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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Tracers??
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. writes:

#In article <>, (Bart Bobbitt) writes:
## I don't think .22 rimfire tracers are available.  As they pose a serious
## fire-starting hazard, that's why they aren't sold here in the USA.

#	I don't know exactly what you mean by this.  Tracers are available in
#my area at every gun show I've been to.  I have a 1 in 5 ratio of tracer to
#ball ammo in all my "milita" rifles.  I can see the fire hazard, but like any
#ammo one should only fire it under the appropriate conditions.  I don't know of
#a legitimate hunting use for tracers, so I use it only at the range where fire
#precautions have already been made.

The fire hazard of tracers have been grossly overstated, particularly for
small arms rounds.  The only time the tracer can start a fire is if it
embeds itself in some flammable material while still burning.  This
is relatively rare.  The round will typically bury up in a target or the
ground too deeply for the fire to reach combustibles.  Plus most
tracers will burn out (at least the .30 cal and .223 ammo I've shot
fairly extensively) before reaching the end of trajectory if the
round is lofted up in the air (something most fire hazard proponents
cite most often.)

I've spent a considerable amount of time trying TO START fires with
tracer ammo.  this includes shooting (condemned, leaking) 20 lb propane
tanks and cans of gasoline.  I have occasionally be successful in igniting
small FAEs produced by previously shooting propane tanks but not
reliably.  A flaregun is MUCH more reliable.  I theorize that the
bullet passes through so fast that any combustion that may be initiated
is snuffed out by the turbulence in the bullet wake.

These small arms tracers are much different in their tracer compound
content and in their effects from .50 cal and larger tracers, the
ones most often thought of as being effective fire starters.

#	I even tried some 45 ACP tracer rounds which were intended for an M2
#"grease gun" or a 45 ACP sub gun.  I tried it in my KP90, it was a ittle
#disappointing.  It really needs to be rifle shot to be of any real value.
#	One question about Strontium based tracers.  Really needs to be
#answered by a combat vet though.  Do tracer continue to burn for a time in the
#target like WP rounds.  Obviously once the oxygen is depleated the round would
#go out, but if it was shot into say, a tree would the strotium compound
#continue to burn.  If so it should have been good for lighting up oil drums,
#ammo bunkers and fuel dumps in the combat zone.

WillieP will not continue to burn inside a target because it requires
oxygen.  Of course, WP burns if ANY air can get to it.  Tracer compounds
carry their own oxygen in compound so they WILL continue to burn if
the flamefront isn't knocked off the stuff by the impact.  The real
problem is this stuff is pretty brittle so when the bullet breaks up
in a hard target, it fractures and disperses away from the flamefront.

BTW, I was in a very (sniff) upscale gun store yesterday, you know,
the type that carries $5000 shotguns and $500 mahogany-cased cleaning
kits and wouldn't dare sully the place with an ugly black gun.  Yet
right there on the counter were tracer shotgun shells.  These were being
sold as "trap/skeet training aids".  Interesting.  Of particular note
was the statement to the effect that the round could constitute a
theoretical fire hazard but in practice, they were not.  Hmmm.


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