This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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This has been my exact line of thinking since forever.
My desin is heavyily armour oriented, having watched a million YT vids, its always the faster rounds that defeat Ar500, such as he .17 rems, the 80grain 6mm magnums, and of course the 300win mag wih a sabot.
Logically then a steel bullet at 5500fps has potential, because it wont desintegrate at that speed. Even at 300m it has 4500fps!
My design had a 4.2mm bullet in a very thin 6mm sabot. You always want thinner sabots for more concentricity in the bore. Energy was 2300lbs, speed 5500fps.
As for durability worries, u either want a CT case like the NGSW, or a case with a long neck to protect he bullet.
Fouling should be easy to solve but hot barrels are the real question...gun would need to have a huge emphasis on cooling....such as revolving multiple chambers.
the drawbacks you can never solve...sabots litter the firing range. And flash hiders will pose problems.
Lastly i dont think there are safety problems....the sabot flies straight
I haven't read your entire post and am just taking the post title as a QED question. The reason there's not more interest in sabots is due to an unwillingness to put the effort in to make them work. If the willingness was there to troubleshoot the concept, it would probably obsolete all current small arms ammunition.
Look up "Robert Truax", "Sea Dragon", and "SpaceX Starship", for an example of the same kind of thing.
Okay I've read your post in detail now. Going to take it basically paragraph by paragraph, starting with "Accuracy is one issue".
1. It is certainly true that sabot separation poses an obstacle to precision of the system. However, there are two things to note. The first is that most normal small arms rifle bullets for infantry rifles yaw quite a lot out of the muzzle (you can see it in this on video here), and sabot separation isn't really that big of a deal in that context. Even if we assume that an SPIW-like gun achieves 5 MOA, that's still only a little less accurate than a Tavor, for a gun that has a pH many many times higher at range.
2. Sabots handle gas ports just fine. Properly made "pepperpot" liners make suppressors practical for sabot rounds. You can see this in tank muzzle brakes:
3. A decently designed sabot should be basically a truncated cone, I don't foresee feeding issues unless the sabot itself isn't stiff enough, which shouldn't be a problem with modern plastics.
4. Catching a bullet in the neck is no joke either. But you make the point that a fragmenting petal type or disintegrating type sabot is a no-go. Cup type, of which CBJ's is a variant, is the way to go here.
5. Right and this is really the biggest obstacle. The will is not there to do the work to bring costs down. All of these problems are complicated, and they take focused, persistent effort to achieve realistically, something the government is bad at. The civilian industry is tiny and has zero incentive to make this happen.
6. The solution to the fouling problem is probably PPSU or a related medical thermoplastic, or just a light aluminum jacket.
7. This is no longer a problem. Modern plastics are extremely impact resistant.
8. These issues can all be addressed, but it will take a "small arms Elon Musk". No I'm not kidding.
Great post, and great questions, btw.
Accuracy is one issue. The Swedes, however, disagree, as I hear their snipers shoot what looks to be M948. The higher velocity increases hit probability more than the lower mechanical accuracy decreases it. And Emeric in his neckless cartridge thread figured that, all else being equal, the hit probability with a 4 MOA rifle isn't that much lower than a 1 MOA rifle, especially at long range.
Well, I think the "accuracy issue" is more complex than that.
Yes, you could achieve 4.5 MoA with a sabot, but you need to use also a pretty short bullet (as found on the XM948 SLAP). Trying to launch a spin-stabilized bullet with a L/D higher than 4 with a sabot is a challenge because sabots don't like "short" twist (the L/D of the XM948 is 3.7, and it's a flat-base design).
A few years ago, I found some accuracy data of several bullets fired from sabots, and the accuracy was exponentially decreasing as the bullet length was increasing. The FAMAS MSD project used a bullet with a L/D of 4.1 and the accuracy was so low that you wouldn't expect to hit a man-sized torso beyond 100 m. Very similar results were achieved during the US ACR program with the AAI and Steyr ACR firing flechettes, the accuracy was so poor (we are talking about something like 20 MoA) that the hit probability above 75 m was lower than the one of the M16A2.
So, you're probably not going to be able to use a very sleek bullet, and will need high density material (tungsten) to achieve a high sectional density to balance for poor form factor.
The XM948 is working because it is using a short, high density bullet. Using a less dense material will decrease the BC to unpractical level, and increasing the bullet length to regain some sectional density will probably decrease the accuracy beyond practical level...
I'm not going to say that it can't be done (the US is working on it for the .50 APTC program), but at least you could expect the cost of your ammo to significantly increase.
Do you think there would be an accuracy improvement wih, say a .17 bullet in a 6mm sabot.....as opposed to a 7.62 sabot.
Also would sabots melt ina GPMG barrel....could his be solved by a CBj style sabot with a solid polymer beari surface.
Lastly could one have a sabot which is only about 0.5mm thick, for example to reduce the wear of a 22.250 in MGs.
This guy got a reasonable group at 100m
Oh my last question....how would an infantry sabot cope with lots of mud or water in the gun? Thanks
Oh, regarding L/D ratio, i noticed the 50 slap uses long bullets, and CBJ 762 uses fairly long ones too. I think a more sturdy sabot design would work with fast twists
I figured the whole reason the sabots decrease accuracy is because they influence the bullet's just-out-of-barrel yaw. If I'm not wrong, in regular cartridges this effect is easy to compensate for as it is very consistent. If you introduce a sabot, it's separation causes an additional yaw motion which is far less consistent.
That a sabot dislikes tight twist rates seems counter intuitive to me. I assumed that a faster twist causes faster sabot separation due to higher centripetal forces, and thus it has less time to impart additional yaw. But maybe I'm wrong about what causes the accuracy penalty. I'm a chemist, not a ballistician.
Also, this is the first I've heard of the APTC program, normally I'm quite up to date on these things. I can't find much more than an NDIA slideshow and a TFB article. Is there some more in-depth information available? How exactly does it address the accuracy problem? It does seem like a step in the (according to me) right direction, and should have been completed before the they decided on a 6.8mm magnum infantry rifle. (They could have gone back to 7.62 and admit 5.56 was just a fling )
Making a sabot as thin as possible somewhat hampers their ability to get more velocity. There is of course less parasitic mass and the reduction of friction, but as you reduce the sabot's diameter you also reduce the otherwise increased area for the propellant gas to push on (after all, pressure × volume = force = mass × acceleration, and more acceleration = more good). It seems like there is a sweet spot to be found for each bullet, balancing the parasitic weight and velocity gain. And with modern manufacturing making perfectly concentric sabots isn't much harder than making sabots in general.
Sabots wouldn't really melt in hot barrels. While they are usually made of thermoformed polymers, these take time to heat up. Chambering a round and immediately firing it, as GPMGs are want to do, leaves very little time to heat up much of the sabot's bearing surface. Polymers are good insulators, so you really need plenty of time for the heat to be conducted deeper into the material.
Sabots do require tighter twists, although part of the problem is just making sure they are gripping properly. The other part is that effectively, twist rate is constant for projectile calibers traveled per rotation. Smaller projectile relatively to bore means proportionately tighter twist.
The ultimate solution to all of this is to rip the bandaid off and use flechettes.