Wax Bullet
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Basic Information

A wax bullet is, unsuprisingly, a bullet made of wax. This, on the face of it, sounds like a pretty stupid idea and for most purposes it is - there are two main practical applications:

  1. Deception: It is possible to make up a wax bullet which resembles the real thing under cursory inspection but then combusts on firing meaning that little or no material is ejected from the muzzle of the weapon. This can then be used in stage magic illusions (such as the venerable "bullet catch" trick) or for other forms of deceit.
  2. Training: Some modern manufacturers provide low powered ammunition which fires a bullet of coloured wax - when used with proper eye protection, this leaves a visible and painful, but basically harmless mark on anyone it hits and is considered a valuable training aid - much like a professional version of a paintball. This is much more expensive than blank ammunition, but requires less intrusive modification1 than most other sorts of simulation round and so arguably improves realism.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Clever PCs will doubtless find all sorts of clever gambits where a wax bullet could be useful.
    • Unmasking a traitor might well be one - being shot in the back with a wax bullet is far less annoying than a real one.
  • For a wax bullet to deceive effectively, you need people to see you load it, or they may assume that you've fired a blank round instead.
  • Note that neither sort of wax bullet is 100% safe as the cartridge will still eject burning propellant, wadding etc.
  • There is also the possibility of killing an illusionist by switching his wax bullets for live ball (assuming that he doesn't handle them himself and notice the difference in mass) and/or for sneaking an un-kitted gun into a wax kitted training environment.
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