flechette shotgun rounds?


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colt.45
May 14, 2007, 11:32 PM
has anyone here tried making flechette shotgun rounds? or even think about it? well when i saw this http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM005-57714-2851.html, i had o do some research and found that several armies have tried to employ flechette rounds into combat.

the benefits are abound but mabey there are some legality issues. (not lethality lol) and since you can buy them by the pound now... would any of you put this shrough your shot gun? what choke would you have to use since they are made of hardened steel?

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Quiet
May 14, 2007, 11:51 PM
In some states, flechette rounds are a felony to posses.

The Unknown User
May 14, 2007, 11:52 PM
I don't understand, what's a flechette round? How is it different from a typical buckshot round?

Excuse my ignorance, I'm new to shooting. :(

Mannix
May 14, 2007, 11:54 PM
It's a shotgun round filled with little finned steel darts instead of round lead shot.

The Unknown User
May 14, 2007, 11:57 PM
That sounds very deadly. :(

dfariswheel
May 15, 2007, 12:10 AM
Unfortunately, as experiments in Vietnam proved, the Flechetts are unsuitable for use in shotguns.

The problems are many.
First, the darts have very little mass, so they don't penetrate well.
When they do, they have virtually no "stopping power".
It was common to see hits in which even though the darts hit point on, many of them simply failed to penetrate.

Since the darts have almost no mass, they lack even moderate striking power.
In Vietnam, there were a number of cases of attacking VC troops shot with Flechetts who were literally dead on their feet, but who continued attacking for some time until they bled out internally.

Second, in order the fill the case, 1/2 of the Flechetts are placed into the shell backward.
Many of the darts fail to turn point-on, and it's common for darts to hit sideways, or to fail to stabilize at all.

While the Flechetts COULD be deadly, it was a case of deadly....... eventually.....maybe.
"Eventually" is something you don't want at close range.

Bottom line, the military withdrew the flechett loads due to completely unreliable results.
You still see them sold by those companies that sell "trick" shotgun shells like the "Dragon's Breath" that shoots out a flame, tear gas loads, and large shot joined by cord.
In other words, loads no serious shooter would dream of using.

To date, there is NO shotgun load that's better then a load of lead buckshot.

hexidismal
May 15, 2007, 12:27 AM
*sigh* dfariswheel said EVERYTHING I wanted to say ! Listen to the man though, flechettes are for fools and mall ninjas.

Bezoar
May 15, 2007, 12:31 AM
however dont forget the federal law that says no armor piercing ammunition, and any projectile made of STEEL like the fletchette would qualify as armor piercing. And who wants to get pinched for using "armor pieercing ammo" that doesnt do as much as a good hi velocity charge of no 4 buck?

GRIZ22
May 15, 2007, 12:40 AM
The Army also abandonded flecthettes in artillery rounds. Conventional frag works better.

FIFTYGUY
May 15, 2007, 12:51 AM
has anyone here tried making flechette shotgun rounds?

Yup.

well when i saw this http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM005-57714-2851.html,

From the Cheaper Than Dirt page:

Military Flechette Original military projectile that was so deadly the U.S. thought it might be against the Geneva Convention! In the 1960s the U.S. Army began early developmental work on flechette weapons. The thought was to fire these wicked steel darts and cause massive casualties among the enemy. Flechettes are 1" long, hardened-steel nails with fins, and number approximately 950 darts per pound. There were experimental flechette rounds for the M203 grenade launcher and the 12-gauge shotgun. These weapons were never used in the field, as the U.S. thought they were so destructive they would violate the rules of war. These rounds had tremendous military advantages, as they were lighter than standard rounds, had much lower recoil, had considerable range, and could penetrate body armor. A very high velocity, small diameter projectile easily penetrates body armor. We are not recommending that you load these or try to weaponize them. They represent the ultimate military weapon and a unique historical item. Great conversation piece, and sold by the pound.

Hmmm, where do we start?

1. Geneva Convention says nothing about the type of weapons used in combat. People generally mean the *Hague* Convention, or possibly the Treaty of St. Petersburg when they wory about a weapon system complying with the "Laws of War".

2. Flechettes were used in WWI. Most famously dropped out of biplanes by the French against ground troops.

3. Flechettes come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and weights. (Is a really big one a "Flech"? ;) )

4. Flechette loads *were* tested in the field. They weren't used widely because they just didn't work so well. 12ga Buckshot has a lot more stopping power than the flechette loads did.

5. Flechette loads *were* and *are* widely used in cannister and shrapnel loads for cannon. The "Beehive" rounds were well known for their effectiveness from 106mm Recoilless Rifles as a lightweight way of dealing with human wave attacks. The M1001 HVCC round for the Mk19 et al. allows the gun to be used for short range and perimeter defense.

6. The sectional density, "pointiness", and high-strength material of flechettes has more to do with the penetration of body armor than their velocity. In most applications, especially from 12ga, the flechette loads have comparable velocity to other payloads.

7. In order for flechettes to penetrate armor, they need to be fully stabilized. At close ranges, most payload-launched flechettes are not fully stabilized and many don't even encounter the target point-first. Which does make for nasty, if somewhat superficial, wounds against unarmored targets.

8. Flechette payloads *are* used in aerial rockets against other aerial targets.

9. Certainly not the "ultimate military weapon", if such a thing exists... :rolleyes: However, *when properly designed*they can have spectacular performance. There are many "armor-piercing discarding-sabot fin-stabilized" projectiles that do a wonder on armor, all the way from the SPIW project to tank cannon. Broadly speaking, many missiles and rockets (and arrows) have a flechette-like design. Even the HARP "Martlets", Nazi V-3 "Pump Gun", Dynamite Gun, and Davis Gun projos had "flechette-like" designs. But this was for aerodynamic reasons, not terminal effects.

i had o do some research and found that several armies have tried to employ flechette rounds into combat.

If they weren't widely adopted, maybe they're not "the ultimate military weapon". :D

the benefits are abound

But so do the drawbacks! ;)

but mabey there are some legality issues. (not lethality lol)

Not many legality issues, unless you're in ********** or similar (why would you stay there?)

and since you can buy them by the pound now...

They've been available by the pound for decades.

would any of you put this shrough your shot gun?

I have. The commercial rounds were absolutely pathetic. I think I could literally throw them faster than they came out the muzzle. So I loaded my own. Very educational, and frustrating.

what choke would you have to use since they are made of hardened steel?

In My Experience the problem is not the choke (but might as well stick with Cylinder). I gouged the *forcing cone*. The fins cut through the hull or wad and deeply scored the cone. In one load I *vaporized* one side of the plastic hull forward of the wad/powder line.

Terminal results were starting to get impressive. Went through a heavy solid wood commercial door. I shot a 12-lb chunk of sausage, and it nailed it to the wooden backstop. Spread was so great as t make it useless for anything but point-blank range - something like 10' diameter at 10 yards.

I just got some aftermarket 40mm flechette rounds for my M203. But the ballistics are just as pathetic as the military ones. All the low-pressure grenade-launcher flechette loads do is a lousy 160+ fps with about 50 flechettes. I seriously doubt they'd penetrate even the lightest body armor at that velocity. But you probably would get the attention of everybody in the room if you shot it through a doorway. :eek:

Jorg Nysgerrig
May 15, 2007, 01:12 AM
3. Flechettes come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and weights. (Is a really big one a "Flech"? )

Actually, a really big one is called an arrow. Flèchette is the diminutive form of flèche which means arrow in French. So, literally translated, it means little arrow.

And this concludes this week's episode of Jorg's Worthless Trivia. Stay tuned next week for another exciting edition.

As far as flechette rounds, I would only recommend them in 70mm variety out of a M260 (M261 where hi-capacity is legal).

FIFTYGUY
May 15, 2007, 01:15 AM
Bezoar said:

however dont forget the federal law that says no armor piercing ammunition, and any projectile made of STEEL like the fletchette would qualify as armor piercing.

You mean USC 18 ss 922(a)(7)-(8)? The definitions in ss 921(a)(17) explain that the lawly is mainly concerned with handgun ammo, and shotgun ammo is generally exempt.

And who wants to get pinched for using "armor pieercing ammo" that doesnt do as much as a good hi velocity charge of no 4 buck?

I'd agree that 27 pellets of #4 buck in a tight pattern would be far more effective than 20 flechettes in a super-wide pattern for almost any purpose.

FIFTYGUY
May 15, 2007, 01:23 AM
Jorg said:


3. Flechettes come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and weights. (Is a really big one a "Flech"? )

Actually, a really big one is called an arrow. Flèchette is the diminutive form of flèche which means arrow in French. So, literally translated, it means little arrow.

Didn't catch my "smiley" there, eh? What's next, the feathers on arrows are "fleching" and a guy who puts them there is a "flecher"? :neener:

As far as flechette rounds, I would only recommend them in 70mm variety out of a M260 (M261 where hi-capacity is legal).

I love it! :D

Although I understand these were for air-to-air combat. The flechettes are substantially larger than those in 12ga, 40mm, and even Beehive rounds.

You can buy a slightly-combat-damaged low-cap one here:

http://www.bigskysurplus.com/main.htm#2.75 INCH

Finding a good IWB holster might be troublesome. ;)

Jorg Nysgerrig
May 15, 2007, 01:35 AM
Oh, I saw the smiley, it was just more of me being a know-it-all. ;) I tried coming up with a Fletch/Chevy Chase joke, but it didn't work out. I suppose we could have compared Fletch and Fletchettes to Chevy and Chevettes. On second thought, it's better we if we don't.

Mike U.
May 15, 2007, 02:14 AM
I wonder if these would work as blowgun fodder?
Or are they too heavy? Hmmm...

Plink
May 15, 2007, 02:23 AM
I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who had problems with flechettes. About 15 years ago, I bought a pound and handloaded some 12 guage loads with them. No matter what I did, what velocity I drove them at, or how I packed them in the wad, they always tumbled. Most of them wouldn't penetrate a sheet of plywood at 40 yards. I gave up hope thinking the problem was either my loading, or the crappy bulk artillery pulled flechettes.

Mannix
May 15, 2007, 02:31 AM
I wonder if these would work as blowgun fodder?
I was thinking the same thing myself, but you would have to make something to hold it as it goes down. Maybe a foam plug that breaks into thirds when it reaches the end of a barrel? Not sure if it would be lethal, though. You could also do the same thing with a shotgun(but with something better than foam). I bet that would punch through armor. I think I might get a pack and experiment a little.

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