.30-06 tracer ammo


November 5, 2006, 02:26 AM
I recently ordered 10 boxes of .30-06 tracer ammo from Cheaperthandirt.com seen here (http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM685-3244-109.html)

I'm wondering if it would be unwise to shoot it from my grandpas old J.C. Higgins Model 50 rifle. It's an old gun but it has a chrome-lined barrel so I'm wondering if the tracer chemicals might cause any damage to it.

I don't want to damage the rifle, but I also want to be able to use it as a shooter because I recently sold my Savage .30-06.

It is a remarkable gun for being over 50 years old, it is in immaculate condition and shoots quarters at 100yds and has sentimental value. I shot a 4x4 whitetail this year with it, and it was incredibly satisfying to use the very same rifle that my grandpa used to provide food for his family so many years ago.

So would shooting tracer rounds through it have harmful effects? Would I be a jack--- to use my deceased grandfathers rifle to use as a casual shooter?

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November 5, 2006, 05:06 AM
A relative of mine purchased some .30 cal tracer rounds at a gun show a few years back, and the composition was listed; IIRC, these red tracer rounds where a magnesium/chromium nitrate mixture.
This sholudn't leave any hydroscopic salts, and so shouldn't endager your bore.

I geuss it's possible that my memory is bad, and that it uses a clorate as the oxidizer; but I doubt this because this reletive has fired them without cleaning the barrel and has not gotten rust, and clorate/metal mixtures typicaly burn much faster then these tracer rounds did.
If, however, they did use a clorate... it'd be a good idea to wash out your barrel with hot water; the mentioned composition would be very similar to what used to use in [corrosive] primers, and will produce hydroscopic salts.

November 5, 2006, 06:20 AM
NATO or US made tracer ammo is safe to shoot in any weapon of the appropriate caliber. Ignition of the tracer element doesn't take place until the bullet has left the barrel. Tracers due no damage to a barrel other than normal wear and tear. No special cleaning procedures are needed due to the bullet. The only corrosive element in such ammo would be the primers if it were made before the mid 1950s. If the ammo is not NATO spec (I've seen Yugo tracer bullets for sale as a component) I would treat it as corrosive and clean accordingly as I have no knowledge of those components. Be careful as tracers easily start fires. Any trip to the machine gun range in anything resembling dry weather meant trying to get your firing over with quickly before range control shut down the range to put out the fires

November 5, 2006, 11:40 AM
You can buy them by the thousands or so, 141gr with dual cannelures, from places like Wideners and the like.

As stated above, they don't ignite until well after they've left the muzzle. My orange tips don't really light off until they hit about 100 yards. Supposedly, because tracers work both ways, the 100 yard delay was intended to mask the origin of the round to some degree.

Be careful with tracer rounds in areas of dry vegetation. There was some dry grass on the berm at one of the ranges we visit, and my stepson grabbed an M14 magazine full of orange tips before I could warn him. The first round hit where he aimed, and smoldered in the berm behind the target. The second round started a tiny fire involving the grass behind the target, but it died out quickly as I had him remove the offending mag and replace it with FMJ. Luckily, only he and I were shooting that day, and the range officer was looking elsewhere. :eek:

November 5, 2006, 01:29 PM
I've shot a box of the .30-06 tracers from CheaperThanDirt through my Savage, and no problems at all. It doesnt seem to leave any strange residue.

Just clean your gun afterwards, to be sure. But then again, you should clean your gun after every use anyway. :D

November 5, 2006, 08:26 PM
Thanks for the information. I went shooting today and man shooting tracers is fun. It was really wet out and I was firing at floating objects in a marsh about 300yds away so no risk of fire or anything.

Something odd though, I noticed that when the tracers would impact an object (logs and tires) glowing fragments would fly in random directions. When I shot a log at a certain angle one glowing chunk fell on the ground nearby and another piece of the same bullt flew probably 50 feet in the air and 100 yds or so away.

I found this to be really scary, is it just tracers that do this, or does the fact that I could see the tracing bullet make me realize for the first time that bullets tend to deflect in random directions?

November 5, 2006, 10:12 PM
Bullets do ricochet off hard objects, water, etc. at odd angles. It is therefore adviseable to shoot so that the bullet strikes a more or less vertical dirt berm in order to avoid such ricochets. A bullet passing through a log or timber can also be deflected so that it exits at a different angle than the line of fire.


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