How Well Would Tracers Work As Signal Devices?


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Cosmoline
December 20, 2007, 02:10 PM
I've been sorting through my arsenal lately and came across a bunch of 54R and x39 tracer rounds. I don't have a whole lot of use for them, but I was thinking I might be able to press them into service as a signaling device. I know I can barely see the light when shooting, but that may just be because of my angle. If fired up out of the trees in the woods, would they be visible to search craft or would they be a sad joke?

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AndyC
December 20, 2007, 02:14 PM
Better than nothing at all, but I would prefer to use much bigger signalling methods - fire, flash, smoke, sound, etc.

rcmodel
December 20, 2007, 02:16 PM
And don't do it during fire season!

You can get in a Heapa Trouble for starting forest fires anymore!

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

DoubleTapDrew
December 20, 2007, 02:34 PM
Unless you fire a stream of them out of a RPD it might be hard for a search party to see but would be better than nothing. Although bulkier, a parachute flare pistol would work better.

Jim K
December 20, 2007, 02:44 PM
Tracers are designed to be seen from the rear because the purpose is to allow the gunner to direct his fire. There is some light to the side, but not enough to be dependable for signalling. There are flare rounds for some calibers (though I know of none for either of the cartridges you have) that are better, plus devices made specifically for signalling, like flare pistols, are far more effective.

Incidentally, the common distress signal is three fast shots, followed by a pause, another three shots, and so on. The sound will often carry further than a tracer bullet would be seen, even if someone were looking for it.

Jim

dispatch55126
December 20, 2007, 02:47 PM
Tracers olny ignite the base of the bullet. It wouldn't make much sense to let the enemy see where the shooting is coming from.

That said, unless they have NVG's, it would be better to have a LED strobe.

Cosmoline
December 20, 2007, 02:57 PM
Maybe if I fired them *at* the aircraft ;-)

HorseSoldier
December 20, 2007, 02:59 PM
They should work, though I'm not sure what the crew of a SAR aircraft would think when they started taking ground fire ;)

PTK
December 20, 2007, 03:03 PM
The USAF issued a .38 special revolver and six rounds each of red tracer and FMJ in a survival kit at one point, didn't they?

takhtakaal
December 20, 2007, 03:08 PM
Most people stick a tracer round or two towards the bottom of their EBR magazines to indicate to themselves when they're about ready to empty out. It's easier than counting when your heart is in your throat.

Slinky
December 20, 2007, 05:17 PM
though I'm not sure what the crew of a SAR aircraft would think when they started taking ground fire

I don't know about the Air Force or National Guard, But Navy/Marine SAR birds keep their door-guns. They might just send a few Tracers of their own. :cuss:

Liko81
December 20, 2007, 05:30 PM
They work. However a tracer is a fast-moving, small object best visible when you are close to its line of travel or in extremely low light. Definitely better than nothing, and easier to carry than a seperate flare gun, smoke pots or other signals, but those other signals are visible for miles in any direction, for a pretty good length of time.

There are devices which attach to a hunting rifle and turn it into a flare gun. You fire a bullet, it hits the flare and sets it off as well as putting it hundreds of yards in the air. Those would probably be preferable if you're on a backpack-hunting trip.

leadcounsel
December 20, 2007, 06:19 PM
Nah, bad idea. Just carry a real signal device such as a strobe or flare gun. It's a bad idea because it'll be hard to see by the rescue party and there is some level of danger, albiet possibly small, that you could hit someone unintentionally.

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