Friday, February 18, 2011

Electric Death

I had a dream, kind of Robocop-ish, in which a military robotic drone aircraft flew over a crowd and fired off many blank rounds, and the crowd was showered with hot, empty shell casings. Which, when I woke up, moved me to wonder if that had ever happened. Had there been, or were there now guns on aircraft that spewed the empties into the air?

The short answer is, Yes, there were. And in some cases, still are.

Not a lot of material on this–most links to machine guns in planes don't speak to where the empties go, but there were some that indicated that warcraft just ejected them into the air, and one story by a WWII bomber crewman was that one returning ship out of twenty showed damage from spent .50 cal shell casings, and that his personal experience was when shell casings from the plane in front of him broke through the plexiglas window and smashed up some gear, putting the nose gun out of commission, and bruising his shin through a flak suit.

So, yeah, though these days, the electric gatling guns in jet fighters drop them into a bin.

Check out the demo of how fast the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm machine gun fires–it takes a few seconds to warm up and slow down, but the average is 4000 rounds a minute. Look how fast it dumps those empties into the bin.

And the baby brother, 7.62mm minigun, out of a helicopter, firing tracers:


Justin said...

First time I ever shot automatic, I was at this place Front Site in Vegas. They taught us on uzis, then we got to play with bigger stuff.

I was firing an M16, and one of the hot casings landed right on my barbed-wire necklace. It sat there, searing my flesh.

I stayed calm -- respecting the automatic weapon with live ammo in my novice hands. But damn, did it hurt!

Steve Perry said...

There's a machine gun shoot near Albany, Oregon, a couple times a year, and I went a few times with a shooting buddy who owned six or eight subguns and assault rifles. Big deal, lot of folks, some dealers who rent out guns. I've gotten to shoot everything from fully automatic .22s, to automatic Glocks, to jeep-mounted fifties. I'm fond of the old open-bolt Tommygun, the Chicago typewriter, a big, heavy, relatively-slow RPM .45. Accurate enough to pop balloons at fifty yards, and you quickly learn that short bursts are the way to go, else you'll be bird-hunting in a hurry.

Mike Byers said...

Back in the day, I used to work with the C-130 gunships; in fact, one of 'em pretty much saved my bacon during a night engagement with around 250 North Vietnamese. The C-130 had three 20mm Gatlings, along with a 150mm howitzer and two Bofors 40mm cannons. Being on the receiving end of the 20mms was impressive, I can tell you. Later, I found out they had a couple of guys on the crew who did nothing but scoop 20mm brass into 55-gallon drums. I finally got a ride with the C-130 guys: it was like hell let out for noon when everything was firing. You wanted to wear earplugs, too.