APFSDS materials

I know that most APFSDS penetrators are made of tungsten, cobalt, or depleted uranium, but does anyone know the material of the Sabot? Is it Aluminum, or some kind of composite plastic?

Both. Older ones were aluminum, modern ones are composite plastic-fiber material.


Usually depends, but nowadays we want the sabot to be as light as possible. So, older ones would be aluminium, whereas newer ones tend to use composite materials.

If you’re also wondering why, in simple terms, the purpose of sabot is to allow the detonating propellant to efficiently transfer its energy into the penetrator, which is at that point held against the sabot. The sabot itself also obviously has weight, but since it’s useless after it leaves the barrel, it’s a waste of energy to accelerate a heavy sabot along with the penetrator. Hence, lightweight materials are used instead so less ‘parasitic mass’ has to be accelerated with the penetrator. At least that’s my understanding of it.

Composite instead of aluminum probably also helps with barrel life to some degree as well

I understand the science and ballistics around it, I was just curious what the Sabot material was, because I’ve just never known, I just assumed it was aluminum originally, but then got curious. But yeah, less mass means more push behind the projectile, because the explosion of the propellant is still the same, but pushing a lighter material, therefore allowing more energy to be transferred. From what I know, yeah, that’s correct.
I was curious mostly because I wanted to make a custom slug for a 12ga, and wanted to know the material they use, just to draw and sketch and design of it, before trying to machine it.

I mostly explained the science behind it in case someone else finds this in a later search and is wondering how it works. Maybe at least one person will learn something.

Good luck with your project :)

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