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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Early Caseless Ammunition Systems:

In 1968 Daisy-Heddon managed to make some 23,000 of their innovative V/L rifles that fired caseless .22" rounds - before the US BATF&E closed production down in 1969.

Daisy Outdoor Products were not licenced to manufacture arms despite their many air guns - so they lost a potential goldmine of profits.
I read about this case-less system in the 1970 GUN DIGEST the other day (- BOOKS are good - and old books are even better eh).

 The Daisy V/L is said (by some) to be the very first production arm using case-less ammunition - but I question that.

The rounds are (were) fed singly into the chamber - and the rifle, that was really an under-lever spring-piston air rifle - when discharged drove a blast of compression-heated air through a small hole at 2,000 degrees F to ignite the yellow coloured propellant and send the 29gn bullet down the barrel at 1150 feet per second.

A good working system but the shooter had to cock the spring piston for each single loaded shot. The Belgian inventor Jules Van Langenhoven  ("V/L") filed his US patent Number US3854400A in 1968 for this 'air ignition system'.. However ..

'Rocket Ball' ammunition was patented in 1848 and was something like a hollow base Minie Ball but had the propellant packed into its hollow base - to be fired by a percussion cap..

- and the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company went one step further by including a primer / cap to make a completely self-contained round.
It worked back in 1848 - but due to the restricted volume of the bullet cavity the rounds were rather low powered - and were soon replaced by the metallic cartridge cased ammunition.

Minie Ball Rounds for Comparison.

One current case-less system is the Heckler & Koch G11:
G11 Case-less Round- "exploded" View.

I think the jury is still 'out' on whether the high temperature propellant is safe from 'cook-off' - or will the military settle for maybe a plastic case round. - Another possible development might be to use electrically fired ignition.

The 'rounds' rectangular section (as opposed to normal cylindrical) does away with wasted space when the rounds are stacked in magazines.

Interesting eh,

Marty K.