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Is it possible for a spark to set off a bullet? Like a static electric shock I mean.? Answered


Try using a stun gun on a bullet.

well mythbusters took on this myth, it'd be worth looking up on youtube

maybe if the spark hit the piece where the hammer usually hits it. otherwise, most likely not.

I was thinking of testing this with a spark plug wired to a car battery (from a distance, of course), but I guess after frollard's answer I won't bother. I guess his answer kind of went over my head as far as the magnetic field inverting on itself. It really sounds as though you know your stuff and I'll be the first to admit that I do not (I'm a total nube). I only have questions.

This inversion you speak of... is this the same magnetic inversion principle like in the new cooking ranges and so many youtube videos with tubing wrapped into coils. Because if so, it seems to me that magnetic induction = heat, and lots of it. How much heat does it take to set off gun powder? ..or is that what you meant by saying the field pushes the electrons to the outside of the shell casing?

Hmmm... Kind of raises the question
"What would happen if you attached a bullet with tinfoil to a knife and plugged it into an electrical socket?"...

Absolutely nothing would happen unless you are grounded then you would probably crap your pants.

What if you took an old light, cut the cord, and attached the positive and negative sides to different sides of the bullet?

No the electricity is going to stay in the metal.  It might heat up enough to set it off.

It's like if lightning hits your car and you're sitting inside you won't be hurt.  You might not even realize you car was hit directly.

Exactly, but would there be enough heat?

This is a very mythbuster-y question. 

I feel that the metal housing of the bullet shell and the slug itself would act as a farraday cage.  As soon as the spark hits, it charges the shell, which through the magic of electromagnetism charges the shell casing, which then has a magnetic field that inverts on itself pushing the electrons to the OUTER edge of the shell casing.  The inside of the bullet would theoretically see 0 volts, regardless of the spark.

This doesn't apply if the energy burst is strong enough to deform or destroy the casing, in which case its probably not the spark setting off the powder, but the pressure or physical deformation.



8 years ago

Highly unlikely if you mean normal, drag your feet across the rug static electricity.
If you intend to zap it with a jolt from a 500Kv Tesla coil, it might if it heated up the primer or gunpowder sufficiently.
If you're talking about raw gunpowder, its possible, if an electrical spark hit it. When I reloaded bullets, I always took precautions to isolate the powder from the possibility being struck by any static discharge.

I would doubt it.  A modern bullet is cased in metal and air tight so the spark would just encircle the powder but not ignite it.