JULY 4TH FUN: What You NEED To Know About Binary Explosives

by Pete

So, you are planning on having some fun with binary explosives for this Fourth of July? Before you start playing mad scientist/bomb maker, take a seat, we have to talk.

Listen, blowing sh*t up is fun. And let’s face it, most of us grew up spending our summers finding ways to destroy stuff with firecrackers, black powder and other materials. But we are adults now and we (should) have an aversion to causing death or injury to yourself or others. As such, there are rules we need to follow for the proper use of binary explosives.

1) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

First and foremost, read the freakin manual. If for some reason your binary explosive kit didnt come with instructions, visit the manufacturers website.

2) Understand proper standoff distances

For the most part, the recommended distance for all participants, including the shooter, is at least 100 yards for a 1/2 pound of charge and lower and at least 200 yards for anything more than a 1/2 pound of charge.

Geography will also effect target distances. Shooting in a rocky canyon versus an open grassy field may require additional considerations.

3) Never place binary explosives inside, under or on top of anything that will cause flying debris or shrapnel

Everyone likes to blow stuff up or watch stuff get blown up. Resist the urge to incorporate ANY extraneous material around, over and under your charges. Debris (shrapnel) can travel long distances with deadly force.

4) Even though you are X yards away, everyone should be wearing eye and ear protection

Common sense applies here, where shooting and explosions are involved, everyone should be wearing proper eye and ear protection. Those dollar-store flexi sunglasses won’t cut it.

5) Know your laws and regulations

In its unmixed form, binary components are not considered explosives. However, after mixing, the resulting concoction is an explosive is subject to federal transportation, storage and resale laws and regulations. Mix and shoot should always be the name of the game.

In some cases, local and state laws can be more restrictive than federal laws. A good starting point is your local fire department – stop in and ask if a permit is required or if there are any restrictions for your area.

6) Be polite – notify your neighbors

Every weekend, people in my town are shooting and setting of binary explosives. While it doesn’t bother me, I can see how some of my neighbors might prefer to have a prior warning or even a timeframe for the big event. Be kind, and stop by those who live close by and let them know your plans.

7) Have fun

If you follow all of the above concerns and procedures and decide to film your 4th of July celebrations, send me a link and I will post up some of the best here TFB. If you decide to blow up your old VW Bus or a VCR I’ll wait to hear about it on the news.

Be safe everyone.

JULY 4TH FUN: What You NEED To Know About Binary Explosives

POTD: Tannerite Leg Morale Patch

Tannerite – FAQS


What if I am approached by an authority and questioned about my targets?

Be honest, show them your Tannerite® brand targets and explain what you are doing. If they have further questions please feel free to give them the Tannerite® phone number (877-744-1406) and website ( www.tannerite.com). Tannerite® brand targets are sold for a shot-indicator; if you are misusing the product or destroying public property we will not help you. If there are complaints about the noise, please be respectful and stop. Please review A3. for more information

Our customers often ask whether a particular round will reliably initiate Tannerite® brand targets.

To reliably initiate, Tannerite® brand targets need to be hit solidly with a transonic (ital) round. A transonic round is one going 2,000 feet per second or faster. All other things being equal, larger diameter bullets work better than smaller ones.

Examples of Common Rounds that will reliably initiate Tannerite® brand Targets:

  • .223/5.56mm NATO (the common AR15/M16 or Ruger Mini-14 round)
  • 5.45x39mm (the AK-74 round)
  • 6mm Remington
  • .243 Winchester
  • .270
  • 7.62x39mm (the AK-47 round)
  • 7mm Remington Magnum
  • .300 Savage
  • .308/7.62mm NATO
  • .30-06
  • .300 Remington Magnum
  • .338 Remington Magnum
  • .50 Browning (the .50 caliber machine gun round)

How could something so fun, be legal?

Tannerite® brand binary targets fall under the same Federal laws as black powder and all other explosives that are exempt for sporting purposes from the federal regulations of commercial explosives in their unmixed form. (See ATF information regarding binary explosives). Remember though, just because it’s a legal product under Federal law if used as prescribed, does not mean that you can use it in any manner you wish. Unlike firearms, you can legally shoot them; however, there are places where it is forbidden. (In the State of California, you may be required to obtain a permit or license in order to use and/or possess this product). Check and follow all Federal, state, county, and/or local laws and regulations for any applicable permit or license requirements, or other potential restrictions and conditions in your area, for possession and use of Tannerite® brand targets or other binary targets. By mixing Tannerite® brand binary rifle targets, you become the manufacturer of an explosive and assume any and all liabilities. To be in compliance with Federal law (27 CFR 555.11) this product must be mixed and used for non-commercial purposes as a shot indicator only. The mixed Tannerite® brand target must not be transported without the proper endorsements. It is up to the end-user to obtain local authority permission before using our product unless it’s on private property. Even then if you live close to others it’s best to contact them and explain what you are doing.

Q4. If unmixed Tannerite® brand targets harden over a period of time, is it still usable?

Tannerite® brand targets are meant to be stored in a dry, room temperature location (and can last about 10 years!), but if it is kept in a hot or humid location, or any moisture gets to the bottles, the nitrates degrade and cause the pellets to fuse together. If this is the case and the damage is mild, Tannerite® brand targets can be broken up, mixed and shot, working most of the time. If the damage is more severe, break up the nitrates, combine with undamaged nitrates (note: targets should not be mixed in more than 2lb. quantities!) and mix with the proper amount of catalyst. After the product has been damaged, there’s no guarantee it will be as loud or as spectacular as the product in its original form. However, most of the time there will be a successful detonation.

Can you make Tannerite® brand targets smaller or larger?

Yes, you can. To make smaller targets, you can simply mix a 1/2 pound target and pour the contents into a plastic container of your choice. It’s best if the container is not brittle, but just about any container will work. A good idea when shooting either small targets, or when shooting at long ranges, is to wrap the target in Duct-Tape. This prevents a spill or leak if the bullet strikes low, a fringe hit or hits the lid on the target.

To make larger targets, tape one on top of the other, by hitting one it will initiate them both. Common sense and local noise regulations dictate how much you can use without getting cited for disturbing the peace, however, we do not recommend using more than two lbs. for any one shot.

Can you provide mixing instructions for Tannerite® products?

Tannerite® brand target mixing instructions:

  1. Start by emptying the contents of the target into the mixing container.
  2. Next, open the packet containing the catalyst and pour it into the mixing container.
  3. Secure the lid and shake the container until you achieve a uniform color throughout the mixture.
  4. Then pour the combined mixture back into the target container until it completely fills the target container then secure the lid.
  5. Always place Tannerite® Brand targets at least 100 yards away from the shooter and/or spectators.

What safety information should I be aware of?

  • Treat all binary targets with respect. Misuse of binary targets could result in serious injuries or death
  • To ensure a homogeneous composition, be sure to use the mixing container that’s included with every Tannerite® brand binary rifle target purchase and shake well to achieve uniform mixing
  • Place ¼, ½, and 1 lb targets down range at least 100 yards before shooting. Place 2 lb targets 200 yards down range before shooting. (2-pound targets are sold to professionals only)
  • We recommend elevating the target above the ground to reduce the amount of flying debris
  • Do not shoot targets larger than 1 pound unless it is required due to extreme long-range competition
  • Remember that the legal use of these targets is as a shot indicator only
  • Mix the targets at the range and shoot them immediately. Do not transport, store, or sell the mixed composition unless you have the appropriate explosives endorsements
  • Always wear ear and eye protection
  • Be sure to use in a remote area only and respect the adjoining property owner’s right to tranquility
  • Do not use target in locations where a general fire order is in effect and do not use target near combustible materials
  • As always, respect local noise ordinances and always use Tannerite® Brand Binary Rifle Targets as directed by the manufacturer
  • Please store at room temperature in a dry location
  • Never place these targets inside, on top of, or under any metal, rock, or other surfaces that could produce flying debris or sparks, or within another object.  This is dangerous and constitutes improper use of the product.

Sonic Boom Targets – FAQS


  • Once mixed it is considered an explosive material so do not re-sell mixed product unless you are licensed to do so.
  • Before use check your local, state, and federal regulations for areas approved for the use of this product.
  • Once mixed it is considered an explosive material so you cannot transport it or store it without proper licensing (it must be mixed and shot on site).

Silencers - Science Pete@thefirearmblog.com

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2 of 30 comments
  • Eric Eskau Eric Eskau on Jul 03, 2018

    2lb Binary target, plus one gallon of gas an a road flare, you get secondary explosion with fire!


  • Mikial Mikial on Jul 03, 2018

    Tannerite is perfectly legal . . . " and I have several pounds on hand right now. But as John Wayne famously said, "Life is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid."

    Too many internet commandos who walk into a gun shop or buy all the latest "tacticool" gear on-line think that know what they're doing. Guess what, they don't. I spent over two years in Iraq doing contract security and encountered situations most people can't even begin to imagine, and I am damn careful around the stuff.

    Reading or watching videos is no substitute for training and common sense.