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Old November 25, 2012, 11:29 PM   #1
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Ammo Going Off in a Fire (and other circumstances). Actual Video!

I stumbled across this video from SAAMI, intended for firefighters, that runs a series of experiments on a variety of loose ammo. They hit it with hammers, drop it from a crane, run it over with a bulldozer, shoot it with another bullet, and at about 13 minutes into the video they finally start setting it ablaze.

It should be noted that they're using some pretty serious calibers in some of these tests. And in the first test, the casings are anchored against the wall of the test box which undoubtedly helped the bullets' velocity.

It seems about every week someone is posting a question about loose ammo going off in a fire, or igniting some other way. Finally, some scientific evidence!

If you don't want to watch the video, suffice it to say that loose ammo is pretty safe in a fire, doesn't have much velocity, and is difficult to ignite in many of the other tests.
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Old November 25, 2012, 11:52 PM   #2
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Results from another test I read some time back indicated that the primers were actually more dangerous than the bullets when loose ammunition catches on fire. The primers can eject at extremely high velocity--going fast enough to be dangerous. However, they are so light that they can be stopped easily. Typical firefighting protective gear is sufficient to prevent injury.

The real safety concern is loaded firearms. When the temperature reaches the flashpoint of the powder/primer, chambered rounds will be fired normally and, of course, the fired bullet has the potential to cause lethal wounds.
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
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Old November 26, 2012, 06:54 AM   #3
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Great vid...

Thanks for that...
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Old November 26, 2012, 10:47 AM   #4
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Thank you for linking us to this.
As a retired FF i have always known that ammo is hazardous but of course back when, we had very minimal turnout gear compared to the gear worn today, but aerosol cans are much more dangerous in a fire.
I would have liked to see some 1 and 8 lbs canisters of powder included in the tests and some Black Powder ammo dropped and run over by that dozer.
I don't know where SAMMI boundary's are in those areas.
I however would not have stood behind that truck while blazing because there is still an unknown here and prudence would to me dictate to not expose yourself to anything if not absolutely necessary.
I sent this to our fire chief for use in training.
For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, But to us who are being saved, It Is The Power Of God. 1Corinthians 1-18

Last edited by Gbro; November 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM.
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Old November 26, 2012, 11:35 AM   #5
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Gbro good point. While working at a defense contractor we were having problems with the local fire marshal. Like so many individuals who are not involved with the Explosives industry he had a "Hollywood" perception of explosives.

We took him to our test range and demonstrated a series of explosive fires. None of them detonated.

We then initiated a BLEVE (boiling liquid vapor explosion) using two standard 20 lb propane tanks. The explosion was excellent. He did not change his mind on explosives but tried to ban propane tanks in his city. Shortly thereafter he was quietly retired.
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Old November 26, 2012, 12:17 PM   #6
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This post really hits home for me. Back in 1987 I was a firefighter and we were fighting a fire at a clubhouse out in the woods. The owner was on site and informed us thet he had ammunition and gun powder in there so we took the necessary precautions. Needless to say he did not mention that there was also a loaded .270 under the bed. Long story short.......I was 25 feet from the building on the outside applying water to the structure when the rifle went off, went through the exterior wall and hit me just above the left knee. Lost four inches of my femur, knee cap, etc. Nearly bled to death being so far from any hospital. Going into shock really feels bad by the way. Any way...... two months in the hospital, numerous surgeries, not walking for two years, rehab for years and I still have my leg. Doesn't work real well but at least I still have it! And I still shoot!
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Old November 26, 2012, 09:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting that, very interesting to see as helps put many myths to rest.

TheoShooter: Wow! Hell of a story and although a long recovery process, like you said, at least you still have your leg.
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Old November 29, 2012, 12:20 AM   #8
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I made entry into a working structure fire a couple of years ago, as I crawled my way to the fire I felt something odd under my knees. Well long story short it was linked 30cal approx. 200 rounds. But no firearms were found
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Old November 29, 2012, 01:16 AM   #9
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He did not change his mind on explosives but tried to ban propane tanks in his city.
Dangerous thing to do Itc444 - you could have seriously injured yourself pounding your head against the wall after dealing with him.

(where IS that pounding your head against a wall smiley...)

Dealing with regulations and regulators and local 'codes' would probably drive me nuts if I ran my own business.
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Old November 29, 2012, 02:33 AM   #10
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VERY interesting video, especially from 10 minutes onward.

Those guys burned through A LOT of ammo!

Fascinating for any gun nut, I say... Thanks a bunch!
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Old November 29, 2012, 05:21 AM   #11
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Great video, appreciate the post. Looks like I will do be able to free up half my safe and not have to buy another to store ammo, and I can fit all my guns in my safe!
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Old November 29, 2012, 11:03 AM   #12
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Great video. I'll have to see if my local firefighter friends have seen it.
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Old December 2, 2012, 12:12 PM   #13
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Very good, thanks for posting. I'm going to show it to my Fire Department at one of our training nights.
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Old December 2, 2012, 01:40 PM   #14
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