Pretoria Metal Pressings explains Proof Ranges


The three PMP Proof Ranges consist of two Small Arms proof ranges (ranging from 20m to 500m in length) and one Medium Calibre proof range (40m to 210m in length), and were commissioned between 1981 and 1989. The 500m Small Arms range is mainly used for dispersion and accuracy proofs, whereas the other Small Arms range and the Medium Calibre range is used for all ballistic and functional tests.

The ranges are used to test all PMP manufactured components (cartridge cases, projectiles, fuzes and primers) and routine ammunition acceptances. Propellants bought from external entities are tested for ballistic properties in conjunction with PMP components.

All ballistic and functional parameters are measured and shot according to the product specifications. These tests are executed in weapons which are specifically manufactured for this purpose, in contrast to operational weapons that are used to execute rate of fire or functioning tests. A large range of both ballistic testing equipment and functional weapons are available for this purpose.

Due to the ability to utilise controlled conditions, the development and qualification tests for new or improved ammunition products, ie, 30x173mm, 20x42mm and Kalahari Elite ammunition are tested at these ranges.

One of the unique features of the Medium Calibre range is that fuze sensitivity performance can be witnessed and photographed. The exact position of detonation can be determined behind the trigger plate. This information is used to determine terminal ballistic effects such as whether a partial or full detonation occurred.

Ammunition tested at our proof ranges vary from the smallest handgun calibre (6.35mm) to the largest calibre (35mm), which is manufactured in our factory.

Tests are done to determine internal, external and terminal ballistic parameters. These parameters are measured and recorded during development and routine tests, and include velocity measurements, pressure measurements, action time measurements, fuze functioning test, penetration, incendiary effects and dispersion tests.

Pressure curve’s detailing the maximum pressure generated by a cartridge, the rate of pressure increase, work done and action time is recorded. A critical parameter that can be observed from this graph is the tempo at which the pressure is generated; this parameter is critical for specific ammunition performance.

Due to the fact that it is the only enclosed facility of this type available in South Africa, the facility is also widely utilised by other entities for ammunition or weapon testing, and even firing weapons mounted in vehicles.

Depot proof/surveillance tests for the SANDF and the SA Navy is done annually to ensure that South Africa’s small and medium calibre ammunition stock is safe and serviceable at all times. All these services rendered to external entities result in an annual external income for the Proof Ranges and PMP.

The PMP Proof Range strives to deliver a quality service not only to its internal PMP clients, but also to external clients. Proof of the excellent service delivered is borne in feedback from clients.