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Here's a Doozy for Y'All—

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by LJ-MosinFreak-Buck, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Standing outside tonight on my back porch smoking a cigarette, I witnessed a nice crack of lightning light up the sky.

    Now, I carry a firearm on my property (concealed, don't believe it is illegal to do so on my own property, just getting a feel for it until I get my permit). What ran through my mind is lightning strikes.

    I seen on the weather channel—oh a few years back, I'd have to say— thought I don't recall what the exact figures were, it said the temperature of a lighting strike was somewhere in the vacinity of 35,000°F, but we'll just go within the neighborhood of 3,000-5,000°F. Like I said, I don't recall the details, and my googlefu doesn't want to work for me tonight.

    Now, my question is, should the lightning strike you, or in the immediate area of yourself, would your firearm discharge? I understand that not even rubber-soled boots will really help you when hit by lightning, so would the electric shock cause your firearm to discharge?
     
  2. steveno

    steveno Member

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    I think the lightning strike causing you gun to fire is the least of your worries. I would also say it wouldn't cause it to fire
     
  3. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Sounds like a job for Myth Busters.

    My first thought was the same as steveno . You would likely be a crispy critter before the lightning would set off the firearm.

    You could try the Ben Franklin thingy with the gun instead of the key during the next storm, but I would not necessarily look for a positive outcome.
     
  4. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Well, people have survived actually being hit with lightning, it's the Amperes that kill you, not the voltage. Though, someone ailed with a weakened heart could die from the strike. And temperatures are like a flash, according to the show.
     
  5. steveno

    steveno Member

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    feel free to go out and prove it one way or the other and post a video
     
  6. 45bthompson

    45bthompson Member

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    You could stick a barrel in a light socket for an easier test than waiting on the lightning. I am not curious enough to try it though. You know what they say about the cat.
     
  7. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    I'm going to say it's likely to cause it to fire.
    The electricity itself very well may set off the primer, but the casing may ground it around. Then again, people with piercings that get struck by lightning seem to have them scorched in place often enough, and the heat would certainly set it off...

    I'm going to throw my hat into "not the part to worry about."
     
  8. oldbear

    oldbear Member

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    :what:

    No one will survive a direct lighting strike. Those who have survived a "lighting strike" were in close to the area where the lighting hit, not directly hit by the lightning bolt.
     
  9. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Well, I can admit when I'm wrong.
     
  10. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    I don't believe the OP is talking about the lightning, amps or volts, harming you. I think he's talking about the actual temperature increase from the lightning cooking off the round in your chamber. Is that correct OP?


    I would think that since your gun is not part of the path of least resitance, the lightning would not set the gun off. People who get hit by lightning have burn holes in their hats and shoes, and burns along their bodies, but the rest of their clothes don't seem to catch on fire just by being close to the bolt. The massive temperature increase seems to really only happen along the path of the bolt. As long as the gun is not part of that path, it seems you would be fine.


    \Not a scientist, so I very well could be completely wrong.
     
  11. Plan2Live

    Plan2Live Member

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    The cigarette poses a more realistic danger.
     
  12. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Ragnar, you're half right, I was thinking that the electricity could set the firearm off.
    Temperatures would soar, but only for many fractions of a second.

    As a welder, I know that it is not the voltage, but the amperes, that kill you. All it takes is six milli-amps across the heart to kill (I might be of a figure, don't directly quote me exactly on that). That's why tasers, stun-guns, whatever the nomenclature, don't kill the target. Some can have up to 1,000,000 volts, but nowhere near the amps.

    Look at it this way, voltage is like velocity, more voltage more speed. More amperes, more strength.

    Similar to water:

    Higher voltage = Fast-moving, free-flowing water.
    Higher amperes = Higher water pressure.
     
  13. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    Nevermind.
    I was going to say "unlikely" since the gun would act as a Faraday Cage like your car in a thunderstorm so the ammo would be safe inside the gun like you're safe inside your car.
    but
    Electricity might likely still pass through the gun itself since it's metal on the way through, making a shortcut to the ground. The metal of the gun would heat up and that might be enough to set off the rounds.
    I dunno.
    That's assuming that you've got a pistol riding in a holster somewhere on your body. If you're holding a long gun then all bets are off. Don't walk around with a lightning rod slung over your shoulder.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Unless the firearm was struck there's no guarantee that the firearm and ammunition would be affected at all.

    Lightning strikes victims don't look like cartoon characters do after being hit by lightning. Only limited parts of the body and gear become part of the path to ground.
     
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Try a google search of images with the description "golf bags/clubs hit by lightning". Very interesting (and very scary), stuff.
     
  16. pockets

    pockets Member

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    Certainly not in every case. A friend of mine was struck by freak lightning while leaning on his bike in the park one afternoon.
    He died instantly, but his gun didn't go off or anything.


    .
     
  17. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    I think you have a better chance of actually using your ccw to defend yourself.

    We know bullets can spontaneously combust with extreme heat. However, they don't have the same effect of being in the chamber... So even iffffffff all the stars aligned you only have to worry about a hole in you butt or leg, (depending on carry position) which as other mentioned, is probably he least of your worries...
     
  18. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    If enough current were induced through the gun it could certainly go off. Lightning, however, does weird things and can travel in odd paths. If you really want to know maybe these guys will verify if you ask:

    http://www.lightning.ece.ufl.edu/
     
  19. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    I would be nervous about lightening in an open field if I were carrying a long gun. They can act as lightening rods, so can golf clubs. Thunder is my cue to go back to the truck.
     
  20. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    It's rare enough that I wouldn't worry about it either way.
    I met a fella that was struck while standing up bass fishing with a graphite rod. He survived but it blew one of his heels off and a couple fingers. It also welded his keys and coins together in his pocket.
     
  21. FlaBoy

    FlaBoy Member

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    Very close, but no cigar. Yes, it is VERY useful to compare water flow with electrical circuitry (one of the first analogies I used when I taught intro to Elec. Engineering). But you got the terms a little sideways.

    Think of Voltage as Pressure, and Current as Flow Rate.

    That is, you can have huge pressures with no flow (pressurized hose with the nozzle closed) just like you can have huge voltage with no current (across the terminals of a battery that is not connected to a circuit of any type).

    Similarly, you can have huge flow with very low pressure (huge slow moving river) just like you can have high current and very low voltage.

    Sorry, not that any of this really matters, but the professor and the engineer in me cringes a little when i see science done wrong :)
     
  22. knoxy

    knoxy Member

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    Do like Ben Franklin & tie a bullet on a kite string soaked in saline. Fly the kite in a field during a storm & see what happens. ;)
     
  23. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I agree with HSO. Lightning strikes are unpredictable in how they spread and what they will and won't affect. I think that in the vast majority of cases, the strike is too fast to heat up the gun enough to cook off a primer.
     
  24. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Just quoting my welding instructor from a few year ago. :)

    Well, I'm not actually worried about the lightning strike, but it's rare that someone gets hit with them, and even more rare that the victim was armed. I was just thinking what the possibilities were in that event.
     
  25. CONNEX 3300

    CONNEX 3300 Member

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    Thats something I have wondered about in the past. Of course I realize that the lethality of the lightning strike would be of more concern than the gun going off. But I always thought that this scenario would be more likely if a person were carrying a blackpowder cap and ball revolver. It is much easier to ignite blackpowder. But I suppose maybe the electric build up prior to the actual strike might set of the gun? Lots of variables, and I'd rather not be the guinea pig who finds out for sure.
     
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