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Custom Aluminum TURBINE Shotgun Slugs

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With the number of high-level technologies now readily available, it’s no wonder that more and more advanced forms of weaponry are being invented. The advent of the 3D printer, for example, has made it possible to simply “print” bullets that can actually be fired to cause serious damage, depending on circumstances. While this increase in advanced weapons is frightening, it can also be fascinating to see what creative inventors come up with.

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Turbine rifled shotgun slugs are basically bullets that have “rifled” designs. Rifling refers to the pattern of grooves that allows a bullet to spin and twist, stabilizing the bullet and improving its aerodynamic properties for accuracy. Rifling is generally found on the inside of gun barrels, so when bullets are fired, they show striation marks indicating how they spun and twisted.

An experiment tests the mettle of custom-made aluminum turbine rifled shotgun slugs. In this case, it’s the bullets that have the rifled grooves. Custom-machine made by Tim Hamilton with 6061 aluminum, the turbine slugs were created with different twist rates in mind. Twist rates refers to how far a slug has to travel to make one complete revolution. The 70-calibre slugs, all weighed 20 grams and were 2 inches long, with twist rates of 1/20, 1/28 and 1/10.

The test basically intended to see how well the aluminum turbine rifled slugs performed. Each slug was shot using a Mossberg 520 shotgun with a 20-inch barrel, at a target approximately 20 yards away. Each shot hit the target well enough, and the 1/28 slug made a sharp whistling nose as it flew through the air. Each slug also caused considerable damage on the steel plate target.

One consistent problem with the slugs however, was that they kept tumbling as they were fired, and when viewed in slow motion, flew sideways, showing stability issues despite the rifled design. Since the complex aerodynamics involved in creating stable, accurate bullets is a daunting task, the experimenters concluded that while these aluminum turbine slugs were cool to fire, great to look at and showed a lot of promise, some tweaking still needs to be done to reach maximum potential.

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