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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:48 AM

US military seeks to develop 'silent bullets'

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Rhiannon12866 (a host of the Latest Breaking News forum).

Source: Korea Times

2012-11-21 18:20
US military seeks to develop 'silent bullets'

Most bullets make small sonic booms when flying through the air, which to our ears sound like a loud, distinct "crack!" For the Pentagon's special forces, that makes it hard to be sneaky about what they're shooting. Now the commandos want to be sneakier with slower, quieter bullets, U.S. information telecommunication magazine Wired reported Tuesday.

According to the magazine, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) under the U.S. Department of Defense plans to develop rifles in the 5.56, 7.62 and.338 calibers, which will travel at low enough velocities to avoid breaking the sound barrier, thus creating no “crack” noise.

In the solicitations, the special forces said the bullet aims to “provide superior covert and stealth capabilities” for not only the military,but police forces and the Department of Homeland Security.

Commandos have used subsonic bullets since World War II, though these are mainly effective in smaller guns like the .22 and 9 mm caliber pistols.


Read more: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/world/2012/11/182_125230.html

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply US military seeks to develop 'silent bullets' (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2012 OP
truthisfreedom Nov 2012 #1
sakabatou Nov 2012 #5
jberryhill Nov 2012 #13
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #23
tclambert Nov 2012 #2
WooWooWoo Nov 2012 #8
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #10
geckosfeet Nov 2012 #3
pasto76 Nov 2012 #9
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #11
Earth_First Nov 2012 #4
Poll_Blind Nov 2012 #22
krispos42 Nov 2012 #6
JustABozoOnThisBus Nov 2012 #7
FarCenter Nov 2012 #14
JustABozoOnThisBus Nov 2012 #15
FarCenter Nov 2012 #17
NickB79 Nov 2012 #12
DollarBillHines Nov 2012 #26
earthside Nov 2012 #16
PavePusher Nov 2012 #28
apocalypsehow Nov 2012 #30
Liberaltalker Nov 2012 #18
happyslug Nov 2012 #20
sofa king Nov 2012 #21
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #24
Xithras Nov 2012 #25
happyslug Nov 2012 #19
woo me with science Nov 2012 #27
ieoeja Nov 2012 #29
Rhiannon12866 Nov 2012 #31

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:59 AM

1. Easier to dodge.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:10 AM

5. Not necessarily. It's only at certain distances which you can

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:02 AM

13. Dodge this

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:58 PM

23. You aren't dodging a bullet moving fast enough to wound, full stop. (nt)

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:41 AM

2. Less effective against body armor.

But the surprise factor is worth it. Taking out enemies unaware of your presence is a lot easier than dealing with enemies on alert and shooting back.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:40 AM

8. most of our enemies don't wear body armor anyway

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Response to tclambert (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:54 AM

10. They would mostly make head shots.

They used silenced Ruger 10/22's in NAM and until recently Israel used silenced Ruger 10/22's.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:46 AM

3. 5.56mm, 7.62mm and.338 caliber are all smaller than 9mm - diameter wise anyway.

I think that the velocity of the bullet depends on the actual mass of the bullet, the powder charge, and the length of the barrel.

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:44 AM

9. 556,762 and 338 are assault rifle rounds. 9mm sub machine gun and pistol rounds

for the US military anyway. They are looking for a method to still be able to reach out to rifle ranges without the muzzle report; not engaging at pistol ranges.

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:59 AM

11. These calibers have a velocity

of between 2400-3000 fps, they will have to drop them to 1050 +temperature to be sub sonic, if I remember right.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:49 AM

4. It"s too bad we couldn't spend this money on another silent killer

Hunger and starvation.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:29 PM

22. +1

PB

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:25 AM

6. .300 Whisper and .300 AAC Blackout

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.300_Whisper

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7.62%C3%9735mm


Looks like you can load them with a lightweight, supersonic bullet so it's a bit less powerful than an AK-47 round, or you can load them with a heavy-for-caliber, sub-sonic bullet so it's about as powerful as a .357 magnum.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:39 AM

7. It would seem simpler to just re-issue the old .45ACP 1911s

Subsonic and plenty of energy.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:53 AM

14. Something like a wadcutter with a depleted uranium spike in the center should work

The wadcutter would work like a sabot, while the spike penetrates the body armor.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:19 AM

15. Not sure I'd want to carry seven pieces of uranium

... in a holster that close to the reproductive bits.

Even "depleted", they might cause some juggling of chromosomes.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #15)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:58 AM

17. Uranium is an alpha particle emitter, so inside a lead jacket it would be safe.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:01 AM

12. Subsonic ammo has been readily available for many years for these calibers

I can order subsonic 5.56mm ammo for my AR-15 here: https://www.ssgtactical.com/store/productdetail.asp?id=220

Here's subsonic 7.62x51 ammo: http://www.southwestammunition.com/product_p/sub308175.htm

Here's subsonic .338 Lapua ammo: http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/384823/cor-bon-performance-match-ammunition-338-lapua-magnum-300-grain-hollow-point-boat-tail-subsonic-box-of-20

The bullet itself has no real impact on the noise level so long as the bullet is traveling at less than the speed of sound (~1000 feet per second). Even then, there is noise due to the burning gunpowder gases exiting the barrel of the gun, but this can be muffled with a good sound suppressor (silencer). To get the bullet truly silent, you either need a monster of a suppressor, or so little gunpowder that the bullet will barely make it out of the barrel, much less travel 100 yd to the target. Think BB-gun speeds, like 500 feet per second (very, very slow for a bullet).

That said, subsonic ammo is pretty shitty when it comes to use in combat situations. Since the bullet is flying slowly, it imparts much less kinetic energy and does less damage to the enemy. A full-power 5.56mm round is already critized by many as not being a "man-stopper" on the battlefield; one going 1/3 the speed will just pencil a .22-cal hole through the person's body and won't stop them unless you hit them in the head, heart or spine. It won't cycle the weapon, so you'll have to recock your gun after every shot. And, if you have to switch to full-power ammo in the middle of the mission, your sights will be far off the mark. Finally, a bullet going that slowly will have a rainbow trajectory, meaning very accurate shots beyond 50 yards get dicey.

This entire article sounds like it was written by someone who's never even fired a gun before. WTF?

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:37 PM

26. That was my thought, as well

Try leading a moving target at range with low velocity.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:47 AM

16. Making war more antiseptic.

Silent bullets, drones, smart bombs ... for a technologically advanced nation (like the U.S.), we are certainly making war easier and easier on the ethics, morals and consciences of the people and the 'warriors'.

Is this a good thing?
Never seeing the enemy ... never humanly being in the enemy's territory ... not letting the enemy know they are in peril?

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Response to earthside (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:44 PM

28. Feel free to get up-close and personal.

 

Wars have been fought at varying degrees of ranges for millenia. The only people who make the complaints you do.... are those who know nothing about the subject and will not stir themselves to learn or to step into the action.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #28)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:01 PM

30. Wrong. The people making complaints like that are people who despise war, and the misery

it has brung and continues to bring to untold hundreds of millions of people, many of them non-combatants. The point being made is that the more you make war antiseptic for those waging it, the more apt governments are to use it as a choice of first resort, as opposed to diplomacy.

Talk about not getting it...again.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:19 AM

18. Im confused

I thought silencers already took the "loud distinct crack" away. So why do they need these new bullets?

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Response to Liberaltalker (Reply #18)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:46 AM

20. Silencers only work on the sound of the POWDER that propels the bullet, not the bullet

In a firearm you have two causes of sound exceeding the speed of sound, the first is the speed of the powder burning. What pushes a bullet out of a barrel is the powder burning, and thus transforming itself from a solid to a Gas form. The speed of this process is what produces the gas that pushes the bullet out of the barrel. Thus once the bullet leaves the barrel, you have two sonic booms (sounds at the same time, so you hear them at the same time, but are two different sound waves).

The first sonic boom wave is from the bullet exiting the barrel, this is the sound that the article is about. Silencers have NO affect of this sound.

The second sonic boom wave is from the powder that has burned and is still burning at that time period and exists the barrel right behind the bullet. Silencers work on these gases, but arranging for the gases to be contained within the Silencers till they speed has dropped below the sound of speed.

Now, it is the FIRST sound wave, the sound wave produced by the bullet that is the subject to the article. The way to do this is to reduce the speed of the bullet below the speed of sound. The problem with such a solution it means a much slower bullet with more of an arc to its target AND a much slower round hitting the target. To achieve the same amount of ENERGY hitting the target, you have to go to a heavier bullet, which requires more powder to get out of the barrel (and thus a larger and less reusable silencer). It also requires very accurate range finding (possible with modern laser finders) for being off just a few feet means missing the target completely (Given a super sonic flatter shooting bullet, range is less important for the flatter arc means the shooter has a wider range of error when estimating range, i.e. the target can still be hit even if the range estimate is off by a few feet, but a sub sonic round with the same range error would miss the target completely).

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Response to happyslug (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:13 PM

21. Awesome post!

I am told that the sound of a bullet passing nearby makes an unforgettable and distinctive noise. Newcomers to combat often report hearing it and not recognizing it, then being surprised when they figure it out and realize death is only inches away.

Apparently many Civil War veterans easily spotted Stephen Crane's tell. Crane, who had not yet been shot at when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage, described passing bullets as almost musical in nature.

There is a particular line that is often cited, but I can't find it in the full text:

http://www.redbadgeofcourage.org/textmain.html

I thought he described it as the snapping of a violin string, but none of those words seem to turn it up in my searches.

Subsonic bullets are usually much less powerful than regular bullets. The energy of a bullet is determined by the square of the velocity, while the mass is only a simple multiplier, so raising the mass of the bullet will never fully compensate for capping the velocity at subsonic speeds--not even with a cannonball.

However, many, many people have been killed or injured behind the battlefields by "spent" bullets, which missed their targets and were slowed by air resistance to subsonic speeds near the end of their trajectories. One of the Duke of Wellington's aides had his jaw knocked off by a spent musketball, for example. So they can still incapacitate or kill a person, one would just have to aim squarely for highly vulnerable places on a person, like the nose.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 01:59 PM

24. Silencers break down quickly too, don't they? (nt)

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #24)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:17 PM

25. Depends on the type.

Ordinary reflex chamber suppressors will last forever, and some firearms actually integrate them directly into the body of the firearm itself. These types of suppressors simply need to be cleaned regularly, as their effectiveness will gradually decrease between cleanings as the chambers fill with powder residue.

Other designs use mesh packing, liquids, or even un-pierced plastic baffles. The mesh models tend to plug up after only a few magazines, and the un-pierced models are only good for a handful of shots. Liquid silencers have to be refilled frequently. The Navy has a pistol silencer for the SEALS that uses un-pierced baffles and generates almost no noise, but is only silent for a single shot. After that initial hole is punched through the baffles, every subsequent bullet gets progressively louder.

Noise vs. durability is a bit of a trade-off. Chamber suppressors are durable and work, but they're still very audible. Un-pierced baffle suppressors stop nearly all noise, but only for a single bullet. The other designs fall in between the two, with each reduction in noise levels leading to a similar reduction in durability.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:43 AM

19. The problem is range and penetration

Assuming the same range. a sub-sonic round has to be heavier to do the same damage as a faster round.

Another problem is a sub sonic round must have a higher "arc" in its trajectory compared to a faster round , which requires more precise estimation of range (If range is wrong, greater chance that the round will go over or under the target).

One problem with heavier rounds, is they take more powder to to pushed out of the barrel. . Thus you have to not only silence the round, you have to silence the propellant. Now, Silencers have done this, but silencers are noted for not lasting long, mostly due to water build up (the technical difference between silencers and your car muffler is the size, mufflers last a long time for they are silencing much lower exhaust gas speeds BUT tend to be 100-1000 times larger then most silencers).

The "Silent" weapon of choice, when people wanted to target something outside of pistol range (about 20-50 feet) are the following, for it fires a very heavy projectile over a high arc, but with a propulsion system that stays below sonic speeds, It is reusable and thus does not have the problem of filling up with water like a conventional silencer:



Another silent weapon, with more power (and thus greater weight AND greater ability to penetrate Armor), but slower rate of re-loading:

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/629497/629497,1281976555,3/stock-photo-medieval-girl-shoots-a-crossbow-59143561.jpg

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/629497/629497,1281976555,3/stock-photo-medieval-girl-shoots-a-crossbow-59143561.jpg

The British issued bows during WWII to some units, through except for one report in 1940, none seems to have actually been used in combat:

http://www.warhistoryonline.com/featured-article/glorious-bastard-mad-jack-churchill-became-the-only-man-during-wwii-to-kill-an-enemy-soldier-with-an-arrow-fired-from-a-longbow.html

Please note, most unconventional operations would NOT mention how someone was "eliminated" but combat reports would. I have seen photos of British Troops, all with rifles then one with a Longbow. This may just have been a propaganda photo, but it exists and longbows were obtained and at least one was used (I have also saw a cover of Life Magazine of 1944, of US Service men marching in formation, all with M1903 Springfields. I suspect that was an attempt to fool the Germans that most US Troops still had Springfields instead of the M1 Rifle. You have to be careful when you review photos published in war time, for fooling someone may be part of the reason for the photo).

In Vietnam, silenced pistols and sub-machine guns were used, but the US also had its Hmong allies use their cross bows when silence was wanted. Again, in open combat the Hmong preferred modern weapons, but I have heard of reports where the Hmong used Crossbows to take out men on guard duty for any Viet Cong or North Vietnamese group they were attacking.

Just pointing out, such weapons have a place even today and fulfills the "requirement" of a silenced weapon.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:38 PM

27. "for...police forces and the Department of Homeland Security."

So Homeland Security and our militarized police can begin shooting civilians without all that pesky noise alerting everyone to it.

Imagine how useful this could be for early morning raids, or a busy protest situation.

Seriously, I want any Third Way authoritarian apologist to *try* to explain to me why our police forces and Homeland Security should be equipped with noiseless bullets.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #27)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:55 PM

29. I'm not an apologist and hate Third Way authoritarians, but I'll try to answer that question.


A valid police use would be sneaking in for a hostage rescue.

I know this is something the police never do outside of Hollywood movies. But if they actually did, it would be a valid use.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:12 PM

31. Locking, sorry, this is a feature story about something that might happen in the future.

Last edited Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:55 PM - Edit history (1)

Please consider reposting in the GD. Thanks!

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