Michigan Man May Lose Leg After Misusing Tannerite Target


Michigan Man May Lose Leg After Misusing Tannerite Target

A police report from the Mason County, Michigan, Sheriff’s Department highlights the dangers of misusing the popular explosive target Tannerite.

Tannerite is a binary explosive whose components are safe and stable until mixed and shaken. A relatively small amount is then typically placed in a soft container, such as a cardboard milk carton, and placed downrange as a target. When struck by a rifle round, it explodes, creating a highly visible fireball.

The Ludington Daily News police blotter posted info on this incident, which occurred yesterday:

“09/13 @ 2:30 PM Explosion with injuries, Morton/Modjeski Road area—private property (Grant Township), 49-year-old Muskegon man received serious leg injuries after a group of men shot a 55 gallon metal barrel which contained 2 pounds of Tannerite with a rifle. The barrel splintered into several jagged pieces. One traveled over 150 feet striking the victim who was seated behind a tree with his leg exposed. A piece of debris nearly severed the victim’s leg.”

This accident was preventable. The safety instructions at the Tannerite site specifically recommend that targets with two pounds of Tannerite be placed at least 200 yards away. According to the police report, the target in this case was only 150 feet (50 yards) away. In addition, Tannerite should never be placed in a container that would create dangerous shrapnel, such as the 55 gallon barrel used in this case. Although no update on the victim’s condition has been made available, any injury that “nearly severs” a limb is serious enough that the limb may later be lost.

While shooting Tannerite is fun, it is an explosive and care must be taken when it is used.

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Rob Reed is a firearms instructor, collector and all around "projectile launcher enthusiast" in the Metro Detroit area. He also writes as the Michigan Firearms Examiner.

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