Safety Tip: Don’t Fire Your Shotgun Under Water [VIDEO]

By Eric Nestor via

These guys thought it would be fun to stick the end of a shotgun barrel underwater and fire it. Watch and see the catastrophic failure of this poor shotgun barrel . . .

In hunter safety courses we were told never to fire a gun with an obstructed barrel. These guys fire a shotgun with its barrel about as obstructed as you can get. This shotgun barrel mishap could have been fatal to the shooter or bystanders. Shrapnel can travel farther than you think. Be careful out there.




  1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:


    Who didn’t see that coming?

    People who don’t read, that’s who.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Well, I didn’t. A lot different than shooting pistols underwater I guess.

      1. avatar JR Pollock says:

        One of the first things you’re taught in SCUBA class is that fluid is not compressible, it’s the basic principle of hydraulics. You can displace water, but you can’t compress it. If you pay close attention to where the barrel fails, it’s right at the waterline, where the outside air pressure density is much, much lower than the fluid right below.

        I wouldn’t try it myself, but if they had the entire action of the shotgun below the surface, the barrel MIGHT have survived, given that the entire length of the barrel would have had the same external pressure, but even then only if the gun was horizontal. Water pressure, IIRC, doubles every 33 feet of depth.

        Finally, pistol and rifle barrels are much thicker than shotgun barrels, and can stand much higher pressure.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          You’re right, of course, and I would hasten to remind people that similar things can happen in black powder guns if one leaves an air gap between the powder charge and the projectile. I’ve seen some very rude things happen to BP muzzle-stuffers where someone didn’t ram the ball home…

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Water pressure, IIRC, doubles every 33 feet of depth.”

          Negative. It rises one atmosphere (14.7 psi) every 33 feet.

          I think you’re referring to an object accelerating in free fall…

        3. avatar Jeff in MS says:

          Gases are fluids and are compressible. Liquids are not.

  2. avatar Vhyrus says:

    At least shotgun barrels are cheap and easy to replace.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Maybe, and maybe not.

      If that were (eg) a Remington 870 from the 50’s, it would be quite expensive to replace that barrel. If it were a double-barreled shotgun (O/U or SxS), it would quite possibly cost as much as the gun is worth to replace the barrel.

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        And if anyone did that with either of those types of guns, they deserve to lose a ton of money.

  3. avatar Owen says:

    Sooo is that now a short barres shotgun that needs a tax stamp?

    1. avatar Bunny says:


    2. avatar JR Pollock says:

      I can imagine if you ran into a dickhead ATF agent in the woods, you could be charged with possession of an unstamped NFA weapon. It would probably be dismissed at arraignment, but still. Assuming that the action still functioned, they could make a case just for spite. The magazine tube didn’t appear to be damaged.

      In a case like that, you’d be well advised to remove the barrel ASAP.

      1. avatar marty says:

        if one had a barrel that catastrophically broke ( and one lived to worry about it) just remove the barrel, normally an easy task, or then no Dork butt agent could get excited.

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I had the exact same thought, Owen.

  4. avatar neiowa says:

    Too stupid to figure out how to wear a ball cap.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Darwin Award players…

  6. avatar Bob Wall says:

    Might as well have filled the barrel with jello and stayed above water level for the same results.

    Now, what if the barrel end had been prepped with the help of Durex, NaturaLamb, or Trojan-man?

    Comment: “Holy SH**!” he ejaculated… 😉

    1. avatar marty says:

      If the inside of barrel is first lubricated with “K-Y yours and mine” it would allow the shot to freely slide out the barrel and depending on the shooter ……provide
      “An invigorating warming sensation for him. A thrilling tingling sensation for her.”

    2. avatar IdahoPete says:

      Or fill the barrel with mud – that would work, too.

      Prime candidates for Darwinian selection.

  7. avatar Elliot says:

    Why did this KB? And why dont pistols/rifles (Aks?) kb when shot under water?

    1. avatar the ruester says:

      Sealed breach, longer barrel.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The amount of steel in the barrel walls in a shotgun is typically not much – perhaps 0.040 to 0.050″ at most, 9″ behind the muzzle. German guns might be a bit less, and some fine English guns can be dramatically thinner at the barrel benchmark point (9″ behind the muzzle) – some I’ve seen have been as thin as 0.025″.

      Shotgun pressures are anywhere from 9 to 14K PSI, and in order to maintain the integrity of the barrel, you need to not build higher pressures. Don’t shoot a shotgun with a wad hanging in your barrel, don’t shoot a shotgun with snow, ice, water or mud in your barrel. Barrel splits are inevitable – at the very least (with snow), I’ve seen shotgun barrels “ringed” with a bulge all the way ’round behind the obstruction.

      Pistol and rifle barrels usually are at least 0.125″ thick in the wall, and this exceeds the yield strength required to contain their pressures.

      1. avatar HotandEmpty says:

        “Barrel splits are inevitable – at the very least (with snow)”

        I guided some goose hunts when I got back from my world travels, and some yuppie idiot did exactly that.

        He dropped his gun into the snow and wasn’t intelligent enough to unload and check the barrel. We were in minus 10 when I heard a different sounding gunshot followed by swearing thankfully, and not agonizing pain.

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        I’m wondering how much water was actually in the barrel at the time of firing? This may have a considerable bearing on whether or not the barrel will blow!

      3. avatar jwm says:

        Us country folk called that bulged shotgun barrel a “dog knot”. Like H&E I hunted with a fellow that didn’t watch his muzzle too closely in snow. With the same results.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    A great game for a hot Saturday afternoon in the pool. Marco. BOOM.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Frag grenade!

  9. avatar Matt says:

    Videoed: The finer point of illegal SBS manufacture.

  10. avatar Paul53 says:

    Stupidity is it’s own punishment.

  11. avatar achmed says:

    It says they didn’t know this would happen. Well, WTF did they expect would happen?? Some people’s kids . . .

  12. avatar Jordan says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  13. avatar pre stone says:

    yeah i saw a video years ago where i guy did this. i was shocked at how the shotgun barrel exploded. took me a minute or two to realize how thin shotgun barrels are.

  14. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    Natural selection.
    In progress.

  15. avatar OODAloop says:

    You know, had he submerged the entire shotgun underwater, with the entire barrel filled with water and not have the air/water gap inside the barrel, it would have discharged correctly and not blown up the barrel…

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “You know, had he submerged the entire shotgun underwater, with the entire barrel filled with water and not have the air/water gap inside the barrel, it would have discharged correctly and not blown up the barrel…”

      No. The scattergun barrel is too thin. The pressure rise from the powder will exceed the proof of the barrel.

      A pistol like a Glock could, maybe some rifles.

      See Dyspeptic’s explanation above…

  16. avatar Nick says:

    This should be labeled a How-To. How to make a sawed of shotgun in a split second.

  17. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I’ll have to try this with my Chinese pardner pump when I’m boredLOL…not a ballistics expert but didn’t watch they the real Mythbusters for how dense water is?

  18. avatar Jeffro says:

    Stupid should hurt. They (all of them) got damned lucky. Next time……..

  19. avatar fuque says:

    The music was a dead give away, even before the water sports started.

  20. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    My first thought on seeing this was will the ATF come after him for constructive (destructive??) possession of a short barreled shotgun now that this is out on the ‘net?

    What a bunch of idiots!

  21. avatar Cloud says:

    Matt from demolition ranch already did this months ago precisely to prove to people that it’s a terrible idea.

    1. avatar ACP_arms says:

      And he did it with a string to pull the trigger from behind a tree.

  22. avatar 38Specialist says:

    I own an H&R Bay State (pretty old) that originally had a 36 inch barrel. My grandfather obtained it after the owner tried to shoot a fish with buckshot. He stuck the barrel in the water over the side of the boat.

    He said it looked like a peeled banana back to the where the barrel entered the water. He was pretty sure alcohol was involved.

    They gave him the gun. He cut it 26 inches and had a dandy chore gun.

    Some things never change – “hey y’all – watch this”.

    Carry on

  23. avatar CHLChris says:

    I’ve seen quite a few vids of guns shot underwater, but all were rifles or pistols. No kaboom. Is the issue the fact that the barrel was only partially submerged? What if the entire shotgun was underwater, with water all the way into the breach?

    There’s a really cool slo-mo vid of an AK-47 firing underwater on YouTube (search “AK-47 Smarter Everyday”).

  24. avatar GRW says:

    I’d rather he bust his shotgun being a ****head like that than get a few more beers in him and start randomly shooting at the rustling leaves in an area full of other more responsible hunters.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      I’d rather he bust his shotgun being a ****head like that than get a few more beers in him and start randomly shooting at the rustling leaves in an area full of other more responsible hunters.

      So you’ve been in Michigan during deer season?

  25. avatar jp says:

    I believe that did this on myth busters a few years ago. Even full submerged the shotguns barrel still failed.

  26. avatar Dustin says:

    Shotguns have a presumed pressure dynamic very different from other guns. Mess with it and you can make spikes it wasn’t designed to handle.

    I hydraulic-ed my Milled Receiver Norinco by forgetting to let all the crud drain out before firing it again… It survived, but damn did it make a scene….

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