Spent brass and reloading at bases

dwills

War Hero
Quality control

Stock rotation

Unit cost

Storage of components

Security of components

Safety of components.

It's a nice idea, but finished product is easier to manage and control than having a mini munition factory.
 

L999here

Swinger
Wealth of info...!!! Thank you for the primer on Brit firearms laws. I am less stressed and worried about my Brit cousins...now that I know you do have some means of firepower.
 
Wealth of info...!!! Thank you for the primer on Brit firearms laws. I am less stressed and worried about my Brit cousins...now that I know you do have some means of firepower.
No need to worry about us Brits, nothing has changed, we are still the best Army in the world.
 
BTW what is happening to the Olympic pistol shooting teams that come to England? Is the plod waiting to arrest them? :)
Nope, as per the Commonwealth Games, they get Section 5 authority for the firearms from the Home Office in liaison with relevant Police, primarily the Met.
 

unicycle

Old-Salt
Me I'll have to make do with the chore of not killing rabbits without my Savage 17Hmr on the cricket pitch this evening!
Fresh Bunny this week then!
If you are on a cricket pitch, at least try and do the bunnies in with a cricket bat. More sporting old chap!

I'm just a STAB, but i always assumed that spent brass from range days etc in blighty was reused as blank.

As for reloading i have only seen it done for ammo natures that are hard to get hold of, or expensive. Not sure what the cost per round is for mil spec 5.56 but reloading can't be that much cheaper can it?
 

HE117

LE
High Explosive, Low Explosive - both explosives though.
And how..

Everyone thinks that "high explosives" are the most dangerous, and whilst in terms of designed effect, this is true, in practice, low explosives are FAR more risky..

The risk with high explosives can be all but eliminated by good design & manufacture. In military systems, the vast majority of high explosive filled items are safe to handle, with the high risk element such as detonators well shielded by shutters and other sophisticated fuze safety features. (We even let Gunners (and Greenjackets!) play with them sometimes if they are good..) Even bulk explosive such as PE is pretty well idiot proof provided you keep detonators away from it (Sappers please note!).

Propellent on the other hand.. Altogether a different game! Apart from small arms ammunition, which is almost inert, propellent charges are the things that will bite you if things go wrong. They are relatively unprotected, have many less safety features, and can be set off easily by a range of ignition sources. The will also give you horrific injuries or kill you in quite the most unpleasant ways. Gunpowder, the oldest propellent is still one of the most dangerous explosives we use. Not becasue it is partiularly powerful, but because it is so easy to ignite, and can be set off by friction, spark, static electricity and changing your mind too quickly..!

The Navy are much more switched on to this (or at least they were) - HMS Coventry was killed by a low explosive - not a high explosive event, as were many warships in WW1 & 2. Anti Flash clothing is there to save you from propellent burns - not HE!

I watched a propellent burn recently - just a few tons, but it took ages to lay out and prepare - you cannot have more than two people laying at a time to keep the risk level acceptable.. The flames were awsome and the heat could be felt 150m away..!

Having said this, propellent in small quantities and sensibly handled is no more dangerous than petrol or butane; however the potential is still there. Please think about this the next time you pile uncased mortar bombs or 105 carts in your gun/mortar pits! You will not get blown up if you have an accident - you will get stir fried!
 

L999here

Swinger
....LOL....that's a good point for discussion...!!! However,it's not the army I'm worried about. It's the civilian population that is always left at the mercy of the army....any army that can enslave,murder and generally slaughter them. "Those who fail to heed the lesson's of the past are doomed to repeat them". (Santanya)
 
To the OP: another reason why this would be a poor idea is that military ammunition is waterproofed at the neck and primer with sealant. Reloads are not, which would be a big problem in a military environment.
 
To the OP: another reason why this would be a poor idea is that military ammunition is waterproofed at the neck and primer with sealant. Reloads are not, which would be a big problem in a military environment.
Only the primer is lacquered.

Regardless of what the ammunition process is we are capable of it.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
You can buy the lacquer but I cant see the need to be honest. correct storage is far better.
For those interested in low explosive propellant going off on its own look here;
Army Logistician (Field-Portable Propellant Stability Test Equipment)
Courtesy of the HBSA Report and an article on the self destruction of the 105mm Batteries at Fort Savatan at St Maurice Switzerland.
 
Phew, it's a shame that all that attention wasn't paid to the (serviceable) LSA that was returned from GW1, annoted and remarked to for several years after around Kineton as 'EX OG'. I bet you cut your teeth on that Dingerr?

I lost count of the number of VGA's that was opened up to find what can only be remarked as a disaster-waiting-to-happen-but-thankfully didn't. Unsealed boxes. Natures inside not the same as that displayed outside Scary shit.

In one case we opened a VGE(?) to find the boys and girls at Marchwood had shored it up with wooden 4x2 and mahoosive nails, most of which had penetrated the container by some degree. This was Arty, mortar and 120TK ammo so we left it to the Chunkies to pull that out :shock:

The one that I still recall was a message from, possibly DLSA(?), asking if we had any Reactive Armour lying about. It was suggested that as it was 'new' we wouldn't recognise it as something with a chunky NEQ, so were all packed off around the MHE sheds, the train platforms, etc. looking for this reactive armour. It's safe to say we never found any and to this day don't know if anyone ever did, anywhere?
you know, Arrse just keeps giving, doesn;t it?

My OG tour was with 421 EOD and we spent a very pleasent few months in the middle of nowhere outside Kuwait City sorting through all the ammo that got returned by the withdrawing BGs. Fuckin tons of there was, too and all the Aks you could ever want to see. All the loose SA ammo went into 50gallon oil drums and was concrete-sealed then sea dumped in the Gulf on the way home. Anything in a box with a recongnisable batch number went onto a pallet for sorting and backloading.

Bare in mind I was a 19 yr old Cfn fresh from basic, to be attached to an EOD was a revelation. We had a shedload of work to do and nothing broke down so I got roped into some of the low level sorting work. Nothing too taxing, but even I could read batch numbers on boxes and after some tutoridge could tell a healthy grenade from a dodgy one. I genuinely don't remeber any sliphod work happening there, dispite the conditions (not sying it didn't, but given the blokes I was working with, I would have been suprised by any of them taking that attitude, mate, is what I'm trying to get across). care was taken to match up calibres, natures etc and anything that couldn't be sorted was either sealed and dumped or blown-up.

As an aside, and apologies for O/T, but I thouroghly enjoyed working with the AT's, admired the way they approached some pretty hardcore stuff (IMHO) & I have remained in awe of these blokes ever since, there is no way on Gods great planet that I would **** about with IEDs for a living,
 
And how..

Everyone thinks that "high explosives" are the most dangerous, and whilst in terms of designed effect, this is true, in practice, low explosives are FAR more risky..

The risk with high explosives can be all but eliminated by good design & manufacture. In military systems........ Please think about this the next time you pile uncased mortar bombs or 105 carts in your gun/mortar pits! You will not get blown up if you have an accident - you will get stir fried!
The propellant in 81mm mortar primary carts is 1.3C. However bulk it up and it becomes 1.1C and blows the roof off the disposal cage at QQ. You know who you are. HD 1.1 propellants are not that unusual and they do detonate.

Also it should be noted that the HD can and is affected by the type of packaging and if the packaging is low grade then the ante can well and truly be upped. Here in Balakania a guy was killed during a propellant flash in an SAA manufacturer. He was 200m down a tunnel when the propellant flashed - dead as a Dodo :(
 
And how..

Everyone thinks that "high explosives" are the most dangerous, and whilst in terms of designed effect, this is true, in practice, low explosives are FAR more risky..
High explosives are distinguished from low explosives by their ability to detonate. While your arguments are true for secondary HE, they are not true for primary HE - e.g. TATP, HMTD, silver acetylide, etc.

Having made and played with organic peroxides I can say they are as sensitive as LE. In fact while a few grams of unconfined black powder will go up in a puff of smoke, a few grams of an unconfined primary HE going off next to you would be most unpleasant and a DDT is likely.

In fact IIRC nitrogen triiodide, a high explosive, is the only chemical propellant or explosive (LE or HE) that can be initiated by ionising radiation, or a feather landing on it.

Most of the injuries from low explosives are not from the explosive itself per se, but the method of employment. E.g. putting black powder in a metal pipe and hammering the ends flat. It which case operator muppetry comes into the equation.

The risk with high explosives can be all but eliminated by good design & manufacture. In military systems, the vast majority of high explosive filled items are safe to handle, with the high risk element such as detonators well shielded by shutters and other sophisticated fuze safety features. (We even let Gunners (and Greenjackets!) play with them sometimes if they are good..) Even bulk explosive such as PE is pretty well idiot proof provided you keep detonators way from it (Sappers please note!).
Again true only for secondary HE. PE4 or C4 is quite inert because the RDX in it has other endothermic reaction pathways (e.g. melting) that absorb energy that might otherwise initiate it. For PE4/C4 the explosive decomposition pathway can only be activated by a sudden application of heat (usually by shock) that overwhelms these other endothermic reaction pathways so that self-sustaining decomposition is achieved.

It is instructive to see that most primary HE have melting points above their decompositon temperatures. The melting points of lead azide, lead styphnate and mercury fulminate are all above 335°C, 250°C and 145°C respectively. They can not be melted; upon heating they decompose explosively while still in the solid state.

So for example:
PETN. MP 141°C, 70cm fall height, 1600kg load. No explosions (10 tests).
RDX. MP 200°C, 70cm fall height, 1600kg load. No explosions (5 tests).
Lead azide. MP >335°C. 70cm fall height, 1600kg load. 100% explosions (3 tests).
Lead styphnate. MP >250°C. 60cm fall height. 64kg load. 80% explosions (10 tests).

Propellent on the other hand.. Altogether a different game! Apart from small arms ammunition, which is almost inert, propellent charges are the things that will bite you if things go wrong. They are relatively unprotected, have many less safety features, and can be set off easily by a range of ignition sources. The will also give you horrific injuries or kill you in quite the most unpleasant ways. Gunpowder, the oldest propellent is still one of the most dangerous explosives we use. Not becasue it is partiularly powerful, but because it is so easy to ignite, and can be set off by friction, spark, static electricity and changing your mind too quickly..!
The stability of a propellant is as long as a piece of string. Perchlorate based composite propellants are stable compared to chlorate ones. Personally I'd rather have 100g of any propellant go off in my proximity than 100g of HE.

I watched a propellent burn recently - just a few tons, but it took ages to lay out and prepare - you cannot have more than two people laying at a time to keep the risk level acceptable.. The flames were awsome and the heat could be felt 150m away..!
You can run away from burning propellant. You can't run away from a detonation wave. Speaking from experience as someone who had an accidental ignition of propellant during a casting operation :) Henceforth I developed a heat-free propellant forming process to eliminate the possibility of accidental ignitions :)

Having said this, propellent in small quantities and sensibly handled is no more dangerous than petrol or butane; however the potential is still there. Please think about this the next time you pile uncased mortar bombs or 105 carts in your gun/mortar pits! You will not get blown up if you have an accident - you will get stir fried!
Solid propellants are more dangerous than petrol or butane, because they are pre-mixed oxidiser + fuel. They can burn in a closed container leading to an explosion. Petrol or butane is just fuel. As long as you keep the oxidiser or ignition source away, it won't burn.
 

HE117

LE
High explosives are distinguished from low explosives by their ability to detonate. While your arguments are true for secondary HE, they are not true for primary HE - e.g. TATP, HMTD, silver acetylide, etc.

Personally I'd rather have 100g of any propellant go off in my proximity than 100g of HE.

You can run away from burning propellant. You can't run away from a detonation wave.

Blah Blah Blah..

Solid propellants are more dangerous than petrol or butane, because they are pre-mixed oxidiser + fuel. They can burn in a closed container leading to an explosion. Petrol or butane is just fuel. As long as you keep the oxidiser or ignition source away, it won't burn.
Thank you for that... none of which I disagree with, however the point I was trying to make is that just because an explosive is "low" does not mean that it is any less risky..

Yes, primary detonating explosive is extremely nasty stuff, however I sincerely hope that the vast majority of folk on this site never come into contact with it directly. I would also make the point that making any of this stuff, even if you are licenced to, is a seriously bad idea..

The point I was making is that in a military environment (this is the ArmyRSSE after all) propellent and pyro still remains the most likely source of injury from an ammunition accident..

I would suggest that 100g of propellent will burn you to the bone whereas 100g of military high explosive, given the same ignition stimulous - would not!

I would also like to see you run from a turret fire!

Context, my dear chap, is everything...

When you consider risk, remember that you have to consider both the threat and the vulnerablity!

A leaking propane cylinder in a garage is potentially more risky than a can of black powder in the same circumstances... (and much more likely)
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
OP been answered yet?
 

HE117

LE
OP been answered yet?
Yes.. I think so!

There is little to be achieved logistically by loading military ammunition "forward".

1. The need for high reliability, consistency and adequate storage life across large batch quantites makes it improbable that reloading from used cases is viable. Although high accuracy can be achieved by reloading fired cases for a single weapon, this is not practical or achievable in most military settings where ammuniton has to be made that is reliable across a range of weapon types and wear states.

2. Logistically, the assembly of ammunition from new components in a forward location makes little sense. The size and weight of the components are the same whether assembled or not and crucially the assembled ammunition is less hazardous than the separate components. Bulk propellent is HD1.3 which has many transportation restrictions. Most assembled small arms ammunition is HD1.4S which has a negligable hazard and can be moved with few restrictions. The movement of components such as bullets and empty cases, although not having an explosive hazard, still presents a security risk, as they are strategically vital items and could be attractive to an enemy such as the taliban..

So - no then!

Where do I send the bill for this advice?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I'd like to make this a sticky, not for the OP question but for the usual high quality of answers we have received. Not sure whether to leave it running though as you tend to get the same arguments or misinformation come around!
 
Only the primer is lacquered.

Regardless of what the ammunition process is we are capable of it.
A few years ago I had a tour around Radway Green. I seem to recall that the case necks were sealed with black bitumen and the primers with red varnish. Or am I getting confused with the passing years?
 

HE117

LE
A few years ago I had a tour around Radway Green. I seem to recall that the case necks were sealed with black bitumen and the primers with red varnish. Or am I getting confused with the passing years?
Good grief GN, that must have been a while ago!

.303 and early mark 7.62 had bitumen seals.. the red lacquer was used on tracer and violet on ball, but not used since the 90s and never for 5.56 as far as I am aware..
 

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