Caliber of flare gun

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markpierce

Master and Commander
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Carquinez Coot
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Pretty much the choice is between a 12-gauge or a 25 millimeter flare gun.* Am I right?* I've always opted for the 25 mm (and never had the "opportunity" to use it). but why is that a poor choice because the projectiles cost a lot more?* So, which do you have?* As I'm quite clueless on the comparative effectiveness of the two calibers, I'd like to know more.

-- Edited by markpierce on Sunday 26th of December 2010 12:53:40 PM
 
RE: Caliber of flare fun

I've never used a flare GUN.* I've had a few opportunities to test out*flares and the SOLAS ones are well worth the money.* They burn longer and brighter and they are safer.* I still have a (luckily small) scar on my arm from being burned by flaming goop dripping off a "regular" hand held flare.* SOLAS flares don't drip goop!*
 
RE: Caliber of flare fun

"Pretty much the choice is between a 12-gauge or a 25 millimeter flare gun. Am I right?"

These are the cheapos that you keep aboard to show to the Holligan Navy when they stomp aboard doing an "inspection", that your flare shells are dated properly.

IF you wish to actually use the flair gun as a life saving device only the 35MM is worth the effort.

Happily the shells for a real gun last decades , we have had 7 out of 10 with 1950-s markings work.

If you plan on any blue water , white shells as well as red are useful.

White is the " you ho, take a look out your window" color to wake up bridge watch standers watching the TV.
 
RE: Caliber of flare fun

In Europe we cannot carry a flare gun without a fireams certificate which is well nigh impossible to get.

To fire the SOLAS flares we keep on board, we keep a heavy leather gardening glove to hold them with. I have seen too many instances (in training and trials) where a flare either gets too hot or drops blobs of buring matter onto the hand whereupon the flare is very quickly dropped - not too good if it falls onboard, and maybe even worse if in a dinghy....
 
We originally carried a 12 gauge flare gun. But after talking to friends in the USCG Aux and seeing flare guns demonstrated, the performance of the 25mm gun and the flares made for is is so superior we would not even consider buying a 12 gauge gun today.

-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 26th of December 2010 03:23:01 PM
 
Forget either if you really want to be seen. Get SOLAS parachute flares. Their hang time and brightness is amazing. They are expensive though. They do last way longer than their expiration date. I carry three red ones on board and a couple of white illumination ones. I keep the 12 gage kit on board and keep those current to meet the USCG requirements, but the big boys are ready.
 
12 Ga will get you past the C/G, and in the Bay might be enough to be seen.* To really be sure your seen, SOLAS grade piros are vastly superior.* The best part is despite them costing as much as $50 or $60 ea, you can get them for free.* When liferafts are re-packed, outdated flares must be replaced, despite being usefull for many years beyond the expiration date.* So, most raft service stations will be willing to give you a complete assortment for nothing.* Try Sal's in Alameda, I'm sure he will fix you up......
Arctic Traveller
 
Arctic Traveller wrote:

"...you can get them for free.* When liferafts are re-packed, outdated flares must be replaced, despite being usefull for many years beyond the expiration date.* So, most raft service stations will be willing to give you a complete assortment for nothing."
Arctic Traveller
We used to do this in the UK, but there are now some European countries (France. for example) that if Customs finds outdated flares on board they fine you heavily. We used to carry many of our outdated flares on our cross channel cruising (UK to France), but seeing the size of the fines it's just not worth it. More trips to the chandlery....

*
 
It is still ok to have old flares aboard, so long as their condition is ok and you also have enough currently dated flares to meet the CCG minimums. There are some that we CCGA inspectors will confiscate, as they are known to fail or to be dangerous, or at least unstable as they get old. Usually just looking at them will confirm their acceptable condition and you can carry them for another year.
Too bad the French have no tolerance for a sensible approach.
 
koliver wrote:

Too bad the French have no tolerance for a sensible approach.
...in so many ways! Note that although I have a French sounding name, the family comes from Jersey in the Channel Islands. The CIs are part of the British Isles.
smile.gif


Happy New Year everyone!

*
 
The larger the better imho.* We have picked up a few of the 25mm*guns with various boat purchases*over the years and keep the new looking but out of date flares in an ammo can that is water tight and three current* shells for inspection along with a few handhelds, but trash the guns.* If you have a real 26.5 mm flare gun you can get an adapter for .22 long rifle (and other .22's) that could prove handy some day ( http://www.buymilsurp.com/265mm-flare-gun-22-subcaliber-insert-p-42104.htmlhttp://www.buymilsurp.com/265mm-fla...4.html?zenid=0bc20c4e81ddd1c6451caeaf6f827de4*), and many of these guns will*also fire the 25mm flares, plus you can get an adapter to fire the 12ga. if you want to. I have a Hebel and a Geco, both will shoot the 25mm but the 26.5 is much brighter, goes higher and lasts longer!* The 26.5 parachute flares last quite long.* You can buy new surplus military 26.5 flares for $5 - $8 each, they have a pretty decent shelf life too.* I have shot off 5 year old shells just to check from time to time and never had a failure.* I bought some really old surplus ones though from 1980 'cause they were*really cheap but had about a 60% fail to fire rate, so I stick with the newer ones now.
 
Last summer our local Coast Guard Auxiliary hosted a Hands on Demo for our local Yacht Club "Shelter Bay Yacht Club". They had a wide variety of Pyrotechnics for us to try out, we all were allowed to test fire one or two of each. I took along my personal 25MM flare pistol as well as one other club member. I have fired my own 25MM flare pistol several times over the years without any problems just to let people have a chance to try one out and to git rid of old flares. I've also heard that these flare guns work well around Brown Bears! After all of the demos and test firing a member of the Auxiliary said that if we wanted to fire any of the 12 ga. flares we were free to shoot as they had a pile of outdated 12 ga. flares. Both of us that brought our own 25mm guns inserted the mfg 12 ga insert into our pistols and fired a few rounds up into the evening sky. BOTH of us had BAD experiences with the old 12 ga shells. The shells back fired, not shooting the projectile out of the gun. Instead they burned in the gun, burning out back towards our hands. Luckily neither of us were injured. When my gun back fired I dropped it into the brush causing a small fire. Can you imagine what could have happened if this burning flare had fallen onto the deck of a boat that was already in distress? I've always been a fan of these 25mm pistols, but after that experience I'm changing over to the Mortar type parachutes. I didn't think it was necessary to post the brand name of the flare pistol but it was orange.

Rob Hays
"Lady Anne" W40PH
La Conner, Wa/Girdwood, Ak.

-- Edited by Rob on Monday 27th of December 2010 12:19:34 PM
 
Rob wrote:After all of the demos and test firing a member of the Auxiliary said that if we wanted to fire any of the 12 ga. flares we were free to shoot as they had a pile of outdated 12 ga. flares. Both of us that brought our own 25mm guns inserted the mfg 12 ga insert into our pistols and fired a few rounds up into the evening sky. BOTH of us had BAD experiences with the old 12 ga shells. The shells back fired, not shooting the projectile out of the gun. Instead they burned in the gun, burning out back towards our hands. Luckily neither of us were injured. When my gun back fired I dropped it into the brush causing a small fire.

Was the mismatch of the projectile the problem? 12 gauge is only 18.53 mm.* That is a bit loose for a 25mm barrel isn't it?*A bit*like firing a .38 in a .45 pistol. I would suspect that you would have a bit of a problem there as well.
<table class="wikitable"><tbody><tr><th rowspan="2">Gauge
(Bore)</th><th colspan="2">Caliber</th><th colspan="3">Weight of unalloyed (pure) lead ball</th></tr><tr><th>********* *(mm)</th><th>********** *(in)</th><th>*** *(g)</th><th>*(oz)</th><th>(gr)</th></tr><tr align="right"><td>AA<sup>*</sup></td><td>101.60</td><td>4.000</td><td>6225.52</td><td>219.6</td><td>96080</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>A½<sup>*</sup></td><td>76.20</td><td>3.000</td><td>2626.39</td><td>92.64</td><td>40530</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>½<sup>*</sup></td><td>53.45</td><td>2.103</td><td>907.18</td><td>32.000</td><td>14000</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>A<sup>*</sup></td><td>50.80</td><td>2.000</td><td>778.19</td><td>27.45</td><td>12010</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>1<sup>*</sup></td><td>42.42</td><td>1.669</td><td>453.59</td><td>16.000</td><td>7000</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>1½<sup>*</sup></td><td>37.05</td><td>1.459</td><td>302.39</td><td>10.667</td><td>4667</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>2<sup>*</sup></td><td>33.67</td><td>1.32</td><td>226.80</td><td>8.000</td><td>3500</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>3<sup>*</sup></td><td>29.41</td><td>1.158</td><td>151.20</td><td>5.333</td><td>2333</td></tr><tr align="right"><td rowspan="2">4</td><td>26.72</td><td>1.052</td><td>113.40</td><td>4.000</td><td>1750</td></tr><tr><td>23.75 to 24.25 (Euro)</td><td>.935 to .955 (Euro)</td><td></td><td></td><td></td></tr><tr align="right"><td>B<sup>*</sup></td><td>25.40</td><td>1.000</td><td>97.27</td><td>3.43</td><td>1501</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>6</td><td>23.35</td><td>.919</td><td>75.60</td><td>2.667</td><td>1166</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>8</td><td>21.21</td><td>.835</td><td>56.70</td><td>2.000</td><td>875</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>10</td><td>19.69</td><td>.775</td><td>45.36</td><td>1.600</td><td>700</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>12</td><td>18.53</td><td>.729</td><td>37.80</td><td>1.333</td><td>583</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>13</td><td>18.04</td><td>.710</td><td>34.89</td><td>1.231</td><td>538</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>14</td><td>17.60</td><td>.693</td><td>32.40</td><td>1.143</td><td>500</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>16</td><td>16.83</td><td>.663</td><td>28.35</td><td>1.000</td><td>438</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>20</td><td>15.63</td><td>.615</td><td>22.68</td><td>0.800</td><td>350</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>24</td><td>14.70</td><td>.579</td><td>18.90</td><td>0.667</td><td>292</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>28</td><td>13.97</td><td>.550</td><td>16.20</td><td>0.571</td><td>250</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>32</td><td>13.36</td><td>.526</td><td>14.17</td><td>0.500</td><td>219</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>36</td><td>12.85</td><td>.506</td><td>12.59</td><td>0.444</td><td>194</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>C<sup>*</sup></td><td>12.70</td><td>.500</td><td>12.16</td><td>0.429</td><td>188</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>40</td><td>12.40</td><td>.488</td><td>11.34</td><td>0.400</td><td>175</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>67.62</td><td>10.41</td><td>.410</td><td>6.71</td><td>0.237</td><td>104</td></tr><tr align="right"><td>D<sup>*</sup></td><td>6.35</td><td>.250</td><td>1.52</td><td>0.0536</td><td>23.5</td></tr></tbody></table>
*


-- Edited by JD on Monday 27th of December 2010 01:09:50 PM

-- Edited by JD on Monday 27th of December 2010 01:11:32 PM
 
JD wrote:

*

Was the mismatch of the projectile the problem? 12 gauge is only 18.53 mm.* That is a bit loose for a 25mm barrel isn't it?*A bit*like firing a .38 in a .45 pistol. I would suspect that you would have a bit of a problem there as well.
-- Edited by JD on Monday 27th of December 2010 01:11:32 PM
Inserts (a barrel that fits within the barrel) are available in some calibers so*smaller cartridges can be used.* For example, a 12-gauge insert for a 25 mm flare gun.* Or an insert fitting in the chamber*firing a 22-caliber rimfire in a 22-caliber center-fire rifle, for example.

*


-- Edited by markpierce on Monday 27th of December 2010 07:40:58 PM
 
markpierce wrote:


JD wrote:Was the mismatch of the projectile the problem? 12 gauge is only 18.53 mm.* That is a bit loose for a 25mm barrel isn't it?*A bit*like firing a .38 in a .45 pistol. I would suspect that you would have a bit of a problem there as well.-- Edited by JD on Monday 27th of December 2010 01:11:32 PM
Inserts (a barrel that fits within the barrel) are available in some calibers so*smaller cartridges can be used.* For example, a 12-gauge instert for a 25 mm flare gun.* Or an insert fitting in the chamber*firing a 22-caliber rimfire in a 22-caliber center-fire rifle, for example.
-- Edited by markpierce on Monday 27th of December 2010 01:19:22 PMGot it, but there was no mention of an insert being used and without the insert I would suspect that you might just have a bit of a problem.

*
 
I tried to state as clearly as possable:

Both of us that brought our own 25mm guns inserted the mfg 12 ga insert into our pistols and fired a few rounds up into the evening sky. BOTH of us had BAD experiences with the old 12 ga shells.

Flare Launchers were "Olin 25 MM Signal Launcher" with the Olin Winchester factory built 12 guage inserts installed. The flare shells fit snugly and correctly. The flares discharged when the hammer was released, but did not fire out the front of the barrel. The flares discharged and BURNED while still in the barrel/insert with flames and smoke coming out around the ass end of the barrel in the direction of our hands. I do not know the mfg. of the flare shells, are there multipile 12 guage flares?

-- Edited by Rob on Monday 27th of December 2010 02:22:29 PM
 
A couple years ago at an MTOA rendezvous we had a flare shooting demo sponsored by the local CG auxilary. Mainly to get everyone comfortable with shooting flares shold the need ever arise.*
Many of us brought our outdated 12 gage flares. We had probably 60 to 70 total many were several years past their dates, and all fired fine.
The problem is that a 12 gage flare doesn't do much...very limited range and only a few seconds of burn time.
 
Rob wrote:

I tried to state as clearly as possable:

Both of us that brought our own 25mm guns inserted the mfg 12 ga insert into our pistols and fired a few rounds up into the evening sky. BOTH of us had BAD experiences with the old 12 ga shells.

Flare Launchers were "Olin 25 MM Signal Launcher" with the Olin Winchester factory built 12 guage inserts installed. The flare shells fit snugly and correctly. The flares discharged when the hammer was released, but did not fire out the front of the barrel. The flares discharged and BURNED while still in the barrel/insert with flames and smoke coming out around the ass end of the barrel in the direction of our hands. I do not know the mfg. of the flare shells, are there multipile 12 guage flares?

-- Edited by Rob on Monday 27th of December 2010 02:22:29 PM
Rob,

Sorry I missed the "insert" part of your statement.* I read it as inserting the 12Ga flares not as inserting an insert to change the bore.

Sorry.

*
 
Have any of you actually used a flare in an emergency?* Did anyone see it and come to your rescue?

I have flares on my boat (current as well as outdated) and a cheap flare gun with oudated flares that came with the boat.

My slip neighbor said he was tired of getting stopped for safety inspections (he usually has a bunch of half naked women on his boat) so he wanted to get a safety inspection sticker.* Then, he couldn't find his flares so he asked if he could borrow mine for the inspection.

I have a feeling that in my area, most people who saw a flare would just stare and wonder "what's that?"
 
rwidman wrote:

Have any of you actually used a flare in an emergency?* Did anyone see it and come to your rescue?

I have flares on my boat (current as well as outdated) and a cheap flare gun with oudated flares that came with the boat.

My slip neighbor said he was tired of getting stopped for safety inspections (he usually has a bunch of half naked women on his boat) so he wanted to get a safety inspection sticker.* Then, he couldn't find his flares so he asked if he could borrow mine for the inspection.

I have a feeling that in my area, most people who saw a flare would just stare and wonder "what's that?"
Yes. It was a bright summer afternoon, and we'd arrived on the scene a few minutes after things had gotten out of hand. I fired off a couple of flares (this was 20 years ago and I was using a flare that required you to pull the lanyard from the bottom). Shortly thereafter we were surrounded by an armada of boats. Don't know if they came due to the flares or VHF hailing; I suspect it was a combination of the two.The big learning from this experience for me was that you have a simple to use flare system, as those things can be quite hazardous in a tense situation.

*
 
I would like to practice with a couple of my outdated flares, but I understand this is frowned upon.

I bought my pre-owned boat in 2008. It's a year 2000, launched in late 1999. The surveyor pointed out that the flares were probably original to the boat and I should get new ones.
 
It is illegal to send a distress message (radio, flare, whatever) unless one is in distress.* Buy/use white flares as they don't signal distress, but do attract attention.
 
rwidman wrote:

Have any of you actually used a flare in an emergency?* Did anyone see it and come to your rescue?
Dusk one evening in the early 1980s, about a quarter mile or so south of the north shore of Carquinez Strait, *I lighted a white-gas camping stove (been a backpacker for most of my life) on a cookie tray in the cockpit of my pocket outboard-auxiliary cutter (Bluewater Blackwatch).* Excess fuel spilled out during priming the stove, resulting in flames for a few seconds.* Almost immediately, a boat approached asking if we were in need of assistance.* No help needed, but the offer of assistance was appreciated.

*
 
regarding whether we've ever fired flares and had someone respond--

We were having* a safety day at our yacht club and part of the agenda for the day was to fire expired flares.* I contacted the coast guard well in advance and informed them of the time and date and got "clearance" to fire off the flares.* they did not instruct me to do anything the day of to remind anyone.* Not sure if the message was not passed along or they wanted some training, but anyway a USCG chopper did a fly by of our flare demo!*
 
Here's a couple of pictures of our sanctiond fireing og flares last summer. I always get a kick out of firing flare, especially the 25mm pistol. This was my wifes first expierence shooting a flare pistol:


-- Edited by Rob on Monday 27th of December 2010 09:17:02 PM
 

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Our yacht club, one New Years eve, had a flare off. We checked with Coast Guard and they said yup, no problem. We also , at that time were fairly isolated. So we set off the 12 guage guns, some handheld star types and the parachute rockets. The rockets were by far the most impressive, far brighter , went far higher and lasted far longer than any of the others, as expected.

The only fly in the ointment was the neighbours who didn't know about our escapade. They scrambled at midnight to come to our aid only to find us practicing. The did not have a good sense of humour about it all as it meant some bush whacking. So none of us has done it since because even though the C.G. knew we had no way of knowing or really, advising, all the folks who might see the flares.

One lesson though, I thought and many others thought, that the rockets were overkill untill we saw the difference. And it was the rockets that got our neighbours' attention. Now I keep 4 aboard and no questions. I hope never to need them but if there comes a time I also know that they will be seen when the other will not.

I will add that I also have a 12guage gun as , in the dark, it is the easiest to figure out its operation.

-- Edited by C lectric on Tuesday 28th of December 2010 02:29:25 PM
 
Excess fuel spilled out during priming the stove, resulting in flames for a few seconds.* Almost immediately, a boat approached asking if we were in need of assistance.* No help needed, but the offer of assistance was appreciated.
Open flames on deck should definitely be considered a distress signal.* Effective too..............Arctic Traveller

*
 
In the UK, the MCA (Marine and Coastguard Agency) is the government's main body for marine matters.

Apart from various mandatory requirements for pleasure vessels (pleasure = less than 24m, used for sport or recreational purposes only, and do not operate for any financial gain to the owner and 12 or less passengers not operating commercially) the MCA recommends,

"4 red parachute rockets, 4 red handheld flares, 4 white handheld flares and 2 orange smoke flares. But for a vessel operating less than 3nm from the coast no parachute rockets are required."

Piers
 
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