Episode 38: MythBusters Revisited

Air Date: October 12, 2005

REVISITED: A body struck by a bullet will be propelled violently backwards. (From Episode 25)


Even a .50 Caliber bullet does not have the momentum to knock a person backwards. If it were possible, the shooter would be knocked backwards as well – as per Newton’s Third Law.

REVISITED: Explosive decompression can occur when a bullet is fired through the fuselage of a pressurized airplane (From Episode 10)


The Build Team tested the effect of air rushing past an open bullet hole, and surmised that the extra internal pressure caused by this would still not be enough to cause an explosive decompression.

REVISITED: You end up drier running in the rain than walking. (From Episode 1)


When retrying the test in actual rain it was conclusively proven that the running test subject got less wet than the walking test subject. The use of artificial rain in the original test led to a false negative.

REVISITED: Holding a large sheet of plywood will slow a fall from a building enough to make it survivable. (From Episode 18)


After testing the speed of updrafts with a special rig on Tory’s truck it was proven that you could not hold on to the piece of plywood if you were in free fall. A mere 45mph gust knocked it out of Tory’s hands; updrafts from skyscrapers reach upwards of 90mph.

SPINOFF: A black car heats up faster than an identical white car. (From Pilot 2)


A fan wrote in and asked a follow up question: "Does the color of a car affect the way it heats up?". The MythBusters used two identical cars, one black the other white and left them both out in the summer heat with thermometers in both. By mid-afternoon the black car had heated up to a temperature of 135 °F while the white car topped off at 126 °F, almost 10 degrees cooler.

REVISITED: Running a car with air conditioning on is more fuel efficient than running with the windows down. (From Episode 22)

partly confirmed

The fundamental flaw in the MythBusters’ test was that the point where the drag becomes powerful enough to inhibit a car’s performance with windows down was inside their 45 – 55mph margin at 50mph. Going less than 50mph it is more efficient to leave your windows down, but going greater than 50mph it is more efficient to use your A/C.

REVISITED: A gas tank will explode when shot by a bullet. (From Episode 15)


It has already been proven that when shot by a normal bullet a gasoline tank will not explode. However, if a gasoline tank is shot by a tracer round from a great enough distance so that the round can ignite with air friction, it will cause the gasoline to catch fire. By the time this happened the tank was so riddled with bullets (from previous tracers that were fired too close to ignite) that there was no contained pressure, but the MythBusters surmised that had the tank been properly enclosed, it may have exploded; but overall it remains extremely improbable.


  1. mike g says:

    If you ever revisit the bullet propelled body try a high energy low speed wide types of bullet. The idea is capacity to transfer energy to the body fast. I doubt they would propel a body back, but there is a difference. For example frecuently a 9mm bullet drills a hole thru tempered glass while a 380mm one can blow the glass away. There you have another myth to confirm. :). Try 380mm, .45 and different shotgun projectiles. Although I doubt they will propell backwards…..combine with body armor, or a big wide beltbuckle as means of getting energy transfer.

    • Holmes says:

      what exactly do u mean 380mm? 380mms are 3 8/10 meter sticks. Or did u just mean .380?

      • John says:

        Actually, 380 mm would be .380 meters. Less than half a meter stick. Although it would still be a very large bullet. .380 mm would be way too small.

        • StarKing says:

          Not .380mm John – it’s .380 CALIBER. That’s .38 inches, or 9.65mm if you prefer. (Actually it’s 9mm, Caliber designations are not very precise.)

          • DavidB says:

            You are spot on StarKing.

          • Randy Humphries says:

            As a retired machinist that enjoys my small collection of armory I can confirm what StarKing states; a .380 Caliber is 380 thousandths of an inch. 3/8 inches is converted to .375 or 375 thousandths of an inch, just 5 thousandths shy of the .380 caliber. This explanation provides a type number that most can relate to. :)

            • Andy says:

              It is actually quite precise StarKing- .380 refers to the size of the case diameter in inches. The .380 ACP bullet is the same diameter as 9mm Luger (in addition to .357 magnum and .38 special). 380 ACP is also known as 9mm short. Interestingly, a bullet designated .44 Magnum is actually .429″ diameter. Again, the .44 designation referes to the case diameter. Often times when a new cartridge is developed, the bullet diameter is left unchanged – only the casing is redesigned and that’s why we have all these different designations for the same bullet.

    • Steele says:

      The M1A1 Abrams tank uses a 120mm L44 Smoothbore cannon as its primary armament.

      The only 380mm cannon I can think of is a 1935 French heavy naval cannon.

      Even a 38mm rifle would be an enormous bullet. The closest thing to 38mm that is held by infantry out there is a 40mmx46mm grenade launcher in the form of the M40 and M203 grenade launcher attachment.

      The South African Anti-Material (Although, it might as well be anti-naval) NTW-20 is probably as big of a bullet as you can get (in terms of muzzle energy) at 20mmX110mm and producing approximately 37,000J.

      Now plug these numbers in. With 37,000J traveling at 820m/s, we can calculate a weight of 45.12g per round

      Assuming the bullet somehow gets a FULL transfer of all its energy into the target, 37,000J of kinetic energy on a 160lb (72 574.7g, close to average) human will only yield about 0.509m/s or 1.4 mph.

      To put that into perspective, it is said that humans walk at about 5km/h (3.1mph).

      A bullet will never send a person flying.

      • kiks says:

        Wow, you’re big into your physics aren’t you. but you’re right.

      • randell says:

        actually the average person walks about 4 to 4 in a half mph

        • jeff says:

          4 to 4.5 mph is about a 13 minute mile. That’s much faster than the average person walks.

          According to this study, the average pace is 4.5 feet per second, which is 3.08mph.

          • Noman says:

            Hi Raghav,Thanks! I’m always happy to hear that my work is beiifetnng other developers :-)The Brightcove .NET MAPI Wrapper should be able to retrieve custom fields for your videos. Check out the example I just added to the wiki: If that doesn’t work for some reason, please open an issue on Github and post the exact code that is failing along with any error messages so that I may reproduce and debug the issue: Thanks!Regards,Dave

    • spike says:

      or try a Glaser Safety Slug. It’s designed to avoid “shoot-throughs” for close quarters police work. It’s likely you’ll still get the same result, as you pointed out, Newton’s Third Law prevents it, but I’d be interested to see the various effects of different ammunition. Most is designed to pierce, so the Glaser might change things.

      • Silvia says:

        The conversions to .45 ACP for the Webley Mk VI were not done duirng WWII, rather they were done after they were surplused after the War because .455 Webley was not common in the US, but .45 ACP was. This was very unwise for the simple reason the Webley is a break top design and full house .45 ACP loads operate at near proof pressures for .455 Webley. The gun will hold up, but will be damaged in the process if using standard .45 ACP loads…..just don’t do it! The damage could be catastrophic and dangerous to the shooter. Your plan to handload .45 ACP and .45 Auto-Rim to .455 pressures is the way to go and will not damage the gun. Using the .45 Auto-Rim case it allows the gun to be used as it was before its modification and does away with having to use moon clips.

    • Noah says:

      yeah, you’re right. They also should have included a round with a huge amount of energy but not able to penatrate things, like say rubber ammunition.

  2. Bryan H says:

    The only difference the speed with which you tranfser the energy would make is how much time the target has to regain his balance or push back against something. As a best case, it’s easy to calculate how fast the target would go backward even if all energy were transferred instantly. I get something like half a foot per second at best.

    And unless you can transfer the energy faster than you transferred it to the bullet in the first place, the shooter would be thrown back as violently as the target.

  3. James Cooper says:

    One thing to consider with the argument that the shooter would be thrown back violently; with some weapons, the shooter would indeed be thrown back if not properly braced. However, I think this amounts to little more than losing their balance, not being pushed off of the ground.

    For any bullet that would have enough momentum to do this, getting it all to impart on the victim would be difficult, especially without obliterating them.

    • randell says:

      it also depends on the gun for instance a 50 cal sniper rifles has a crap load of recoil but recently i believe it was browning who made a 50 cal with only about %2 of the original recoil

  4. CyberGuy says:

    I believe the test was flawed. The test targets were dead pigs. Some of the reaction that a living target would show would be an involuntary muscle reaction to the impact of the bullet, which could cause the body to fly backwards. The dead targets lacked this response.

    • MSpears says:

      That’s true, but where are you going to find live volunteers to test this myth?

      • Roodles says:

        All you need is to look at animals shot while hunting. Animals don’t fly through the air when shot no matter how big or small they are. Even ducks that are shot with a shotgun while flying drop straight down.

        • ben says:

          Armadillo jumps several feet in the air when shot.

    • Steve Scott says:

      What you’re describing is the VICTIM providing the energy to fly backward. That usually doesn’t happen…and they collapse straight down. This test evaluated the effect of kinetic energy on the target, not a variable neural response.

    • rowdy says:

      Im curious as to why when an ex-girlfriend of mine tried to shoot me in the head with a 357 mag.she missed but following the split second she pulled the trigger she flew backwards onto the floor about 3feet.she was 5ft 4in. 110lbs.

      • rowdy says:

        i forgot to mention that the 357 was loaded with Teflon coated hollow tip bullets if that makes a difference

        • randell says:

          no matter how powerful the gun is and even if she only weigh 110lbs im calling bullship i have a cousin who is around 10 and weighs 80 or so lbs and she fired of a 357 magnum and she didnt even fly back even an inch. the most it would do is knock you off ballence and cause you to fall over but not fly back let alone 3 feet

          • spike says:

            throwing someone 2 feet is unlikely, but accounting for exaggeration, let’s say half that distance, and substituting “fly back” for an involuntary jolt which may have caused a jump, I suppose it’s possible that a complete novice firing a .357 magnum may have been holding it strangely, and then had this effect….equal chance of it being bull though

    • Joel says:

      An involuntary muscle reaction from a gunshot wound will more likely manifest in flexion (cringing) vs. extension or straightening of the body and/or limbs. Either way, gravity and other relative laws of physics generally prevent the body from reflexively leaping UP and BACKWARD.

  5. DonKeyHoeTee says:

    The running/walking in rain myth perplexed me in both the original myth and when revisited.

    In a drenching downpour that totally soaks either individual before they reach their destination, the point is moot. However, In a constant lesser rain, it would seem logical that a person who spent less time in that rain would be drier than a person who spent a lot more time in that rain. Conclusion: Over a fixed length course the runner should be drier than the walker, who should be drier than the crawler, who would be drier than the person sitting in a lawn chair at the starting line. etc.

    The test should have been over a fixed time period, rather than a fixed length. Seems like the results would be close to equal.

    Either way, the old phrase”not enough sense to get out of the rain” is brought to mind!

    • Nwlawookie says:

      The myth was to show that running gets you less wet. If you’re walking out of a cafe and have to cross the street to get to the subway, it’s a fixed length. The myth was that running the short distance to the subway would get you less wet than if you walked, and it was confirmed. The myth was NOT about the rate at which you got wet whilst running or walking.

    • rowdy says:

      So 1 person walks in the rain for 30seconds while another runs for 30 seconds in the rain? Sounds accurate I think results will confirm the runner less wet but not much drier.

      • rowdy says:

        I forgot to mention that I think running will contribute to being less wet due to partial air drying because of the speed&wind.

        • Josh says:

          That being said you are coming in contact with more rain the faster you run. The more rain you come in contact with the more wet you are going to get

  6. Shoot2Kill says:

    I’m curious if CyberGuy has anyone in mind to use as a test subject? Perhaps the study can be carried to a country that still utilizes firing squads?

  7. Killer says:

    What about that famous photo of the man that was shot in the head, maybe in Vietnam, back in the day? I don’t think he flew backwards at all, and that was point-blank energy transference. I’m pretty sure that people don’t fly backwards when hit with bullets.

  8. soupy says:

    No, a person might not fly back when hit by a bullet…depending on what kind of bullet is used. In the case of the guy in Vietnam, he was shot point blank with a full metal jacketed bullet. Thats why he didn’tmove, because it just went straight through him. Mythbusters need to try different kinds of bullets such as hollowpoints, or softpoints.

    • JohnF Boulder Co says:

      Lots of variables need to be tried:
      Does the bullet penetrate and make a large permanent wound cavity? Does it go through? Is it stopped by something (moderately) flexible like a vest? Or stopped instantly by something improbable like a big armor plate?
      The answer is shown by the math. A bullet stopped instantly (no energy transfered to de-forming the bullet, let alone denting armor or imparting energy into wounding daamage), it doesn’t have nearly enough KE.
      As for the target flinching etc, that might change the direction he fell, but it won’t make him fly. Most likely result is falling in the direction his momentum was taking him.

  9. Z says:

    With the exploding gas tank, does the amount of fuel in the tank matter? For instance, a tank with mostly fumes are more likely to explode than a full tank. This is the basis for welding a metal gas tank that is full.

    • Nipplator says:

      The problem with shooting a gas tank isn’t the form the fuel is in, but the form the shock is in. The torch is an intense flame with lots of heat energy so it passes the flash point of the fuel in vapor (exploding)or a fully filled tank (fire), where the bullet is kinetic force, and doesn’t carry or create much energy in the form of heat. If it was diesel fuel and you could use the kinetic force to crush the tank then maybe you could get an explosion.

  10. Ken says:

    While a single projectile(bullet) may not knock a person off their feet. I do believe a shotgun would, especially at close range with a heavy load, such as buckshot

    • StarKing says:


    • randell says:

      nope infact a human punch can generate more force then a shot gun and a human punch doesnt cause someone to fly away even a really powerful kick only knocks a person out

  11. z2 says:

    Running in the rain: no, the fixed length course is appropriate, since the context is whether you’d get more or less wet by, say, running home from a local store if caught in a sudden rain. The gain from spending less time in the rain outweighed the loss from presenting a larger cross-section (if the rain were coming straight down).

    Gun throwing body back: the type of bullet doesn’t matter as much as you think. So long as the bullet stops within the body (doesn’t exit), all of its momentum and energy is transferred. The energy (1/2 mv^2) and momentum (mv) at the target is always LESS that that at the sending end because some is lost to air friction between, so yes the shooter will experience more jerk than the receiver (albeit with less damage!). A softer bullet might stop more rapidly, but the difference is milliseconds and on the human timescale not significant.

    Hypothetical muscle reactions to being shot is a completely different matter, tho. Not likely to be tested by MB tho, even with live animals.

  12. J says:

    Has anyone ever heard of a _muzzle brake_?

  13. Evan Dimas says:

    shooting a hole in the side of an airplane that has been pressurized to 8 lbs. per square inch in itself is not even close to an accurate rendition of what would happen in a real situation. I think you’re forgetting about the 500 mph wind blasting over the hole creating a huge low pressure area. It would suck the contents from the imediate area out at the very least. And probably do more damage than that. certainly more than the unfruitfull excuse for a proper experiment you guys claim to prove it busted. Not that you guys can properly simulate those kind of circumstnces on the ground effectively.Maybe you can. Other than that one, I mean two episodes where you incorrectly carried out your experiment all the other shows I have seen were satisfying.THAT I HAVE SEEN. Please email me back your thoughts sincerely a fan
    Evangelos Dimas

  14. jay g says:

    Try using a sawed off (18″+) double barreled shotgun and see how a body flies back when hit with both barrels at close range with two 3″ magnum 00 buckshot. The force on the shooter is focused on a smaller area and they are braced for it, absorbing the kick in their arms, shoulders back and legs. Beside the fact that the weapon has a butt/kick pad. They will experience one hell of a jolt but will be able to withstand it. A person on the receiving end will be hit over a large area and would not be able to take it. While the amount of force would be measurably less than the “kick” due to it being spread out, the poor soul who just got shot would be knocked off their feet and thrown backwards several feet. I’ve seen it.

    • exon says:

      I got the info on 3″ magnum 00 buckshot.
      So: there are 15 pellets. 1225 feet per second. converting that to meters per second we have 373.38 meters per second. The momentum of each pellet is m*v, so with #00 pellets, that gives us 3.49 g multiplied by 380 ms^-1, for a total of 1.32Ns per pellet, for a total of 20Ns per shell, times 2 because there are two shells – 40Ns. Now, assuming ALL of the momentum is transfered to the person, with an average weight of 72kg: p1=p2, so 40 = 72*x.
      x = 0.5ms^-1. Absolutely no way even that much will throw them back “several feet”. If they stumble, I’d be surprised.

    • StarKing says:

      “I’ve seen it.”
      No, you haven’t.

      • TruckerTwotimes says:

        I seen that on a Western, can’t remember the name now, but the guy did fly backwards thru the air lol I guess that’s Hollywood… :)

    • randell says:

      your full of your self a fully loaded kick from a donkey doesnt even cause a person to fly back. p.s fight science has shown that a human strike can generate more force then a shot gun and you dont see boxers flying across the ring. you dont see mma fighters flying across the octogon from a kick the most you see is them stumble and go unconsious if anything the force would be focused to a very small point over a large area since a shot gun has hundreds of peices of shot.
      each pellet has a smaller penetrationa area and therfore the rounds have more penetrating power yet the most it would do is knock a person back a couple of feet and then they would fall down

  15. R Power says:

    hi i think that the preasure inside of the plane needs to be matched as the crusing altitude of a plane.

  16. jacko11 says:

    with the shooting the gas tank if the engine was running there would have been a diffrent result. also if you shot at an engine there would have been a diffrent conclusion.

    • Nipplator says:

      If the car was running then the fuel would have to find it’s way to something hot enough to ignite it, and there isn’t anything near the tank to do that even the exhaust pipe is too cool for it to reach the flash point. As for shooting the engine it would have to be a heavy caliber rifle just to crack the block much less do any real damage to the engine; so the most it would do is cause the car to stop running. I’ve seen a Humvee take 3 .50 cal. rounds to the block and not even catch fire, and they don’t have any tougher engine than the standard trucks do, just added gear for driving in “off road” conditions.

  17. Jessie says:

    How come Adam puts the verdict in the exploding gas tank myth “CONFIRMED”? The higher the octane, the more the dangerous they are when shot by tracer rounds.

    • wally says:

      higher octane=harder to ignite. thats why forced induction/high compression engines require it, to stop the gas from igniting prematurely from heat and pressure, known as detonation

  18. Mike says:

    In the Plywood Builder myth the revist showed that there was lift. The reason Tory couldnt hold on to the plywood is that he was anchored to the ute, wheras the wood continued to rise.
    I dont think that the myth will be confirmed even with this change as a person wont be able to effectively steer the plywood while in the air or slow enough to land without dieing, but is still a slight flaw in the testing.

    • Nikos says:

      Lift is confirmed. All you need is a man strong enough to hold fis weight with his hands t call it plausible. Most builders can do that, so myth is deffinitely not busted!

      • Far says:

        There is probably plenty of lift on a 32 square foot “sail” (a 4×8 piece of plywood), and probably enough surface area to cause the wood to sort of simulate an airfoil (more or less, a “wing”) through the air, helping convert some of the energy from downward motion to forward motion.

        The issue I see is that the plywood “aircraft” is inherently unstable. It is most unlikely that even a strong person could maintain the angle of attack necessary to avoid a “stall”, at which point the wood and its rider would simply fall out of the sky.

  19. bobcat says:

    A gas tank will explode when shot by a bullet: confirmed. its been done in iraq with one round APIT from an M2 .50 cal. ya’ll realy need an on hand weapons guru for accurate testing on such myths

    • Outlaw Keith says:

      That’s a .50 cal Armor piercing incendiary tracer round.. They said it would explode if you shot it at a far enough distance. Pretty much anything would explode with a .50 APIT round…

      • Louie says:

        Hey Matthijs,Thanks for the input, let us know what you think after using the tool a bit, feedback is awalys helpful. You note some good points here. I think what we are going to do down the road is write a more real world example than the simple one we already posted (which was just meant as a very basic introduction) and that example would include some code similar to what you have above.Gabe

    • randell says:

      on myth busters they proved nothing less then insindiary rounds would be able to cause a gas tank to explode

  20. snakey1 says:

    Its a living bodies involuntary muscular and nervous reactions to being hit by a bullet that causes it to move not the force imparted by the bullet so it wouldn’t work with a dead pig, try sticking a pin in someones butt unexpectedly, it causes them to move quickly but its not the force imparted by the pin involved that does it.

  21. Bunnie says:

    So a bullet wont explode it. But what about the rag stuffed in the gas tank opening set on fire? Will that blow the car up?

    You see it all the time on the movies.. but will it really work?

  22. Jo Jo says:

    I think the mythbusters were right with the gas tank and if someone doesnt like that then make your own show or video and show us all

  23. Bogdan says:

    On Hollywood style back-flip when shot by a bullet: There is a point in space, called mass center. The point is placed at a distance inverse proportional to the mass of each body, so the mass center will be very close to the human body even when the bullet just leaves the gun’s barrel. That point will carry on it’s movement no matter if the collision between the two bodies is elastic, plastic or anything in between. When the bullet stays in the body, both of them will travel with the speed of the mass center, and that speed will be extremely low, due to the huge difference in mass.

    Another way to look at the problem is computing the impulse of the bullet and of the bullet-body assemble (assuming the body was static, so it had zero impulse). In a collision, the total impulse is constant. Then, all the impulse of the bullet is passed to the body; but impulse being speed times mass, and the impulse being the same, the speed after collision will be the speed of the bullet times the rapport between the mass of the bullet and the mass of the body. That rapport is about the same if not of greater order of magnitude than the speed of the bullet and therefore the final speed will be extremely low, practically zero.

    The best approach to this problem is, actually, energetic. The kinetic energy of the bullet is the same with the total energy of the bullet-body assemble. The body has huge potential energy (inertial mass) and not all energy of the bullet is passed to the body (a lot is used to heat the area of contact, and a small part is used in deforming the shell), therefore the body will not move.

    The theory of jumping out of sheer shock, or due to an involuntary muscular reaction, is just as unbelievable as the back-jump itself: if a human being is capable of such jumps, we will have 20-30 meters of long-jump olympic records instead of merely 9 meters… No matter whether a muscle is contracted voluntarily or not, the same maximum amount of force will be produced. The human physiology is not capable of those movements, as seen in Hollywood action movies.

    A general comment on you, guys (and I am referring to Adam and Jamie): please, PLEASE, bring some physicists on the show that will explain plainly and correctly why some myths could not possibly happen… or at least to correct your explanations (I have seen explanations that were basically true, but had wrong “components”).

    Good show, tho! :)

    • Outlaw Keith says:

      If the physicists had explanations like the one you just gave… “Plain and Correctly” to quote you. NO ONE would watch the show! That was the most boring thing I’ve read and collecting guns and shooting them is probably my most favorite thing to do on earth, next to riding motorcycles…

    • randell says:

      i have seen people jump over a 15 foot wall before but of course they ran up to it and basically combined jumping with crawling but hey they still got over the wall there are also free runners who will jump from one building to another or jump off 4 story buildings and land on there feet with out any injury

  24. Yankeebatboi32 says:

    This is a response to Cyberguy..
    When the “involuntary” response to the bullet hitting you, makes you jump backwards.. this is still proving the myth busted because the actuall force of the bullet isn’t causing you to fly backwards, it’s your body’s response to the bullet hitting you.
    So the test were right and the myth still busted.

  25. gunnmm_69 says:

    General statement..
    To have a fire/explosion -fuel, oxygen & an ignition source/heat- the fire triangle must be completed to specific values/ratio. I believe at the start of the test the gas tank did not contain sufficient oxygen in the gas tank to complete a fire triangle, however after putting that much holes into the tank sufficient oxygen eventually entered the tank to complete the triangle.

    PS: Love the show, my 5yr old son can’t get gnough of the show also…

  26. hurf says:

    Wow, they didn’t know anything about tracers. Air friction?

  27. jpmedic65 says:

    That is NOT how tracers work,Jamie and Adam. I can’t believe they even had an “expert” on the show. Makes me want to question some of the other “science” on the show.

  28. CV says:

    I understand you have visted and “re-visited” the exploding gas tank. You went to great pains to actually try to make it work. Unfortunately, you forgot one thing. In Hollywood, and in real life the difference between your test and the actual event is that you did not include a hot exhaust in your test. … In the movies, we see a shooter shoot the back of a car and it explodes. I think this is extremely plasuible. It is not the bullet that ignites or casues the fuel. It is the hole left by the round. Gas tanks and the rear exhaust are “almost” always within inches of each other. (Seperated by heat shields of course).

    It’s simple. Bullet penetrates fuel tank creating hole in the tank. Fuel exits the fuel tank directly onto a hot exhaust system. Boom.

    Another interesting example of this has historically been proven by faulty fuel lines leading into a carbeurtor. Whether it’s a rubber line or a hard line, in older cars this line can rust or break causing spillage directly onto a hot exhaust manifold. I’ve unfortuately had that happen to myself. (It kinda sucked driving down the road at 45mph)

  29. Dwayne Landen says:

    Airplane decompression: you guys forgot about the outside lack of air at 10,000,20,000 or 30,000 ft. with an airplane compressed to what the airpressure at sea level is then crusing at 30,000 ft with lack of airpressure outside of the airplane. a small hole will cause the air to flow outof the airplane because everything flows a greater to a lesser, which would cause a massive flow of air out of the Airplane since the pressure outside is lesser than the pressure inside the airplane. You forgot the outside pressure at altitude. YOU GUYS BLEW THAT ONE???? DEL

  30. Timotei says:

    i think if a person is shot with a 100cm gun, they would defiently fly backwards. I think this should be tested :D

  31. Paul H Hinckley says:

    The Bogdan comments on the results of the episodes 25 and 38, are probably more accurate than anyone else, since I can tell you from personal experience if you use low velocity bullets, you will get the results you are looking for. I have been hunting for small animals with both hypervelocity and low velocity .22 rifle bullets. The HV .22 Long Rifle bullets would pass through so fast that almost no movement of the animal would be observed. The low velocity .22 CB bullet, would literally cause the small animal to do a complete flip. Almost the equivalent of me running up and kicking it. The rifle weight cancels out most of the recoil kick of the rifle bullet for the same reason. Speed is so sudden when the gun is fired, the energy is cancelled out by the weight of the weapon, the same as the small animal barely moving when hit by the HV .22.I doubt you will revisit this topic, but if you do, and you decide to further explore the comments of Bogdan, combined with my theory to use heavy low velocity bullets, targets large or small should show more obvious signs of impact. I really enjoy the show whether the myths are accurately busted or not, since it looks like you have a lot of fun. I’m actually jealous. Keep up the good and fun work.

  32. HR says:

    MYTH BUSTED again several of those watching the show hit it on the head; dead pigs don’t feel the sting of a hot little piece of metal entering their body so they don’t react with involuntary muscle contractions! Check out some of the videos from our returning troops or talk to big game hunters. Shots that don’t generate a clean kill may cause the subject’s body to react violently when shot, throwing through the air.
    OH yes bullets are hot! Unless made of ice and that myth was messed up too because it was fired with hot gasses. Strange when they did the ICE Bullet show and I suggested they flip a coin, use cold compressed gas to fire an ice bullet at the looser of the coin toss, they never give that myth another try!

    I’m actually jealous too, though I would like to see the show get it right more!

    • MSpears says:

      And the myth is STILL BUSTED, because the entire point of the myth is that it was the impact of the bullet, and NOTHING ELSE, that was causing the body to fly through the air.

  33. phil male says:

    Plywood builder

    DOH!!! as said above Tory was anchored so could not hold on ( not to mention all the uneven wind forces caused by the truck ), but that isn’t how updraft works, and it’s not freefall.
    The myth said the builder was blown off the roof and landed several floors below.
    nothing about flying

    all the builder has to do is support his own weight by holding on, most of us can do this.

    all you need then is the updraft, as someone who does a lot of model glider flying from slopes i can tell you it works like this.
    if the winds going up faster than your going down, your supported, if not, your going down, how fast depends on the difference.

    they know from the first tests with buster how fast he fell, so all you need is a matching updraft and the builder would loose no height assuming he could balance under the board ( and as they carry them already balanced thats sorted )

    as he fell a few floors we can guess he either didn’t perfect the mk1 plywood glider, or the updraft wasn’t strong enough.

    you want to test the myth?
    stick a willing ( strong ) mythbuster in a skydiving simulator, you know, the ground based vertical wind tunnels.
    give him a sheet of wood and slowly turn up the wind.
    remember he doesn’t need to gain height as the myth said he went down several floors.
    but nearly flying will do, anything thats not loosing control of it totally, flying would be great.

    Aircraft decompression, the only way your going to test this on the ground is the same way they test for real.
    seal an aircraft, and then pressurise to to the difference! between internal and external at 30,000′, thats not sea level internally btw else your ears wouldn’t pop on take off.
    what your lacking in tests is the amount of air inside an aircraft, a small volume test isn’t going to release enough quick enough to show up anything.
    the skins so thin that any tear and that much air ( and debris ) could widen the gap and cause an airframe failure.
    tiny cracks around the Comet’s square windows caused them to explode in midair

    finally read this http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A20460782
    even in the small cockpit the door had been sucked off it’s hinges, and the pilot sucked out of the window that failed, and thats air blowing into! the window, not across.

    thats enough for now i think.

    • JohnF Boulder Co says:

      The mythbuusters test had almost the enmtire cabin interior of a 737, to about 5 atmospheres pressure (far more differrential than a plane at 30,000 feet.)
      There’s also the infamous plane at Hawaii that had a crack cause a large fracture of the skin & frame, and the top of the plane ripped off for about 8 meters or so.
      That was mostly the effect of 500 knots of airspeed, and the person “sucked out” was mostly chaotic blasts of that airspeed ripping past everything.
      What the mythbusters plane test missed was the airspeed. After blasting the entire gaping hole in the plane (Wrapped a window with det-cord) and the dummy didn’t get sucked out; see what happens with the airspeed. Planes have been ripped into fragments by airflow. Cause enough damage with small parts coming off, and make it lose stability, and tumbling makes it rip apart (what killed Challenger and to some extent, Columbia)

  34. Anonymous says:

    Tracers have the compound in the hollow base of the bullet typically covered by a bit of foil and are ignited by the rounds propellant. The orange tips are simply paint to identify the type of round.

  35. John says:

    Funny, when testing the rain theory for 8th grade science class, we had different results. We took two tarps, cut a hole in both middle and fed it into a bucket. Then, one test group stood in the middle of the school parking lot while one group rigged a vertical rain catching device to the ladder rack of a pickup and drove around the school. Both groups collected rain for the same amounts of time, but the bucket in the truck filled up much faster than the stationary bucket. We reasoned that the moving tarp encountered more raindrops than a stationary one.

  36. John says:

    With reference to bullets, it depends where it strikes. If it hits a nerve cluster in the skull or the spine, then the target will drop cleanly. If you hit a fleshy region, then the target may react with a great deal of animation. I’ve seen people practically jump out of their skin when they so norhing more than step on a bottle cap on the beach, or prick themselves on a bush. Multiply that one thousand times and imagine how a person would react. Further, much depends on how the energy is imparted. I have seen someone hit in the SAPI by a 00 buckshot at close range and be knocked back several meters. The backwards energy of a forward propelled bullet is only imparted on the shooter while the bullet is in the barrel. When it hits the target, all that energy is imparted on the target… unless it goes through.

    • Magda says:

      Got it! Thanks a lot again for hpenlig me out!

  37. Salman says:

    plz try it: what happen when a tyre of moving car is fired by pistol

  38. Trag says:

    I’m quite certain that a low velocity, heavy round will in fact move a target. If you were to kick someone in the chest, you may have a force applied to you, but being properly braced for it that force may seem insignificant. Meanwhile, the person on the receiving end may move a few feet, depending on balance and preparation, as well as placement of the kick. Now amplify that by the amount of force a shotgun at point blank with buckshot will cause, use common sense, and then still attempt to ramble about how a gunshot won’t move a living target. Dead targets are “dead weight” and essentially a few hundred pounds of inanimate matter. Why not shoot blocks of wood or oversized marshmallows for that matter? Living tissue reacts differently. Ask a big game hunter who has used different rounds if any of them have been able to physically move a target. I’ve seen animals knocked over from the blast of a heavy round. If the round isn’t too fast, with good shot placement, the force will generally knock it over. I don’t know about moving it a few feet, but I know for a fact that I’ve seen hits on living things that looked like the target was kicked over.

  39. Xeno says:

    I am unable to understand how everyone can loudly tout Newton’s Third Law as a catch-all for bodies being propelled by bullets yet fail so spectacularly to understand how a firearm actually works.

    When a gun is fired, it doesn’t teleport the bullet to the target; it doesn’t magically give the bullet 100% of all the energy it has at impact instantaneously; both of these would be required for the mass-energy equation you’re talking about here to be accurate.

    When you “mythbusted” this, did you happen to note that the bullets went all the way through the target?

    Right, do you understand the physics of how that happened?

    It happened because the bullet arrived with so much more physical force than the target was structurally able to withstand that the bullet blasted right through it, thus retaining much of its kinetic energy – which means the target didn’t fly backwards because the bullet kept going, not because it arrived with too little force.

    Seriously, this isn’t complex. In order for both the shooter and the target to go flying, the energy imparted to the bullet during the process of firing would have to be imparted instantaneously. I hate to break it to you, but even if your perception of time is such that firing a gun takes such a brief span of time that you PERCEIVE it as a single, instantaneous event, it isn’t.

    What really happens when you fire a gun is that you ignite a charge of gunpowder, which burns very, very fast. As it does, it creates an expanding cloud of gas, which propels the bullet ahead of it. The longer the bullet spends in the barrel – a closed space, in which the expanding gas continues the acceleration of the bullet – the more energy the bullet has when it leaves the barrel.

    That doesn’t happen instantaneously, and to the shooter it isn’t an impact; it’s a very brief sustained PUSH.

    When the bullet arrives at the target, though, it impacts – and imparts its kinetic energy instantaneously.

    In the event that the target is either sufficiently hardened to withstand or at least seriously resist the bullet, or the bullet has enough force to impact but not fully penetrate the target, all the kinetic force imparted to the bullet by the firing process, minus the loss to air friction during travel, is delivered to the target instantaneously, which in fact WILL cause a target to go flying, though not to the ridiculous degree that Hollywood exaggerates it.

    This is why a rifle hits harder – and at longer range – than a pistol, by the way; the barrel length is greater, and thus the distance over which the bullet accelerates is as well. Even given an identical cartridge fired from a pistol and from a rifle, the rifle will fire the bullet with far more force and muzzle velocity thanks to barrel length.

    If you’d like to actually test this like scientists would – the ones who passed high school physics and can therefore comprehend an acceleration curve – get a pistol and rifle, each firing .22 LR ammo – that way you can use the same ammunition in each weapon – and fire them at ballistic gelatin from different ranges. What you will find is that the pistol, at more than a few feet away, will cause much more target movement, but the rifle will blast all the way through it.

    Structuring your experiment incorrectly to test your hypothesis does not disprove your hypothesis.

    • MSpears says:

      This has been discussed to death, Xeno. It doesn’t matter whether all the force of a bullet is imparted to you or not, the real-world physics mean that you will NOT fly through the air. Period.

      This is because the ratio of the kinetic energy is the same as the ratio of the masses, and is INDEPENDENT of velocity! This means that it doesn’t matter how fast the bullet goes, it can’t throw a 150-pound human through the air because the bullet simply DOESN’T WEIGH ENOUGH. Even a .50 caliber bullet only weighs 41 grams; a 150-pound target weighs about 68,000 grams.

      In order to throw a human backward, you’d have to shoot them with a much larger projectile, where the bullet has enormous MOMENTUM (larger masses have more momentum), like a 20mm or 30mm round. The recoil of such a weapon is so enormous that the gun can’t be fired without being mounted on a weapons platform, or part of a recoilless system, where the hot gases shooting out the back of the system counter the recoil.

      Also, please don’t confuse velocity with momentum. Momentum is equal to velocity times mass. So a 7.62mm bullet doesn’t have enough momentum to send a body flying, because even though it has lots of velocity (2,800 feet per second) it has very little mass (about 9 grams). By comparison, a 20mm bullet weighs 100 grams at a speed of almost 3,400 feet per second, so it has both mass AND velocity, and therefore will impart much greater momentum to the target.

    • G3Ken says:

      I cannot believe the number of absurd responses regarding people “flying through the air” after being shot. Those folks are just a bunch of wannabe keyboard commandos.

      As for the whole penetrating vs. full-energy absorption argument, you are also wrong. It STILL will not cause someone to “fly” through the air.

      Here’s a very simple, real-world demonstration of what happens when a person is struck with a RIFLE round, directly into a soldier’s SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) plate on his kevlar vest, thus absorbing the entire impact of the round. Note he is even standing flatfooted when hit by the haji sniper and just drops to the ground. NOT fly or anything even remotely close to it.


      Note that a rifle round has a SIGNIFICANT amount more muzzle velocity (fps) and muzzle energy (ft/lbs) compared to handguns and he still barely moves when hit. Thankfully, he got up to fight another day.

      BUSTED. No flying. If you want to make an intelligent argument about something, don’t use Hollywood as a reference. In the first Die Hard movie, Bruce Willis makes three retarded errors in a single sentence. He refers to a Glock, which scared people at the time due to the fact they had polymer frames and stupid people believed they could be brought through metal detectors and x-ray machines.

      Willis states, that the bad guy has a plastic (NO-polymer frame with steel parts and slide) gun made in Germany (NO-Austria) that can pass through metal detectors (NO again, as most of its weight is from the STEEL slide and barrel). Three lies in a single sentence. Don’t get your information from movies.

  40. Xeno says:

    And while I’m at it, it has nothing to do with involuntary muscle contractions. Earlier commenters are right; try hollowpoints instead of jacketed bullets; they are far more likely to remain within the body of the target, thus imparting all their energy and causing the target to go flying.

    Jacketed rounds are jacketed specifically to PREVENT them remaining within the body, and they are far more likely to plow all the way through the body without stopping, thus taking the majority of their kinetic energy with them when they leave. These bullets cause injury mostly due to hydrostatic shock; as the water in the body cannot be compressed, when the bullet passes through the body, it pushes the water around, causing your tissues to rupture and your organs to be crushed.

    Hollowpoints, on the other hand, simply blow great gaping holes in you.

  41. yeah ok says:

    It’s always funny to read these arguements, physics “experts” who talk about acceleration in the gun barrel (though accrurate) but ignore the deceleration as the body absorbs impact (yes, no matter how you dream it the body will have a acceleration curve). Bodys aren’t throw, anyone who has ever hunted will tell you that. And as for the jerk reaction theory, nervous system reactions are normally symetrical to shock impacts (watch a taser video) it’s extremely unlikely that the body would react in a way that would propel it in any direction other then down.

    Car exaust is no where near hot enough at the tail pipe to ignite gas, (that’s why they safely put the gas tank there), and using a APIT round (designed to ignite flammable materials on impact) is not a reasonable test. rpgs will also make a gas tank explode by that logic.

    holding a sheet of plywood while airborne is possible I believe but having worked with the stuff for years leads me to doubt a gust of wind strong enough to support your body weight (or close to it) wouldn’t take it from you.

    I can’t recall the details but I believe they pressurized the plane to simulate the lower pressure outside at cruising alt, also they did do some tests to see the effects of air movement. This one is a little tricky to test becuase of the variables but I think they thought it through and got as close to reality as can be expected.

    keep in mind everyone that they tests myths, Given hypotical situations with no restrictions and exactly the right variables anything can be assumed to be true. Staying within reasonable intent of the myth being tested they have proven time and time again most things we see out of hollywood are false, I don’t know why someone would be foolish enough to argue otherwise.

  42. Connor Fox says:

    There are videos on youtube of Richard Davis shooting Alex Jason (I don’t have a clue who they are). 7.62x51mm to the chest, stopped by armour. He doesn’t get knocked over. The body armour means that all of the kinetic energy of the bullet would be instantly transferred to the man, and he still doesn’t move.

  43. Tw33z says:

    Don’t be talkin all yer fancy book lernin physics and stuff. I done seen a shotgun blast knock a man clean off’n his feet. Y’all need Larry The Cable Guy as a consultant or somethin

  44. Dead Eye says:

    It’s so wonderful to see all the people in these threads who learned everythign they know about guns from movies, and have never fired a gun so much as shot anything. A bullet of any kind will not knock a person back. Why? Because bullets penetrate. They enter the body, jsut like when the guys could not knock a hat of with a bullet, for something to be pushed off it’s feet. It indeed has to be pushed. Bullets don’t push, they stab, well the forceably enter the body at high speeds, As some one who shoots regularly I’ve seen all this several times, bullets will go through a paper target they will not push it away, glass or plastic bottles, they can go through them and leave them standing. The closest I have ever seen to a bullet pushing something, was a hanging cast iron cooking wok, and that was only with either .22’s or twenty gauge shotgun rounds, and only because they did not have the force to peirce the wok. Any rounds larger than that 9mm .45 .308 .306 7X54 and twelve gauge slugs were more than capable of going right through the wok without having it move at all. Seriously, have you ever seen a deer get shot and go flying? No bullets go through things, they don’t push them. If you’ve never so much as fired a gun at anything, try not to argue about things you don’t know.

  45. Dead Eye says:

    Ohh pefore someone makes a hollow point argument, yes they do burst in the body, sometimes. And the shrapnel tends to go flying out the back which is why they kill, because it turns from acurate bullet, into shot gun fired from inside your body.

  46. Starman says:

    Just a note or two on the bullet in the fuselage comments. Airliners and other high-flying jets ALREADY have a hole in the fuselage. Cabin pressure is maintained by conditioned bleed air from the engines pumped into the aircraft at a fixed pressure, and a controlled leak from the fuselage through what’s called an “outflow valve.”

    The outflow valve full-open is about 1 sq ft, it’s big, and can be seen on the aft rear lower fuselage on Boeing aircraft. It will be open much less in-flight, obviously, but it is the only mechanism that regulates the cabin pressure, so it opens and closes as needed all the time, even at 42,000 ft. It has backup controllers if the primary fails. It is a very important device. Differential pressure is controlled to approx 8 psi, which keeps the cabin at about 8000 ft MSL when the aircraft is flying at 40,000 ft. (Different manufacturers and aircraft have different specs).

    Also, sometimes doors or windows (the cockpit windows that crank open) leak air. They “squeal” like a pinched balloon throat and we write them up and the maintenance guys come adjust the seals.

    There is 500mph air flowing over all these leaks. Makes no difference.

    The point is there are already leaks in the fuselage, and there has to be outflow or the constant inflow of bleed air would over-pressurize the cabin.

    An additional .45 caliber hole, or even a fist-sized hole, wouldn’t bother the cabin pressure one bit. The outflow valve would just close a bit more to make up for it, automatically.

    BTW, if you were ever to run into an off-duty Federal Air Marshal, they would tell you they’re not concerned with holes in the fuselage. They’ve been trained that a bullet puncturing the aircraft is not a safety issue. They will gladly blast a terrorist into Swiss cheese at any altitude. (Puncturing passengers or crew is a concern, though).

    So here’s the next question. There’s a .45 caliber hole in the cabin wall next to your seat at seat 23A. You’re cruising at 42,000 feet, the bad guys are dead, and you’ve already seen the in-flight movie and read all your magazines. The hole is making a hissing noise. Should you; A) Leave the hole alone, B) Make like a Dutch boy and stick your finger in the hole, C) Put your magazine over the hole, D) Feed peanuts to the hole, E) stick your tongue in the hole.

    An airline pilot person

    • Medardus says:

      The aft rear outflow valve is not a leading-edge protrusion. Leaking seals, especially in the “crankable” windows, are also not leading-edge protrusions. We have overspeed warnings for a reason. 500 knots flow will rip anything off an airframe that isn’t designed to be subjected to 500 knots flow. Period.

      Stick to flying. I’ll stick to fixing.


      An aircraft maintenance person

  47. Matt says:

    In response to CV

    There is another difference between the Hollywood gas tank stunt and a real life gas tank. The fact that the car is rigged with explosives timed to make it look like the car is exploding when shot at.

    Why? Because its really cool to watch. That’s all.

  48. Pugiron says:

    Try a .50BMG api round on a half filled gas tank. Also, mikeg, 380mm is a battleship cannon. a .380 pistol is .38 inches, about 9mm. A .38 is the same diameter but much more powder. They showed that even a .50 BMG will not knock a body back. Any gun that has enough energy to do that cannot be fired by a human or it will have the same result on the shooter.

  49. Pugiron says:

    And “john”, you’re just a flat out liar. You have never seen anyoen knocked back several meters by buckshot. Liar.

  50. Pugiron says:

    The Mythbusters cannot satisfy everyone with the bullet-knockback because too many people are too stupid to understand Newton’s third law. A bullet hits a target with the same amoutn of force it hits a shooter. The difference is surface area, The butt or pistol grip spreads the impact over a wider area than the half-an-inch or less area the bullet hits. That is how body armor works. It spreads th bullet impact out over a wider area. Even a .50 BMG, the largest round with the most power of any round a human can fire standing up does nto have the force to throw you back,either as the shooter or the target. The energy focuses on a small area and penetrates. A hollow point doe snot gain extra energy as it spreads, it divides that energy up over a wider area. Same with Shotguns, which have much less energy than rifles.

    • Outlaw Keith says:

      Want to see something pretty funny? Go on youtube and watch the video of all the Arabs shooting the .700 nitro express rifle.. I laughed like crazy!

    • wally says:

      or the fact its not a direct impact moving the bullet, rather like uncorking champagne.

  51. Sophie says:

    man id hate to have a black car in summer where i am: Australia, 42 degrees celcius.

  52. Gariandos says:

    There’s a reason why a car won’t explode via a bullet to the fuel line. Car companies aren’t going to sell cars that explode by the most lightest impacts. If they did, every car crash will look like the 4th of July, and every pileup will look like a Micheal Bay movie. If they sold cars like that, there would no doubt be enough lawsuits to stretch from New Mexico to Kentucky if not more.

  53. flyinseamnky says:

    Well in my google search I found this: If a bullet is shot through the fuel tank of a car, it will explode. I recently watched a movie where a woman who supposedly doused herself in Gasoline fired a pistol to murder her ex-boyfriend, and she did not catch on fire. I thought for sure she would have been ignited by the spark. MYTH or Movie magic? As far as the movie was concerned she arrived at the scene with the gas can in hand, and gun hidden in her jacket, so I guess she could have simply filled it full of water.

  54. big T says:

    Not a hunter in the bunch. Have none of you ever shot up an old car just for fun? You guys are funny. Keep guessing, your logic is amazzzing.

    • wally says:

      only car i shot up was 20+yrs old and many other shooters had gotten to it before I. care to donate one? its for educational purposes :D

  55. lany says:

    Could you figure out if it is shook or the real bullet that kills you?

    • wally says:

      usually hydrostatic shock unless its a direct vital organ hit. also some rounds are made to tumble after impact, transferring as much energy as possible into the body, but im sure a medical examiner can tell how someone was actually killed

  56. Carlos says:

    Regarding Bullets…
    Conservation of momentum always holds.
    Speed of transfer is not relevent exept if the bullet is reflected like the case of the cast iron. If the bullet bouces back with speed, the momentum transfered to the body is twice the momentum of the bullet. If the bullet drops to the floor(with bullet proof vest) or stays in the body, the full momentum is transferred to body. If bullet goes thru body with significant speed, then only a fraction of the momentum is transferred.

  57. Mike says:

    Regarding the gas tank exploding when shot with a bullet:

    I was on a US warship off the coast of Somalia hunting pirates and we got into a skirmish with some. A tracer round from one of our mounted .50cal machine guns hit a barrel of fuel on the deck of their boat and it exploded just like you see in the movies. I was left speechless because I had assumed that the “things exploding when you shoot them with bullets” was a load of crap. But under the right conditions (tracer round, 50 gallon barrel of diesel, ~200-300 yards, 115 degree weather with no shade) it can happen. Confirmed on video that it was a direct hit with a tracer round that caused the explosion (you can see it hit the barrel followed by a couple of seconds of what looked like a flame coming out of the impact site, and then an explosion).

  58. Mike says:

    “Even a .50 Caliber bullet does not have the momentum to knock a person backwards. If it were possible, the shooter would be knocked backwards as well – as per Newton’s Third Law.”

    This isn’t entirely true, the force of the explosion of the gunpowder would radiate out in all directions and be absorbed by the inside of the gun and be cancelled out. Down the barrel the force be the only unbalance route and therefore propell the bullet down along it and out of the gun. the bullet would be having almost the full force of the explosion and the kick back is absorbed in the gun.

  59. Jacob says:

    EVERYONE thinking its real when someone flies back several feet. Just go watch some execution videos..All a dead guy does is fall over due to the lack of brain matter. Or if you cant stomach that. Think about hunters and deer. The flipping dear doesnt fly anywhere. Or maybe even imagine steal targets during practice. Sometimes they dont even fall over. With that in mind..drop the BS about people flying

  60. Near Miss says:

    I have a question for the firearms experts/physicists.
    What force does a passing bullet have to have in order to cause injury? Could the passing force alone cause, say, damage to hearing?
    Could the passing force/noise of a ricochet alone damage an eardrum or would you have to be closer to the shooter?

  61. Peter M says:

    Take a look at a ballistics test in gel of a .357 magnum –


    You can see that the force of the bullet will more likely cause massive hydraulic shock and not send the victim flying backwards from force.

  62. Tech says:

    As far as this bullet knocking a person back what about you wear a suit of armour and get hit by a wrecking ball…think that might do it

  63. derpleherp says:

    They should revisit the knocking back myth with a .950 JDJ rifle. That thing can be 120 pounds, and still have amazing kick.

  64. Steve M says:

    There were several problems with the Mythbuster’s bullet test.

    1. The pig carcass was hung, it was not standing. As a Hunter, I can tell you that shooting a deer at 300 yards with a spine hit will not drop the deer straight to the ground. Instead in my experience it not only knocks them back and over but will spin them sometimes as much as 180 degrees from their original position. These shots made with a 200 grain .30 caliber bullet, so we aren’t talking massive projectiles. Now the point is that these are spine shots so we are talking about instant severing of the spine so there is no muscle reaction to speak of.

    2. Distance should also be a factor in this test. At close range velocity of the round over comes the energy transfer of the projectile, the further away from the muzzle the lower the velocity (also energy as well but to a much lesser degree).

    Now with these two things covered consider that a standard 308 using a 168 grain BTH projectile will knock over a 20 pound steel bull at 500 yards if hit anywhere above the lower 1/4 section of that bull. How is this possible? This round will leave the barrel at about 2700 FPS with an energy level just under that 2680 ft-lbs. At 500 yards the velocity has dropped to around 1800 FPS and energy to around 1250 ft-lbs.

    As for actual recoil of this particular round in an 8 pound gun recoil is 18 ft-lbs and recoil velocity is 12 FPS. What many here do not seem to understand is that the projectile does not go instantly to 2700 FPS , it starts out slowly and builds its speed as the gas expands in the barrel. Using a barrel longer than 24″ will achieve higher velocities, roughly 50 FPS per inch, although there is a point of diminishing returns up until you reach negative returns.

    The point of this being that yes if the transfer was instant to velocity then there would be a tremendous level of recoil from any round fire from any conventional rifle.

    When you get into the difference between let’s say a 12 gauge shotgun slug and the 308 you also have to figure in the sectional density of the projectile the SD of the 308 round is around .270 while the SD of a 12 gauge slug is only .117 buck shot you divide
    both impact energy and SD of the slug by 9 and what you come up with at the muzzle is 2361 ft-lbs of energy for the slug and 262 ft-lbs for the 00 buck and the SD for the 00 buck is .009 not much in the way of impact results except at the muzzle.

  65. Cor Blimey says:

    We were shot at on a motorway

    I know nothing about guns, but this happened on a British motorway by a car that raced past and swerved in front.

    It seems likely that the lead (I think) bullet was aimed at the front nearside tyre, but missed hitting the bumper, where it lodged.

    The impact hole was about 4-5mm diameter and of depth about the same, maybe less. I am not sure of the material but the bumper is likely to be an alloy of some type as the car has an aluminium body

    The car is an Audi A2 which is sturdily built with a very solid ?cast aluminium?bumper.

    We were travelling at 70mph in the inside lane on a quiet motorway when we were hit

    1) Would the impact of the bullet have burst the tyre, had it hit?
    2) Would the black lead bullet have distorted and been virtually invisible in the mess of the burst tyre?
    3) What would have happened to the car (and us) had our front tyre suddenly burst at 70 mph?

    I should mention that, despite the darkness, I noticed that this high powered medium sized car had a huge box like custom built boot. Maybe someone was lying in it and aiming from there?
    Also that something was happening near the nearside wing mirror, so maybe the shot came from there?

    It was dusk, so difficult to see what was going on

    The police were informed and a report made.

    I would be grateful for any answers you can give me.


    • BrainShoes says:

      From the sound of it, it sounds like a .22 round (which is about 5.5 mm)

      In my experience with .22 rounds, Most older (but not newer) sub-sonic bullets that I’ve fire used black lead which could also explain the lack of penetration through your bumper..

      As for your other questions:
      1) I’ve never shot a pressurised tyre before due to the possibility of it exploding.. But I will try next time I visit my parents farm..

      2) Most .22 bullets tend to warp pretty easily.. I’ve seen them disintegrate after punching through a 20 cent piece.. Seeing as tyres are made from a composite of rubber and stuff like steel mess and so on, I’d assume the bullet would break apart pretty easily. Making it impossible to find if it did puncture your tyre..

      3) Again I’m not sure.. But I did have a friend who’s wheel fell off his Silvia while he was driving on the highway.. He was doing 110km/h (about 68 miles) and managed to bring it to a stop safely so I think it would be safe to assume in such an advanced vehicle like an Audi that if you kept your head you would be able to keep it in control if your tyre burst..

      Hope that helps :)

      • Cor Blimey says:

        Thank you so much, BrainShoes. Big apologies for my delay in responding.

        I forgot to mention that an Audi A2 has a reinforced section (kinda patch) on each corner of the front bumper. It hit this section, which appears quite thick. like padding almost. … ?Maybe made of an alloy, but only guessing

        I have never heard of another car being shot at from another car passing it on a British motorway, so it is kind of scary.
        We are not gangsters!!! Just senior citizens keeping to the rules of the road (70 mph is the legal limit in the UK on Motorways).

        There was no previous problem with the other car, or its occupants; it just appeared from no-where, raced past us, swerved in front and bang … then raced off again. Very strange

        I did wonder if a tyre is under more stress when travelling at speed would be more likely to burst because of that? (heat, additional pressure and variable lateral/radial stresses maybe)

        Good to speak to experts and very good of you to give your time. Thank you

        Cor Blimey

  66. richard says:

    I think the slip and slide should be revisited, I think their was some slip and slide rules left out like you have to run into the slide. I think skin is slipperier thin a wet suite and they didnt have enuff water on the slide.

  67. Peter Smythe says:

    What about a .50 caliber BMG round? It has the momentum of a human at 0.7 m/s or so, and, hypothetically, if it bounced around enough, and it was diamond, and the person was diamond, it could impart 20 KJ as KE into them, launching them at lethal velocities (obviously, the 1000-ish recochets it would take to cause this would be nigh-impossible to occur in reality)

  68. Chris says:

    How about a cannonball. If you shoot someone with a cannon point blank I bet it would send them back a ways.

  69. WebFoot Logger says:

    The recoil of a gun is actually higher than the impact of the bullet, because in addition to the recoil of the bullet, you also have the recoil of the propellent (“gunpowder”) exiting the muzzle at approximately 5500 feet per second. (People usually don’t think about that.)

    So, again, no-go on the bullet knocking people off their feet: not going to happen unless they’re off balance or jump away.

  70. Bandyt says:

    I laughed like hell when I finally saw that old episode about shooting the car’s gas tank. Then they drag an “expert” on and “explain” how tracers supposedly work. Just like listening to Obama… You guys are all full of it.

    A: gas tanks in cars don’t explode. We shoot cars regularly at machinegun shoots. We use tracers. We use incendiaries. The best you’re going to get is a burning car if you’re lucky… By the gas leaking out of the tank… WITH enough oxygen and a spark either by a FMJ bullet bouncing off steel or a tracer. We’ve shot several hundred cars over the years. Nothing has exploded, but they’ve all burned quite nicely. Maybe you should send someone to one of our shoots to learn something. The only way we can make them go boom is to do exactly what YOU TV guys do… Put some explosives inside them, then shoot the explosive.

    And really? Tracers work by friction?? It has nothing to do with the tracer compound INSIDE the bullet? You guys are a joke.

  71. louis says:

    i was looking at a document on how people could save the titanic by plugging the hole with mattresss and shirts to stop the water from coming in i wanted to know if it was possible

  72. Luke says:

    50 cal snipers shrewd the human body and lift it off the ground, using select ammunition for the given situation. You are all talking BS.

  73. anshuman says:

    what would happen when a tyre of a moving car is hit by bullet through another car.
    chesing or stuff like that take ref.. hollywood movie

    • Pankaj says:

      Hey Mark,I just downloaded the pagkace an retested it and it is working for me. If you see all of the menu items but clicking on Generate Custom Items does not do anything my guess is that the command is not set up correctly. Do you see thisin ~/App_Config/commands.config . If that is not there, try adding it and see if that fixes the issue.

  74. norman villanuev says:

    Please mythbusters

    Do a special on gun ballet you see in john woo movies to prove if it is possible to get consistent grouping while cartweeling and doing that fancy shmancy b.s. with a beretta 9mm and and assault rifle. those stunts or gunfu are begging to be busted. ps notify me when u guys do it;) iwant to watch.

  75. Jack says:

    same man using max energy shooting a single draw bow will shoot farther, than with a compound bow

  76. Michael A says:

    “If it were possible, the shooter would be knocked backwards as well – as per Newton’s Third Law.” ~ pseudo-science from Myth Busters

    A bullet is not instantly traveling at its maximum velocity. It is accelerated gradually as it travels down the barrel, due to the gas pressure behind it, but it can be stopped instantly (or attempted to be) by armor.

    A .338LM round delivers 5400 Joules of energy to its target directly in front of the barrel. The average adult male can deliver 100-450 Joules of energy in a punch, so do the math. A .338 round can deliver 12 to 54 times what an adult fist punch can.

    Forget the .50 BMG which can deliver as much as 20,195 Joules of energy.

    Note: A vest or an armor plate can direct a lot of the energy laterally and help to disperse it, maybe keeping the victim(?) standing, but even with an impenetrably thick plate, a .50 BMG round would result in an explosion of organs inside of your body. A direct hit to the abdomen from a .50 BMG round is, hitherto, and presumably henceforth, thought to be unsurvivable with any amount of body armor.

    Almost every trick Myth Busters does on their show demonstrates a lack of even the most basic knowledge of the scientific method, and unfortunately, the poor guys typically fall prey to congruency bias, making matters worse.

  77. julia says:

    Too much testosterone, guys. Walk it back a little. Your post-program analysis is a tad agressive. Real engineers working on real problems don’t have to answer at their colleagues to show how smart they are. It’s taken for granted that they can do the job.

  78. Doug says:

    Anyone who has seen a lot of small rodents shot a .22 lr can attest to seeing some of the victims jerk violently into the air and land away from the point which they are struck …for all I know then it could also happen with larger critters, though I have no experience in that. Check out some youtube mass murders of rats for instance. Prairie dogs too often flip into the air…it is the victim’s response of course and not the bullet’s direct energy that causes such. How about very large kangaroo? Wolves’ etc. wonder if any of these flip up into the air when hit ever? Not that I wish for new experiments! Just existing film/video might be an interesting (albeit rather SICK!) addition to the conversation?

  79. Doug says:

    BTW Myth Busters is obviously purposely pretty unscientific much of the time for the sake of being irreverently humorous…no? Entertainment is all about ratings not court admissible science! …Right?

  80. Mark says:

    A human may not fall back as a result of the force of the bullet BUT a live person would most likely react physically with surprise at being hit so they would stumble back unlike the dead weight of a pig hangingfrom a hook or a dummy.

  81. Physics says:

    there was never really any need for experiment in case of bullets.
    Momentum conservation is all you need.
    if you have a target of mass “M” and bullet of mass “m” traveling at speed “v”.

    Assuming m is much smaller than M:

    the target velocity after being hit is at most m/M*v.

    m=50g (the biggest things you might still consider calling bullets and not cannon balls)
    M=50kg (very tiny human)
    v=1000 m/s (=Mach 3)
    m/M*v=1 m/s (3 ft/s for Americans)

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