5.56mm semi wadcutter?!?!

strange-ammo-tm.jpg

Reader WarWolf emailed me this photo. It looks like it is a 5.56mm NATO round loaded with a semi wadcutter shaped lead bullet. weird. Can anyone identify the round and/or read the writing?

Strange Ammo

Would the ridge not cause chambering problems? Maybe the intended use is in a single shot rifle or pistol.

UPDATE: Mystery solved. Koko’s comment below:

This is a plastic bullet that was devised to provide the IDF with a bullet enableing a non-lethal way to stop Palestinian demonstrators during the first Intifada (1988-1993).

The bullet was to be fired at demonstrator legs – but ended up inflicting more drastic wounds then initialy imagened – even killing on accution.

The ballistics of the bullet proved to be strange – after a while the standing orders were changed to the ammunition to be used only by a trained designated shooter from a fixed ground position – then the bullet was dropped altogether and is not used today (as far the I know).

The load was also reduced – as noted on the package – this forced to shooter to manualy load the bullet after each shoot.

Makes sense that it needed to be loaded single shot!

Thanks to everyone for the translations and comments.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • James

    I’m far from an expert on foreign ammo types, but perhaps its Israeli? The marking looks similar to some of the Hebrew stuff on my 1919A4. Perhaps it was used in an M16 or maybe a Galil. I don’t own a Galil, so I don’t know what their chambers are like. Being based off an AK, maybe Galil chambers are more forgiving, and the ridge doesn’t cause problems.

    Just thinking out loud!

  • Valhalla

    That is Hebrew (I think, looks like it), and since they like to make many weapons it’s probably some sort of new mushrooming bullet for a modified Tavor or something. When the cone part hit the ridged out section would keep going, increasing the damage a 5.56 does when tumbling.

    Then again, all speculation.

    Wiki says that it leaves a large wound tract, and that it can decrease overall weight of bullet/recoil, so it could be used for IDF target shooting.

  • Matt Groom

    I can’t read it. Looks like frangible. Probably training ammo. The shoulder probably acts as a kind of “break” that causes the round to fragment when it hits soft surfaces, like wood.

    Our guys got issued stuff like this when we crossed into the Ramallah Oil fields in March of 2003. The higher ups didn’t want stuff that could penetrate the oil field equipment and might start a fire, so they issued Israeli-made frangible. At first, they were pissed, because they thought it wouldn’t work, but after a few engagements, they loved it because it blew big softball sized holes in fleshy targets, blowing outward instead of penetrating. When the brass found out about this, they confiscated all the ammo, saying that it was politically incorrect to shoot Muslims with Israeli made ammo.

  • http://gunnuts.net Caleb

    My hebrew’s a little rusty, but I think it says “Terrorist killer”. :D

  • Marc

    It’s plastic I think.

  • Scott

    The ammo looks like 5.56 to me especially from the writing on the box that is a dead give away. Also the language is Hebrew so the ammo is definitely Israeli.

  • Nick

    I can’t read the writing, but it looks to me to almost certainly be Hebrew. On a different note, is it just me or do those look like the coolest crayons ever?

  • tanstaafl4y

    The language is Hebrew…well thats about all I can add to the conversation.

  • anon

    A co-worker offers this translation:

    “20 bullets 5.56 millimeters, reduced energy, plastic slug”

  • Reiss

    I believe the writing means “Regular energy reduced plastic bullet”

  • http://NA koko

    This is a plastic bullet that was devised to provide the IDF with a bullet enableing a non-lethal way to stop Palestinian demonstrators during the first Intifada (1988-1993).

    The bullet was to be fired at demonstrator legs – but ended up inflicting more drastic wounds then initialy imagened – even killing on accution.

    The balistic of the bullet proved to be strange – after a while the standing orders were changed to the amtunition to be used only by a trained desegnated shooter from a fixed ground position – then the bullet was droppped alltogther and is not used today (as far the I know).

    The load was also redcuded – as noted on the pakage – this forced to shooter to manualy load the bullet after each shoot.

    Hope this helps.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      koko, AH thanks. Mystery solved :)

  • Lee

    Closest thing I can find to it is an APDS round, maybe to cut through armor or anti-material (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/Assault.htm). Or someone could just have fiddled around with it themselves and used surplus Israeli casing. Depending upon what it was made from it might work, but you are definitly right about chambering. Bolt action at best. (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90357) It looks a little high up on the neck to be a small round. Maybe having something to do with short range because it is not very aerodynamic.

  • Marc

    ah ‘plastic slug’… I thought kelah meant princess.

    And I’m pretty sure a “plastic princesses” aren’t uissued to the IDF :-)

  • Valhalla

    But it turns out the wadcutter won’t deform as much as say, an armor piercing FMJ bullet when hitting a bone, and will keep moving around in there. But since it’s plastic that is irrelevant…

  • Kevan

    They are rounds made out of rejected crayons. Haha.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Kevan, lol

  • http://drstrangegun.blogspot.com DrStrangegun

    I think I see their problem.

    If I was reverse-engineering this thing, I’d say that the shape likely started out as a regular ogive bullet, but the projectiles were probably stripping along the rifling so they added bearing surface…

    … but if they hit fluid fast enough, it’s going to fracture or deform along that ridge and make a nasty hole, or fast enough strip off the “rifling band” altogether and leave a nice pointy penetrator.

    If I were designing a .223 “riot bullet” I’d probably start with something that looked like a shotgun shell’s shot cup with rounded edges, and fill it with a very soft silicone or plasticine material, coated with something not unlike carnauba wax. It’d fly intact, hit something and immediately squash on impact and dissipate it’s energy without penetrating. Leave a hell of an egg though… 600fps would do it.

  • http://www.everything4outdoors.info Jairo Griggs

    Wow, great blog post.Really thank you! Will read on…

  • anthony Falconi

    I recently purchased some Israeli ammo similar to these but made of copper with orange tips , they must be a tracer version of some sort.

  • booji

    neato, haven’t seen those in 20 years! full translation of the box reads: “20 rounds 5.56mm, reduced energy, standard (as in not tracers), plastic projectile”

    the plastic looked grey and glittery because it was filled with metal powder to give it a bit more mass than raw plastic and the step was designed to slow it down.

    about 50 meters of range if you were lucky and had a lot of practice. targets were invariably running and jumping around so it wasn’t easy to hit them in the legs like we were supposed to. still, lots of kneecaps got popped.

    despite the shape they would feed just fine from the magazines of the M16 and galil.