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Old October 16, 2002, 03:34 PM   #1
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Nail gun questions...

An interesting problem is presented to me, by my employer, as the local reloading guru...

For one reason or another, which I am not, of course, free to disclose, we need to launch a fairly heavy projectile with a separate propellant charge, more or less along the lines of a nail gun, except that the "plunger" will depart the "gun".

The common .22 wasn't enough, so they went to a .27, a rimfire, I presume, which still isn't enough.

So, they called me looking for a .38 Special blank.

I already know better, via Hatcher, than to play with flash powder, even if I knew where to get some. But the problem is interesting, if dangerous. You have a large projectile weighing in the ounces range, located a distance (3/8") from the case which is to propel it.

First, move to a 9MM case, since you "obviously" don't need the volume of the .38. Then, use a cardboard wad above a wax plug for "load" construction.

My guess would be the slowest pistol power available, for starters, 'cause if I need to use rifle powder, I'm back to the .38. But I'm thinking the pressure curve is the problem, in this ap.

Now, please note that I told them to go to a cartridge manufacturer, which is only common sense, but they declined, since they'd have to share too much data about the application.

So, as the most qualified, unqualified person on site, I get to follow this up.

Besides, I smell the immediate purchase of an Oehler Model 43 as the bare minimum, and, reloader that I am, how could I resist access to that?

Any thoughts?
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Old October 16, 2002, 04:58 PM   #2
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Hey, benewton - - -

- - - you're scaring me, sir!

I can't see anything about your project that is NOT fraught with peril.

If you are bound and determined to go forward with this project, a couple of things to consider. - - -

BLANK powder is NOT made to launch anything but wadding. Your reference to Hatcher indicates that you have some appreciation of this fact. To underline it further, though, there ARE .38 Spl and also .38 S&W blanks available--They are used, at least, for track and field events where it is necessary for far-away spotters to see flash and smoke, as well as for spectators to hear the blast. If someone got hold of some of these starter/theatrical blanks and tried to use them to launch a - - -whatever it is - - -I fear a really hazardous situation would result.

You're not trying to work something like a nautical line gun, are you? This is the only application I feature fitting the allusions you make. Check the web for specs on the old line carrying cartridges. The ones I've seen were in cal .45-70. Used a wadded blank in the breech, with a long iron rod inserted from the muzzle, with a blunt head and attachment for the messenger line, used to haul the main line from vessel to vessel or shore.

If you can't find what you want on the web, get with Old Western Scrounger or Dangerous Dave, specializing in old/obsolete/specialty cartridges, and see what they have for Line Throwing Blanks.

Another thought--Check with an industrial fastener company--There are nail gun and stud driving cartridges in varying powers. May even be some in sizes larger than .22.

Can you tell what kind of firearm you intend to use? Please, don't use a shotgun or a handgun. IF I were to essay such a project, I think I'd start with a NEF single shot or an old Topper rifle, in either .45-70 (why reinvent the wheel?) or possibly .30-30 or .44 Mag.
[Late Edit: No, NO, NO! Don't do any of the foregoing! On cooler reflection, this is NOT a project for shooting hobbyists, unless highly qualified in other fields as well.End Late Edit]

Please--Proceed with EXTREME CAUTION in this project. Better yet, abandon it entirely.
NO JOKE: Neither Ownership nor staff of THE FIRING LINE assume any responsibility for death, injury or damage to any person or property resulting from pursuit of this project (whatever it is.) The above information and conjecture are offered purely from academic interest and do NOT constitute any endorsement of such a hazardous undertaking. Again, you are urged to either abandon this project, or at least, to seek expert assistance, with full disclosure to your consultant.

Oehler chronographs are not cheap, but they are nice. Wouldn't take for mine. But I suggest you're better off saving your pennies and buying it otherwise than taking unwarranted risks to earn the bucks.

Best regards,
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Last edited by Johnny Guest; October 17, 2002 at 05:43 PM.
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Old October 16, 2002, 06:18 PM   #3
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Let's see, I know I have a 10 foot pole around here somewhere...

Nope, can't find it.

Sorry, can't "help" you do what you say you want to do.
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Old October 16, 2002, 07:24 PM   #4
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I have one of the nail guns that use a .22 blank.........the kind you load the nail and the blank and "whap" the top of it with a hammer. I am kind of nervous when I do this, and I am using it the way it is designed to be used............... it does drive 2-1/2' nails all the way flush in a 2X4 and into concrete..............

I agree with Johnny DONT DO IT unless there is some way to detonate it with no one near or not behind dont take much of anykind of powder to kill, maim etc.
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Old October 16, 2002, 07:59 PM   #5
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Old October 16, 2002, 08:08 PM   #6
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Have seen .38 RamSet cartridges.
Don't know where to get them but they are out there.

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Old October 16, 2002, 09:05 PM   #7
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Sounds like your friends need to get some confidentiality agreements signed before engaging in any further discussions.

It's either already been invented (and maybe the patent's run out), or it's begging to get invented and there's some invention rights to be protected.

The technical details sound achievable (based on such understandibly vague descriptions). Safety, backstop, user interlocks, positional interlocks and other factors need to be accounted for. No sense in designing a great shooter to install big rivets in tight holes, if one in ten thousand will shoot through and buy you a ten million dollar lawsuit.

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Old October 17, 2002, 09:55 AM   #8
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It should be noted that I approach this with great reluctance, and will probably avoid it if I can...

Anyway, this is a custom machining project, and we have a very complete machine shop, and I'm assured that sufficient metal exists that there will be no problem with pressure. I'm told that the "chamber" end is the size of a 38 cylinder. I'm going to look over the mechanicals the next time I have to go in, but, since I'm not a mechanical engineer, I'm not sure that my inspection will mean very much. Also, since I doubt that the mob even knows the chamber pressure of a current firearm....

They've already fired the .27 version without any problem.

As for safety, if I can't get out of it, and have to fire it, it's going to be placed about 500 feet away, on the other side of a bluff (my property extends back 1/4 mile or so, and it's empty), and fired remotely.

C.R.Sam: Thanks for the headsup on the RamSet, I'll go looking for it.
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Old October 17, 2002, 10:04 AM   #9
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Why do I have images of the "Darwin Awards" newsletter float by when I read this thread? ? ? ?

Load your weapons and 'Stand Ready'. It will be a bumpy ride.
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Old October 17, 2002, 10:36 AM   #10
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Nuther memory flash. (rare)...
The .38 RamSets I saw a little while back were probably .38 S&W and not .38 Special. They wouldn't chamber in a tight chambered .357 with me at the time.

For some ideas on shootin large projectiles...
Research the S&W Model 17-2 Mercox projectile shooter.
Uses .22 RamSets to propell .53 caliber projectiles ranging from injecting darts to shaped charges and HE projectiles.
Give a Gnu a gnap or blow it into hamburger meat.

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Old October 17, 2002, 11:47 AM   #11
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After a bit of research...

What I'm really dealing with here is a propulsive cartridge, normally found as a line or grenade launcher cartridge.

There are two extant, the M195 for the 5.56, and the M64, for 7.62. More interesting to me would be the M32, which is a line thrower for the .45 ACP. This one uses a pair of felt wads to replace the crimp.

Evidently, the normal pattern is to load with standard powders (IMR4427 in the 5.56) and then use a "blank" crimp to hold the mess together.
Charge weight appears to be heavier than normal, due, no doubt, to the expanded volume of the chamber plus barrel. Anyway, I've a starting point.

So, it looks very possible, having already been done.

Like I said, though, 500 feet away on the other side of the hill....
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Old October 17, 2002, 12:26 PM   #12
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Even a .22LR can travel 1.5 miles. I would make sure you are behind a house or behind a large tree.

I test fired a 91/30 in this fashion. I lashed the rifle to a fence with the muzzle held down with a sandbag. I ran the end of the 550 parachute cord through the trigger guard, over the trigger and over to a large oak tree. I sat behind the oak tree and slowly pulled. The rifle fired and left a large hole in the ground. The chamber was fine, and I knew the rifle was good.

Please, please, please be careful and BE SURE OF YOUR BACKSTOP.

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Old October 17, 2002, 04:14 PM   #13
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You're looking for a VERY specialized class of industrial fastener.

Hilti and others make them, normally for blowing bolts through steel I-beams or deep into concrete.

They are NOT hand held, no way could they be. The ones for I-beams clamp into place around the beam.

They can be extremely dangerous.

If your employer needs something like this, he/she/they need to get in touch with an industrial fastener wholesaler.

Making your own = digging your own grave, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old October 17, 2002, 05:36 PM   #14
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Alll Righteee, Then - - - -

Thanks, all, for backing up my first impression of this situation.

benewton - - - - Again, while your situation may be an interesting one, I truly feel:

This is NOT a Handloading/Reloading matter!

I'll leave the topic open for a bit, to see if any other interesting tidbits surface, BUT, Please, EVERYONE - - - Do not recommend any activities to be taken with handloading, reloading or any kind of sporting/shooting components.

Johnny Guest
H&R Forum Moderator

LATE EDIT: benewton sent a very nice e-mail
indicating willingness to see this thread killed, saying that he had kinda been pressed into making some querries by co- workers. The message was cheerful and in no way resentful.

My reply:
Thanks for your understanding. I hate to sound like a tremulous little blissninny in the forum, but we do have some browsers come to TFL who might either---
a) Think, "Hey, I can do that, and bigger and better, too!" - -and then hurt themselves.
b) Be looking for some excuse to bad mouth us, and tell others, "Hey, look what those nuts are cooking up. Sounds like some ill-eagle BOMB CONSPIRACY to me!"

For what it's worth, your original question WAS kind of intriguing.

Best regards, Johnny
I tag this on as a Late edit, thinking it MIGHT not go to the top of the list as such. Rather than kill a thread which might have some archival interest some time in the future, I'd just as soon let it drop off the bottom of the queue.
Best to all - - -
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Last edited by Johnny Guest; October 18, 2002 at 01:42 PM.
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