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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 6/15/2003 10:24:51 PM EDT
About how long will it take for a tracer to "light up" after it leaves the barrel? Is it immediate, or does it need a distance to be effective? The reason I ask is because I recently bought some, but the only place I have to shoot it will be no longer than 50 yards. Thanks.

Jake
Link Posted: 6/15/2003 10:40:04 PM EDT
That's to short a distance. I think they light at about 100 yards. Aint nothing like shooting tracers at a target 1000 yards away.
Link Posted: 6/15/2003 11:10:03 PM EDT
Lotboy...I see your from AZ. Be carefull shooting tracers in the desert, they can start fires...dont ask Like you said, nothing like seeing that tracer go 1000 yards down range from my M1 garand. Jason
Link Posted: 6/15/2003 11:14:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jake1978: About how long will it take for a tracer to "light up" after it leaves the barrel? Is it immediate, or does it need a distance to be effective? The reason I ask is because I recently bought some, but the only place I have to shoot it will be no longer than 50 yards. Thanks. Jake
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If you're talking about .223 tracers (M196 and M856 spec), I believe they're meant to ignite between 50 and 75 yards, with a maximum effective range (based on tracer burnout) of 500 yards for the M196 and 875 yards for the M856. Sometimes, however, they ignite before they ever leave the barrel.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 3:37:06 AM EDT
Jake -- You'll probably not see military tracers at 50 yards or only a few of them. The tracer element only burns for a very short period of time and there's no need to trace short range fire. I don't have my notes handy, but I doubt US 5.56mm tracers burn much beyond 400 or 500 meters. 7.62mm will go to 800 or so, but they're much larger. -- Chuck
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 9:30:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Chuck: Jake -- You'll probably not see military tracers at 50 yards or only a few of them. The tracer element only burns for a very short period of time and there's no need to trace short range fire. I don't have my notes handy, but I doubt US 5.56mm tracers burn much beyond 400 or 500 meters. 7.62mm will go to 800 or so, but they're much larger. -- Chuck
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Correct. The last layer of pyrotechnic mixture is called the dim igniter element. It burns but with a very low glow and this is what igites the next layer which is the actual tracer mixture. Someone figured out that it probably wouldn't be a good idea to have the tracer mixture ignite right out of the barrel as you don't need to see the tracer for short distances (< 50 yards). More importantly, this also helps to conceal the shooter (Remember Murphy's Rules of Combat--Tracers work both ways!).
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 10:53:28 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 6:15:38 PM EDT
Thanks for the info, guys. Looks like I need to scare up somewhere to fire em off without burning up half of Texas.
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