Texas company True Velocity, LLC, has released the first images of their advanced lightweight polymer composite cased ammunition design via Instagram. Training company BAT Defense sent out an image of what appear to be 12.7×108, .50 BMG, and 5.56mm rounds made by True Velocity, saying that the ammunition was originally developed to reduce the weight of ammunition carried by light helicopters (such as Littlebirds).
It is difficult to see, but there is actually a seam below the shoulders of all three rounds, where the top and bottom polymer elements join.
True Velocity’s polymer cased design differs from previous polymer-cased composite ammunition in the use of a small metallic (probably steel) insert which provides the primer pocket and rim for the cartridge; with the rest of the case being made of two polymer elements attached just below the cartridge shoulder. The metallic base insert also adds strength to the case webbing, as shown in the patent image below:
True Velocity’s patent succinctly summarizes some of the issues that have plagued composite polymer cased ammunition:
Shortcomings of the known methods of producing plastic or substantially plastic ammunition include the possibility of the projectile being pushed into the cartridge casing, the bullet pull being too light such that the bullet can fall out, the bullet pull being too insufficient to create sufficient chamber pressure, the bullet pull not being uniform from round to round, and portions of the cartridge casing breaking off upon firing causing the weapon to jam or damage or danger when subsequent rounds are fired or when the casing portions themselves become projectiles. To overcome the above shortcomings, improvements in cartridge case design and performance polymer materials are needed.
The patent itself is fairly broad, covering almost any three-element composite cartridge with two polymer case elements and a base. The patent allows for the base to be either male (internal) or female (external), or a number of other configurations, and for projectiles to be friction-fit, glued, crimped, or welded into the case mouth. The cartridge’s shoulder can either be above or below the seam between the mouth-end element and the central element. With such broad language, it would be interesting to see how this patent fits in with other patents on similar case designs, such as those from PCP Ammunition.
Just about every possible style and configuration of polymer ammunition has been tried at this point, including MAC, LLC’s high-brass style, PCP’s metal head design, and FightLite’s polymer rim configuration. True Velocity’s rounds seem to be in-between PCP and FightLite’s design in the extent of metal they use in the case head, lacking PCP’s full metal base, but not going so far as to trust the strength of a polymer rim like FightLite. One potential advantage of having the polymer case wall extend all the way down to the rim of the cartridge is that heat conductivity to the metal supporting base would be massively reduced, potentially increasing the cookoff limit – which has historically been a serious issue for polymer composite ammunition. As a side benefit, this configuration would also be one of the lightest backwards-compatible polymer cased designs.
True Velocity is opening a 60,000 square foot factory in Texas to produce the new ammunition