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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/14/2005 7:11:53 PM EDT
Okay is incendiary ammunition legal to make or posess?
If so does anyone know how to make it?
Thanks
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 7:41:50 PM EDT
I posted what is below in this thread-->www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=373807

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Originally Posted By rssc:
sorry I clarified the first post... I'm curious what they use to make them burn? is it a powder that's embedded in the tip of the bullet?



I have had a difficult time obtaining information on this topic. The best source is Dr. Herbert Ellern's book Military and Civilian Pyrotechnics (ISBN: 0820603643) available from Barnes and Noble, and his references including U.S. patents on the subject:



It's a little pricey but I'm sure you could get it through inter-library loan.

The first incendiary bullets were developed for destroying hydrogen-filled zeppelins:


A relatively cool-burning incendiary is white phosphorus . . . Phosphorus by itself is a poor incendiary, effective only against easily ignited objects. Thus the first air attacks in WWI by hydrogen-filled dirigibles (zeppelins) were soon abandoned because phosphorus-filled bullets spelled death to lighter-than-air craft.
p.218

The bullets were .50cal and filled through their base with white phosphorus. The smokeless powder would ignite the phosphorus which burns with a yellow flame and produces white clouds of P2O5 thus leaving a nice smoke trail behind the bullet. It was only good for igniting hydrogen, or gasoline-filled fuel tanks. Subsequent .50cal incendiary bullets use a modified tracer compressed powder mixture consisting of magnesium powder (fuel), strontium/barium nitrate/potassium perchlorate (oxidizer), binder, etc.

Ellern wrote this about available info:


Very little can be found in the quoted manuals and other publications about incendiary projectiles. Naval Airborne Ordnance speaks of 20-mm aircraft ammunition with incendiary or high explosive and incendiary filling for use against other aircraft.


There is some discussion of pyrophoric alloys:


Zirconium/lead alloys in a wide range of proportions spark or catch fire on impact and have been proposed for use as impact igniters for incendiary bullets, or as tracers tha mark the impact of a projectile by the light effect. . . . Alloys of either cerium or zirconium with soft metals such as lead or tin have been described as prodigious spark producers.
p.35

Lighter flints contain misch metal, an alloy of several of the rare earth metals and about 30% iron to make it harder. Cerium metal makes up about 50% of the misch metal alloy. If you hold a lighter flint between tweezer, heat it red hot with a torch and throw it against a hard surface, it will disintegrate into a shower of bright sparks. Don't try it but if you do wear eye protection.




Very hot sparks are also obtained by abrading uranium metal.

p.35

When planes shoot those depleted uranium rounds some of the metal surface is scraped off creating a shower of sparks. The extremely dense uranium penetrates tanks very well and the incendiary effect is a by-product rather than a design feature.

You can try a patent search on the subject and look up the copious references in Ellern's book. Good luck.

ETA: THEY DO NOT AND NEVER HAVE CONTAINED THERMITE! (Before someone says that they contain thermite.)
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To answer your specific questions: Legal to make and to possess in almost all states. I don't think you can in CA. Cheaper to buy for .50BMG and tracers work as well in other calibers (7.62NATO/5.56mm) if you are trying to ignite easily flammable material.
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 8:40:21 PM EDT
tracers are legal
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 8:04:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 8:06:14 AM EDT by WinstonSmith]
Just a note to the very good info above, the first incendiary rounds intended for anti-airship use were apparently in .45 Boxer caliber for use in the outdated Martini rifles. The first common loading though was a mix of Brock and Pomeroy explosive rounds, perhaps mixed with Buckingham incendiaries. The BBC has some interesting info on anti-zeppelin technology at: *LINK* including flaming grapples towed behind and underneath the plane.

I guess if you're crazy enough to take to the air in an open-topped, wood and fabric kite with people shooting at you, towing a flaming hook along behind just isn't that big a deal.

ETA- any info in that source on the Brock or Pomeroy mixtures? I always wondered how they got the delay built into the Brock especially.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:05:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WinstonSmith:
I guess if you're crazy enough to take to the air in an open-topped, wood and fabric kite with people shooting at you, towing a flaming hook along behind just isn't that big a deal.

ETA- any info in that source on the Brock or Pomeroy mixtures? I always wondered how they got the delay built into the Brock especially.



Thanks for posting that interesting link.

To answer your question, I think that the delay was likely a rather simple fuze. The delay would be very short, probably on the order of tens of milliseconds to allow the bullet to strike the outer covering and detonate between it and the gas cells of an airship. You would only need to know the approximate velocity of the bullet and the distance between the covering and the gas cells. A fuze consisting of a percussion cap in the nose of the bullet would activate a black powder delay train and then set off the detonator. At least that is what the general technology was of the time (ca. WWI).

I am by no means an expert in this area, but I have poured over a few patents and books over the last 20 years.
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