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Old 11-07-2006, 20:27   #1
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Flares for old Very Pistol?

Hi, just dropped in after being absent for awhile and notice lots of new categories... hope someone can find this post hidden away in a pretty inactive category!
Anyway, this old Very pistol I inherited had a couple of shells, but they dated from the 50's and may have been bad, ya think?
I think it's 27 or 28 milimeters, and I found a place in Canada (online) that says they have them, but they can't be exported.
Anybody know where they may be found in the States?
Thanks,
Mike
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Old 11-07-2006, 20:31   #2
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Ah so, all the categorys are displayed in the same place! I get it!
Mike
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:27   #3
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The best thing to do with a very pistol is to get rid of it. It is treated as a firearm in a lot of countries, and the flares are very short lived. If you must have one and then need to use it, it is essential that you fire the flares in groups of two. Most people only catch the glare out of the corner of their eye, and by the time they turn the flare has died, but if you immediately follow this with another flare, they are looking in the right spot of the ocean to view it. Whereas a parachute flare lasts for much longer, is normally deployed to a greater altitude, has a much brighter flare.
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Old 12-07-2006, 19:35   #4
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Mike, flares from the 1950's may very well still be good, especially if they were navy issue. (Military ordinance tends to be sealed better than civilian products.) I wouldn't rely on them in an emergency, but I have seen hundred year old brass rifle cartridges simply picked up, dusted off, and fired. And some years ago the folks at DuPont fired off a revolutionary war cannonball (made with E I DuPont gunpowder) without any problem beyond a new fuse.

You'd want to find out the exact size it takes. You *probably* can use modern 25mm flares in it by paying a machine shop to make up a liner sleeve for you. That's just a piece of brass or steel tubing machined to fit inside the Very gun, with a 25mm center diameter, to let a modern flare center in it. Those adapters used to be commercially available, so you can hunt around. Or, bring the gun (and a modern 25mm flare) to a machine shop, and they'll know what to do.

These folks sell replacement parts and might be able to give you some information on sleeves. Or, if it is in decent shape it might be worth more to sell to a militaria collector.
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Old 13-07-2006, 03:24   #5
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Quote:
flares from the 1950's may very well still be good, especially if they were navy issue. (Military ordinance tends to be sealed better than civilian products.) I wouldn't rely on them in an emergency, but I have seen hundred year old brass rifle cartridges simply picked up, dusted off, and fired.
This is VERY BAD ADVICE There is a world of difference between gunpowder/cordite which is essentially very stable (and thus 50 yr old bullets will have a low failure rate), and flares, which even in military use are lifed for 3 years. The reason is that the flare material is unstable. At that age, some will work fine, some will not work at all, and some will explode as they leave the barrel.

DO NOT USE UNTIL YOU HAVE INVESTED HEAVILY IN LIFE INSURANCE AND CHECKED THAT YOU ARE COVERED
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Old 13-07-2006, 03:57   #6
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I think you may have a very interesting artifact, but not a tool.

An early version of a pyrotechnic flare gun was developed by Lt. Edward Very, US Navy, circa 1887 (US Patent 190263 dated 1 May 1877), and the name "Very pistol" is often applied to any flare gun. His design was based on a 10 Gauge shell, but in WW1 and WW2 larger sizes were adopted, with most being about 1 inch bore (25mm, 25.5, or 28mm) or 1.5 inch bore (37mm). Webley-Scott was a British maker, and many others (in many countries) have made similar launcher pistols..

Brion Toss on Flares: http://www.briontoss.com/education/a.../miscmar02.htm
... The Very Pistol backfired after firing a few duds in the air (we junked it completely ... We thought that the few Very Pistol flares that worked were pretty pathetic compared to the parachute flares. The handhelds can't be seen far away and are only used properly according to Coasties for close-up "we're over here" work ...
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Old 13-07-2006, 07:56   #7
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Talbot, I doubt a 50-year old pyro would explode. The failure mode almost universally seen in pyrotechnic charges is that they absorb moisture and oxidize slowly, so that after three years they are considered unreliable--as in they just won't pop. Exploding? I guess anything is possible, but since they aren't "explosives" to begin with...no likely. More likely that if the primer went off and the flare din't launch...you'd have a "hot shot" sitting in the flare gun and no way to dump it without dumping the flare gun overboard, or holding it aloft for a half hour waiting for the slow sizzle to die out.<G>

There's an Italian company supposedly selling 38mm Very flare pistols on the web now. Dunno. Flare pistols, even the SOLAS ones, don't impress me much. Rocket flares have much better visibility *and* oddly enough, often are cheaper.
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Old 13-07-2006, 09:11   #8
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Whilst you are correct about the pyrotechnic absorbing water, but they can also create cracjks in the charge, and at that age, there can be some chemical interaction with the propellant

Dont want to get all technical just get the message across - these are not safe. I have spent most of my life around explosives, I would not touch very old flares with a barge pole.

BTW you may have heard about a white flare re-call earlier this year (I posted a warning message) This came to life when a white flare exploded in the launcher and most of the flare tube ended up in the stomach of the man demonstrating the flares. He also had some other very serious injuries (and this was an in-date flare!)
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Old 14-07-2006, 17:12   #9
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thanks for good info

Thanks for all the replys. I guess my pistol would use the 28mm flares, and it seemed to me the old ones were labeled parachute flares. I guess my question is answered as to the availability of these- but I just may get the chamber insert if the 25mm ones are readily available in the States. Of course I carry SOLAS type flares aboard, but if there ever was one of those situations you hope never happens, I think looking down the barrel of that big honkin' barrel would deter a some des-pirate guy with a machete from coming too close. I'm also pretty sure the flares would be more visible than the little 12 ga ones readily available, don't you think?
Best,
Mike
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Old 14-07-2006, 20:07   #10
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Talbot-
"BTW you may have heard about a white flare re-call earlier this year " No but I'll take your word on it. And on the fact that old pyros can explode. I've enjoyed the blessings (ahem) of spontaneous combustion and as a result I keep all my pyros sealed in an ammunition can, so at least they'll have to fight to get any oxygen. With an inventory on the OUTside, so there's no excuse for "let's see what we've got".

It seems like the 21st century is going to follow the pattern of the 20th, with "quality" becoming a mythical creature lost in the legends of time.

Mike-
IIRC you can still buy parachute flares, even 25mm SOLAS rated parachute flares. The idea is that the chute keeps them aloft for a much longer time, so there's a much better chance you'll be seen. You should be able to find comparisons for visible range, time, and brightness of the various pyros available in the US. I think I've seen the same little comparison chart on the back of the OLIN products and in the West catalog.
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Old 21-07-2006, 18:32   #11
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Mike, take a look at
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=217633

The conversion sleeve they are selling here may be what you are looking for. Assuming the existing barrel is the same as the H&K they intend it for.
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Old 23-04-2013, 16:35   #12
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Re: thanks for good info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexico Mike View Post
Thanks for all the replys. I guess my pistol would use the 28mm flares, and it seemed to me the old ones were labeled parachute flares. I guess my question is answered as to the availability of these- but I just may get the chamber insert if the 25mm ones are readily available in the States. Of course I carry SOLAS type flares aboard, but if there ever was one of those situations you hope never happens, I think looking down the barrel of that big honkin' barrel would deter a some des-pirate guy with a machete from coming too close. I'm also pretty sure the flares would be more visible than the little 12 ga ones readily available, don't you think?
Best,
Mike
Old post - don't know if you are still following.

german flare gun - Google Search

Find your gun here. Are you sure its not 26.5mm? That is a common size. You can get 'expired' Polish army flares in this size shipped under HazMat or find a gun dealer who will help you. The army flares are in aluminum tubes and look like large shotgun shells. As noted above, they keep way longer than the expiration date. Look for a dealer (not a sport shop). I have a link with a class III dealer who got this nice Polish launcher for me. My Olin all aluminum launcher firing pin broke off - non-reparable.

You can at lease find an outlet to sell and its legal in the US - not regulated by BATF. Some of the old ones have collector value and there are people who re-load. You can also find a variety of inserts to change its effective bore.
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Old 23-04-2013, 17:37   #13
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Re: Flares for old Very Pistol?

Only slightly off-topic: I have the usual Olin/Orion 25 mm/"12 ga" gun required in Canadian boats.

I would like to find not an old metal gun resleeved for modern flares, but a modern metal gun that can sustain use more than the plastic thingies. This is because if I needed to use the thing offshore, I would be firing off pairs until even the large number of expired ones were gone.
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Old 23-04-2013, 18:14   #14
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Re: Flares for old Very Pistol?

I used to have a 1 1/2" Very Pistol, with enormous cartridges. I sold it to a collector. Modern, self-contained flare capsules are way better.
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Old 23-04-2013, 20:44   #15
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Re: Flares for old Very Pistol?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Only slightly off-topic: I have the usual Olin/Orion 25 mm/"12 ga" gun required in Canadian boats.

I would like to find not an old metal gun resleeved for modern flares, but a modern metal gun that can sustain use more than the plastic thingies. This is because if I needed to use the thing offshore, I would be firing off pairs until even the large number of expired ones were gone.
The best and most economical is the Polish Army launcher I posted above or the German GECO flare launcher. Both are extremely well built machines with accurate, close fitting parts. Follow the link for lots of pictures and other links. Use Google to find one or locate a gun dealer or go to a gun show. These are not BATF regulated in the US. They can be shipped, no paperwork. These are 26.5mm launchers and there are a variety of sleeves available. With a 12 ga sleeve you can launch 12 ga flares.

Here is a link to a dealer with launchers & kits & flares.
http://www.hitechammotogo.com/html/26_5___37mm_products.html

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