View Full Version : sabot rounds

May 3, 2005, 12:57 PM
I'm not sure where to post this thread but I have a question about sabot rounds, especially tungsten and DU sabots
Does anyone know how thes work? And what kind of uranium does the the DU use?
Any help and answer is appreciated.

May 3, 2005, 04:04 PM
Depleted uranium rounds are basically chunks of uranium from which as much of the U-235 has been processed out as possible.

Interesting aspect of amorphous crystalline metals: they're harder and more brittle than normal, and this means that on impact, they are self-sharpening. Impact stresses cause outer layers to just kind of flake off, progressively sharpening the projectile until it either goes through or shatters.

novus collectus
May 3, 2005, 04:46 PM
Are you saying the depleted Uranium is an amorphous metal or the Tungsten?
Either way, interesting.

May 3, 2005, 06:09 PM
Depleted uranium is just uranium with low uranium-235 content. (235 is the main fissionable material in reactors and nuclear weapons.)

Many (most?) metals can be formed with an amorphous crystal structure; uranium is one of them. Because of its unique mechanical properties, an amorphous structure makes for better terminal effects on hard targets.

As for tungsten penetrators, they're just tungsten spikes; AFAIK, nothing fancy is done with them, aside from maybe alloying for enhanced hardness.

May 3, 2005, 11:32 PM
Another interesting tidbit, Depleted uranium is about as dangerous as lead. (As long as you don't eat/breath it, you're fine.) It is LESS radioactive than plain uranium ore because, Duh, most of the U-235 has been extracted. Don't let the media tell you otherwise.

novus collectus
May 4, 2005, 06:06 AM
Duh, most of the U-235 has been extracted. Don't let the media tell you otherwise.
If that is true, then would you have it in your home and reload with it using the exact same safety measures as you would with lead?

May 4, 2005, 08:23 AM
thanks this what I wanted to know.
Any other info on tungsten sabots(or other types of sabots)?

May 4, 2005, 09:14 AM
Hardened penetrators such as tungsten or DU and sabot rounds are 2 different things. However, they are commonly used together. A good example of this is the .50 SLAP (saboted light armor penetrator) for the M2. This is a .30 cal tungsten penetrator in a .50 cal plastic sabot. You get 2 benefits from the tungsten penetrator - reduced mass (equals higher velocity-around 4000 fps for the SLAP vs. 2900 fps for a .50 BMG), and harder bullet that penetrates rather than deforms. This gives you a round effective against 3/4" armor out to around 5000 feet.

Incidentally, in the 80s the Marines looked at the same concept for a 7.62 rounds. Didn't work out so well, the sabot would often break up and the penetrator would go through the side of the barrel. Oops.

May 4, 2005, 09:35 AM
Well, he was asking about the sabot rounds used in tank cannons for anti-tank purposes: and specifically asked about DU.

If that is true, then would you have it in your home and reload with it using the exact same safety measures as you would with lead?Yeah, pretty much. Only problems are that I would have to be a bit more careful in handling it to avoid making dust (interesting thing about tungsten: on its own, it's not a problem, but when introduced to a tissue culture with certain other metals—like the ones it's usually in an alloy with—it's mad carcinogenic), and it's pretty much illegal for random people to own uranium. Stuff's worse than drugs WRT getting The Law to swoop down upon your ass.

Note that with a density of about 19g/cm^3, DU isn't exactly a smart choice for typical hand weapons; you'd get a penetrating core that would go straight through a bunch of stuff, but wouldn't actually do very much damage.

Tungsten's actually slightly more dense, at 19.3g/cm^3, so it would have the same problem. It would be a lot cheaper and a lot less illegal, though.

In either case, even if you got the raw materials, good luck actually making bullets. ;) Uranium and tungsten are both very hard to work.

Note: I'm saying this stuff from the standpoint of an engineering student; media hype becomes a lot less scary when you know more about the chemistry and mechanics than the f***tard reporters. :rolleyes:

May 4, 2005, 10:47 AM
in the beginnig of the thread. Since Iknow DU I was asking about rifle sabot rounds.
I know that there are a Very few rifles that uses DU(or these are not comercial)or there aren't any, but those are 20mm anti-vechicle weapons.
I if they say a 7.62 sabot round(often tungsten) is the bullet really 7.62 or smaller? (Like Mike40-11 said)

May 4, 2005, 11:21 AM
some years ago ,remintong made some sabot round catridges.They was made with a 223 ball mount on 0,30 sabot.tha caliber was 30 06,308 and 30 30...now remintong made only the sabot for reolanding but stop made the complete ammo...

May 4, 2005, 11:27 AM
and it's pretty much illegal for random people to own uranium.

You're quite incorrect, I have right near me a few different samples of uranium ore from various mines in the USA and abroad.

Go to any gem & mineral show, you can pick up uranium ore for a reasonable sum.

May 4, 2005, 11:40 AM
DU is also pyrophoric. The energy at impact creates enough heat to cause the metal to burn. Any material that penetrates appears as a shower of flaming metal.
The radioactivity is not a hazard (alpha emitter) as long as it stays outside the body. Alphas cannot even penetrate skin. If the material is inside the body the alpha can now do damage. This is the reason fro the risk in inhaling the dust.
DU is a toxic (chemically) heavy metal. Just like lead, it can cause problems by screwing around with any number of metabolic paths and nerve function.

I happen to have a DU penetrator sitting on my desk. Not a hazard.

May 4, 2005, 12:12 PM
Any sabot round will be smaller than the bore of the weapon. That's the whole rationale for sabots. Smaller bullet, bigger gun, higher speed.

Remington used to make a cartridge called the Accelerator, discontinued in he late 90s, that was a 55 gr. 22 cal bullet in a 30 cal sabot. I believe they made it in 30-30, .308 and 30-06. Don't know if any one else is making production rifle sabot rounds now, but you can find the sabots for sale for handloading.

Currently lots of manufacturers make 12 ga sabot shotgun slugs. This are generally 1 oz. .50 cal slugs in a plastic sabot to fit the .729" 12 ga bore.

They are also common in muzzleloading. .45 cal bullets in a .50 cal plastic sabot.

May 4, 2005, 12:18 PM
and what can you say about ss 109 sabot round?

novus collectus
May 4, 2005, 03:15 PM
There are also saboted rounds for pistols out there as well.

May 5, 2005, 08:14 AM
And does a DU round explode when impacts on a target? I know that tungsten doesn't.

May 5, 2005, 08:45 AM
No, but it does scatter lots of little incandescent flakes of itself as it grinds through whatever it hits.

May 5, 2005, 09:27 AM

...uranium is a dense and hard metal that is pyrophoric. It is these properties that give the effectiveness at penetrating armour and destroying tanks and their occupants. On burning, uranium produces a dense smoke, which, in a confined space, is rapidly suffocating.

May 5, 2005, 10:55 AM
but when a "Silver Bullet" hits a tank it blows up. If not because of the DU than what explodes?

May 5, 2005, 11:18 AM
the tanks blow up when it by a penetrator because the hig temperature generate by the shot blow the ammo storage in the tank,the ammo are generally stowed around the tank's turret...because this the modern west tank are tha ammo storage in the rear compartement of the turret ,so in case of hit the ammo blow up off the turret and not in the turret...nobody rest in a tank hit died by suffocating,simple because is died before by the fire...
"ferrea mole di ferreo cuore"-" steel body of steel heart"

May 5, 2005, 11:34 AM
so you say if a m829 DU round hits the tank or it's armor anywhere, the tank will be destroyed and everyone inside too?
and is there any other explosive in a DU round?

May 5, 2005, 01:45 PM
The DU penetrator is a solid chunk of metal (35.2 mm diameter) with 6 non-DU fins (96.5 mm tip to tip and 101.5 mm tall at body) and a phosphorous 'tail light' so it can be observed going down range night or day.
There are set back grooves circumferentially around the body for most of the portion in the sabot and a hardened tip about 18mm long (handling protection more than anything else).
The dimensions are off the one on my desk.
It does not need any explosive. The DU enters the interior of the target as a spray if molten burning metal. It can set off explosives in the immediate vicinity and cause the powder in shells to cook off. In the confined volume of a tank the pressure/flame/blast kill very nicely.
Aberdeen proving grounds has foreign equipment that has been captured after battle. On many of the units the only indication on the exterior is the small hole the DU penetrator made. I have seen some of the interiors (most are closed off from the general public) and the interior destruction can be pretty devastating even though the outside of the unit looks normal (except that small hole).

May 5, 2005, 01:49 PM
so you say if a m829 DU round hits the tank or it's armor anywhere, the tank will be destroyed and everyone inside too?Well it has to go INTO the tank's open compartments somewhere, but yeah, basically. The things are pretty fierce...why do you think tank crews lived in fear of, say, the A-10 Warthog? (Hint: the Warthog's gun fired a mix which included, among other things, lots of depleted uranium penetrator rounds.)

May 6, 2005, 04:12 AM
so no explosive is required because when the DU enter the tank it will cause high temperature and sprays molten metal inside the tank, right?
And one last thing about tungsten(rifle caliber). If it hits a human body (with or w/o body armor) it goes through the target and not deforms or just a litte. Am I right?

May 6, 2005, 11:16 AM
lol, he asked if a tungsten penetrator would deform on hitting a human, lol...


(Or very little)

If it tumbles at all, it might not actually overpenetrate, but otherwise it'll go right through a Bunch™ of stuff before stopping.

There's a reason tungsten and DU aren't used for anti-personnel use.

so no explosive is required because when the DU enter the tank it will cause high temperature and sprays molten metal inside the tank, right?Correct. The friction of tearing through the tank's armor will cause chunks of DU to separate from the penetrator, and in the process of breaking off (self sharpening), they get heated up to incandescent temperatures, vaporize, and then ignite. So then other stuff inside the tank starts to ignite/melt.

Linky (http://cseserv.engr.scu.edu/StudentWebPages/IPesic/ResearchPaper.htm)The most common DU round is a high kinetic energy projectile. The projectile can pierce all forms of heavy armor. Contact temperature between the projectile and the armor is 1132 degrees C.1 DU also easily burns, just like magnesium, upon penetration, adding to the effectiveness of the ammo as an armor piercing device.14c When the projectile cuts through the armor, the DU penetrator and parts of the tank get so hot that it literally vaporizes. Anywhere from 18-70% of the DU usually oxidizes (depending on type of impact).14c For example, direct impact yields 99% oxidization. A Uranium oxide (which consists of insoluble UO2 and soluble UO3) aerosol forms, where 50-96% of the particles are less than 10 microns and hence can be inhaled easily.2

May 6, 2005, 11:46 AM
thanks Stiletto
are there other (120mm)ammunition in the M1 Abrams?
Is that Barett M82A1 thing true? Are there DU using Baretts?
Saw that picture of the T-72 what was destroyed by a 120mm shell? that's serious, now I know what can it do.

May 6, 2005, 03:14 PM
I don't know of any DU .50 rounds...I think their AP ammo is just steel, maybe tungsten cored.

Other ammo for the M256 (http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/120.htm)

May 6, 2005, 07:49 PM
are there other (120mm)ammunition in the M1 Abrams?

HEAT comes to mind... IIRC, it stands for "High Explosive Anti-Tank".

May 6, 2005, 08:09 PM
The Abrams’ gun is pretty optimized for the penetrator. It is a smoothbore, and really needs a fin guided projectile for best accuracy. You cannot spin the penetrator or the fins will not function for stabilization. It is about the heaviest dart you will see around. Over 8 pounds.
I always joke that it is a model rocke bult to military specifications, and then invite them to pick it up. Everyone is astounded at the weight.

May 7, 2005, 06:27 AM
and the HEAT round are used to for erxample destroy walls and buildings, right? (Or something else but not the DU.)

May 7, 2005, 06:40 AM
HEAT means High Explosive Anti Tanks, is a round that make use of the hollow charge effects to penetrate armor...is made by the german because theirs shortage of tungsten during II° GM..
aganst the wall tha tank use HE shell ..

May 7, 2005, 06:44 AM
so there are more type of ammo in the M1 Abrams...

May 7, 2005, 09:21 AM

Only having one ammo type would be kinda silly. We don't even do it for handguns, you think we would with a multi-million dollar tank? :D

Anyway, the four principal ammunition types seem to be...
KE (depleted uranium penetrator)
HEAT (high explosive anti tank, but it seems to be lined so that it can still be effective against infantry and aircraft)
Canister (shotgun. Bear in mind, the main gun IS smoothbore :D)
HE (plain high explosive)

May 7, 2005, 02:28 PM
thanks Stiletto and everyone else, you've helped me a lot.
now I know almost everything about this question.

May 7, 2005, 05:44 PM
DU rounds are pyrophoric and when fired at high enough speed have a near-explosive effect. That is, they burn so fast as to create an increase in pressure independant of the shock wave from the round's kinetic energy. Add fire and massive overpressure with only a small entry hole to relieve said pressure and you can imagine the damage imparted to targets unlucky enough to be so hit. Most Warsaw Pact vehicles so hit tended to blow their turrets off due to unfortunate placement of fuel and ammunition inside the vehicle. What is not so well known is that many such vehicles were vulnerable to weapons as small as a .50 BMG loaded with API/API-T from the right angles. Since this just killed the vehicle or crew and didn't make it catastrophically explode it didn't get the press that 120mm smoothbore or Hellfire kills did.

As for 120mm rounds, there are quite a few. There's the M829A2 (service sabot), the M865 (practice sabot), the M830 (service HEAT), M831A1 (practice HEAT) the M830A1 MPAT (HEAT with proximity fuse), XM903 STAFF (never seen one in person), M908 (modified MPAT fielded to Korea and now in Iraq) and the XM1028 (canister).

May 8, 2005, 10:18 PM
Is the cannister ammo in active service? (Just wondering 'cause the XM designation...) Or is it some experiment of theirs? Anyone have a muzzle velocity/loadout for those rounds? Just imagine what a 120mm shotgun could do... O.O

*Very curious.*

May 8, 2005, 11:07 PM
Muzzle velocity of like 1400 m/s. About 1150 tungsten balls. Scroll down (http://www.defense-update.com/products/digits/120he-mp.htm).

May 8, 2005, 11:22 PM
Thanks for the link...

Methinks only one word can truely describe that thing... Ouch! :D

May 16, 2005, 07:56 PM
The term I have seen used to describe the occupants of a tank hit with DU is "crispy critters." Seems to describe the happenings pretty well.

June 14, 2005, 08:03 AM
A 120mm shotgun....I want one! ('course I also want an AC130 gunship, too)

June 14, 2005, 10:33 AM

A 120mm shotgun....I want one! ('course I also want an AC130 gunship, too)

I got dibs on the A-10. :D