“The Washington County Sheriff’s office says an instructor conducting firearms training was seriously injured when he was hit by shrapnel after an exploding target went off,” kata.com reports. “The office said 42-year-old Scott Turner of Albany suffered life-threatening injuries in the accident. He was flown Saturday night to a hospital in Portland.” Ironically enough, Turner’s bio on the Northwest Self Defense Education website emphasizes safety . . .

Since 1994, Scott Turner has trained over 6000 people to handle their firearms safely and responsibly.We are very proud to have a 100% safety record . . . Starting at a very young age, Scott was taught about safe and responsible gun handling.

Guns yes, Tannerite not so much. Here’s how it went down . . .

Turner was leading a group of former military and law enforcement officers in firearms training involving the use of Tannerite. The group had rented a private facility near the rural community of Timber.

The training exercise involved shooting the exploding target. The target was placed behind a car door and when it exploded, shrapnel from the car door hit Turner.

Tannerite’s perfectly safe when used properly. Make that “judiciously.” But this is hardly the first example of injury resulting from “over-enthusiastic” deployment of the explosive. Will legislators feel compelled to “do something”? Watch this space. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with Turner as he fights for his life.

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69 Responses to OR Firearms Trainer Scott Turner Seriously Injured in Tannerite Explosion

  1. When they clamor and argue over how dangerous this stuff is just remember how many people use it and maybe only 10 people have been injured, and usually by their own stupidity.

    • Also, Tannerite isn’t an ‘explosive’. It’s barely a propellant.

      If you poll the largely ignorant public whether ‘people should have explosives’ they’re going to say ‘no’, and anti-gunner politicians stand ready to write an overly-broad response to it which will attempt to infringe and control reloading equipment as well. (They wanted that after the Boston marathon but couldn’t make it fly after Anonymous ruined their original early narrative about the ‘white guy in the red jacket’.)

      Much of the public lately don’t believe anyone should be able to think independent thoughts or have natural rights. Limiting access to ‘explosives’ would just be a no-brainer.

      However, having access to entertaining displays of self-quenching colored steam (ie – Tannerite etc) sounds much more like a supportable hobby endeavor. If you let the enemy define the terms of the debate, you’ve already lost.

      • I’ve never used Tannerite, but this video shows what 30 lbs of it will do to an old Ford Bronco. Skip to time 2:15 if you don’t ant to listen to the bubbas jawing about it.

        • “Wrong”

          Yes, you were.. and quoting semi-literate sources won’t change that.

          “The speed of the reaction is what distinguishes an explosive reaction from an ordinary combustion reaction.”

          Lol. gee .. really? ..

          (Which, btw, Tannerite isn’t a combustible either in the normal sense either since it rids the area of oxidizer rather than providing one.)

          You quoted the very point that makes you wrong. Explosives are (averaging around 30) .. 12 to 200 times more energetic (fast) than Tannerite. It’s a propellant-class reaction. Deal with it.

          ..Or help the gov ban reloading powders too, since they’re even more energetic (of a ..Propellant..) than Tannerite is.

        • “It’s a propellant-class reaction. Deal with it.”

          Wrong.

          I’ll make it easy so an idiot like you can understand:

          “In a detonation, the combustion or reaction wave propagates at a velocity faster than the speed of sound. Due to the very fast reaction, these explosions create a high-pressure shock wave that causes significant damage at large distances from the seat of the blast.”

          http://www.exponent.com/explosions/

          An explosion describes an event where the blast pressure front moves rapidly, shattering objects in its path.

          That’s *EXACTLY* what Tannerite does.

          Sucrose and potassium nitrate is ‘barely a propellant’.

          Tannerite *is* an explosive.

          Deal with it, moron.

        • On August 5, 2013, the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver announced that the USFS is implementing a closure order to prohibit the use of unpermitted explosives, particularly exploding targets using tannerite, on all USFS lands in the Rocky Mountain Region. This region includes national forests and grasslands in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. According to the USFS, at least 16 wildfires in the Western states had been associated with exploding targets. It cost more than $33 million to extinguish the fires.[8] Such a ban has already been implemented by the USFS in Washington, Oregon and Montana. The Bureau of Land Management has banned the use of all exploding targets on BLM land in Utah.[9] Previously, only the Hasting’s Cutoff BLM land was affected, a popular shooting spot an hour outside of Salt Lake City, UT, which had become abused with the regular use of Tannerite and other explosives. The Bureau of Land Management was also reported to be preparing a Fire Prevention Order that would ban exploding targets on BLM-administered land in the state of Colorado.

          Tannerite Brand has long contended that the detonation only releases steam, but the wildfires suggest otherwise. Further, Tannerite is classified as a binary explosive, which may be shipped or transported legally until the two components are mixed. Then it is an explosive. Finally, I don’t understand the comment about not having an oxidizer. It does. It is composed of ammonium nitrate (an oxidizer) and aluminum powder (the fuel).

      • Not an explosive?!? Regardless of any technical definition which might qualify your statement as truthy in some web quibble, there’s not one person in a thousand who would watch even a one pound charge go off and say “gosh that was a pretty burn / flame / light show.” It meets the colloquial definition of explosion quite well, and that is what the politicians will use, not your web quibble.

        • Again … it’s not “web quibble”. It’s physics. Commonly available (at the moment) ammunition reloading powders are a more energetic form (of ..Propellant..) than Tannerite is. It’s a Propellant-class reaction. Stop adding to the illiteracy of “colloquial” hayseedism by trying to call it an explosive.

          Explosives are RADICALLY faster … from 12,000 to 30,000 and some up to 500,000 feet per second. They’re controlled by authoritative bodies, and they Should Be.

          Tannerite, by way of comparison, is weaker/slower (less dangerous) than reloading propellants .. and also has the additionally safety benefit of not providing an incendiary to its surroundings .. as firearm propellants can. Stacking the stuff up in piles is not a proper use. You can kill yourself by taking too much Vitamin C as well if just on a jaunt to overdo things until they reach wrong. But a pale-sister to firearm propellants it is .. so continue to blither (“argue”) at me at your sport’s own peril. Go Learn up. Pretty Please, With Sugar On It.

        • Again, it’s not technical definitions, it’s public perception. Ask a thousand people if Tannerite is an explosion. Nothing else matters in politics. Any defense of Tannerite predicated on it not technically being an explosive will merely change the government definition. Your literal technical prevarication is worthless.

      • Not an explosive? That’s weird. I’ve got a picture of it exploding in my avatar after being hit by a 6.8 SPC round.

        • Hi Accur81, replying to Felix here since I can’t reply to his post above.

          “Again, it’s not technical definitions, it’s public perception.”

          Yeah, I know that. That’s why I’m trying to educate people as to the distinction (one at which ammunition powder (also a Propellant) is worse/more flagrant/more dangerous in all possible categories) .. but, bewilderingly, you’re here helping the Antis by trying to call it an explosive.

          “Ask a thousand people if Tannerite is an explosion. Nothing else matters in politics.”

          Educate them to the difference, and add on top that if Tannerite is a banable ‘explosive’ then, by God, ammunition propellant is no different to it except for being worse, then you might see their semi-literate political opinions change. What are you doing on that front? You’re taco-blocking everyone by trying to shout me down and calling it an ‘explosive’.

          …Thanks?

          “Any defense of Tannerite predicated on it not technically being an explosive will merely change the government definition. Your literal technical prevarication is worthless.”

          Your position that ‘I have no point’ (and that ‘I’m lying’) because the things I say ‘are only literally true’ (ie .. they’re true) is a bit of a b1tch argument. It’d be interesting to watch you attempt debate with a few less beers in you..

  2. “The target was placed behind a car door and…”
    We have a new Darwin award nominee!

    I’m stocking up on Tannerite. It’s only a matter of time before BATFE takes it away.

  3. The most I’ve shot is a half-pound at 100 yards away. The boom was shocking. You couldn’t pay me to get any closer than that or to put shrapnel in front of it!

    • Yeah, I would want to be at least 100 yards away and behind a large tree or rock that covers my entire body except for the minimum part necessary to expose in order to shoot the target.

    • I shot about a half ounce once in a plastic bag taped to the underside of a hand-thrown clay target. A piece came back and nicked my ear bloody. Needless to say that was a bit close.

      Later in the day we shot 5lbs inside a filing cabinet 300 yards downrange. It must have had 7 seconds of hangtime.

      Good times.

      • Yeah, the little .22 LR disk ones w/ double-sided tape on the back work great for shooting clays… but with all these injuries I may have to scale back my use and stick to long-range pumpkins and such.

        That said, I’m already expecting the storm of negative publicity and excoriating commentary on the whole shooting community from this and the couple of other, similar incidents. Nevermind that around 50 people die each year snow skiing since that’s obviously a legitimate way to recreate. One guy gets severely wounded pursuing a different activity and the antis have a field day.

  4. So just so I’m clear, he put an explosive behind a metal object, then set that explosive off while in front of it, and the metal object in front of that explosive flew forward, where he was, and hurt him?
    Anybody else see that coming?
    And, how was this firearms training?

    • If the training included a discussion about bullet penetration through common objects used for cover/concealment, then I’d guess that the Tannerite was being used as an easily seen/heard indicator that a bullet still retaining a high level of velocity (and so, still dangerous/lethal) had passed through the car door. Bullets have to be moving relatively fast to set-off Tannerite; a failure to detonate might have indicated a less-lethal, slow-moving bullet.

      • Yeah, and a metal plate goes DING! This may seem crass, but I’m glad it wasn’t somebody else, who’s safety was entrusted to him, that got hurt instead.

        • Well, you can’t hear/see a hit on a metal plate if it’s behind a car door. I suppose you could rig-up some kind of a flag-waving system that would move if the plate was hit, but again, it wouldn’t provide feedback on the speed/lethality of the bullet after penetrating the door.

          Assuming the trainer set up the entire scenario with the explosive target, I’d sadly have to agree with your feelings on the matter of who got injured. I’m guessing either he was far closer than recommended for safe use, or used a far larger amount of boom-powder than recommended (or both) to be injured so severely.

        • Or you could put a cardboard box inside the car and then walk up and look after you shoot.

      • Wow Hillary could learn something from that level of contortions and rationalization.

        firearms training involving the use of Tannerite Lets not BS ourselves, it’s the nifty BOOOOOM/give the cops a stiffy. “Training involving” – yeah right and I have a bridge to show you.

  5. My condolences to Scott and his family.

    BTW, the headline is wrong. The location of the explosion was in Washington County, Oregon (Timber, Oregon is an incorporated community in Washington County).

  6. “The training exercise involved shooting the exploding target. The target was placed behind a car door and when it exploded, shrapnel from the car door hit Turner.”

    Ah well, there’s your problem. You should never put the tannerite (or any explosive) behind or in a container, especially not a metal ones! Do they not teach physics any more? You don’t have to be a EOD nerd to picture the potential for disaster in these scenarios.

  7. In the military, safety distance for steel-cutting charges, in the open, was 1000 meters. Of course, you could go a lot less with proper cover, or if you were inline with a Bangalore Torpedo (the hearing loss is another issue), but 1000 meters is a good guide when blowing up metal.

  8. I don’t remember the name, but there is another product much similar to Tannerite designed for subsonic ammo, which supposedly won’t ignite Tannerite, which we later discovered was also supposed to be used in tiny bags with .22s. Not understanding just why that might be, we mixed the whole package. The container of Tannerite we blew up (from around 40 yards) was impressive, loud boom and puff of steam, smoke, whatever, in a target frame set up in the woods. This other stuff, shortly thereafter, near knocked us over with the concussion, had a 10-foot diameter fireball, and blew the target frame and the tree it was nailed to into pieces under 6 inches long and shredded some nearby target cans. I could have used some additional warning labels, there!

    • Shouldn’t play with things you don’t know about, including women who are strangers. If it explodes, there is concussion regardless of the “classification”. Fine example of some clown not using common sense so that the Feds will likely get involved. This is another “militia” moment where someone waves some sort of flag and draws attention to themselves and something which has existed for years and only damaged those who are testing Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. In this case that survival involves common sense. if you want to see and hear a boom, there is this fine American celebration called the Fourth of July. I have had them, I have managed not to blow myself up and that is because of one reason: I read the directions carefully, then I FOLLOW THEM. Military explosives training convinced me that there is no better inducement to constipation than the use of said explosives. I doubt I could have passed a needle. Still, I know from experience that some people whose opinion of firearms is at best neutral, showed a sudden increase in interest when they were busting bottles instead of punching holes in paper. It is the element of the human mind which revels in destruction, sort of the endorphin rush hunters get when they pull a trigger or release a bow string. I say, if you want to impress someone, kill a lion or grizzly with a handheld spear or a knife. That would be impressive.

  9. Tough room.

    Anybody here never have “comebackers”? I’ve felt “stuff” come back at me from 50 yards away shooting only at paper targets. Nothing lethal or even injurious but shit can and does happen. I can’t judge whether what he was doing was safe or stupid but there’s an element of risk in everything, no matter what you do. Lifeguards drown and expert pilots crash planes.

    • Yeah, you shoot enough and that’s guaranteed to happen. Intentionally placing a metal object between you and an explosive charge, though? I’m struggling to think of any scenario in which that can be explained away as an acceptable idea.

  10. That’s why I watch re-runs of Guntucky-“it blowed up real good”! Hard to sympathize with a “pro”…

  11. I think this is just case in point 4 people not using their faculties to make proper safe decisions when using tannerite. explosives have been around for hundreds of years, and yes people have been hurt by explosives. that means nothing to the 99.4% of the population. Read the directions and follow instructions clearly. you don’t use a two-part binary compound to blow stuff up that’s not what the product was made for. my heart goes out to him and his family I hope that he makes a full recovery and learns a lesson from this experience. and no we do not need to ban tannerite or explosives in general. We need another band like we need a giant hole in our head. it’s up to us the gun population of this country to make wise and educated decisions with our Firearms and are firearms training practices so that events like this do not make it to the headline news of the liberal media! remember all explosives have a blast wave that carry much further than the actualvisual effects.

  12. Prayers and Best Wishes go out to Him and His Family!

    About the speed, I believe it is a min. 2300 fps.. or something like like.. In other words
    one would need a rifle round for it.

  13. On the instructions it says DO NOT PLACE NEAR METAL OBJECTS sorry but you gotta read instructions just like in grade school

    • I remember that being pointed out by someone who always reads labels, when someone else wanted to put a pound of tannerite inside a top-loader washing machine and shoot it.

      The best thing to put tannerite inside of if you want to do that is a just-starting-to-rot jack-o-lantern.

  14. I hope the guy heals up okay, but I just don’t understand the fascination with exploding targets. I admit I am paranoid about getting injured from doing something stupid. Seems to happen a lot in my family, plus I have spent enough time in hospitals for legit illnesses and accidents that I sure don’t feel the need to expose myself to exploding car doors. I’m the guy that leaves the party whenever I hear, “Hold my beer and watch this!”

    • bontai Joe says:

      August 17, 2015 at 11:47

      I hope the guy heals up okay, but I just don’t understand the fascination with exploding targets. I admit I am paranoid about getting injured from doing something stupid.. I’m the guy that leaves the party whenever I hear, “Hold my beer and watch this!”

      Reply

      Hey Joey, Sounds to Me like You Need MORE BEEEERRRR!

      Joking

    • I’m right there with you buddy. I’ve never used the stuff, and I never will. I don’t get to go out to the range enough for “just shooting” to ever get so boring that I need to add explosives to the mix. No thanks.

  15. Prayers for a speedy recovery.
    Now where’s my visa card so I can place an order for more tannerite before its banned.
    My gun club had already banned it to prevent such accidents.
    I expect this will be a hot topic at the next Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges meeting.

  16. I hate to point this out, but the sheer number of YouTube vids of Tannerite being used as crude explosives, rather than as “reactive training targets” will likely give the ATF all the evidence they need to ban it. Was Tannerite designed to be used to blow beaver dams to Hell and gone, with an explosive equivalent to an artillery round? If you’re exploding Tannerite in quantities of 5, 10, or 15 pounds, then how are you not knowingly detonating an explosive device?

  17. I’m just not clear on how this happened. I’ve never even seen except in videos. Tannerite has two chemicals. I forget, but I think in the videos they mix them at the target. Then, from a safe distance, fire a rifle round through the mixture, causing an entertaining explosion.

    So how did this mixture just “go off”, or is it that they did not fire from a safe distance and behind proper cover?

    • Hey Jonathan,
      Two powders I believe is the mix and I don’t know anything more then what’s reported here, so the same as you guys, but IF I had to guess, I’d say he wasn’t at Safe Distance and No Cover…?

      • The stuff sure does look fun, though. I don’t have access any kind of place where I could use it. If ever I did, I’d just play it straight and shoot it by itself. No fancy experiments or attempts to blow up entire cars, like I saw on some goofy prepper show once. Really hope the guy pulls through.

    • Nighttime shoot with machine guns and belts of all-tracer rounds. Holleee Sheeet!

      The bullet fragments don’t generally come straight back, but they do go in every other damned direction. I also finally undstood why we were required to cease firing if a chopper or plane flew over the range.

  18. People wonder why I require people in my classes to wear vests. My stepsons uncle was using it to clear stumps on his home built range. He purchased the powders at a gun show in a pair of Ziploc bags. With the only information for mixing verbal instructions, also sold him thermite to weld a few railroad rails together for a pair of cabooses. He is restoring.

  19. “The target was placed behind a car door and when it exploded, shrapnel from the car door hit Turner.”

    WTAF, do not add things that will cause shrapnel and make sure as hell you are behind some good DIRT. Or just use safe things to splode like a damn watermelon or pumpkin.

    How does this guy teach firearms and not understand the concept… hope he recovers quickly and can use this experience in a positive way.

  20. http://www.oregonlive.com/forest-grove/index.ssf/2014/06/washington_county_law_enforcem.html
    some info on the training site.
    looks like a govt cooperative venture with some liability cut out advantages.

    Tannerite is an explosive, be it a binary explosive, and hard to initiate, both large safety advantages.
    low explosives pressure waves travel at less than the speed of sound (black powder, a burning expansion)
    high explosives pressure waves travel more then the speed of sound. (TNT ect)

    the large point here is that even if its a propellant, it propels shrapnel fast enough to kill you. if you blow it up around flammable fuel, ie gasoline, you will get a fire. Dont be stupid and its fun, use it other then as package directions, you will get into trouble. pretty much common sense.!

  21. NEVER put something in front of tannerite (facing you.) I’ve had a lot of fun with tannerite, but that’s always my pet peave. We’ve had the most fun placing things on top of the tannerite and watching the items blow sky high versus laterally. Don’t place the tannerite in the barrel, place it under. Your chances of something flying towards you go down to almost zero if there isn’t any material in front of it to blow to bits. Of course, once you get 100 yards or 200 yards away, maybe it’s all a moot point.

    • Ever heard of anvil chucking? Put one anvil on top of another, with a charge of TNT between them. Light the fuse and try to guess how high the top one flies. Just stay out of its way when it comes down.

  22. When I was in pyromaniacs usa… I mean the Boy Scouts one of our patrol put a full coke can in the fire. The result?… It swelled and detonated sending flaming sugary shards of aluminum in all directions. It cut through two tents and started three fires. Was it dangerous? Yes. Could it have seriously injured us? Hell yes! Was it worth it? Yep.

    God speed to his recovery.

  23. Guys, this is a duh moment for the man. I hope his genes haven’t spread too far.
    EX[plosives create a shock wave which will throw things around. Its classification is irrelevant. As for restricting them, our lovely internet has all kinds of information for those who wish to find it, whether it is porn, explosives, drugs, or some other similar trash. As I told a group of military high school cadets that there are relatively harmless chemicals in all of our grocery stores which when combined create highly combustible, toxic, or otherwise dangerous substances. Yes, I refused their request to name the combinations, then in exploring their cadet internet I discovered someone had put down the directions for making nitro glycerin, and they were correct. When someone says, “No guts, no glory”, “Let’s see what happens when we do this,” or some similar idiotic phrase, I always use them as a shield at the very least, or distance myself from the experiment. For those times I did not, I have survived those and that one close call was enough. Like grandpa said, “Yelling Banzai and trying to kill people I don’t know didn’t make sense to me.” Of course, his reward was an internment camp for the duration.

  24. Alot of judgement from people who don’t know the details. Scott was air lifted out because of an over abundance of caution. Not because of life threatening injuries. Way to write a story of one news report. Here is the what happened from the NWSDE Facebook page.

    “I hope everyone is having a great day! I want to thank EVERYONE for the prayers and thoughtful comments. It’s overwhelming how many people we have made a positive impact on in the last 17 years of professional firearm instruction. I’m blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people!
    As many of you know I was injured at JROC (Joint Regional Operations Center).
    This course was limited to select civilians, law enforcement, and military personnel (prior and active).
    During this specific course we focus on vehicles. We have 3 course objectives:
    1. OUTSIDE
    How to use the vehicle for cover (shooting around, under, and over). This requires teaching students to learn unorthodox shooting positions.
    2. INSIDE
    Drawing your handgun inside a vehicle is dangerous. The first safety rule is to keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction…so presenting your handgun and not pointing it at your own body parts takes professional training and practice.
    How to engage targets from the inside of a vehicle. Learning that the windshield will deflect your round is a life saving experience. How to exit the vehicle safely (while holding a handgun) is also a very valuable skill.
    3. BALLISTICS
    Finally, we can see what part of the vehicle stops bullets. We start with the smallest caliber and work our way up. We learn that what stops bullets in the movies… doesn’t in real life. We have had officers state this portion was the most valuable and could see this saving their life!
    Now for what happened on Saturday: After the course was over, we had a student that had brought tannerite which is a nonrestrictive and non flammable reactive target that people can buy at Cabelas or online. It’s a two part mixture that explodes when shot. There were 3 separate targets on the training vehicle. When shot, only the first target detonated.
    During clean up, he found that the second target had been hit and was leaking. The student picked it up and asked if it was okay to shoot it. I honestly didn’t think that the 3-4 ounces would detonate. He placed it on the window sill and moved back by the barricades. I was off line recording with my phone. When the target went off (very small target) it lifted a small part of the door sill and hit me (Scott Turner). The shrapnel (believed to be the plastic of the window sill) deflected off my right wrist and struck my chest.
    There is inherent risk with firearms training and even when safety protocols are followed accidents happen. We have a very extensive safety brief that is given before each class. Our plan was executed perfectly! On our advanced courses we have an EMT and full kit on site, following the range protocol and doing what dispatch had on file for the range and that is why life flight was called.
    This class we had a former Navy SEAL as an advisor. He was able to assist our EMT.
    I will do a full investigation and update the range Safety plan. We will learn from this and be back on the range later this week.
    I appreciate all the support and appreciate the abundance of caution that was used at the time of the incident.
    Thank you
    Scott Turner”

    • Thanks for posting, T.J., and please pass on to Scott that we are hoping he has a full recovery.

      Also, ask him if there’s any chance he’d consider posting that video he was recording, or a link to it? It’d be a good chance to help other folks learn what NOT to do.

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