An art foundation has put an ammo test on display in the Presidio of San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the display is the result of an AK47 bullet smashing into an M16 bullet. So probably 7.62x39mm vs 5.56x45mm. I am curious about the origins of this ammo test. Were the rifles fired simultaneously or was one shot after the other? From the looks of the clear gelatin it looks like the bullets collided in the middle. If one rifle was fired then the other, then the first bullet would have travelled further into the ballistics gelatin before the other bullet collided into it. I wonder how many times they tried this before getting it right?



  • mrsatyre

    Is that Vodka-flavored gelatin? 😉

  • Midwest Marco

    I would have liked to have read the full San Francisco Chronicle article to get some details.

    One detail to keep this in perspective is that is a “display” from an “art foundation”. Your assume this was the result of a scientific “test”. It could be. More likely it’s art constructed to look like a test with the two bullets carefully placed to create the metaphor.

    • c4v3man

      I would put stock in it being merely “art”, and not the result of actually firing 2 opposing guns into the block silultaneously. For one thing, getting the 2 bullets to meet in the middle would be difficult, not only from an alignment standpoint, but also from a timing perspective. You’d require electronic controlled detonation to get that kind of accuracy. Secondly, you’d need to fire the 7.62×39 first, as it travels slower affecting placement as well.Finally, the kinds of forces at play here would make it virtually impossible for the fragments to stay clustered that tightly together, in addition to the fact that considering the slightly fluid consistency of the ballistics gel under pressure, the bullet entering from one side would likely interrupt the trajectory of the bullet entering from the opposite side. You also risk overpenetration and damaging the weapon/equipment on the opposing side.

      I say we get FullMag to try to replicate this using their high speed cameras to demonstrate how this is impossible. That being said, it’s pretty neat looking as art…

      • billyoblivion

        > Secondly, you’d need to fire the 7.62×39 first, as it travels
        > slower affecting placement as well

        To be pedantic you COULD just place the AK closer.

        The problem with either of these approaches is that there is significant variability in the speed of the bullet leaving the chamber.

        What I would do (I’m a certified artist, credentialed by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) would be to create create the effect I wanted, model it in ice, pour the gelatin around it and let the ice melt.

        At least as a first guess. Might have to play with it a bit.

        • RegT

          Think about that for a minute, and you’ll see it is impossible to end up with the display they created. The gelatin – IF the water had a place or drain to escape through – would be left with a large, open cavity where the ice was originally situated within the gelatin. Once the ice melted, no matter whether it remained or drained away, the two bullets would drop from their position within the gelatin.

          Don’t want to sound demeaning, but I guess the Art Institute of Chicago doesn’t offer physics as an elective?

      • DGR

        Its a fairly simply math equation. Speed of the bullets, distance the bullets will travel, distance the muzzle needs to be from the gelatin to meet in the middle. Trail and error a few times, and its at least very plausible. Just make sure the muzzle of the gun/device you use is aligned to actually make contact at the right spot (laser boresighter’s will help there).

        • Cory C

          But bullet speeds are all over the place. A 5.56 round being shot from a 16″ barrel is going to average around 2,500 ft/s, but the first bullet you use could 2,400, then next could be 2,510, etc. that slight variance would screw the whole thing up, I’d wager.

      • Jimmy

        I’m thinking PolitiFact would find serious britches burning because they know guns are bad and shouldn’t be used by an artist..

      • cnnspy

        If they used seized (stolen) rifles that are going to the crusher anyways, I don’t think they would worry about damaging the guns.

    • Bill

      Things have probably improved, but all the gelatin I’ve used was just that – gelatin, and wouldn’t hold up well in a museum display without eventually getting pretty rank. I’m with you on it likely being some sort of acrylic sculpture/replica

      • AlDeLarge

        Synthetic ballistic gel is clear and stable up to 110 F.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    A true Cold War metaphor would be an AK bullet slowly going broke and then deserting the Army to sell fake Levis in the Moscow subway while the M16 bullet moves to Miami, buys a houseboat and opens south Floridas first cell phone store through which he funnels his massive cocaine profits.

    • Hoplopfheil

      Do you have a tip jar?

    • Tip For Idiots

      External debt (or foreign debt) is the total debt a country owes to foreign creditors, complemented by internal debt owed to domestic lenders.

      1 – United States – 114 % of GDP
      19 – Russian Federation – 23 % of GDP

      • Random

        But the US also didn’t default twice during the 1990s…

        • John Yossarian

          But the US did default in 1964 and 1971, and has been in a free-fall default since 2008.

          • Donnie Buchanan

            That’s hope and change for you.

          • Lascivious Joy Monkey

            I see what you did there.. nudge nudge wink wink. Nice!

      • Lascivious Joy Monkey

        I’ll bet your that guy who derives sick pleasure in telling a child family member their gold fish just died. Piss on someone else’s parade.

    • Lascivious Joy Monkey

      Seriously dude, gold stars for your description….LMAO Kudos.

  • Gary Kirk

    So the guys from mythbusters got into the art world..

  • Sianmink

    Would be easy once set up.
    Phantom high speed camera in the center, electrically fire 5.56 and 7.62 rigs, would make it very repeatable. Find your sweet spot, place the block, get it first try.

    • Swarf

      Sure thing! Just as easy as shooting a pistol straight up in to the air and having the bullet land back in the barrel.

      I mean, it’s just a matter of getting the pistol locked on to a servo-actuated gimble platform controlled via redundent xyz axis accelerometers run through Arduino, right? Set it up in a tower so you have atmospheric control and it can’t fail, yeah? No more variables!

      • gordon

        It’s rifles. So bench rest type rifles fired as Sianmink suggests could work, no? The variability of the path in the gel would probably necessitate a few tries.

        • Edeco

          T’were me, I might try shooting a 12″ block of clear silicone, take less t&e to get an impact, then fuse on blocks with longer channels. Take a little art to get the channels to line up.

          • demophilus

            Yeah, that would work, too. If you got tired, or wanted to go out drinking, you could just poke a few blocks with a long Phillips screwdriver…

  • ReadyorNot

    The next display will probably involve 5.56, 5.45, 5.8, and 7.62 rounds..

  • LazyReader

    A post Cold War metaphor is the AK bullet finding a job all over the world and the M16 bullet being banned everywhere it’s seen

  • CMonster 556

    or, fire one round into the block, fire the second round into the first, and then cut the gel so that it appears they met in the middle. That is how I would do it on the cheap.

  • Lee Chee

    It looks to me if the timing was almost there… notice the 7.62 being slightly more to the left, meaning the 5.56 was fired slightly after the necessary trigger timing to create an exact coinciding impact. Very ridiculous Split times due to the exact timing necessary on each individual triggers to be a perfect middle impact in ballistic gel, not to mention bullet weights and velocities that reflect individual gel ballistics in each caliber differently that would effect timing and impacts respectively. very impressive in my opinion not to mention its a fantastic representation of red block vs. nato in art perspective. but you know what scientifically its more impressive then subjective thoughts of the individual on either side…

  • Marvin

    Video or it didn’t happen :]

    • mbrd

      best response yet!

  • Spencer

    You do realize you can cut ballistic gelatin correct? So they could get the same result by filling a long trough and just cutting the gelatin 2 feet from each side of wherever the impact hit.

    • demophilus

      Like a glass trough, like you could make out of a couple three old aquariums…

  • kingghidorah

    Ha, surprised this isn’t illegal in SF.

  • Don Ward

    Well if you are curious about it Nicholas C, there is this wonderful invention called the telephone which – these days – you can also use to get onto the Internet.
    The Presidio’s website lists one Lisa Petrie as the media relations coordinator at the park and she has a phone number and an email address in which you can call or write. No doubt she can direct you to the curator of the exhibit or whoever is responsible for creating that sculpture.

    www DOT presidio DOT gov/presidio-trust/press

    As always, replace the dots with periods because posting links on Disqus is ABSOLUTELY HARAM!

    • You can post links just fine if you break them up with self-canceling HTML tags; just cutpaste <i></i> into enough places in the URL that the Disqus autofilter doesn’t read it as a URL.

  • Not important

    I’d accomplish this by shooting both bullets at eachother into a much larger block of gelatin, then cut the gelatin block down so that the collision is centered.

    • Cory C

      But wouldn’t there be a seam?

  • Jas

    Is it real? Gelatine needs to be kept cool or it will quickly turn yellow and spoil. It looks too good to be true.

    • Clear Ballistics gel is synthetic, so it doesn’t rot like traditional ballistics gel made from animal by-products.

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    The US commercial market keeping AK rifles alive and going?

  • mazkact

    Maybe we could get Jamie and Adam to come out of retirement to test this one.

  • Not You

    Anybody who has used a chronograph or shot a block of gelatin knows this is just art and never happened.

    It is interesting though.

  • mbrd