Friday, June 1, 2018

Tracers For Target Practice

In California,  tracers were only allowed for shotguns because of the fire hazard.  Now that I live in the USA, tracers are legal.  Has anyone ever used tracers for sighting in a rifle? 


takirks said...

Ballistics are going to be different for a tracer due to the weight of the round, and the change in that weight as it burns the tracer compound. With machineguns, you can count on the tracers being a part of a burst, and hitting somewhere in the beaten zone, but with a rifle? I would seriously not try to zero using tracer rounds unless one were to plan on firing nothing but.

I have to be quite honest--I think tracers are kinda-sorta in the realm of "not as much use as people think", in that they are not really following the trajectories of the rounds they are typically fired with, and that they're in that realm of "more for morale than real effectiveness". I'd honestly prefer to be using full FMJ belts than the usual 4&1 mix, because if I can see the tracers, so can the enemy. It's also a bit harder on enemy morale--If you can see the tracers, you can tell that you're not the object of the MG team's fires. If you can't? Well, hearing that gun open up and not seeing tracers will put the fear of God into you across a much wider area. The gun team leader can observe the impact of their rounds, from the dust and what-not that's raised by impact. Tracers are things I'd really rather not be using all the time, but like they said about smoke rounds with regards to artillery, the pure ball belt is the "thinking man's choice".

Unknown said...

My understanding is that tracers fly differently than non-tracer rounds, so sighting in with them visually would mean that the gun would shoot at different points of aim depending on if you were firing tracer rounds or non-tracer rounds.

jon spencer said...

As Takirks said "Ballistics are going to be different".

This was a problem back in WW-2 with aircraft as the tracers and the regular round had a slightly different flight path.
But since most fighter aircraft had multiples of very fast firing guns that did not quite have the same point of impact the spread of the fired rounds made up for the tracers slightly different flight.

Will said...

You can sometimes see the effect in fighter guncamera films. Especially when doing ground attack. You can see the tracers flying to an area that is not quite the same as the obvious impact damage of the working rounds.