MythBustersJamie Hyneman sure does slap that trigger, don’t he? You can’t see that in the super-slow motion video above – it would take all freakin’ day – but who cares? The bullet leaving the gun in slo-mo video sure looks pretty! Despite the loss of Kari Byron, MB soldiers on. Ballistically speaking, Supernatural Shooters just confirmed that you can, indeed, shoot through walls and hit a moving target. But it is not possible for a real life human to . . .

“hold bullets between his fingers, put his hand into a fire, and discharge them within seconds to inflict lethal wounds on an enemy.” (Based on the movie Shoot ‘Em Up.) Was there ever really any doubt? Anyway, what gun myths did you enjoy MythBusters myth busters busting (or confirming) and what firearms-oriented myth would you like them to tackle? And when will Kirsten Joy Weiss join the team?

[h/t SS]

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80 Responses to Question of the Day: What Firearms-Related Experiment for MythBusters?

  1. how about on the media and how they cover gun related crime and self defense for their lack of their coverage of self-defense by law abiding gun owners. or their statistics on violent crime related with Firearms and where they get these statistics from.

      • Nah – the worst episode would be if they did an experiment to see if a loaded gun will go off all by itself.

        • That is sort of already done. They tested to see if a mac-10 would go off if dropped down a flight of stairs and I think a different episode tested a gun going off in a bouncing car because of the free floating firing pin.

  2. In the movie Saving Private Ryan, there’s a scene where the sharpshooter in the tower gets taken out by a tank. Friends and I have argued over whether if he’d shot a round down the tank barrel, the next shell the tank fired would have blown the tank’s main gun. That would be worth testing.

    • Some WWII era tank shells used a copper fuse in the nose, I suppose a bullet down the barrel after a shell was loaded could theoretically strike that fuse. I do not know if it is armed before firing, however. My guess is if it can survive the acceleration of the main gun firing it takes a strong impact to detonate the compound.

      • the majority of tank shells even as far back as WWII were setback armed, meaning that the forces imparted on the shell during firing were required for the shell to arm/detonate

        • Setback and or centrifugally armed. I surely hope it’s not setback detonated. A tank cannon being a direct fire weapon would be impact detonatedz wether it’s base or point detonated, if the projectile has any explosives at all.

    • No.
      For one, some projectiles fired from WWII tanks are either solid (AP, Armor Piercing) or HE-BD (High Explosive – Base Detonating, as in the fuze is in the rear of the projectile. So a bullet would hit nothing of consequence, just metal.

      Two, if it did strike a projectile with a point detonating fuze, the fuze would not be armed yet because the necessary arming mechanisms is not just pulling a pin and sticking it in the barrel, rather it is has to experience a combination of setback (g-forces) or rotation (spun from the rifling as WWII tanks were rifled, which is no longer the case because rotational forces reduce the effectiveness of HEAT rounds so most modern tank projectiles are fin stabilized). So a bullet striking an unarmed point detonating fuze would not detonate it, but possible prevent the fuze from functioning as designed.

      • So what you are saying is that my father’s story of enlisted getting careless while loading a turret and dropping a shell on the tank, resulting in a major detriment to all in the vicinity, circa 1947, is bushwaa.

    • Those fuzes can be incredibly complicated, with sliding parts which react to various accelerations. I am sure youtube has videos explaining them.

      The shock of firing slides parts backwards, which allows spinning parts to rotate, and after they have rotated enough times, they then allow other sliding parts to move forward when it hits something, which actually fires the primer / main charge / whatever. No rifle bullet could do those operations inside the barrel. The best to be hoped for is a disabling hit which prevents the fuze from firing the charge.

      I don’t know how modern fuzes work, if they are full of solid state accelerometers like cell phones have, but I suspect the functionality is the same, with the same three stages (firing shock, spinning to arm, impact to trigger). Hollywood will no doubt some day have some battlefield hacker breaking into the shell’s software to rejigger it to explode in the barrel.

      • I see by BillC’s comment that modern tank shells no longer spin. There is probably still some delay to arm the shell, probably just an absolute time.

  3. Shotgun pellet dispersal: Barrel length effect vs choke effect. SBS do not emit 30 degree cones of hallway clearing destruction.

    Images of revolvers with suppressors.

    They already did a pretty poor showing on projectile momentum so I won’t ask for a repeat.

  4. How about a really boring long term test to prove that guns DO NOT in fact kill people without a human at the helm?

    • Although guns do not go off if left to themselves, I believe that if you put two guns in a nice dark gun safe that you will find more guns in there the next time you open it.

  5. I’m glad they are back to just the original duo. I’d like to see them take on the myth of handgun “stopping power” and the myth of “accidental discharge”… That one would be especially interesting as I’d like to see how many internal modifications and special conditions they’d need to make to force a round to fire from a modern handgun without intentionally pulling the trigger.

  6. My favorite episode was showing that a bullet fired dropped as fast as a bullet simply dropped. They had to go through all the machinations to get the bullet to fire at the same time as the other bullet was dropped, and managed to get is all on a single frame of video.

  7. They may have done it already but if not bust the myth about bullets zipping around as if shot through a gun when ammunition cooks off in a fire. It’d be a short but worthwhile segment.

  8. How accurate can you be firing two-guns whilst jumping through the air? Can you make a bullet curve around a corner if you swing your arm whilst firing? (I like the word “whilst”) Can you accurately shoot a DE .50 one handed? What is the change in trajectory of a bullet whilst skydiving? Which is a better self-defense cartridge, a 9mm or a .45?

    • Can you make a bullet curve around a corner if you swing your arm whilst firing?

      I saw Angelina Jolie do that! So yes, it’s possible.

    • Actually, they did the “curve a bullet” myth on Mythbusters. Of course, it was “busted.”

      They’ve done quite a bit of firearms-related myth-testing on the show over the years.

  9. That enemy soldiers would rush American soldiers when they heard the clang of the en bloc clip being ejected from a Garand.

    • I’ve heard this myth too many times. I usually issue a simple challenge. You stand behind a tree at 100 yards and I will shoot my M1 in your general direction until the clip ejects. You tell me if you heard it. Strangely, no one ever accepts.

      • If I were an infantry soldier in WWII and my M1 made the empty noise, I would expect at least one of my buddies to shoot anyone who broke cover when they heard that sound.

        • I would have carried an empty clip in my pocket. With a fully loaded m1 I would have tossed the empty clip out just to test the rumour.

  10. I enjoyed the episode where they tested explosive decompression of airliners parked in the airplane graveyard. Tested shooting through the airframe, windows and such. Completely debunked explosive decompression as portrayed by Hollywood.

  11. Shoot two guns same caliber, hand loads.
    Have them at 90 degrees to each other and see if you can make them hit each other at 20 feet or so

  12. I’d love to see a show as widely viewed as Mythbusters dispel the myths of ammunition behavior in a fire or impact (like the SAAMI videos).

  13. Man I like Mythbusters but those guys are in desperate need of a legit gun expert.

    They should do the ‘Teflon-coated cop killer-bullets’ myth.

  14. I enjoyed the episode where they shot various calibers into a swimming pool to see how lethal bullets were at various depths. Turns out that water is a pretty good stopper of bullets.

    • Water is a good stopper of bullets NOT DESIGNED to penetrate aqueous media.

      Flat-nosed bullets as used for hunting elephants, especially the ones designed to supercavitate, will cheerily blow holes in the bottom of your swimming pool, or whatever.

      You aren’t going to find those at the local hardware store. They are awesome, however.

      • If I remember correctly, they tested some popular pistol and rifle calibers, shot at the pool of water from close distance. Almost all of them disintegrated at surface level or just below, busting the Hollywood myth of bullets zipping down dozens of feet below surface.

    • That test was conducted at the Hayward Plunge in Hayward CA. In very heavily populated area right next to a very heavily traveled road. They even fired a .50 bmg rifle.

      I’ve always wondered if the people in charge at the Plunge realised just what was going to happen for the show and if their lawyers or insurers knew about it.

  15. 30 magazine clip in half a second?

    Oh wait… What’s that ditty about don’t _______ where you eat? Yeah guess they won’t bust the myths of their home team.

    I’m still amazed at the firearms/explosives related stuff they get to do being based out of Cali and all.

    • Actually I want to revise my suggestion to more broadly state:

      Literal interpretations of media buzzwords/”facts” related to guns.

  16. I’d like to see them bust the myth that “police response times are fast enough to save you from an armed attacker / stop a school shooter / stop a movie shooter / stop a terrorist attack, and therefore you don’t need to carry a gun.” That could pretty easily be done with airsoft, paintball or Simunition ammo.

    I’d also like to see them bust the myth that average cops are super shooters with super guns and ammo. They could compare the annual round count of an average cop (roughly 250-1000 rounds) vs. the average round count of an enthusiast (1,000-10,000 ish) to a pro civilian shooter (10,000-40,000 ish?). They could add FBI and so forth as well. I’m pretty sure Jerry Miculek would smoke the average cop / SWAT team guy.

  17. Uh yeah more professional helpers-like when they did the bring a knife to a gun fight thing…One guy (very slowly) unholsters a 1911 and flips the safety off and gets stabbed by Jamie. Try that with Jerry M. and knife guy is dead in an instant. Lots of experiments mentioned have already been done(“the Simpsons did it”). Btw very few gun related myths done in the last few year-I thinks the guys peaked around 2009…my favorite one might be shooting into a pool and the astonishing effect of water on 50 caliber…(I don’t miss the trio with the chick either)…

  18. 1. Will a 22 bullet detonate if dropped ?
    2. Will a 22 magnum HV FMJ bullet penetrate II A at 20 feet fired through a rifle ?
    3. Will a 22 magnum HV FMJ bullet penetrate II A at 20 feet through a 4 inch barrel ?
    4. How fast can a PMR or CMR empty a 30 round magazine ?

  19. How about the one that a 120mm tank gun (HE) won’t penetrate the top 50 most leftist/anti-gun celebrities in a tight line?

    • Did you hear the one about the two snare drums and a cymbal being tossed off a cliff?

      It goes: “Ba-dum-tss!”

  20. I liked the one where they fired a 9mm and an M1 straight up in the air to test whether bullets would fall back to earth at near muzzle velocity. By testing penetration of the hardpan dry lake bed beforehand, they were able to calculate velocity when the bullets hit. Turns out the 9mms were tumbling, and only going about 130 mph. They never did find the M1 bullets; too much wind drift. They were careful to point out that a rifled round fired at an angle of less than 90 degrees would stay on a ballistic track and come down much faster.

  21. How about they test if teflon coated bullets are armor piercing? Most experts have already busted this and the reason for the myth was a slow news day; someone made up the story and the government rolled with it.

  22. That appeared to be a 45, and there’s no way muzzle velocity was 1200 FPS. Even if it was 9mm, most target 9mm is not 1200 FPS.

    • No, it was a 9mm Beretta 92. And 115 gr. FMJ will do ~1200 fps (they were using American Eagle, probably 115 gr. since it’s the most common)

  23. How about demonstrating if a CCW holder in a dark movie theater filled with whiffs of tear gas can blind (with a laser sight) or take out a deranged individual who is standing at the front of the theater and shooting randomly at movie patrons with an AR15?

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