less than stellar release. A less than ideal flight set resulted in poor flight. The flechetts is a stamped item and precision is non existent.

The added situation for no added shaft weight means that minimal distance will carry forward penetrating momentum.

Thats all I know and it ain't flechette specific but if a dart fying at 100fps needs all that technology, than I wouldn't rely on piano wire "darts" for life preserving performing performance.
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