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Auto-destruct ammunition

An effective disarmament method
  (+8, -7)
(+8, -7)
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Experience shows that it is next to impossible to curb illegal trade of weapons in confict zones. So why not resort to sabotage?

I suggest developing a cartridge that looks just like a normal cartridge. But instead of conventional gunpowder it is filled with a more powerful oxydant/fuel mixture. When fired, it creates a temperature high enough to melt the barrel of a rifle, rendering a war criminal's AK-47 useless.

These cartriges would be produced in large numbers and randomly distributed among packs of bona fide cartriges at a ratio of about 1/500 (to avoid early detection by sampling). These compromised supplies would then be sold through the usual channels on the black market. Eventually, they would find their way to places such as Iraq, Sudan or Colombia, and fall in the hands of terrorist groups, rebels, guerilla armies etc. This would after some time reduce the number of weapons in circulation in conflict zones.

kinemojo, Sep 05 2005

Will fire anything! Any-ammo_20Minigun
Apparently [methinksnot, Mar 18 2006]


       I will plead ignorance here:
What are the usual channels?
If we know the usual channels can we not just shut them down?
If I was cynical I would suggest that the usual channels that you are suggesting be targeted are those of the opposition (which is a two way street). How do you get your cartridges into that chain?.
Where is the Sudan of Columbia ;-)
gnomethang, Sep 05 2005

       "What are the usual channels?"   

       It's fairly easy. I suppose you would employ agents to sell the ammunition to anyone who wants it in the nation in question. You don't need to worry too much about who is buying it, as long as you're selling large quantities at a bargain price. Since it's a free market, so to speak, it will eventually reach every corner of the country.   

       "Where is the Sudan of Columbia"   

       Allright, I'll correct the typo then, you bloody pedant :-)
kinemojo, Sep 05 2005

       Baked.. sort of.. When my father was in the US military he was stationed in Korea. During his stay there was an issue with terrorist who drive by bars frequented by G.I.s and lob 1 or 2 grenades into the bar then speeding off. The solution: a bunch of grenades were leaked out into the black market with 1/2 second fuses instead of 3-5 seconds like I believe they're supposed to have. A few weeks later a couple of guys blew up on a motorcycle outside of a bar and the problem was never an issue after that.

Bun, just because I liked the approach as much then as I do now.
scott_r_uber, Sep 06 2005

       You'd need to do a very good job on the propellant; those rifles are designed to withstand the heat produced by firing full magazines in quick succession. Not that it'd be impossible, but it needs to generate lots of heat without lots of pressure, because high pressure would fire the shot and eject the cartridge.
david_scothern, Sep 06 2005

       Also depends on your definition of 'terrorist' and 'illegal'. Imagine if a 'rebel' cell, funded by the US, had been presented with a once in a generation chance to bump off Saddam a decade ago... and the shot jammed and burned....
ConsulFlaminicus, Sep 06 2005

       Yeah, imagine what a mess you'd be in.
coprocephalous, Sep 06 2005

       "Simple matter of filling the casing with white phosporous, a white hot chemical fire resulting, problem is, it would still fire the projectile."   

       Dosn't matter as long as the rifle is ruined.   

       "The other problem is that for every means of deterent there is an equally clever method of protection."   

       Not sure about that. What about landmines?   

       "I suspect that bullets could be weighed to determine if they are the special bullet."   

       Add some ballast to make the weight identical - problem solved
kinemojo, Sep 06 2005

       //..for every means of deterent there is an equally clever method of protection//
// Not sure about that. What about landmines?//
coprocephalous, Sep 06 2005

       To [miasere]: You have good point. This method would of course only work in a conflict region where complete disarmament of the civilian population is a politically justifyable option. If firearms are declared illegal there are no legitimate channels.
kinemojo, Sep 06 2005

       A friend of mine helps with training scenarios for troops and uses a binary explosive that he'll fill a film can approximately 1/3 full with and uses them to simulate mortar fire during field excersizes. If an explosive could be that powerful, it would definately do the job.
Sure the bullet would fire, but the shooter would get a nice face full of shrapnel as his firearm exploded like a grenade in his hands. White phosphorous would do nicely to melt its way through the reciever and other internal components of the gun, but it could still stand a chance at being just as dangerous when globs of molten metal hit the magazine and produce the same effect as above.

My question is this: "Is the objective to ruin the weapons so there's no guns or to kill the 'bad people' using the guns gotten through the black market or whatever underground connections they have?"
scott_r_uber, Sep 07 2005

       the idea is attractive but it does have a weakness... if I was buying some ammo from an usual channel Bob and I found out that Bob sold me bad ammo I would not buy from Bob ever again. Or I would demand that Bob lets me fire random 5,000 rounds using Bob's machine gun before I buy any more ammo.   

       All this would do in the end is jack up the ammo prices, leading to local production which would have better quality assurance as an advantage ... but I guess that's not what major weapon producing countries such as US want ... they want to keep their customers. Who will want to buy US bullets if every 1/500 explodes?   

       It's a question of quality assurance ... even black market has quality assurance mechanisms.
ixnaum, Sep 07 2005

       [Yeah, imagine what a mess you'd be in. coprocephalous, Sep 06 2005 ]   

       Heh! Nice one, [cc]. I like this approach. It could be used to sabotage AK47s, since most of the world uses them, but not the US or its traditional allies. But it needs to be subtle! AK47 users are probably used to shoddy merchandise and would not be surprised if 10% of an ammo purchase was defective. However, if 10% of the ammo explodes in red white and blue phosphorus fireworks, the users will get wise to what is up. The bullet must incapacitate the gun in such a way that it appears to be the result of ordianry slipshoddiness, not CIA expertise.   

       This might be done by making the bullet of very low melting point (out of solder or something similar?) such that it melts as it is leaving the barrel, contaminating the barrel with adherent metal drops. I am sure that those more familiar with guns know of other ways a bad bullet can wreck a gun.
bungston, Sep 07 2005

       The problem with melting a bullet as it's being fired is that you don't have much 'wind' over the projectile - mostly just pressure - so it's not very efective at heating the bullet. To get the bullet to melt, you'd have to use something like those low-temp casting compounds... and those you could remove by by just heating the barrel with some boiling water, and then running a rope or something through the barrel.
my-nep, Sep 07 2005

       Couldn't you have a solid bullet instead of having the projectile and casing in two peices have it look like two seperate parts but really be a solid part with the regular amount of propellant? That should make it fragment in the reciever causing all sorts of damage to the internal workings of the firearm. Not to mention it's something that MIGHT, in very extreme cases, happen with crap-ass ammo.
scott_r_uber, Sep 12 2005

       >>Only problem I see with this is that anything on the black market will eventually end up in the hands of legitmate arms dealers<<   

       If the arm dealer doesn't buy from legitimate sources then it's his own fault. And you can sue the arm dealer.
kinemojo, Mar 17 2006

       //Phosphorus// would need an oxidant, in which case it would tend to explode (rather like gunpwder). Surely thermite is the go.
spidermother, Mar 17 2006

       Thermite might be quite good in that you could leave behind a little residue of metal. It would be the next bullet which might jam. So you could have a higher percentage of gun-poppers. I dunno, if a bullet jams in the barrel does it knacker the gun? I guess it would if you had it on full-auto.
Loris, Mar 17 2006

       /anything on the black market will eventually end up in the hands of legitmate arms dealers/   

       How does _that_ work?
bungston, Mar 17 2006

       Why not have the casing of the bullet made from Magnesium? It would burn white hot inside the receiver. A solid bullet (not two piece) and a high explosive at the receiver. It would blow the receiver to pieces and the magnesium cartridge would melt a fair bit of the chamber and barrel making any parts pretty much unrepairable. If the reciever blows off then the ejection mechanism isn't going to work.   

       The problem of getting them into circulation would just be to do night air drops into occupied areas. Disguised as an american supply drop I'm sure they would have no problems taking the "free rounds".
FunkyMunky, Mar 18 2006

       This would be ethically questionable, who is to say who should and shouldn't be given weapons? Just think of how things would have turned out if the British managed to distribute self- distructing musket balls to the "Dirty Rebels" who later became the USA, or the french rebels or any number of justified revolutions. Taking the weapons out of the hands of the possibly just could be just as bad as giving weapons to the unjust. As in all matters of the military, such an invention would be just as likely to be used for evil as for good.
Twist, Mar 18 2006

       Thanks for the morality lesson, but who cares? It's war. There are no morals in war.
FunkyMunky, Mar 18 2006

       This will lead to higher demand for the Any Ammo Minigun. BUNGCO shares will go thru the roof!
methinksnot, Mar 18 2006

       /Disguised as an american supply drop I'm sure they would have no problems taking the "free rounds"./   

       With the prank exploding bullets, in those airdrops we could also place "Hot Pepper Toilet Paper", pants doped with itching powder and dribble glasses. Rebels worldwide might hate us for our values, but would be forced to admire our sense of humor.
bungston, Mar 18 2006


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