Exotic ammunition and vampires

Author: Ed Becerra <eabecerr[at]schollnet.com>

Well, I've promised more than one person on the XanderZone list this little piece, so here it finally is.

It'll be posted in pieces, and not nearly as fast as I'd prefer, but at least it's getting there.

And remember, feedback gets you more postings from me.

Now, as for the info...

Chapter 1

A human being is basically - when considered by hunting terms - little more than a thin-skinned medium weight game animal. All weapons that you choose to apply to a human have to be judged on that basis.

This is true of vampires as well, with the additional consideration that they heal most non-fatal wounds immediately, and many fatal wounds with time and blood.

So, the trick with a vampire is trauma. MASSIVE trauma. The sort of trauma that's normally used to put down Big Game, creatures 600 pounds (300 kilos) or greater. Even if it doesn't kill the vampire immediately, it disables the creature so that you have the time to apply more traditional methods of removal to it.

So, with that in mind, I give you the first in a series of ammunition variants that were specifically created to inflict massive amounts of trauma quickly.

The BLITZ AKTION TRAUMA (or "Fast Incapacitation") round was created by the German Police when they realized they had something of a problem on their hands.

Germany, despite its many cities, still has a large farming population, and that means cows and bulls, particularly on dairy farms. And THAT means the inevitable escaped animal.

The German police experienced numerous failures to kill escaped bulls/cows with the standard issue duty 9mm ammunition. German police don't issue shotguns, and the patrol officers carry 9mm pistols, and possibly a 9mm sub-gun. They wanted to develop a "universal" round which would work on anything, from humanely destroying cats after a road accident, to large mammals. This would be preferable to training/carrying a variety of weapons, from sub-calibres to rifles.

GECO (a division of Dynamit Nobel) produced the BLITZ AKTION TRAUMA round. The bullet is solid copper, with a plastic nose-cap. This nosecap maintains the rounded profile of a regular full metal jacket round, and thus feeds well through auto/semi-auto weapons. A small hole drilled completely through the centerline of the bullet vents gasses upon ignition. The cap blasts off before the bullet leaves the case, and being asymmetrical, hits air resistance and falls to the ground. Without the cap the bullet has an aggressive hollow point and expands reliably.

The pure copper BAT bullet weighs 86gr, and goes at 1400 fps from a pistol. (It's a VERY hot load.)

As copper is very ductile, the expansion is smooth, with little tearing. (A lead slug will often tear apart, looking a little like a partially peeled banana.)

The BAT will expand into a (relatively) smooth disk that will be from twice to three times the initial diameter of the bullet. With the 9mm version, that means it will expand to a size of 18mm to as much as 27mm.

In short - nice BIG holes, folks.

And, as the German police were hoping for, the BAT does put an escaped bull down, usually with no more than two shots, and often with only one.

Anything capable of knocking a full grown bull to its knees with two shots will put a serious hurting on a vamp, giving you that extra time you need to introduce him to your new friend, "Mr. Pointy."

And for those extra-tough Masters?

There's an unofficial SHOTGUN version of the BAT available. Same design, but the copper slug is 12 gauge. That's 0.73 inches, folks. Almost 3/4 of an inch. Which means that, as the shotgun version expands as agressively as the 9mm version, the slug will open up into a blob of copper at LEAST 1.4 inches across, and as much as 2.1 inches if you get optimal performance.

I don't care HOW tough a vampire you are, a hole in your chest that's two inches across and deep enough that it comes out the other side - that'll DEFINITELY slow you down.

And if it hits in the lower torso, say, the hips? Say goodbye to your legs for some time to come, if not permanantly.

Chapter 2

Now for explosive munitions, also known as the toys that go *bang*.

Explosive ammo usually sorts out into three catagories: fused, non-fused, and hydraulic.

Fused is - I HOPE! - rather obvious. They have either a chemical or mechanical fuse that detonates the round, and is supposed to keep it relatively safe to handle until *after* it's fired.

The largest of such rounds - see that battleship over there? It uses shells the size of Volkswagon Beetles, and can blow a 200 foot crater in the ground. Instant swimming pool, anyone?

Needless to say, any vampire standing on the spot where one lands won't be giving you much of a problem after that.

However, as most people won't be carrying the USS Iowa in their back pocket, we have to look at something a tad smaller.

We've got the standard issue 40mm Hi/Lo grenade, originally fired from the then innovative M-79 "Blooper" grenade launcher. The same grenade is still used in the M-203 launcher (seen attached to M-16 rifles in news clips and movies), and a number of native-built launchers in other countries.

You can see pictures of both launchers here:


Hey, anyone can appreciate a good design, and the 40mm grenade was one of the best. It's spread almost as far and as fast as the AK-47.

H&K, one of Germany's premere small arms companies, has a launcher for the 40mm grenade, the HK69, that's almost pistol sized. Scary, no?

You can see a photo of it here:


The standard round is called HEMP, for High Explosive, Multi-Purpose. It's good for reducing thin-skined vehicles - trucks, cars, whatnot - to scrap, and turning humans into ground meat. Hit a vampire with one, and IF he survives, his only interest will be getting away, because he'll have large pieces of his body blown off.

Understand this... when the standard M-406 issue 40mm grenade goes off it would produce over 300 fragments at 1,524 meters per second within a lethal radius of up to 5 meters.

For close in fighting, there was a flechette round which housed approx 45 small darts in a plastic casing, these rounds were issued on an experimental basis. Later this round was replaced by the M-576 buckshot round. This round contained twenty-seven 00 buckshot which on firing was carried down the barrel in a 40mm plastic sabot, which slowed down in flight so the pellets could travel in their forward direction un-aided.

There's also a fun little adaptor that is the same shape and size as a 40mm grenade, and can be fired like one, but contains eighteen .22 bullets. Ouch. Shredded vamp, anyone?

Want something a little smaller?

The Norwegian military wanted to keep their aging .50 Browning Machineguns, but they needed a little extra 'zip'. So they came up with the world's smallest fused ammo to that date, a high explosive slug for the .50 BMG. It's half the size of a 20mm cannon round, yet delivers 75% of the performance. Load a few rounds into your .50 Barret brand sniping rifle, and turn vamps into kitty litter from 2000 yards away.

Noise from your big popgun? Not a problem anymore, but I'll have to explain that in another post.

Smaller yet?

The Argentine Army makes a micro-grenade that fits neatly in a 12-gauge shotgun shell. It won't exactly bring a building down around your ears, but it's DAMN fine at crowd control, as it goes off with about the same power as one or two blasting caps.

Given that a single standard issue blasting cap can take your hand off at the wrist (and has, in some sad unfortunate accidents involving children and construction sites), you can see where a few of these, loaded into a 12 gauge pump shotgun, would seriously discourage your local vampire.

These are all relatively large for a reason. Fuses are NOT something you want to malfunction, and the smaller they are, the more difficult they are to build. Think Swiss watches, people. Your LIFE is depending on their reliability.

So, fuse size, like it or not, is the limiting factor when it comes to ammo size, at least in this case.

Next comes UNfused explosive ammo. Also known as "Do you have a death wish, you idiot?" to many special forces types.

Unfused explosive ammo uses impact detonated chemical explosives. If you've ever played with a cap gun, that's what it's all about. Chemicals such as mercury fulminate or lead azide will explode violently when they're struck hard.

Or even NOT so hard, which is the major disadvantage here. You really, REALLY don't want to drop your pistol if it's loaded with these bullets. Trust me on this, okay?

The ADVANTAGE is also simple. Many of these low grade impact-detonated explosives are relatively easy to make. Kitchen chemistry, sadly enough. You can even download recipes from the internet.

Once you have a supply, any small pistol will damage a vamp. You merely drill small holes into the tips of the bullets you'll be using, CAREFULLY pack the tips with your contact explosive, and there you have it. Bullets that, when they hit, will go *BANG* and blow largish chunks out of vamps, weres, zombies, even giant demonic snake-like former Mayors.

You're obviously asking yourself, "Self, if dropping ammo like this, or bumping it, or anything like that, is so damned dangerous, why was it invented?"

That's easy. The first rounds that were PROFESSIONALLY made were made by the Russians under the supervision of the KGB.

The KGB had a problem, a problem some vampire hunters have. It's easy to make a truly silent weapon, but HARD to make one that's both silent and damaging. The standard issue .22 rimfire silenced weapon that's common for spooks on both sides of the Iron Curtain is quiet, but won't kill unless you get right up close and let the target have at least two or three rounds right in the head. And getting up close and personal with some targets can be something you don't want to do.

True with both vampires and spies.

An explosive bullet solves that problem nicely. It's still subsonic, so a silencer will still work. Yet since its explosive power doesn't depend on speed, range isn't something you need to worry about any more. As long as you're close enough to hit the target, that's close enough to KILL the target.

So much for unfused explosives.

Now comes another home-style bit of nastiness. The Hydraulic bullet. Fun!

The hydraulic round is pretty simply. You take a cylindrical bullet, and drill out most of the center. You want thin side walls, but a thick base. That's important. I can't overemphasize that.

Once the bullet's been prepared, you now partially fill the cavity with one of two things: water, or mercury.

Now that you've filled the slug, here's the hard part. It takes a lot of skill, steady hands, and the willingness to get a burn or two.

If you're going to use mercury, at this point you put on a breathing mask. (You'll see why.)

You put some lead on to melt. Once it has melted, you take a steel eyedropper, and suck up some of that melted lead. Before it has a chance to cool and solidify, you drop several drops of lead into the open mouth of the bullet you've just filled with water or mercury. If you're skilled and lucky, the lead will trap the liquid inside the bullet without it having the chance to boil away.

As you can see, this is the hard part. Even an expert will waste a lot of bullets for every successful one he makes.

Why all the trouble?

Simple. First, this bullet is SAFE. You can drop it. Stomp on it. Kick it around. Nothing will happen. Nothing.

But when you fire it... WHOOO.

Water (or mercury) doesn't compress well. So, when that bullet strikes the target, there's a problem. The rear of the bullet is still headed forward at quite a speed. The front of the bullet's come to what amounts to a dead stop. Because the core of the bullet is hollow - remember that hole you drilled and filled! - the two ends, front and back, try to meet in the middle. No big thing, except you have all that incompressible water in the way. It has to go SOMEWHERE.

And it does. Out to the sides, blowing out those thin side walls I mentioned above. (You were taking notes, right?)

And it blows those side walls out VIOLENTLY.

You can cut STONE with water, if it's moving fast enough. It seems strange to think of water, normally the softest substance of all, as something capable of tearing flesh and slicing through bone, but it can when it's under enough pressure. And with a hydraulic bullet, that's exactly the pressure it's under.

And, as a useful addition, the thin lead walls are torn up and sprayed about as shrapnel, while the thicker nose and base of the bullet continue on in a normal fashion, penetrating the body and doing more damage along their merry way.

Nasty. Effective. One round would get a vampire's attention. Two or three would put him down hard, disabling him for a time. And while he's disabled, you show him your friend and mine, Mr. Wooden Stake.


Of course, the hydraulic bullet needs more speed on impact than a standard chemical explosive - the harder a hydraulic round strikes, the more damage it will do. You MIGHT want to use one in a silenced weapon, but it wouldn't be your best choice.

Also, the bigger the bullet, the more water and lead you can use, therefore the more damage you'll do.

Simple, really.

As for the breathing mask mentioned above?

Well, mercury does even more damage in a hydraulic bullet than water does. But if you're not careful when plugging the nose of the round with that molten lead, some of the mercury will boil and escape as mercury vapor.

You REALLY do NOT want to inhale mercury vapor. Hatters used to do that, when using mercury-based chemicals to make the tall beaver-skin top hats popular during the middle of the 19th century. And that's how we got the phrase "mad as a hatter". Heavy metal poisoning is NOT pleasant.

Chapter 3

And now for some of the more unusual ammo.

We'll start with what's known as "Advanced Energy Tranfer" rounds.

That's a fancy term for a bullet that comes to a screeching halt inside the body, instead of sailing on through after punching a tiny hole.

Not that I'm putting down a hole in the body, it's just that the left-over energy and momentum that carries the bullet through the body can and SHOULD be put to better use -namely, inflicting damage on the target.

So, the trick is to get the bullet to come to a dead stop, dumping all of its energy into the tissue of the body.

As they say, it's not the speed that kills you.. it's that sudden nasty STOP. Heh. Inertia. Gotta love it.

First is the now famous Glaser Safety Slug.

It's really very simple. An upgrade, of sorts, to the old shotgun shell.

The Glaser "slug" consists of a small capsule filled with a mixture of birdshot and liquid teflon. Doesn't sound very impressive, does it?

What causes the damage is that when the capsule hits the target, and breaks apart, you get the same effect that a shotgun shell does, but with one advantage that the shotgun doesn't have.

ALL the shot hits the target. Contained inside the capsule, none of it misses, and the fine birdshot instantly spreads out inside the body. As it IS small shot, it dumps its energy quickly, tearing up the body and - usually - producing a relatively shallow but broad wound that is extremely damaging. Very little of the kinetic energy (the speed and momentum) is wasted. It all goes into damaging tissue.

The second advantage is that it usually will not penetrate anything other than flesh. Useful for people who are going to be firing weapons inside flying aircraft, or in other positions where you MUST worry about over-penetration.

The flip side, the disadvantage, is that the Glaser is rather easily stopped. ANY body armor can stop it from penetrating, even the cheapest of brands. For that matter, a heavy leather jacket or duster will do an excellent job of preventing the Glaser from doing injury to the target. Heavy clothing can reduce the damage significantly.

You definitely don't want to use this slug in an area where people wear heavy winter clothing as a matter of habit, as it'll be rendered ineffective, short of shots to the face.

Obviously, since this slug does cause extreme trauma to flesh, it's very useful for dumping a vamp on his arse prior to staking him. But there's another useful thing about it that vampire hunters will like.

Teflon is what Glaser uses, but there are other companies that make cheap monkey copies of the Glaser Safety Slug, and they often use gelatin instead of teflon.

That's right. Gelatin. Jello. Amusing, isn't it?

And as I'm sure you recall, you make jello by adding the powder to hot water.

As in holy water.

Holy Jello, anyone?

This has the advantage of causing the wound to sizzle and burn thanks to the action of the holy water, and every piece of birdshot will be coated in it, causing the birdshot to burn its way through the body of the vampire as it travels.

Yet, at the same time, this in no way prevents you from using the SAME round on humans, demons, werewolves or any other unarmored menace.

Cast your own birdshot from blessed silver, mix it with gelatin made from holy water (and maybe have your priest bless a few boxes of Jello while you're at it), then have the assembled rounds blessed yet again.

An all-purpose round for anything that isn't wearing body armor (or natural boney armor), and causes extreme pain and injury to a wide selection of supernatural menaces.

And, if you want to add insult to injury, you can take a page from two recent movies by adding ultra-violet dye to the gelatin mix. It wouldn't be as strong as sunlight, but it would probably burn vamps rather nicely. And if not, nothing lost.

Amusing, eh?

Next come the reflecting pins.

By using inward curves on the front of a steel pin (making it look rather like a hand-sharpened pencil) and then inserting it into a mold and casting lead around it, you have another type of slug that comes to a quick halt INSIDE the body.

These pins (and yes, they're legal to make and you can even buy them from the internet) pentrate nicely, doing severe damage to body armor. Then the bent tip of the pin causes the round to cart-wheel through the body, tearing up the target nicely.

The idea here is similar to the ancient roman spear known as the pilium. The pilium was designed with a point that was sharp, and a short metal shaft that was easily bent. When thrown at the enemy, the point would dig in, but the thin metal shaft behind the point would bend easily, dragged down by the larger, wooden portion of the spear. This would prevent the pilium from being pulled out of from either the enemy's shield, or his body.

If you're curious, you can see what these pins look like - PIE industries sells them on the open market to handloaders at the following URL:


The particular pin design I'm speaking of is the one in the photo with the coin. Notice how the tip is extremely small and narrow compared to the rest of the pin.

It bends, the bend causes the tumbling and cartwheeling.

Simple and effective.

If you want splintering, there's always the "pre-stressed" slugs. These bullets are deliberately subjected to stresses at the factory, stresses that are carefully calculated to fracture the bullet incompletely. The idea is that the bullet is still sufficient intact that it can be fired from a weapon, but will break up into a cloud of very small splinters once it strikes the target.

This causes wounds that are VERY difficult to heal. The usual treatment by doctors involves amputation. The wounds are rather like what happens when an animal gets a faceful of quills from your friendly neighborhood porcupine. The spinters dig in, migrate, travel around the body, and fester.

While the festering wouldn't be a problem to vampires or werewolves, the migrating of the splinters would definitely get their attention.

And to close out this portion, we'll take a quick look at the latest ugly, the Blended Metal Bullet.

Metals tend to sort themselves into two catagories... the metals that mix well into alloys, and those that don't.

But recently, using a propriatary process, RBCD of San Antonio has managed to alloy two or more metals that normally do NOT mix.

The result is a limited penetration ammo will bore through hard targets, such as steel and glass, but will not pass through a person or even several layers of drywall.

When it hits human flesh, it basically seperates back into its components, and... well, it was used in Iraq recently by a private security firm, and it's easier to just borrow the eye-witness account.


Ben Thomas and three colleagues were driving north out of Baghdad in an SUV on a clear mid-September morning, headed down a dirt road into a rural village, when gunmen in several surrounding buildings opened fire on them.

In a brief but intense firefight, Thomas hit one of the attackers with a single shot from his M4 carbine at a distance he estimates was 100 to 110 yards.

He hit the man in the buttocks, a wound that typically is not fatal. But this round appeared to kill the assailant instantly. "It entered his butt and completely destroyed everything in the lower left section of his stomach ... everything was torn apart," Thomas said.


The advantages are obvious. It WILL go through body armor (and even steel) like a standard AP round, yet will explode nicely after going through the armor, doing a great deal of physical damage.

The disadvantages are equally so.

One, you have to OBTAIN the ammo. Financial records and paper trails aren't something a vampire hunter wants to leave behind. And until RBCD releases the process, you want some, you have to buy from them. No "roll your own" here, folks.

Two, RBCD itself notes that the 'explosive' abilities of their new blended metal ammo are only effective in reasonably warm tissue. When fired into ballistic gelatin (normally kept at about 36 F, when testing ammo), they don't shatter as effectively.

Would they shatter as effectively on a vampire who's essetially at room temp? Depends on the room temp. On a reasonably warm night, I suspect they would.

On a cold winter night? Well, vampires don't freeze solid, obviously, or they'd be far less of a menace. Obviously their bodies can't drop below freezing, or we'd have vamp-sickles.

Author's discretion, I would suppose. Your milage will vary. ^_^