AAI Flechette Shotshell

Project SALVO I and II field experiment cartridges include the AAI 32-flechette shotshell. I have seen the shotshells with both a black plastic top wad (shown below) and without any top wad at all. Anyone out there have a specemin? What does the top-wad consist of?


Firstly, congrats on this shell, I never even heard of them. I thought SALVO was about multi-projectile rounds.

Secondly, after investigating SALVO, I found the following “In SALVO testing they were found to be able to penetrate one side of a standard steel helmet at 500 yards (460 m)—excellent given their light weight—but the dispersion of the darts was so great as to make them only marginally useful” (Wikipedia). I could have guessed this without being a ballistics expert.

Thirdly, if there is no wad, what keeps flechettes from falling out?

Should be solid black. I recall " shiny". Will check when home

Hi Ray,

I’ve not seen any without the wad, but then again I’ve not seen too many of these rounds in the first place.

The wad is a thin plastic (bakelite?) disc. As you can seen from the cut edge, it does not cut cleanly. Makes sense as it is a component that you would want to fracture easily.


The one that I saw without a top-wad very likely was not original. Mine appears to be exactly like Paul’s sectioned one so I’m assuming that’s the way they should look.

Vlad - having the flechette shotshell compete with Salvo bulleted cartridges at 500 yards was not really a fair test. The shot shells re-appeared in later years as a close range defensive system which is how they should have been developed in the first place.

Thanks to everyone for the responses.


The three on the left are AAI product .The factory sectioned one and the one next to it are without the white case over-print the middle example shows.
The two red Federal hulls are headstamped “FEDERAL 12 CARTRIDGE GA”, and “FEDERAL No HI-POWER 12” this last has a blackened base with a non-blackened primer and battery cup. As can be see, two different kinds of flechettes types been used.

Pete, the cartridge on the very right appears to have flechette tips sticking out on the top in the lateral view. Is this normal? If so, would this intervene with feeding if one loads multiple rounds?

Hi Vlad
Yes they do & I have no idea if they would interfere with feeding, but as they are level across the tip (or should be this example has one slightly prominent) perhaps not. The shell is correct that way (all level) & not a fake. I haven’t yet bothered to look up who made it. I’ll see what I can find.

I checked for the one on the far right in Sweaengen’s book, The World’s Fighting Shotguns but to no avail. So next I called Tuscon & asked. Bill has it, but has no information on it.

forgot to add Swearengen only notes the black Bakelite topwad version as AAI product.

I think I have it too. But I am out of town. Will check when home