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Scarecrow Repair
07-09-2009, 7:04 AM
As summer comes on and the grass gets drier, I wonder about starting fires by shooting. With cartridges, it's a question of whether bullets can start fires. I reckon a steel jacketed bullet could spark off a rock, or a broken up steel core could, but what about non-steel bullets? I had always thought the little black ring around holes in target paper was from friction, but a friend says it is oil. But would the 50th round carry as much oil as the first? And if it is a scorch mark, is it enough to start a fire in dry grass?

For muzzleloaders, I have always been leery of the wad and half-spent powder landing in grass. The lead balls are at least as safe as any cartridge lead bullet, but do they retain enough heat? I've never recovered one from a dirt bank soon enough to tell if it was still warm.

Are there any other ways to start fires with guns? I don't think spent cases could, even if they do get too hot to hold after a few shots from a semi-auto.

Turbinator
07-09-2009, 7:55 AM
It can and does happen. It has not happened to me, and I have not witnessed it personally, but fired bullets are hot, probably hot enough to start a fire if they are in contact with dry grass for long enough. I would imagine *most* rounds would be embedded safely in dirt but a friend of mine did recount how he and his fellow soldiers started a grass fire during training, after firing multiple rounds in a dry grass area. They had to stomp out the fire, which they did successfully.

Turby

Greg-Dawg
07-09-2009, 8:09 AM
One word: Wolf ammo...OK two words.

JDoe
07-09-2009, 8:24 AM
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=136149

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=112819&page=2

Yosemite wildfire culprit gets community service (http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wildfires/2008-12-05-yosemite-wildfire-culprit_N.htm)

Be careful out there (even with water bottles...)

I was out shooting clear plastic bottles (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=1760965&postcount=9) filled with water in a national forest once on a hot summer day around noon. After an hour, I started noticing the smell of smoke. After about 30 minutes of this, I realized it was coming from directly below several water bottles I had on reserve (for shooting later) behind a boulder downrange. They were sitting over bark that had fallen from some trees, and what must have happened is the sun shone at just the right angle, and the bottle of water just happened to be in the right shape, for a "magnifying glass effect" to occur. The sunlight was focused on the dry tree bark, which started smoldering.

Scarecrow Repair
07-09-2009, 8:52 AM
The newspaper article says he didn't realize he was shooting steel ammo. I know to not use that just because of the danger of sparks. Does anyone have any first hand experience with copper jacketed lead bullets starting fires from their heat alone?

I suppose what I ought to try is get some straw bales, let them dry thoroughly, take them out to a local field full of gravel, and plug them like crazy to see if they catch on fire. Or if nothing else, hope the straw or whatever backing I use can allow me to recover some right after shooting to see how hot they still are.

Brutish
07-09-2009, 9:27 AM
Does this answer your question about whether a bullet is hot enough to ignite something on contact? ;)
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hOAJYz4Jp_M&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hOAJYz4Jp_M&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

(P.S. Your friend is an idiot if he thinks the black ring around the bullet hole on the paper target is oil. First of all, there shouldn't be ANY oil in your barrel when you shoot a bullet through it. Second, even if there were, it would be burned out and turned to carbon after the first shot)

Eckolaker
07-09-2009, 9:34 AM
I have seen tracer rounds start fires at Pendleton.

thempopresense
07-09-2009, 9:37 AM
At A52 in 2008 a fire was started by a tracer round.

emilio
07-09-2009, 9:39 AM
don't shoot at rocks! also avoid shooting metal targets in grassy areas. it's a good idea to bring a little pack shovel with you to clear shooting areas of dry leaves and grass (yea it's hard to just clear the grass, but you can turn the dirt over and that probably helps).

- emilio

Plisk
07-09-2009, 9:52 AM
I started a fire with a bullet before... but it also involved a road flare and propane tank :43:

I've shot FMJ .223 at far off-rocks before and seen sparks. So I'd assume anything is possiable.

Lancear15
07-09-2009, 10:01 AM
My friend lit the dead under growth of a bush in his driveway on fire with a hand full of the tiny poppers the size of peas you can buy on an icecream truck. There is no doubt a rifle round can start a fire.

Scarecrow Repair
07-10-2009, 4:32 PM
Bought six bales of straw, shot it 40 times with a Mauser, 60 times with an AR, read a magazine for half an our and saw no smoke, so my answer to my own question is NO. Then, since it's no fun being anal and paranoid unless you act on it, I set a sprinkler to hose it down for an hour or so just in case.

A friend said he couldn't see it anyway, since hunting is not banned in the summer.

No firecrackers, no tracers, no steel ammo, no plastic bottles, no flamethrowers, no nothing, just good old lead and copper jacketed ammo.

I shot as quickly as I could, not trying to aim well, since I didn't want bullets hitting each other. The Mauser was smoking nicely, got a bit more cosmoline out of the wood stock. The action got a little stiff the last 5 or 10 rounds. The AR never hiccuped but it got warm too.

I don't know how many bales the bullets went thru, but none came out the back. I'll keep shooting at them until they fall apart.

The bales in pristine condition:
27664

100 holes:
27665

Backside of the front bale:
27666

Jonathan Doe
07-10-2009, 4:43 PM
I have started a fire with tracer before. I never thought I could run that fast with two fire extinguishers.:eek:

Vinz
07-10-2009, 9:40 PM
Bought six bales of straw, shot it 40 times with a Mauser, 60 times with an AR, read a magazine for half an our and saw no smoke, so my answer to my own question is NO. Then, since it's no fun being anal and paranoid unless you act on it, I set a sprinkler to hose it down for an hour or so just in case.

A friend said he couldn't see it anyway, since hunting is not banned in the summer.

No firecrackers, no tracers, no steel ammo, no plastic bottles, no flamethrowers, no nothing, just good old lead and copper jacketed ammo.

I shot as quickly as I could, not trying to aim well, since I didn't want bullets hitting each other. The Mauser was smoking nicely, got a bit more cosmoline out of the wood stock. The action got a little stiff the last 5 or 10 rounds. The AR never hiccuped but it got warm too.

I don't know how many bales the bullets went thru, but none came out the back. I'll keep shooting at them until they fall apart.


how about doused in gasoline....ok fine. I guess I watch too much of them Mythbusters. :43:

We did start brush to smolder from shooting at a 50 gallon drum. So it is possible.

Vinz

Vinz
07-10-2009, 9:42 PM
Your friend is an idiot if he thinks the black ring around the bullet hole on the paper target is oil. First of all, there shouldn't be ANY oil in your barrel when you shoot a bullet through it. Second, even if there were, it would be burned out and turned to carbon after the first shot) harsh man,:(


but most likely carbon or metal trace.


vinz

aplinker
07-11-2009, 12:28 AM
You're missing that if it hits a rock, some metal, etc... you can get sparks.

*ALL* shooting has the potential for fire. You should *always* be prepared.

Bought six bales of straw, shot it 40 times with a Mauser, 60 times with an AR, read a magazine for half an our and saw no smoke, so my answer to my own question is NO. Then, since it's no fun being anal and paranoid unless you act on it, I set a sprinkler to hose it down for an hour or so just in case.

A friend said he couldn't see it anyway, since hunting is not banned in the summer.

No firecrackers, no tracers, no steel ammo, no plastic bottles, no flamethrowers, no nothing, just good old lead and copper jacketed ammo.

I shot as quickly as I could, not trying to aim well, since I didn't want bullets hitting each other. The Mauser was smoking nicely, got a bit more cosmoline out of the wood stock. The action got a little stiff the last 5 or 10 rounds. The AR never hiccuped but it got warm too.

I don't know how many bales the bullets went thru, but none came out the back. I'll keep shooting at them until they fall apart.

The bales in pristine condition:
27664

100 holes:
27665

Backside of the front bale:
27666

Scarecrow Repair
07-11-2009, 8:12 AM
You're missing that if it hits a rock, some metal, etc... you can get sparks.

You're missing the point of this thread. I have heard that same silliness yet no one can explain how lead or copper creates sparks.

Your turn. Go ahead and explain it. Last time I asked, I was told the bullets get hot and can start a fire in dry grass. Thus this experiment.

pdq_wizzard
07-11-2009, 8:24 AM
You're missing the point of this thread. I have heard that same silliness yet no one can explain how lead or copper creates sparks.

Your turn. Go ahead and explain it. Last time I asked, I was told the bullets get hot and can start a fire in dry grass. Thus this experiment.

I think you would be hard pressed to get a spark from lead or copper :TFH: :p

I guess if you were really unlucky you could have some flint and steel together on the ground with some dry grass, that might do the trick??? :eek:

prob
07-11-2009, 10:47 AM
I think you would be hard pressed to get a spark from lead or copper :TFH: :p

I guess if you were really unlucky you could have some flint and steel together on the ground with some dry grass, that might do the trick??? :eek:

True enough. Both copper and lead tools are oftentimes used in industries where a spark could cause an explosion.

Good luck getting a spark with a copper bullet.

2000fps
07-11-2009, 11:51 AM
Has anyone used tannerite in a dry area? The tannerite website says theres no fire danger but I find that hard to believe.

19114me
07-11-2009, 12:32 PM
The Tannerite reaction absorbs oxygen. There is no flash. As a matter of fact you could put out a small fire by placing Tannerite next to it and shooting it.

CSACANNONEER
07-11-2009, 12:41 PM
It's not just steel core or jacketed bullets that can cause fires.If you've ever seen an alluiminum tipped bullet hit a steel target, you know what I mean. See it here:
http://www.50bmg.net/videos.asp

Desert_Rat
07-11-2009, 4:21 PM
It once took several hours longer than it should have to qualify at the M-16 range at Ft.Carson Co. due to fires that kept flareing up in the impact area beyond the targets.
I also set a stack of tires ablaze at Camp Pendleton range with an M249 and a trigger finger set to CYCLIC!