What caliber for "narco tank"?


May 26, 2011, 08:12 PM

Apparently homemade armored vehicles in Mexico are becoming more and more popular. This one is an F-150 with firing ports and a machine gun turret. Look at the Spanish language video linked in the article for more views of some of the stuff they are fielding. I actually see some resemblance between them and the armored cars of WWI...

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May 26, 2011, 08:28 PM
The best response would be to get as far away from it as possible and wait for the National Guard to sort it out. Though if I was cornered... I don't have a .50 in my safe, so I suppose I'd try malatov cocktails.


May 26, 2011, 08:43 PM
The only caliber here starts with a 1. 105 ... 155 ... maybe a 30mm might do the trick, too.
But this is kind of the thing I talk about in the Quality of Life thread.

May 26, 2011, 09:09 PM
Something with a steel or tungsten core. Bore size would depend on how thick that stuff is.

May 26, 2011, 09:22 PM
Oh man, I got to get me one of those!!!
Just for duck huntin' you understand.

May 26, 2011, 09:27 PM
I do wonder about the quality of steel used - mild steel will fail before armor steel.

May 26, 2011, 09:34 PM
I wonder what a lot of 40mm rounds would do to that thing...

Or I think a quad .50 would make quick work of it...
Hehe, the "krautmower".

May 26, 2011, 09:37 PM
Nushif, I don't think we should start stocking up on anti tank munitions here in the States, but these ARE being seen on a regular basis in Mexico. I doubt they would survive many cross border raids, or be at all useful in that category, but who knows - maybe we'll see an "army" of narco tanks rolling across the Brownsville bridge. :)
Probably not...

May 27, 2011, 01:10 AM
Some fella in Colorado made his own out of a bulldozer. It took quite a while for the cops to stop him.

May 27, 2011, 01:40 AM
With steel plate armor, an MG turret, and 20 men with military ordinance, there's not a lot one man can do with small arms.

A .50 bmg or Lahti L39 would stop it, but then there's still the passengers.

Some fella in Colorado made his own out of a bulldozer. It took quite a while for the cops to stop him.

Marvin Heemeyer and his Killdozer.

The police didn't stop him. He dropped a tread in a basement, got stuck, and shot himself.

May 27, 2011, 03:50 AM
so I suppose I'd try malatov cocktails.

I got a Molotov cocktail with a match to go
I smoke my cigarette with style

I don't know why I thought of that when I read your response.

Been hidin' out
And layin' low
It's nothin' new ta me
Well you can always find
a place to go
If you can keep your sanity

That probably would be the most apropriate musical response to the OP.

May 27, 2011, 08:14 AM
30-06 or 308 AP rounds...aim for the tires and radiator or top of the hood. Go for a mobility kill.

IF you have the equipment, then go with what was suggested in a previous post...tungsten solids will do wonders with that kinda stuff...I am sure they aren't using oil-hardened steel or chobham.

Of course, if you have to be absolutely positively able to take that guy out....

Sebastian the Ibis
May 27, 2011, 08:36 AM
IED's have been working well on much more heavily armored vehicles for years. However, Narco's don't have Uncle Sugar's logistics footprint, so your chances of setting up an IED ambush to bag one of these is slim to none. There isn't a convoy of these going by every day to resupply the base Arby's.

If I really had to worry about one of these overrunning my hacienda, and I had the equipment, I'd consider a huge pitfall trap. 20 heavily armored narco mercenaries are much easier to deal with after their "narco tank" just hit an 8 ft deep pothole at 70 mph.

Jed Carter
May 27, 2011, 09:43 AM
F-150? F-350 maybe. What is the top speed, Gs in a turn? Bet it handles worse than a garbage truck. You could probably stop it with a .22lr just shoot out the rear tires and wait till it rolls over in a turn. Just a big speed bump should do it.

May 27, 2011, 10:29 AM
Hard to see, but the front grill/radiator, and driver's door don't look very heavily protected. I bet an M82 to those areas would work wonders.

May 27, 2011, 10:41 AM
Even if I have something to penetrate that...once they start returning fire, I'm toast.

I'll stick to trying to outrun it.

On the bright side, the local LEO's can just spray paint SWAT on the side and they are good to go!

May 27, 2011, 12:52 PM
I'd be inclined to think a spray down with enough napalm will get rid of it.

Burn the oxygen out of the internal compartment and things will come ot a stop real fast.

May 27, 2011, 01:41 PM
There's another one that was found, El Mostrau it was called, that had the radiator completely protected, but left the TIRES exposed! Beautiful welding work, incredibly stupid execution. The vehicle was found abandoned with front tire blown and rear tires burned off.
Armored glass must be in short supply, as most of the ones I have found picturesd of did not have glass in most of the windows. Either no glass, or taken by the winner for thier next narco tank.
You're right, BTW, I can't imagine the handling on this thing to be very good with all that extra weight, and the roads in Mexico must eventually rip them apart just through vibration. Another story I found said the armored truck featured in the linked story was not "captured", but "abandoned"...probably gave up the ghost.
Looked like something Col Smith and B.A. Barracus would build...

Edit to add, the one called El Monstrau was estimated to have a top speed of 68. How they "estimated" that from a truck with no tires baffles me, unless the Mexican military decided to refurbish and reuse.

Sebastian the Ibis
May 27, 2011, 03:19 PM
Looked like something Col Smith and B.A. Barracus would build...

Yeah, but back then nobody could hit a thing. Every round went into the dirt - did you ever see anyone get shot in that show ever with any sort of production firearm? People only got shot with water cannons, potato guns and cabage flingers.

And back then corrugated aluminum welded onto the side of a car would make it bullet proof - the developments in 5.56 cartridge technology since 1985 are incredible.

May 27, 2011, 03:46 PM
I would think that a 20mm anti tank rifle would be more than adequate to stop the pickup, and AR15 for the exiting personnel.

May 27, 2011, 04:07 PM
Heretic said: Some fella in Colorado made his own out of a bulldozer. It took quite a while for the cops to stop him.

They never stopped him, his heavy contraption fell through the ground into a basement and got stuck after many hours of activity.
They were considering military support and a hellfire anti-tank missile to stop his rampage if I recall.

They also fired multiple .50 BMG rounds at it. The armor was layered and the .50 rounds were not effective.

They also spent many hours cited from 12-17 cutting in with a torch to get inside after he had killed himself.
The traditional response of opening fire with everything up to 50 BMG was ineffective.

Armoredman said:
This one is an F-150 with firing ports and a machine gun turret
They say it is an F-350. I wonder if it is the diesel model which would be more suited for such a role with low end torque.

They essentially turn towing capacity into armor capacity, which properly reinforced should work.

The weak points are probably the air intake/radiator and the tires, although the tires are armored in this picture. They could also armor the radiator which would cause it to overheat sooner but it is probably not used for long periods of time anyways. They will also be top heavy and so must corner slower, but the armored wheel wells over the tires probably acts somewhat like training wheels if they corner a little too fast.
If they used solid rubber tires or filled them full of that self sealing goo or a similar substance that plugs holes combined with the armor covering them, they probably could get over an hour of use even after they were well shot up.

Obviously the intent of such a vehicle during an escape is going to be to destroy those trying to stop it with the mounted machinegun and individuals with small arms dismounting if necessary to help. Along with support of other vehicles in the narco convoy.
The top speed is not going to be high enough to outrun almost any typical law enforcement vehicle, and certainly no chopper. So they have to open fire and disable followers to escape.

Such vehicles are also well suited for offensive criminal use, where top speed or escape is less important, but getting inside the defenses of a target is important.
Such a vehicle would allow attackers to breach roadblocks and security points better even with soldiers or enemy cartel guards firing at them with machineguns.
These armored vehicles also seem to include well reinforced battering rams, and so such vehicles would certainly have the ability to punch through security gates and maybe even walls of many compounds and security buildings. Making a new entrance with less concentrated defense than the normal one.
If considered a disposable tool, as the seized abandoned vehicles clearly show they are, then they would be quite effective in high stakes attacks where the vehicle being disabled and abandoned was anticipated.

May 27, 2011, 06:23 PM
I think a rifle firing 50 BMG rounds would stop it.

Not sure whether the plain ball you can buy at Gander Mountain would do it, or if you would need to get some AP rounds.

As far as the heavy armed narco thugs inside, might not be as much of a problem as you think. If a round penetrates the armor, it keeps rattling around inside the vehicle until the kinetic energy is dissapated. Does a lot of damage to people that are inside.


May 27, 2011, 07:02 PM
I'm thinking .50 BMG API rounds would do the trick. Put one through a window and it explodes in the passenger compartment.

May 27, 2011, 09:17 PM
Obviously a 7.65x25 that has too much penetration for SD would be the choice for this aplication??????

May 27, 2011, 09:29 PM
Idk, as stated before the quality of the armor comes into play greatly. If the quality is relatively poor (as I am assuming) then the impact from a rifle would cause fragmentation on the inside of the armored cab and kill them with their own armor. Also, if you were to land just one bullet in one of the port windows, the round would ricochet and fragment, killing or wounding the occupants. I would just avoid it and wait for the men to exit.

May 27, 2011, 11:00 PM
narco tanks..... it looks as thought weve finally found a use for the .950JDJ :evil:

Erik M
May 27, 2011, 11:10 PM
well, I cant think of anything that a civilian would have in thier arsenal that could "destroy" said vehicle, but in order to disable it I would first try multiple hits to any vulnerable area (glass, tires, ect) with rifled tungsten carbide sabot slugs.

May 27, 2011, 11:18 PM
you have rifled tungsten carbide sabt slugs?

May 27, 2011, 11:26 PM
The bulldozer had 2 heavy sheets of steel with concrete in between. The design was such that it was nearly impossible to penetrate, and there's a chance it could have even eaten a single missile. Said missile might still put it out of action, and certainly would have caused serious indirect harm to the person inside, but it might not have penetrated. The Iraqis did something similar with containers of sand, allowing their tanks to sometimes survive a missile hit.

As for this thing, a .50 BMG would almost assuredly penetrate. And pouring gasoline on the ground and lighting it would pop the tires and set fire to its undercarriage.

Erik M
May 27, 2011, 11:30 PM
I only have steel and solid copper slugs for smoothbore guns. If I were a south American drug lord I would assume the black market could afford me most any type of military munition.

May 27, 2011, 11:47 PM
That truck has a lot of its 'squishy' parts exposed. I would think that just about any cartridge with a a belt and FMJ / solid would do the trick.

Ole Humpback
May 27, 2011, 11:49 PM
As for this thing, a .50 BMG would almost assuredly penetrate.

I wouldn't bet on it. The video shows that they armored it inside as well as outside with plates of the same thickness. My best guess, is that stuff is 3/8" AR (Abrasion Resistant) steel which is very easy to buy and I'm very willing to bet that a 50 BMG wouldn't penetrate. I've seen 3/8 AR in action, had a 40 ton boulder dropped on the barge I was on 2 summers ago and it didn't even dent the AR steel deck. Liked to roll the barge over though.

If I had to have something for a Narco Tank, I'd go old-school. An M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle to be exact, or maybe a Panzerschreck.

May 27, 2011, 11:50 PM
If I saw that thing rolling down the street I'd hide or run. I don't have illusions of grandeur, nor am I suicidal.

However, I think a .50 BMG from a good distance away would be a nice solution to that problem. Maybe some proactive citizen will get their hands on one of the ones the ATF let go across the border when the cartels spit out their next homemade APC.

May 27, 2011, 11:56 PM
Good point with melting the tires, didn't think of that.

What if they used this to get in to our borders?

BP would be dumbfounded at first.

May 28, 2011, 12:16 AM
I'd shoot it in the grille with the biggest rifle I had.

Homemade stuff made by amateurs will always have issues.

May 28, 2011, 03:45 AM
Good point with melting the tires, didn't think of that.

What if they used this to get in to our borders?

BP would be dumbfounded at first.

It might force the government to wake up to the border situation, though.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

May 28, 2011, 11:48 AM
Yea, I didn't know any of the details about the guy in CO., but I figured someone would know more.

Don't think they need anything like that to get across the border, seems to me a bicycle will do.

May 28, 2011, 11:51 AM
can of Bear Spray to the front of it(ac on it I imagine)... then a shotgun when everybody bails out...

May 28, 2011, 12:16 PM
If y'all shootin at it with an M82 or such like, you're a fair distance away anyways, i dont think the drugged up junkies inside are gonaa put up much of a fight with an
uzi or such as compared to ones M82, i think y'all pretty safe haha

Carl N. Brown
May 28, 2011, 01:05 PM
Could go as extreme as Ripley in Aliens: "I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

That "narco-tank" is what I would call a high profile target, attractive to a lot of unwanted attention. On the other hand, "technicals" militarized pickup trucks are used effectively in Africa and Afghanistan.

Probably bought through the car show loophole from an auto dealer in CA, AZ, NM or TX. Ignore the drug cartels and Los Zetas with millions to spend on assault vehicles, it's Honest Fred's Pre-Owned Autos in Yuma we need to go after.

May 28, 2011, 01:26 PM
1- Wow. The local authorities should keep that thing and use it themselves.

2- A 2011 Superduty? Man, I'm driving a 2000 F150 with 110000 on the clock. Sheesh. Must be nice to be able to throw away a brand new truck.

3- I would suppose that armoredman is ... interested ... in what these boys are doing to make their technicals for the same reason I am - we both live kinda near the border, where the drug gangs are involved in a shooting war with the authorities and each other, and some of that stuff inevitably is getting imported to our area, and more of it likely will be.

The first time I saw an APC with "U.S. Border Patrol" stenciled on the side, I thought, what in the world do they need one of those for?

And now we know ... because the nearest armored cav unit is two very large western states away, even if they could get some air cav support much more quickly.

I have absolutely nothing in my personal armory that could punch through that stuff, whether it's a single layer of heavy mild steel or multiple layer AR. I have a small stash of pentrating core 5.56, but it's not AP, and it's only 5.56 anyway. Avoidance is basically all I could rationally expect to do ... though I did find out one of my neighbors has a Barrett ...

S. Hill
May 28, 2011, 02:10 PM
"Probably bought through the car show loophole from an auto dealer in CA, AZ, NM or TX. Ignore the drug cartels and Los Zetas with millions to spend on assault vehicles, it's Honest Fred's Pre-Owned Autos in Yuma we need to go after."

Yup, that's where I was going. I wonder how the ATF facilitated the purchase of the machine gun and armor plate that was used in the "upgrade"!!! They probably loaded the whole works into a container and shipped to Veracruz. :fire:

May 28, 2011, 02:14 PM
Yes, I agree - lots of suggestions for AP ammo, heavy machine guns, missiles, etc. Can't afford a one of them, but I know a guy who might trade me a magful of the Chinese steel core 7.62x39mm stuff. :) that's the best I can do.
One thing I could suggest nobody has yet - bag of ammonia to an open gun port/window. You WILL get out. Problem - getting close enough to deliver it. Second though, echoing the thoughts about bbs in a box car, single aimed shots in through open gun ports/windows will do some bounce around...
I wonder how long those engines can run on PemMex fuel??
I seriously doubt one of these is going to do a cross border raid, but I can see heavy duty trucks with light armor added being used some places.

Steel Talon
May 28, 2011, 03:04 PM
Myself, I would kill it with fire. That thing would act like a Brazen Bull.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 28, 2011, 03:08 PM
I believe the 50 caliber would go right into that thing and possibly through it. Honestly, how much protection do you think they could have on that thing and still be able to drive it, i.e., do you think they could rig a 350 Ford Truck to carry 20 tons?

May 28, 2011, 05:01 PM
Ieds cocktails maybe homemade gases. (few things under the sink in correct proportions make some pretty costic stuff) other then that go to fort bliss. Borrow a 113 or Abrams and see if they wanna play chicken.

May 28, 2011, 07:01 PM
Honestly, how much protection do you think they could have on that thing and still be able to drive it, i.e., do you think they could rig a 350 Ford Truck to carry 20 tons?

Assuming they added additional welds and frame support to support all the armor and transferring most the load to the areas designed for towing and supporting greatly increased weight they could.

The stock diesel trucks with dual rear wheels have a payload capacity of over 6,000 pounds, Gross vehicle weight up to 13,000 pounds and a towing capacity over 16000 pounds.
Plus the original cab and shell appears to have been largely removed before being turned into an armored vehicle. So you would need to subtract that from the initial weight, giving an even higher possible addition of weight than a stock vehicle.

So a good welder and fabricator could turn it into something close to a 20 ton armored vehicle.
It would handle poorly though. But you could customize the suspension to help with that somewhat as well.
It never needs to tow anything, so the fact that it no longer can is a mute point.
The transmission probably would not have a really long lifespan essentially towing at full capacity 100% of the time, but then they are only for the short term and disposable to the cartels anyways.

May 28, 2011, 07:03 PM

Prevention was the best medicine in the Heemeyer case.
The zoning board and other powerful people in his town completely screwed him, destroying his business and enriching themselves.
Poor fella had very little recourse... I'm not saying
that lashing out with an armed and armored vehicle
is the correct reaction, but it wasn't the random,
nutty assault the media made it out to be.

May 28, 2011, 07:11 PM
kill it with fire is pretty universal

May 28, 2011, 08:57 PM
I wonder what a couple pounds of BP slid underneath would do?

May 28, 2011, 09:06 PM
With a directional pad within the charge not much. Put in a can within a bigger can of water with some stuff over the opening. Wait is it's bottom armored?

May 28, 2011, 10:09 PM
I didn't see bottom armor on that one - a different one appeared to have some sort of primitive mine protection on the cargo area.

Erik M
May 28, 2011, 10:50 PM
What if they used this to get in to our borders?

Although it would be overkill, A single Air Force pilot and an A-10 Warthog's 30mm GAU-8 loaded with depleted uranium and incendiary rounds would make very quick work of this thing.

May 28, 2011, 10:58 PM
True, if they could get one in the air fast enough to the right place quick enough. DMAFB has A-10s, but how long would it take for notice of a narco tank across the border to get up to the Air Force, authorization to dispatch the Warthog to actively search and destroy an armored vehicle? I would LOVE to have CAP flown over the border by A-10s, that would be awesome, but very very expensive. I also confess to having less than zero knowledge of Air Force operations, so I may be way off.
But I am betteing that such a vehicle could make a short foray into the border, cause hate and discontent, and be gone before an A-10, given day to day normal operations, could arrive. Once again, I could be and hope I am dead wrong, even though I seriously doubt these beasts will make many appearances across the border.

May 29, 2011, 12:19 AM
The thing looks like what military forces fielded in WWI. So Mexican cartels are in the 1915-1918 time range as far as armored vehicles go.

Easy pickings for military forces. For civilians? Duck and cover!!!

Biggest thing I have to counter that monstrosity is a Moisin-Nagant, or my M1903 Springfield! Not quite up to the task!!!!

Shadow 7D
May 29, 2011, 12:50 AM
There is only ONE proper caliber for a Tank, and that's 120, but seeing how those are rather heavy and hard to come by,
I guess any GP MG would do.

Shadow 7D
May 29, 2011, 12:52 AM
Fort Huachuca has an aerial drone program, and choppers, I'm sure some of those guys would love to get in some 'life fire gunnery' time.

May 29, 2011, 12:53 AM
This started a bit far afield and has certainly wander even farther.

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