The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 38: MythBusters Revisited

Premier Date: October 12, 2005

REVISITED: A body struck by a bullet will be propelled violently backwards. (From Episode 25)


Even a .50 Caliber bullet does not have the momentum to knock a person backwards. If it were possible, the shooter would be knocked backwards as well – as per Newton’s Third Law.

REVISITED: Explosive decompression can occur when a bullet is fired through the fuselage of a pressurized airplane (From Episode 10)


The Build Team tested the effect of air rushing past an open bullet hole, and surmised that the extra internal pressure caused by this would still not be enough to cause an explosive decompression.

REVISITED: You end up drier running in the rain than walking. (From Episode 1)


When retrying the test in actual rain it was conclusively proven that the running test subject got less wet than the walking test subject. The use of artificial rain in the original test led to a false negative.

REVISITED: Holding a large sheet of plywood will slow a fall from a building enough to make it survivable. (From Episode 18)


After testing the speed of updrafts with a special rig on Tory’s truck it was proven that you could not hold on to the piece of plywood if you were in free fall. A mere 45mph gust knocked it out of Tory’s hands; updrafts from skyscrapers reach upwards of 90mph.

SPINOFF: A black car heats up faster than an identical white car. (From Pilot 2)


A fan wrote in and asked a follow up question: “Does the color of a car affect the way it heats up?”. The MythBusters used two identical cars, one black the other white and left them both out in the summer heat with thermometers in both. By mid-afternoon the black car had heated up to a temperature of 135 °F while the white car topped off at 126 °F, almost 10 degrees cooler.

REVISITED: Running a car with air conditioning on is more fuel efficient than running with the windows down. (From Episode 22)

partly confirmed

The flaw in the original test was that the point where the drag becomes powerful enough to inhibit a car’s performance with windows down was inside their 45 to 55 mph margin. Going less than 50 mph, it is more efficient to leave your windows down, but going faster more efficient to use your A/C.

SPINOFF: A gas tank will explode when shot by a tracer round. (From Episode 15)

partly confirmed

It has already been proven that when shot by a normal bullet a gasoline tank will not explode. However, if a gasoline tank is shot by a tracer round from a great enough distance so that the round can ignite with air friction, it will cause the gasoline to catch fire. By the time this happened the tank was so riddled with bullets (from previous tracers that were fired too close to ignite) that there was no contained pressure, but the MythBusters surmised that had the tank been properly enclosed, it may have exploded; but overall it remains extremely improbable.