Copyright 2004 3LC Productions Inc
Warning: Explicit photos below!!! and adult language contained below. If you frequently burn yourself with matches this may not be the hobby for you. All those who take part in this website, forum, and use my reloading guides agree to be bound by these rules and recommendations. This is a combined effort, between myself and others that have been there, and done that. We put this page together for your benefit. You’re welcome.
Due to recent and past problems in the 37/40mm community I am preparing this safety instruction page for all those that engage in the hobby of reloading or firing 37mm and or 40mm rounds and launchers. Any recommendations for additions/corrections to this page can be made directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
First off, if you choose to reload and disregard these "rules", we disown you. You take your life into your own hands. If, after reading this complete page, you still have the desire to disobey these rules and advice, you (once again) take your life into your own hands. Common sense and a basic knowledge of reloading is needed to engage in this hobby. If you don't have either, get some, then come back. If you think that accidents happen to the "other guy"... Guess again. You may be next on the list. My reloading disc has many safety notes and recommendations on it for all to see. It will be re-printed here so you all have a chance to read and benefit from it. 37mm and 40mm launchers and ammo can kill you, or others, if you use them improperly. There are a few basic rules which I will expound on below.
Golden Rule #1-- NEVER point your launcher at ANYONE loaded or not!!!! Always treat your launcher as if it were loaded and ready to fire. Launchers do malfunction. Never leave a launcher loaded and unattended. Those who register their launchers as Destructive Devices can use them as they are intended legally, as a lethal weapon. Never point it at anyone unless you are authorized under "Use of force" laws in your state, and your launcher is legally registered as a weapon. Any 37mm or 40mm round can kill someone. Even sub-caliber 26.5mm smokes and flares can kill at close range!
Golden Rule #2-- If you don't know, ask someone who does! There is a wealth of information and experts in the field on our board. There are many guys that have BTDT and know their ass from the nearest mouse hole... (That's right, no punches pulled here... and for damn good reasons) Even when you think you know, you can get into mucho trouble (see below) by doing things that should not be done.
Golden Rule #3-- Obey your Local, State, and Federal laws! I cannot stress this enough. If you do something illegal, and your sorry ass lands in jail for 10+ years, don't think you'll find sympathy here or on 37mm.com. We will laugh at your sorry ass, and hope that "Bubba" finds you attractive, due to the damage you've done to our hobby. Yes, our sympathy is found in the dictionary between "shit" and "Syphilis".
Golden Rule #4-- Never put any kind of explosives (or unknown substances) in your projectiles!!! This is especially true of 37mm munitions. DON'T DO IT EVER!!!!! Also, know how your flare mix and smoke mix will react to your propellant. There are oxidizers that react badly with black powder. Be aware that some chemicals DO NOT MIX!
Golden Rule #5-- Make sure you follow reloading directions to the letter. Just because you "heard" you use 1 teaspoon of "powder" in your casings, doesn't mean you go out and put 1 teaspoon of smokeless in a booster style casing! Doing so can blow BOTH your arms off and kill you, or at the least, blow your launcher up and hands off. Make damn sure you are following WRITTEN directions from those who've BTDT. These launchers are not shotguns, rifles, or pistols. They are a very different animal, and therefore the casings are reloaded differently. Cheap plastic casings will not stand up to the powder charges aluminum casings will. Also, projo weight effects pressures. Type of seal also effects pressures. Smokeless casings and black powder casings also differ greatly in power and pressures. Your launcher is NOT a 16" battleship main gun. It will not lob a round 2 miles, so don't even go there. It is not designed, nor intended to do so. Use it as it is recommended, and designed to be used. Your M-203 is not a Mk-19...
Golden Rule #6-- Never fire your launcher in areas which may generate neighbor complaints. This can result in calls to your local LE and your arrest for disturbing the peace or more. Common sense applies here.
Golden Rule #7-- Pyrotechnic rounds can, and do, start forest fires. Only use them in wooded areas under actual emergency conditions. If testing rounds, make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy. Never fire your launcher at buildings or houses! (I just had to throw that in here...) Keep in mind, heavy winds can blow lightweight projos a couple hundred feet off course. Burning star composition + roof of neighbor's house = bad mojo...
Now, there are some forum rules I'll go over here. These rules apply to my forum. I will not tolerate a few items, and so far they've been un-written. Now that the recent "troll" legislation has passed through congress... here they are:
First off, I will not tolerate rudeness, and my misnomer "omnipotent stomper" applies here. We have a good bunch of people here, and we don't need to ruin it with rudeness. Common courtesy and respect apply. For all newbies, lurk for a while, read the old posts, then feel free to enter the community. We REALLY don't need or want to re-hash all the old topics. Check the old posts, as most likely, you will find an answer to your question there. Be aware that, if you post something really stupid, I and my moderators might just drag you through the garbage dump by your toe nails. This is not a child's site. We will not tolerate childish behavior, unless it comes directly from me. Then perhaps a little... Humor is tolerated, but poking fun at the stomper is verboden. (Hey, it's my site... If you want to poke fun at me, get your own site and pay the bills...)
Secondly, there are many LE
The forum topics are self explanatory, but some just don't get it, so I'll explain here:
37mm-- This applies to 37mm launchers, specifically unregistered pyrotechnic launchers.
40mm-- This applies to both 40mm and registered 37mm Destructive Devices.
General Discussion-- Feel free to discuss anything here. (Please keep rants to 10,000 words or less... I don't have all day to sit at my compooter and read drivel) Also, the ranking structure really has nothing to do with knowledge or time on site. It is post count only. Please refrain from posting drivel just to get a high post count. I do however reserve the right to kick off drivel posters. Agreeing posts are allowed, as well as sympathy posts. No problem here, and it's good to know when people agree with your statements or views on life. Keep in mind that this is not Oprah, or Montel...
Law Enforcement and Military Personnel-- This forum is open to Active or retired duty Military or Active or retired duty LE (That means you are a cop, not a security guard with delusions of grandeur) or Active, retired or former 18 series MOS (Tabbed). I scrutinize all applicants to this forum myself and am a real prick about it. Discussions here may include LE and Military topics. No sensitive information allowed or permitted since this is a website and things are not secure.
New Product Reviews-- Feel free to review your own materials or products you have tested. Good or bad reviews are accepted. Make sure you put damn good reasons for either type of review, and test conditions. Please avoid "Acme smoke mix is shit". Tell us why and how you tested it and what your opinion of "shit" consists of.
Reloading tips and tricks-- Mostly for BTDT (Been there, done that, got years of experience, burnt my fingers a few times, but learned something from doing it...) Tips for the average reloader. Tips are just that, and are not meant to be "all inclusive" in the descriptions. (If you want beginner stuff, buy the reloading disc!) There are many ways to reload this type of ammo, and just because someone's methods vary from yours does not make their way wrong or right. People just do things differently.
Private Messages-- Private messages are for the use of our forum members only. I will not tolerate the misuse of the messages. No harassment, no ass chewins (unless done by a moderator or I to avoid your public embarrassment or flogging). Any misuse of this system will result in expulsion from my board, public flogging, or any number of other nasty things I can think of...
RANTS-- We all get pissed off about certain things. Laws that effect our freedom, news articles, lawyers, and so on. Feel free to rant all you want, as I appreciate a good rant, and even partake if it is interesting enough, and my meds are not working... The forum has a profanity filter on it (not my idea) but we all know ways of getting the point across. No problem here. That's what this forum is here for, for us to discuss things in an open environment and learn from, and benefit from each other.
TROLL CONTROL-- I have given the moderators broad control over the forums and to exercise "Troll control" over them. We don't need a bunch of teenage jackasses ruining our board with their claims of "super duper high explosive house destroying 37mm death ray launchers." Assholes come in all walks of life, and trust me, I've met more than my share of them. Since I pay the bills here, I decide who's an asshole, and kick them off promptly. Guess what kiddies, every post on this forum records your IP address. Post Troll shit here, and we will find out who you are, and where you live, and most likely at least one of our members lives close to you... (Need I continue??) Ask legitimate questions, and you'll get good responses and answers. Be a dumbass, and we'll get rid of you right up quick and in a hurry.
ADVICE TO NEW MEMBERS: As stated above, if you have a question, check old posts first. If you want to avoid too much embarrassment, e-mail it to me. I take the time to respond to all e-mails I receive. It is not a bother to me, and the only stupid question is one that you don't ask, and end up blowing yourself up because you didn't... There are many very experienced members here. When you enter a new environment, lurk and read, and you'll get to know who they are, and it is expected you will provide the appropriate respect where it is due. If you have experience, please feel free to share it. If your experience differs from that of our members, (another words, if you disagree with another members posts or advice) feel free to use the private mail to respectfully point out the difference. All our posting members are level headed, but we are not gods, and even we make mistakes from time to time. No bullshit allowed unless it is a group bullshit session, such as experimenting with fruit cake... Many people just choose to read the posts, and not to partake in the actual discussions. I trim the member tree on occasion, and if I see someone has not visited the site in a few months, I delete their account. Don't take it personal, just re-register. Please keep in mind that this site has members that are in BATF, FBI, and many other alphabet agencies. Please provide them with respect, and don't post illegal bullshit, or insulting bullshit. Remember, not all members of those agencies agree with the rules and regs forced upon them by their gun hungry superiors. Some are just like us, and own and build thumpers just like us. Give respect where it is due. You'd be surprised at the help you can get with a smile and a kind approach.
Disc safety advice
Here's the safety recommendations from my reloading CD re-printed here for your information:
So, You’ve decided to get into the 37-40mm hobby. Cool beans. The info provided here will get you well on the way to enjoying your hobby safely. This info is not by any means being represented as the “only” way to do things. The things written here are from my own experience in reloading. The 37mm and 40mm launchers are strange animals. As you know… There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Likewise, there are more than one way to reload these rounds. I am only relating the way I do it. There are a few basic ground rules you must be familiar with. First of all, if you want to go the cheap route, and reload your own ammo that may consist of only flares, smokes, or signals, and or gas rounds, you will want to go with the 37mm. There’s nothing wrong with the cheap way at all! It’s a good way to get started, and enjoy the hobby without crippling your wallet. It’s the way I got started. I like most have a family, job, and other financial responsibilities. The 37mm launchers are cheap to buy (between 150 and 400 dollars) however, you will be limited on the types of ammo you can legally possess and shoot from them (unless you register your launcher with BATF and pay the $200.00 tax, then you can add such things as wood, rubber buckshot, flechettes, lead and steel shot, and so on). If you want to go the more expensive route and get the real deal 40mm, you can purchase the receiver for around 1800.00 and you will need a form 1 from ATF. You can purchase the barrel also, for around 200.00, but both must be kept at SEPARATE places. (ie one at your house, and one at your mother-in-law’s house…) You fill out your form 1 application to make a DD, then you need the CLEO signature, and you will be fingerprinted. Once the application is filled out and the prints are done, you send the whole thing to ATF, and wait around 4 months for your approval. As long as you are not a felon, or well known criminal, or mentally unbalanced, it will be approved. After that you will need ammo… Good quality 40mm ammo is hard to come by. There are web sites and corporations that sell them; but they mostly sell to LE and Government only. Most will not even talk to you. At some auction sites you can pick up 40mm ammo for between 40.00 a round to 300.00 a round, depending on what you are looking for, and how much extra money you have laying around. If you’re looking for HE rounds, forget it. Yes, you can buy them, if you can find them. You will have to register EACH round, you will have to pay BATF a 200.00 transfer tax on EACH round, you have to report to BATF when you fired the round, and send them the remains of the round to prove it was fired, and so on. NOT worth the hassle and expense if you ask me. You will be looking at a cost of around at least 500.00 a round!!! That’s a pretty big investment to watch literally go up in smoke! If you plan on making the HE rounds, you will have to file your form 1 prior to construction, register the round, the round will have to have a serial number, so on, so on, and so on. Big pain in the arse.
One major ground rule is, if you go the cheap route, do not possess any rounds that are anti-personnel in nature, along with your launcher. No buckshot, no flechette, no rubber ball or shot, no wooden baton, no rubber baton. Nothing that is not a signal or gas. If you do, it is a felony IF your launcher is not registered as a destructive device with BATF. Even if you don’t have an anti-personnel round, if you fire your launcher at someone, you will be charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device, and anti personnel ammunition. Wanna know why? Because you used your perfectly legal flare and perfectly legal flare launcher in an anti personnel role. It’s very easy to prove intent with use. REMEMBER: Possession of an unregistered 37mm launcher AND antipersonnel ammunition together is illegal, unless the launcher is registered.
If you ask me, the 200.00 to register it is a pretty good investment. 37mm ammunition itself is not considered a destructive device UNLESS it contains over ¼ oz of explosive. 37mm buckshot, flechette wood baton, rubber baton, wood ball and so on, are perfectly legal to possess, and sell. It is the possession of those AND an unregistered launcher that will land you in jail. Possession of those two items makes the LAUNCHER a destructive device. NOT the ammo. You cannot make and sell ammunition for a DD without the tax stamp, as you would then qualify as a manufacturer.
Second major ground rule; NEVER EVER point or shoot your launcher at anyone!!! If you do, you will be arrested for many felonies and spend mucho time in jail. Not to mention having a lot of us guys pissed at you because of the political knee-jerk reaction to follow such an episode. Keep our hobby safe and legal. There are videos on youtube of people shooting at others with practice rounds and the damage caused by them. You can easily kill someone with a practice round. Don’t do it.
Third ground rule is; use common sense!!! Do not shoot your launcher at locations that could generate neighbor complaints. All it takes is one nosey grandma to call your local PD and complain about your “grenade launcher” and you “blowing up the neighborhood” and waking grandpa from his nap, and there goes your launcher and you will be fined or jailed or both. (Disturbing the peace… and your launcher will be taken away…)
You can reload ammo for your launcher, but do not try to sell your reloads. In order to make 37-40mm ammo, and engage in the business of selling them, you must have a manufacturers license (3,000.00!!) and your location of manufacture will be open to BATF inspection at any time! You can make these rounds for your own personal use, without the taxes, as individuals are not considered manufacturers unless engaging in business. Already made rounds can be sold between individuals without hassle, as the rounds themselves are not regulated, and are classified as small arms ammunition, as they contain less than ¼ oz of explosive (including your lift charge).
Law enforcement agencies are permitted by BATF to reload their less lethal ammunition. This CD contains reloading info that registered launcher users and LE departments can use to reload this ammo to cut down cost of training greatly.
You can pick up cheap materials to construct your rounds at local hobby stores, hardware stores, and even Wal-Mart. Some advocate the use of paper materials in the construction of all 37mm rounds, as some think the regulations prohibit the types of materials used in the construction of these rounds. I believe they are wrong. Using the logic of some, anything hard or capable of causing injury is prohibited. NOT THE CASE! If that were the case, you could only shoot cotton balls out of your launcher. ANYTHING else would or could conceivably cause injury. ATF has never came up with a ruling prohibiting materials, other than the wood ball, rubber ball or baton and bean bag rule (and even this stuff can be used if your launcher is registered).
For example, most 40mm projectiles are metal. 40mm practice rounds (M-781) have a heavy zinc bottom plug. Most 40mm projectiles are NOT considered destructive devices, as they do not contain more than ¼ oz of explosive. The only rounds that are considered destructive devices themselves are the HE type of rounds!! I myself have many different types of 40mm rounds. Most all will be pictured here, and explained with cutaways and diagrams.
The bottom line is; you can use any type of material in the construction of your rounds (common sense!!) as long as they are not HE and not manufactured and or used for anti-personnel purposes with an unregistered launcher. Common sense also applies here. Do not think that any Judge in his right mind would dismiss charges against you on your stance that you only made that flechette round to “practice” with. Yeah, right.
And now the part you’ve all been waiting for… The disclaimer!!
We all realize there are idiots out there, that just are not as smart as most of the rest of us. Most of us go through life trying to avoid such idiots, but sometimes we can’t help but run into a few.
This is for those idiots out there that just don’t have common sense. Like the people who spill hot coffee on themselves and blame the place they bought it from, and the countless people that think that gun manufacturers are responsible for a criminal’s act. If you’re this type of person, please do not read any farther. Give up this hobby NOW!
This information is being provided as a reference guide, and informational guide only. We (as in me and I, and my production company 3LC Productions) assume no responsibility for the misuse of this information, or any damages resulting from the use of said information. This goes for reloading discs AND website forums and pages!!!
A knowledge of reloading is helpful in understanding some of the terms contained on this CD. If you have any questions on anything covered on this CD, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at email@example.com and I will be very happy to help you out.
Please check your state and local laws prior to constructing ANY 37mm round. Get something in writing if possible, from your CLEO or whomever that will assist you should any uncomfortable issues arise at the range. The legalities that are posted in this CD are the Federal Codes concerning this issue. State and local laws differ greatly.
YOU must check with your State and local law
enforcement PRIOR to buying your launcher, and or making rounds for it.
3LC Productions and I, George Confer, am not responsible for the misuse of or damages caused by the use of the information provided on the site, forum, or guides.
"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has ruled that possession of a 37mm launcher and certain 37mm ammunition considered lethal constitutes possession of a Destructive Device which must be taxed and entered into the National Firearms Act Registry. If uncertain about current legal rulings contact your local Federal and State authorities before you load and fire your launcher. REMEMBER, mere possession of a combination of legally obtainable items may be a violation of federal law."
[ATF Ruling 95-3]
18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(4); DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE 26 U.S.C. section 5845(f)(2); DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE
(Firearm having a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter) 37/38 mm gas/flare guns possessed with cartridges containing
wood pellets, rubber pellets or balls, or bean bags are classified as destructive devices for purposes of the Gun Control Act, 18
U.S.C. Chapter 44, and the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53.
ATF Ruling 95-3
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has examined various 37/38 mm gas/flare guns in combination with
certain types of ammunition to determine whether these are destructive devices as defined in the Gun Control Act (GCA),
18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, and the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53. Section 5845(f), Title 26,
Code, classifies certain weapons as "destructive devices" which are subject to the registration and tax provisions of the
National Firearms Act (NFA).
Section 5845(f)(2) provides as follows:
(f) Destructive device. --The term "destructive device" means: (2) any type of weapon by whatever name known which will,
or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels
of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary or his
delegate finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes . . .'
Section 5845(f)(3) excludes from the term "destructive device" any device which is neither designed or redesigned for use as
a weapon and any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling,
pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device.
The definition of "destructive device" in the GCA (18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(4)) is identical to that in the NFA.
ATF has previously held that devices designed for expelling tear gas or pyrotechnic signals are not weapons and are
exempt from the destructive device definition. However, ammunition designed to be used against individuals is available for
these 37/38 mm devices. This "anti-personnel" ammunition consists of cartridges containing wood pellets, rubber pellets or
balls, and bean bags.
When a gas/flare gun is possessed with "anti-personnel" type ammunition, it clearly becomes an instrument of offensive or
defensive combat and is capable of use as a weapon. Since these gas/flare guns have a bore diameter of greater than one-half
inch, fire a projectile by the means of an explosive, and, when possessed with "anti-personnel" ammunition, are capable of use
as weapons, the combination of the gas/flare gun and "anti-personnel" ammunition is a destructive device as defined in the GCA
and NFA. As a result, registration as a destructive device is required. Any person possessing a gas/flare gun with which
"anti-personnel" ammunition will be used must register the making of a destructive device prior to the acquisition of any
"anti-personnel" ammunition. In addition, the gas/flare guns are classified as firearms as defined by the GCA when possessed
with "anti-personnel" type ammunition.
Each gas/flare gun possessed with anti-personnel ammunition will be required to be identified as required by law and
regulations (27 C.F.R. section 178.92 and 179.102), including a serial number. Any person manufacturing the gas/flare gun
and the "anti-personnel" ammunition must, if selling them in combination, have the appropriate Federal firearms license as a
manufacturer of destructive devices and must have paid the special (occupational) tax as a manufacturer of National Firearms
Act firearms. Any person importing the gas/flare gun and the "anti-personnel" ammunition must, if importing them in combination,
have the appropriate Federal firearms license as an importer of destructive devices and must have paid the special
(occupational) tax as an importer of National Firearms Act firearms.
Further, the "anti-personnel" ammunition to be used in the gas/flare launchers is ammunition for destructive devices for
purposes of the GCA. Any person manufacturing the "anti-personnel" ammunition must have the appropriate Federal firearms
license as a manufacturer of ammunition for destructive devices. (Class 10 FFL) Any person importing the "anti-personnel"
ammunition must have the appropriate Federal firearms license as an importer of ammunition for destructive devices.
HELD: 37/38 mm gas/flare guns possessed with "anti-personnel" ammunition, consisting of cartridges containing wood
pellets, rubber pellets or balls, or bean bags, are destructive devices as that term is used in 18 U.S.C. section
921(a)(4) and 26 U.S.C. section 5845(f)(2).
I will take a moment here for some recommendations concerning experimental safety. I cannot stress this stuff enough. Some of the recommendations here have definitely saved various parts of my anatomy. First, always start low on your powder (lift) charges. Slowly increase until you reach a good range and power. Carefully measure your powder charges!!! I constructed a test launcher using an extra barrel ordered from et-cetera. It only cost me 50 bucks, and I constructed a make shift firing mechanism from an old AR firing pin and springs. The whole thing is mounted to a short section of 6x6 lumber approx 2’ long. I can stand 50’ away from this while testing the experimental rounds I have constructed, without the fear of malfunctions. Always test your reloads prior to inviting your friends over for a good show. The “show” might consist of you being removed by ambulance after a tragic reloading mishap. Reloads can be used a lot in LE training. I would not however recommend using them for active enforcement purposes. The manufacturers that make the less lethal rounds like ALS, Federal, Def-Tec, and so on, conduct numerous tests on how their rounds perform, and the power of them. If one were to reload a “hot” load and attempt to use it in a LE role, one would definitely be liable for injuries or death caused by such a reload. The loads explained here are adequate for training, and entertainment, and actual real life emergency signaling. When using flare and smoke mixtures, follow the instructions on making them to the letter. This especially goes for “bird bombs” and other devices containing any sort of chemicals or explosives. Be very aware that some chemicals do NOT go together well, and may spontaneously combust or explode! If you are not experienced in using chemicals, take classes on them! Learn all you can about them prior to attempting construction of these types of rounds. Some chemicals also react to black powder, which is the lift charge in most 37mm rounds. Be very careful when using chemicals of any type. If you don’t know, or are unsure, ASK someone who does! There are plenty of pyro web sites and so on that are glad to help. Remember, the life you save might be yours. Keep our hobby safe and legal. Once again, WEAR GLOVES! The thick leather kind work well, and give you a bit of extra safety. You may think it looks stupid wearing them, but it looks even more stupid walking around with bleeding or missing fingers! (That's all from the disc. Most safety procedures on the disc are found throughout the reloading information itself.)
MORE ON SAFETY
Ok. Here are standard safety procedures on loading, firing, and reloading 37mm and 40mm launchers and ammo.
1. When you load your launcher, know that all launchers are NOT created equally! Some are of poor construction (You get what you pay for) and leave firing pins out in the fired position. This will result in a "slam fire" condition when you try to load another round. What happens is that you load a live round and when you close your launcher, the force of you closing it on an exposed firing pin sets off the round. Never ever load your launcher indoors unless you have a basement firing range and are shooting non-pyrotechnic rounds. Some launchers are not meant to fire LE less-lethal ammo. This does not mean that it can't be done. Ask the manufacturer if the launcher you have is rated for this type of ammo. Less Lethal ammo and some LE gas rounds are loaded "hot" and have different sized projos which can become wedged in your barrel and actually rip the barrel off your launcher if you are not careful. If the projo does not fit freely down the barrel (not counting rotating bands on 40mm ammo) then DO NOT fire it out of your launcher!!
2. The proper and only hand position when firing an M-203 style launcher is; one hand on the AR pistol grip, and the other on the AR mag well pulling the trigger. NO other hand position is acceptable!!! The barrel grip on the M-203 barrel is there for functioning the barrel and holding during firing the AR only! Placing your hand on that barrel and firing it can result in loss of fingers or hands (See below). THIS HAS HAPPENED!!! In accordance with this, I highly recommend using thick gloves when firing these launchers. This goes for reloads, as well as commercially available ammo. Just because it was loaded in a factory does NOT mean it's 100% safe! Ammo will react differently in different launchers. Et-cetera launchers have a much tighter barrel than RPB or Shivak, or any other manufacturer's barrels. Firing larger 38mm ammo out of the Et-cetera launchers can cause the barrel to be removed right quick! (This happened with my test launcher!!! It broke the barrel latch and launched the projo and barrel 20 yards. THAT'S why we use test launchers when unsure of launchers or ammo!)
3. Make sure no one is standing beside you or down
range from you when you are firing your launcher! All bystanders MUST be BEHIND
you at least 10 yards, all wearing eye and ear protection! The wallet you save
may be your own! Everyone must practice safety procedures when using these
launchers. This includes range
4. Using, storing, or
buying old or "tampered with" ammo. I cannot stress this
enough. If you did not do the "alterations" on the ammo yourself
(assuming you know what the hell you are doing) NEVER fire it, or even store it
in your house! I've seen altered para flare carriers marked "Arty
Simulator". These are dangerous as hell! What someone has done is, taken
the para flare out and replaced it with flash or similar powder or explosive
mixture! Guess what? It probably contains over 1/4oz of explosive, therefore
you are in possession of an unregistered destructive device! (The ammo)(Felony
+ 10 years in FED PRISON!) NOT worth it. Don't buy or keep "tampered
with" 40mm or 37mm ammo! Not to mention, if you fire it and have a quick
fuse action, that para flare carrier can hold enough flash to take your entire
torso off at the knees! DO NOT MODIFY ANY AMMO UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE
DOING AND RISKING!!!! IF YOU DECIDE TO TRY IT, YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE INTO YOUR OWN
HANDS. NEVER BUY OR FIRE MODIFIED OR TAMPERED WITH AMMO!!!! Most times it's
easy to tell if ammo has been tampered with. You will see pry marks, or the
round may be "re-labeled". The
5. Hang-fire or Misfire. This happens often with 37mm launchers due to weak firing pin springs and firing pins that are not properly shaped. In the event of either, hold the launcher in firing position, facing downrange. Wait 30 seconds before carefully removing the round from the barrel of the launcher. (Catch the round! Do not allow it to fall to the ground!) Inspect the primer. If it is properly dented, the primer is bad. Destroy the round by whatever safe method you choose. (I find using it as a range target for the 223 works nicely to make the round inert, or setting it off. Make sure it is far away from people and pointed away from the firing line!) You can also put it in a bucket of water for a week or so. Keep in mind that some rounds are water proofed, so destroying them in this manner might take some time. Never disassemble a misfired round!!! It could go off in your face.
6. Always treat your launcher as if it were loaded. Never point it in unsafe directions. Never carry a loaded launcher, unless you plan on firing it. Keep your launcher and ammo out of the reach of children (and or idiots). USE GUN LOCKS ON YOUR LAUNCHERS AS WELL AS YOUR AR!!! Never leave your launcher where it could be easily stolen. Treat it as you would a rifle. Never allow your drunk idiot friends to play with your launchers. Never be a drunk idiot playing with launchers. Most common firearms safety rules would apply here.
7. Range policing-- Remember to pick up all expended casings, and projos. Some can be reused. The zinc plugs in M-781s are re-useable, as well as para flare carriers and smoke grenade bodies (if you know YAFAHITG). Never enter a range which contains unexploded M-406 or other HE/HEDP rounds!!! Once they are fired, and do not explode, they become landmines. Picking them up is just plain stupid. Always practice range safety! Be careful removing expended CS or other gas projos from the range. Use rubber gloves, and make sure they are cool prior to picking them up. Place them in a zip lock bag for proper disposal.
8. Reloading safety-- A few words on this. First off, as stated above, START OFF WITH A LOW LIFT CHARGE!!! If you don't know what LOW is, ask someone who does!! Make sure you include all details of what you are launching in the question. We that have BTDT know, and found out the hard way what LOW means. I personally reloaded a foam bullet with what I though was a low starting charge of only 9 grains of Bullseye in a smokeless casing. I put that foam bullet THROUGH a 3/4" thick brand new piece of plywood at 25 yards!!! Soooooo No, that was NOT low! Low for a properly loaded smokeless casing is 2-3 grains. (No a grain is not a single piece of powder, it is a measurement of weight. If you don't know that, you need to do much more research before reloading anything!!) Most all military 40mm M-203 rounds use VERY little powder to launch a grenade 400 meters. Remember, once again, your thumper is not a rifle, or shotgun. It is designed or meant to fire a medium weight grenade or signal, up in the air or arced towards your target. Don't expect fantastic distances out of your launcher. If you want great distances, buy a freaking cannon already! Measure your powder very carefully with a reloading scale, checked for accuracy. Your life may depend on it. If you don't know how to use one, ASK! Buy a reloading book or guide, at the sportsman's shop and LEARN! Store powders and rounds in a cool dry place away from living areas in your house. Keep your tools clean and in good condition. Black powder and American Pioneer can be dangerous explosives. Never use ffffg powder in ANY 37mm or 40mm round! It is flash powder and is not meant for a propelling charge. Use either ffg or fffg as a lift charge only. Start out low at 1/2 teaspoon. (Yes, once again, black powder is measured by volume, NOT by weight) Never exceed 1.5 teaspoon in any round for any reason. Make your projos as light as possible. Don't try to launch a 1lb cannon ball from your 37mm! You will find out that aluminum is not that forgiving, and that cannons were made of thick bronze or brass for a reason. Once again, the dumbass test applies. If one were to try this, then "You might be a dumbass... or redneck, or something..." The reloading disc covers basic reloading safety in greater detail. These are the basic safety instructions. Here's what can happen if you use too much powder in a casing. This first one is a best case scenario as only the casing was damaged:
Notice the bulge! A few more pieces of powder, or a little better sealed or heavier projo would have blown this casing and tube apart! Here's another photo:
This is a smokeless casing. The details of the projo design or type are not available. These photos were sent to me by a friend who wishes to remain nameless, and they were sent so long ago, I don't even remember where they came from. They show a problem though. These casings are made of THICK aluminum and harder than hell to do this to. The powder chamber does not hold that much powder. It does not take that much of some powders to do this. It is totally possible to turn these casings into fragmentation grenades which will explode in close proximity to your face! USE CAUTION!!!!! These casings are meant to only use 2-6 grains of Bullseye powder and no more! If loaded properly, that's all you will ever need to launch anything.
The below info is provided with express permission of the victim involved in an incident which occurred a little over a year ago. Many of you are familiar with this incident. Due to pending lawsuits, we are not going to release the name of the product involved, nor the persons involved (so please no e-mails about it). These photos are graphic, and are a stern warning to those of you that choose to disregard the safety warnings listed above. Never, ever use any type of explosive mixture in your 37mm or 40mm launcher! Keep in mind also, that flare mixtures can, and have, exploded. Some types of flare mixtures are not meant to be launched from this type of launcher. Lift charge shock can cause them to explode. Follow our advice on projo creation. They are made rugged for a damn good reason. Perhaps these photos will do more to educate than all the words written above. If it appears I am pushing the safety issue, there are obvious reasons.
Here is an example of one tragedy. This incident
occurred when an explosive binary product was used in a 37mm projectile (as
recommended by the manufacturer), and launched from an Et-Cetera launcher
mounted to an AR heavy barreled rifle. No safety or reloading instructions were
offered with this binary product. The product is sold for the express use of
37mm shooters to make "bird bombs" which are now regulated in the
The incident occurred as the victim was putting on a show for family members. Just out popping off some reloaded ammo. After launching a few flares and smokes, a "bird bomb" was loaded. When the trigger was pulled on the launcher, the victim's left hand was on the handguard of the launcher. (Something we have all done before) Upon pulling the trigger, the launcher exploded with enough force to BEND the AR-15 223 heavy barrel! The launcher rail was bent, and the barrel exploded into many pieces. Here are photos of the launcher that exploded and the aftermath:
Notice most of the damage is to the area of the launcher FORWARD of the trigger, and notice the extent of the rail bend! The explosion forced the rail into the heavy 223 barrel hard enough to bend the heavy AR barrel!
Here's a photo of the other side. The jagged piece hanging down is actually a piece of the barrel. The barrel band was ripped off the barrel, and the launcher barrel was turned into a fragmentation grenade.
Here are ALL the parts of the launcher and handguard and casing that were FOUND! Not much of the actual launcher barrel was recovered. The AR handguard was blown apart, as well as the launcher handguard.
Here is what is left of the casing itself. Pretty much the base plate and a wee bit of sidewall.
Another photo of the same casing pieces showing explosive force.
Here's a photo of the exploded casing placed in the launcher as it was when the incident happened. The force of the explosion seems to have blown mostly out the right hand side of the launcher, fragmenting the entire launcher barrel. Notice that very little of the explosive force was directed rearwards, as it did not even break the two pins holding the rail to the receiver body.
Fortunately, the victim's eyes and other hand were not injured in this incident, nor were any bystanders. The victim's truck (which was parked nearby) was damaged and covered with parts of the victim's hand and had holes caused by flying launcher barrel parts. Photos below.
The following photos are actual photos of the actual injuries caused by this explosion. Viewer discretion is advised. Photos used be permission of the victim in this incident. Prior to viewing these photos, think about ALL the safety information I have written above. This tragic incident could well have been prevented by following all of the recommendations above. The victim in this incident had prior health problems, and enjoyed shooting these launchers very much. He was no amateur where reloading is concerned. He placed his trust in the manufacturer that touted his product as "safer than flash powder..." and "Will give grown men woodies..." Somehow, after seeing these photos, and knowing the victim personally, I don't find that statement at all amusing... Needless to say, lawsuits have been filed, and for all your information, this is NOT an isolated incident with this product... These photos were taken at the hospital prior to the victim's hand being amputated above the wrist. He no longer has a left hand at all.
This hand was holding the launcher handguard.
Hopefully this will help those out there that are thinking of "experimenting" with placing "substances" in their 37mm and 40mm ammo. Be very aware of what can and has happened before. You can be very experienced in reloading and still have something like this happen. Although it is a hobby that many enjoy, watch very carefully what you load and how you load it. It takes less than what you imagine to cause an incident of this nature.
I would like to personally thank the victim in this case for sharing these photos. I think we all owe him a bit of thanks for having enough "stones" to be an example of what can happen. I wish him all the luck in his legal matters, even though the money will never replace what he has lost. This incident has effected us all, and we (the victim and I) hope this information will help, and if it keeps another tragic incident like this from happening, mission accomplished. For legal reasons, once again, the victim does not want to be identified at this time. Also, due to the same reasons, we will not identify the product involved. Just follow the "NEVER USE EXPLOSIVES IN YOUR AMMO" advice written above. Enough said?
OK, that's it for rules and regs as far as this site goes. I, as the omnipotent stomper reserve the right to modify these rules anytime I see fit, to add new info or modify any errors made. (No one is perfect...) Be advised that anyone that purchases my reloading disc, or engages in this website or forum, agrees to be bound by these safety rules and forum rules. We (I had help) made these rules up to protect you all, as you are important to our hobby, and we never want to see or hear of any of you being injured when reading this page could have, or would have prevented it. Enjoy the forum, and enjoy the site. Be safe, and never sorry. I know some info has been repeated, but it has been for very good reason. I am adding this page in it's entirety to the basic reloading disc I sell. The disc already contains the above related safety info, but I think these photos are worth a million words. GROG