Questions about plastic casings


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longdayjake
November 2, 2008, 05:45 PM
Every now and then I see some casings left at the range that is either half plastic or almost completely plastic except for the rim and primer pocket. So, in looking at how pretty they are I came up with a few questions.

1. What is the point? To save money? Weight?
2. How does it withstand pressures?
3. Is the reason they are not reloadable because they can't be resized effectively?
4. What kind of calibers have you seen them in?
5. Why don't I see them very often?

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Rustynuts
November 2, 2008, 06:24 PM
Never seen it, but the plastic must be pretty strong. I assume the casing must actually be relying on the chamber around it to provide most of the support and then spring back for ejection. Wouldn't want to try it in an unsupported chamber ala Glock.

I assume you are not talking shotgun shells!

fireflyfather
November 2, 2008, 06:30 PM
Was originally intended for military applications IIRC (weight savings when carrying several hundred rounds of ammo), and some of it in .223 can still be found in these parts (at least a few months ago one place had it).

Not sure why it can't be reloaded, but resizing plastic sounds like it would be a real pain (plus, even if resized, would plastic fatigue make it unusable/unsafe?).

I'd bet that bottlenecked plastic would lengthen too much, and get thin at the sidewalls pretty darn quick.

nalioth
November 2, 2008, 08:02 PM
Wouldn't want to try it in an unsupported chamber ala Glock. The base is metal, so no problems with unsupported chambers.
Link to patent (http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7213519.html)

They designed polymer case technology as an alternative due to metal prices and also for ease of manufacture.

ants
November 2, 2008, 08:07 PM
Are you sure it's not just the 'synth ammo' low pressure round used for training by law enforcement and military? Our local metropolitan police and the Air Force base security squad down the road use it all the time.

Look at the brass base to see if it looks like a shotshell primer instead of a regular rifle/pistol primer.

longdayjake
November 2, 2008, 08:11 PM
I was not referring to shotgun shells but rather rifle ammunition. I have not seen them in pistol casings but rather in .223 and .308.
Who makes them?

marktx
November 2, 2008, 08:23 PM
There are a few places selling German 7.62x51 training ammo. The case and bullet are both blue plastic and the case head is aluminum. Shoots a 10gr bullet at 4000+ fps. The recoil is light and it's relatively inexpensive at $210/1000 rounds. Function is 100% in a PTR-91 with the special training ammo bolt (no rollers) installed. Case head is slightly smaller and the bolt head is slightly smaller to prevent inadvertent firing of regular ammo. It doesn't feed quite as easily in bolt rifle I tried it in and the smaller case head means it doesn't extract very reliably. Haven't tried it any any other semi autos but I understand that it won't cycle in most.

marktx
November 2, 2008, 08:25 PM
I have not seen them in pistol casings but rather in .223 and .308.
Who makes them?

The stuff I have is '90s vintage German and was made by Dynamit Nobel.

nalioth
November 2, 2008, 08:26 PM
There have been a few American companies offering plastic cased ammunition for both pistols and rifles, but none of the companies did it for long, either folding or realizing there was no market for their 'novelty ammo'.

This was not training ammo or any other kind of low powered variant, but full factory loads.

ants
November 3, 2008, 12:25 AM
Yes, longdayjake, I'm talking about 9mm and 223 with brass bases, plastic bodies, and a shotshell primer. Air Force shoots it in issue Beretta M9 and Colt M-4/M-16 rifles. Next time I'm on base I'll pick up some at the small arms range and see if I can borrow a digital camera.

Myles
November 3, 2008, 01:03 AM
I've fired thousands of rounds of plastic cased .556 back in the '80s/early '90s. It was a bargain from my local gun dealer, and I shot the bejeezus out of it. Functioned fine, was accurate, and worth every penny. I wish I could find more at those prices, today.

evan price
November 3, 2008, 02:01 AM
I've seen lots of the plastic .223 every now and then, there's a US company selling it iirc.

I did find, last year, ONE .38 Special plastic casing- the entire case and case head were plastic- it appeared to be loaded with a 125 grain FMJ. It was laying in the squib bucket with a dinged primer. I didn't have the heart to try to fire it so I broke it down and tossed it. It was grey plastic.

I've also seen a sudden large amount of the blue plastic Dynamit Nobel AG 9mm training ammo with the aluminum case head laying at the range. I picked some up because it was purty. Plastic looks about 3/16" thick. Probably could be reloaded... but not gonna.

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