Jump to content

ignition from projectiles

Recommended Posts


In the United States, outdoor target shooting has been suspected as the source of numerous wildland fires1,2. Anecdotally, the ammunition involved in most incidents is thought to be of ordinary commercial varieties with bullets composed of inert materials including lead, steel, and copper. No scientific studies have specifically addressed projectile behavior or properties related to ignition of wildland vegetation or organic material. Thus, the primary focus of this study is whether inert projectiles fired from commonly available modern rifles can cause ignition of wildland vegetal matter. The possible mechanism by which inert projectiles could cause ignitions involves the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy at impact with a solid object or target. Kinetic energy is proportional to the product of an object’s mass and square of velocity, which is well known for the vast variety of cartridges available for modern firearms. In general, pistol cartridges are designed to propel a bullet much slower with less energy than rifle cartridges. Rifle bullets should thus be the most likely to have sufficient energy for ignition, provided some amount of that energy is converted to heat after impact. Table 1 indicates approximate muzzle energy for a variety of different cartridges. Ballistic impact has been researched extensively but has been directed principally toward understanding penetration or perforation of target materials. For a particular target, projectiles of a given speed will perforate it at higher angles (closer to normal) and ricochet at lower angles (more oblique) (Johnson and others 1982,






Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha!  My 10 month old can accomplish the same thing banging two rocks together in a patch of cheat grass.

  • Haha 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.