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Discussion Starter #1
Please feel free to shoot this down. I was reading a issue of backwoodsman this morning and got to thinking about survival tactics.

How far would the flash of a shell loaded with only powder be seen at night?

My thought would be to prime some empty shells, (would be good use for shells that have slight cracks and can't be reloaded) and carry a vial of powder. At night, pour some powder in the shell, carefully load it to not spill it and fire it off. I'm thinking rescue people searching at night would be able to see it for a long distance.

What do you think?
 

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You need a flare not a spark. If nobody is looking in your direction or you are obscured by terrain it will be invisible. A signal fire would be better coupled with a whistle you could blow three blasts on at intervals. 3 is the sign of distress and a whistle carries a long ways. The glow of even a small fie plus the smell of the smoke if you feed it greenery will do you better than a blank shell.
 

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and smokeless isn't really gonna go bang with no pressure either. Black powder would but it's so quick, doubt anyone would see it.

build a fire if you can and shoot your distress signal is my vote also if you're stuck

I carry pen gun flares with me in the survival kit but also a roadside fuse, those things are bright! they can be seen 30+ miles, ask me how I know
 

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That blank shell could be better used to start a fire which will be seen a lot further at night than the powder flash. Just be careful not to blast your tender in all directions. Place it under some rocks that create a little room for the fire. In the day time build a large fire and put green brush on it, lots of smoke that can eaisly be seen from a search plane. And don't skimp on that whistle, buy a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, bad idea. Thanks for crushing my idea guys:D Na seriously, I wasn't sure how far that flash could be seen, ok back to the magazine
 

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They make flares to be fired out of a 12 ga. Why reinvent the wheel?
 

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Just get a strobe from any Army/Navy store. Or even a LED lite you can stick in your pocket. Good ones are small, lightweight, inexpensive, and good for a minimum of 24 hrs continuous use.
 

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How about tracer shells fired into the air ?
Flying off the carrier, we were issued .38's loaded with tracer for signaling devices. One black night, one of my intrepid aviator pals went in the water, exited the aircraft, manned his raft and proceeded to bounce tracers off the bridge of the Destroyer Plane Guard. The Captain of the tin can got on his PA and said "Son, we'll pick you up when you run out of bullets." He was chided severely for his antics when he got back on board ship.
 

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Flying off the carrier, we were issued .38's loaded with tracer for signaling devices. One black night, one of my intrepid aviator pals went in the water, exited the aircraft, manned his raft and proceeded to bounce tracers off the bridge of the Destroyer Plane Guard. The Captain of the tin can got on his PA and said "Son, we'll pick you up when you run out of bullets." He was chided severely for his antics when he got back on board ship.
LOL He is lucky the tincan secondary armament did not take him under fire OR bill him for the tincans new paint job:D
 

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Pen flare kits. You can fire those up into the air and they get seen for miles and miles. Normal guesses are that they can be seen 6 miles in the daylight and upwards of 12+ miles at nighttime. You can also get shotgun flare shells for signalling purposes too. Imagine shooting a 12 gauge flare shell up into the air when you have an emergency of some kind at night. I'd almost bet that satellites in orbit could pick up on some of those shotgun flares...
 

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Pen flare kits. You can fire those up into the air and they get seen for miles and miles. Normal guesses are that they can be seen 6 miles in the daylight and upwards of 12+ miles at nighttime. You can also get shotgun flare shells for signalling purposes too. Imagine shooting a 12 gauge flare shell up into the air when you have an emergency of some kind at night. I'd almost bet that satellites in orbit could pick up on some of those shotgun flares...
12ga tracer? :dance:
 

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A cheap little AAA powered laser is handy. The more expensive green ones are even better!
 

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Go to the marine supply store, like WestMarine or Boater's World, get the small flashing strobe that clips to your life vest, and a marine rescue whistle, which also clips to the life vest, the strobe's are very bright, come in a variety of sizes, and the whistles are very loud, and both are very lightweight, I use these on my vest when offshore, and clip them to my backback when hunting or in the woods as part of my emergency/rescue kit,
 
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