Wood bullets are often used in blank ammunition where automatic weapon functioning is required. They can be lethal at short range if some form of bullet breakup device is not fitted to the muzzle of the firearm. Some wood bullets may be sabots for subcaliber projectiles.
Bullet with sabot before firing
Figure 11.8 Remington "Accelerator" round. Saboted Subcaliber Bullets
A sabot (discarding sabot) is a lightweight plastic container that encloses the lower portion of a bullet. The sabot containing the bullet is seated into the neck of the cartridge case in much the same way as a conventional bullet. The sabot is used to produce very high bullet velocities when a smaller caliber bullet (smaller weight) is fired from a larger caliber barrel. Very high velocity results from firing a lighter bullet in a larger caliber gun, the sabot forming a sort of bushing between the barrel and the bullet and acting as a gas seal and a pusher plug. The Remington "Accelerator" round is an example of this style of ammunition and is illustrated in Figure 11.8.
As the sabot and bullet move down the barrel together they both start to spin from the twist of the rifling. By the time the bullet and sabot leave the muzzle the spin rate can be in the region of 3,000 revolutions per second. The substantial centrifugal force generated opens the front end of the sabot. The sabot, as it is light weight and blunt, separates from the bullet by air resistance about 18 inches from the muzzle. Sabots can travel up to 100 yards and because of its speed of travel it is a dangerous projectile.
The forensic implications of discarding sabots are the fact that the bullet will bear no rifling marks from the barrel of the weapon and one weapon could be used to fire a number of different subcaliber projectiles.80,81
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