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Mythbusters go shooting again!

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jtward01, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. jtward01

    jtward01 Well-Known Member

    The guys on Mythbusters decided to find out whether swimming under water would protect you from gunfire. They tested a 9mm pistol, a 12 gauge shotgun, an AR-15, a .30 cal. M1 Garand and a .50 BMG rifle.

    The started out with a 10-foot-high water tank in which they lowered a block of ballistic gelatin. The 9mm penetrated the gel completely down to seven feet but at eight feet it barely penetrated the front of the gel block. Then they tried the shotgun. The pressure from the shotgun blast blew out the sides of the tank and the shockwave alone was enough to blow a cavity out of the back of the gel block, however the pellets did very little damage. Chances are, in open water the shotgun would not be very effective.

    They moved to a swimming pool to test the AR, M1 and .50BMG. In all three cases the bullets disintegrated before striking the gel, which was only about 14 inches below the surface, but at a slant line distance of about 10 feet from the shooter. So, when shooting at a subject swimming underwater a 9mm pistol is much more likely to cause a serious or fatal wound than even a .50BMG.
  2. MyRoad

    MyRoad Well-Known Member

    Gotta love those guys. I know I couldn't find anyone willing to let me use their swimming pool for a test like that!

    I'm a bit surprised about .223 not doing better, perhaps its the infamous "tumble" effect?

    If 9mm did well, then would .357SIG (or .357magnum) do even better? Or is higher velocity working against water penetration? I don't know much about the physics of it.
  3. AirPower

    AirPower Well-Known Member

    Were they also shooting 9mm from 10ft away at slant angle? I can't imagine rifle rounds not do as well as pistol.
  4. CypherNinja

    CypherNinja Well-Known Member

    Higher Velocity = Less Penetration

    The magnitude of the force being applied to the nose of the bullet follows the square of the velocity.

    I.E. If you double the speed the force quadruples, and if the speed triples the force is 9x greater.

    With the higher velocity rifle bullets the force on the nose of the bullet is so high that it causes the bullet to deform so far and so fast that it basically desintegrates. The tiny pieces that result lose their velicity very very fast.

    With the pistol bullets and whatnot, the velocity is low enough that the resulting force isn't enough to majorly deform the bullet. Thus it just "coasts to a stop", so to speak.
  5. IndianaDean

    IndianaDean Well-Known Member

    I loved Adam saying "Oh boy, another myth where we get to shoot guns!"

    Even though Jamie did all the shooting.
  6. grimjaw

    grimjaw Well-Known Member

    Higher Velocity = Less Penetration

    Hrm. So something like a .45-70 should be the best swimming pool penetrator? :)

  7. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Well-Known Member

    Old stock tank, a .40 S&W and a .223

    A while back, a buddy of mine who swears by his .40 came by my folks place to visit and shoot. Dad had a plastic stock tank that cracked near the bottom and was about to be hauled off to the great junk pile in the sky when Dale and I decided to shoot at it.

    His .40 would get about three quarters of the way across the tank, then stop. Made a plume of water about three feet high on impact.

    My .223 would get about half way, at least that's where we found the jackets, never found a core. Shot water about ten feet into the air on impact.
  8. -C4-

    -C4- Well-Known Member

    Anyone have captures from this? I didn't get to see it and would really like to see some pics.

  9. fletcher

    fletcher Well-Known Member

    There was a thread on this one not too long ago and someone had the video for download. Try a search - hopefully it will still be there.
  10. M67

    M67 Well-Known Member

    You probably want something a little more aer... hydrodynamical. I am guessing a long, thin bullet is better than a short, fat bullet.

    I know that a low velocity (subsonic) bullet travels further in water than a high velocity bullet of the same shape and caliber. I tested that as a teenager, 20 years before the Mythbusters... :)
  11. ZeroX

    ZeroX Well-Known Member

    Can anyone identify the .50 rifle used? I think it might be either the m95 or the m99. :confused:
  12. SMLE

    SMLE Well-Known Member

    I saw this episode a while back...

    The best penetration under water was from an 1853 Enfield .577" rifle musket.

    The high velocity, spitzer bullets from the AR, M1 and .50 cal. whould just tumbel and shatter as soon as they hit the water.
  13. nfl1990

    nfl1990 Well-Known Member

    I like at the end where he holds up the frags of the .50 round and calls it AP even though it is clearly a regular fmj.
  14. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    The shotgun they used wasn't firing pellets, they fired a deer slug penetration was impressive as was the blowout wound to the gel.

    Slow (subsonic) bullets penetrate a lot farther than hypersonic ones.
  15. Crosshair

    Crosshair Well-Known Member

  16. Igloodude

    Igloodude Well-Known Member

    The 9mm and shotgun results may be an anomaly, as those two were fired at a 90 degree angle into the water, and the rest were fired at a fairly shallow angle - 23 degrees, I think I saw somewhere.

    I'd really have liked them to re-do the 9mm and shottie at the shallow angle after they broke their water column in the shop.
  17. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    It would seem to follow that like the .577 smoothbore musket, the shotgun is a slow and heavy round.

    The point at which fragmentation vs. penetration occurs would be interesting.
  18. TMM

    TMM Well-Known Member

    *counts the time in seconds for how long it will take for the conversation to switch to Kari...*
  19. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Judging from the fact that the shotgun slug shot clean through and utterly destroyed their 10' high water tank, yes I'd say the .45-70's big slow bullets would plow through water like torpedoes.

    Sectional density, of course, plays a critical role in penetration. I would be very interested to see how far a RN solid 7mm in the 170 grain range at aboud 2,100 fps would go through that pool. My guess is it would poke a hole in the bottom.
  20. jlbraun

    jlbraun Well-Known Member

    No wonder they don't let Adam shoot a gun. Funny guy, but bad trigger discipline. During the opening sequence, he has his finger on the trigger of a large revolver and I think he sweeps Jamie!

    Jamie is always very careful with firearms.

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