Re: RARA-AVIS: Underwater

Ned Fleming (
Sat, 03 Jul 1999 01:56:35 GMT

Etienne Borgers wrote:

>Maybe I'm missing something about new weapons, but
>otherwise I think it will not fire, as gunpowder
>needs air(oxygen in fact) to burn (and I doubt that
>oygen normally *dissolved* and present in water is
>sufficient for that effect?)

All conventional guns (guns with firing pins) will fire underwater. Whether or not the cartridge will ignite is another matter. Assuming your powder is dry -- that there is an air-tight crimp between the bullet and cartridge, and an air-tight bond between the primer and the cartridge -- then, yes, the bullet will fire. There's plenty of oxygen in the nitro-cellulose (the gun powder) itself to propel the bullet. If you get water inside the cartridge, then all bets are off. I have no idea how far a bullet will travel in water. It depends on caliber, charge, bullet configuration, length of barrel, etc. In other words, it's a matter of physics and dull, dull, dull study.

There is, of course, a vast difference between the ignition of powder from a primer in a cartridge (which is a controlled, fast burn) and the detonation of an explosion.

You might be interested to know, Paul Harvey said a few weeks ago in his lunch time report, a lawn mower can eject a projectile at three times the velocity of a .357 magnum handgun. Bottom line: don't mow under water . . . unless you're pulling a job. Peter Walker may have additional information and opinions.

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