Wood "bullet" blanks


#1

On another ammunition related fourm, there is a question about why some blank cartridges have wood “bullets” in them. I say that they are there solely to aid in feeding, as they replicate the profile of a standard cartridge. Secondary to this, the design facilitates the reuse of fired cases to make blanks. The opposing opinion is that the wood “bullet” is there to create back-pressure to operate recoil operated machineguns such as the MG 08/15, etc… and that no Blank Firing Adaptor is needed. I say the light weight of the wood “bullet” is insufficient to do this and a BFA/shredder is needed to operate the weapon. What say ye?

AKMS


#2

I have never fired gas system AR or MG what will operate without adaptor when use wooden blanks.


#3

I agree with Hammer. The wood bullets are too light to generate the pressures needed to operate gas-operated weapons or the recoil to operate recoil-operated weapons. In the case of German blanks, the wood bullets for various models of blanks have approximate weights as follows:

Platzpatrone 88 - 6.94 grains
Platzpatrone 98 - 5.5 grains
Platzpatrone 17 (actually a red paper bullet) - 15 grains
Platzpatrone 33 - 7 to 8.5 grains

Basically, these bullets weigh next to nothing - less even than a .22 LR bullet.

They are a guide to feeding. I can’t see any other reason for their design. If anyone knows of any other reason and can document it it would be great to hear from them.

It always struck me as amazing how well the US .30-06 blanks, with their empty-case profile and paper wad fed in our 1919A6 machineguns. Of course, there was a blank adaptor for those, too, and I seem to recall there was a feed-tray adaptor as well, for the shorter OAL of the blank, but it has been almost 50 years since I had anything to do with these, so beware of anecdotal evidence from old codgers with poor memories.


#4

John

Don’t say that! I get 97% of my information from them. At least I think I do. I forget.

Ray


#5

The .303 Bren gun used a ‘bulleted’ blank round and in this role the live-firing barrel was removed and replaced with a blank firing barrel. This was identical to the live barrel excepting that it had a block of steel across the flash hider to smash the wooded bullet and direct it’s splinters down towards the ground. It did not, however, constrict the gas at all and the weapon functioned in the usual way and it was the wooden bullet that forced the gas back through the gas port to operate the mechanism. The weapon would have operated perfectly without that steel block.
Jim


#6

[quote=“Jim”]The .303 Bren gun used a ‘bulleted’ blank round and in this role the live-firing barrel was removed and replaced with a blank firing barrel. This was identical to the live barrel excepting that it had a block of steel across the flash hider to smash the wooded bullet and direct it’s splinters down towards the ground. It did not, however, constrict the gas at all and the weapon functioned in the usual way and it was the wooden bullet that forced the gas back through the gas port to operate the mechanism. The weapon would have operated perfectly without that steel block.
Jim[/quote]

Jim,

A few inches of the blank firing barrel, between the gas port and the angled baffle was of reduced bore, about .25 inch. So the hollow bullet was squeezed down in diameter, then allowed to open up again. This crushing and releasing, whilst having gas pressure inside it, splintered the bullet. The debris was then deflected downwards by the steel baffle. The constriction would probably have increased pressure at the gas port. I never found out if the gun would run blanks with a standard barrel, it was forbidden! This constriction made cleaning after firing a bitch.

gravelbelly


#7

‘Forbidden’ didn’t mean that there was absolutely no way that it could be done! I can confirm that the Bren gun would operate automatically with a live barrel and wooden blanks. I can remember trying to shoot pheasants in this way whilst on exercise, the gun worked fine but I never hit anything. Presumably the bullets were emerging as splinters due to the bore constriction.
Jim