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Ever wanted to know if you can shoot through tungsten? This video seeks to uncover the mystery of what would happen if you did.

Join TAOFLEDERMAUS, Wide Open Spaces video contributor and ammo tester, as he goes through the paces to find out.

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  1. Inanity for from Wide Open Spaces and Taofledermaus again, surprise. I realize that my commenting was inane as well. Oh well:-(

  2. This is stupid. Tungsten is brittle, shock will shatter it. As anyone who has owned a 20-22 magnum with the tungsten bolt can attest to. Drop the bolt it cracks, and it sometimes would crack just because it felt like it.

    • I think it is only some (many) alloys (and the raw form) of tungsten that are brittle. In its pure form, it is not. Also properly alloyed (more cobalt among other tweaks) it is extremely impact resistant and partly why it is used in armor penetrators.

      • Yeah, metals are usually alloyed to *improve* desired characteristics like tensile strength, malleability, and other types of ‘toughness’…

      • This is the sad state of science education in our country. I know his schtick is to do laughably stupid “experiments” (with utterly predictable results), but that was really painful to watch. The stupid, it burns.

        I understand not everyone has friends with parents in aerospace as a kid, not to mention guns and places to shoot. I get that. But good god, a cursory glance at the periodic table, or a highschool grad’s limited knowledge of material science would have been adequate to answer this question when it was raised over a beer, or something.

        Ignorance, in and of itself, is just a state – nothing more. But the current chic of being proud to not have basic knowledge, that should be embarrassing.

        • It’s for entertainment…………..people can learn in different ways…………..a conversation over a beer doesn’t let me see it with my own eyes…………you sound like an arrogant snob……….seriously.

        • So, that it’s ‘entertainment” is the excuse, huh? So, ‘The Kartrashians’. Same rule applies, no?

          My point was, that any male, with a rudimentary HS science education should have known the results. Even if one slept through science, one could have done a hour of research at the library, or 5 minutes on google and found the answer. Now, it might have been more “entertaining” were it done from the perspective of – “Hey guys, think tungsten is brittle and will frag when hit a sharp feather? Well, have we got a surprise for you…”

          That might have been fun. Sorry, I’m over 50. I was taught that if you don’t know something, you learn it before proudly demonstrating your ignorance. I guess that makes me a “snob”, expecting people to be interested in the subject at hand, not giddily explaining how clouds are actually made of water vapor.

    • And, of course, all those A-10 pilots who have had their bathtubs shot with rounds larger than .50BMG can tell you, you’re just wrong.
      That tungsten ring that broke when you dropped it was far from being pure tungsten.

      • The a-10 bathtub is titanium, not tungsten as you seem to be implying. Unless I’m misreading the threading lines on this and you aren’t implying it is tungsten. In which case my apologies.

  3. All my tungsten come in little Ceriated or Thoriated rods that I make sharp as hell… Shooting them would be silly.

    • What’s the Thorium in that welding rod for?

      I hope you use respirators when working with Thorium, as it is *radioactive* to some extent…

      • There’s really no need for breathing PPE when using Thoriated tungsten. The radiation it leaves behind in a weld is barely detectable without serious instrumentation. If there’s a risk it’s when you sharpen the electrode.

        Not to nerd out too hard about this but GTAW (TIG) welding uses a non-consumable tungsten rod to conduct electricity to your work piece and you feed in your filler metal with your other hand. The tungsten comes in a variety of flavors, the most common being straight tungsten, Ceriated and Thoriated but there are also Lanthanated, Zirconiated and rare earth blends.

        Thoriated tungsten is preferred for certain work using DC current. The electrode, due to it’s 2% Thorium component is long lasting at high temperatures but also conducts electricity in a way that gives you a more controllable arc, smoother starts at high current and allows for use of higher current over longer periods of time. It’s ability to withstand high temperatures means less tungsten deposited in the weld and therefore less weld contamination. In some cases that matters quite a bit. Thoriated tungsten is used heavily for certain alloys that contain a lot of stuff like Copper, Titanium alloys, pure Nickle, Stainless and for certain Aluminum welding applications as well. Mainly stuff that requires a lot of heat or very, very pinpoint control like X-ray welding on thin Aluminum.

        It sees a lot of use in high end manufacturing of things in the aerospace industry, manufacture of certain military objects like artillery pieces and anywhere else really high end welds are desired.

        If you compare it to Ceriated, the Ceriated tungsten strikes an arc more easily at lower current and is nice and smooth at those lower current levels. Both work quite well for Stainless. The Thoriated just works better for certain alloys, Titanium and select Aluminum applications where you’re directing a bunch of your power to “cleaning” the surface of the work piece as you weld.

        • One of the best parts about TTAG, the education one can get from the comment section.

          If I ever stumble across a TIG set-up cheap, I need to grab it and practice with it. I’m pretty decent soldering with ‘hard’ solders like silver alloy, but inert-gas work is another critter entirely. And that skill just may come in handy one day…

        • If you come across a quality TIG set up, preferably with gas bottles (you don’t want to know what they cost to buy) consider yourself a very, very lucky person. Make sure it has a good amptrol and if not, invest in one.

          Also, should you get into TIG, consider yourself lucky that Piranha (tungsten sharpening machine that actually does a quality job giving you a good sharp tip) has recently come down in price by like 75%. Yeah, people will tell you that you can do it with a bench grinder or whatever. They’ve never actually done any serious TIG for money or aren’t expecting you to do much of anything useful.

          I didn’t really care what any of this stuff cost when my employer was paying for it. When I went to get it for myself there was some, um, sticker shock.

  4. Guys, Tungsten is a very heavy material. In metal there is a cobalt and carbide hardness factor (Rc) and then there are tough materials Rene 41 with lots of nickle and etc. All of these are heavy and not desired to carry on your chest period. Stick with kevlar, cloth and synthetic materials. Compounds are generally better. Hell Plastic will draw and absorb most energy from bullets. try penetrating a 45 acp through 3/8″ – 1/2″ acrylic. They use it in 7-11 stores and banks usually 1″ thick to mag. proof.

  5. In the battle between tungsten and other metals, the .50 BMG I shot through 4″ of plate steel got stuck with the tip sticking out. That tip was sharp enough to slice my hand hand.

  6. The German Army in WW2 used tungsten for armor penetration in tank rounds towards the end of the war when they started to run out of steel. It was experimental but successful. Tungsten is a very hard and dense metal in its pure form. These guys were shooting at a very small cube that adds to the strength. You would have to shoot with 50 cal in order to make a significant dent on the cube and still will not destroy the cube. I have seen somewhere in the net a video of someone shooting at a bigger square with a 50 cal. that managed to dent it but not penetrating the metal since it was an inch thick and placed at a slight angle that made the thickness deeper.

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