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Old 02-11-2009, 02:19 AM   #1
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Default Wrought Iron Rounds?

I'm a writer of fanfiction and not familiar with firearms. I was wondering what kind of handheld firearm could fire wrought iron rounds. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 02-11-2009, 02:43 AM   #2
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Closest I could come with an answer to that would an old Brown Bess Musket. Fill it with powder and add whatever is handy for a load.

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Old 02-11-2009, 10:33 AM   #3
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Wrought iron is iron that has been beaten to have impurities removed, and in the process it absorbs some of the carbon from the charcoal. It can be soft or hard, depending on how much carbon it absorbs. So you can think of it almost as steel.

You can shoot projectiles of it with a crossbow, or make some sort of ballistic knife (like the KGB agents did--spring loaded tube that hurls knife blades).

Shotguns can shoot steel shot, but it is usuall only small bb's. So you can make wrought iron bb's.

If you wanted to shoot it like a single bullet out of a rifle, it would screw up the barrel something fierce. A rifle has circular grooves machined in it to make the bullet spin as it travels down the rifle. Lead bullets, because they are soft, can catch those grooves and spin..without damaging the gooves. A wrought iron bullet would do that for a few shots, but quickly scratch up the barrel. Once the barrel is scratched up, the bullet will not spin and the rifle's accuracy will be forever lost.

Guns--firearms without any rifling in the barrel are the only thing that could fire a wrought iron projectile without damage. It would probably need to be round in shape, like a ball, to not do some funky rattling around when being fired. It would have to be smaller than the barrel too.

I suppose, using modern technology, you could make a wrought iron projectile, but imbed it in a plastic ring. The plastic ring would be the only thing that touched the barrel, but would separate from the projectile after it left the barrel. They make such things, called sabots, for use in rifled barrels. That way you could fire a spear shaped projectile and not have it do anything funky to the rifled barrel.
Sabot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I suppose using primative technology, you could coat the wrought iron projectile with lead, so that the lead acted as a plastic sabot would.

This is all theoretical, of course, for your book writing. I suspect that firing some sort of large wrought iron projectile might violate state or federal laws due to its huge size.

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Old 02-11-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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A bullet made of wrought iron fired through a hand gun would violate federal law regarding armor piercing ammo.

Considering this is a fantasy type novel, if the stuation is societal break down there mich be very good reason to improvise. Any firearm "could" shoot a bullet made from an unconventional material. The big problems would be extreme wear on the barrel and insufficient gas seal aound the bullet. A lead or copper jacketed bullet is generally .001" larger than the barrel bore diameter. The material is soft enough to be swaged down (squeezed) and seal the expanding gasses behind itself. With an insufficient gas seal, velocity would suffer and accuracy would be dismal.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:38 PM   #5
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Default Thanks so much!

All of that was very helpful! Thanks!

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Old 02-11-2009, 06:34 PM   #6
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Actially, most cartridges have projectiles around 8 thousant's larger than the bore size. It would be impossible to fire a solid steel or iron ball down any rifled barrel without serious damage to the rifling!

IF someone were to be in a situation calling for such, it would have to be done with an undersized projectile enclosed in a soft (plastic) sabot OR as a leather or fabric patched projectile, as is done with muzzle loaders. The sabot or patching will take the rifling and also prevent the projectile from contacting and damaging the bore.

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Old 02-12-2009, 10:46 PM   #7
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As the folks have explained, no modern firearm would do that. Wrought (which, BTW, is the past tense of work) iron is too hard to be fired thru a rifled firearm. Rifling (usually in the form of light, spiral grooves engraved on the inside of the barrel) require that they squeeze and grip a bullet, spinning in, and markedly improving it's accuracy. In the EARLY days of back powder firearms, the smoothbore gun (no rifling) might fire a round ball of stone, iron, or lead. They were basically miniature cannons. Lead was the projectile of choice due to it's greater density, and thus able to retain energy further.

You might check on historical weapons such as the arquebus, but, sorry, no hand or shoulder firearm designed in the past 200 years would use wrought iron as the bullet of choice. In a really tight spot, folks have been known to use bits of chain, nails, etc in a shotgun- there was even an O. Henry story where the bad guy was nailed with a cut-up counterfeit silver dollar (lead) fired from a shotgun.

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Old 02-17-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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Default Germans in WWII

I believe, if my military history is correct, that the Germans experimented successfully with sintered iron bullets in the last days of the war for low velocity weapons. The bullets had lube/displacement groves much like a cast bullet has today. This allowed it to take the rifling on the bands and not the whole bullet. Sintered Iron is pretty soft stuff all things considered.

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Old 02-25-2009, 11:16 PM   #9
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Default Shotgun cup

Hm.... I suppose you could put wrought iron in the shot cup of a shotgun. The shot cup holds the shot together while the 'wad' at the tail end of it provides the resistance to the rapidly expanding gas. The shot cup falls away soon after it leaves the muzzle (being lightweight plastic) so the shot is on its own from there on.... some people have weaponized little surplus flechettes in the same manner, stuffing them into shotgun shells in lieu of shot.

An alternative - if the wrought iron were something more or less bullet sized, you could put it in a black powder gun with a sabot and it would work the same way - it would get pushed out the barrel. Mind you, you'd want to surround the wrought iron projectile with something to keep it from damaging the bore. This is basically how "slugs" work in a shotgun. The subcaliber projectile is sitting in a sabot that allows the gas seal on the "powder end" and provides a sleeve to keep the projectile centered. The sabot separates from the projectile after it leaves the barrel.

For that matter, you can launch something like that from, say, a Greener harpoon gun....

Gads, what ARE you writing, anyway? And what type of projectile is this supposed to be?

There's ways it could be done - but wrought iron just doesn't have much use as far as projectiles are concerned. Lead and other materials are better suited.

If you tell us a bit more about the physical characteristics of the projectile, we could be a bit more useful.

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