Modern Expansive Cartridges
Sliced weapon and its disadvantages
The appearance in the 19th century of a huge number of types of rifled small arms was a period of mass experiments, the purpose of which was to improve munitions capable of destroying an enemy soldier with one shot, if not destroyed.
In smooth-bore weapons, excellent results showed lead bullets, which, when hit the target, flattened out, causing terrible damage to the enemy. But the appearance of rifling barrel, increasing the range and accuracy of the shot, changed everything. Lead bullets were deformed and torn from rifling, and the accuracy of hitting targets fell sharply.
The way out was the production of shell-type cartridges. In them, a lead core protected a dense copper, brass, nickel silver or steel coating that clung tightly to the rifling of the barrel and gave the bullet excellent ballistic characteristics. They accurately hit targets from a distance, but the wounds they inflicted were not terrible enough. And even several times the wounded soldiers could continue to conduct combat operations.
Shell ammunition problems
First to the shortcomings of the shell bullets drew the attention of the British, who led the colonial wars in almost all populated continents. They were especially struck by the endurance of African natives and Maori warriors, who, even with several holes in their chests, continued to attack the enemy, falling only after accurate hits to the head or heart.
The first sign of discontent showed in 1895, the British soldiers who fought in the Indian Khanate Chitral, located on the border with Afghanistan. They stated that the ammunition they were issued was ineffective, since the wounded Afghans did not fall after the first hit.
Recharging rifles took a long time, and the advancing natives categorically did not want to die, from which the soldiers concluded that Her Majesty’s Government decided to save by providing them with low-quality cartridges.
The way out was suggested by Captain Neville Bertie-Clay. He proposed producing slightly modified bullets for the .303 British cartridge, which was used as ammunition for Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield rifles.
Different versions of .303 British ammunition
The officer simply removed about a 1 mm copper alloy from the tip of a standard bullet. The lead core became bare, and the effect of hitting targets surpassed even the wildest expectations.
The first batch of ammunition was produced at the gun factory in the Indian city of Calcutta. It was located in the suburbs of Dum-Dum, which gave the name to the most terrible small arms ammunition of that time.
Tests of new cartridges took place in a combat situation and demonstrated their incredible effectiveness. When hitting the target, the bullet stopped even the strongest man on the run. The wounded man was literally thrown back, and in most cases he could no longer stand up. Pieces of flesh flew from his body to the sides, which is why bullets began to be called discontinuous. But they were not torn apart inside the body, as many people still think.
Through wound jaw bullet "dum-dum"
During the Anglo-Boer Wars, a number of photographs were shot in the press in which the victims of dum-dum bullets were captured. With a relatively small inlet, the exit was a huge ragged wound, and after being wounded in an arm or leg, the limb could only be amputated.
It was enough for the British only once to hit the native who attacked them, to make him completely incapable, inflicting complex bone fractures, ruptures of internal organs and numerous soft tissue injuries. The overwhelming majority of victims of the dum-dum bullet died within half an hour, having failed to cope with the injuries and painful shock.
Stop the process of self-destruction of humanity
At the end of the 19th century, explosive bullets, like the machine guns that appeared, became the most terrible weapon of that time, which put humanity on the brink of physical destruction. Some military experts compare machine guns and explosive bullets with modern nuclear weapons, to defend against which is almost impossible.
Even the British government realized what could end the future world war, the reality of which even then no one doubted. Together with 14, the other leading countries of the world signed the Hague Convention on the Prohibition of the Production and Use of Explosive Bullets in 1899.
Dum-dum explosive bullets sold in every gun shop
For several years, most of the other countries of the world joined this convention (do not forget that at that time vast territories were colonial possessions, and the total number of independent states was not very large).
Machine guns, which perfectly fired cartridges with an integral bullet shell, but jammed with explosive ammunition, decided not to prohibit it. And they said their terrible word on the fields of the First World War, literally "mowing" the advancing chains. It is even difficult to imagine how many people would have been killed in this war if the opposing sides had also used explosive bullets.
Shooting for the "cross" in the pool
True, both the First and Second World Wars still did not completely dispense with the use of explosive cartridges. Despite the official ban, many soldiers made them in an artisanal way.
During the period of calm before the battle, some soldiers of all armies without exception took files and grinding stones into their hands. With their help, they grind off the tips of their cartridges, or made X-shaped cuts on them.
Such a simple manipulation turned an ordinary bullet into an explosive one. She collapsed on hitting the bone and opening up inside the victim in the form of a “death flower”. In combat, the use of such ammunition gave a serious advantage, but it was categorically impossible to be captured. In all armies, there was an order to shoot at the place of any prisoner in whom explosive cartridges or accessories for their manufacture would be found in their pouch.
Explosive bullets of the USSR
The Soviet Union also did not completely abandon the idea of giving its servicemen explosive bullets. Several design offices worked on the creation of domestic “dum-dum”. Even prototypes of DD and P-44 ammunition were presented.
The main obstacle to their further production of steel is the small firing range (300 meters instead of the required 500 m), as well as the low ballistic characteristics of the bullet. According to the leadership, the enemy could easily shoot the Soviet fighters from a far distance, which, naturally, did not suit anyone in the USSR.
Despite the ban, large-caliber explosive bullets are still used to hunt large animals because of their stopping power. Prior to the widespread use of pump-shotguns, special forces soldiers used explosive bullets to destroy terrorists in crowded places, especially on airplanes.
True, the powder charge in these munitions decreased so that the bullet did not “pierce” a person through and did not give dangerous ricochets.
SP-7 pistol cartridges with plastic-tipped bullet
The special units of Russia are still used by Soviet cartridges SP-7 and SP-8. They have a light plastic core with six special notches applied to the front edge of the shell, allowing the bullet to open up in the form of a “death flower” with six petals.
Incendiary bursting ammunition
To circumvent the ban, designers from different countries started developing ammunition, the bullets of which would really be torn apart into small pieces when hit the target.
Inside the bullet capsule was placed a charge of explosives, which detonated when in contact with the target. In fact, a microexplosion was heard in the body of the victim, which multiply the damage to the internal organs. They are much more dangerous than the notorious "doom dum", but they have one very significant drawback, which the designers still cannot fix.
Even a minimal charge of explosives found in modern explosive bullets can detonate at any time. This is especially dangerous in a combat campaign. Soldiers can move on armored vehicles or rushes, fall and crawl, and the detonation of even a small bullet can lead to serious injuries, permanently disabling the soldier.
They are very expensive to manufacture, so they are most often used by snipers who hit targets with large-caliber rifles from a distance of several kilometers. Incendiary explosive bullets have a similar principle of action. aviation machine guns and anti-aircraft air defense systems.
Bullets with offset center
The Pentagon was the first to place an order for the purchase of a fundamentally new automatic cartridge 5,56x45 mm, the bullet of which had an offset center of gravity. During the flight, such a bullet demonstrates excellent ballistics, but when in contact with the bones, it sharply changes its direction. In fact, she begins to tumble, causing terrible internal injuries to the victim. Often it breaks, leaving a few fragments in the body.
Hitting a tree with just one bullet with an offset center
The Soviet Union did not lag behind, presenting a small pulse cartridge 5,45x39 mm, which is suitable for firing from a Kalashnikov AK-74 machine gun and its later modifications. Due to the small air cavity in front of the center of gravity of the bullet is shifted back, forcing her to tumble when hitting the target.
Such cartridges have much less penetrative power than cartridges of caliber 7,62 mm AK-47, but cause much more serious injuries to the enemy, leaving his body at an angle 30-40 degrees from the original direction of the shot.
Modern fragmentation bullets
Today, the production of ultra-efficient rifle ammunition is gaining momentum. The Americans presented a variant of fragmentation-penetrating bullets, which are not disclosed, but fly apart into several (usually 8) fragments. When this bottom continues to move in the form of an independent hitting unit and tearing everything in its path.
Such ammunition is proposed to be used in civilian weapons, primarily in pump-action shotguns. According to the American authorities, they can more reliably protect the lives of US residents from the attack of criminals and terrorists. But we know that any civilian weapon very easily turns into a combat one. A stockpile of expansive ammunition can be very helpful not only for special forces soldiers, but also for militants who are preparing to commit a major terrorist act ...