Tell me about tanks


May 5, 2006, 06:49 PM
No, not everything. That would take too long.

I'm toying with the idea of having a fund-raising shoot. And I'm thinking about the grand finale: an auction where people would get to bid on being the one to fire a shell from a tank and destroy a car.

Obviously, I'd have the owner of the tank aim the cannon. ;)

I know it's going to be very expensive to transport the tank to the event. But I have other questions:

Is there any danger to people attending the event? The car would be at either a 100, 200 or 300 yard line.

What about over-penetration?

Is the blast so loud that it could shatter windshields?

Any advice on these or other points you can think of is much appreciated.

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May 5, 2006, 06:59 PM
I have no idea as to the technical aspects of your post, but if your within 1k miles count me in.

May 5, 2006, 07:20 PM
Well, I've seen footage of tanks firing with cars nearby (<50 yards). No shattered windshields.

As far as safety for spectators, you have to worry about pieces of metal falling down over a large radius. I'd say you'd want them at least 300 yards away from the car, if not more. A much safer alternative, although not as much fun, would be using a practice round. It would still punch a large hold through the car, but would not give the explosion.

Jamie C.
May 5, 2006, 07:30 PM
Somewhere, a BATFE agent just crapped his pants... :uhoh:

Seriously.... I hope you get this worked out not only with the BAT people, but the insurance carriers as well... it sounds like a lot of fun.


May 5, 2006, 07:35 PM
IIRC, The only people allowed to own tanks that are capable of firing live rounds is the US Government. However, you might be able to work out a deal with a local Reserve Armor unit. You will have to check with local officials about the legality of firing a DD (destructive device) in your area.

You might have some success if you make it a Memorial day, 4th of July, or some other patriotic event and get a military unit and/or LEOs involved.

May 5, 2006, 08:33 PM
I don't know what kind of damage could be done at the ranges you mention, although it seems pretty short from what I recall from the tank ranges in Grafenwoehr, Germany from when I was in the military. Having spent a number of hours parked near tanks during live-fire exercises, I doubt that windshields could be shattered, even if the car or whatever was parked right next to the tank.

With that said, HEARING PROTECTION IS A MUST-HAVE for anyone nearby!

May 5, 2006, 09:08 PM
Can I recommend somebody's car? (Do they have to know?)


May 5, 2006, 09:17 PM
Obviously, I'd have the owner of the tank aim the cannon. Why?

It is incredibly easy to aim a tank cannon - even in the ancient M-60A1's I served in. Having semi kept up with the technology it is even easier in an M1.

If it were me I'd want more for my money than to just get into the gunner's seat after the cannon had been aimed and to pull the trigger.

300 yards is too short. A 1000 yards is an easy shot - believe me - it is an easy shot.

As for bystanders they better all have ear protection - tank cannons are very, very loud. Also due to cuncussive effects you don't want anyone standing to the side of the tank inline with the gun. Anyone within (I forget the number) 30 or 40 feet I think could suffer some serious damage (but I imagine if you can get a real tank to show up the owners would know that).

May 5, 2006, 09:18 PM
What tank, what round? I would not want to be within 500 yards of a tank round of any kind going off.

May 5, 2006, 11:46 PM
Thefabulousfink: "IRC, The only people allowed to own tanks that are capable of firing live rounds is the US Government. However, you might be able to work out a deal with a local Reserve Armor unit. You will have to check with local officials about the legality of firing a DD (destructive device) in your area."

The tank itself is a non-issue. The cannon is regarded by the ATF as a Destructive Device.

Werewolf, there's maybe one range within reasonable driving distance of Milwaukee that has a 1,000 yard range. The others are 100 to 300 yards.

We'd have to set the opening bid at the actual cost for the transportation of the tank ($$$), the BATF tax stamp for the single round, the cost of fuel, insurance, the cost of the junkyard car, and the cost of the shell/powder charge.

Even if the tank attraction just broke even in terms of cost, I could see it bringing more shooters for the other parts of the event that would really make money.

People have been critical of me wanting to put these events in Governor Doyle's face. But that's exactly what I want to do. Maybe it's personal, and I should step back and take an unemotional look at things.

OK. Just did that.

Now it's time to get in Doyle's face.

May 5, 2006, 11:56 PM
But close.

Knob Creek

Ok, that doesn't seem to work. When I click on it prior to pasting it, it works fine.
It is some guys firing a 90 mm artillary piece at a trailer at Knob Creek.
Is there a way to attach a file to a post (it's 34 megs) ?

Sgt Stevo
May 6, 2006, 12:06 AM
I was in mech, early in my career. I got to drive the Abrams around a little and the Bradly.

But most of the time, the kilo guys rarely shot live ammo. Pricey. Also, I dont know if the range, would have the backstop to stop around of H.E let alone a sabot.

And the Unit in question would have to get the nod from the top of the food chain.

Only way I can see it. If it is recruiting event. Even then. In twenty years of service. I have never seen such a thing.

I know! Just get a de-milled tank, and the winner gets to drive it over the car. Yes, very cool.

May 6, 2006, 12:17 AM
Sgt Stevo, you're using too much military jargon. I can't understand you. ;)

I wouldn't want the shell to be an explosive one. Just full metal. Maybe that's what others here have referred to as a "practice round."

Also, I have to mention that this is a fund-raiser for pro-CCW candidates. As such, no involvement by any guard units or other governmental agencies would be allowed.

I've been floating this idea by some seasoned pro-gun activists here in WI, and they all think it's terrific.

My concerns are: potential harm to bystanders; potential harm to property; legalities; and cost.

pete f
May 6, 2006, 02:03 AM
There are people about who have 37mm AT guns. They only fire solid shot, and some are legal for all states.

When I was young and Armed Forced day was actually celebrated, we went to a Army base and we got to shoot a M2 at a school bus. (every kids Dream target) they had the gun set up so it would not elevate and a couple of chains giving you about 5 degrees of transit. You climbed up the ring from underneath, and you got fifteen twenty rounds and the guy who was there would just twist the belt, (many years ago, they may have had missing rounds to stop the gun.) and then you climbed out the back of the APC. I have no idea of the range but i would guess it was 400 yards it was enough that you could slap the paddle and then look up and watch the bus rock back and forth. I got off like 3 bursts of 4-5 rounds. I would think that some USAAR general might get a kick out of something like this...if not a M60 maybe a bushmaster out of a Bradley. twenty 25 mm rounds would chop a car up pretty nicely. If i am not mistaken, the range safe distance for a 120 mm Abrams training round is still something like 4K.

May 6, 2006, 02:38 AM
OK you got me....
50 meters? Live rounds will blow your eardrums out of your nose.
TANKER ears is what they call it.

unless is an old bulldog or a M115 sheridan you are talking about min 55 tons.
Transport fees state, local etc would make Gates gasp.

some 37mm are rifled and as treaded by the BATFE as rifles crazy yes but Marc Krebs of Krebs custom has one in the center of his office.

H.E. and Sabot not an issue if you could get a 105mm both those ammo types are big NONO's, heck the SABOT is depleated uranium.
so M60A1 through M1A2 are out 105/120 main guns
Sheridan is a 155mm howizter so its out

Sherman? well if its a A model with a 30mm still destructive device and still heavy.

M3 General Stuart now that could work. very lite tank as tanks go 28,000lbs
37mm Gun M5 M22 in turret
Continental W-670-9A; 7 cylinder, 4 cycle, radial gasoline good on gas

they were Panzer bait, but many a VFW havem sitting out in front of them so easy to get........

even for this old little tank a live round would blow the crap out of a car.
Hell it would drive over it better than any monster truck.
Speaking as an X CAV tanker M60AI, M60A1E1, M60A3, M1A1 the military channel does no tank justice. Standing in my TC's hatch peeking over the m85 in my cupe everytime the maingun went off it made the filliments in my lungs vibrate and tickle. Bore siting was the worst. the tank next to you hit you worse than your own tank since when you shot yours the sound wave traveled out away from you as the source. but the guy next to you his sound wave slammed into you really smacking you.

If you get this thing together let me know I will show up. Barrett 50mg's are NOTHING repeat NOTHING like popping off a 105/120mm

3/3 ACR Brave rifles 11 ACR Black Horse

May 6, 2006, 02:42 AM
A redneck's famous last words...HEY DUDE, watch this!

you forgot the part "hold my beer.................:eek:

May 6, 2006, 02:45 PM

These guys have a Russian t-34 that they hire out for "rides" and "lessons". They have the thing set up for re-enactments - it sounds like it can shoot blanks and they set up pyrotechnic "targets" to blow up when shot at. They are in Minnesota. They will transport the tank to outside events, but I bet that gets pricey.

Another possibility closer to home for you - Taking I-94 north from Chicago to Milwaukee, there is a guy on the west side of the freeway who appears to be a collector of military vehicles. I think he's closer to the IL border than to Milwaukee. It looks like a farm, but he has a number of armored vehicles - some obviously restored - sitting out in his yard. I remember seeing an M 48/60 or whatever (the one with the boat-looking front hull), a Stuart, and a Sherman, an APC of some kind, and a number of others. Whoever the owner is, he may be sympathetic to gun rights and might be able to come up with some kind of "tank ride" experience for you to raffle off.

May 6, 2006, 04:24 PM
Thanks again for all the replies. More to think about.

Antsi, I've been to the military museum you mentioned. I know that the owner had some operable tanks (he was always out driving them around in the fields behind the museum).

However, he got booted out when the city of Pleasant Prairie grabbed a tract of land along I-94 for new development. The president of the Pleasant Prairie city council is none other than state Representative John Steinbrink, one of the two Democrats who flipped on the veto override vote for our CCW bill. Small surprise, huh?

panzermk2, sounds like my options have narrowed.

I'll just have to see if someone in the state has an operable tank and try to get a good handle on cost.

May 6, 2006, 04:33 PM

One thing you might try is getting hold of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association:

and seeing if they can put you in touch with someone with a tank mounting an active gun. They'd be able to tell you more about the ins and outs, and there might even be someone in your area. How cool would it be to not only fire the round, but do it out of a vintage Sherman?:what: :cool:

May 6, 2006, 04:52 PM
Yeah, whoever wins the raffle gets to drive a tank over a car or two.

Of course you could fire a blank round for effect.

I don't see how you could actually fire the thing with a live round without getting invaded by troops in black uniforms riding into your event by way of cattle trailers. Or they might spend months and months trying to talk you into shortening your tanks’ barrel and then they would sneak up to your event and would probably go and shoot your dog. :eek: :uhoh: :confused:

Jamie C.
May 6, 2006, 05:39 PM
I wouldn't want the shell to be an explosive one. Just full metal.

You sure about this? A solid projectile has more chance of going a looooong way more than anybody really wants it to... HE, on the other hand, is going to pretty much stop where it hits... except for the shrapnel. And that's going to do much less harm, at a distance, than one big chunk of...whatever... coming at you.

Also, the HE can be "Tuned" to be little more than a light show and some noise. Solids can't.

So... is it a "flash/bang" or "hardball"? These are, in essence, your choices.


P.S. I was at Ft. Knox, Ky, back when the Abrams was the "X-M1"... M-60's were the "tank de jour" for U.S. military units.... So, I know a bit about what they can do, but not so much on what the ATF will allow.


May 6, 2006, 06:37 PM
Well, no luck so far with a tank that will actually fire a shell.

However, I've located a Patton tank that's set up with a propane system in the cannon. Similar to what the outfit in Minnesota has. Lots of noise and flame, no shell.

The tank is located in Fond du Lac, which is only about an hour or so from Milwaukee, and less than an hour from the range I'm thinking of.

If I can't locate a tank that actually fires a shell, do you think people would pay $$$ to fire the propane cannon and then crush the car?

Tank Ride
May 7, 2006, 02:49 AM
Hello noted hits coming form your site so I stopped by to see what was up.
Now for some helpful info for all.

1) No one can own a tank that fires a Live round except the US Government.
Incorrect. Cost to own a Tank that can fire a live round per year is 3,000 and a anal probe with crowbars from the BATF.:eek:

2) If you are NOT going to do any live firing you can have the tank fire its oxy propane cannon just about any where ie no range needed.:D

3) Cost to ship a tank is about 3.50 per mile in the lower 48.:cuss:

4) Cost for me to transport from Princeton, MN to Milwaukee, WI round trip would be about 2,700.00:banghead:

5) If you really want to have fun get the car put 20 pounds of Tannerite in it and let people take shots at the car with a rifle. Then sit and wait for someone to hit the hidden Tannerite. Check the link below for a video on Tannerite.:uhoh:

Hope this helps you. Good Luck and I hope you can get a gun friendly Governor elected so I could move to WI with my toys right now WI is to unfriendly not that Minnesota is a lot better. Last I am having a large party May 20th if you are in the area. Machine Gun Shoot (

May 7, 2006, 03:21 AM
This would be really cool to do, I reckon!

Like some bloke said before me, tank guns are easy to aim. I know this because when I went to Germany in 2003 with the Army Cadets they let us play with a Challenger 2 MBT. The turret control is just like one of those little thumbstick controllers that you get on a Playstation 2 gamepad.


Apple a Day
May 7, 2006, 09:31 AM
If you can't locate a viable tank then you might go a little more rustic and use a Civil War era cannon. There are plenty of re-enactors around with lots of artillery pieces that are a lot more mobile and less expensive to use than a WWII tank. They use solid shot as a matter of course. The shot is reusable. You spring for the powder and buy they guys some chow and you'd probably get some volunteers.
Good luck

May 7, 2006, 05:30 PM
Cost to own a Tank that can fire a live round per year is 3,000...

Where did you get this figure? Destructive Device transfer tax is a one-time $200. Granted, ammo would be $200 tax per round, so it would still get expensive, and you're right on the BATF probe.:eek:

May 7, 2006, 05:41 PM
Tank Ride, thanks for chiming in on this.

When you talk about $3.50 per mile as the transportation cost, is that actual cost for you or are you talking about a commercial trucking outfit? I'm certain I could find an indepedent trucker who would volunteer his services.

From your experience, could the owner help the winning bidder crush the car with the tank, or would the bidder need more training so as not to screw up?

What has been your experience with local governments? Have you or someone else had to go to the mayor/police chief/head flunky and let them know that you'll be firing your cannon? If so, have you had problems?

Apple a Day, if the tank thing just becomes too much of an obstacle, I think the idea of an artillery piece would be the second best choice.

One thing is for certain: this event, if it happens, is going to require a LOT of volunteers. We'll also need plenty of volunteers for picking up pieces of cars the next day.

May 8, 2006, 11:07 AM
You could call Dangerous Bob or one of the other well known DD owners. He has the only 90mm AT gun in civilian hands in the US. He has a 3" naval guns on wheeled coastal defense mount as well.

AFAIK Tank rounds with non-explosive shot are not in and of themselves a DD. You can find lots of the M3 37mm AT guns around. You can find 1.65 Inch Hotchkiss Mountain Guns around too. Most large caliber DD's can be 'hand reloaded' in the field. You just use a light charge and a steel solid projectile.

Issues are range safety. The skips can go 12,000 yards so you need a really big back stop.

May 8, 2006, 12:35 PM
I seriously doubt you'd EVER be able to get permission to fire a live tank round anywhere. The liability consequences are enormous.

Pretty much a dumb idea.


Jim K
May 8, 2006, 12:39 PM
Unless you can somehow get the use of a military tank and a military firing range, I think the idea is a non-starter.

Did you ever consider a bake sale?


Camp David
May 8, 2006, 12:53 PM
I'm toying with the idea of having a fund-raising shoot. And I'm thinking about the grand finale: an auction where people would get to bid on being the one to fire a shell from a tank and destroy a car.

Good intensions but problematic in execution...

Idea is already being done at Westbranch Gun Club in Princeton MN =>

"Tank Ride offers real tank rides in a Russian WWII army tank. After your ride in this Russian tank get ready for your machine gun shoot, submachine gun, machine gun, shoulder fired or mounted the choice is yours."
[apologies... I see this was already suggested]

I would contact local Military Bases and see if a ride in tank could be arranged though a National Guard unit... you couldn't afford insurance for what you are proposing!!!

May 8, 2006, 05:40 PM
"Pretty much a dumb idea."

So far I've gotten a good reaction (not just on THR, but from talking with people on the phone).

The idea of a live shell, whether full metal or H.E., is out.

And, rather than having folks bid and one person being able to play with the tank, a friend suggested that we set a price that's as affordable as possible and let as many people as possible play with the tank.

Bear in mind, this whole idea is still in the feasibility study phase.

May 9, 2006, 08:50 AM
Look, even smart people can have dumb ideas now and then. How much money do you expect this to make after all expenses are defrayed? How much would I pay to "play" with a tank. Not much. Pretty much a dumb idea.


May 9, 2006, 10:39 AM
Look for an outfit called the Green Mountain Boys - I saw a video of them using a live Stuart. 37mm ain't much of a pop gun in the tank world, but it'll impress the civvies.

Yes, you can own live tanks in many states, if you want to pop for the cost of registering the gun - BTW, all German 75mm tank, and antitank, guns are NFA C&R qualified, as well...I would love to find an operable Panzer IVJ.:cool:

May 9, 2006, 05:12 PM
Kentak, after giving this more thought, you and Jim Keenan are probably correct.

Last night I sat down and started thinking about the entire event: costs, number of volunteers required (huge), time, etc.

If I look at it in terms of return on investment, I don't think it's as good a fund-raising event as other ideas that have been suggested.

When I look at it in terms of the return per volunteer man-hour, it looks even less attractive.

It's a shame, since it would be a lot of fun.

Tank Ride
May 9, 2006, 07:58 PM

Give me a call 651-206-8369.

Yes cost of 3.50 per mile is commerical if you can arrange transport that works for me.

I need about 5 acres to run the tank well but can do it in a smaller area.
The "cannons" I have are nothing more then REALLY big propane nail guns minus the nail. I have never asked permission nor had a problem. I have contact the local Police to let them know I am stopping in town with a tank and not get worked up.

I am not sure what you have in mind here but I crush cars on a weekly base with the tank Its me and one employee. Not a lot of staff needed.

Chris Berg

May 9, 2006, 11:16 PM
Tank Ride, thanks for the follow-up reply.

A tank alone apparently isn't enough to draw people to a fund-raising shoot, although I'd thought that it would be enough of a draw for people who would spend maybe $50 or $100 on ammo, Tannerite, junkyard cars, burgers, hot dogs and other things to at least make the cost of the tank a break-even.

I question whether even that amount of money is possible.

When I talked with a couple of the core WCCA volunteers last night, we agreed that an event like this would require at minimum 50 volunteers: range safety officers; people to sell the tickets and record contributions; people to work the grills barbecuing burgers, brats and hot dogs; at least one volunteer independent trucker to haul the tank and pull whatever oversize load permits are required; people to buy and haul ammunition for all the various guns to the site, and then try to return the unused ammo; people to bring their exotic or semi-exotic guns to the event and help others shoot them; people to remove the gas tanks from junkyard cars and help transport them to the event; and, lastly, people who would come back the next morning and help clean up the mess, and help load pieces of blown-up cars onto trucks to be taken back to the scrapyard.

I just sent out an email last night asking everyone on our email list--which numbers anywhere from 4,000 to 40,000 recipients (numbers vary depending upon how many emails are forwarded)--to spend half an hour, an hour, two hours, or however much time they could afford outside the NRA convention distributing flyers for our July 18th fund-raising banquet featuring Massad Ayoob.

Four people volunteered. That's it.

I have some choice words to say, but I'll keep them to myself.

If I could be guaranteed 50+ volunteers to do all of the above and then some, and if I could be guaranteed that people would show up and spend $50 or $100 instead of $5 or $10, and if I could be guaranteed that volunteers would help in the enormous advance effort to put an event like this together...yeah, I'd still consider it.

After the response to last night's email, though, I just don't think there are enough people in Wisconsin who want concealed carry badly enough to do anymore than talk about it.

I know the WI folks here on THR are totally committed, so please don't take that as a slight.

Thanks to Jim Keenan and Kentak for pointing out the obvious.

May 10, 2006, 01:37 AM

I meant what I said about even smart people have dumb ideas. I should know, I've had plenty of them. Just clarifying my comments weren't a personal zinger.


May 10, 2006, 06:50 AM
Speaking about tanks. When you are in an M1 and firing it it's not too loud at all. I was in a convoy when an M1 tank (67tons combat weight) ran over a car and the crew didn't know it, except for the gunner who thought he heard some glass break. If you want to see some tanks come to the Aberdeen proving ground Museum in Maryland. You can sign yourself on the post and they will let you on.

May 10, 2006, 05:20 PM
when its your tank the sound is traveling out away from you since you are the center. When you really hear it is when your bore sighting and the tank next to you fires. Thats the zinger. Plus If your like me loved being a delta everytime we did a platoon battle run at the end of a gunnery I went uncoverd with my head up so I could "see the show" or FEEL it. when our turret was traversd to the left to make it easier for the TC (M60A1E1) to engage a target with his M-85 ALL his hot brass and links poured down on me.

Looking back would not have done anything differrent


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