View Full Version : Various - flechettes? Auto vs. pump?

January 23, 2001, 05:33 PM
I'm a novice shotgunner. I just bought a Mossberg 500 with the 18 1/2" barrel and synthetic stock, pimarily for home-defense. I've been looking into the various threads here about ammo (shot size) to use for this purpose. I've decided on a particular round, but I won't disclose that to avoid another lengthy discussion on this controversial topic...:rolleyes:

1. Anyway, I read somewhere a while back about flechette ammo in shotguns was used experimentally in VietNam, and kills were reported out to 200+ yds. I don't really know much else about this type of ammo, except what a flechette looks like and that there are about 20 of them in one shell. Does this round have any reliable, practical purpose concerning self-defense and/or hunting? I've searched around on the 'net for more info, but haven't had much luck. Any manufacturers for this exotic round? Any related web links would be appreciated.

2. I often hear about how pumps are far more reliable than autos. I can understand this because of my familiarity with revolvers vs. semi-autos (pistols). However, I have shot a few autos in various gauges, and I've never seen anything close to a malfunction. What type of failures are encountered with autos?

Derek Zeanah
January 23, 2001, 06:14 PM
From FirearmsTactical (http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm):

Some shotgun cartridges are loaded with flechettes. These are small, steel, pointed dart-like projectiles with aft stabilization fins, and are commonly referred to as "nails with tails." The low cross sectional area of a single flechette, combined with the small amount of flechettes that can be loaded into a shotshell, makes them an inferior choice for home defense when compared to buckshot.

Also, according to Second Chance Body Armor Company, flechettes are not effective against soft body armor, if this is a particular mission requirement for your ammunition. Steel shot also is ineffective against soft body armor.

Dave McC
January 23, 2001, 06:19 PM
1, no. Fletchettes offer no real world advantage and the ones reputedly used in Nam were the M-79 rounds, TTBOMK. That was a grenade launcher that ran 1 3/4" bore or something like that.

I used to have a few contacts among the mad scientists at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, who among other things, built a double bbled full auto 12 ga anti roadblock weapon with a 9mm submachine firing tracers only to mark impact. These guys were unenthused about fletchettes, they lost velocity too fast unless they were made so large to limit the number severely, as I recall.

2, under field conditions in crises, with scanty cleaning, off spec ammo, and with wild temperature variations, autos oft are less reliable than pumps.Smooth out those variables, and reliability improves dramatically.

January 25, 2001, 03:19 PM
"a double bbled full auto 12 ga anti roadblock weapon with a 9mm submachine firing tracers only to mark impact."

Dave, that is just plain cool.
Out of pure curiosity, is there any info on this beast?

Dave McC
January 26, 2001, 07:12 AM
Damfino, Caliban, lost touch with those guys years back, and since it was a govt project, it might be buried under a "Need to Know" decal.

That thing was a roadblock buster, and on a ring mount, as it was described to me, and intended to be operated by a APC driver with one hand available. Second choice for roadblock busting was a Claymore variant, mounted on the vehicle armor and unidirectional. Those guys got to play with some neat toys(G)....

January 26, 2001, 10:08 AM
Heck, I want one for my cruiser...


Shawn Dodson
January 26, 2001, 12:53 PM
When fired from a 12 gauge shotshell ignition and acceleration forces often bend the shafts. That, plus it takes some distance for them to stabilize after exiting the muzzle. At close range at lot of flechettes hit the target sideways.