Thursday, December 08, 2005

Revisiting the volcanic

I was at the shop today pondering over the old cartridges offered by this company and I saw the photos of older, gas checked "minie ball" style cast leads sitting by themselves and immediately I thought of the Volcanic, and then just as immediately I thought, "How would I modernize that?"

Ok, basically you use a standard bullet shape, hollowpoint or otherwise, and you add a skirt. Copper, likely. It'll have a little nook in the forward part of the propellant chamber, to hold a primer. Yes, the primer will be ahead of the propellant. Think needle gun here... though there could always be the option of *gasp* electric spark, peizoelectric, laser, or microwave ignition. Ok, the last are going a bit far. But anyways.... primer within the propellant. The "needle" would be made of (we've discussed this before) tungsten, very likely, for density and vaporization/corrosion/spallation resistance.

Now, the interesting thing about holding the propellant within the projectile is the versatility. You could use a standard burn powder in a binder, or you could use a slow burning propellant behind a lavalle nozzel.... aka a rocket. Or likely both, to get the bullet moving nicely supersonic and then have it accellerate beyond that. But, again, ahead of myself.

Advantages? Lighter weight, no cartridge to eject, mechanical simplicity,

Disadvantages? the needle striker, unique ammunition for a while, exposed propellant, the need to have solid propellant (or a cap cover that could be pierced by the striker, but then you've got debris issues), cleaning issues since the chamber turns into a gas trap

It'd work with pretty much any feed mechanism except a revolver, since the entire round leaves... you'd need a fully shielded cylinder front and rear to keep them from falling out. There'd have to be work done on reducing obturation and "stiction", and chamber stretch as well since the "cartridge" has to be free to accelerate forward down the bore.

Further work would require I sit down and make a mechanical drawing and figure out the density of the alloy used, etc. I'm not up to that tonight, so consider this the "lip service" phase of the modern Volcanic.


Blogger Justin said...

What if you covered the back of the caseless cartridge with a highly flammable paper-like substance? It'd be reduced to carbon pretty quickly and blown back against the bolt face, hopefully falling into the receiver.

It's definately make the chamber dirtier.. but what if could be "swept" clean after each shot? Put a trap door of sorts behind the chamber that'll open up when the bolt recoils back and a metal O-ring like deal that would still allow the cartridge to pass through and attached to the bolt carrier.

When the bolt comes back so does the "sweeper" and the trap door opens up, letting the extra gunk (paper debris) fall to the ground Bolt starts coming home, grabs a new catridge, door closes, and the sweeper is in it's original position again.

Of course, the sweeper would have to be delayed slightly from the bolt coming back -- a hook resting in a channel under the gas piston could catch it after a quarter or half an inch, and a similar hook on the bottom of the bolt carrier would have to catch the trap door at a delay too, or, maybe the trap door could be timed exactly with the bolt coming back -- that might make things easier and less prone to breakage.

Hell, if the sweeper thing actually worked well you might be able to go with something sturdier than paper as a backing, like a thin plastic. I suppose easier chunks would fall out better than little carbon bits of burned paper. If it didn't work it's way out though problems would arise.

Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

The waste of enrgy because you need to accellerate the projectile PLUS all that rocket fuel.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Neutrino Cannon said...

Volcanic-like cartridges have been tried with limited success with modern construction.

The Italian 9mm AUPO is one example:

And Russian 40mm grenades for their underbarrel grenade launchers have the propellant attached to the projectile as well. They are fired from a muzzle-loading launcher that's quite a bit smaller than an M203.

2:26 PM  

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