The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 67: Firearms Folklore

Premier Date: November 29, 2006

A bullet can be shot into the empty chamber of another revolver.

confirmed

The MythBusters were actually able to fire a bullet straight down the chamber of the test revolver. The bullet went in and lodged itself inside the chamber, matching the photograph that the MythBusters had.

A sniper can kill another sniper by shooting them straight through the scope.

plausible*

Using a police industry standard SWAT sniper rifle and standard police match ammunition, the MythBusters fired several shots at a scoped rifle mounted on a ballistics gel dummy. Unfortunately, the bullet was unable to hit the dummy. The bullet was either stopped or deflected by the multiple layers of lenses in the scope, leaving the dummy relatively unharmed. Without any clear evidence that a bullet can penetrate a sniper scope, the MythBusters decided to label the myth as busted.

*This myth was originally labeled "busted," but due to much debate by viewers it was revisited in episode 75. Using a period-accurate scope (this myth originates from reports of Carlos Hathcock in the Vietnam War), it was found to be plausible.

During the Civil War, two soldiers’ bullets collided in midair and fused together.

plausible

The MythBusters first tried to mount two Civil War rifles in front of each other so that when fired, the bullets would collide in midair. However, this proved impossible because they were unable to get the guns to fire at the same time. Instead, they aimed a single rifle at a bullet suspended in the air. The fired bullet hit dead center, and the MythBusters found that both bullets had fused together into a single mass. Though incredibly unlikely, it is possible for two bullets to collide and fuse together in midair.

If two hammers strike each other, at least one of them will completely shatter with lethal force.

busted

Using a custom rig, the MythBusters repeatedly struck pairs of hammers together, but none shattered. Hammers with wooden handles merely snapped in two and hammers with metal handles bent. The MythBusters then decided to make the steel hammers harder and more brittle by adding more carbon and through heat treatment. In particular, they attempted to case harden the hammers, however it is questionable if this was done correctly. They heated the hammers to high temperatures and then coated the hammer heads in used engine oil. They also decided to have the hammers strike a more sturdy anvil instead of each other. However, during testing, the carbonized hammers merely bent at the handles without shattering. Furthermore, an anvil is generally not made of particularly hard steel, and so that test may have been doomed from the beginning. An anvil with a hardened tool steel insert would have been more appropriate. Though the myth was busted, some hammers come with warnings not to use them to strike another tool or hardened nail with excessive force; although no hammerhead shattered or chipped, high-speed footage showed particle dust flying in all directions, which presents an eye hazard.

(This myth was revisited in episode 75 and it was re-busted.)