Simple Q: Do bullets make sparks when they hit x, y or z?

Simple Q: Do bullets make sparks when they hit x, y or z?

This is a discussion on Simple Q: Do bullets make sparks when they hit x, y or z? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm in the middle of the movie "Blood Diamond" and in one scene just now, when the machine-gun fire from a truck hits this Mercedes ...

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Thread: Simple Q: Do bullets make sparks when they hit x, y or z?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Question Simple Q: Do bullets make sparks when they hit x, y or z?

    I'm in the middle of the movie "Blood Diamond" and in one scene just now, when the machine-gun fire from a truck hits this Mercedes fender, there are sparks.

    Now, I know that they are not using live fire, but squibs placed on the Mercedes. That's what made the sparks I saw.

    But do bullets (I'm talking copper-jacketed) EVER make sparks when they hit stuff? Or is it simply an impossibility?

    When the movies depict bullets making things explode, like fuel tanks and stuff, is that UTTERLY false? Utterly true? True in certain circumstances?

    Educate me about this, please.


  2. #2
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    Steel core bullets can.

    I believe copper as well as brass is a non sparking material
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Member Array General Geoff's Avatar
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    Copper and lead typically don't facilitate sparking. But many types of military ball ammunition have steel cores, and exposed steel striking a steel target can create sparks, although not common I'd imagine.

    Tracers, on the other hand, could definitely make a shower of sparks if they impact something hard enough to pulverize their payload.
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Sparks

    Every once in a while I see a spark on the backstop of the indoor range, even when shooting copper and lead ammo. I can only assume it's a little bit of the steel backstop breaking away.

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    Member Array Protect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    Every once in a while I see a spark on the backstop of the indoor range, even when shooting copper and lead ammo. I can only assume it's a little bit of the steel backstop breaking away.
    I see it on the steel targets @ IDPA matches. Lead and FMJ.

    Aluminum will spark faintly in a bead blaster with aluminum oxide abrasive. I don't think its a spark per se, but superheated tiny particles.
    "When a man attempts to deal with me by force, I answer himóby force.
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    Every once in a while I see a spark on the backstop of the indoor range, even when shooting copper and lead ammo. I can only assume it's a little bit of the steel backstop breaking away.
    Ditto.

    I've seen this occur numerous times through the years at multiple indoor ranges. Even from my own ammo and I'm always shooting store bought/commercial copper jacketed target ammo (FMJ & JHP) as well as solid copper JHP carry ammo.
    As well when training with my BB gun in the basement the ammo is "copper coated" and every so often one will either completely penetrate my backstops or I'll make a wild shot and upon hitting the flagstone there is always a spark.

    - Janq
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    I see it every single day. I work at a range with steel traps in the back to catch the bullets. Sometimes I enjoy watching beyond the targets and watching all of the sparks that fly off of the traps in the back. It's rather pretty to watch and it's caused by all types of bullets.

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    Member Array Realleycat's Avatar
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    We had some junk auto's setting down in the bottom of my father-in-laws farm. I opened up on them with a M1 carbine with 30 round magazines. After hundreds of rounds I don't recall seeing any sparks. Lots of holes and flying glass though!!!
    Tony

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    Senior Member Array joleary223's Avatar
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    I couldn't tell where the tracers end and the sparks begin. I get a warm fuzzy feeling either way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbXDmiqo6a4
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    Senior Member Array craze's Avatar
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    Ive seen rifle bullets make sparks when hitting rocks. My guess is in this case its the rock fragments that actually make the spark and not the bullet material.
    "Some people go to bed with Lucifer..........then cry, cry, cry when they don't greet the day with God."

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    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joleary223 View Post
    I couldn't tell where the tracers end and the sparks begin. I get a warm fuzzy feeling either way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbXDmiqo6a4
    I love the sight of tracers in the morning, It , It ;looks like Victory.

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    I believe it might be fragments of both the bullet and whatever the bullet strikes.

    The part of the energy is converted to heat and you are seeing the glowing fragments. IMO

    I do find it hard to believe that a car would explode when shot. It might catch on fire but probably not explode.

    Anyone have a car I can use for testing?
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  13. #13
    Member Array Realleycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    I believe it might be fragments of both the bullet and whatever the bullet strikes.

    The part of the energy is converted to heat and you are seeing the glowing fragments. IMO

    I do find it hard to believe that a car would explode when shot. It might catch on fire but probably not explode.

    Anyone have a car I can use for testing?
    I think that "Myth Busters" did this on one of their shows. you're correct, the car caught on fire, but did not explode. If I remember correctly.

    Bullets bouncing off of cars and causing a lot of sparks is just movie stuff!!!
    Tony

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    I've seen flashes of light when someone shoots an AR at the indoor range where I shoot, where the round impacts the backstop. It's in shadow so it's easy to see.

    I know .50 BMG from an M2HB lights up what it hits, sparks and flashes of light everywhere.

    I expect that it isn't sparks per se, but hot fragments being thrown around. The impact causes friction, and some of that energy will be released as light.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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    Funny but true story.

    On my cousins farm is an old broken down hippy bus from the 60's.

    I was shooting at the side of the bus with my M4 and M855 ammo (steel core)

    I didn't know there were old cans of paint and WD-40 in the bus and it all blew up in a fire ball catching the hippy bus on fire.

    My cousins BF and I ran in to put the flames out and I inhaled a huige plume of black smoke.

    I tripped out of the bus doors and fell to the ground and passed out.
    The paramedics arrived with o2 and I was good to go.

    (Please dont confuse this with the time I shot my own vehicle's gas tank) I'll have the sotry with pics of that up soon.
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