The truth about fire, shock and ammunition.
SAAMI, the Small Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute , made this video to test and demonstrate the effect of various firefighter-related environmental factors on ammunition. It is a long video, but extremely interesting. It will no doubt put to rest many myths and misunderstandings about ammunition placed in fire, subject to a drop from a great height or if other cartridges nearby are ignited. As an example, contrary to what we see in movies (shocking and unexpected we know), projectiles ignited outside a firearm have significantly lower velocities and energy than when discharged from a firearm. The idea that a box dropped into a fire would be popping off and begin actually “shooting” everyone nearby is false, though there a threat of physical damage certainly remains (primarily from shrapnel). If you’re primarily interested in the reaction of quantities of ammunition to a fire, go straight to 12:22. Much of what you’ll learn actually surprised me – for instance, without the confinement and direction of a chamber, an 18 grain #9 12-gauge shell won’t penetrate cardboard from 7″ away. Firefighter in bunker gear were able to enter a room with over 100,000 rounds of ammunition fully engulfed and extinguish the fire within 10 seconds, unharmed by the low velocity projectiles initiated by the flames; likewise they were able to put out a very large fire in a truck trailer loaded with one quarter of a million rounds of sporting ammunition.
Note: ammunition chambered in a firearm will fire as though the trigger was pulled.
Sadly, much ammunition was harmed in the making of this movie.
02:06 Single Cartridge Impact (fire)
03:41 Effect of impact from a 65′ drop
05:09 Bullet ignition propagation via impact
08:00 Blasting cap effect on ammunition
09:59 Compression and friction: forklift and bulldozer impact
12:22 Effect of fire on ammunition: bonfire on ammunition in packaging
15:39 Effect of fire on ammunition: bonfire on ammunition without packaging
17:24 Ammunition retail store fire simulation (115,000 rounds of various calibers set on fire in a confined space)
21:00 Semi-trailer fire simulation (252,000 rounds of ammunition on pallets in a truck trailer)
23:30 Overall conclusion of over 400,000 rounds of ammunition subjected to extreme stimuli