Wednesday, October 29, 2014


We will be shooting some capsules full of rust powder in our next series of tests.   These capsules are the same ones used for the "water bullets".   The problem with those was the shockwave/energy created a "hydroshock"  that pushed the water through the plastic capsule and blew it out.   

Instead of a liquid, we will use fine rust powder, and a little lead shot for weight.   We all ready tested one and it left the barrel intact and the capsule blew up in a cloud of red dust when it hit a pile of sand.

We will try these in a few different configurations.  The long tip will act like a vane and should cause the round to flip 180 deg.  after it leaves the barrel.   If the tip is snipped off,   it may allow some of the rust powder to leave and it might have interesting results.  If most of the end is cut off,   then the rust should spew out of the gun in the big cloud.   

Of course,  we really don't know what will happen until we try them.    I fabricated 7 of these rounds.   

Saturday, October 18, 2014


At the last shoot where we shot the pellets,  etc.   we didn't have time to film some rust slugs I fabbed up.   Not only are the shotgun shells old and rusty,   the slug is made out of rust. 

I had a bag of rust chunks someone gave me so I ran some of that through a coffee grinder to turn it into a fine powder.   I then mixed the rust with hot wax.   

Since smaller particles collectively have more surface area than the same volume of larger particles,   we'll see how well these slugs hold up.  More surface area,  the stronger the bond and less space between the particles.   In this case,  bigger is NOT better.  

The slugs are not very heavy,  weighing in at only 4/10ths of an ounce.   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ramset Powder Charges Drive .22 pellets at Hyper-velocities

We got some impressive results shooting .22 PELLETS out of a firearm using nail gun blanks bought at Lowes hardware.    This was our second attempt at doing this.   The first attempt,  tried about 4 months ago resulted in failure.   The first shot,  the entire base of the blank blew off and most of the blast came out of the ejection port of the rifle.   The rest of the case was stuck in the chamber and we did not have a cleaning rod with us to knock it out.

                                                              THE PROBLEM

It seemed logical to fix the pellets right onto the ends of the blanks.  However,  this did not seat the pellets high enough in the chamber.   I can only guess what occurred at the split-second,  but I think the pellet did not  transition from the chamber into the barrel smoothly,  so the blast  took the path of least-resistance,  blowing the end of the case off  right out the ejection port.

  We had 100% reliability by  muzzleloading the pellets so they were seated in the barrel,   slightly above the chambered blank instead of directly on it.   Although that is typically a bad idea to do,  (short starting -look it up)  it worked well in THIS application.   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Interference-Fit Shotgun Muzzle Brake

We finally got the custom muzzle-brake mounted on the Mossberg 590 and got to shoot some rounds through it.   What's unique about this brake is it isn't held on by screws or welds,  etc.  It's a shrink-fit.   The brake was made a couple thousands of an inch smaller than the barrel.  The brake was heated up and it expanded and just slid over the barrel.  Once it cooled down,   it stays on tight as a drum.   We got some cool muzzle flashes blowing out the sides during some filming today.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Beer Rocket Update

                                                              CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

The beer rocket was a failure.  After less than a minute of heating up the test tube,   the glass just cracked and the beer spilled out.  There was almost no pressure at all at this point.   The heat from the torch also melted one of the fins of the rocket.     

I'm not sure if I am going to try this again.   


We are planning on filming again this weekend.   Tentatively,  we will try to shoot bolts,  rust slugs,   and will see if it is a good idea to use  "Ramset"  .22 cal.  nail gun rounds to shoot .22 cal pellets from a rifle.   We might have a new shooter join us and bring some of his guns.    

Friday, September 26, 2014

X-Acto Blades - Afterwards

Here is a photo of all the x-acto blades we were able to recover after shooting them.  The most surprising thing to me was how tough the blades were!

Friday, September 19, 2014

TTTT (Test tube torcher test) BEER ROCKET

                                                                     (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

MANY people have wanted me to invert the test tubes so when the cap blows off,   the test tube rockets off.    One problem with that is trying to frame it with the cameras.   I can't put the cameras under the table-  pointed upwards.   Also,   a test tube flying off under 100 to 200 psi would be VERY unpredictable and dangerous.    It has nothing to stabilize it.

What about putting the test tube into an actual model rocket?   I have a rocket and a launch stand--  it seems do-able to me.   Heck,  this might be the start of a new series where we try different materials to see if they will launch the rocket.   First one will use superheated beer.

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!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Billy and I are planning to head to N.W. Arizona once again to film the Big Sandy Machine Gun Shoot.   This is the "biggest shoot"  in USA.   

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


The word "Torcher"  was an accidental discovery.   I had been trying to come up with a catchy name for these demonstrations.   A viewer had misspelled  "torture"  in the comments and bang!  that was it.   "Torture by a Torch"    

I have to admit that the inspiration behind these tests were  "RHNB"  (red hot nickel ball)  where a guy heats up a metal ball with a homemade oxy/hydrogen torch and sets the ball on various objects.   It seems silly but it is fascinating.  I wanted to come up with something the viewers of those video enjoy but not copy his basic idea.  There are too many people on Youtube who have no problem copying the ideas of others.  The TTTT's  compliment RHNB.  Everyone wins.  
I have always enjoyed  "potential energy"  and the TTTT are a good demonstration of that,   along with thermodynamics.   Just like compressing a spring,   applying  heat energy to a liquid inside a sealed test tube is storing a LOT of energy.    Water expands 1600 times when it transitions from a liquid to a vapor.   One would think something like gasoline would be more energetic than water but it only has an expansion ration of 160:1  (1/10th of water!)

My tests are simple,  cheap and easy to film.   I am able to use suggestions that viewers post and that makes it fun.   Not everything is possible though.   For example,   I don't have nitroglycerin and I am not going to put stuff in there that is too weird and creepy.   I'm trying to use simple,  household materials and avoiding compound tests where I put two or more different materials in a test tube.  (at this time)    Also,  the substance has to melt to a liquid 
AND have a boiling point below the melting point of glass in order for these to work,    so using wood or metal  (gallium) isn't going to built up any pressure.  
Sometimes a viewer will suggest something SO cool I skip ahead and will do that test first.

Even though I have posted numerous TTTT videos,   I'm still in the test-phase to see if there is long-term interest in these.   The response from viewers has been good.   A few viewers have said they were boring,   but you can't please everyone.    There's no shortage of bitter people on YT who seem to think only their opinions matter.   

Upcoming videos: (in no particular order)
Cascade      Tapatio hot sauce       DOT3 brake fluid      10% Nitromethane model fuel 
Chocolate Chips        ammonia       mustard      Frog Lube     Cornstarch/Water 
Crayons   Gasoline   Alcohol  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Test Tube Shotgun Ammo?

Yes,   I still plan to post crazy shotgun videos,   and other shooting videos.
Unfortunately,  I go through dry-spells with the shooting stuff because of weather,   work,   trying sync schedules with friends,    and finding places to film.  
Just to keep you abreast at what is going on,   here are some Pyrex test tubes that have lead shot in the tip and the rest if filled up with solid crayon wax.   I used orange/yellows hoping this color will show up well with the HS cameras.     Each projectile weighs 1oz.  or less.    I used  RIO  high brass 12ga shells.   They are blue.   But I am pretty impressed with RIO even though it isn't a really well-known brand.    I actually like these better than Federal shells.    Really good stuff but usually these are a couple bucks more per box.  The boxes are ugly as hell,   a mud-brown color.   They need to fire their marketing person and redesign their packaging to focus on the cool blue color their shells are.   

Friday, February 7, 2014

The  "Phillips 22"  round?   What the heck is that?    I like to tinker around with .22 bullets.   What I did with these rounds is create a segmented hollow point using just a phillips screwdriver.   We will be doing to some tests and hopefully include another channel to do some ballistic gel testing.     

Just waiting for some good weather to film in.    California has been going through a dry year with little rain.   The reduced rainfall and snowpack is bad enough,  but  the air quality has been really bad.   I live in the middle of California and it is like a big bowl,   the air quality is often very bad.   Rain cleans the air and we can see the mountains that are normally hazy.   

Friday, January 3, 2014

How much pressure?

Temperature and pressure is relative inside a confined space like a boiler,   or in our case,  a sealed test tube.   

I,  as well as many other viewers have wanted to know how MUCH pressure is building up inside these test tubes.    I don't have any small pressure gauges,  especially a high-pressure one with a range that goes up to 1000 psi.  

I do have a remote thermometer and I am going to do a video where I epoxied the probe inside the test tube so we can see what the temperature is.   

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Test Tube Torture Tests

For the next TTTT,   I am going to put microwave popcorn in a test tube.   Have you ever cut open a bag of microwave popcorn?   It is nasty looking.   It looks like something a cat threw up.  

The test tube will be sealed up with an epoxy plug which will cause the internal pressure to increase as the heat increases.     Popcorn pops because of the moisture inside the kernel.  The shell of the kernel allows the pressure to build up inside.   Eventually,  the kernel can no longer hold the pressure and the pressure is instantly released.  The moisture expands about 1600 times.   The starches inside behaves like foam and expands and solidifies almost instantly.

Inside the test tube,   the pressure inside the kernel will be about the same as the pressure outside the kernel.    The popcorn will not pop.   But,  once the epoxy plug blows and the pressure drops to atmospheric pressure.... the kernels will instantly pop.