Gun Powder, A Lit Cigarette, & Vacuum Do Not Mix

Vacuum

It may seem obvious, but just so that we are clear, do not vacuum up a lit cigarette butt when there is gun powder already inside your vacuum cleaner.

 

Back in 2013 two Norwegian guys experiment with what happens when you vacuum up gun powder. I do not speak or understand Norwegian and YouTube’s auto translate did not help here. It looks like they think a vacuum cleaner will somehow ignite gun powder. When it doesn’t they add a lit cigarette. This experiment is cool to watch but does not really show us anything new that we don’t already know what will happen. We know a lit cigarette can set off gun powder. Adding a vacuum cleaner to that does not change the fact that a lit cigarette can set off gun powder. However perhaps the lit cigarette was to “replicate the results” just like the Mythbusters if their goal was to see if a vacuum cleaner could ignite gun powder.

 

If you are a fan of the Mythbusters episode, they tried this with black powder back in 2014.

 

 

The Norwegian guys did take some precautions but they don’t seem to be that safe. First they are using a thin door sized sheet of lexan or acrylic to shield them from the explosion. However when they try to run over the lit cigarette with the vacuum cleaner, one of them had to reach around the flimsy barricade to push the vacuum over the cigarette. At least the Mythbusters Tory, Grant and Kari are safe behind a bunker and are using a neon transformer to remotely set off the black powder.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • psAico

    This is a program series built on the same concept as Mythbusters.
    In this episode they are testing a “myth” about vacum cleaners setting off gun powder.
    The title of the show: “Ikke gjør dette hjemme”, translates to “Don’t try this at home”.

  • I once spilled live primers into the carpet in my reloading room. i though I had picked them all up but apparently I had missed one and when I was vacuuming the room I heard the vacuum pick it up and sling it around inside for a few seconds before it went off with a bang. Guess I was lucky not to have any powder in the vacuum.

    • RocketScientist

      My grandfather used to tell a similar story. A few years into their marriage, my grandmother got frustrated with how cluttered and “messy” his small in-house workroom was (glorified closet). He tied his flies in there, developed film, and (significantly for this story) reloaded his ammo. So she goes into the room and starts tidying up. When she’s done she decides to vacuum the carpet as a finishing touch. Apparently over the years he had spilled a number of primers on the floor that had been lost in the carpet. He says he came home to find her white as a sheet, chain smoking cigarettes on the front porch (she did not smoke). When he asked her what was wrong, she apparently answered “You can clean your own damn work room from now on. And I need a new vacuum”.

      • Spencerhut

        Good story!

      • M.M.D.C.

        Thanks for that!

    • Edeco

      Yikes, come a’ think of it I wonder if a grain-silo-explosion type event could take off in a running vacuum. Like without gun powder. Good thing I empty mine infrequently, thus limiting time*volume with airborne dust inside.

      • Cymond

        Interesting idea.
        Intuitively, I doubt it could happen due to the low volume and contaminants from larger dirt, but I don’t really know anything about the subject.

      • ostiariusalpha

        If you spill a bag of flour or powdered sugar on the carpet, don’t be stupid enough to try to vacuum it up. They used to blow up vacuums frequently at bakeries till explosion proof vacuums were mandated.

        • Edeco

          Ha, I had a feeling, but then I was doubting since I haven’t heard about it with house vacuums. If I spill flour etc, I’ll stuff the canister with paper towels or rags or the like, possibly damp, to occupy most of the volume 😀

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    “The CIA tried to take out Castro using this method in 1967. They loaded his vacuum with powder in the hopes that he would suck up a lit cigar.The plot failed due to the US embargo which severely restricted the Cuban governments ability to import shag carpeting resulting in the use of mainly tile and hardwood flooring which are not suitable materials for modern vacuums.”

    • JamesRPatrick

      If you want, I can show you how to make a bomb out of a toilet paper roll and a stick of dynamite.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Hahaha nice

      • iksnilol

        I can show you how to make a sniper rifle with a Hi-point carbine, Tasco scope, trashcan brand trashcan and 10000 dollars.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Also, don’t use the H&K of vacuums in vacuum torture tests.

    • muchas mujeres

      Use the tp9 version instead.

  • hal

    When I was 13, a friend and I had built a still and we were making corn liquer in our basement. After cleaning up the evidence before my mom came home, i used her Hoover Canister vac to suck up matches and residue from the still. Well, there must have been an ember left from a match stick cause that vacuum began exhausting smoke and flame and filled the basement up with acrid grey smoke that took forever to dissipate. You dont need black powder to light up vacuum cleaner. One red ember will do the trick.

  • t_wrecks

    That was awesome!

    • DB

      Yeah it was!! Kind of reminds me of the “If stupid was gasoline, I wouldn’t smoke around them” Joke!! Folks like that shouldn’t be allowed to breed!!

      • 5flytyr .

        Static electricity supposedly will set off blackpowder so don’t vac any up if you don’t want to end up like these blockheads(swedish for dummies)

  • jerry young

    in the first place only an idiot smokes around gunpowder!

    • iksnilol

      They first thought that the friction would ignite the blackpowder. Then they went “screw it” and threw in a cigarette.

    • Bjørn Vermo

      The whole premise for the series is to do stuff only a complete idiot would try. Like using detonating cord to make an opening in the ceiling for a new staircase…

      • jerry young

        you’re right, I reload and also shoot muzzle loaders I keep gunpowder of various kinds so I’m very careful on how I store and what I do with gunpowder, now I don’t smoke anymore but when I did I still did not smoke around gunpowder, this video is nothing new Myth busters did the same thing

  • buzzman1

    It is possible sparks from the electric motor could set off airborne gunpowder.

  • Sgt. Stedenko

    I guess the clowns at Mythbusters have never been to GD’s Marion, IL facility where maintenance crews encounter “pops” on a weekly basis while cleaning equipment used to handle propellants.

    If you tour the facility, you have to have static dissipating shoes or drag a brass cane around to prevent a buildup of static.

    Static discharge is a real problem when handling any dusts including grains, sugars, metals and propellants. They dont put grounding lugs on explosion proof vacuums for no reason.

  • NeoBlackdog

    I’m pretty sure that’s not covered under Dyson’s warranty…

  • durabo

    Yah, shure: Ole and Sven are IDIOTS, b’golly!

  • uisconfruzed

    I’m still uncomfortable cleaning up small amounts of spilt powder around my loader. The air going through the hose generates a fair amount of electricity, put your arm along side it, if it’s not humid, your hair will stand up. That’s enough to ignite powder.
    Do not get over confidant with your vacuum & powder!

  • Jeff Edwards

    Lars, watch me close now. Yrr poot de goonpooder urn der floooor un den troo der litten cigar oot in der frooont, un den pooshen it yooooost a leetle bit… un den… YOOMPIN’ YIMMINY!!! Helga gon beet me with der damn Dyson fer shoore!!!