SAAMI video on ammunition and fire fighter safety

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For ignition of large quantities of powder I suggest you read Hatcher's notebook. I have not read my copy in a very long time, so I will refrain from using my memory and direct interested people to research it themselves.
Excellent video. I've seen those effects first hand, it's really underwhelming. One house was owned by a pair of national guardsmen; they had thousands of rounds of ammo. Drove the arson dog nuts; he kept hitting on the remnants of ammo cans that were under the beds.

The 140 cubic foot acetylene tank would probably level the structure if it went

Been there, done that, too. There's a plug near the top of the tank that melts at low temp to prevent pressure build up. The tank was blowing about an 8-inch flame out of that hole. (machine shop fire). Really underwhelming.
Good post! It was sad to see so much expensive ammo go. I was a bit humbled when some of my test predictions turned out wrong :)
I did have a firefighter cousin lightly wounded by birdshot that cooked off on a shelf during a fire. They theorized it must have been pushed up against a backstop of some kind in order to have propelled the shot. Their previous experience had been loud popping but no projectiles during previous fires.
That's pretty cool. I gotta tell ya, those fire fighters must really have a pair.

Imagine that conversation:

SAAMI: "We want you to stand in front of this burning trailer full of ammo. We're pretty sure no projectiles will fire with enough force to injure you"

FF: "Uh...did you say 'pretty sure'"

SAAMI: "Well yea, we need to run the experiment to be certain. That's where you come in"

FF: "Eh, what the heck. Sure"
What a great video! I had been wondering what could happen to a fire fighter should my house catch on fire and my ammo started cooking off. It's a relief to see it's really not that big of an issue. Seems like it will likely stay completely contained within my safe.
just ruined every action adventure movie I have seen where the hero throws a grenade into he bad guys ammo dump and blows the whole place to pieces for a 2 block area.
I wish they would have done the drop test with rimfire ammo. That would have been interesting.

Been doing EOD/UXO stuff since 1959. i've burned a billion or two rounds of small arms ammo, mostly in open pits with scrap wood for cover, if any. Seldom does the bullet from a round project further than 20 feet from the pit.

i've burned ammo in US military cans too. 99 percent of the time the bullets just dent the can. Sometimes .50 caliber ammo will blow the can open.

Steel cased ammo in calibers 12.7mm and 14.5mm are another matter. Sometimes these rounds project small fragments of the case at a high velocity.

Most of this stuff is 5.56mm and 7.62 ammo

Did you ever try any steel cased 5.56, 7.62x39, 7.62x54r or similar types like what many of us have cases of?
None of it matters. The physics of it is simple and the behavior is consistent. Without a barrel for the bullet to be pushed down and build up speed the risk is insignificant.
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HSO, this is probably one of the best videos to be mentioned on this site. One of my main concerns/fears have been fire fighters being hurt or killed due to ammo cook off during a possible fire at my apartment complex. I can now relax somewhat over that issue.

One of the buildings in my complex burned last year, completely destroying 12 units and damaging another 4. I wasn't there at the time so I don't know if anyone in that building had stored ammo. Regardless, nothing was mentioned about an ammo cook off on the newscast.

Again, thanks for posting.
I was talking to some of the NSSF people today, and they mentioned that all the ammo in the video was factory reject or recall. No salable ammo was harmed in the making of that video.
For whomever mentioned the powder cans + fire experiments in Hatcher's Notebook, a 1-lb can of smokeless in a fire just ruptures the can's seam and burns quietly. For 1 lb of Black Powder, it goes off with quite a thump with the expected big mushroom cloud of white smoke. The can in this case was projected about 35 feet (pp 529-530).

However, in experiments with shooting at 150 lb kegs of smokeless powder, most of the time the powder just ignited and burned as one would expect if it were in the open. But when a shot hit the bottom of one keg, the whole keg detonated with a terrific explosion (pp 527-528). "It would seem that if there is more than about 2 ft of powder above the point of entrance of the bullet, the powder may explode instead of simply burning."

Hatcher also cautions about burning large quantities of powder in the open because the generation of heat is so rapid that severe burns on the experimenter are quite possible.

Cf. also:

Great video; thanks. My wife and kids hated that I pointed out the silliness in the movie Paycheck. I'll have to show them this video to drive the point home.

Anybody aware of a similar video on the subject of black powder?
What about rounds that are chambered? For instance, one's bedside or under the bed defensive firearm?
If you send me your powder and bullets I will gladly burn them for you! I will let you know how they burned.
It did mention that a chambered round will fire just like it was fired from the weapon.

Now if they would just drop the hazmat fees!!
I was surprised that no one has yet to claim that the video was yet another great conspiracy to deprive shooters of more ammo:)

That was a great video. I thought it was interesting that the firefighters obviously were confident of the outcome, even during the first few tests, they were igniting the fires directly.

thanks for sharing.
I know this thread hasn't been added to for some time, but I am a fireman, in a larger city. I've been to a house fire where rounds were popping off. I wasn't so nervous about the rounds popping off, as I was about the potential of a firearm with a round in the chamber. When we were doing overhaul (clearing the burned stuff out after the fire was out) I did find an AK, with a round in the chamber, and a mag attached.

At the beginning of the video, they do clarify that if a round is in a gun, and it goes off from heat, it'll shoot just like the trigger was pulled, with the same kind of energy out the muzzle. Fortunately, heat rises, and most guns are stored lower in the room if they are kept loaded. (even 1200*F on the ceiling can mean 3-400* 3' off the floor in that room) In our city, we're usually on scene pretty darn fast, and our dept. is known for using aggressive tactics to get the fire put out. This means, that temperatures in a common apartment or single-family home usually don't get hot enough for the ammunition in the chamber to get hot enough to fire off. Also, IF it does get hot enough to fire off the round in an auto-loading rifle, the magazine does NOT have the same thermal insulation capacity as the chamber (thinner metal or plastic), so they would most likely pop off, and render the clip non-functional, so in that case, you'd only get one round fired out of a super-heated firearm. In a auto-loading pistol situation, the grip could act as an insulator, so I guess you would be more likely that the clip could actually feed a fresh round into the now-super-heated chamber, resulting in another bullet shooting out the front of the gun...but.. the gun would jump around from recoil, so it could perhaps stove-pipe... yada, yada, yada...

These videos have been around a long time.
Back when I was instructing, we used to show them during the lunch break of our handgun courses.

Naturally, there are varied opinions.

The Myth Busters ran an ammunition in the fire myth enquiry a couple of years ago.
I don't remember what they concluded but I believe it was different than the SAAMI test conclusions.

About 40 years ago one of the gun magazines also ran a test where they set off a rifle round next to a bar of soap.
The soap was dented, so they concluded that it would cause a bruise.

To my mind, the only projectile with any force is the primer firing off and leaving the brass at low air rifle velocity.

Unfortunately, most people refuse to buy into the truth.
Being television and Hollywood trained, they are convinced that the ammunition or powder will explode.
(In the case of Black powder they would be right. But smokeless powder doesn't explode.)

After viewing these videos I modified how I store my powder and ammunition.
The cartridges are stored on 2x8 shelving against a 3/4" piece of plywood backing.

Primers are also stored the same way against the far wall of the garage.

The powder is in a caster wheeled box made up of a double layer base of 3/4" ply with sides loosely nailed together 2x8s.
The hinged (no latch) lid is also a double layer of 3/4" plywood.
The box is plainly marked "Gun Powder" and has a pull rope attached.
This is stored close to the garage door, again at the far wall from the house..
In the case of a fire it can be pulled outside away from the house.

All shelves and powder box are painted with waterglass to inhibit ignition.

All this might be over kill considering the actual amounts I have on hand.
But, it does give me peace of mind.

Very interesting... From my point of view the real danger that any modern structure fire presents is the fumes/smoke being generated.... In my area when I was in law enforcement we always told our officers to stay the heck out of any burning building since the smoke and related fumes were absolutely poisonous (serious stuff like cyanide, carbon monoxide, and other less well known components). Of course young officers will do the rescue thing even though not properly equipped... The first thing that responding firemen had to do was rescue my officers on more than one occasion.... A blood gas test on the officers involved was usually an eye-opener... Ammunition was very low on our list of concerns in fires -despite all the Hollywood mis-information on the issue.
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