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Old December 6, 2012, 06:18 AM   #1
Single Six
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Someone Actually Told Me This Once..Your Thoughts?

As a teenager in the mid-1980s, I recall having a conversation with an older guy at my workplace about guns. He told me that, in a pinch, it would be possible to fire a centerfire bullet [rifle or handgun] by taping it to the muzzle of a BB gun, primer against the muzzle, and then let the BB hit the primer of the cartridge. He said that this was a "last ditch survival technique", meant only for very close quarters. Of course, such a scenario would require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief; who would walk around with a cartridge taped to his Red Ryder's muzzle? Now, I hasten to add that even at the tender age of 17, one thought occurred to me at that moment: This whole idea sounded like a monumentally stupid thing to try, not to mention blatantly unsafe. A BB or pellet hitting a primer with enough power to set it off certainly sounds plausible. It seems to me that with no barrel for the round to travel through, it wouldn't have the same velocity or accuracy that would be in effect if properly fired from an appropriate gun. I knew enough back then to never attempt such a thing, and I still do. But, I am curious enough to pose the questions here: IF some idiot actually tried this, what do you think would happen? At close quarters, what do you suppose would happen to the hypothetical shooter, his hypothetical BB gun, and the hypothetical attacker?
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Old December 6, 2012, 06:31 AM   #2
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Very similar to the discussions of ammunition going off in a fire or outside of a gun.

Without the cartridge being in a gun it you're just going to have an undirected explosion that's not going to have much force at all.

As a last-ditch self-defense effort you'd be a gazillion times more effective by using the Red Ryder as a club. (Or, since it is the season, you could use it to shoot somebody's eye out.)

Last edited by DaleA; December 6, 2012 at 06:32 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old December 6, 2012, 06:41 AM   #3
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Dale, it brings to mind a Myth Busters episode I saw where they let centerfire rounds cook off in an oven. As I recall, rounds sitting alone in the oven, but not in a gun, wouldn't penetrate the oven door upon firing. However, rounds left in the gun would go down the barrel just as if the trigger had been pulled, and blow right through the door.
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Old December 6, 2012, 08:54 AM   #4
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But, if you taped it with an interrupted spacer that allowed air to port out, that problem would be solved, no?

Meanwhile, I don't think it would launch the bullet all that far.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick look-up on powerheads, also called bang sticks, used by divers against sharks. (My thought being that they are in some ways similar, with a cartridge held at the end of a spear in the case of the powerhead, to what the OP suggested.)

The killing mechanism of the powerhead, though, isn't the bullet itself - it's the high pressure gas forced into the shark at contact.

Loosely extrapolated, if one could rig the cartridge to the BB gun muzzle, using an interrupted spacer to allow the air ahead of the BB to port out; and if one were to press the weapon against the bad guy while firing the BB into the primer, this might work.
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Old December 6, 2012, 09:21 AM   #5
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The recently posted video, produced by SAAMI, shows quite a few rounds being fired in this way. None of them penetrated cardboard from a distance of 4" (might have been 6"). The really powerful rounds poked a hole but didn't go through. Most barely made a dent.

There's no way you kill, or even seriously injure, anything bigger than a small spider.
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Old December 6, 2012, 01:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input, guys. Next time I visit my hometown, I may have to go look that guy up and tell him I have it on good authority that he's full of beans!
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Old December 6, 2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input, guys. Next time I visit my hometown, I may have to go look that guy up and tell him I have it on good authority that he's full of beans!
Better yet do it, video it and post it. Show him the video, I bet he was just repeating somebody else's fancy day dream. Just make sure there is a shield between you and the round in-case a chunk of brass comes flying at you.
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Old December 6, 2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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Here's the thread with the video. The part in question is right near the beginning, not more than a couple minutes in.
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Old December 6, 2012, 02:01 PM   #9
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I think the term you're looking for is "epic fail"

I would hate to be in a survival situation where a red rider and a loaded shell were the only items all I could muster up into a defensive...device?
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Old December 6, 2012, 03:13 PM   #10
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Ambishot: +1 on that. Though I was just a kid when this guy told me that, even then, I was instinctively dubious.
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Old December 6, 2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Out of curiosity, I did a quick look-up on powerheads, also called bang sticks, used by divers against sharks. (My thought being that they are in some ways similar, with a cartridge held at the end of a spear in the case of the powerhead, to what the OP suggested.)


Having used bang sticks more than a few times: they DO have a barrel, albeit an abbreviated one, but the shell is completely enclosed and the force of the firing does propel the projectile at high velocity. It's not an "uncontained" deflagration like an uncontained cartridge.

We did experiment with blanks v/s cartridges, and effectiveness was about the same. What we found was that crimped cartridges were easier to keep waterproof at depth as compared to blanks so that's what we used. 12 guage to start, then .223, and then finally .44 and .38 cartridges were used. All worked about the same. Smaller was easier to use and easier on the diver.


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Old December 6, 2012, 05:18 PM   #12
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Great little video, thank you for posting that. It goes right along with an experiment I did back in the late 70's after an Army Reserve Lieutenant tried to convince me a 22 LR cartridge somebody threw in a camp fire detonated and the projectile broke the bottle of beer he was holding.

The following month I brought a coffee can and a single burner camp stove. I used 3 cartridges, a 22LR, a 45 ACP and a .308. Placed in the can one at a time and then placed a large cardboard box over the can with the bottom of the box sitting on bricks to allow air in. Lit the stove. put the box on then squatted next to it to wait for the pop. Took a long time. Had about 40 people observing for the 22, by the time I got to the .308 there were 3 of us. none of the projectiles penetrated the box. Only dent in the cardboard was from the .308. The lieutenant had nothing to say and I didn't push it.
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Old December 6, 2012, 07:17 PM   #13
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I'd think the most likely thing to break the bottle of beer he was holding would be the ruptured casing. If it ever happened at all.
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Old December 6, 2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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That was my first thought but the bullet from the 22 stayed in the can. He tells me they were at a trout stream for opening day and I can't help but think he used a water soaked rock. They can pop open explosively. Had it happen to me while cat fishing on the Fox River in Illinois. Scared the bejesus out of 3 young boys and a couple of middle aged men.
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Old December 6, 2012, 10:05 PM   #15
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your friend is basically right, the impact from a BB could set off a primer.

HOWEVER, without something to contain the cartridge its not effective. IF you can tape a cartridge to the muzzle of a BB gun, you can tape a cartridge in a close fitting piece of pipe (which will act a lot more like a gun barrel), and you can get some degree of directed energy from the round going off.

Yes, its unsafe, yes, its stupid, but in an absolute desperation situation, Assuming you had the BBgun, cartridge, pipe and tape, why not?


I'd have to be really, really desperate....
and odds are, if I have the cartridge, I'll also have a gun to fire it!
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Old December 7, 2012, 09:45 AM   #16
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Not quite the same thing, but back in the '70's when we were down range we'd take the blank adapter off of our M16s and stick the neck of a spent casing in the muzzle. Firing a blank would launch the casing with enough force to kill a rabbit at 10-15 yards. Made a nice supplement to C-rations.
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Old December 7, 2012, 10:30 AM   #17
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I'd rather try shooting them in the eye with the BB gun. Getting shot in the eye with a BB would be distracting at the very least.
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Old December 7, 2012, 05:00 PM   #18
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I remember something similiar that appeared in a movie, probably in the 1950s. It was a Western.

Someone was being held captive in a barn. He happened to have a cartridge with him, conveniently enough. It may have figured in the plot somehow early, like it may have been a souvenir of something or other. The hero at one point puts the cartridge in a hold in the barn door and sets it off with a rock and a nail and naturally, manages to hit the bad guy. Good idea but about as likely to work as making an explosive out of cow's milk. Aside from the fact that it would explode rather than "shoot," it would take a lot of luck to hit something like that, at least the first time you tried it.

Don't try that at home.
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Old December 7, 2012, 05:24 PM   #19
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Hello Blue Train,,,

I remember an extremely similar scenario,,,
It was the Adventures of Foreman Scotty of the Circle-4 Ranch,,,
The writers for the Foreman Scotty show must have seen the same movie you did..

He was a local TV Hero (Channel 4 - Oklahoma City),,,
He had an afternoon show where local kids sat in the gallery.

In one of his adventures through the "Time Tunnel" on the ranch,,,
He was being held in a prison and used the same technique,,,
The cartridge was placed in a hole in the barred door,,,
He hit it with a rock and a nail from his boots,,,
Bad guy down - Foreman Scotty escapes,,,
Cue applause!

I was maybe 9 or 10 when I saw that episode in the early 60's,,,
The only thing that kept me from trying it,,,
Was fear of the "Wrath of Mom!"

Today they would jail Foreman Scotty for reckless endangerment.

Aahhh,,,
Memories.

Aarond

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Old December 7, 2012, 07:14 PM   #20
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Along the same idea, and certainly with the "Hey kids, DON'T try this at home!" caveat...

When I was 9 years old or so, my cousin and I would take 22LR ammo and try to shoot pigeons that would be on the ground near our neighbors barn, by putting a rock on the ground, putting the shell on the rock and then slamming another rock down on it.

We never managed to hit one and the shells didn't even go off most of the time but sometimes they did. We would occasionally see a poof of dust near the pigeons. We were thoroughly convinced that we'd built ourselves a rifle.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:09 AM   #21
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Oh, Mr. aarondhgrahamn, I grew up watching Circle-6 Ranch with Scoop and Snoop from Channel 6 in Bluefield, West Virginia. That was the only station we could get. They showed old cowboy movies and was probably on about 5:00 in the afternoon. They too had kids as guests and I was on the show one memorable afternoon. First and only TV studio I was ever in. The Circle-6 ranch (If I'm remembering the name correctly) was in Galvanized Gulch.

Life just hasn't been the same since that show went off the air and DeSotos went out of production.
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Old December 8, 2012, 07:15 AM   #22
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Try this on for size and let me know what y'all think: I have a comic book from the mid-'80s in which the main character is pursued through the jungle by enemy soldiers. He stops long enough to bury shotgun shells just below the surface, with the primers down and resting against a nail. The running soldiers step on the shells, the primers are struck...BOOM. I have my doubts on this one too...seems that the nail would need something to somehow keep it hard against the primer. But assuming that it did somehow get set off, what do you think the effects on the hapless victim's foot would be? Like the BB gun thing, with no barrel to travel down, would it drastically reduce the velocity [and thus the tissue damage] of the shot load?
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Old December 8, 2012, 08:12 AM   #23
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On a similar note, I recall a Streets of San Francisco episode where a hit man kills his victim by wiring a 12 gauge shell into his ignition housing. Not sure if the housing would make a good chamber; also not sure how the hey in the ignition would fit in front of the shell.
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Old December 8, 2012, 09:56 AM   #24
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As a last-ditch self-defense effort you'd be a gazillion times more effective by using the Red Ryder as a club.
+1, beyond all doubt this is true.
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Old December 8, 2012, 11:26 AM   #25
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He stops long enough to bury shotgun shells just below the surface, with the primers down and resting against a nail.
My bet would be that the nail would be pushed deeper into the dirt unless there was a solid object preventing it. I haven't tried it and don't intend to, but the odds of the ammo going off seem about the same as winning the lottery to me.
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