37mm Reloading Supply News
For those who don't know, Exotic Firearms has a Youtube channel.
We'll regularly put up videos, instructions for your 37mm launcher, demonstrations, and just plain fun with fireworks. Thanks, everyone, for following the blog and we'll be sure to put up new articles soon!
37mm launchers can be game changers when it comes to doing night time shooting.
A simple 37mm white star cluster can quickly illuminate the target range, adding an element of temporary clarity and excitement to an organized night shoot. For the person who launches the 37mm star cluster, it is a quick transition from firing the launcher with their off hand to aiming back down range and engaging their target with their primary shooting hand.
For longer, illuminated periods, parachute flares can be launched to give up to 45 seconds of illumination. Adding 37mm firework rounds to the event can effectively simulate using live grenades while giving brilliant visuals of burning stars erupting from the ground. Combine our 37mm construction kits with our piney Mountain tracers for a night shoot and the whole event could also be quite inexpensive.
We get this question 15 to 20 times every gun show we go to.
“Can I make the projectile explode on impact?”
Initially my answer is yes, but I always inform that person that it is about intent for whether or not the round would be considered anti-personnel. The best way to not get in trouble is to first register your launcher.
We have a video on facebook of a 37mm impact smoke projectile. It actually took a considerable amount of time working with my smoke mix to get a faster burning mix that still kept its color and could be used for an impact round or air burst. This will take you some time.
Why did we use smoke? We wanted the projectile to be a spotting and training round. Remember, it is about purpose, and the purpose of this is to train and to spot where it hit.
Now back to impact triggers. First of all we will not make them and sell them to you. The BATF&E tech branch told us NO and we listen then they say that, or else we couldn’t keep making cool things for you and us to play with. So the first design is the one everybody thinks of right away and I warn you to stay away from this as it is dangerous and you will most certainly hurt yourself and someone else.
This design is simple: it is a primer and a pin placed so that when the round impacts it goes off. Keep in mind what you have done with this round is make something that will blow up or go off when you bump it on something or drop it. This is bad juju. What I would recommend is a design that involves a setback trigger.
Keep in mind this is for informational purposes only and could be dangerous and or lethal if actually created. Do not attempt without a registered launcher and never use with something that actually explodes.
This is why we used smoke powder: the 37mm round used in our video combined a primer, a pin, a lead ball, a spring, and a hollow ink pen tube. In design, the pin and primer were at opposite sides of the hollow pen tube with the spring and lead ball in the middle blocking the path for the pin to hit the primer. When the projectile is fired, the setback of the launch pushes the lead ball to compress the spring and then drop into a hole cut in the pen tube this then freed the space up between the pin and the primer to make contact when the projectile hits the ground and compresses the cap. The cap would need to be weighted to ensure orientation upon impact. This sort of device would make the projectile safe until the moment it is fired.
Keep in mind anything can explode in the barrel, hurting the shooter, so never put anything into the casings that you wouldn’t want to blow up in your hands.
Another reason we used smoke: making a trigger that works can be satisfying just getting it right and making it function like it is supposed to. There is no real reason to use anything other than smoke for this 37mm round.
What is it, you say? Well, it is simpler than you might think.
This 37mm projectile only requires a 37mm aluminum casing, powder bushing , pushing disc, and stars from our star cluster kit. To make this round, simply prime a casing with a primer and bushing just like you would with any other type of round. Pour in your lifting charge of about 65 grains of FFFG black powder or synthetic black powder. Put in a small amount of colored stars from the star cluster kit and cap the casing with the 37mm pushing disc. Lastly seal the top edges of the pushing disc to the casing and kablam! You have a star cannon round for your 37mm launcher.
This projectile will shoot bright stars directly out the barrel of the launcher producing a fountain like effect. Think roman candle but a lot of them all at once. I typically use the small aluminum casing for this type of 37mm round.
This is by far one of my favorite things to do, especially when I am making 37mm firework type rounds.
Both the 37mm star cluster kits and 37mm firework kits can be used together to make some really fun projectiles. One of my favorite effects for these 37mm rounds is to line the outside of the plastic projectiles with the flying fish bee fuse included in our 37mm firework kits, and then place a small pile of the star cluster stars in the middle. Cap the projectile with the included paper disc and fill the rest with hot glue. Finally while the glue is hot place the cap on the end of the projectile and it is ready to load. This 37mm round will give you a cool combination of brilliant stars and that awesome colored fuse that zips around in the sky.
Additional 37mm projectile combinations include star cluster stars and thermite poured around the stars. This 37mm projectile yields a cool brilliant star effect with bright molten yellow sparks that shoot in all directions. That one is always a crowd pleaser. Feel free to add any other 37mm combinations you feel comfortable talking about in the comments section.
As most people are aware, 37mm launchers are legally defined as signaling devices, or flare launchers. These launchers can be used for many fun applications that are perfectly legal, such as firework type signaling rounds or wildlife deterrent rounds.
What 37mm launchers are not supposed to be used for is anti-personnel type rounds unless they are registered in advance as a destructive device. When a 37mm launcher is registered as a destructive device, it can be called a grenade launcher and because the proper laws and regulations have been followed.
Why register a 37mm launcher? The first reason to register your 37mm is to remove the question of “is this round going to get me in trouble if I make it?” Once you register it, you no longer need to worry about that. The second reason to register your 37mm launcher is that you can now make really fun rounds that make bigger and louder effects without getting in trouble. The third reason is if you wanted to use it as a 37mm anti-personnel device then to be able to do it without big brother coming down on you then it is a must.
The last reason is money. 37mm launchers registered as destructive devices are far less expensive than their 40mm brothers. Roughly two thirds of 40mm rounds are defined as destructive devices, requiring a 200 dollar tax stamp for each. With the 37mm platform the only round type that requires registration is a high explosive type round. Additionally, with high explosive rounds you can register a casing as reloadable and only register and pay the tax once. This is one of the big benefits of using one of our 37mm aluminum casings. These 37mm casings are designed to last indefinitely compared to the 40mm brass casings which at most you will get only 4 to 5 uses safely.
In short, by registering your 37mm launcher you open up a lot of possibilities for fun and practical applications. The 37mm platform has all the same capabilities as the 40 once registered, there are more parts and pieces manufactured for the 37mm, and it drastically costs less than the 40mm.
We've been asked before, "What can you do with 37mm rocket flares?”
Today I am going to answer this question.
The 37mm Rocket Flare projectile was designed to function out of any 37mm launcher. We originally designed it to use the commercially available A10 T-3 Estes rocket motor. The 37mm Rocket Flare projectile can be altered to use a larger commercial rocket motor simply by drilling the motor compartment out to fit a larger motor.
An additional option for this 37mm projectile is to make your own sugar or black powder engine. We do strongly recommend that a commercial model rocket engine be used for ease of construction and safety. The 37mm Rocket Flare projectile is long and does require the use of one of our 4.5” aluminum 37mm casings. T
he first use for this 37mm projectile is for the pure joy of shooting a rocket out of your 37mm launcher. Simply install an engine by lightly gluing the cap in place and launch the 37mm projectile in the air. Using the projectile in this way allows one to recover the 37mm projectile, put another engine in it and fire it over and over. This use we recommend initially to help you practice in the art of loading a 37mm projectile that contains a rocket engine. Before you place chemicals in the payload space, make sure it is a true 37mm Rocket Flare.
The second use for this 37mm round is to put stars from one of our 37mm Star Cluster kits in the payload space and turn it into an extended range 37mm Star Cluster. For this you would like a little more altitude for your 37mm signaling round. Another use would include combining both our 37mm Fireworks kit and 37mm Star Cluster kits to make a payload that consisted of stars and flying fish bee fuse with a black powder core. This could make an impressive 37mm round for your Fourth of July display!
The last example we will use for the 37mm Rocket Flare projectile is purely for fun. We recommend doing this in a gravel pit as to prevent starting a fire with your 37mm Launcher. Also check your local laws before attempting. If you were to have an old TV or computer that was in need of reduction then one could use a thermite composition in the payload compartment of the 37mm Rocket Flare to attempt to set ablaze the TV or computer. Once again you would want to do this in a gravel pit in order to prevent a fire as thermite is not easily extinguished once it is lit.
There is a lot of misinformation about tracer rounds on the web. Many articles talk about how tracers are corrosive, that they cause barrels to rust, that they start fires or that you can only see them at night or at dusk. While some of these claims may be true in some tracer rounds, they definitely are not true about all tracers.
There are two variables that are important when it comes to tracers. One is the size of the tracer round and the other is the placement of the tracer chemicals. Tracer rounds vary in size from Piney Mountain 22LR tracers to 50 BMG tracers, and the size does make a difference on its ability to start fires. The 22LR tracers are relatively small and only burn for about 150 meters, as opposed to 50 BMG tracers which can burn out to 1000 meters. The mass of the tracer chemicals alone creates more opportunity for a fire to start.
Additionally, the placement of the tracer chemicals is important. The first possibility is that the tracer chemicals are placed on the back of the bullet using only the copper jacket to contain the tracer chemicals. A great example of this is Russian made 7.62 x 39 green tracer rounds. These tracer rounds are corrosive and have a high probability of starting a fire due to their location on the round and that the tracer chemicals make contact with the barrel. This is also why the tracer chemicals can be visibly seen separating from the bullet on impact and sent flying in the air. The second option is for the tracer chemicals to be placed in a cup that is created in the core of the bullet when it is cast. This type of tracer can be non corrosive depending on size. The third option is for the tracer chemicals to be placed in a hollowed out projectile which prevents contact with the barrel and reduces the chance of a tracer round starting a fire. This is the case with Piney Mountain’s 22LR tracers. These tracer projectiles are hollowed out with the tracer chemicals inside the projectile making them non-corrosive and also not likely to start fires. Combine this with the fact that Piney Mountain 22LR tracers are the most inexpensive tracers on the market and it’s a no-brainer if you want to have fun with tracers.
Ryan, Exotic Firearms LLC