Friday, August 15, 2014

Top Secret! XACTO Shotgun Rounds

Many viewers have asked to see us shoot razor blades out of a shotgun. 

  One problem I have is relating just what will actually FIT into a 12ga shotgun shell AND through the barrel.  I have lost count how many people have suggested us shooting quarters,  CO2 canisters,  jacks,  and other things that are clearly too large to fit.   A U.S.  dime is the ideal maximum diameter.

The next consideration is weight.   An average 12ga birdshot shell holds 1 ounce of lead shot.  The hi-brass shells above hold 1.25 oz.  The shells are pre-loaded with powder to handle the weight of the load.   Basically,  the formula is  Powder x load = barrel pressure.
If we put something heavier than the original load,   the barrel pressure can spike to dangerous levels to the point where the gun explodes.   I keep things simple and just keep the weight at or below the original weight of the lead shot we removed.

But objects can be TOO light too.    This doesn't cause any dangers,   but may prevent the powder charge to even ignite.  The primer will fire,   but  that's it and the object ends up travelling at reduced speed.    We've found that loads of about 1/3 of an ounce or less just are too light.  

The Xacto blades are perhaps the most cringe-worthy rounds I can think of.   Each shell has 12 separate blades.  They are all new,  and very sharp.  The cut on my finger can attest to that.   12 of these blades weigh in at about 1 oz.  

The problem with these blades is they are flat.   Like the washers or dimes we've shot,  we know flat-objects flutter through the air and have a very wide pattern,   or spread.   In order to control that,   we've tied all the blades together with some strong thread.   The thread will allow the blades to fly together in a small group,  and effectively hit in an area about the size of your hand.   

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NBC Dateline and unauthorized usage of my Youtube videos

Over the years,   I have had more videos stolen by individuals that I can count.   An optimist would say that if a video is worth stealing,   it must be pretty good. 

But  I have never had videos used by major media outlets without my permission before.   I'm not hard to contact.   If a producer is interested in using a clip of mine,   they know the first place to go to is the Youtube messaging system.   I always reply to them with either a yes or a no.   If I ignore them,   there's always a chance they'd just use the content.

When a few of my videos were shown on NBC Dateline,   I was a little "miffed"  since they never bothered to contact me.  The story was about a murder case and an old rat trap video I posted 4 years ago was part of the evidence.    In one of the shots from the video it showed my "watch page"  (the page you watch video on)  and it revealed how many videos I had posted at the time they shot the footage.   That was done in mid-June.   The TV show aired July 18.  

I posted a video showing the videos they used,   and noted that they had cropped out my watermark from a video I posted 8 months ago.   They not only showed the video from the trial,   but showed several other of my rat trap videos as well,  that were not related to the murder case.    I have used watermarks on all my videos I have posted for the last 3 years or so.   My early uploads often do not have them.  

Much to my surprise,   the video rant gained a LOT of views in a day.  Tay Zonday,  the guy that sang "Chocolate Rain"  even chimed in.    Shortly after I uploaded the video,   someone has posted it over at   The fire-storm started.

Later that day,   I got a phone call from a producer from NBC Dateline,  Joe Delmonaco.
He tried to convince me that they had "fair use"  rights for using the rat trap video that was shown on the show,   but also part of the circumstantial evidences for the murder trial.   I understood that and did not have a problem with that.   But  I asked him about the usage of my other videos and why my watermarks were cropped out.    He didn't give me any reasons why but shifted the conversation back to fair-use.   

I was very amazed by the power of social media,  and how quickly this story went from a simple rant  to being the subject of several other news stories.   But I was really surprised that I didn't have to contact NBC-  they contacted me.  

Who else contacted me?   A whole lot of law firms. 

(to be continued)

The power of social media

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What to do with the 3 remaining BOW-MAGS?

Since the Bow-Mags proved to be so pathetic,  not coming remotely close to the manufacturer's claims,   we decided to have some fun with the 3 units we did not use.

We got rid of the bow,  the arrow,   the .357 mag  round and just turned the Bow-Mags into giant shotgun slugs.

The little plastic fins were removed,   lead birdshot was added to increase the overall weight to 1 oz.    and  a little yellow ball was put on the end.

We'll probably shoot these at some of the same things we shot before,  like the book,  the locker door and the giant gummy bear.   Whether or not they will fly accurately,  is to be seen.   

Bow-Mag Results

Friday, June 27, 2014

.357 Cartridge Arrow Tip Testing

This weekend we will be testing out some plastic arrow tips called  "Bow Mags".   These
things can be loaded with either a .38 or a .357 magnum round and when the arrow strikes something, it is supposed to shoot the round off.  

I've seen a few videos of it in action and I am pretty skeptical of the damaging-effects of these things.   The companies video shows some being used against some boars and they are dropping like they got hit by a bolt of lightning.    Other videos I saw,   watermelons were used and the results were dismal.  

A broad-tip arrow is pretty devastating on its own.   These things have more than enough energy to slice their way through a full-grown elk.  

We will be using some harder targets than water jugs or watermelons.   The target has to be dense enough to set off the round.    We'll probably use some thick books,  lumber,  some sheetmetal,  and of course the famous 5lb gummy bear.   Yes,   I still have that thing and it is good for a few more hits. 

Are these things just gimmicks?     I paid good money for these things,  $40 for 6 of them and they are only good for ONE shot.    Since they were not given to me by the company,  believe me,   I will  be totally objective about the outcome.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Test Tube Torcher Test - Update

I wasn't sure if the "TTTT's"  would be somethig unique and watchable for many viewers.   But  when I don't post a new TT video,   viewers definitely let me know they want to see more of them.    It  does seem some viewers simple do not like "scary" gun videos and are more into the science-y  type stuff.   Usually the gun videos are just experiments in kinetic energy.   At least that is how I look at guns.   They just hurl things. 

I have done close to 20 TT videos  so far and I've gotten many great suggestions.   I wanted to do this series with the idea I could use viewer suggestions and I think people like that.   Just like many channels NEVER seem to reply to any comments,   which is a major buzz-kill for ME.   Very few channels ever take ideas from viewers.   Maybe it is pride,   or  they are  "too busy"  or  they think they just know better...  I don't know. 

Not only do I listen to suggestions for the stuff inside the TT's,   but  I also keep an open mind for things like camera angles,   and how the test tubes are held,  etc.   Quite a few people have wanted the TT's  fixed  or held down better so they do not go flying off.   "You need to clamp it with a "real"  test tube clamp..."    I really don't think they make clamps strong enough to grip the TT's  slippery glass surface.   If you got it tight enough,  the thin glass would break  or break while it expanded from the heat.  

I had to come up with something simple and sturdy enough to hold the tubes.   I came up with a simple steel  L-shaped base/backboard with two tabs with holes him them to hold the TT's while the base of the TT simply sits on the bottom of the stand.   Since these TT's build up NO LESS than 100 psi before the plugs blow,     we're talking about a LOT of thrust from these things.   It's a very SHORT burst,   but still a LOT of explosive energy blowing out the end of these vials.   They are not like model rocket engines that might have 5lbs of thrust.  They probably have 50 to 100 lbs.  of thrust.    

The new fixture should resolve a few minor problems.    The loud "booms",  which are usually as loud as a shotgun,    may be less with this thing.   I'm hoping for a loud  "whoosh" at best.   I'm also hoping for less glass breakage,  which I have to clean up each time.   If the vials don't break,   I can reuse them.    And finally,   the biggest thing is safety.   I never know where the TT's might shoot off to.   It might hit a camera or go through a window. 
Note:  I am always far enough away to observe the experiments,  usually in my garage looking out the window.   

The plumes of steam or smoke shooting upward should look very dramatic.  I'll have to set at least one camera back far enough to show this.    The liquid flashing off with my zoomed-in,  1200 FPS camera should look pretty cool.  

I need to find an old mechanical bathroom scale.   I can set the fixture on the scale and we can see how much thrust the TT's have.   There are many new things I can do with this new fixture....   

I just hope the TT's  function in the fixture as I predict.    I am usually 100% with my predictions though!