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Old June 4, 2013, 09:54 PM   #1
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The Watermelon Demonstration

This weekend at the Gun Show a family with small kids stopped by to check out our holsters. In conversation the mom told me how they instill respect for firearms into their children.
They have land - they've set up a range. They take the kids out at some point and show them what happens to a watermelon when it's hit by a bullet.
Apparently it makes quite an impression and negates the "hit the reset button" mentality that video games create.

I thought that was mighty smart.
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Old June 4, 2013, 10:59 PM   #2
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That is not a bad plan, at all. It certainly punctuates the message neatly.
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Old June 4, 2013, 11:14 PM   #3
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I use a head of iceberg lettuce. The fresher the better
I use a 20 ga shotgun, for best effect aim for the round base where the roots are cut off. Add a reminder that a head of lettuce and the human head react the same way. My hunter education classes are usually speechless.
You can't fix stupid....however ignorance can be cured through education!
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Old June 5, 2013, 02:01 AM   #4
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Sounds like the advertisement from Taurus has come to life.
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Old June 5, 2013, 05:43 AM   #5
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As popularized by R. Lee Ermy in his "Mail Call" series. Even though vegetable and milk-jug targets were known to use years ago. They are wonderful visual targets that portray a profound message.
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Old June 5, 2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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Sounds like a great plan. I'll have to remember this for when my wife and I finally have kids.
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Old June 5, 2013, 12:58 PM   #7
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When I was a new recruit in 1981, the Drills used ammo can's filled with water.

An M16A1 put nice leaking holes in the cans, but the M60 fired just a 2 or 3 round burst and the can pretty much exploded popping the lid open and water bursting into the air to about 10 feet or so.

It had it's own dramatic appeal.
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Old June 5, 2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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Watermelons sold the original AR-15's,,,

That's what sold the original AR-15's,,,
According to legend there was some kind of 4th of July barbeque/picnic,,,
Air Force General Curtis Lemay watched them shoot some watermelons and liked the destruction.

This is from the book, Future Weapons,,,
By Kevin Dockery.

Just passing on some lore,,,


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Old June 5, 2013, 04:30 PM   #9
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Freudian slip??

Most companies are looking to get in to the black, not the red. Perhaps Colt is a little different? ;-)
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Old June 5, 2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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After Colt got the production rights to the AR-15, they staged a series of shoots with watermelons, etc. In one demonstration at which I was present, Colt's people shot at one gallon cans of water, showing how an M1 rifle only punctured the cans while the .223 blew them apart. Of course, they "forgot" to fill the cans they fired at with the .30-'06; they put in only about a pint of water.

And thus was sold the M16, for better or worse.

Jim K
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Old June 5, 2013, 06:53 PM   #11
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Many years ago I talked to an old police lieutenant who was one of the firearms instructors for our city department, and he told me about a demonstration he used to do for rookie trainees. He'd fill a steel five-gallon paint bucket with water and clamp the lid down solidly. He would set two beer cans (they were steel in those long-ago days) on top of the lid. He would load a 12 gauge pump with a one-ounce rifled slug followed by two rounds of birdshot. He would fire the slug into the bucket, blowing off the lid and launching the beer cans into the air, where he would nail them with the birdshot.

He said that the hydrostatic shock of the slug would rip open the heavy-gauge steel bucket. Then he would retrieve the lid and show the rookies the faint but perceptible imprints of the bottoms of the beer cans in the steel.

A shotgun slug is one hellacious round.
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Old June 5, 2013, 06:59 PM   #12
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Supposedly, canatolope explodes better.

I, for one, would rather eat the melons then shoot them.
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Old June 5, 2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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I hate when people do ballistic tests on a watermelon. Yes, your Taurus Judge can go through 5 watermelons but what kind of wounds is it going to have? Is it going to carry so much power that it goes clean through a human being with only a .45 caliber hole? Is the temporal cavity going to cut the man in half? It'll probably be in between but a watermelon is not representative of a human.

On the other hand, for effectively showing the effects of firearms, I think that is a great demonstration I think one of those butterball turkeys you get with the guts still inside would work great too
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Old June 5, 2013, 08:58 PM   #14
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Weird, but true.

The most impressive reactive target me and Dad ever accidently stumbled on to was an old round cardboard Quaker Oatmeal container with a little oatmeal left in it, filled with water and sat in the sun for about five or ten minutes.

It. Was. Beautiful!

One shot with the AR 7 and it blew up with a fountain of water and oatmeal that was more impressive then the fountain at the Belligio.

Another plus, the next day our range was visited by a large flock of local birds who really enjoyed their special treat.
Mal: "If anyone gets nosy, know... shoot 'em. "
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Old June 5, 2013, 09:15 PM   #15
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Our kids got The Watermelon Demonstration as well. I generally used a 30-06 softpoint at about 20 yards.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:21 PM   #16
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I'm a big proponent of showing people the damage done/energy imparted by firearms. Not just children, but anyone who doesn't quite "get it." I for one am a visual learner, and demonstrations always stick with me better than words.

My brother and I would tag along on small game hunts when we were pretty young. Dad would make it a point to show us the dead squirrel or rabbit or whatever and say "see what it did to this rabbit? It'll do the same thing to you." It made an impression. He'd also say "once the bullet leaves the barrel, you can't bring it back." I use the same direct approach with my kids. Safety is so important, and the shooter needs to understand why.
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Old June 12, 2013, 11:30 PM   #17
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I use empty tea or water bottles. Fill them with water and they make great demonstrations. We did it last week. Shot one jug with a 9mm, it made two nice little entry and exit holes and the water drained out the holes. Shot the next jug with a .45. It made bigger holes and the water drained a bit faster.

Then we shot the last one with a .44 mag! It blew the jug into pieces spraying water and jug parts about 6 feet into the air and backwards about 6 feet!

That makes quite an impression.

And we still got to eat the watermelon.
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