Used tank shells/misfires

The “How loud is it inside a tank” question got me wondering: what do they do with the used shell casings? My knowledge of the subject comes primarily from “The Beast,” and in that movie they just end up in a pile on the floor. Is that really what they do, just dump them out onto the floor? Isn’t that dangerous? What about misfires? Do those just end up on the floor with the rest? I would imagine in a thick-of-battle situation you can’t just evacuate the tank and run when there’s a misfire, can you?

Most tanks have a small hatch in the back of the turret that they open and toss the spent casings out of.

In non-battle situations, I’d imagine that the shells are kept for either reloading or selling. That much brass isn’t cheap, and there’d be no reason to just toss it out the window.

So they just let them roll around on the floor? It’s pretty cramped in there as it is, isn’t it?

Paging ExTank

Oh, I’ve got no earthy idea, only educated guesses.

I’m guessing that since there’s room for the shells before they’re fired, there’d be room for the shells after they’re fired. Perhaps a rack of some sort. Or maybe just a big bag on the back of the tank like this one on an AR-15.

Nice.:smiley: I’d like to see that.

Looks like a horse diaper.

My brother used to drive M1s, and he told me that the shell casings in that particular tank actually burn up in the barrel. The only thing that pops back out of the breech is the very base of the casing. And it’s very hot. Here’s a quote from Federation of American Scientists saying as much:
From that, it sounds like conventional shell casings just fall on the floor and get tossed out the top after the bad guys are blown up.

The M1 Abrams fires rounds with combustable cartridge cases (German main battle tank as well). Only a small stub base remains to rattle around in the tank. Yes, it can be a hazard to other rounds being loaded if the fresh rounds are mishandled. The combustable cartridge case saves space (after firing) and provides more energy to the fired round.

Interesting. What’s the procedure for misfires mid-battle? Does that even happen?

As smithsb nimbly crossposted in front of me, the current main gun of the M-1 tank, and I believe many similar modern weapons, uses ammunition with a combustible cartridge case, such that the only thing ejected from the gun after firing is the metal base plate. I’m not sure whether those are automatically dropped into some sort of hopper or whether the lowest ranking crewman has to pick them up off the floor after an engagement, but they don’t take up much space at any rate.

Vehicles sealed up for chemical defense would have to hold onto bulkier empties until it was safe to open up. Typically, though, they’d want to get rid of the spent cartridges to limit exposure to their heat and unpleasant fumes. Many tanks as MrTuffPaws notes, have small hatches on the side or top of the turret specifically for disposal of shells. Other escape or access hatches might also be used if it’s considered safe for the vehicle to operate “unbuttoned”.

In The Beast, as I recall, not only is the tank on hostile ground and decidedly not feeling safe enough to operate unbuttoned, but it’s a Soviet tank, which were notoriously cramped even by tank standards, and had few and poorly-placed hatches. Holding onto the shells until they could be dumped might have been even more common for them.