Friday, June 16, 2006

Childhood Explosives


Even with all the important events in the world, Al Qaeda bosses being snuffed, Bush and party up to their usual antics, global warming, etc, my mind still turns back to a bigger problem from my childhood – how to detonate an entire box of roll caps at one time.

First some explanation for the kids who weren’t allowed to play with toy guns. Once upon a time, boys played with guns and that was ok. Some of the guns fired a class B explosive called a cap, a paper strip with perforations and a dot of gunpowder every 1/2 inch or so. You loaded the roll on a spindle in the grip. A mechanism in the gun would fit into the perforation on the strip and advance the roll every time you would squeeze the trigger, placing a dot of explosive under the hammer. Pop, pop, pop, all day long. It was cool, but not very loud.

How to get more bang for the buck, literally? Burning the caps wasn’t the answer. Sure, you got one hell of a fire going and could hear some sputtering as the flames hit the explosive, but fire wasn’t the answer. You could bash large boulder down on a roll of caps, and that made a satisfying explosion, but still not enough to have mom come running out of the house to see what the hell we were up to now ( I think she got most of her exercise that way). My father had an old muzzleloader and we could cock the hammer back, place an entire roll on the nipple and then fire the gun. That was stupendous, once I couldn’t hear anything for about three hours after firing off a roll, and had a cool powder smudge on the side of my face. All that the “one roll wonders” did was fire the ambition to set off an entire box.

I fear we never came across the answer, and now guns are bad and boys play with dolls and that is ok (that may also explain why we are breeding a race of pussies and skate rats, but that is just my opinion). Therefore, the question may go unanswered. Maybe the moment has passed. I have seen some pretty cool explosions – after you watch EOD blow up an old French 2000Lbs bomb, a box of caps seems anti-climactic. Still…maybe the microwave…

5 Comments:

At 3:54 PM, Blogger d34dpuppy said...

we jsut kill tha roll of caps with a hammer.

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger Sugarfoot said...

Oh, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post. It's interesting how kids from different neighborhoods and backgrounds can find a common childhood mission. And to think, all of that without electronic mass communication devices or the the Internet.

We have allot of kids in our neighborhood. Last summer in total defiance of pollitical correctness, I made the entire neighborhood rubberband guns just like the ones I grew up with. What a sight! Kids ran around the neighborhood all summer carrying thier guns, armed with a pocket full of rubberbands and playing every manner of shooting game just like kids used to do back in the day. Cops and robbers, cowboys and indians (yes, I said indians); war. I wonder what this summer will bring to the neighborhood?

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger SC said...

When I was just about old enough not to be called a boy any more, me and my brother broke into, oops, I mean acquired some odds and ends from a building site. One of the odds and ends was a nail gun.

We spent many happy hours thudding six inch nails into my brother's wall, until one of his mates tried to be clever and tried to get the gun powder out of a cap by prising it open with a knife. Nearly blew his thumb off. Pretty unsightly. He was shaking for quite a while afterwards.

But I'm not in favour of this sort of thing. It's, erm, very wrong and naughty and I don't recommend or condone it. At all.

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Dpup: Yes, a hammer works on a roll, but you still couldn;t detonate the entire box -we even tried a sledge

SugarFoot: Carrot (sometimes called potato) guns are the way to go. We made them out of tubing cut from a metal ballpoint pen refill and a wire coat hanger. You'd probably have a hard time finding a metal pen refill anymore, but any metal tubing with a solid metal rod that fits snugly yet slides freely will do. Bend one end of the rod so you have an L shape and make sure about 1/4" of the rod sticks out of the end of the tube when fully inserted. Stick one end of the tube into a potato or other firm root vegetable, then the other end so you have a blockage in both ends of the tube. Work the straight end of the rod into the tube - the piece of spud acts as a piston and pressure builds up until after pushing the rod in a ways the pulp in the open end shoots out with a loud pop. It can leave welts if you use a big enough tube.

 
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