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Handloading metallic cartridge blanks
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 2:45 pm    Post subject: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Has anyone here loaded blanks for semi-auto guns?

Some friends of mine are in to World War 2 reenacting. Apparently they're encountering shortages of blanks for .45 Auto and .30 Carbine. I've been looking into making some of each. I know you can make the .45s from .308 brass and apparently make .30 Carbine from .223 brass. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience in this area that they could pass along.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 3:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Pkslinger, I know nothing about this topic. But, why wouldn't one use the original/appropriate brass for the blank?

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Slim, it's not long enough. Remember, those two cases headspace on the case mouth. You have to simulate that and still have enough case to put a crimp on it. If you look at Atlantic Wall blanks you can see what I mean. I'm at work so I can't share the website because it involves evil guns... I'm pretty surprised that I can still get on HuntingNut from work!

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 7:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Pkslinger, Thanks for the explanation.

www.atlanticwallblanks.com/

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 4:10 am    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Maybe it's good to consider how the Swedish used to handle this. They made ammo with a wooden bullet. Then they discovered that such a wooden bullet could still harm something or somebody at 100 yards and they add a device on the front of the barrel to splinter the wooden bullet.
I think that's the best approach to make a safe blank that still would cycle the rifle.

I never reloaded with wooden bullets, but I did some reloading of blank ammo using black powder and (toilet-)paper. Never tried this on a semi-auto. The use of BP brings also extra cleaning, but it's a very safe propelant in this application.
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 5:33 am    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

When we did war games in the military, we had a red muzzle break/device that covered the muzzle. It purpose was to increase the back pressure enough to cycle to M4.

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 8:52 am    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Yep, the semi-autos are using blank adapters, or even special barrels that will only allow blanks.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 12:37 am    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

I wonder if you could use something along lines of the star crimp starter you use for shot shells????

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 2:18 am    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Just an idea: why not try some fast powder, a cart-wad with some sawdust on top of it, fixed with a drop of this white wood glue?
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Vince
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 2:20 am    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Elvis wrote:
I wonder if you could use something along lines of the star crimp starter you use for shot shells????

That is pretty much what they use Elvis. The blank rounds I have fired were all similar except for the 7.62mm NATO Blank round...it was a complete cartridge made of plastic with the tip of the "projectile" pre-weakened, allowing it to burst open when fired. The .303 and 5.56mm basically had the neck of the case crimped in the exact manner you suggest.

As for a Blank Firing Attachment (BFA), the Bren, M60, L7, .30 Cal and .50 BMG all had a blank firing barrel that could not be used for ball ammunition. The L1A1 SLR (or FN depending where it was made), M16 and F88 Steyr derivatives all had a detachable BFA. Both the Blank Firing Barrel and the BFA limited the escape of the gas to approximately the same rate as a live firing barrel shooting a projectile thus allowing the action to cycle. In some cases it was also necessary to adjust the gas setting.

NOTE: The most important thing to remember is that blank rounds are dangerous and can cause serious injury, or even death, at close range. It is not uncommon for pieces of brass to shear off the crimped end on firing.
A case in point is a stuntman was killed in Australia about 12 months ago by a blank 12g round. Exact details are unsure, but it is believed that the wad may have struck him. The two individuals involved in the manufacture of these blank rounds are before the Courts now.



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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Kinda rule #1 for reenacting, no wads. I've been hit by a wad from maybe 40 yards away, fired from a cap & ball revolver. Hit me in the thigh and STUNG! The feller shooting was using felt "Wonder Wads", and swore that they wouldn't travel that far...

I've got the dies for the star-crimp. That works fine on the bottle-necked cartridges for bolt actions. Note in Vince's pics how the brass has to also form the "bullet" for proper feeding in a self-loader. That's why they use .308 brass for the .45 Auto blanks. The trick for me is forming the cases without having some custom die made.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Pumpkinslinger wrote:
The trick for me is forming the cases without having some custom die made.

Pkslinger, good luck. This looks like a domain of reloading that has its own unique process. I think you have a significant challenge to accomplish this without special dies. Are you also going to need to anneal these cases as part of the process.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

looking at the .223 blanks made me think of using a .204 ruger case through .223 die to give the long neck to squash in....... pumpkin what derivatives are there off the case you use??? what uses a shortened .308 case???

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 7:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

Elvis, you have to form then cut the .308 brass to get a workable length for the .45 blank. At this point I'm not exactly sure what that length is. It's going to be the the length of a complete .45 Auto cartridge (1.275"), plus enough to allow for the star crimp. My crimp die leaves a crimp about like the one shown in Vince's .303 pic.

I don't know offhand of any cartridge that uses a shortened .308 case

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Handloading metallic cartridge blanks Reply with quote

youve got nothing to loose except a case...cut one off just slightly longer than a loaded .45 round and put it through your die and "see" what it does. if the internals are tapered enough it will start to squeese it inwards,take it out and put half a dozen semi evenly spaced dings around rim and try it deeper,with a bit of luck it will form a semi decent pointy end/or get drill and drill what is it?9mm? hole in block of steel to tap unprimed case down into forming your pointy end,dont need it completely closed as Aloys has said a wee blob of glue to hold charge in...afterall you only want noise and a little pressure so a small charge of trail boss or shotgun powder and maybe?? a piece of tissue paper to hold it in?? will be all you need. keep us informed I like this idea.

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