Originally Posted by armabill
Wouldn't blanks be safer?
They were blanks, or were treated as such.
Used to was, they would use, pretty much, the same cartridge case to make blanks. That made the overall length much shorter than a case with a bullet.
These did not feed as well as a normal loaded round.
They started using the wooden bullets on blanks so they would feed correctly.
wooden bullets would, theoretically, shred while going down the barrel, and just little splinters would come out. And since they were using them in RIFLE cartridges, at RIFLE ranges (you know, 500, 600 yards. where they used to shoot at way back then) they figgered it was safe.
Now they use a different case than normal cartridges. It is the same length as a loaded round (with the bullet-nose shape molded into it), so it will feed, without the worry (no matter how slight) of a projectile going down range.
I stole this off another site, while looking for pictures. If you can get by the fact that English is not the responder's first language, it has some good info.
>AMMO WITH WOODEN BULLETS
Hi, I just had a look at your very interesting site. I have spent most of the last week ploughing through netsites trying to find information on wooden ammunition. I basically wonder when was the first account of such ammunition, when did it become "normal/accesible" as such? And what kind of a weapon would one use to fire such ammunition (on the earlier accounts.)? I hope I am not wasting your time, and any kind of answer would be much appreciated, as this research is driving me nuts.
Thanks a lot! Yours sincerely, Hansij.
answer.GIF (573 bytes) The hollow wooden projectile of blank cartridge was adopted in late 1860s or early 1870s in USA. I don't know, which one was designed first, a wooden shot capsule (filled with "dust birdshots") or a blank cartridges with a hollow wooden bullet. Presumably the earliest metal cartridges with wood bullets in Europe were made in Germany for Mauser Model 1871 rifles, but they were still the "dummy cartridges" or "drill ammo" without powder and primer, with a solid wooden bullet, crimped firmly into the case mouth, needed to teaching and learning. Blank cartridges for single-shot bolt action rifles were just the primed cases with a charge of fine-grained black powder and a felt wadding or just the crumpled paper in the case neck, which was rounded with a roll-crimp.
akcartr.jpg (15243 bytes)
Photo: Wooden bullet Finnish 7,62 x 39 mm training blank on the right column second from up with blue bullet. Word "Puu" means "wood".
In repeater military rifles a wooden bullet was actually needed for fluent feed. I presume that they were adopted first in Switzerland, where a repeating VETTERLI rifle was adopted in 1868. In Germany the blank cartridges with over-powder wadding of crumpled blotting-paper and hollow alder-wood bullet was adopted for repeating Mauser Model 1871/84 rifle, designed in 1883. Germans used the paper or felt wadding between a powder charge and hollow wooden bullets still during the Second World War. The German MG blank cartridges for machine guns had almost solid alderwood bullets, with a 2 millimeters wide central channel through almost to the point of 8.2 mm bullet. There were also two two felt wads, thickness 6 millimeters, above the smokeless powder charge.
Machine gun Model 1908 had a special muzzle booster for shooting with blank cartridges. Later German machine guns had also similar device for boosting of the bore pressure, with a smaller muzzle aperture. They functioned perfectly with the blank cartridges loaded with usual thin-walled wooden bullets and charges about 0.9 grams of blank cartridge powder "Sorte 1933", similar to Finnish VihtaVuori "N320". Cartridges "Pl. Patr. 33" had always paper or felt over-powder wads. Wooden bullets were needed only for the feed of cartridges. This wadding generated a needed bore pressure, when it penetrated the muzzle booster.
There are also designed some fighting and short-range target practice bullets with a wood core. Most famous of them was presumably a Danish .45 caliber SCHOUBOE pistol bullet with a FMJ steel jacket and aluminium base plate. See the drawing from GOW series "Tekniikkaa ja historiaa" from our site in Finnish/ Suomeksi, headline "Schouboe-pyssy ja puukeernakuulat". (Text is in Finnish only! "No money, no honey": Our Finnish visitors are the patrons of GOW). Schouboe pistol had a simple blowback mechanism, but the muzzle velocity or bullet could be about 600 meters (almost 2000 feet) per second. Cartridges were loaded with the very most quickly-burning available contemporary powder, "E.C. Blank Powder", bought from England.
In Finland is designed in about 1980 a short-range practice bullet for 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge with a copper alloy jacket and a pointed solid wood core. Wooden point of a bullet was visible about half the length of literally Semi Jacketed bullet. Shooting range of wood-core bullet was 50 meters. I have no information about bullet weight, loads or ballistics. Accuracy was presumably poor and the Finnish assault rifles didn't presumably give automatic feed with the wood-core bulleted cartridges. Today the short-range practice bullets (7.62 mm LAPUA "ALS") have full-metal jackets and aluminium core. They are available commercially. Wood-core bullets were never for sale by commercial channels.
Old folks have told that they made solid wooden bullets for 7.62 x 54R rifles by removal of a hollow wood bullets from two blank cartridges. Powder of them was then poured into one cartridge. Charge was about one gram (or slightly more?) of PaPP N14 (today VihtaVuori N310). A solid wooden bullet of juniper wood was then seated into the case neck. From the few centimeters range the effect of this "kersantinsurma" load was about explosive, because of very high muzzle velocity of dry juniper bullet. It was efficient for chopping the firewoods from heavy logs. Name "sergeant's killer" comes from an accident (or a homicide?) sometimes in 1940s or 1950s:
Some Army sergeant was shot death with a solid wooden bullet from a distance about half meters, during military exercises in darkness of the sub-Arctic night. It was never became clear by ballistic investigation, who was the shooter. Every man of the platoon was shot wood-bulleted blank cartridges during the exercises and the juniper bullet was broken to splinters. It was impossible to find rifling marks from that exotic "Corpus Delicti". Finnish Army designed a "paukkupatruunan murskaaja" for the rifles: "A blank cartridge crusher"; an angular muzzle device of steel, mounted on the rifle muzzle, to avoid the accidents caused by wooden bullets; also splinters of the hollow wood bullets.
The 9 x 19 mm plastic blank cartridge bullets were also known in Finland as "kersantinsurma". Bullets of black phenolic resin were brittle. They became crushed in the bore of a submachine gun, but sometimes there were loaded a tiny lot of 9 mm cartridges with blue bullets of some less brittle polymer. They were shot through usual barrels of submachine guns (not the special blank cartridge barrel). Those cartridges were found to be too risky in use, and were abandoned before official adoptment of them. Usual 9 mm cartridges had no bullets at all, but the lengthened brass case and a rosette crimp. Similar cartridges were necked-down and rosette crimped for 7.62 x 39 mm assault rifles in 1960s from Italian Mannlicher-Carcano brass cases.
I wondered in 1967, why the assault rifle blank cartridge boxes had Italian text on their labels and headstamps with dates 1941 to 1943. Later, in 1973, when I was in refresher exercise of reservists, there were no more rosette crimped blank cartridges issued, but those with blue hollow wooden bullets only, and the submachine guns were no more issued at all.<