"Bullet Explodes" in Purse


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holdencm9
June 12, 2012, 10:29 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/bullet-explodes-inside-woman-purse-shoots-her-leg-232052308.html

Apparently, the woman was carrying the bullet in her purse, when it mysteriously exploded.

"Something must of hit the primer of one of the bullets," Bentley said. "The bullet stayed in the purse, but its casing put a hole in the purse and caused a minor leg wound."

Okay before all you guys start to chime in to tell me "a bullet can't explode!" I know. But that's what the title of the article is.

I guess I never carry loose ammo, especially not rifle ammo with spitzer bullets, (or any kind of bullet in a bag along with sharp pointy things) but has this ever happened to anyone? I have to imagine it is so rare it doesn't even cross most people's minds. Luckily without being chambered not enough case pressure could build up, and the case is what actually became the projectile and didn't do too much damage.

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TurtlePhish
June 12, 2012, 10:31 PM
I wonder what it was that hit the primer... It takes a bit of an impact to do that. Doesn't seem to me like it would go off from jostling while walking around, or nobody would sell bulk pack .22lr.

Mobuck
June 12, 2012, 10:37 PM
Without going into great detail I was "in the area" when a 22lr round exploded due to contact with a 9volt battery in a camera bag. It would have left a mark had it been within reach. As it was, the bag was under the front seat and only left some bits of brass case scattered across the floorboards.

SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE
June 12, 2012, 10:41 PM
I have seen cartridges and shotshells go off when shot with BB guns ! I cant imagine one getting hit hard enough in a purse to go off ! Maybe she had a 9 volt battery in her purse and the the round shorted the battery ? Kevin

x_wrench
June 12, 2012, 10:42 PM
i have never had one go off, except when i pull the trigger of a gun. it would most likely be a rimfire. center fire cartridges would be pretty tough to ignite by them "jostling around". the closest thing to that, was on a move roughly 20 years ago. one of our puppies found a loose 22 cartridge in the back of the truck, and chewed on it. she punched a hole right thru both sides of the case! :what::eek: thankfully, it was about mid way between the primer and bullet. it would have been disastrous for everyone concerned if she had bitten into the primer area. i still miss that dog.

T Bran
June 12, 2012, 10:45 PM
I've never seen any ammo go bang that wasnt struck pretty sharply with something. I walk, climb and crawl about with pockets buldging full of rimfire ammo or a few spare centerfire rifle bullets and have for many years without issues.
Not saying it is impossible but it is pretty unlikely.
T

Carl N. Brown
June 12, 2012, 10:48 PM
My son cleaned surface discoloration from some old LC 5.56 by just running it through a rock tumbler with some walnut shell media. No kabooms.

Remind me though never to substitute the contents of a woman's purse for proper polishing media.

The bit about the bullet going nowhere but the case taking off like a rocket matches my experience burning trash ammo.

MachIVshooter
June 12, 2012, 10:49 PM
it would have been disastrous for everyone concerned if she had bitten into the primer area.

Nah. Priming compound is very impact sensitive, but it takes a lot of pressure to detonate it; Dog would have had to crush the rim between her molars, and even then, most likely the compound would have disintegrated and fallen into the case without detonating. We used to pull .22 bullets and crush the rims with pliers to get the compound out for making little bombs when we were kids, never had one detonate.

Rampant_Colt
June 12, 2012, 10:51 PM
News media nitwits need to get their facts straight before printing something they know nothing about.. Especially firearms!

"bullets" :rolleyes:

Hardtarget
June 12, 2012, 11:03 PM
Could a static electricity shock do the trick? Just jind of spooky if that happened.

Mark

mgmorden
June 13, 2012, 12:34 AM
News media nitwits need to get their facts straight before printing something they know nothing about.. Especially firearms!

"bullets"

Even if you explained the difference most of the public would look at you like some OCD headcase for making a distinction. To the general public, a single round of loaded ammunition is a "bullet".

That said - they probably could easily examine the primer and determine if something struck it or something else (maybe heat or electricity - though both seem unlikely) caused the round to cook off.

holdencm9
June 13, 2012, 09:12 AM
News media nitwits need to get their facts straight before printing something they know nothing about.. Especially firearms!

"bullets"

"Something must of hit the primer of one of the bullets," Bentley said. "The bullet stayed in the purse, but its casing put a hole in the purse and caused a minor leg wound."

The sad part is that "Bentley" in the quote is the Deputy Police Chief, although I'd like to think he was just dumbing it down for the reporter to understand.

I have to imagine something struck the primer too. Although how much jostling of one's bag would it take? Or just the perfect set of circumstances. I bet 99% of the time you could throw a bunch of ammo in a bag with a bunch of nails and shake it up and still not get a primer strike just right.

beatledog7
June 13, 2012, 09:23 AM
One in a million, but that doesn't mean we should run our own experiment!

holdencm9
June 13, 2012, 09:27 AM
One in a million, but that doesn't mean we should run our own experiment!

Agreed. I have no intention to experiment. Sounds like a job for the mythbusters.

JohnM
June 13, 2012, 09:37 AM
Can't imagine any circumstances that could fire a primer by impact in this case.
I can see the remote possibility of a static electric discharge managing it though.
I say this because one time about 50 years ago I has a pocket full of flashbulbs all go off.
It was a cold winter day and I was wearing a wool topcoat.
All the old fashioned flash bulbs went off and burned up most of the pocket!
Damndest thing I ever had happen.

Blackstone
June 13, 2012, 10:11 AM
A guy at my local range who...has lapses in concentration at times, threw a .38 round quite hard against a wall. Gave us all a bit of a shock

Ironman
June 13, 2012, 10:55 AM
It doesn't take the impact you think it does

While shooting at an indoor range about two years ago my buddy was shooting my uspt45 while I was loading my magazine behind him at a table about 3 feet from his back. As I was loading I had a tray of federal 230grn ammo open with primer side up. All of a sudden the tray exploded right by my private parts and I jumped back about 2 feet to see what was now half a tray of ammo blown apart and live rounds everywhere.

Upon inspection we found out that the rim of one of his ejected cases bounced off the divider and landed perfectly on the primer of a round in the tray. We found the 45 slug on the table under the tray and it left a dent. The case must have ruptured and launched because we never found it.

I no longer load with open trays near other shooters now.

The Lone Haranguer
June 13, 2012, 07:16 PM
"Something must of hit the primer of one of the bullets," Bentley said. "The bullet stayed in the purse, but its casing put a hole in the purse and caused a minor leg wound."
What set the primer off is still a mystery, and it would have to be a mighty flimsy purse or a very tiny wound, but at least they got this part right. Compared to the usual drivel, e.g., "a bullet fired straight up into the air will come down at the same speed at which it went up," this is actually rather refreshing.

btg3
June 13, 2012, 07:59 PM
Upon inspection we found out that the rim of one of his ejected cases bounced off the divider and landed perfectly on the primer of a round in the tray... The case must have ruptured and launched because we never found it.
With no case to examine, how did you reach the conclusion that the primer had been impacted? Did the ejected case show some kind of evidence?

Ammo makers ship 500-rd and 1000-rd bulk packs of ammo in your choice of caliber. All piled in together in a jumble. Then UPS does their thing and it lands at your doorstep. Is there a problem, really?

Texan Scott
June 13, 2012, 08:11 PM
my guess is that it was a rimfire round... anything larger would've caused a more serious injury, and the rim on a .22 is a lot more exposed (from more directions) than a centerfire round as well. A better question might be, WHY was she carrying loose ammo in her purse? Unfortunately, as per usual, the media-at-large are too uninformed to provide us with any better information.

a friend of mine, when he was about 13, decided to pull bullets to get the gunpowder to play with. (:rolleyes:) the easiest way to do this, of course, was to secure the rim in the vise on his dad's workbench, and... i takes surprisingly little force to set off a .22, apparently... nobody hurt (amazing, because his face was REALLY close) but he looked REALLY funny withpowder burns covering a good bit of his face. he wasn't laughing as hard as his brother and i, though... powder burns hurt.

WardenWolf
June 13, 2012, 08:14 PM
Remind me though never to substitute the contents of a woman's purse for proper polishing media.

The contents of womens' purses is mostly for polishing themselves, not ammunition. Fact of the matter is, though, there's usually all sorts of sharp pointy things in there and, yes, occasionally batteries. It wouldn't have to be a rimfire to go off considering some of the messes I've seen in purses.

Millwright
June 13, 2012, 11:40 PM
Not sayin' "impossible"; but damn near so !

1. Takes some serious impact energy to activate a centerfire primer. ( I.e. the "head" has to contact the anvil with sufficient force to activate the priming compound.) We've all experienced "light primer strikes" due to a variety of causes leading to a misfire.

2. RF cartridges are even more unlikely candidates as mfgs are extremely careful in compounding the priming mixture to insure the correct level of impact sensitivity.

3. I find it hard to believe any round - center or RF - activated outside of the confinement of a chamber can do more than go "poof" imparting near zero velocity to the bullet and far more likely to vent through a brass rupture/split.

4. Modern powders are deflegrant, not explosive, requiring confinement and temp/psi rise to perform. So an "unconfined AD" might result in a fire, but not, IMO, anything that would penetrate even a cloth purse let alone inflict a personal injury over distance through clothing. IOW, this account doesn't pass my personal "smell test" . >MW

Agsalaska
June 13, 2012, 11:54 PM
Crazy story but I have no reason to doubt it happened. Now if they would have claimed the bullet went in her leg, down her bone, out her foot, and thru the floor, then I would have called BS.

danez71
June 14, 2012, 09:18 AM
Ive personally witnessed a 22lr go off in a back pocket of someone that fell on his butt.

7thCavScout
June 14, 2012, 11:19 AM
When I was a little kid I found a .22lr round, brought it home and eventually left in our 1970's shag carpet. My Mom found it with the vacuum cleaner. I'm 43 and I still hear about it to this day

1KPerDay
June 14, 2012, 12:21 PM
I also wonder if she had some batteries and change and crap in there. I had my knife, a couple AA batteries, keys and change in my pocket once and somehow the keys got so hot I could feel them through my pocket. I pulled it all out and they were almost too hot to hold.

BCRider
June 14, 2012, 01:22 PM
I dropped a round onto a paved parking surface and it happened to land primer down and apparently onto a coarse grain of sand. It went off with a helluva bang.

I'm new to shooting but the 3 or 4 buddy's that were around me had been into the shooting sports for literally decades more. They had never seen this happen before.

As a result I don't like to jack live rounds out over coarse gravel surfaces either.

It's not so much the pressure as it is the speed and surface area of the impact. A very light but sharp and fast impact from something pointy could well result in this happening.

For example if the purse hit a shelf as she turned quickly and a nail file happened to be hit and connected with the primer I could see it causing the cartridge to fire. It's a long shot of connected events but a the old saying goes "a room full of monkeys all typing randomly for long enough.... ".

JEB
June 14, 2012, 01:53 PM
When I was a little kid I found a .22lr round, brought it home and eventually left in our 1970's shag carpet. My Mom found it with the vacuum cleaner. I'm 43 and I still hear about it to this day

HA HA!!!! im sorry but that just made my day! i can just imagine how my mother would freak out if her vacuum set of a round in her carpet :D

230RN
June 14, 2012, 02:05 PM
"Not saying it is impossible but it is pretty unlikely."

I read somewhere a long time ago that about one in seven .22LRs will go off when tossed into the air and allowed to fall on concrete. I have no references, though, and no data on "how high" or whether they were tossed with a spin or whatever.

Something for Mythbusters to 'speriment on? Or one of us and youtube it (with appropriate precautions, of course)?

Or trying to set one off with a 9 volt battery?

Still, sitting in a purse...

I wonder if somehow moving the seat against the seat rails might have somehow crushed the rim.

'Tis a puzzlement.

Terry, 230RN

Rail Driver
June 14, 2012, 02:12 PM
Not sayin' "impossible"; but damn near so !

1. Takes some serious impact energy to activate a centerfire primer. ( I.e. the "head" has to contact the anvil with sufficient force to activate the priming compound.) We've all experienced "light primer strikes" due to a variety of causes leading to a misfire.

2. RF cartridges are even more unlikely candidates as mfgs are extremely careful in compounding the priming mixture to insure the correct level of impact sensitivity.

3. I find it hard to believe any round - center or RF - activated outside of the confinement of a chamber can do more than go "poof" imparting near zero velocity to the bullet and far more likely to vent through a brass rupture/split.

4. Modern powders are deflegrant, not explosive, requiring confinement and temp/psi rise to perform. So an "unconfined AD" might result in a fire, but not, IMO, anything that would penetrate even a cloth purse let alone inflict a personal injury over distance through clothing. IOW, this account doesn't pass my personal "smell test" . >MW
I'm pretty sure it's rcmodel that has a photo showing the damage that ammunition (and ammunition parts) can cause when fired or "set off" unconfined (ie, outside a chamber)... Here's hoping he'll post it to this thread.

Hugo
June 14, 2012, 05:01 PM
Static electricity does wierd things.

Perhaps it was spontaneous ignition of the powder directly (the powder ignition was first then it set off the primer, doubtful forensics can tell which went first). Or something hit the primer just right, or static electricity hit the primer just right.

230RN
June 15, 2012, 09:15 AM
Hatcher (Hatcher's Notebook) did a lot of experimentation on cartridges going off in the open. Not much damage, but in one test the cartridge pieces might have caused a nasty bruise, but would not have been fatal. Main danger was from flying bits of brass hitting someone in the eye. Several cases of folks supposedly getting killed by a cartridge going off in the open were debunked in these pages.

There was one case described where a detonating cap in a shovelful of coal went off and killed someone, but caps are filled with very brisant fulminate, not ordinary propellant powder.

Terry, 230RN

REF:

pp 533-540, op cit
It is amazing how many routine and common firearms questions can be answered from the pages of this book.

BCRider
June 15, 2012, 01:47 PM
It would be all but impossible to set of a primer or powder from static electricity. The metallic casing, primer metal and bullet form what is called a "Farady shield" of metal. The static would run around the outer metal and not affect the insides at all. Yes, static can do some odd stuff. But at the end of the day it's still electricity and obeys the laws of nature.

An exposed battery, on the other hand, could make contact through any number of items inside a purse and if the connections were solid enough and the battery a strong enough one the current that flows could heat up the casing to the point that the powder could be set off. Mind you the metal would need to be pretty darn hot for this to happen.

Lots of us that reload have literally crushed a primer if it went in crooked. Yet they do not fire off. Again, pure pressure isn't what causes a primer to fire. It's pressure alright but it needs to be rapidly applied such as a firing pin strike. When you get a fail to fire and look at the pin strike, it's not that deep. Most of the depth seen in fired casings is due to the pressure pushing the case and primer back against the FP. On their own the FP dent is typically half or less than what we see on a fired primer. Further proof that it's more about the speed of the strike than it is the actual pressure.

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