Jump to content

FIRE AND AMMO


LtRGFRANK

Recommended Posts

With wind chills at -20 this morning and 30 MPH winds I responded to a house fire this morning. The stucture was completely destroyed.. While it was burning some ammo inside the house was cooking off. And a few cans of powder, Ok I know how that works. But what about ammo in sealed ammo cans. I have numerous cans of 30-06 in military ammo cans and spam cans. I also keep lbs of powder in a locked gun safe. Any info on how that responds to fire. My fellow firefighters know what part of my house to stay away from if its on fire. Robert

Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally, sealed cans of ammo would be among the safest way to store it in your house. In a fire, the ammo would have to be heated to the point where either the primer or powder would detonate. Since they are not is a confinced chamber as in a weapon, either the casing would rupture or the primer would pop out. The force is dissapated in all directions unlike in a rifle or pistol. Any bullets thrown around would have minimal force behind them. This would probably be a time when the "bark" is worse than the "bite." :lol:

Mark V

 

 

382957612.jpg

 

"If they're not shooting at you, you're not trying hard enough. Now move out and draw fire!"

 

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gif

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

As Devious said, ammo that is stored in a ammo can takes longer to heat up and the bullets and primer will push out. When you hear ammo cooking off, it is because of ammo that the fire makes direct contact and is heated up to fast, the powder or primer detonate before the bullet or primer can be pushed out. In the ammo can, the time it takes to get to the temperature to the point that it will explode is longer.

Years ago, I conducted temperature extreme tesing on ammunition. I would freeze it and then fire it. In one experiment, I put ammunition in an oven and would heat it up slowly. At about 190 degrees, when I opened the oven door, either the bullets or primers were all pushed out of the casings. The mechanics are that as the round heats up, the air inside the case expands and since it has no place to go, it pushes the primer or bullet out. If the round is not sealed, as with reloads, then it is feasible that the air will escape around the bullet or primer, not pushing the bullet or primer out and then can detonate much easier.

While in Iraq, I was tasked with going through the ALSE gear of the crew of an aircraft that was shot down and subsequently burnt. Even then, only a few rounds out of the thousands were "cooked off" The rest had the primers all pushed out as the bullets were forced against the magazine wall. The machine gun ammo all had their bullets pushed out. The asphaltic tar used to seal the bullets will heat up and literally help lubricate the bullet to assist in sliding out.


Visit my eBay store: http://stores.ebay.com/crustyw4scorner/

 

35lyhcy.gif2d29461.gifixd2rm.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

ya I understand that. But in sealed can jammed full of ammo wheres that pressure going to go? would the rounds cooking off or popping the primors out raise the pressure in the can causeing the can to burst with unfriendly results. Kind of when a tank car of liquid would burst as in BLEVE Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Waayyyy back in my military carer I was a munitions specialist (bomb thumper) We were told (and is listed in my 1997 vintage manual) that if there is a fire in a small arms munitions storage magazine. That you have an hour before some of the more sensitive munitions begin to "cook off". The magic hour.... This is provided that flares or incendiary munitions are not also kept in this magazine....

 

Mind you these figures are for small arms ammo kept in sealed flip top ammo cans. not the sealed "spam" cans that are from the cmp (greek/ nato). God forbid if some sort of incendiary munition goes off. that could get really messy, really quick!

Dirteater101

 

Head Gun junkie

Old Trooper Gunsmiths

 

"Support your local gunsmith; Shoot something till it breaks!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having recently gotten back into the shooting sports, this was all great information. Thanks so much for posting this!

If the images aren't loading - please check back later. It means my webserver is wedged!

 

donation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites
bob lamoreaux
Waayyyy back in my military carer I was a munitions specialist (bomb thumper) We were told (and is listed in my 1997 vintage manual) that if there is a fire in a small arms munitions storage magazine. That you have an hour before some of the more sensitive munitions begin to "cook off". The magic hour.... This is provided that flares or incendiary munitions are not also kept in this magazine....

 

Mind you these figures are for small arms ammo kept in sealed flip top ammo cans. not the sealed "spam" cans that are from the cmp (greek/ nato). God forbid if some sort of incendiary munition goes off. that could get really messy, really quick!

If I'm not mistaken, Hatcher in "Hatcher's Notebook" addresses the topic of stored ammo in a fire environment. Can't remember if he addressed spam cans or other "bulk" storage, but if I recall correctly, there wasn't all that much of a safety hazard to firefighters from cooking-off ammo. Remember that unlike a tank car, the ammo in a spam can or other bulk storage container isn't going to ignite all at once to increase pressure to an "explosive" result. Further, spam cans are usually soldered (aren't they?) and a fire hot enough to cook-off ammo may well cause the lead or tin to at least partially melt or soften, precluding the pressure build up.

 

This isn't to say that I want to encounter ammo that is popping off in a fire -- even the low velocity "schrapnel" can cause eye damage! I suspect, however, that most fire fighters are going to be wearing air-pacs and the mask would protect the eyes from flying metal fragments.

 

Note that I'm really speculating here and addressing small arms ammo with full metal jacket bullets. Don't know what would happen with cal. .50 or higher ammo nor with APIT or similar ammo. Certainly can't address stuff such as flares (parachute, etc.)!

Link to post
Share on other sites
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.