Skip to comments.Syrians Place Booby Traps in Rebel Guns
Posted on 10/20/2012 12:32:59 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee
DEIR SONBUL, Syria The government of Syria, trying to contain a rapidly expanding insurgency, has resorted to one of the dirty tricks of the modern battlefield: salting ammunition supplies of antigovernment fighters with ordnance that explodes inside rebels weapons, often wounding and sometimes killing the fighters while destroying many of their hard-found arms.
The practice, which rebels said started in Syria early this year, is another element of the governments struggle to combat the opposition as Syrias military finds itself challenged across a country where it was not long ago an uncontested force. The government controls the skies, and with aircraft and artillery batteries it has pounded many rebel strongholds throughout this year. But the rebels continue to resist, mostly with small arms.
Doctored ammunition offers an insidious way to undermine the rebels confidence in their ammunition supply while simultaneously thinning their ranks. . .
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Umm, yeah. So? You replace the powder in a case with C-4. It doesn't have to kill them, just tear them up, some.
This "asymetrical warfare" thing works both ways, and if they steal our ammo, they have to expect an additional amount of risk. If we suspected someone was brokering stolen munitions to the Bad Guys, salted ammo was one way to annoy his customers...
It was one of the best psyop we did to the NVA. SOF team would sneak into enemy depot, open one of their ammo crates and replace some of it with C4 laced rounds and reseal the crates. Ammo get issued to troops who would be killed as their rifles explode. It caused the NVA to question the quality of the ammo especially the ones from China and East Europe. The best effect was inserting laced mortar rounds. They end up killing a whole mortar team.
I would be shaking and weighing every round I was carrying.
This would be alright in a war where one side is using NATO small arms and the other guy is using East Bloc arms. But in Syria both sides are using the same weapons and ammo. It’s like poisoning a well. The other guy can poison your wells.
Fill a 7.62x39 round with Bullseye or another fast burning powder and it will blow a rifle sky high.
The article is talking about granulated TNT. That's what they put in the old U.S. “pineapple” grenades. I don't imagine it detonates but it would burn faster and hotter than ball powder causing a small explosion.
Bullseye is for .38 special and other pistol rounds, in very small quantities. A rifle case will hold enough to cause a big explosion.
I guess that would give you a flatter trajectory and a little extra recoil.
It would blow the rifle up. Pistol powder is much faster burning than that for rifles because it only has a few inches of barrel length in which to operate and it's also the case that a pistol cartridge only uses a tiny amount of powder compared to a rifle cartridge. The amount of pistol powder you'd get by filling even a small rile case like that of the AK with the stuff would be appropriate for a pistol cartridge an inch or so in diameter if there was such a thing but, again in a 30-caliber rifle barrel, would destroy the weapon and injure or kill the shooter.
This Was used and was a large part of my duties. Rigging small arms ammo, grenades, mines and then planting for the enemy to find, losing a hundred thousand in gambling and ‘supplying’ them rigged ammo to pay it off. Quite effective. Thought they were going to go back to spears for a while.
I think they got this idea after watching the film “Fifth Element” :)
It can be tricky, Winchester 296, for example, is safe and efficient for .44 magnum with a 240 grain bullet and 24.5 grains of powder, but a reduced load, 22 grains, with the same bullet can give severe overpressure. If 296 doesn't fill the case it detonates, as opposed to a controlled burn. Again, my memory isn't guaranteed to be 100%. I used to cast and shoot over 150 pounds of lead a year but it's been a long time.
My first reaction was, we did this in Vietnam. All’s fair in love and war.
I just recently learned about CIA “salted” ammo used against the NVA. Wish I’d known about it while I was in RVN, must have been classified. There was even a phony published report on the unreliability of East Bloc ammo complete with photos of burst AK-47s.
Speaking of reduced loads, I have fired .375 H&H magnum with the case loaded half & half with smokeless and dry Cream of Wheat filler. It was a neat way to get acquainted with the mighty magnum by starting with reduced loads and building up to full factory loads. The rule was, never leave any air space in the cartridge case.
After WWII the US Army took examples of every combat rifle used in WWII and did a series of destruction tests to see if we could learn how to make a stronger rifle. They basically loaded hotter and hotter rounds in each sample until it blew up. They were not able to get the Arisaka to blow up. They went so far as to use bullseye powder and all it did was to send the barrel down range, but the receiver and bolt were still functional.
If I remember correctly, the reason for its strength was a combination of an extremely thick receiver wall and special case hardening (the receiver was hard on the outside and soft on the inside).
Additionally, the NRA museum has a Arisaka rifle that has a barrel rifled for a 6.5mm bullet and the chamber set for a 7.62mm round (30-06). After WWII it was pretty common to take 7.7mm Arisaka (Arisaka rifles were chambered for a 6.5 round and a 7.7 round) and ream out the chamber to fit the 30-06, because 7.7JAP rounds were extremely hard to get. Some Vet brought home what he thought was a Arisaka that used the 7.7Jap round and had it rechambered for the 30-06. He fired it several times and it kicked so hard that he took it to a gunsmith to find out why it kicked so hard. The gunsmith did a little checking and realized that it was kicking so hard because it was pushing a 7.62 bullet down a 6.5 barrel- something that should have caused the rifle to blow up. The rifle was sent to the NRA, who did a remote firing to validate that it would not blow up. Somehow the rifle was donated to the NRA and there it sits.
In case you are thinking of making your own custom rifle using an Arisaka rifle, the trigger is horrible and the safety is a real pain to use. But I know of one gunsmith that makes custom varment rifles out of them, but it is very expensive to do because of the modifications required for a good trigger and safety.
Hopefully, we’re getting past the days of chopping up collectible guns to make “deer rifles”. If you have an Arisaka and want a deer rifle, sell the Arisaka and buy a new sporting rifle. You’ll save a collectible, give a gun company some business, and maybe make some money in the bargain. Thirty years ago, a gun dealer I knew had a rack full of German K98k Mauser fifles with the stocks cut down and rechambered to 8mm/’06. They were about $150 each. Today an original, all-matching K98k can easily bring $1500. You can buy 2 or 3 new Remchesters for that.
I think I would just pull every bullet in my combat load, inspect the powder charge, and reseat it with an improvised reloading press once confirmed safe. It would take some work but soldiers have to work hard before and after the battles too. As I recall, the Angolans had to do something along these lines.
I just acquired a Type 38 Arisaka a couple weeks ago at an estate sale. I have learned a great deal about them since, including the strength of their receivers. Even the “last ditch” Type 99’s were strong despite their rough finish. My $1.25 apiece 6.5x50 brass arrived today long with a Lyman 140 gr. 6.5 mold. Fun should ensue over the next few weeks.
Trailboss powder should ensure that I won’t have the same fate that those Viet Cong fighters had with the “doctored” ammo the CIA left out for them.