Obscure Objects of Desire: Depleted Uranium 7.62 NATO Rounds

7.62 depleted uranium ammunition

Courtesy Reddit

Lead is the most common metal used in bullets for a number of reasons: cost, malleability, expansion on impact…and of course density. The more weight you can cram into the projectile the more energy you can deliver downrange. The relatively high density of lead means you get a lot of bang for your ballistic buck. But when you absolutely positively need to pierce some thick armor, depleted uranium is the better choice.

For reasons I don’t understand, depleted uranium has the odd property that it “self sharpens.” In other words, instead of mushrooming on impact like lead, some of a depleted uranium projectile shears off and another super sharp tip is created underneath. The parts that shear off are extremely flammable and tend to ignite.

The vast majority of depleted uranium ammunition is produced in the 30mm variety, for use in the A-10 Warthog’s main gun and 25mm for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle or LAV-25. But it seems that a small batch of depleted uranium projectiles were manufactured in 7.62 NATO, too.

From Cartridge Collectors‘ NATODave:

The feasibility of a 7.62mm DU flechette cartridge was explored by the Air Force Armament Laboratory in the late 60’s. The final version consisted of a 28.5gr DU flechette with a lightweight plastic sabot loaded into a standard 7.62x51mm case. Velocities in excess of 4000fps were achieved. Interestingly, concerns were expressed about in-flight ignition due to aerodynamic heating although this did not appear to be a real world problem. The details can be found in AFATL-TR-69-53 dated April 1969.

Those worried about radioactive exposure should take comfort in the fact that a garden variety banana is probably more radioactive than these rounds. Uranium emits only alpha particles, which is a form of radiation that’s easily stopped by a single sheet of cotton cloth or a paper cup. Any radiation emitted should be contained by the cardboard box they’re shipped in.

20mm depleted uranium

By Service Depicted: NavyCamera Operator: PHAN BRAD DILLON – ID:DNST9400420, Public Domain, Link

But should you actually fire any of these rounds you may want to keep your distance. Inhaling the radioactive dust left over from the impact could cause lung cancer and other nasty side effects.

According to some sources, boxes of ammunition have occasionally been seen available in the United States for roughly $400. And boy do I want one. Not to shoot…just to have.

[H/T Cartridge Collectors via Reddit]


This article was originally published in 2017.


  1. avatar Frontier Jeb says:

    I had about 5 boxes a while back and didn’t have anything else at the time so I used them all for target practice. Oh well easy come easy go;-)

    1. avatar REM1875 says:

      You ain’t the first guy too make a $2000 mistake on a range …….

  2. avatar James W Crawford says:

    Depleted Uranium is almost pure, U-338 with a half life exceeding 4 billion years. Since the radioactivity of any isotope is inversely proportional to the half life, this means that the radioactivity of depleted Uranium is damn near zero.

    Radiation isn’t a serious issue. Chemical toxicity comparable to Mercury or Arsenic is an issue.

    Depending on alloying and heat treatment, DU is extremely hard but with low shear strength.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      U-238. I know, a typo.
      The article speaks about relatively high density of lead an it’s usefulness for carrying energy. It never mentions that the uranium has density almost double that of lead.

      1. avatar No one of consequence says:

        True … and osmium and iridium are both around 20% more dense than U, at ~22.4-22.6 gram/cm3 vs. U’s 20.2. Tungsten’s right up there as well, around 19.3.

        But, U is actually more common in the earth’s crust than any of those others.

        1. avatar Totmacher says:

          I was a Nuke Mechanic in the Navy and we were always told our reactors U-235 went to make ammo once the cores lifecycle was up since it was like 93% enriched.

        2. avatar SkorpionFan says:

          Totmatcher, the spent fuel rods from a reactor are highly radioactive because of all the fission products (such as Cesium-137) created from burning (fissioning) the U-235 in the fuel.
          DU is made from the process of enriching natural uranium (uranium mined from the earth) by separating most of the U-235 from the U-238. What’s left after the U-235 (enriched uranium) is separated/removed is the depleted uranium (that is, uranium that is depleted in U-235). I left out the chemistry (uranium yellow cake, uranium hexafloride, etc.).
          So the enrichment process creates the source material for tons of DU.

      2. avatar anonymous says:

        Extreme heavy metals are forged in stars at the instant moment of their supernova.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Who is in charge of transporting them to Earth?

        2. avatar DinWA says:

          “We are all made of star-stuff.”
          ~ Carl Sagan

    2. avatar Defens says:

      OMG! If a hunter shoots a deer, loses it, and the California condors eat it, they will all die! Ban DU rounds now, for the critters!

      1. avatar Matthew Newton says:

        I uh…don’t think the round is going to lodge in the deer. So the condor is probably pretty safe.

    3. avatar anonymous says:

      Have you measured it? Why do they slap a giant radioactive label on it if is no more radioactive than a banana. Something amiss here fellas.

      1. avatar Hank says:

        Blame the EPA, it’s the same reason we can’t mine and process rare-earths. The separation process creates thorium tailings which are even less radioactive than DU. Also an alpha emitter but with a half life equal to the age of the universe (14 billion years).

        1. avatar Matthew Newton says:

          Its less the Thorium, though it is mildly toxic. Its the OTHER stuff. Radium and Thoron are generally found in trace amounts in Thorium. Basically you’ve got a toxic mess. And in many cases back in the day, the mines produced a crap load of shit that got left on the ground (IE those tailings) and it gets washed in to the local water shed, poisoning the water and water table.

          DU is pretty safe as a lump, but you do not want to ingest it or breath it. Alpha radiation can be stopped easily, but it also causes the most damage per fission compared to beta or gamma. Significantly more energy. So it only takes a tiny bit to cause significant radioactive damage to you. So you wouldn’t, say, want to wear U238 as jewelry.

      2. avatar Hank says:

        I forgot to mention bismuth is also faintly radioactive, once again an alpha emitter but with a half life of 1000x that age of the universe. Apparently the EPA can tolerate that pink stuff in pepto-bismol. Bismuth, thorium and uranium are the 3 primordial isotopes left over from the big-bang. All other radioactive isotopes are “daughters” of uranium.

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    My impression (about 30 mm) was that the DU was a core, with another metal surrounding it, like a sabot. When it hits a tank, etc, the DU dart sloughs off the jacket and proceeds through the armor, ending up a very hot, dense liquid as it enters the ammo supply, causing mayhem galore. We haven’t had a description from an eyewitness, yet, though.

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      That’s the Munroe effect, it’s why HEAT rounds penetrate. DU rounds don’t take advantage of it, they don’t need to.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        The Munroe effect applies to explosives, not the penetrators themselves :

        “Contrary to a widespread misconception (possibly resulting from the acronym HEAT, short for high-explosive anti-tank warhead) the shaped charge does not depend in any way on heating or melting for its effectiveness; that is, the jet from a shaped charge does not melt its way through armor, as its effect is purely kinetic in nature[3] – however the process does create significant heat and often has a significant secondary incendiary effect after penetration.”


        The self-sharpening characteristics are from the properties of the DU metal itself :

        “Why are depleted uranium rounds self-sharpening?”

        “When depleted uranium rods shear, their crystalline matrix results in shear angles that produces sharp edges. Very often, as the DU rods undergo stresses passing through armor, the rod shatters into small sharp fragments and acts like a razor blade shot gun or grenade once it enters the crew compartment.

        As a side note, they are also flammable and toxic. So it would be analogous to toxic, burning razor blades.”


        The flammability of depleted Uranium makes them double-ugly :

        “Why is depleted uranium pyrophoric?”

        “Because all isotopes of Uranium are pyrophoric. Uranium is pyrophoric because the pure metal rapidly oxidizes and small particles spontaneously ignite due to this chemical property of the metal, The fact that Uranium is pyrophoric is often wrongly cited as to why DU (naturally occurring Uranium-238 in highly purified metallic form) is used as kinetic energy penetrators to kill tanks. Kinetic energy penetrators abruptly slow down from near Mach 3 to feet per second when they impact the target tank’s armor plate – this enormous change in energy becomes extreme heat, near white hot metal. This high heat is what kills tanks by igniting their on-board ammunition and fuel stores.”


  4. avatar Wiregrass says:

    At 4000 fps velocity, I wonder what pressures these rounds have compared to standard 7.62 NATO?

    1. avatar WARFAB says:

      I suspect the pressure isn’t that much higher than standard ammunition. A similar heightened velocity is achieved any time you use a small for caliber projectile in a sabot.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        My understanding was that all 30 mm was the same velocity, so they’d all pattern when every round was different. What I’m saying is that the API or HE was not a sabot, all had the same muzzle velocity, which I recall as 4400 fps. I recall also a diagram of the trajectories of 20 mm vs 30 mm and being completely amazed. I wanted an A-10 *SO* bad. This was circa 1975, I don’t think the production line was started yet.

  5. avatar TommyJay says:

    The density of uranium is about 19.1 g/cm^3 versus 11.4 for lead. That 28 gr flechette must be quite tiny.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Yeah, I was kinda thinking like pencil lead thin.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        The .9mm of myth and legend?

      2. avatar MikeJH121 says:

        Pencil lead of death….as stated above DU just, for ease of think, self bores its way through. Wonder how thick of armor can a pencil lead size of DU get thru? 30 cal rounds for “military equipment” wink wink.

    2. avatar SkorpionFan says:

      The flechette dimensions from the linked report:
      1.820″ (46.2 mm) long,
      0.072″ (1.83 mm) diameter (rod), and
      0.170″ (4.32 mm) diameter (tail fins).

  6. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    From the article:

    “Uranium emits only alpha particles, which is a form of radiation that’s easily stopped by a single sheet of cotton cloth or a paper cup.”

    I’m admittedly not an expert in the radiation sciences, but is this a true statement? The pocket liner of my denim pants is only a single sheet of cotton cloth. So then a person could plunk a couple of these into his front pockets, and rely on the author’s assurances that the family jewels will be safe?

    Asking for a friend.

    1. avatar Frontier Jeb says:

      Just don’t hide them in nature’s pocket, you’ll get poisoned and all. Somebody else told me that once.

    2. avatar Defens says:

      Pretty much true. Alpha particles are big and ponderous. They have a lot of energy, but not much penetration. In my Radiation Worker II training, they said that a sheet of paper was enough to shield Alpha. The issue is if you inhale an alpha-emitter. Then the big energetic alpha particles have direct access to vulnerable lung tissue and can cause cancer.

      Alpha particles emitted by radon gas are the second largest cause of lung cancer in the US. Radon is a natural breakdown product of U-238, which is found naturally in granitic rocks, etc. That’s why places like the Front Range of Colorado have a radon gas problem in basements and crawl spaces. It’s due to radioactive decay of U-238 in rock. But if you don’t breathe it (or other alpha emitters) you don’t really have an exposure issue.

      1. avatar Asdf says:

        Back in college, we did an experiment where we set up an alpha emitter then measured the output with Gigercounter.

        We tried the one sheet of paper trick, and it didn’t affect the count rate at all. It took about 100 sheet stack to stop the Gigercounter from ticking.

        Either the Government hasn’t been telling the truth, or the lab tech had beta emitter instead.

        1. avatar Joe says:

          You likely didnt have a very pure alpha emitter and it had a good deal of beta emissions. This is not uncommon.

          The problem with a lot of the statements people are making here about U238 being “safe” because while it is exclusively an alpha emitter, its daughter product Th234 is a beta emitter with a very short half life. Thus while the amount of beta emissions will be rather low because the half life of U238 is so high, the assumption that U238 is “safe” because it’s an alpha emitter is just not true. Effectively it’s a very low alpha, beta and gamma emitter because of its daughter products.

          This is likely what happened with the sample you were testing with a sheet of paper.

      2. avatar N8thecowboy says:

        “…a lot of energy, but not much penetration.”

        That would be a fairly descriptive statement for my life.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          and most eunuchs.

    3. avatar Jim Bullock says:

      You inspired nostalgia trip through this topic, so thanks.

      Cloth stops alpha particles is true enough, with some details. The standard example I recall was “stopped by a sheet of paper.” Cloth can have gaps the particles can get through without hitting anything, like Milano’s loose-woven Kung-Flu masks.

      DU — U238 w/ all the 235 taken out — has some base radioactivity (big nuclei tend to be less stable than the smaller ones: “radioactive” in the vernacular), but won’t “atomic explode.”

      Myself, I might keep DU cartridges as collectables in a case. I wouldn’t carry them around in my pocket all the time. Uranium is a bit active in other ways.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        “DU — U238 w/ all the 235 taken out — has some base radioactivity (big nuclei tend to be less stable than the smaller ones: “radioactive” in the vernacular), but won’t “atomic explode.””

        Actually, it can explode (and has!), but the conditions required to do so is rather extreme.

        I’ll explain –

        A Teller-Ulam 3-stage thermonuclear weapon.

        Stage 1 – A standard fission explosion.

        Stage 2 – Here’s where it gets interesting – Underneath the exploding first stage is a device called the ‘tamper’. It is made of dense depleted Uranium metal. It’s job is to contain the results of the second stage (for as long as it can). The second stage is a dry powder of Lithium-6 deuteride that now gets compressed by the brutal radiation pressure of the exploding first stage, converting some of the Lithium-6 deuteride into Tritium.

        The Tritium being compressed fuses releasing tremendous neutron radiation that now ‘activates’ the depleted Uranium into Uranium that can now fission.

        The ‘tamper’ undergoing fission releases even more energy is the third stage of the Teller-Ulam 3-stage bomb.

        Fun trivia – The largest nuclear explosion to date was Russian, the ‘Tsar Bomba’ H-Bomb. It released 50 megatons of energy.

        The depleted Uranium ‘tamper’ in that bomb was made of Lead, because they feared the aircraft dropping it couldn’t get far enough away to survive once it detonated. Had the Russians used depleted uranium as a ‘tamper’, the energy output was calculated to be 100 megatons. The recently-announced long-range Russian torpedo ‘Tsunami’ A-bomb uses a depleted Uranium tamper for a full 100 megaton output.

        Here’s the little 50 megaton Russian device in testing :

        1. avatar 9x39 says:

          Fun fact # 2

          Sakharov bent over backwards to convince Khrushchev that testing the full power, 100 Mt monster that was the real, though never built Tsar Bomba version (as far as we know), was far to dangerous. Modern revisionism says it was due to fallout alone, but the concern was also from over pressure & the massive shock wave. As it happens, he was right. The just over 1/2 power test @ an est. 58 Mt resulted in windows being broken from the shock wave as far as 560 mi. away in Norway & Finland.

          Fun fact # 3

          The Tu 95V that dropped the device, dropped like a stone when the shock wave caught up to it @ 71 mi. distance from zero point, as did with the escorting Tu-16 @ 127 mi. They both lost a full kilometer of altitude from loss of lift from the atmospheric pressure variation within (approx .625 + miles).

          Devastating ruination visited, not only on the blast site, but on underpants in those cockpit’s, I’d imagine. Prolly chomped a serious chunk each out of the crews seat upholstery via clenched buttocks. 😀

        2. avatar Jim Bullock says:

          That was fun, thanks. I didn’t know that specific story.

          Some friends of mine work in related R & D. Interesting conversations on the models behind the rule of thumb answers, like flux, n density, n stability, n the boom-y stuff just has good values for those without a lot of work. (One wrote a book on research vs commercial s w. If one weren’t skeptical of COVID or Climate models already…)

          One net is there are squicky corner-cases that might work if someone can figure out doing it. Myself, at my level of ignorance, I don’t get why thorium fission can’t work for power, which means go do the R & D to find the problems. I can follow the polywell fusion guy’s Google talk enough to want somebody to assert why that can’t work. N I recall that early days of inertial fusion discovered a new property of plasmas, which made a market for frequency-upshift tech for coherent light.

          These people’s brains are weird.

    4. avatar arc says:

      Yes, alpha particles can be stopped with a piece of paper, but gamma particles need about 5′ of concrete. If you are detecting gamma particles though, you are probably at ground zero of a nuclear strike and have bigger problems.

      The real danger with alpha and beta particles is if you breath or eat them.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        “The real danger with alpha and beta particles is if you breath or eat them.”

        That’s what makes battle-damage from DU problematic. When radioactive materiel burns, the ‘smoke’ is radioactive.

        In your lungs, the the Co2-O2 gas-exchange tissue is many times thinner than even a sheet of paper. Living cells getting hit with Alpha-radiation get their DNA damaged, and that causes cancers.

        Some of the nastiest nuclear contamination accidents in the US have come from Plutonium fires on the weapon ‘pit’ production lines.


        1. avatar SkorpionFan says:

          It’s impossible to eat or inhale alpha particles or beta particles because they only exist as radiation for microseconds before they use up their energy (by colliding with atoms) and become just a normal helium atom (for an alpha particle) or an electron (for a beta particle).

          What people really mean by saying alpha and beta radiation these are inhalation or injestion hazards are that the radioactive material particles (such as DU dust or DU oxide dust particles) which emit alpha and/or beta particles are hazardous if you inhale the dust or get the dust on your hands and transfer it to your food, etc.

          Think of radioactive material dust like tiny, microscopic chem lights/glow sticks where the light emitted is the radiation. You don’t inhale or eat the light; to get the light inside of your stomach or lungs, the tiny glow Stick would need to be inhaled with the air or eaten with your food or drink (or if you touch your face or mouth with contaminated hands). The glow sticks inside of you would then expose (illuminate) your lungs or stomach with the light emitted. Radioactive material (such as DU dust) works the same way; when the dust gets inside of you, the radiation emitted from the DU (alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiation) irradiate your lungs or stomach and other organs if the material is absorbed into the bloodstream.

          The US DOE’ NNSA’s Counterterrorism Operations Support (CTOS) program explains this in their DHS-sponsoed Radiologial/Nuclear WMD courses (free for US first responders).

          More info on what happens to alpha and beta radiation

        2. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          “It’s impossible to eat or inhale alpha particles or beta particles because they only exist as radiation for microseconds…”

          Inhaling the *smoke* particles of burning Uranium deposits the particles that emit the radiation that damages DNA. And the tissue in your lungs is thinner than a piece of paper.

          That’s why burning even depleted Uranium is a really bad idea. Google “Fuel Flea” :

          “Fuel fleas are microscopic hot particles of new or spent nuclear fuel.”


        3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          i remember getting snake oiled into one of these… it had a polonium grid which was not obviously effective.


        4. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          “i remember getting snake oiled into one of these… it had a polonium grid which was not obviously effective.”

          It worked just fine when it was new, but the radioactive ‘active ingredient’ has decayed away. It’s the radiation that kills static electricity, and with no more radiation, it does *nothing* :

          “Staticmaster anti-static brushes are an excellent way to remove dust and other debris away from vinyl records which is a must have for audiophiles. This will help maximize the life of your LP’s. StaticMaster anti-static brushes use the isotope Polonium 210. The Polonium depletes over time. It is recommended to replace the cartridge every 12 months to ensure optimal performance”


    5. avatar Fallman says:

      It’s complicated because there’s still some U-235 (less than the natural 0.7% but there are always decay products present even from the U-238. For an idea of all the possible resultant products, look for the “decay chain” of U-238 (“uranium series”) and U-235 (“actinium series”). Often shown are the types of radiation of each step and the half-life of the products.

    6. avatar SkorpionFan says:

      Nope, it’s NOT true that uranium ONLY emits alpha particle radiation.

      Uranium materil is never 100% pure a single isotope. Uranium ore or uranium metal is actually a mixture of various radioactive isotopes which emit diferent quantities of alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiation (and the U-235 component alos occasionally emits tiny amount of neutron radiation from spontaneous fission). After any uranium atom emis radiation, it decays into other isotopes, which also emit radiation.

      So basically, uranium emits a lot of alpha radiation, significant beta radiatio and x-rays, some gamma radiation, and a tiny amount of neutron radiation. Often, people will just focus on the alpha radiation for discussions of the hazards of tiny amounts of uranium dust contamination.

    7. avatar SkorpionFan says:

      I Haz A Question,
      Nope, it’s NOT true that uranium ONLY emits alpha particle radiation.

      Uranium materil is never 100% pure a single isotope. Uranium ore or uranium metal is actually a mixture of various radioactive isotopes which emit diferent quantities of alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiation (and the U-235 component alos occasionally emits tiny amount of neutron radiation from spontaneous fission). After any uranium atom emis radiation, it decays into another radionulide, which also emits radiation.

      So basically, uranium emits a lot of alpha radiation, significant beta radiation and x-rays, some gamma radiation, and a tiny amount of neutron radiation. Often, people will just focus on the alpha radiation for discussions of the hazards of tiny amounts of uranium dust contamination.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        “Often, people will just focus on the alpha radiation for discussions of the hazards of tiny amounts of uranium dust contamination.”

        Because it is easy to unknowingly ingest the stuff. The ‘harder’ radiation is far easier to detect at a distance…

  7. avatar OldProf49 says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard of this, but that’s not surprising. OK, so it’s twice as dense as a lead bullet and it’s going REALLY FAST. But at 28 grains, what can it do that a 7.62×51 AP round can’t? Even a 5.56 round is approximately twice the weight of this. I don’t understand the intended purpose.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      To obtain Fed grant funding for a lengthy “study”.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Armor-piercing. That 5.56 won’t do any good when it fragments on an armored car or similar surface. If you were to use these rounds with a LMG you’d have something that could deal with lightly armored vehicles quite well and without the weight of anti-material rifles.

      1. avatar 9x39 says:

        This, all day.

        For a bit larger, revisit Iraqi Drive By #1, when the Iraqi’s actually had a massive armor contingent. Take a look see at the battle damage wrought by the Hawg’s GAU-8 on MBT’s. Granted, armor up top is thin comparatively, but 30 mm isn’t especially powerful on the, hell, not even remotely modern battlefield. DU, used exclusively through those guns back then, made all the difference.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          And I think only one round in five was DU.

      2. avatar edward kenway says:

        After Desert Storm many of the abandoned Iraqi vehicles ended up in large scrap piles in the middle of nowhere outside Kuwait City. During one of my trips during the late ’90’s I visited and took pictures in one nearby scrap yard outside the city near Al-Jahra. Tanks, APCs, and other vehicles were lying everywhere unclaimed. I witnessed T-72 turrets flipped off the hulls that had DU hits on them and APCs that looked like Swiss cheese. The DU rounds had hit and melted their way out the other side of T-72 turrets leaving blobs of melted steel on the exit side. The exit holes literally reminded me of melted candle wax.
        I had to be careful because the Arabs hadn’t cleaned out the vehicles as a few stray 100mm rounds from the dead T-54/55’s were lying around.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          ‘n shallah.

  8. avatar Chi-Chi Montezuma says:

    Ever see birth defects related to DU? Nightmare stuff. Iraqi babies with no eyes and worse. I like how DU can carve through armor like a hot exploding butter knife but not the cost. Convenient way to repurpose nuclear waste too.

    Many US veterans are suffering due to their battlefield exposure to DU. Surprised that’s been ignored here. Ttag turning chicom or antifa?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      So you ignore the science in favor of anecdotes based around a country and warzone including burn pits with JP-8 and god knows how many other toxins in favor of focusing on a type of ammunition used exclusively by the US and UK but you think that it’s TTAG that is engaging in communist propaganda?

    2. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      I’m sure it has nothing to do with the wonderful living conditions in Iraq. Not to mention the chemical weapons

      1. avatar edward kenway says:

        The US took about 600 tons of yellowcake out of Tuwaitha, Iraq at the request of the government. What a lot of people didn’t realize is the site was abandoned and locals looted some of the radioactive items before it was secured.

        I was in Iraq from 2004-2007, and again from 2008-1010. The local insurgent knuckleheads had weapons caches hidden and buried that contained mustard gas and, in some cases, they’d rigged IEDs out of old artillery shells that had the remnants of sarin in them. PPE was minimal and sometimes the insurgents would suffer a few casualties themselves putting the stuff into use. The JIEDDO guys were always a gold mine of info for that stuff.

  9. avatar Montana Actual says:

    I like to dip my ammo in Nightlock berry juice.

  10. avatar Matt says:

    Maybe this will work on those pesky squirrels.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    I don’t collect anything(except debt). I would collect depleted uranium rounds😏

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Some Fiesta dinnerware, which can be found in hunting camps to this day, up until 1944 and then again from the late 50s to the early 70s utilized uranium oxide and then depleted uranium.

    For some reason, the old “radioactive red” Fiesta dinnerware sells for pretty good money in antique stores. I had a friend who was going to use his for target practice until I told him that it was valuable. He then sold a big lot of it for a couple of grand.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Check Ebay for ‘Uranium Glass’, the green stuff looks really cool under ultraviolet light :


      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I had never heard of that stuff until a year or so back, when a neighbor pointed out a piece that we had owned for decades, don’t even remember where we got it!

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        that’s neat. we have some cobalt and also some carnival but no green. damnyou.

    2. avatar former water walker says:

      Fiesta ware is pretty dead as a collectible catagory. Peaked in the 1990’s. Lot’s of crap died as a category. We used to sell fine art and real antiques. Now mostly decorative stuff. Oh and I sold a medical alarm to an old gal around 30 years who was part of the Radium Dial scandal. The girls licked paint brushes to paint radioactive glow in the dark dials. Out around Morris,ILL. Before anyone knew. He!! thousands of soldier’s were exposed to atomic blasts. And John Wayne got cancer making that Conqueret Genghis Khan crap.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        They scraped tons of top soil from the location filming site and trucked it to sound stages in Hollywood to do more shots inside.

        A lot of people associated with that movie died from cancer. The problem is pinning the cancer to one source. The American lifestyle then included lots of tobacco, alcohol and red meat. It would be hard to prove that it was just the residual radiation doing all the damage.

      2. avatar Ralph says:

        fww, are you still dealing in antiques? I was a picker back in the day. I did it for fun but I made a few dollars at it.

      3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        always thought that was elgin, for the watch company. wrong: the earliest was orange, new jersey, then ottawa, illinois (for westclox in peru) and finally, waterbury, connecticut.
        the radium girls.

  13. avatar mjrfusil says:

    In the 1st Gulf War the Abrams DU rounds looked like laser bolts through night vision. The would go through one side of a t-72 turet and you could see it go out the other side. Like a sicfi laser.
    PS Looking at an Abrams rear with night vision made it look like the Batmobile from the 60’s. Yes, I asked before I looked.

    1. avatar edward kenway says:

      Yes, … thank you for the more immediate combat visual. I got to see the later aftereffects.

      In Iraq I’d travel all over using USMC or Army helicopter flights. Watching the blades with nightvision as they kicked up a storm of flashes in the rotor wash was always cool.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I was not aware the Abrams used DU. I suppose I should have guessed, for an antitank role. That tank is a piece of gear, too, but as a pilot it was always the A-10 I lusted for. Pretty sure it was more fun to get upside down than the Abrams, too!

      1. avatar 9x39 says:

        Hahahaaaaaaaa! Truly, turtle backed in an Abram’s is no place I’d wanna be. You and I both, visual acuity issues kept me from flying anything, unless as cargo. Had a thing for the A-10 since childhood. Something about that gun, and the fact that they had to build a plane around it…


        I mean:


  14. avatar Dale Menard says:

    Yeah, but where can you buy some DU 7.62×51?

  15. avatar Dave G. says:

    “Obscure Objects of Desire: Depleted Uranium 7.62 NATO Rounds”

    Nope! Don’t want any. Also got rid of my M1A.

  16. avatar WARFAB says:

    Side note: This is the most entertaining and fascinating comments section I’ve ever seen on a TTAG article.

    Quite the crew we’ve got here.

  17. avatar Technician Dude says:

    This paragraph is incorrect.
    “Those worried about radioactive exposure should take comfort in the fact that a garden variety banana is probably more radioactive than these rounds. Uranium emits only alpha particles, which is a form of radiation that’s easily stopped by a single sheet of cotton cloth or a paper cup. Any radiation emitted should be contained by the cardboard box they’re shipped in.”

    Depleted Uranium (DU) emits alpha, beta, gamma radiation, and x-rays. A single 28.5 grain (1.85 gram) DU-molybdimum alloy flechette only emits low levels of radiation, but is much more radioactive than the tiny amount of radioactive potasium-40 (K-40) in a banana. Although DU is mostly U-238, the trace amounts of U-235 and U-234 are much more radioactive than U-238, and the Thorium-234 and Protactinium-234m from decay of U-238 also emit radiation. All of these radioactive isotopes in DU result in a complex mix of alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiations emit from DU.

    Objects made of DU should be plated or sealed to prevent the spread toxic dust (uranium or uranium oxide) from the object, which is much more of a health hazard than the radiation emitted from a DU object. I have personally measured, from meters distant, the gamma radiation from DU industrial objects, such as the “empty” case (steel box with DU shielding sealed inside) for radiography cameras, so a cardboard box, does not block the gamma radiation from DU.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Pretty much nothing but lots of mass can stop Gamma radiation.

      That stuff is ‘extra-spicy’…

  18. avatar SkorpionFan says:

    28.5 grain (1.85 gram) DU alloy flechette (Figure 1)
    the flechette and sabot as loaded into a 7.62 NATO cartridge (Figure 5).

    Would have been cool if the author would have included these drawings in this article.

    The flechette is a sharply-pointed, finned rod
    1.820″ (46.2 mm) long,
    0.072″ (1.83 mm) diameter (rod), and
    0.170″ (4.32 mm) diameter (tail fins).

  19. avatar Retro says:

    The hazard from DU rounds is complicated. The rounds have most of the U-235 (what goes boom) removed, but not all. Most of the daughter products are removed in the refining process, but not all. U238 mostly decays via alphas, but not only by alpha decay. Most of the Uranium Hexafluoride used in the enrichment process is gone, but not all of it, and it is toxic, corrosive, carcinogenic, just a generally nasty compound. And last but not least, Uranium is a heavy metal that will poison you if you ingest it by breathing or otherwise consuming the dust.

    But I’d still like at least one round of it to display.

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