Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Hi-vis Cartridge Case

Just one last shot...
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(+2, -1)
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A variety of ammunition for semi-automatic handguns that's exactly the same as the standard type of cartridge, except the case is painted safety orange. The idea would be to load a single one of these rounds into your magazine such that it's the penultimate round fired. When you see the flash of orange as the case ejects, you know that you're down to your last round, which is in the chamber. At that point, you can eject the magazine, load a fresh one, and continue firing without having to release the slide.
ytk, May 27 2012

Maybe this will help... Mesquite_20Gunpowder
[normzone, May 28 2012]


       Not paint. Paint would get scraped off in the magazine and feed, or melted in the chamber, particularly if the round was chambered - as it of course must be- just after firing a full clip; when the breech is at its hottest.   

       An anodised aluminium case could be intensely coloured and there are colouring processed for steel; classic gun "blueing" is a good example.   

       Brass would be more tricky.   

       For shotgun rounds with plastic cases, it would be easy- they could even be made phosphorescent.   

       Bun withheld pending a clearer description of the method, paint being ruled out.   

       Those who spend a lot of time using weapons on a regular basis learn to count, and generally have a pretty good idea of how much ammo they have remaining. When your life depends on it, you don't lose track.
8th of 7, May 27 2012

       //When your life depends on it, you don't lose track.// It is easy to count rounds at the shooting range, in a gunfight people often don't remember how many rounds they fired. Or they remember firing 5, and they actually fired 14.
DIYMatt, May 27 2012

       A colouring agent could be added to the powder charge, giving a puff of orange or red smoke. But of course that would give away to your opponent that you've only got one round left.   

       Better might be something that jabs you in the hand, firmly but not painfully, when the mag follower reaches the top of its travel but just before it activates the slide holdback as the last round ejects.
8th of 7, May 27 2012

       //Paint would get scraped off in the magazine and feed, or melted in the chamber//   

       Hmm... what about powder coating? It's resistant to chipping/flaking and high temperatures. You'd need to use a pretty thin layer though, or maybe make the case slightly smaller to accomodate the added width of the powder coat.   

       What would be really cool now that I think about it is some sort of coating that emits light when heated. That way it would work in the dark as well. I'm not sure if such a thing exists, though.   

       //Better might be something that jabs you in the hand, firmly but not painfully, when the mag follower reaches the top of its travel but just before it activates the slide holdback as the last round ejects.//   

       But this would require modification to the gun.
ytk, May 27 2012

       Powder coating would be pulverized by the expansion of the case, leaving the chamber--and, as the case is extracted, the action--filled with uniformly sized abrasive particles.   

       In Vietnam, some guys would load a couple of tracers near the bottom of their magazines, like 4 or 5 from the bottom, taking their cue from WWII fighter pilots who often requested a string of five or ten tracers in a row near the end of a belt.   

       Another idea occurs to me, one which wouldn't let the bad guys who can't count know you're almost out: change the composition of the propellant charge. If I loaded ten cartridges into the magazine of an AR-15 rifle, five store- bought rounds and five of my custom two-stage hot loads, then handed it to somebody who has never fired an AR-15 before, they would immediately be able to feel the difference by the qualities of the recoil, but only someone who was listening for it could tell from the sound (and that's a 'maybe'). For somebody like me, who has fired literally hundreds of thousands of rounds from AR-15s in practice and competition, it is sometimes even possible to discern between different store-bought brands of ammo by feel.
Alterother, May 27 2012

       Wouldn't changing loads partway through a magazine affect your accuracy? Instead of trying to use sight, sound or feel to inform you that you're down to your last rounds, why not employ the olfactory senses? Use the same amount of gunpowder but dope it with a bit of ammonia? If acrid smells aren't your thing, there is a potpourri of more pleasant scents available.   

       You could even have distinctive customized blends so you don't confuse your penultimate rounds' smells with those from your fellow soldiers. I can easily visualize a grizzled infantryman saying "I love the smell of vanilla/lavender breeze in the morning."
AusCan531, May 27 2012

       // Wouldn't changing loads ... affect your accuracy? //   

       At a shooting range with a competition-grade custom handgun, yes. With a semi-auto tactical handgun in the middle of a firefight, not a bit. At effective combat range (i.e. 15-40 feet), the ballistic profile of a hotloaded 9mm or .45 round is virtually identical to that of a decent name-brand round. Put that hotload third from the bottom of the magazine, and you have a shot that counts plus a distinctive snappy recoil telling you that you've only got two left.   

       I've never been in a firefight personally, but considering that handgun combat takes place at such short range, I would postulate that most of the burnt propellant one might smell would actually be ejecta from the weapon of one's opponent. When the fumes from multiple weapons, flying dust, hot metal, blood, etc. are all mixed together, I don't think sniffing around for a hint of lavender would be a very accurate or wise method of accounting for expended rounds. Frankly, given a forced choice between a telltale tracer or a potpourri round, I'd opt for the tracer and give my position away.
Alterother, May 28 2012

       Ha! I like getting a straight response to a tongue-in-cheek anno. Next you'll be telling me you don't want a few throw cushions around the trenches or pine-scented trees hung up inside Abrams tanks.   

       I'm just trying to brighten up an otherwise dreary battlefield. Just because its a war it doesn't mean all of us have to stop caring about smelling nice. <stomps off in a huff>
AusCan531, May 28 2012

       *Gasp* where is that rank smell coming from?
AusCan531, May 28 2012

       The officers' latrine. They sit in there, talking shit all day.
UnaBubba, May 28 2012

       No, I think a few throw cushions scattered around the battlefield would be lovely, especially for us patient hunter types. I once sat wedged between a crumbling garden wall and a burned-out Vauxhall for three and a half days, waiting to take a shot at [8th of 7]. A pillow would have been quite appreciated.
Alterother, May 28 2012

       // taking their cue from WWII fighter pilots who often requested a string of five or ten tracers in a row near the end of a belt.//
I like where this is going - the Spitfire had eight .303 machine guns. You could spell out words with carefully loaded belts - a whole new form of skywriting!
"Take that, you dirty Hun!"
TolpuddleSartre, May 28 2012

       <1970's "Commando" Comic>"Gott in Himmel!"</1970's "Commando" Comic>
hippo, May 28 2012

       // Clearly you failed to eliminate the target. //   

       Sadly, yes. The lucky bugger tripped over a loose paving stone just as I fired, and the 6.8mm nickel-jacket frangible Nosler-tip decapitated a nearby garden gnome.   

       720 yards on a rainy day with a 12mph facing crosswind, and the prawn & parsnip jacket potato with extra cheese that I'd eaten the night before was disagreeing with me. I'd like to see you do better.
Alterother, May 28 2012

       Interesting.... what kind of cheese?
pocmloc, May 28 2012

Alterother, May 28 2012

       It's the parsnips that are the real problem here.   

       // and he'd have got the jump on YOU //   

       We'd have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you pesky kids. ..
8th of 7, May 28 2012

       Oh. What variety of potato?
pocmloc, May 28 2012

       //decapited a nearby garden gnome//   

       I assume you meant *decapitated* but I'll accept any successful method of destruction of a garden gnome as a valid kill.
UnaBubba, May 28 2012

       If he shot "at" the gnome, then decapited works. If he shot "it" then decapated is the word to use.
AusCan531, May 29 2012

       Provided it destroys the gnome, it's all good.
UnaBubba, May 29 2012

       Yes, the transformation from Gnome to Gnomore is complete.
AusCan531, May 29 2012

       Or, depending upon the angle of the break, gnome to gnomon.
UnaBubba, May 29 2012

       Or as Roberto Durán said: "Gno Más"
AusCan531, May 29 2012

       // gnome to gnomon //   

       Without a shadow of doubt …
8th of 7, May 29 2012

       All this discussion is very interesting, but it was in fact a typo, which has now been corrected.   

       Though he was not the primary target, the gnome counted as a valid kill as a target of opportunity. His death was recorded in my journal and initialed by my spotter.   

       The potato was an Idaho White, although I believe it was grown in Yorkshire.   

       The worst part of the entire mission was the exfiltration, which included an 1800-yard belly crawl through Lower Camden on a Friday night.
Alterother, May 29 2012

       Yes, that was a clever move … you merged in beautifully with all the other drunks making their way along the pavement from pub to off-licence to take-away.   

       At least the thick coating of vomit on the ground helps to lubricate your progress.
8th of 7, May 29 2012

       Next time, choose Maris Piper.
pocmloc, May 29 2012

       // //decapited a nearby garden gnome// //   

       // I assume you meant *decapitated* //   

       Decapiting is when you knock his smurf hat off, right? "Azrael, decapit Pappa at once!"
oscil8, Jun 01 2012

       I hope it's something like that, and not like the Decameron.
UnaBubba, Jun 02 2012

       The hotel, or the literary compilation? With good cause, I'll take a shot at either one.
Alterother, Jun 02 2012


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