Skip to comments.Extend the Range and Lethality of your Shotgun with Flechettes
Posted on 01/14/2021 6:16:35 AM PST by w1n1
There’s more than one way to neutralize a threat and these novel, thin, finned steel projectiles can put on a hurt at greater distance than buckshot - Flechettes were first used as small bomblets dropped from airplanes in World War I and World War II.
Their use in small arms began in February 1951, when Irwin R. Barr of Aircraft Armaments Inc. came out with the concept of firearms flechettes. Initially, the emphasis was on firing one flechette instead of a standard rifle bullet. This led to the Army’s Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) program, as the concept was tested. The first flechette shotgun loads were made in 1953. These held 32 flechettes, which were smaller than those loaded today.
During the Vietnam War, the ability of the flechette to stretch the range of the cylinder-bore riot shotgun out to 82, and even 100, yards saw their widespread deployment alongside the traditional buckshot loads. The troops were pretty well evenly divided in their preference between the two loads.
Flechettes gave longer range when shooting across rice paddies, but in heavy jungle, nothing is more resistant to deflection by the foliage than a round ball. It should be noted that the M16's 5.56mm round is the most easily deflected of all the cartridges our government has ever standardized, and that caused a lot of trouble for those using it in jungle warfare.
At one time I represented a company that armored regular cars for use in third world countries where civilians needed extra protection. One thing that impressed me about the 5.56 cartridge was how easily it was deflected. It was hard to stop if it did not deflect, but it was awfully easy to deflect. Too easy for me to want to use it in combat.
During the Vietnam War, many of the flechette-loaded 12-gauge shells were marked “Whirlpool” because that company was involved in their development. Both Western and Federal cartridge companies loaded 12-gauge flechette rounds for the military. The Western shells had 20 flechettes per round and the case mouth was closed with a standard star crimp.
The Federal shells had 25 flechettes and the tips of the flechettes were exposed at the case mouth. Both loads had the flechettes loaded in a plastic cup with granulated white polyurethane to maintain alignment with the bore. A metal disk at the rear prevented the penetration of the overpowder wad when the shell was fired. All the shotgun flechette loads of this period were for cylinder-bore riot guns only. The incompressible steel flechettes would do severe damage to a choke and the choke would disrupt their pattern.
Some folks load surplus flechettes taken from artillery beehive rounds into shotgun shells. These are the cheaper canister-grade flechettes. Typically, some are loaded forwards and some backwards. Firing these in a shotgun can severely score the barrel and damage any choke in it, resulting in a new barrel being required for that gun.
A comparison of flechettes and buckshot.
TODAY, FLECHETTE SHOTGUN loads are made by Sabot Designs LLC, a registered defense contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense. They have been doing this since 1998 and the head of the company, John Flanagan, is today’s top expert on flechettes. He made experimental tantalum flechettes for the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s cargo round, and he designed and made tungsten flechettes for the NSWC’s EMRG, or electro-magnetic rail gun, submunition. Flanagan also collaborated with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems for the development and testing of the high-density packing canister for the M1 Abrams main battle tank, resulting in his getting the patent for the HDP canister. He served as a consultant to Lockheed-Martin for the fin design of flechette projectiles for the Hydro-7 mine clearing system. The Marine Corps has also got him developing a flechette round specifically for shooting down drones.
Flanagan also holds the patent on the M1 flechette sabot, which enables them to be fired through any shotgun without damage to the gun. That said, the cylinder bore still gives the best performance and .725 inch is the minimum choke diameter recommended for choked guns, as tighter chokes disrupt the pattern. His flechettes have the latest subtle improvements, including fins shaped to give a stabilizing spin to the projectile. They are all new manufacture, with a hardness of 45 on the Rockwell C scale. The sabot is also designed to be suppressor-friendly, so these shells can be fired in shotguns with silencers. Read the rest of shotgun flechettes.
They’re unstable; about half tend to fly sideways and keyhole.
I have a few hundred rounds of finned slugs that do this as well.
Gotta get some.
Maybe if the fins on them were a bit twisted, causing them to spin, it might do better.
Illegal in Florida, in case any Floridians are curious.
Sorta like 'Am Shooting Journal'.
If Florida bans them, they are a truly deadly weapon system. It would appear that they could even penetrate Kevlar armor.
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Armor-piercing or exploding ammunition or dragon’s breath shotgun shells, bolo shells, or flechette shells prohibited.
(f) “Flechette shell” means any shell that can be fired in a firearm and that expels two or more pieces of fin-stabilized solid metal wire or two or more solid dart-type projectiles.
there are many crappo weapons systems I would not like to be on the receiving end of.
I wouldn't volunteer to be shot by a .22LR derringer, either, but that doesn't mean that I'd recommend one for home defense.
You don’t need Flechettes. Just load your shotgun shells with fishhooks.
I have several boxes of the Brenneke Slugs (fins) for when I am in bear country doing field work.
Just yesterday I was trying to organize stuff and came across about 1,000 rounds of buckshot and slugs.
With my poor memory I think it is about time to get a bit more organized.
I’ve been reading where even just trap-shooting bird shot is hard to find now!?
Fletchetts.... reminds me of the day my buddy forgot to take the ramrod from his muzzleloader and shot it through the target.
So I put in a triple patch with no ball and stuffed an old wooden hunting arrow down the barrel with the razor top sticking out the end of the barrel.
It shot straight and accurate, but made my arrows smell like rotten eggs.
I shot many arrows that way and never had a problem except smelly fletching.
As Grandpa used to say "I don't remember as good as I used to but I can remember once as good as I always did" or something like that. I can't remember for sure.
Four bucks apiece! A ten pack is 39.99.
12 Gauge Flechette Shot Shells - 25 Units Per Package
normal price - $134.99
sale price - $89.99
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