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From: (Norman F. Johnson)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re:: Guns Underwater
Date: 21 Feb 1996 23:11:18 -0500

# : I've never fired a pistol underwater in the real world.  I take it
# : you're suggesting it would damage my hearing if I did -- seems
# : plausible to me.

# This is not true.  Go to almost any dive shop and ask them about 
# powerheads.  I have a .357 magnum powerehead and it doesn't hurt your 
# hearing.  Sound travels faster underwater but is highly muffled> .

# :  I recall reading that the skin divers in WWII found if they were three
# : feet underwater they could catch the bullets in their hands without
# : injury, and those were rifle bullets.  Does the underwater range of a
# : Glock exceed that of a knife?

Some notes relating to the above: 


During the 60's and 70's when I was a diving fanatic, I made 
about half dozen 12 gage powerheads for killing big fish.  Even 
made one in .357 which still resides in my desk.  All were of
slightly different designs but all worked very well.  All were 
"fire on impact" and they had the effect of a shotgun barrel 
pressed up against the target - never lost a fish.  

In those days one diver, an ex-frogman, was renown for his taking 
of great whites that were longer than boat from which he dived.  
His picture, taken at the instant of powerhead impact on a great 
white's head was a cover of Life Magazine.  The shark's head was 
about the size of the diver's body and the gaseous discharge 
could be seen emerging from the bottom of the shark's head.  
After that I had no doubts about the powerhead's ability to take 
500 pound jewfish. 

I have fired boxes of 12 guage shotgun shells underwater in 
powerheads of my own design.  This is also true of .357 magnums 
in experimental powerheads. The effect is a very muffled whump 
that could in no way impair anyone's hearing.  This is true even 
when shooting into a small cave where the sound was reflected 
directly back at me.  In that case sometimes my mask was pushed 
back against my face by the shock wave, but it was in no way 
uncomfortable.  It's a great way to kill a grouper weighing 50 to 
several hundred pounds if one is a meat hunter as I was during 
college years.  

I have stunned grouper in small caves by shooting against the 
cave wall next to the fish when it was too cramped to hit the 
fish directly.  Usually the fish recovered in 2-3 minutes or so 
but that was long enough to get him into the boat if I didn't 

Forty to fifty pound grouper were common in the Boca Raton, 
Flodida area in 1964-67 and one fed us for a week.  Really large 
ones were around on occasion but they would not fit into our 
refrigerator freezer and had more worms than the smaller ones.  


My powerheads were only for scuba fishing - I have yet to fire 
one above water.  When I went back to school, we had two kids and 
were dirt poor.  Lobster and fish were our principle food for 3 
years altho I am a beef eater (only dream of venison).  

I tell anyone that is afraid of sharks or barricuda to stay out 
of the ocean. Their speed and destructive power is beyond 
description and a power head is absolutely worthless as 
protection. If a shark wants you, you are his, believe me.  I have 
seen fish hit by barricuda cut comletely in two in such a flash 
that only after it was all over did I realize what had happened.  
I have had a stringer of fish taken from friends by a shark with such 
blitzkrieg that it is impossible to believe.  Fortunately, shark 
seldom bother divers so, as in all hazardous activities, odds are 
greatly in your favor.

I was president of a dive club for several years and taught SCUBA 
for the YMCA in the 60's.  Also I dived for the Navy in my 
capacity as an ocean engineer for many years.  


# Were the shotgun shells blanks?

Mine were regular shotloads sealed at end and primer with a boat 

They were all impact actuated - simple in design but too 
difficult to describe without drawings. My first was made from 
pipe and pipe caps.  Barrels were about 1/8" longer than the 12 
gage shell.  All had rudimentary safeties.  I used fiberglass 
shafts with no problems.  A couple fatigued after much use but 
caused no harm.  Felt recoil was virtually non-existant.  
Several years ago one of the gun magazines ran an article about 
firing .45 semi-autos underwater (swimming pool).  All 
functioned just as they did in air with no modifications and they 
found that the bullets traveled considerably farther in the water than 
they did when fired from the surface where they had to penetrate 
the air-water interface.

God Bless!


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Underwater shooting???
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Holger Reusch (Dipl. Gerhard + Joe)) writes:

#While guns will fire under water all right, it is very undesirable to
#be near these guns.  Water conducts pressure changes much
#better than air.  You will seriously damage (at least) your ears when
#shooting a gun under water.  However, it beats being used as main dish
#by a shark.

Actually no.  Both times I've fired rounds underwater, I was
surprised at the low level of concussion.  The first was an old junker
.32 revolver (yea, just 'cuz I wanted to know) and the second was a
bang stick of a diver friend of mine punched into an old tire.  A bang stick
is an anti-shark weapon that consists of a shotgun shell on the end of
a stick.  You jab your target and it goes bang.

I started out with the .32 just held underwater and my hand in a heavy
leather glove, just in case the cylinder burst.  Noting nothing unusual,
next round with me standing in the water but with my head above the
surface.  Nothing interesting.  Last round with head underwater and with
earplugs in (swimmer's ear, not sound protection).  Still nothing
unusual.  Just a thunk, kinda like a miniture M-80 in the water.

Oh yeah, the .32 bullet just kinda dribbled out a few yards and fell
to the bottom of the pool.  Gee I hope my ex-neighboors don't read this :-)


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