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Posted: 11/27/2011 12:47:07 AM EST
In "Day of the Jackal," Frederick Forsyth points out that putting a drop of mercury in the tip of the bullet makes it "explode like a grenade." Is there any truth to this?


Also: What kind of bullet was he using in the movie? It was a straight-walled bullet, looked like a .22 Magnum.
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Posted: 11/27/2011 1:13:27 AM EST
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Posted: 11/27/2011 5:03:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
In "Day of the Jackal," Frederick Forsyth points out that putting a drop of mercury in the tip of the bullet makes it "explode like a grenade." Is there any truth to this?

The book is 40 years old and is repeating a trope that has no measurable basis in fact.
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:33:02 AM EST
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Originally Posted By PAEBR332: Congratulations. This post has a created a stupidity event horizon from which no logic, reason or science will ever escape.
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Posted: 11/28/2011 2:07:43 PM EST
Pure mercury? No.

Mercury fulminate? Yes.

Mercury fulminate will produce an explosion as a result of impact or friction, but is less volatile than a potassium fulminate. Personally, I still wouldn't handle it, or try chambering a round with it, but mercury fulminate on the tip of the round would likely cause a small explosion on impact. Similar to the blast of a primer. Not much, but sounds pretty cool
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Posted: 11/28/2011 10:25:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By Chapman:
Pure mercury? No.

Mercury fulminate? Yes.

Mercury fulminate will produce an explosion as a result of impact or friction, but is less volatile than a potassium fulminate. Personally, I still wouldn't handle it, or try chambering a round with it, but mercury fulminate on the tip of the round would likely cause a small explosion on impact. Similar to the blast of a primer. Not much, but sounds pretty cool


The primer wouldn't "explode like a grenade," but don't underestimate its force. I performed a temperature experiment and posted it on Youtube (go to Youtube and search for cookoff primer and cookoff powder). The primers were put on a cookie sheet and heated until they detonated; the primers dimpled the steel cookie sheet!
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Posted: 11/29/2011 2:01:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2011 2:06:10 AM EST by MCBallpeen]
Of course he could have meant mercury as in the liquid metal. The whole principle was that when you fired the cartridge the mercury settled to the back of the bullet. Upon impact the weight of the mercury shifts forward and supposedly hammers the target harder than a conventional bullet.

Ask your self this question: If this actually worked as advertised, why don't the major manufacturers have something like this in their inventory? Answer: Probably because it doesn't work as claimed. This ranks right up there with putting Xs in .38 lead round nose bullets to make them expand.

I have put a primer in a hollowed out LSWC made of Linotype. I shot one round into a tree to see if I could get the bullet to "explode". Sure enough, it made one hell of a mess on the surface, but didn't have much penetration.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 2:21:54 AM EST
Ask James Brady how effective an exploding bullet is. Hinckley used a cheap 22 and devastator 22 rounds int he attempt on Reagan. The one that hit Brady likely detonated in his skull.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 3:23:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By vengarr:
Ask James Brady how effective an exploding bullet is. Hinckley used a cheap 22 and devastator 22 rounds int he attempt on Reagan. The one that hit Brady likely detonated in his skull.


And he is alive today.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 5:33:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2011 5:38:22 AM EST by FMJ]
Originally Posted By Bones45:
Originally Posted By vengarr:
Ask James Brady how effective an exploding bullet is. Hinckley used a cheap 22 and devastator 22 rounds int he attempt on Reagan. The one that hit Brady likely detonated in his skull.


And he is alive today.


to funny
I happen to know a few that got shot in the head with 38spl
All 4 of them lived without any major problems

BTW
Didnt Roy in Jaws do the same thing?
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Posted: 11/29/2011 7:23:35 AM EST
I don't know about Mercury-tipped ammo being explosive, but Mercury Tracer ammo is pretty devastating:
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Posted: 11/29/2011 12:52:42 PM EST
Supposedly, some one in Finland actually did this trick in the early 20th century.

Don't try it at home. If you do, use it quickly, as the mercury will amalgamate with the lead.

Myself, I always wanted to see what a gold bullet would actually do. Probably won't ever get to, though.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 1:36:42 PM EST
I only use mercury tipped .38 rounds when hunting great white sharks (Jaws 2).
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Posted: 11/29/2011 2:02:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By vengarr:
Ask James Brady how effective an exploding bullet is. Hinckley used a cheap 22 and devastator 22 rounds int he attempt on Reagan. The one that hit Brady likely detonated in his skull.

No, he owned devastators but did not use them that day. There were no "detonations".
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Posted: 11/29/2011 2:14:47 PM EST
Originally Posted By grendelbane:
Supposedly, some one in Finland actually did this trick in the early 20th century.

Don't try it at home. If you do, use it quickly, as the mercury will amalgamate with the lead.

Myself, I always wanted to see what a gold bullet would actually do. Probably won't ever get to, though.


It would make a hole. A very expensive hole. Given that it's more dense, a projectile of a given size would weigh more and hence penetrate deeper.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 2:45:08 PM EST
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Originally Posted By PAEBR332: Congratulations. This post has a created a stupidity event horizon from which no logic, reason or science will ever escape.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 3:42:52 PM EST
Originally Posted By vengarr:
Ask James Brady how effective an exploding bullet is. Hinckley used a cheap 22 and devastator 22 rounds int he attempt on Reagan. The one that hit Brady likely detonated in his skull.


Bingo.

Was going to mention this.

Though it would be interesting to see something like a 230grn 45ACP Gold Dot with it's hollow point cavity filled. Still don't think it would be reliable, may not even be beneficial if the round were to fragment and penetrate less deeply. At that point, might as well just use Glaser or Magsafe.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 4:05:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
Originally Posted By Chapman:
Pure mercury? No.

Mercury fulminate? Yes.

Mercury fulminate will produce an explosion as a result of impact or friction, but is less volatile than a potassium fulminate. Personally, I still wouldn't handle it, or try chambering a round with it, but mercury fulminate on the tip of the round would likely cause a small explosion on impact. Similar to the blast of a primer. Not much, but sounds pretty cool


The primer wouldn't "explode like a grenade," but don't underestimate its force. I performed a temperature experiment and posted it on Youtube (go to Youtube and search for cookoff primer and cookoff powder). The primers were put on a cookie sheet and heated until they detonated; the primers dimpled the steel cookie sheet!


I had one blast across my yard and cut my leg after I shot an empty shotgun shell with my pellet-gun.
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Posted: 11/30/2011 7:29:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By RenegadeX:

Originally Posted By vengarr:
Ask James Brady how effective an exploding bullet is. Hinckley used a cheap 22 and devastator 22 rounds int he attempt on Reagan. The one that hit Brady likely detonated in his skull.

No, he owned devastators but did not use them that day. There were no "detonations".


You need some real tin foil instead of aluminum foil.

Copper foil might be even better.
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Posted: 12/1/2011 11:27:52 AM EST
It would be interesting if you put tannerite into a hollow-point cavity and it hit a target at high velocity.
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Posted: 12/3/2011 9:59:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By Navyguns45:
It would be interesting if you put tannerite into a hollow-point cavity and it hit a target at high velocity.


Dammit, now you have got me thinking.................





and that is dangerous!
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Posted: 12/3/2011 10:37:08 AM EST
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Originally Posted By PAEBR332: Congratulations. This post has a created a stupidity event horizon from which no logic, reason or science will ever escape.
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Posted: 12/3/2011 10:57:16 AM EST
Originally Posted By Zhukov:
How much explosive power do you guys think can be produced by such a minimal amount of low-tech explosive?


I wonder if black powder would do better? A friend of my dad's gave me a pound of FFFF powder and some primers; he was going to make his own exploding warheads but chickened out.

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BTW PRIMERS ALONE can do damage to you fingers if you let one go off! I did an experiment once (The Primers o' Truth, skip to 2:00) in which I slowly heated a cookie tray with a few primers on it, to find out how hot they could get before detonating. When they detonated, the primers dimpled the steel cookie sheet!

See also Cookoff Powder
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Posted: 12/3/2011 1:57:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By MCBallpeen:
Of course he could have meant mercury as in the liquid metal. The whole principle was that when you fired the cartridge the mercury settled to the back of the bullet. Upon impact the weight of the mercury shifts forward and supposedly hammers the target harder than a conventional bullet.

Ask your self this question: If this actually worked as advertised, why don't the major manufacturers have something like this in their inventory? Answer: Probably because it doesn't work as claimed. This ranks right up there with putting Xs in .38 lead round nose bullets to make them expand.

I have put a primer in a hollowed out LSWC made of Linotype. I shot one round into a tree to see if I could get the bullet to "explode". Sure enough, it made one hell of a mess on the surface, but didn't have much penetration.

I thought that was a cross for shooting Vampires!
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Posted: 12/3/2011 2:06:17 PM EST
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Originally Posted By PAEBR332: Congratulations. This post has a created a stupidity event horizon from which no logic, reason or science will ever escape.
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Posted: 12/4/2011 9:48:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/4/2011 11:33:32 AM EST by brickeyee]
Originally Posted By Zhukov:

Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
BTW PRIMERS ALONE can do damage to you fingers if you let one go off! I did an experiment once (The Primers o' Truth, skip to 2:00) in which I slowly heated a cookie tray with a few primers on it, to find out how hot they could get before detonating. When they detonated, the primers dimpled the steel cookie sheet!

See also Cookoff Powder

Primers are indeed potent. Mercury fulminate, if I'm not mistaken? That's different that throwing some ammonium nitrate in the tip and expecting great results.

The short and skinny is that if there were an affective solution for stuffing explosive compounds in the tiny tip of a bullet, then the military would be using them.


Fulminate of mercury has not been used for a long time.
It ruins brass cases.

Lead styphnate is the primary in modern primers.

Unlike Chlorate primers (potassium chlorate and antimony sulfide) it dos not leave hygroscopic salts behind that then cause corrosion and rusting in barrels (and any steel they residue settle on).

Otter materials in primer compounds include tretracene, TNT, aluminum particles, and some other things that i do not remember of hand.

They are potent primary explosives.

In manufacture a slurry is made with water to make the priming compound safe to handle and put into the primer cups

Once it dries again it is ready to use, and very shock sensitive again

The anvil and any foil (and other things to protect the compound) are added before the material has dried.



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Posted: 12/5/2011 8:06:11 AM EST
There were, for a short time, some fly-by-night outfits who made mercury-tipped bullets for pistol ammo. The science was/is bad, and they don't really do anything impressive. These loads were called "Mercor", "Thundershock", or Velet-blacks, and were made by Howard Angel who used to operate the Velet (aka Velex) company which was known for making exploder bullets with the typical primer style tip. The Mercors were black tipped and were not made in any major quantity. Below is the excerpt from my book "Pistol Caliber Penetrators" with a couple photos of 2 rds that I have of this type (you can see the reaction & degradation of the mercury in the tip):

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg94/DKconfiguration/mercortext.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg94/DKconfiguration/mercor1c.jpg
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Posted: 12/5/2011 7:19:21 PM EST
I suppose the liquid mercury would have a hydraulic effect on impact that would "blow out" the hollow point rather quickly.

When I was a kid, I was always working on something. I came up with exploding pellets that worked pretty well. Cut off the tips of a bunch of strike anywhere matches. Put them in a motar and pestle, add a couple of drops of water and mush them into a paste. Carefully trowel the paste into the hollow back end of an airgun pellet and set them up in a window to dry for a couple of days. Load the pellet backwards and shoot. Crossman had some flat full wadcutter looking pellets that were perfect for this. They would pop pretty good. I popped one in my fingers while trying to pack a pellet with the stuff dry (impatient and didn't want to wait for the paste to dry). It hurt like hell and made my ears ring.
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Posted: 12/6/2011 5:28:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By lukus:
I suppose the liquid mercury would have a hydraulic effect on impact that would "blow out" the hollow point rather quickly.

.


Only if you keep it separate from the lead to prevent an amalgam from forming.
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Posted: 12/6/2011 9:12:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By lukus:
I suppose the liquid mercury would have a hydraulic effect on impact that would "blow out" the hollow point rather quickly.
.

Only if you keep it separate from the lead to prevent an amalgam from forming.


Yeah, what he said. These things totally did not work, and back in the days when they were around, you'd probably be better shooting Winchester Silvertips or even typical lead wadcutters,
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