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Thread: Electrical Ignition Bullets?

  1. #1 Electrical Ignition Bullets? 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Would a rifle be more reliable if the means of firing the bullet was something electrical instead of something mechanical (like something other than a firing pin)? I'm not an ammunition specialist by any measure, so I'll be happy for any corrections that help me understand the nature of this problem better.

    Some ideas:

    Maybe put a tiny laser in there, and heat up the primer with the laser. (Have a small lens on the back of the bullet, that focuses the beam into the inside of the casing, to ignite the primer?)


    Maybe a Jacob's Ladder arc effect is created inside the firing chamber, and then 2 electrodes in the back of the bullet convert the electricity from the arc into a tiny spark?


    An alternating magnetic field inside the firing chamber, and then an EM transducer inside the magazine converts that EM field into a spark?


    I don't really want to do too much investigating into this if it isn't even viable. It just seems to me like we could do away with firing pins, and then our weapons would be more reliable for it. #3 is my favorite.

    In addition, it would seem like this kind of change could lead to having more freedom in designing the firing chamber itself, perhaps in ways that allow for heavier ammunition, or more powder, but with less recoil?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    i belive you're reffering to metal storm weaponry, they showed on future weapons around 2 years ago, there's a theoretical ability to fire a million bullets in one second if you have enough barrels to fire them from. it could tear an aircraft to bits if a barrage hit one, same goes for tanks if you use ap rounds, and same for buildings if you use a 40mm grenade.

    this systen has only one moving part: the bullet. it uses sometype of electromagnetic feild inside of the barrel to fire the bullets. the url for a site giving some information is here:

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  4. #3  
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Remington came out with an electronic ignition rifle in 2000 called the EtronX.
    I don't think it was a big hit. I don't know if they are still making them.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Aircraft cannon routinely use electrically fired ammunition
    not a new idea.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Senior Kukhri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    North Carolina
    Electronic ignition is usually intended to increase the cyclic rate, rather than improve reliability.

    With aircraft cannons, you need a high rate of fire as the gun can only be brought to bear on target for a short period of time. With assault rifles, the theory is that quick two or three round bursts may be delivered before the barrel alignment with the target is displaced by recoil. An old example of this is the Heckler & Koch G11 rifle that was developed in the 1970's. While it did not feature an electronic ignition, it achieved a three round cyclic rate of 2000 rpm using caseless ammunition and a unique feed system. The more modern AN-94 Abakan built with a really wild "delayed blowback pulse" system, allows 1800 rpm two round bursts. If you're interested in weapon mechanics or engineering in general, read up on this one.
    Co-producer of Red Oasis
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