Military Review

Armor-piercing bullets

13
When conducting combat operations, a soldier cannot be dispensed with by various special-purpose bullets: armor-piercing, tracer, incendiary, etc. Below we will discuss armor-piercing ammunition for rifle weapons. The main purpose of armor-piercing bullets on the battlefield is to increase the probability of penetration of various obstacles, such as the sides and hulls of vehicles, personal protective equipment, and various shelters. Such bullets are special ammunition that expands the tactical possibilities of using small arms.


In the simplest version, the pistol armor-piercing bullet is completely made of a material that is more solid than lead, for example, of brass or steel. At the same time, the use of such bullets accelerates the wear of the barrel of the weapon; because of this, the usual version of the shell bullet is used most often, in which part or all of the lead core is replaced with a core made of steel or another more hard metal. In some modifications of domestic armor-piercing ammunition for small arms at the head of the bullet, the solid core is not covered by the shell so that when any obstacle is broken through, energy is not spent on the deformation and penetration of the shell of the bullet itself by the core. At the same time, if they hit any unprotected target, armor-piercing ammunition behaves exactly like shell bullets with similar characteristics (speed and mass).

For example, the Russian pistol cartridges (5,45-mm cartridge PSM, 7,62-mm cartridge TT and 9-mm cartridge PM) have in their family bullets with conventional lead and steel armor-piercing cores. In addition to steel, tungsten carbide can also be used to make a bullet core. This material is 30% denser than lead and harder than steel, its main disadvantage is the high cost, due to the complexity and high cost of processing tungsten carbide. Another promising material for the development of cores is depleted uranium, which has an additional damaging effect.

Armor-piercing bullets

Armor-piercing bullets in comparison with conventional ammunition have the worst ballistic qualities. Since such bullets are lighter than lead bullets, they worse “hold” the trajectory when firing at long distances, they have a greater dispersion. Also, their disadvantage is a small efficiency in firing at unarmored targets. Armor-piercing bullets have a small stopping power. Such a bullet has less kinetic energy (due to its smaller mass) and does not change its shape at the moment it enters the human body. Despite this, armor-piercing bullets today are in service with almost all the armies of the world and are regarded as a rather useful type of ammunition, especially in connection with the increasing proliferation of personal armor protection means for military personnel (body armor).

Moreover, the first armor-piercing bullets were invented long before the appearance of the first individual means of armor protection on the battlefield. Initially, such bullets were intended mainly to combat armored vehicles. Even during the First World War, with the advent of the first armored vehicles on the battlefield and tanks there was a problem of effective struggle against them with the help of small arms. The armor of the first tanks, not to mention ordinary armored cars of that period, could provide protection for the crew and machine components only from bullets and fragments. The fire of machine guns and rifles with ordinary lead bullets was useless even against the lightest armor. But the gunsmiths were able to very quickly find a way out of this situation. They increased the strength of the bullet due to the inclusion of a steel core in its design.

The Second World War and all subsequent local wars and conflicts clearly demonstrated the increased importance of the use of armor-piercing bullets for handguns (pistols, machine guns, rifles, machine guns), as well as large-caliber machine guns, which can be used as an effective means of supporting infantry on the battlefield ( machine guns) or armored vehicles, helicopters, UAVs and airplanes.

12,7-mm bullet 57-BZ-542 in section

One of the most important characteristics for any armor-piercing bullet is its penetration or penetration. Punching action is the depth of penetration of a bullet into an obstacle that has a certain density. This characteristic of ammunition directly depends on the caliber of the bullet, its mass, initial speed, design and shape, the angle of encounter with the barrier and its density. Any armor-piercing bullet demonstrates the greatest penetration effect at an angle of encounter with an obstacle around 90 degrees. It is not for nothing that designers of armored vehicles prefer the use of oblique armor, which provides it with the highest level of protection against damage by various penetrating-type armor-piercing ammunition.

The greatest armor penetration has cartridges of caliber 12,7-mm. For example, the widely used 12,7-mm armor-piercing and incendiary cartridge 57-BZ-542, which is used in the UHF-12,7 “Rock”, “Kord” machine guns, is able to penetrate up to 20-mm armor on distance to 100 meters. The armor plate of this thickness makes its way in at least 90% of cases. In this case, the incendiary effect of a bullet on gasoline, located behind the 15-m armor plate, at a distance of 70 meters is at least 75%. It is rather simple to distinguish a domestic armor piercing bullet from a usual one, its upper part is painted black. The armor-piercing incendiary bullet has a red border around the black tip.

In the creation of armor-piercing ammunition for small arms our gunsmiths occupy a worthy place, and Russia is one of the leaders in this direction. Our gunsmiths succeeded in creating a whole series of armor-piercing cartridges for all the main models of Russian small arms, starting with 7,62 and 12,7-mm armor-piercing cartridges (40-50-s) and ending with modern 5,45 XXNXX, 39 XX9 and 21 XXNXX-mm armor. At the same time, the Soviet and Russian designers managed to develop not only armor-piercing ammunition with high penetrating ability, but also ensuring a sufficiently high accuracy in firing bullets of complex design, which is difficult enough to provide technologically.


In modern armies, armor-piercing bullets are used primarily to combat enemy manpower, protected by body armor or located behind various shelters, to defeat unarmored and lightly armored vehicles and enemy fire weapons, as well as to defeat various air targets. The use of armor-piercing bullets became especially relevant in 1970-80-s, when individual armor protection began to appear in large quantities in the armies of modern armies, first of all - body armor.

The core of armor-piercing bullets is usually made from various grades of high carbon steel, as well as its alloys (high alloy steel with the addition of tungsten). In this case, the core of the armor-piercing bullet is located inside its body (shell) in a special lead shirt, which provides it with a fixed position and facilitates the bullet penetration into the grooves of the barrel, protecting the barrel itself from premature wear. Most often, the shell of an armor piercing bullet is made of bimetal. The vast majority of modern bullets use tompack-alloy, which on 89-91% consists of copper and on 9-11% of zinc. The shells of armor-piercing cartridges are no different from ordinary ones; they are made of mild steel or brass coated with varnish or tampac. In all modern ammunition for small arms, pyroxylin powder is used as a propellant charge.

In most modern ammunition, the action of armor-piercing bullets is combined with incendiary (such bullets are called armor-piercing-incendiary) and tracer (armor-piercing-incendiary tracer or armor-piercing tracer). Such ammunition combines optimal armor-piercing action with incendiary. Most often incendiary composition is placed in the back of the bullet and is a self-igniting substance with enhanced initiating properties.


At the same time, in modern military operations, the role of such ammunition for combating enemy manpower, protected by body armor, has increased substantially. However, to fully ensure small arms only with armor-piercing ammunition makes no sense, since they are more expensive to manufacture, and real combat operations require the presence of ammunition with different characteristics in the soldier’s ammunition. For successful performance of combat missions, machine-gun belts or machine gun shops can be loaded with various ammunition, with their subsequent alternation.

For example, to conduct a night battle, an automaton or machine gun can be equipped with one cartridge with a tracer bullet, two with an ordinary bullet and one with an armor-piercing bullet, and so on. If stealth is required from a soldier or unit, then when arming shops and ribbons, ordinary bullets can be alternated with armor-piercing incendiary. For example, in the mountains, day and night with the help of armor-piercing incendiary bullets, it is convenient to adjust the fire, guided by the ruptures of such bullets on stones. To effectively defeat air targets, every third or second cartridge must be tracer.

Information sources:
http://vooruzhen.ru/news/139/6172
http://www.straikbol.ru/weapons_and_equipment/2013/11/14/broneboynye-puli.html
http://world.guns.ru/ammunition/pistol-cartridges-r.html
http://vitaly.chuyakov.ru/337-puli-bronebojjnye-zazhigatelnye-trassirujushhie-i.html
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13 comments
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  1. Alexander.B
    Alexander.B April 15 2014 10: 01
    +5
    The beginning is good, but the topic is clearly not open. I'd like to know more about specific ammunition. For example, SP-6 and SP-5. Why is the SP-6 ballistics worse if it is heavier?
    1. sled beach
      sled beach April 15 2014 18: 09
      0
      Maybe the cent of gravity is shifted to the tail, for spiky.
    2. Coltxnumx
      Coltxnumx April 18 2014 00: 25
      0
      There is a crazy idea how to improve the characteristics of an armor-piercing-tell me how to send a sketch for specialists. so you don’t smell foreign uncles?
  2. Igor39
    Igor39 April 15 2014 10: 18
    +14
    We need an article about our cartridge, tomorrow he has a birthday
    1. inkass_98
      inkass_98 April 15 2014 12: 22
      +3
      Quote: Igor39
      tomorrow is his day

      Birthday is good, but in the photo there is a cartridge of the 1908 sample, which we still use with minor variations (the ammunition range, of course, has become much wider).
  3. igordok
    igordok April 15 2014 10: 22
    +5
    The greatest armor penetration is in the cartridges of the caliber 12,7-mm.

    And 14,5-mm? After all, only that 20 mm or more is considered guns. And the 14,5-mm is a small weapon.
    1. ruslan207
      ruslan207 April 15 2014 11: 07
      0
      And where did you read about the 20mm gun there about breaking through the armor of 20 millimeter
      1. igordok
        igordok April 15 2014 12: 52
        0
        Quote: ruslan207
        And where did you read about 20mm

        I mean that they modestly kept silent about the caliber 14,5-mm which was created as armor-piercing. Up to 20-mm - a bullet, and 20-mm and more is already a shell.
        1. ruslan207
          ruslan207 April 15 2014 17: 17
          0
          Well, they were silent and that they simply forgot
    2. ruslan207
      ruslan207 April 15 2014 11: 07
      -2
      And where did you read about the 20mm gun there about breaking through the armor of 20 millimeter
  4. ruslan207
    ruslan207 April 15 2014 11: 02
    0
    One promising material for core development is depleted uranium, which has an additional damaging effect - what about the radiation and toxicity of this metal?
    1. inkass_98
      inkass_98 April 15 2014 12: 30
      +2
      Quote: ruslan207
      But what about the radiation and toxicity of this metal

      So this is an additional damaging factor. Another thing is that this damaging factor acts in both directions - both against its own and against enemies.
    2. igordok
      igordok April 15 2014 13: 06
      +2
      Quote: ruslan207
      depleted uranium is one promising material for core development

      If the uranium core has armor-piercing ability, then it should not fall to pieces, to dust. And the whole core will not be able to have a strong radiation effect even if it appears in the human body.
      If the same uranium core fall apart, and uranium dust will fall on (in) a person, then why the hell can it be called armor-piercing. All energy is spent on the destruction of ammunition.
      Do not remember about anti-tank ammunition. The energies there are of a completely different order. And the radiation effect is not called additional, collateral. The battlefield remains with the winner and as indicated
      Quote: inkass_98
      that this damaging factor acts in both directions - both against its own and against enemies.
      1. Roman 57 rus
        Roman 57 rus April 15 2014 14: 25
        0
        The uranium core has a property called liquefaction.
        1. sled beach
          sled beach April 15 2014 18: 30
          +2
          Uranium, due to its low thermal conductivity, has ablative shearing properties, due to which the core, passing through the armor material, is “cut off” or “triggered” in layers, which causes the effect of “self-sharpening”.
        2. The comment was deleted.
    3. psiho117
      psiho117 2 May 2014 00: 15
      0
      No radioactivity
      toxicity - yes (by inhalation of dust), but do not forget that tungsten and even lead are also toxic and harmful to the environment.
  5. sv68
    sv68 April 15 2014 11: 45
    +1
    Of the entire article, I liked the photo most. soldier
  6. SLX
    SLX April 15 2014 12: 09
    +9
    Alas, there are enough inaccuracies. So, for example, in the Russian Federation there are no special-purpose bullets, but there are special bullets. And, alas, there are enough such terminological mistakes in the article.

    Quote: Yuferev S.
    In the simplest version, a pistol armor-piercing bullet is completely made of a material that is more solid than lead, for example, from brass or steel. At the same time, the use of such bullets accelerates the wear of the barrel of the weapon, because of this, the usual variant of the shell bullet is most often used ...


    A brass bullet a priori cannot be armor-piercing - brass is too soft. A steel bullet in a pistol with a rifled barrel will "wash away" the rifling in a few dozen shots. There is no shell bullet, but there is a shell bullet.

    Quote: Yuferev S.
    Armor-piercing bullets in comparison with conventional ammunition have the worst ballistic qualities. Since such bullets are lighter than lead ones, they “hold” the trajectory worse when firing at a long distance, they have a greater dispersion.


    This is not true. They try to make the mass of bullets the same for pairing the trajectories of various bullets. And heavy bullets have their own tasks and their own trajectories.

    Armor-piercing bullets had significantly worse ballistics in those days when the main bullet was a lead core bullet, i.e. two-component bullet. And armor-piercing bullets (like other special ones) were three or more component. Therefore, when assembling the bullet, technological tolerances resulted in a greater eccentricity and much worse accuracy. Yes, and the core itself in those days was sharpened, not stamped.

    In addition, lead is a denser material, so the armor-piercing bullet had to be lengthened (compared to lead), reducing the volume of the equipment chamber, which led to a significant change in the internal and external ballistics. To this was added large volumes of the steel core, which made the lead bullet shirt thinner, and with a longer leading part (due to the length of the bullet) armor-piercing bullets gave increased wear. Etc.

    Modern "army" bullets, as a rule, have a steel core and, accordingly, are also three-component, like armor-piercing. Therefore, when assembling them, there is no longer a fundamental difference, technological eccentricities may well be the same and the accuracy of armor-piercing bullets is almost equal to the accuracy of ordinary bullets. Here the accuracy of the BZT (i.e. four or more components) still leaves much to be desired.

    Quote: Yuferev S.
    Moreover, the first armor-piercing bullets were invented long before the appearance of the first individual means of armor protection on the battlefield. Initially, such bullets were intended primarily to combat armored vehicles.


    The first armor-piercing bullets appeared during the muzzle-loading weapons in the century that way in 16-17. These were pistol bullets with a hot multifaceted core in a lead spherical shell, which pierced the heavy knightly armor. With the disappearance of the knights in such bullets, there was no need for several centuries.

    Quote: Yuferev S.
    The core of armor-piercing bullets, as a rule, is made of various grades of high-carbon steel, as well as its alloys (high-alloy steel with the addition of tungsten).


    This is not entirely true. Steel 55 or 60 is also high-carbon, but armor-piercing cores are not made from it - they have a high-carbon tool no worse than U10 (B-30A bullet), and now U12A with hardening and sharpening of the tip.
    1. Svateev
      Svateev April 15 2014 17: 04
      0
      Quote: SLX
      This is not true. They try to make the mass of bullets the same for pairing the trajectories of different bullets

      But pairing does not work out completely. For additional bullets (armor-piercing, tracers, etc.), the deviation of the trajectory by half the price of dividing the sight (at 50 range) from the path of the main cartridge (for example, PS) is allowed. Therefore, about the worst ballistics - not pairing of trajectories - Sergey Yuferev is right.
      1. SLX
        SLX April 15 2014 19: 27
        0
        Quote: Svateev
        But pairing does not work out completely.


        For all special bullets, but not for armor-piercing ones. And the mass of armor-piercing bullets, which, according to the author, is the reason for this, what side is there in this matter?

        Quote: Svateev
        For additional bullets (armor-piercing, tracers, etc.), the deviation of the trajectory by half the price of dividing the sight (by 50m range) from the trajectory of the main cartridge (for example, PS) is allowed.


        Firstly, there are no additional bullets, but there are special bullets.

        Secondly, by one third, not half.

        Thirdly, on the example of domestic rifle cartridges.

        We look at the NSD for SVD table of excess trajectories for the LPS bullet - on the sight "5", the change in the height of the trajectory is 28,0 cm for 450 m and 43,0 cm for 550 m.

        The deviation of the bullet mass by 1% (0,096 g) from the mass of the LPS bullet (9,6 g) gives the STP deviation up or down by 1,2 cm for a distance of 500 m.

        Mass of domestic armor-piercing bullets, deviation in% of the weight of LPS, STP deviation due to mass mismatch:

        B-30 (1930) - 10,8 g., 12,5%, 15 cm.

        PP (7N13, 1993) - 9,4 g., 2,08%, 2,5 cm.

        BP (7BM4, 1999) - 9,75 g., 1,56%, 1,87 cm.

        SNB (7H14, 1999) - 9,95 g., 3,65%, 4,38 cm.

        The real deviation will depend on the difference in initial speeds, shape factor, etc., but not on the difference in masses - it gives a penny (except for B-30). And the tendency to reduce the masses of armor-piercing bullets to the weight of the "standard" LPS bullet is evident.

        Quote: Svateev
        Therefore, about the worst ballistics - not pairing of trajectories - Sergey Yuferev is right.


        Worst in comparison with what? Most likely, the author had in mind the heavy lead bullet D, which has more weight than LPS or L. But it was discontinued back in 1953, and the cartridges with it were banned for a long time due to the expiration of all conceivable and unimaginable storage periods. And a comparison with it of modern PSUs, at least, is incorrect.

        All sights of weapons under the domestic rifle cartridge are calibrated to the trajectory of the LPS bullet, which so far is the main one. By the way, also the lead bullet L has exactly the same mass as the LPS bullet - 9,6 g, but their trajectories are somewhat different due to the difference in shape, etc.

        The worst ballistics, namely dispersion, have bullets of combined action in comparison with LPS or L because of the greater number of components (and burnout of the tracer, if any). And if the worst ballistics in comparison with the lead bullet A - this is again a consequence not of the difference in masses, but the result of a larger number of elements of the armor-piercing bullet.
  7. SLX
    SLX April 15 2014 12: 27
    +2
    [quote = Yuferyov S.] The vast majority of modern bullets use tompac alloy, which is 89-91% copper and 9-11% zinc. [/ quote]

    If in the context of Soviet and Russian bullets, then this is not so. As a rule, bimetal goes to the bullet shell, even to sniper cartridges. And if there was a tompak, the shooters, especially the sniper, would be happy - the tompak shell is more expensive, but zelo improves accuracy.

    [quote = Yuferyov S.] Armor-piercing cartridge shells are no different from ordinary cartridges, they are made of mild steel or brass coated with varnish or tompak. [/ quote =]

    Even now they are different - there are some limitations with steel sleeves. And armor-piercing cartridges of the Second World War, as well as other cartridges with a number of special bullets, were made of brass - the steel (or "surrogate" in the terminology of that time) sleeve did not provide normal operation.

    [quote = Yuferev S.] Pyroxylin powder is used as a propellant charge in all modern ammunition for small arms. [/ quote]

    This is not true. In Russia, although with a great delay, but still after the adversaries, they switched to spherical gunpowder long ago (at least in small- and medium-caliber ammunition). The 5.45 mm cartridge 7H1 was originally with spherical powder, and spherical powder was introduced into the rifle cartridge somewhere in the 90s. (because there were problems with the volume). And spherical powder is nitroglycerin powder (ballistite), but not pyroxylin powder.
  8. 52
    52 April 15 2014 14: 54
    +2
    Quote: igordok
    Quote: ruslan207
    And where did you read about 20mm

    I mean that they modestly kept silent about the caliber 14,5-mm which was created as armor-piercing. Up to 20-mm - a bullet, and 20-mm and more is already a shell.

    In essence, the dispute is who the gun is, who the machine gun is. A cannon can shoot something that explodes, that is, not only a blank. That's why somehow it turned out that the minimum caliber of guns is 20mm, exceptions are rare. In a smaller caliber, talking about a high-explosive fragmentation is not interesting for either the shooter or the target)))).
    1. spech
      spech April 15 2014 16: 23
      +1
      In essence, the dispute is who the gun is, who the machine gun is

      Anything higher than a 20mm shell, which is smaller than a bullet.
      1. SLX
        SLX April 15 2014 20: 05
        0
        Quote: spech
        Anything higher than a 20mm shell, which is smaller than a bullet.


        The projectile differs from the bullet by the presence of a leading belt, which provides obturation and projectile guidance along the rifling. The bullet obturation and guidance on the cuts provides a bullet shell. Therefore, both the bullet and the projectile can be of the same caliber.
  9. mvv
    mvv April 15 2014 23: 52
    +2
    article some kind of miserable forgive me, Lord.
  10. tchoni
    tchoni April 16 2014 07: 22
    0
    the whole point of the article can be reduced to the phrase "there are ordinary bullets, but there are armor-piercing and they are very important" article for Wikipedia, and not for a specialized site. topic not disclosed
  11. Coltxnumx
    Coltxnumx April 18 2014 01: 08
    0
    Quote: Colt864
    There is a crazy idea how to improve the characteristics of an armor-piercing-tell me how to send a sketch for specialists. so you don’t smell foreign uncles?
  12. Coltxnumx
    Coltxnumx April 18 2014 01: 11
    0
    Forgive me - you are all so cool - where are we? - Suddenly an amateur from mining engineers will blurt out something on the topic - for the power it’s offensive specifically
  13. Coltxnumx
    Coltxnumx April 18 2014 01: 19
    0
    And then among the cuckoos and cockerels a tree frog suddenly sounded — the forest froze — and then the bird's hubbub continued ------ men! what if my crazy idea wakes me up the mirror of the Russian armor-piercing --- Herzen was shot at by his mother? give her health!
  14. Hell's Angel
    Hell's Angel 6 October 2014 18: 56
    0
    5,45 in the photo with a black head 7n22 like. Punches the neck of the rail. Of the rest, only 7,62x54 BZT shot from the PC and 12.7 from B - 94. I saw it with my own eyes.