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bitmasher's picture
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Exploding Bullets

Read an interesting article the other day. Apparently the pentagon is developing a new standard issue rifle called the XM29 to be released in the next 4-5 years. The key feature of this rifle is that it shoots 20mm munitions that explode at a predetermined range.

The bullet "knows" to explode at a certain range because a sensor inside it counts the number of revolutions that have occurred since leaving the muzzle of the rifle.

The article cited that as currently designed a single bullet going off in a "typical corner office" (maybe 20'x20'?) would kill or seriously injure anyone within the room.

Basically sounds like a fast, long range, high tech grenade to me....

Anyway the driving force for developing this was that in standard practice shooting a typical troop has 80% accuracy at normal "engagement" range which according to pentagon research is around 220 yards. However in simulated war situations the accuracy drops to 20% at the same range. Basically troops get excited and/or have bad conditions to shoot from and accuracy plummets. The idea is that an exploding bullet would vastly improve hitting the enemy.

Might be an interesting device for hunting, although it would probably make mince meat of anything you hunted with it.... Plus the issue of hitting multiple game in an area... Plus the issue of "fair chase"...

Googling around, I just found this info on the XM29:

http://www.atk.com/defense/descriptions/products/Shoulder-firedWeapons/X...

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-02-19 21:59 ]

saskie's picture
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Exploding Bullets

Interesting idea - definitely improve lethality and jitters. I wonder what they plan to do about the recoil? A 20mm fired from the shoulder would have some serious kick.

expatriate's picture
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Exploding Bullets

There's certain other advantages -- like detonating one over a guy's head when he's behind a wall or in a trench and you can't get a direct shot at him.

As far as accuracy goes, that's a double-edged sword. Sure, our guys shoot 20 percent if you believe the numbers. But they're the best-trained, best equipped troops in the world. That's six hits out of a 30 round mag under combat conditions against an enemy that's dodging and trying to kill you. Twenty percent is pretty darned good if the other guy's even more scared and shooting single digits because he's facing huge volumes of fire from an enemy that has him far outclassed and outgunned.

Col David Hackworth once said, "Efficiency doesn't win wars -- redundancy does."

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2003-02-20 22:20 ]

bitmasher's picture
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Exploding Bullets

Yeah I wondered about the kick too, Saskie. That is a hell of a slug to be launching at high velocity from the shoulder. Perhaps they do something with the sides of barrel so there is less resistance and maybe the bullet is very light.

Good point on the importance of relative accuracy when in combat, Ex. I guess you weren't at the pentagon meeting when they decided to develop the XM29, which is too bad since you could have saved the military some $$$. Each rifles estimated cost is in the ball park of $10k and each "exploding bullet" comes in at around 25 bucks...

Consider that! A day at the range, say 100 rounds of practice fire, and each troop shoots up $2500.

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