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Old March 27, 2018, 02:10 PM   #1
Dusty Rivers
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Ammo and fire

There was a episode of "Chicago Fire" last week where a house with loose ammo was on fire and the ammo was going off hitting everything. They blamed the owner for not notifying the firefighters.

How does ammo really act in an open fire? Please don't hypothesize though. Looking for an experienced response. I'm sure there are many who have a box of shells in their closet.
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Old March 27, 2018, 02:26 PM   #2
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http://www.libertysafe.com/what-happ...-5-p-2734.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SlOXowwC4c
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Old March 27, 2018, 02:36 PM   #3
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Long ago I saw a demonstration on TV where they put ammo on a hot plate and covered it with a common cardboard box.When it cooked off,nothing penetrated the box.

Smokeless powder is not an explosive. It does not detonate.It burns,and produces gas/pressure.
The brass is thin and expands easily. There is no chamber to contain the pressure,there is no barrel to accelerate the bullet.
Before pressure gets very high,the brass expands enough to release the bullet.The brass may burst .
The physics just do not work out for the brass to act like a gun and launch a bullet like it was fired.
A substantial stash of smokeless powder,primers,etc might be an issue for firefighters in the same way 1 lb propane stove bottles,Coleman fuel,gasoline,or other intensely flammable materials would be.

Loaded firearms might cook off,and those would fire a bullet in dangerous fashion.
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Old March 27, 2018, 02:48 PM   #4
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Many years ago there was a sporting goods store in Florida that burned. There were explosions and damage from those explosions. Ammunition was blamed, but later the fire marshal examined the remains and found that the ammunition was generally contained within their boxes. The explosions and resulting damage? Caused by exploding scuba tanks which rocketed in places.

And the NRA set of some ammunition with an electric soldering iron. The burst cartridges seldom escaped from the cardboard box they were fired in.

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Old March 27, 2018, 02:51 PM   #5
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Bad programming and insulting

Quote:
Quote:
There was a episode of "Chicago Fire" last week where a house with loose ammo
That is not what I heard during this show. My understanding was that the dumb kid had a bunch of loaded guns and they went off. My wife asked me if this could happen and I said it could but highly unlikely. So what we had here, was rounds in the chamber cooking off. From what we saw, was about 20 to thirty rounds going off, all pointed in a horizontal position. Story line was bogus at best. .....

We may have to wait for the reruns. .....

While we are on this subject, we see more corruption in the media and my thumb is getting sore from flipping channels.

Be Safe
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Old March 27, 2018, 05:06 PM   #6
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I've seen many a cartridge in fires. Everything from .17 HM2 to .30-06, with the vast majority being .22 LR, 9mm, .223 Rem, and 7.62x39mm.


The sound ranges from a firecracker to popcorn, with the occasional 'hiss-sizzle'.
The lightest part of the cartridge usually becomes a projectile (be it the case or bullet), and moves a few inches to a few feet. Occasionally, something like a heavily-crimped .22 LR that's sitting bullet-down might pop and launch the hull 10-15 feet. Sometimes cases rupture. Sometimes primers leave the case.

The flying pieces might hurt bare skin or sensitive organs (like eyeballs), but heavy clothing and something like a face shield is enough protection to prevent bodily injury.
I can't find one now, but there are multiple videos and pamphlets on the interwebs specifically aimed at firefighters -- showing that their standard turnouts are more than enough protection for ammunition in a fire (outside of a firearm).
One of the videos, I believe, was sponsored by SAAMI and represented a fully-stocked gun store going up in flames, with no harm done to the test subjects.
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Old March 27, 2018, 05:36 PM   #7
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When I was a kid we had a campfire in my buddys back yard. His older brother came out, threw something in the fire and walked away. It turned out to be a handful of 22's. They started popping and a kids leg was bleeding. No penetration, not sure what hit him. He was forever known as rim fire.
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Old March 27, 2018, 05:48 PM   #8
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Enjoy the show...

I and wife watch that show, good drama overall.

If you paid close attention they did claim a loaded gun is what hospitalized the fireman.

While very unlikely a round cooking off IN THE CHAMBER would be a muzzle I would decline to be in front of.

Unlikely, but possible. A round cooking of in the chamber would build pressure and exit the muzzle at high velocity.

Now about crawling out of bed with perfect hair and makeup in place.....not so much, no matter how attractive you are. Same episode.

It is entertainment guys, and it is possible tho very unlikely.

I had a house fire about a month ago now. Gotta pack up all my ammo and reloading gear, the restoration company will not store it nor even touch it.

The gun safe can stay in the house while the reconstruction is done. The local FD said nothing of the guns and reloading gear, other than complimenting me on having a big safe for the guns.
I am staying here in my RV while the house is rebuilt.

My heartfelt thanks to my local FD, thanks to their amazingly quick response (inside 3 min.) my home was saved. Sure beats looking at a pile of burnt crap in what was the basement.
Support your local FD!!
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Old March 27, 2018, 06:27 PM   #9
Dusty Rivers
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bigger bed required

My wife said i need to sell the queen size bed and get a king. Intrigued by this statement,I inquired why. So there is more room for your ammo was her reply.
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Old March 27, 2018, 09:21 PM   #10
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Several years ago, a local gun shop burned to the ground, The considerable quantity of ammo inside "blew" just as reported above, with some "pops". Some bullets were expelled from their cartridge cases, but none left the building. The local paper (with a reporter who was actually there), had an accurate report of the fire, and stated factually that there was no known damage to any person or building except the store itself. But a couple of "big city" papers got hold of the story and talked of a "leveled" business district, "like pictures of Hiroshima", and "total devastation from explosives going off". Their writers, or course, had not been within 50 miles of the place - the whole thing was pure fiction. That did not stop the publicity hungry fire marshal from running his mouth to the press and TV about "cities being wiped out" and "thousands of people killed" if his proposal for a gun ban was not followed. Remember, the anti's motto - "No little lies".

Jim
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Old March 27, 2018, 10:31 PM   #11
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There's a good mythbusters episode on ammo and cooking off.
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Old March 27, 2018, 10:32 PM   #12
Dusty Rivers
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thanks everyone

Thanks everyone for the reply's. I think my question has been answered. There was no political debate intended, just a safety question.

Keep your powder dry and your ammo free of flames. Be safe out there. As some one with pink hair said "The second amendment is to protect the constitution and all the other amendments". Makes sense to me.
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Old March 28, 2018, 05:46 AM   #13
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Yes, the Chicago Fire episode was about rounds cooking off in firearms.
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Old March 28, 2018, 10:04 AM   #14
dano1200r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty Rivers View Post
There was a episode of "Chicago Fire" last week where a house with loose ammo was on fire and the ammo was going off hitting everything. They blamed the owner for not notifying the firefighters.

How does ammo really act in an open fire? Please don't hypothesize though. Looking for an experienced response. I'm sure there are many who have a box of shells in their closet.
To the OP, having been inside a involved structure on many occasions with ammo, if the homeowner were there and didn't tell us of it, there would be trouble. When a round cooks off, it could damage our breathing apparatus, as well as produce shrapnel. Surround and drown before putting a firefighter in that structure is the reality.

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Old March 28, 2018, 10:54 AM   #15
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The most dangerous thing from an uncontained cartridge going off is the primer cup. If the priming compound ignites it will blow out of the primer pocket with considerable velocity and can be dangerous at short range.
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Old March 28, 2018, 07:33 PM   #16
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Keeping your eye on the ball

Quote:
There was no political debate intended, just a safety question.
Dusty
I too am mindful of the fact that the Anti-2A have a tricky way of making just about anything political. The episode was not entirely unbiased but that is a different and all too common situation. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old March 29, 2018, 06:26 PM   #17
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Watched it on Myth Busters and the NRA also did a test , 38 special round lying on a hot plate , cardboard box covers hot plate . Hot plate turned on, just as the lead bullet begins to melt , it goes pop...the case peels back and the bullet just lies on the plate....
Nothing penetrates the box. The bullet doesn't shoot off like it was fired in a rifle.
It was rather undramatic in both tests.
Gary
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Old March 29, 2018, 09:27 PM   #18
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I can't say about all fire departments, but I have friends who are firemen. Their policy locally is that if there are accelerant's located inside a structure, and there are no people inside to attempt to save, they back off and don't fight the fire aggressively.

If it is hot enough ammo CAN explode, but the danger from being hit from a projectile isn't that great. But the burning powder, especially if you're a hand loader is an accelerant and may cause them to back off.

I don't do it, but at least one of my friends stores all of his powder in a storage building not attached to his home just in case of a fire.
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Old March 29, 2018, 09:41 PM   #19
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There was an article in a 7-0's era American Rifleman,

that showed ammo burned isa fire stacked on a rack that exposed side of the carton were severely to completely burned and the ammo was not effected.
The article also noted a report by Gen. Hatcher about a magazine fire at an arsenal or depot.
Basic review was not a problem.
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Old March 30, 2018, 01:03 AM   #20
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Here we go, folks. Got 25 minutes?

SAAMI on ammo fires:
https://youtu.be/3SlOXowwC4c

Very low velocities are generated by unconfined ammo, so standard turnout gear is enough to protect firefighters at a reasonable working distance.

And then a little bit of water just shuts the fire right down. It's amazing.
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Old March 30, 2018, 08:16 AM   #21
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When you are crawling on your belly through a smoke filled structure, and ammo cooks off, you leave. And who leaves their ammo on a plate to warm up gradually? In a real fire, think how you store your ammo. Ammo can? How do you think the pressure is going to impact your life if you are near that and it pops.
P. S. Firemen shovel coal in a train. Firefighters fight fire.

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Old March 30, 2018, 09:38 AM   #22
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Understandable. For reasons that seemed good at the time, I kept my black powder in the house instead of in the shop along with the smokeless. When the house burned, none of it ignited; I have a scorched can of FFFg (and a scorched bottle of whisky) on the mantel of the new house. True, the firefighters threw the most of it, all but that one can, out the window as they went through the place. My friends recovered it while I was in the hospital. (Not burned, I had to bail out the upstairs window, landing with injury.)

I tried to salvage ammo that had been exposed to smoke, steam, and water, but not flame. The USGI .45 was fine, as was much of the .22 LR. Some of the rest was, some wasn't. The pretty red stuff around the bullet and the primer on S&B is NOT effective waterproofing, I pulled most of a case down to salvage the brass and bullets. Reloads with lead bullets had fewer misfires than jacketed.

The worst was some .45 ACP reloads I had made up with every reasonably suitable powder I could round up. I had intended to shoot at night to see what powder gave the least and most muzzle flash. But I could no longer line up an after dark range, so I decided to just plink them away. They LOOKED good, although the baggies were heat damaged. I broke two extractors before I realized that cooked powder is not a good idea and pulled the rest.
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Old March 30, 2018, 09:41 AM   #23
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Thanks for that, had not considered it. Yes, firefighters, I shall correct that in my vocabulary.
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Old March 30, 2018, 10:20 AM   #24
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And here I thought the new PC term was Combustion Remediators.

"And who leaves their ammo on a plate to warm up gradually?"

I suspect that the "warm up gradually" protocol intends to match the rise of temperatures found in a spreading fire.



"In a real fire, think how you store your ammo. Ammo can?"

No. I don't store my ammo in an ammo can.

But, in fires where ammo stored in ammo cans has cooked off, it doesn't all go off at once, turning the ammo can into a bomb.

In virtually every case I've see the rounds have cooked off individually, effectively raising pressure in the can to the point where the can will fail, but not explode into a shrapnel bomb.
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Old March 30, 2018, 10:42 AM   #25
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I put a couple of primers in a frying pan, stood back, and waited.

After about five minutes, I had two primers buried an eighth-inch in the eight-foot ceiling over the stove.

I don't know about cooked-off bullets, but I wouldn't want primers shooting at me.
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