Is it safe to shoot wet guns?


PDA






alfon99
July 5, 2013, 12:25 PM
Last night we were hunting, at first it was drizzle but after that it started raining very, very heavy. We ended up completely wet and also our guns. I was carrying a 16 gauge shotgun and my friend a Ruger 10/22. I wonder if it's safe to shoot with water in the barrel? Thanks.

If you enjoyed reading about "Is it safe to shoot wet guns?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
rcmodel
July 5, 2013, 12:27 PM
No, not with a barrel full of water.
Yes with a soaking wet gun.
If you have been carrying muzzle up and get water in the bore.
Point the muzzle down and crack the bolt back far enough to let air in and water out before shooting.

But it's best to carry slinged muzzle down when its raining that hard.

Wet won't hurt anything.
Full of water will.

rc

Deltaboy
July 5, 2013, 12:28 PM
It depends on if there any water in the barrel.

Cosmoline
July 5, 2013, 12:39 PM
So does anyone know how much water in the barrel actually creates a safety problem? I don't mean if the gun is underwater, but just getting water in the barrel one way or the other.

alfon99
July 5, 2013, 12:43 PM
No, not with a barrel full of water.
Yes with a soaking wet gun.
If you have been carrying muzzle up and get water in the bore.
Point the muzzle down and crack the bolt back far enough to let air in and water out before shooting.

But it's best to carry slinged muzzle down when its raining that hard.

Wet won't hurt anything.
Full of water will.

rc
Ok thanks, next time I will make sure to point the muzzle down.

alfon99
July 5, 2013, 12:54 PM
So does anyone know how much water in the barrel actually creates a safety problem? I don't mean if the gun is underwater, but just getting water in the barrel one way or the other.
Last night my friend shoot the 10/22. I noticed too much smoke coming out of the muzzle. Maybe it was water vapor? The second shot was normal.

Rock185
July 5, 2013, 12:56 PM
alfon, I'll share my completely unscientific experience with this. I have fired all kinds of guns from .22 L.R. to 90MM cannon in the rain, sometimes very heavy rain. I suspect some water must have been in at least some of the barrels. I admit, I never worried for one second about water in the barrel. Nothing unusual ever occurred in the operation of the guns...ymmv

Sam1911
July 5, 2013, 01:03 PM
There are enough videos of submerged guns firing to remove any question of this being a problem.

See?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2348158/How-firing-AK47-underwater-actually-make-work-BETTER.html

MErl
July 5, 2013, 01:10 PM
There are enough videos of submerged guns firing to remove any question of this being a problem.
It has got to push up pressures though. I wouldn't fire a gun I cared about with a barrel full of water.

we are not amused
July 5, 2013, 01:13 PM
So does anyone know how much water in the barrel actually creates a safety problem? I don't mean if the gun is underwater, but just getting water in the barrel one way or the other.

A few drops or a film of water shouldn't matter, just as long as there is not a big slug of water. When in doubt, tip the barrel down, and let the water run out.

On YouTube, there are several videos of pistols and revolvers being fired completely submerged in water. Don't recall ever seeing a rifle similarly fired.
I would not care to do so, however due to the difference in barrel length and cartridge power.

elephant_man
July 5, 2013, 01:26 PM
Video of EXPLOSION at 1:29

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGwkHktkTxU

MaterDei
July 5, 2013, 01:28 PM
I've fired many very soaked rifles. Totally safe

Sam1911
July 5, 2013, 01:28 PM
Don't recall ever seeing a rifle similarly fired.The video I linked to features an AKM firing 7.62x39.

taliv
July 5, 2013, 01:34 PM
elephant man, that video is pretty sketchy. i mean it looks like they set them up for failure. the guy is wearing normal goggles when he tests the HK. then he puts on a giant welding mask or something when he tests the other rifle. why?

also, they cut out for no good reason between the dunking and the firing. e.g. bolt is locked back when dunked but is closed when they cut and bring it up to fire. why?

David E
July 5, 2013, 01:42 PM
There are enough videos of submerged guns firing to remove any question of this being a problem.

Except that has absolutely no bearing here.

He's not talking about a gun that's completely submerged where pressures are equalized, he's talking about one that might have standing water in it. WAY different dynamics.

If you don't believe me, stick the barrel of your gun only 1/2 way into water and pull the trigger.

MaterDei
July 5, 2013, 01:46 PM
Yes, David, I've shot with half submerged barrels too, many times. All good

CajunBass
July 5, 2013, 01:51 PM
People have been hunting and fighting with firearms since the days when they fired them with a burning stick.

I'm sure at some point in that time, a gun has been damaged by water in the barrel. I'm sure a few have been damaged by being struck by lightening during that same time period.

I'd worry about as much about one as I would the other. And the same precautions would no doubt help with both. Keep the muzzle down.

firesky101
July 5, 2013, 02:10 PM
Rain should not be an issue, carry muzzle down like recommended by RC. A much bigger problem is people not cleaning their guns properly after being carried in a heavy rain.

KMatch
July 5, 2013, 02:20 PM
elephant man, that video is pretty sketchy. i mean it looks like they set them up for failure. the guy is wearing normal goggles when he tests the HK. then he puts on a giant welding mask or something when he tests the other rifle. why?

also, they cut out for no good reason between the dunking and the firing. e.g. bolt is locked back when dunked but is closed when they cut and bring it up to fire. why?

And notice the HK vents water from the buffer tube plug while the Colt doesn't. Rigged or an HK feature to relieve pressure?

SharpsDressedMan
July 5, 2013, 02:22 PM
We should mention that when draining water from a barrel that is submerged or even partly filled with water, it is advisable to point the muzzle down, and extract the cartridge enough to let air get around the bullet and case to allow the water to drain out. This was a standard practice in RVN, especially with the "new" 5.56 rifles. Smaller bores are more affected with water than large bores. You can guard against water in your barrel by taping over the muzzle before trekking into monsoons and such. The first shot will blow the tape off the muzzle. Condoms can be used to cover muzzles with flash hiders, etc.:D

jmr40
July 5, 2013, 02:32 PM
There is a simple solution. I keep tape over the the muzzle and spare tape on the barrel. Pressure building up in front of the bullet blows the tape off before the bullet gets to the end of the barrel. Accuracy is not affected and it not only keeps water out, but any dirt, snow, and pine needles even if you drop your gun muzzle down.

I'm often asked by hunters/shooters when I meet them in the field or range about it. I always start off by telling them it is to hold the barrel together because of the hot loads I use. Then I tell them the truth.

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m513/jmr40/022_zps90271d33.jpg (http://s1129.photobucket.com/user/jmr40/media/022_zps90271d33.jpg.html)
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m513/jmr40/001-6.jpg (http://s1129.photobucket.com/user/jmr40/media/001-6.jpg.html)

HOOfan_1
July 5, 2013, 02:36 PM
elephant man, that video is pretty sketchy. i mean it looks like they set them up for failure. the guy is wearing normal goggles when he tests the HK. then he puts on a giant welding mask or something when he tests the other rifle. why?

also, they cut out for no good reason between the dunking and the firing. e.g. bolt is locked back when dunked but is closed when they cut and bring it up to fire. why?

Yeah, I can't trust a video of someone trying to sell me their product by showing why the competing product is not as good.

All of these "As Seen on TV" product commercials crack me up. They show people struggling to do the most mundane of tasks in order to sell some cheap bauble which supposedly makes it easier.

Cosmoline
July 5, 2013, 04:46 PM
I'm just fuzzy on the physics. IIRC, water can't be compressed. So I suppose on the one hand that enough built up water pressed hard enough by the advancing bullet will slam into the air in front of it, creating a "water bullet" down the bore and spiking pressure likely causing a bulge. But does this actually happen outside of submersion? The video would suggest so, but it's not clear what they did there. And on the other hand, bits of raindrops and even lots of condensation in the bore have never to my knowledge caused any harm. The water is going to be heated to steam almost instantly presumably, or just shoved out the end.

alfon99
July 5, 2013, 04:48 PM
There is a simple solution. I keep tape over the the muzzle and spare tape on the barrel. Pressure building up in front of the bullet blows the tape off before the bullet gets to the end of the barrel. Accuracy is not affected and it not only keeps water out, but any dirt, snow, and pine needles even if you drop your gun muzzle down.

I'm often asked by hunters/shooters when I meet them in the field or range about it. I always start off by telling them it is to hold the barrel together because of the hot loads I use. Then I tell them the truth.

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m513/jmr40/022_zps90271d33.jpg (http://s1129.photobucket.com/user/jmr40/media/022_zps90271d33.jpg.html)
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m513/jmr40/001-6.jpg (http://s1129.photobucket.com/user/jmr40/media/001-6.jpg.html)
Would this work for shotguns? Of course more tape is needed.

dprice3844444
July 5, 2013, 05:02 PM
well watching what happened,the explosion of the projectile causes the bolt carrier and the buffer to go rearward.if the buffer tube is filled with water,the gas can go nowhere but up,blowing off the top of the receiver is one scenario.

jmr40
July 5, 2013, 05:30 PM
Would this work for shotguns? Of course more tape is needed.

Yes. I keep all of my guns barrels taped the entire hunting season. I take it off after. As I said earlier, it is not just for water. Lots of other debris can find it's way into a barrel. This has saved a couple of hunts where rifles have been dropped and landed muzzle down in mud.

I don't think a few drops of water in a barrel are going to be dangerous. The military has been fighting battles in jungles, rivers, and rain for as long as we have had rifles. But it can't be good for anything. Tape is an easy cheap preventative.

Deltaboy
July 5, 2013, 05:54 PM
I have seen.pictures of guns with busted or blown receivers and barrels from water,snow and mud. I would not roll the dice on this one.

Potatohead
July 5, 2013, 06:04 PM
This is a great thread-especially considering it must be monsoon season down south this week. got soaked at the range and wondered this myself. i guess one just needs to make sure the ammo stays dry..? i reckon wet primers are probably not a good thing:)

Elm Creek Smith
July 5, 2013, 06:20 PM
Firing a submerged gun is a completely different thing from firing a gun out of the water with a significant amount of water in the bore. A submerged gun has water pressure all over it as well as inside it. A gun in the open air with water in the bore has a big 14 pounds or so of air pressure on the outside and an obstructed bore on the inside. It is pressure differential that causes the problems with water in the bore. The amount of water in the bore and the pressure the cartridge is working with will determine whether the gun fires safely, ends up with a bulge in the barrel, or destroys the barrel, the action, and/or the shooter. The Army issued plastic caps that covered the muzzle and flash hider on M16s when I was on active duty to prevent damage from bore obstructions like water, mud, ice, and snow. BTW, the smaller the bore for a given pressure, the more likely it is for water to cause problems, in my experience.

ECS

David E
July 5, 2013, 06:22 PM
Yes, David, I've shot with half submerged barrels too, many times. All good

Odd, I couldn't find your video of it in YouTube.

rodregier
July 5, 2013, 06:43 PM
I managed to pick up some surplus plastic muzzle caps. Great fit on M16/AR16 pattern barrels with muzzle devices attached. Made by a company call Caplug. Seen their work in non-firearm products too.

http://www.caplugs.com/

Iramo94
July 5, 2013, 07:22 PM
That video linked by Sam1911 is for a youtube channel called SmarterEveryDay, and he does a great job giving us gun guys a good reputation with academic types.

Channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/destinws2

larryh1108
July 5, 2013, 09:49 PM
I've always heard that condoms have been used over muzzles for many a year. Wasn't that a WWI trick?

rodregier
July 6, 2013, 08:24 AM
Muzzle covers available from an AMAZON vendor. BTW, in an emergency, you can simply shoot thru them.

http://www.amazon.com/AR15-Muzzle-Cover-Black-5-Pack/dp/B009PSZJ8Q

gym
July 6, 2013, 11:35 AM
It depends. When in wartime there is no timeout for weather. When given a choice opt on the side of safety.

alfon99
July 6, 2013, 11:53 AM
In my case I don't think muzzle covers are an option, I live in Uruguay and in the middle of nothing. So I guess I will tape my gun barrels. Here even condoms would be hard to get. Last night and today in the morning it rained 100mm. That's a lot! And there was a huge thunderstorm. We went hunting last night but we came back home because of the lighting.

splattergun
July 6, 2013, 12:29 PM
elephant man, that video is pretty sketchy. i mean it looks like they set them up for failure. the guy is wearing normal goggles when he tests the HK. then he puts on a giant welding mask or something when he tests the other rifle. why?

also, they cut out for no good reason between the dunking and the firing. e.g. bolt is locked back when dunked but is closed when they cut and bring it up to fire. why?

The difference in safety equipment is because HK knows that the Colt will fail and their HK won't. This is a post production video of previously conducted tests.

The video explains the test A parameters include submersion with an open bolt and closing the bolt while under water.

homatok
July 6, 2013, 01:17 PM
+1 for using tape (et al) to cover the muzzle! I have used electrical tape over the muzzle ever since the day we came in from hunting and my buddy ran a cleaning rod from the breech of his 300 mag and had to force out a 4" piece of branch that had gotten stuck in there.

ID-shooting
July 6, 2013, 01:41 PM
Considering some of the dismal conditions the Army had me in, yes. At least m16/m4's

brickeyee
July 6, 2013, 01:50 PM
water can't be compressed.

It can at firearm pressures.

The problem is that it acts like plug and adds mass to the bullet at a place in the barrel that may not be as strong as the breech end.

col.lemat
July 6, 2013, 02:08 PM
Water can be compressed? that's news to me.

Bill4282
July 6, 2013, 02:39 PM
Go to your local drug store and the bandage section. Look for finger cots(condoms). Used to keep dirt and water out of wounds. Will fit snugly over rifle or shotgun muzzle and ruptures when shot through.

firesky101
July 6, 2013, 05:03 PM
Water can be compressed? that's news to me.
Indeed liquids and solids are compressible, however the pressure needed is very high. I am not sure if those pressures occur in a barrel without doing the research, but I do know for sure firing with a barrel full of water is not something you really want to do on purpose. Your gun may handle it just fine, but why risk it?

gspn
July 6, 2013, 05:12 PM
A balloon will slip over a shotgun barrel and stay seated just fine (smaller balloons will stay on a rifle barrel too). Keep a few in your gun case if you plan on being in the rain a lot.

RetiredUSNChief
July 6, 2013, 05:49 PM
Firing a submerged gun is a completely different thing from firing a gun out of the water with a significant amount of water in the bore. A submerged gun has water pressure all over it as well as inside it. A gun in the open air with water in the bore has a big 14 pounds or so of air pressure on the outside and an obstructed bore on the inside. It is pressure differential that causes the problems with water in the bore. The amount of water in the bore and the pressure the cartridge is working with will determine whether the gun fires safely, ends up with a bulge in the barrel, or destroys the barrel, the action, and/or the shooter. The Army issued plastic caps that covered the muzzle and flash hider on M16s when I was on active duty to prevent damage from bore obstructions like water, mud, ice, and snow. BTW, the smaller the bore for a given pressure, the more likely it is for water to cause problems, in my experience.

ECS

Umm...no, I'm afraid not. Your supposition here is all wrong. And it's an error of magnitudes, as well.

That 14.7 psia difference means absolutely...nothing. Outside of a submerged environment, the pressure inside the barrel is still exactly the same as the pressure outside the barrel...namely atmospheric pressure. If you submerged the gun in 33 feet of water, the pressure inside the barrel would be two atmospheres...and so would the pressure outside the barrel.

The overpressure differential when fired submerged is exactly the same as the overpressure differential in the atmosphere for a barrel full of water, because the static pressures are equal inside and outside the barrel. It's kind of like the question I used to ask young submariners in the Navy: if we double the atmospheric pressure in the submarine, does that mean the submarine can dive twice as deep? The answer is "NO"...the submarine can dive 33 feet deeper if you double the atmospheric pressure inside.

Even if you held the barrel of the gun vertical, that pressure of the column of water at the bottom of the would still be negligable. 20-plus inches of water is an insignificant amount of pressure when compared to the 33 feet required for a column of water to reach 14.7 psi at the bottom of the column.

The danger comes solely from the presence of an obstruction, namely that provided by water, in the barrel. Water does have an inertial component to it and, when struck with sufficient speed and force, does exhibit some characteristics of a solid, what with it being an incompressable fluid.

CAN firing a gun with a barrel full of water cause damage to the gun?

The answer is "YES".

WILL firing a gun with a barrel full of water cause damage to the gun?

The answer is "DEPENDS".

That "DEPENDS" encompasses a wide variety of factors, including (but not limited to), barrel thickness, barrel shape, barrel construction (including design and materials), type of ammunition fired, velocity of ammunition fired, breech construction, etc.

Firing a modern small caliber rifle under water? Probably not. Lots of videos on youtube to support this.

Firing a small caliber pistol under water? Again, probably not. Lots of videos on youtube to support this as well.

Firing a large caliber magnum pistol underwater? Maybe. Haven't seen any such videos on youtube...perhaps because people aren't willing to drop the cash in the risk. .44 Magnum, TC in various high powered calibers...that kind.

Firing a high powered rifle under water? Maybe. I suppose this depends on one's definition of "high powered". Personally, I don't consider the .223 to be such a cartridge. 30-06, definately. .50 BMG, definately. But I haven't seen any such videos of these calibers underwater.

Firing a shotgun underwater? Definately. Very easy to see why, when you consider the large internal barrel diameter and thin barrel walls when compared to a rifle barrel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxZwV2u2zyU


Bottom line:

Don't do it just because you think it's safe or someone else has told you or shown you that they've done it. Barrel obstructions aren't joking matters, whatever the source.

Drain the barrel and practice good habits to keep obstructions from happening.

;)

alfon99
July 7, 2013, 10:21 AM
Go to your local drug store and the bandage section. Look for finger cots(condoms). Used to keep dirt and water out of wounds. Will fit snugly over rifle or shotgun muzzle and ruptures when shot through.
Good idea, except that my local drugstore is 25km away. Anyway I have electrical tape.

brickeyee
July 7, 2013, 04:33 PM
"Water can be compressed? that's news to me."

There is a reason when you bring fish up from very deep water they all turn inside out.

they have to be kept in a high pressure container to survive.

Steel compresses also.

it is all about how much pressure you want to apply.

Water behaves very differently at 60,000 PSI than you would think.

The steel in a rifle receiver stretches enough on firing to use strain gauges to determine chamber pressure.

ETA:
Electrical tape works well for covering barrels.
Just shoot through it.
The air in the barrel in front of the bullet is probably going to make a hole in it before the bullet even gets there.

I have done this with even .22-250 rifles with sporter weight barrels with no problem.

returningfire
July 9, 2013, 01:13 PM
Jeez guys, the OP just wanted to know if it was safe to shoot guns that had gotten wet in the rain.
Ask anyone that was in Nam or in any South American countries during the drug wars if it is OK to fire a wet weapon. They would all be dead if it it were not safe. Oh wait, the VC would be dead too, my bad.
Or during a firefight, someone yells out 'I have to wait until my rifle dries out".
I never saw a hand signal that designated "wet weapon, cannot engage".

Lj1941
July 9, 2013, 01:29 PM
Some of these answers are like telling a person how to build a clock when he asked for the time.:evil:

gspn
July 9, 2013, 01:34 PM
Or during a firefight, someone yells out 'I have to wait until my rifle dries out".
I never saw a hand signal that designated "wet weapon, cannot engage".

:D I am going to be laughing at this all day. Thank you.

brickeyee
July 9, 2013, 02:23 PM
My cousin who served in Vietnam says they used condoms.

mr.trooper
July 9, 2013, 02:48 PM
I shoot in the heavy rain / snow all the time. Perfectly safe - Just make sure you dissasemble the gun and make sure you remove the moisture and condensation, then relube.

The danger is rust, not kabooms.

Bolt action guys, this means taking the bareled action out of the stock, not just lubing the bolt. ;)

Geronimo45
July 9, 2013, 04:12 PM
The HK vid: the problem is the gas tube. That tiny gas tube can't drain as quick as a larger, shorter piston tube, so overpressure builds up, ends up blowing up the rear receiver, not the barrel.

HoosierQ
July 9, 2013, 05:01 PM
No water cannot be compressed. That's how hydraulics works. It can be placed under pressure as in the the deep ocean but that water is not compressed one iota. Air will compress which is why it is so usefull for brakes and air-guns.

gamestalker
July 9, 2013, 05:57 PM
I personally think it's a common sense call. In other words, if the muzzle has snow in it, or rain has been coming down on the upward facing muzzle, I would consider that a bad situation. Because I care about my high powered rifles and don't want to risk damaging them, I always carry a finger tip protector on me when I'm hunting. If it starts raining or snowing I slip it over the muzzle to prevent any moisture from getting in it.

I'm not as picky about handguns, but just the same, I don't just allow the muzzle to get soaked.

As for shotguns, I take some of the above mentioned steps depending on how severe the weather is. I've actually seen a couple of SG barrels that got bulged because of snow build up in the muzzle.

GS

RetiredUSNChief
July 9, 2013, 07:48 PM
"Water can be compressed? that's news to me."

There is a reason when you bring fish up from very deep water they all turn inside out.

they have to be kept in a high pressure container to survive.

Steel compresses also.

it is all about how much pressure you want to apply.

Water behaves very differently at 60,000 PSI than you would think.

The steel in a rifle receiver stretches enough on firing to use strain gauges to determine chamber pressure.



Yes, there IS a reason some deep sea fish have their insides pushed out when they are brought up to shallow depths too fast...and it isn't because water is compressible. It's because the ones that have a problem with this have an internal air bladder which they use for buoyancy control. Air IS compressible...a LOT. If such fish are brought up from the depths too fast, with not enough time allowed for the air in their air bladders to equalize/bleed off, then the expanding air inside their bodies will indeed push their internal organs out of their mouths.

As for the pressures you're talking about with steel and strain gauges...what you're seeing is tensile stresses, not compressive stresses. Totally different beast.

Water is not compressible...and any pressures which you MAY see compressive effects are far, far beyond any practically achievable pressures outside of a laboratory, and even those are very tiny.

;)

Thethickster
July 9, 2013, 08:02 PM
@ BRICKEYE
"My cousin who served in Vietnam says they used condoms."

Thats what popped into my head "Trojan Man". My Uncle served 3 tours in Vietnam says the same about using the rubbers.

Thethickster
July 9, 2013, 08:09 PM
Water can be compressed have your ever seen what happens to a hydralocked engine. You have bent rods from water or too much gasoline/diesel entering the engine and the pistons trying to compress the water/fuel it turns into a hydraulic force.

Iramo94
July 9, 2013, 09:10 PM
Water can be compressed have your ever seen what happens to a hydralocked engine. You have bent rods from water or too much gasoline/diesel entering the engine and the pistons trying to compress the water/fuel it turns into a hydraulic force.
I don't think you are understanding what compressed means.
What you are describing is not water being compressible, it's being incompressible. When the cam shaft turns and attempts to push the piston further forward, it hits the proverbial brick wall that is water in the engine. Then it blows up.
The water in the engine is refusing to be compressed, and the piston is insisting that it becomes compressed. Then the weaker material looses. In this case, it's water vs. steel, and the steel looses.

Thethickster
July 9, 2013, 09:19 PM
@Iramo94

I got ya its just been a while since a I took a hydraulics class. its been a while but if i remember no liquid can be compressed, it will turn into hydraulic force. Its been a while got confused.

firesky101
July 9, 2013, 10:37 PM
Gas= very compressible
Liquid= sort of compressible
Solid= extremely difficult to compress.

If you want the formula for compression of water here is what I lifted from Wikipedia a while back. "The bulk modulus it gives, 2.2GPa, is the ratio of pressure to volume change. So, for example, water at 22MPa of pressure will have a volume (22MPa/2.2GPa)=1% smaller than at zero pressure. The compressibility numbers it gives are (1/Bulk Modulus). So the formula you are looking for is V = V0(1-(P/Bulk Modulus)) or V = V0(1-(P*Compressibility)) where V0 is the volume at zero pressure."

I am no physicist, but I just like to read a lot. So take it for what you will. I also routinely read that sea water gains a bit of density as you go deeper. The numbers I seem to remember is a 5% increased density at the pressures created at the deepest part of the ocean.

What does this mean for a gun barrel? Just don't do it if it can be avoided, but there are certainly firearms capable of doing so.

If you enjoyed reading about "Is it safe to shoot wet guns?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!