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Recoil: real ammo vs blanks

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by KJS, Jun 18, 2010.

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  1. KJS

    KJS Member

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    This relates to the execution that will be carried out in Utah tonight by firing squad. I have my views on it and I won't say what they may be since I'm not looking for any political debate.

    I just wanted to ask a technical question on the issue of recoil, having never fired a blank myself.

    Years ago I thought it was a myth that firing squads had one guy with a blank in his gun, since wouldn't everyone know if they fired a blank vs live ammo due to the amount of recoil or lack thereof?

    Isn't recoil directly related to the weight of the the projectile & speed of that projectile. In the case of a blank, the bullet weight is zero as there is no bullet and there is no bullet speed to measure. Isn't it going to be obvious to the shooters if they fired a live round or if they were the guy who got the blank?
     
  2. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    Yes, you will instantly know if you fired a live round vs a blank.

    However, in the case of the firing squads in Utah, there are no blanks used and the squad members know that. A medical examiner's report from a previous firing squad execution said that the deceased had died from 5 shots - there were 5 members on the firing squad. (I think 5 was the number, not positive, but the ME report and the number on the squad matched.)
     
  3. yeti

    yeti Member

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    Yes, they would know they had the blank if they choose to know, it just gives everyone the opportunity to believe they really were not the one to fire a fatal shot. It isn't really a secret who fired the blank it just gives everyone the ability to maintain a tiny shred of doubt if they feel the need.
     
  4. yeti

    yeti Member

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    Just a quick Google search seems to uphold the 4 live and one blank loading of the Utah firing squad. It has been close to a lifetime since I was last in a firing squad:rolleyes:, so that is just what all the news services on Google maintain, I have no first hand, or any other hand for that matter, knowledge past that.
     
  5. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    WORLD of difference. A blank, when fired out of a gun that can fire live rounds without an adapter will sound like an air leak, not a pop/crack that your normal round does. The recoil is so light that you aren't sure the round even went off, and that is with an adapter on the gun... even less with the adapter off. Unless the rifles are loaded when they are given out, the person loading the gun (aka the shooter) will know that the top round is a blank. They don't look the same.

    I have fired several thousand blank rounds. I have fired several thousand live rounds out of the same weapon. I would stop shooting if I felt the recoil of a blank when I was expecting the recoil from a live round... and that is with a SAW (not a light gun shooting a very light recoiling round).
     
  6. spin180

    spin180 Member

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    Excerpt from an article about the execution, which pertains to the subject at hand:

    Source: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_15279853
     
  7. Zoidberg523

    Zoidberg523 Member

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    Kind of a stupid, drawn out procedure as far as I am concerned. With the crimes that most of the condemned committed, most people would really mind firing a live round. :barf: I know I wouldn't.
     
  8. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    zoidberg523 - I suspect you would be in the minority. I would have major issues taking the life of someone who wasn't actively hurting someone. I don't mean emotionally either. Knowing I had shot a defenseless man would haunt me for life.
     
  9. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I suspect the same of myself as well. I wouldn't hesitate to fire upon an aggressor that I believed posed a direct threat to my life of the lives of my family (or heck, anyone innocent around me), but I question if I would be able to participate as part of a firing squad. Unless the person did something against me that created blinding hatred towards the guy, probably not.

    I suppose I'm glad that there are folks out there who can do such things or I guess such things wouldn't get done.
     
  10. F-Body Demon

    F-Body Demon Member

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    Oh yeah blanks are big time different from live ammo. However their is a chance that the guys on the firing squad will be so hyped up that they will not notice the recoil difference.

    I mean after all they are about to shoot someone.
     
  11. Kaeto

    Kaeto Member

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    The having a blank round in one of the rifles dates back to the Civil War. The Sgt in charge of the squad would load the rifles where the troops couldn't see. Then the squad wold pick a rifle out of the pile.
    In the book I read that had this in it (It was a firsthand account of what it was like to be there called Hardtack and Coffee) He told of one firing squad that was to execute a spy where the men of the squad insisted on loading themselves and afterwards there was a ball in the dead man for each member of the squad.
     
  12. rmfnla

    rmfnla Member

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    I suspect the psychological effect of potentially having a blank round is more useful before the shots are fired, not after.

    Having that bit of possiblity that one might have the blank might make it easier to pull the trigger when the time comes.
     
  13. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Do they sometimes find 6 shots, with one of them from the .38 in grandma's purse?

    I think it would be right sporting for the close relatives and friends of the victims to be allowed to volunteer, personally.
     
  14. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    While it might bother me a bit. I don't think I would be "haunted for life".
    There's a REASON this animal is being destroyed.
    I guess I look at it like, I would want to destroy any vicious animal.

    By taking a life (or two or three or whatever) the criminal is no longer a person in my book.
    And therefore doesn't deserve to be treated as such.
     
  15. rmfnla

    rmfnla Member

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    <>< is my favorite part of ^^^.
     
  16. yeti

    yeti Member

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    rmfnla, I think you're right. Since my experience with them is a bit limited(thankfully), and even in my down time I don't give them much thought, I really had not considered the much more useful purpose of introducing the steadying effect before hand than the dubious possibility of retaining doubt afterwards.
     
  17. BeerSleeper

    BeerSleeper Member

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    Too many people view "taking a life" as absolute. There is taking a life needfully, and taking one needlessly. They are similar in only one way, and different in all others. 25 years in the judicial system has proven it was needed to take his life, and I think it is rightfully so. If it were my job to be on that firing squad, I would lose no sleep over it.


    EDIT---
    I have phrased that poorly. The context in which I meant that, is that I think too many people think of a life taken criminally (a capital crime), and one taken justly (a capital punishment), and don't draw the distinction between the two. One is a horrible tragedy, the other is as close as is humanly possible to righting that wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  18. rmfnla

    rmfnla Member

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    Yeah, I've thought about it before.

    Everyone seems to know about the "one blank round" thing but non-gun people have no idea how obvious the difference is between firing a blank and a live one.

    Like you, I have thankfully not had any experience in this arena.
     
  19. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    The other purpose for the blank round is plausible deniability. If the person's kin were to come after you, they wouldn't know for sure whether you had the blank or not and you could always claim such. However, in this day and age such things matter less, and they'd be more likely to just kill anyone involved in the firing squad, regardless of whether their round did damage, and the identities of the shooters is less of a public matter.
     
  20. bthest86

    bthest86 Member

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    It doesn't really matter if the shooter knows afterward if he fired a live round or blank since that's not the point of this practice.

    The point is that before the execution no one in the firing squad detail knows if he has a blank or a live round so they won't be as apprehensive when taking aim and thus the condemned person dies quicker.

    So the blank round thing is really a courtesy to the condemned rather than a courtesy to the firing squad members.
     
  21. rmfnla

    rmfnla Member

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    "So the blank round thing is really a courtesy to the condemned..."

    That's one way to look at it.
     
  22. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    One of our local historical figures "Hanging" judge Parker had a quote that likely sums up the executioner's stance on the matter

    Isaac Charles Parker
     
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Bingo. The purpose of the blank isn't to create the illusion in each member that his rifle fired the blank after the execution. It was to give them each a 1 in 5 chance of having the blank before they pull the trigger. After the shot, the man with the blank knows it was him.
     
  24. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Member

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    The guns are bench rested and pre-sighted on the condemned's heart from what has been printed in the news.

    there would be no recoil (or at least minimal) to feel from a locked down gun, and the sound of the shot would likely be drowned in the other ones.

    The guns are also fired through a slit in the wall to defend the shooters from ricochet
     
  25. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Can you imagine how morbid an experience it would be, if you had the job of setting up the whole thing?
     
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