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Home>Topics>>SAAMI - Sporting Ammunition and the Fire Fighter

SAAMI - Sporting Ammunition and the Fire Fighter

Mon, 7 Jan 2013|

The Sporting Ammunition & The Fire Fighter video is provided with special permission from the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute. Copyright © 2008, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.



[MUSIC] Sporting ammunition and the firefighter is produced by Sammy, the sporting arms and ammunition manufacturer's institute. Sammy was created in 1926 at the request of the United States federal government to create standards related to safety and reliability in firearms, ammunition, and components. This video is part of our continuing mission to promote safety. In this case, by providing firefighters with fact-based information to help them address the realities of fires that contain sporting ammunition. Each year around the world, the public shoots billions of cartridges and shot shells. [MUSIC] Rifle and handgun cartridges consist of a brass case with primer, powder and bullet. Shot shells are similar but also have a wad that holds the shot. Sporting ammunition includes shot shells, up to eight gauge. And, handgun and rifle cartridges up to 50 caliber. This video examines sporting ammunition only. It does not address military or law enforcement ammunition, such as tear gas cartridges, tracers or incendiary projectiles. Warning. These demonstrations to do not apply to a loaded firearm. In a fire, a chambered firearm will shoot as if the trigger was pulled. SAAMI thanks the International Association of Fire Chiefs for their input during the making of this video. Being a firefighter we always encounter risks and hazards, and before we enter into any incident we should be doing a risk assessment and looking at the levels of risk that are involved. I think in the following demonstrations with small arms ammunition. [MUSIC] You'll also realise that the risk is very low. It should be treated differently than any other hazards [UNKNOWN] [MUSIC] [UNKNOWN] projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm projectile velocities are extremely low. To demonstrate this fact a special test device was made to hold cartridges one at a time for igniting and filming in slow motion. The 12 gauge shot shell is the most common shot shell available. Without the confinement of a firearm chamber, the shot does not penetrate standard 200 pound fiber board at a distance of seven inches. The projectiles superficially mark the fiber board. Much of the powder is left unburned. An unsupported 500 Smith & Wesson handgun cartridge exhibits more energy than a shot shell. The brass breaks apart, and the bullet may penetrate one sheet of 5/8ths in sheet rock. However, it may not even penetrate that far. Which happened here. The 416 Remington Magnum rifle cartridge is one of the largest sporting cartridges, but acts similar to the Magnum handgun cartridge. [MUSIC] Conclusion. Projectiles ignited outside a firearm have significantly lower velocities and energies than when shot form a firearm. [MUSIC] If ammunition is dropped in transportation or storage will it ignite? To answer this question consumer packages of ammunition were dropped from a height of 65 feet, measure with a length of rope. The sporting ammunition consisted of a 50 round box of Federal 357 sig hand gun cartridges. A 25 round box of Remington 12 gauge shotshells and a 20 round box of Hornady 458 rifle cartridges, one of the biggest cartridges on the market. Consumer packages of shotshells, handgun, and rifle cartridges were dropped at the same time. From this extreme height two of the handgun cartridges ignited. There was no propagation from cartridge to cartridge. Next, three shipping cases of the same ammunition were dropped from 65 feet. These cases contained 200 rounds of riffle cartridges, 250 rounds of shot shells, and 1,000 rounds of hand gun cartridges. [INAUDIBLE] [SOUND] None of the ammunition ignited. Conclusion: When dropped from extreme heights, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate. [MUSIC] If a cartridge is ignited accidentally, will it ignite other cartridges? The ultimate test is to shoot boxes of ammunition with a high-power rifle. Ammunition in retail packaging and shipping cases was placed on a pedestal in a cabinet to help contain the impacted cartridges, which can scatter for 20 to 30 feet. The cabinet also protects the slow motion camera. Some unignited cartridges were not found immediately, but all cartridges were accounted for by the end of the day. A 308 caliber riffle used here is shooting 150 grain bullets at 2,610 feet per second from a distance of 65 yards. Hand gun, riffle, and shot shells were tested. A retail box of each type was shot. Followed by shooting a case of the same ammunition. [MUSIC] Four cartridges ignited. [MUSIC] five cartridges ignited. Gunpowder poured out of the impacted cartridges. Cartridges. [MUSIC] Three cartridges were ruptured, without igniting. [MUSIC] Five cartridges were damaged. Three of them were ignited. [MUSIC]. Gunpowder erupted from the shotshells without igniting. Four shotshells were damaged. One primer was destroyed, which did not ignite the shotshell. Conclusion: most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction. [MUSIC] Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Blasting caps are used to ignite high explosives, they send out a shockwave and fine aluminum fragments. A blasting cap was placed inside a box of 458 Winchester Magnum rifle cartridges. The blasting cap destroyed the package. None of the cartridges ignited. [MUSIC] What we just proved is that you can totally destroy the package and not ignite the cartridge. [MUSIC] It was decided to place a blasting cap outside the package. A box of 50 Winchester 45 colt cartridges was used. A primer was exposed, the blasting cap was a fixed on top of the exposed primer. The targeted cartridge ignited, but no other rounds ignited. There was no propagation. The 50 round box was largely undisturbed. Next, and entire 250-round case of Federal 12 gauge shotshells was used. Holes were cut through the fiber board and consumer packaging to expose a primer. The blasting cap was attached directly against the exposed primer. The targeted shotshell ignited. There was no propagation. The 250 round case was largely undisturbed. The test showed that blasting caps are usually unable to ignite sporting ammunition. When placed directly against an exposed primer the blasting cap may ignite that cartridge. There was no propagation from cartridge to cartridge. [MUSIC] Conclusion, ignition using a blasting cap is difficult and does not propagate. [MUSIC] A fork lift was driven at high speed into a pallet of ammunition. There was no ignition. Damage to the ammunition was negligible. To show a worse case scenario, it was decided to place the ammunition on asphalt and crush it with a bull dozer. Three cases of ammunition were laid out. These included 200 rounds of Federal 7 millimeter magnum rifle cartridges 200 rounds of Hornadine 44 magnum cartridges, and 250 rounds of federal 12 gauge magnum shot shells. The bulldozer crushed the cases. No ammunition was ignited. Did. [MUSIC]. Since crushing the ammunition did not cause the sporting ammunition to ignite, it was decided to conduct an extreme test. All the packaging was removed. The ammunition was left in piles on the ground. The bulldozer then ground the ammunition on the asphalt. This demonstration is extreme, but it shows ammunition's resistance to accidental ignition. During 30 seconds of grinding, three shot-shell primers were ignited. Many primers were crushed without igniting. Two rifle primers were ignited. No propagation occurred. Many cartridges were crushed without igniting. [MUSIC] None of the handgun cartridges ignited. [MUSIC] Conclusion: Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignore, and does not propagate. [NOISE] [MUSIC] A bonfire, of packaged ammunition, was conducted. The purpose was to measure the danger of projectiles from an ammunition fire. And to demonstrate that sporting ammunition does not mass explode in a fire. 28,000 rounds of sporting ammunition were placed on a mesh table above a wood and diesel bonfire. Nine witness stands were placed around the fire, 15 to 50 feet from the bonfire. The witness stands each consisted of a two by four wood rectangle. This stud wall frame was covered front and back by two 4x8 foot sheets of 5/8 inch sheet rock. Diesel fuel was applied to the wood and paper fuel. The bonfire was ignited. The ammunition began to ignite. The ammunition was now fully involved. [SOUND]. Melted plastic from soft shells burned on the ground. The witness plates that we've set up made of sheetrock were at various distances from the fire to show exactly how much hit them and with what force it struck. Only a few pieces of the ammunition actually went through the first piece of Sheetrock and none penetrated the second. A lot of the pieces of ammunition stuck into the Sheetrock and can still be seen protruding from it. We stepped out from behind the shelter that was used for the video cameras in our full firefighter turnout with our face shields down on our helmet. And we're able to feel some of the pieces of the ammunition striking our turnout gear and falling to the ground. Nothing with enough force to actually tear into the, the turnout gear or injure anyone. Ammunition in a fire can be intimidating. The noise is intense. You can see and hear projectiles flying past you. This test demonstrated that sporting ammunition and a large and intense fire does not create projectiles dangerous to fire fighters within a reasonable working distance. Conclusion: Sporting ammunition fires are noisy. But the projectiles have low energy and are largely confined by sheet rock at short distances. Normal turn out gear will protect the fire fighter at a reasonable working distance. [MUSIC] 18,000 rounds of sporting ammunition were placed in a mesh box without any packaging. The bond fire was doused with diesel and ignited. [NOISE] The absence of packaging did not increase the intensity of the fire. Heat, and weight caused the stand to collapse. The ammunition burned at a consistent rate. For seven minutes until the fire was removed. [NOISE] The plastic from the shot shells kept the fire burning after the wood and diesel fire was removed [MUSIC]. [MUSIC] Conclusion, the lack of packaging did not cause the ammunition to burn more fiercely. No explosion occurred. [MUSIC] 115,000 rounds of sporting ammunition were placed in a simulated retail store. This included shot shell, handgun and riffle ammunition. There was a large amount of ammunition in a small area. The wood and diesel fire was intense. These factors created an unusually intense ammunition fire. The fire was ignited. [SOUND] [SOUND]. Hell, we're gonna make an approach with two different attack lines, kind of an off angle to the door. [SOUND]. We just completed the firefight on a retail store of over 100,000 rounds of ammunition. We came up with 2 different hoses, and the initial officer to put his wide pattern foglight, was almost immediately effective. Dave and I came around behind him with that narrower fog and reached the back of the building. And, we were very effective and, and worked extremely fast. As we were approaching the fire, there really wasn't, any projectile threat. Anything that came out the door was very low velocity. And, Nobody got struck as we were making our fire attack beneath. Projectiles from the fire. The wall in this room was a normal stud wall, made out of 2x4's. The front of the wall was covered by 5/8ths inch sheet rock. The back side of the wall consisted of 7/16ths inch wood wafer board. The sheet rock was tested more severely in this test than in the bonfire. The sheet rock in this scenario is only zero to five feet from the ammunition. None of the 115,000 rounds was more than 12 feet away from the sheet rock. There were many penetrations of the sheet rock. The sheet rock penetrations are best seen by the sheet rock dust on the wood shading behind. No evidence of any penetration or even any dent was found on the wood sheeting. At one place in the wall there were two pieces of sheet rock overlapping. The second piece was undamaged. Conclusion: The fire was controlled within 10 seconds. Projectiles were low velocity and did not impede the fire fighters. [MUSIC] Five pallets of sporting ammunition containing 252,000 rounds were placed in a semi trailer. Wood and paper fuel was piled against the pallets. [MUSIC] The fuel and pallets were soaked with ten gallons of diesel fuel. The fire was ignited. [MUSIC] [SOUND]. [SOUND] A firefighter stood in the path of the projectiles and was struck several times with no adverse effect. [SOUND]. We just finished extinguishing the semi trailer fire. We're able to get up here and knock the fire down very quickly with the two attack lines. We had to climb up into the trailer and get it, some of the hidden hot spots that were back behind the pallets of ammunition and we're able to do so while the ammunition. Ammunition was still going off. I walked up to the fire after it was in full blaze and the ammunition was going off very quickly. And I'd seen that it didn't penetrate sheet rock in previous test, so I came up and tested out my turnout here at close range. And I felt being hit many times but there was no pain sensation or it didn't feel very hard. From my vantage point I was pumping the structure truck, supplying the water for the fired suppression. From what I saw, I mean the noise is just enormous. Of the rounds going off, I had no exposure to any of the live rounds. Everything was coming out the burnt portion of the trailer, the loading door. Everything from my vantage point was relatively safe. Conclusion: the fire was controlled within 10 seconds. Projectiles were low velocity and struck but did not impede the firefighters. [MUSIC] Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used during the demonstrations shown in this video. These demonstrations confirm that sporting ammunition is difficult to ignite. Ammunition does not propagate, burn, or explode when subjected to extreme stimuli. When subjected to fire, ammunition is loud and launches small debris. Heat. However, these projectiles do not injure firefighters or inhibit them from proceeding with their duties in the immediate vicinity of a fire. Firefighters may safely and quickly extinguish burning ammunition with standard methods using water. Firefighting personnel must wear standard fire protective gear, including self-contained breathing apparatus, and keep it on while extinguishing hot spots after the fire is controlled. Sporting ammunition does not pose a fire or accident hazard substantially different from other common commodities. And in fact, is less of a risk than many household products. [MUSIC] [SOUND]

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