Disassembling a cartridge


Don’t try this at home.

cnn.com/2007/US/05/15/whacki … index.html



That’s almost as bad as these guys you hear about who break into construction sites to rip out live copper cables to sell for scrap :flame on:


Something strikes me as wrong here. If he was trying to disassemble it by hitting the bullet, that shouldn’t set off a smokeless cartridge, period. If he was trying to do it by hitting the primer, firstly I can’t see the bullet leaving the case with any velocity. I have seen the effects of ammunition going off uncontained in the chamber of a barrel, from a fire we had in our store some years ago. Secondly, he would have been standing behind the cartridge. If this is really what happened, I wonder if it wasn’t the primer that struck him and penetrated his abdomen? Primers, when they go off, are contained in the primer cup in the case, and can fly out with considerable velocity. Mostly they don’t, but sometimes they do, for sure!


Ok…politics ?? here…this is a CNN report…and what I think is interesting…is the comment “no charges were filed”…WHAT…pray tell…would this fellow be charged with ???..Self inflicted…slight…bullet wound…due to stupidity…???
I agree with John Moss…the cartridge case would come apart before the bullet would move at all…basic physics…or…if striking the primer to “empty” the cartridge case, YES…sometime primers attain substantial velocity !!..Randy



I think it’s the age old problem of reporters not knowing a bullet from a cartridge from a case etc etc.



I agree that most reporters don’t know a bullet from a cartridge or know what a primer is, but, althrough somewhat mangled by the reporter, this story may have some validty. I think the clue here is that he was using a vice to hold the cartridge.

Here is a story based on my personal experience.

When I was just getting into cartridge collecting in 1958. I was sectioning a LIVE .30-06 by [color=red]clamping it into a vice[/color] and using a hacksaw. As soon as the teeth of the hacksaw reached the primer cup, it caught the edge and set the primer off. Of course, I had NOT removed the powder. [color=red]The vice jaws contained the cartridge just enough to let the bullet travel about, 15 feet and lodge half way into a plaster wall[/color], missing my baby sister (3 years old) by 6 inchs. That was the end of my collecting of LIVE cartridges for two years, as my father took pliers to all my live rounds and pulled the bullets before I could have them back. At least he didn’t prohibt me from collecting altogether. I still have a number of great early pre-1890 rounds that my Dad pulled the bullets out of that I wish were undamged.


Don’t think most people realize that when Sir Isaac Newton wrote “Philosophiae natruralias principia Mathematica” that he lied to us about the apple hitting him in the head. He actually flew off the ground and hit the apple. There have been several such reports like the one quoted. One phony doctor even testified in court that a cartridge set off in a fire blew the “bullet” through a firemans “turn out” coat and wounded him! Non crimped primers can fly but most of the time the case just splits open and some of the time the powder just burns. We did some cartridge in a fire experiments when I was at gunsmith school. My notes indicate that nothing moved more that 2 inches. Yes I can still read my 55 year old writing.


Another iteration of this story clearly states that the idiot was hitting the primers with the tip of a screwdriver to set them off. I’ve personally seen a 14.5x114mm primer blow out of a case with enough force to penetrate skin, but that is a much larger primer…My question here is why the other 100 or so cartridges “fizzled” when struck and one had more energy. Logic says this guy was struck by the primer, not the projectile, but this story is surrounded by a lack of logic!



And this character managed to make it to his 18th birthday! Mother Nature used to be a little better at weeding out the least fit among us. Anyone think he’ll make it to 25?


An extract from ICI Shooters yearbook 1952.
Using Shotgun Cartridges to test safety, SUMERISED VERSION ONLY.
The tests show that when fired outside a gun, a cartridge does not explode with any degree of violence, the only result being a slight noise, a puff of smoke, a mild rupture of the case, or a partial opening of the crimp.
Tests carried out.
1 - A charge of shot was fired at close range at a box of 25 cartridges.
2 - A charge of shot was fired from a gun with the muzzle within the center of a box of 500 cartridges
3 - An electric detonator was explode within the center of a box of 500 cartridges
4 - a cartridge was loaded with a charge of dry gun cotton, six ordinary cartridges were tied around it, then fire.
5 - A box of cartridges was dropped from a height of 30 feet onto an iron plate
6 - A Box of 50 cartridges was run over by a 4 ton truck.
7 - Cartridges were rumbled in a drum for 10,000 revolutions with pieces of sharp scrap metal
8 - Sufficient smokeless powder was placed in a box containing 300 cartridge, was ignited producing a flame of over 25 feet in height.

The shot charge was never propelled more than a few feet, and never with sufficient force to cause injury, no communication of explosion occurred, In test 3 cartridge cases were damaged, 2 or 3 burned but no explosion occurred.
I once watched a demonstration of the safety of handling small arms cartridges by a Aussie Military Officer, He placed 30 odd 7.62x51 cartridges in a cardboard box and then burnt the box [about a 2 feet square box ] the box was inside a tin box, NO PROJECTILE PENETRATED, DENTED OR EVEN MARKED THE TIN BOX, Although all the projectiles had come away from the cases, [or perhaps all the cases had parted company with the projectiles]

  • The 18 years old guy did show lack of judgement. I assume he’s driving a car at his age, so who lives around him must be very careful. He could get fired brass shell cases from a firing range. The person who wrote the article also did a very poor job. Liviu 05/19/07