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Ammo question (exploding outside of the gun)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by dxkj21, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. dxkj21

    dxkj21 Well-Known Member

    If a 9mm shell were to be thrown up against a wall, or the primer struck with enough force outside of an actual gun, would the shell rupture, or would the bullet be propelled in any way?

    Just a few thoughts I had as my cat found a loose 9mm and was knocking it around and off my desk while I was in the other room
  2. Mongo the Mutterer

    Mongo the Mutterer Well-Known Member

    I don't know, but I do know if you have a fire, a fireman buddy of mine isn't concerned, since when the rounds cook off the brass fires away from the bullet, since the bullet is heavier, for the most part.

    If a round cooks off inside a barrel, that is not good.

    With the cat, I don't know. I have three cats who allow me to live with them. I'll ask them ;)
  3. Amish_Bill

    Amish_Bill Well-Known Member

    An uncontained round is about as dangeous as a firecracker.
    It would take a healthy strike directly on the primer to set one off. Falling from a table is very, very unlikely to do it
  4. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    I would be more concerned with the tiny sharp bits of flying ruptured brass than the bullet itself.

    But no, the bullet won't be the weak point if that happens, the case will.
  5. Chipperman

    Chipperman Well-Known Member

    For a centerfire round, it can go off from a drop, but is extremely unlikely. Even if it does, as stated above, it won't cause any serious damage except to your shorts. :what:

    A rimfire round is a little more likely to go off from a shock.
  6. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    The credible reports I'd read from people to whom external cookoffs have happened concur with the "as dangerous as a large firecracker" assessment. I've also not heard of any cases actually rupturing.

    I did read one report of a guy dropping a .38spc round from belt height, which detonated. Apparenty, the primer hit a stone _just_right, so be aware that it can happen.
  7. Scoupe

    Scoupe Well-Known Member

    I know two cases of .22 ammo going off without the benefit of being in a firearm's chamber.

    #1: Guy puts his still hot pipe in his pocket, a .22 cartridge gets down in the bowl and cooks off. Blew a dime-sized chunk out the side of a nice briar pipe.

    #2: Kid in Jr. high (like 35 years ago) found a live .22 round. Takes his Daisy, cocks it, holds it vertically and places the .22 round on top of the muzzle and pulls the trigger. Kid had a glass eye at age 13 and a nice little piece of brass shrapnel for show and tell.

    So I'd argue that it's certainly more stout than a fire cracker, but nothing that you'd need to be diving for cover from if you're 20 yards off.
  8. Starter52

    Starter52 Well-Known Member

    As a long-time reloader I've run several live 9mm rounds through the tumbler. Never had one go off, or fail to fire when loaded in a gun. I've also treated .22 LR's to the washer-dryer cycle (tucked in a Levi pocket). Again, no detonation. Over the years I must have dropped an ammo can worth of rounds on the basement floor. Never had a single one fire.

    I've concluded that ammo is mighty, mighty tough to accidently detonate.
  9. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Well - it's all been said but - keyword here -

    "containment'' - the critical factor with expanding gases ... plus ''least line of resistance''.
  10. Crosshair

    Crosshair Well-Known Member

    Closest thing I have had is a round of Federal 22LR (POS brick ammo:cuss: ) that I fired out of my 10/22 when, unknown to me, the last case had not completly ejected and aparently had had the mouth of the case squished by the closing bolt. So here I am with a 10/22 that is out of battery. Usualy when the gun is OOB the firing pin is not able to ignite the primer because it just shoves the case foreward. In this case, the bolt was ALMOST in battery, but not quite due to the squished spent case. When I pulled the trigger, the report sounded really funny and gunpowder and bits of brass where comming out the ejection port. I unloaded the gun and found reminants of the case in the chamber as well as the squished 22 case on the shooting bench and a few little pieces of brass. Other than that there was no damage and the bullet managed to exit the bore.
  11. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Well-Known Member

    If the case holds together it will still be the most dangerous part. In cases of hangfires that were laid down, the bullets which were the heaviest part of the loaded cartridge barely moved, but the case became a projectile.
  12. kikilee

    kikilee Well-Known Member

    That fine for a few rounds, but let’s say hypothetically a guy has say 10,000 to 12,000 rounds of various types of ammunition stored in his shop. How much concern would there be on the part of the firefighters if this hypothetical shop was to catch fire?
  13. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Well-Known Member

    From what I can gather from this thread, it would be like 10,000 to 20,000 firecrackers all going off more or less at once. :eek:

    When I was much younger (and more than a bit stupider) one of my buddies came over with an old military .45 ACP round. I put it in a vise and hit the primer with an ice pick just to see what would happen. The case exploded and all of the shrapnel missed me. I wouldn't recommend trying it.
  14. walking arsenal

    walking arsenal Well-Known Member

    I was in a shop once when a guy dropped a box of .45 acp and it landed primer side down.

    Nobody moved for about 5 seconds then we all sighed a breath of relief.
  15. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Well-Known Member

    I am reminded of this thread over at 1911 forum a while ago...

    The guy was disassembling his 1911 when the recoil plug got away from him, shot into his range bag, and hit the primer of a .45 ACP cartridge.

  16. bogie

    bogie Well-Known Member

    Guys, we're forgetting something here.

    What caliber is the ideal cat toy? Something that's not too round, not too large, not too small, not too long?
  17. far2much4me

    far2much4me Member

    There was an article in the American Rifleman (1968 - 1972 timeframe, I think, had several photos). It covered a major fire at a large sporting goods store. The fire department determined that the greatest danger in the fire came from SCUBA tanks. When they exploded, they were very dangerous. Shotgun shells mostly just melted before the powder caught fire. They did not explode. Rifle and pistol ammunition "popped". In some cases the bullet just came out, in others the case ruptured. The firefighters said it was like someone in the store throwing pebbles. Definitely an eye hazard, but firefighters wearing their heavy jackets, helmets, and face shields/respirators would be pretty much immune to small arms ammo. Overall, the article was interesting with a few surprises.
  18. Chrontius

    Chrontius Well-Known Member

    Only suprise is that a SCUBA tank holds about the same energy as a car bomb. "Very dangerous" strikes me as a bit of an understatement.
  19. slopemeno

    slopemeno Well-Known Member

    I've seen a .45 acp the went off by being thrown into a bulk 5 gallon bucket of reloads. It made a pop and the three people standing around were taken aback for a second, but luckily no injuries. I would be mostly concerned about an eye injury.
  20. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

    I talked about this with my Bro in law who was a Lt on the local city fire dept a few years ago and he claimed ammo wasn`t much of a worry. He said the bullets popped and came out of the case but had no vel, said they and the cases only traveled a few ft from ignition point. His biggest worry was cans of powder that was in his eyes the same as gas cans laying around. In other words bullets were not much threat but bulk powder was a accellerant (sp?) and could be a problem if there was enough of it.

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