Atomic Bullets?!?!?!?!?

Can’t recall seeing this here before, but it is ‘interesting’ reading. Enjoy: … bullets-0/

I believe that story is sort of a joke story, like one from “The Onion” or something. Producing Californium costs 10’s of millions of dollars to get mere grams of it, and although you could make a nuclear bomb the size of a matchbox, the engineering needed to get the process to happen for an explosion would require too much hardware around it to function in a 12.7 or 14.5 sized bullet. Not to mention the radioactivity problems with handling it, and the notion of having a machine gun firing bullets which turn into individual nuclear explosions at a range of not more than 2 miles from the gun that fired them.

When you first presented this, I thought that it would be a load of hooee, but after reading the article, it seems very feasible. It seems to me that another problem that would occur would be that the rounds would have to be separate loading. Either the temperature extremes of the storage to use would be detrimental on the powder, or the nuclear decay itself. Makes you wonder about what our country did along those lines. Thanks, jonnyc. Cheers, Bruce.

I have no idea if this is real or a fairy tale. Sadly, it is not the silliest thing that various military research activities have studied over the years. One reason for researching this kind of stuff that appears unreasonable on the surface is to make sure it is really unreasonable and understand the limitations as outlined in the article, just to make sure the other potential enemies cannot produce and deploy the capability. Also, to understand what kind of “markers” that intelligence may uncover to indicate a potential enemy is trying to deploy a capability. It is a complex world out there.

I wonder if the Soviets made a dummy round??? Nice item if they did. Glad they did not consider it in 9mmP!



My vote is not possible. Cf-252 produces a lot of neutrons and would not be stable enough to use as an “atomic bomb”. Its normally used for neutron activation applications or as a start up source in nuclear reactors (we used Plutonium-Berylllium in ours at the Univ). It decays by alpha emission, meaning that its very deadly if it gets ingested or inhaled. It also has a short half-life (approx. 2.6 years) which makes it a short term use item.

I think the writer meant Cf-251 which is fissile stable and does have a very low critical mass but is prohibitively expensive to make.


If “atomic bullets” of the type described would work, would the Russians refrain from using them and be the first to tell the world?

It’s a re-tell of an April 1st story from Russian issue of Popular mechanics magazine.

So it’s a joke, all right

Hah! Thanks.