How Do You Stop a .50 BMG Bullet? Hint: Just Add Water [VIDEO]

How Do You Stop a .50 BMG Bullet?

In the video below, YourTuber Kentucky Ballistics lines up six plastic 55-gallon water jugs — end-to-end — and shoots them with a .50 BMG rifle. If you’re like me, you expect the usual explosive penetration. Nope. Guess how many barrels it takes to stop the round . . .


  1. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    And how far does the mighty .45 travel in the same test?
    Water is pretty tough stuff at times.

    1. avatar Hank says:

      A .45 would turn all that water to steam instantly.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        .45 ACP, steam? It’d transform it to a Bose-Einstein condensate.

        (Especially out of a WWII vintage 1911 CMP rattle-trap.)

        :flamesuit on:

        1. avatar Huntmaster says:

          Yeah but if you had a 12 Ga pump with buck shot all you’d have to do is jack a round.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “.45 ACP, steam? It’d transform it to a Bose-Einstein condensate.”

          Bose-Einstein condensate?

          Pfffftp. Passe.

          Haven’t you heard the theoretical news?

          The sub-atomic particle geeks think quark fusion could be 10X more potent than garden-variety stellar main-sequence Hydrogen fusion :

          (You were remarkably restrained in the *cough*, ‘Honor’ comments, I did note… *snicker* 😉 )

        3. avatar 16V says:

          Geoff, Yeah I’ve been a bit behind on my physics current events – but I think we both know where most peoples’ minds go if we start talking about ‘tops’, ‘bottoms’, and ‘charmed’…. 😉

          Was I really that harsh on HD back in the day? I remember it more as ‘tough love’, just trying to help a start-up not make stupid mistakes. Did they listen? :channelsBelushi: Nooooooo. Now? Unlike Jobs, he’s not a terribly good thief, and he certainly doesn’t know how to create a flock of mindless addicted zombies, err, fans.

        4. avatar Geoff PR says:

          The ‘Honor’ company probably thought you were rough on them the first go-around, but I kinda enjoyed it.

          It’s one thing to plug your own company, but that guy was so over-the-top with it I found it kinda comical. You attempted to adjust attitudes to more realistic level.

          Based on his recent lack of an intelligent response to the malfunction issue, he hasn’t learned, nor is he likely to.

          Sucks to be him, in my book…

          Changing gears, I see Mr. Bush blew a 0.00 breathalyzer and passed his drug test. Is he airborne again?

  2. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

    Save yourself 2 min 25 sec:

  3. avatar SmileMaker says:

    For those that didn’t want to watch the video, the answer is 1. One 55 gallon barrel laying long ways stopped a .50 BMG round.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      It is amazing that the question is even asked. 20MM Vulcan will maybe penetrate a plastic barrel, standing up.

      Moving anything through an incompressible fluid like water at speed is a bitch.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Michael Phelps has 23 gold medals that say you don’t have a clue.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          I would offer that as neither of us has earned said medals, my point is validated.

        2. avatar . says:

          Swimming is actually a perfect illustration of his point; A bullet gets its propulsive charge only once, then loses velocity as it progresses, at a rate dependent on the medium through which it’s traveling (pro tip: water is a lot heavier and denser than air). Once a bullet encounters resistance, its velocity goes only one direction: Down.

          Swimmers, on the other hand, have to *repeatedly* generate their motion, making relatively small incremental progress through a series of strokes, regenerating their movement as they go. They don’t just jump in, swing their arms once, and magically slide to the other end of the pool. If water were that easy to move through, we’d ALL be champion swimmers.

          But why get into physics and fluid dynamics when “no clue” snark is so much easier? All that science an’ stuff is for nerds, har har, derpa-derp-derp!! ‘MURRCA!!

        3. avatar Huntmaster says:

          And I thought only liberal Democrats were wound that tight. Thanks for explaining all that, although it was pretty much a given.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Careful, now, terminology lesson coming. 20MM is a cannon shell, but 20MM *Vulcan* is a 6 barrel gatling gun, which could definitely penetrate all 6 drums, in less than a second, since it could fire 100 HE rounds in that time. Now, that would be spectacular.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          I know what the system is, I just use the “Vulcan” tag as quick shorthand to identify the round, there’s several other 20MM chamberings out there – 20×82,110,139 and I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

          “PGU28/b” seems a bit obscure, dontcha think?

  4. avatar Charlie says:

    I’m glad I got my Sako .338L instead. It’s not as powerful as a .50 BMG, but it’s a lot lighter, and it will hit a target at 1000 yds so I’m satisfied.


  5. avatar David says:

    Mythbusters did this years ago shooting into a pool. Pointed fmj bullets yaw and lose energy quickly. Soft tip and hollow points fall apart. Mythbusters did not try hard cast lead, copper or brass flatnose bullets which I believe would make it into the 2nd barrel at least. A saboted tungsten dart in the 50 cal would probably go further. I would be interesting to see how many a 45-70 extreme penetrator would go through.

    1. avatar GunDoc says:

      The Mythbusters retards are just that. To the point where if they say “busted” I’m inclined to give it credence.

      The episode in question came about as a result of WW2 shipwreck survivors saying that even diving underwater was sometimes not sufficient to protect them from strafing aircraft.

      If the “Busters” had wanted to actually verify or bust the myth, they would have used rounds that made up a typical aircraft loadout in WW2: API and AP (typically a 1:3 ratio on the belts). Ball was not used in aircraft, and clearly an AP and API round will not deform when hitting water, thus allowing it to travel further with more velocity.

      Almost without exception, watching those two clowns results in mild concussions from all the facepalm-inducing BS they spew.

  6. avatar Mikey W. says:

    When I went to armourer’s training in Panama [1983 or so] they had a machine to test fire weapons into after fixing. It was like a waterfall in a 55 gallon drum looking thing but would stop a .50 caliber MG round within inches of entering the barrel ! ! Stripped the jacket off the bullet too.

  7. avatar Huntmaster says:

    Analysis from a left wing perspective. Those barrels are really tough.

  8. avatar Mark-in-Indy says:

    What you saw was about a 440lb stationary mass jump 1ft forward. Pretty impressive energy transfer IMO.

  9. avatar little horn says:

    no projectile will go more than a few feet. no matter the caliber.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      The Navy used to have some 16″ projectiles which would prove you wrong. 440 lb target meets 2000 lb bullet.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Too much levity here!

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    So a 440lb living being would stop a 50 bmg if it enters at the right place?

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      That collision would probably stop em both.

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