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Start a Survival Fire With a Bullet

When the ground is wet, use gunpowder to start a survival fire.

Gunpowder can provide a hot flame to ignite damp tinder. Tap out a bullet to access the powder. Pour a small pile of powder onto a fabric square and place the cloth onto a nest of tinder. Ignite the driest tinder and stand back. The powder will flare up long enough to help dry out and catch fire to the damp tinder.

Comments (32)

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from buck hunter 17 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

i never a bullet could be so usefule in different situations.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nick Jensen wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

So how exactly do you "tap" the bullet out?

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunter0323 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

That could come in handy in a survival situation.I never thought to use a bullet to start a fire.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from streack wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Golfing:

Take a pair of pliers and yank it out.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Reid Jones wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

whoever gave buck hunter a NO for good comment is an idiot. i did not know this either. golfing sportsman also is a 5 star rank on here and DOES know his stuff. come on guys.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rserwe44 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Couldnt the bullet accidentaly explode if you hit the primer?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Start a Survival Fire With a Bullet?

Better have plenty of ammo, LOL!

Looking for something that really works and I mean really works even after being stored wet for a long long time! Well by’golly get’ya a small jar of good old fashion Vaseline from and a magnesium fire starter stick from your local Wal-Mart. So simple of an operation A caveman can do it. Take a 2x2 inch piece of cloth and saturate it with Vaseline and scrape a little magnesium on it and hit it with the flint side and now you have instant fire 6 to 10 minutes of flame, now compare that with any other lighter and remember you haven’t really used your fire starting resources at all. I still got the same Vaseline jar in my back pack some 10 years ago and still work as good as the day I put it in.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Gunpowder can provide a hot flame to ignite damp tinder?

Hot flame measured in milliseconds and does the phrase, “ A FLASH IN THE PAN” come to mind!

POOOFFF! NO FIRE!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

@Clay : the smokeless powder in a modern cartridge will burn slow and hot enough to get properly prepared tinder started just fine. The flash-bang-gone effect you're thinking of would happen with true black powder or a modern substitute like Pyrodex or Triple-7.

Great tip on the Vasoline! That stuff's good to have for blisters and small cuts too, so it already goes in my survival gear.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from nopojan wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Why not carry 10 or 12 tabs of trioxane. It is not bulky and can be used by itself for boiling water if needed. It is also a great firestarter. And it lasts about 10 minutes

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I'm assuming powder from a shotgun shell works?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

BTW I've been lambasted plenty of times for saying "bullet" when I should have said "cartridge" ... but I wouldnt do that to you [g]

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shootstir wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

With all the wonderful alternatives to starting a fire, not to mention spoiling a perfectly good hunting cartridge, I think this is an idea relegated to the trash heap. Too many idiots out there are likely to end up injuring themselves, if not from the careful separation of components, of spilling the powder on their person when they go to light the match. POOF!- their went your idea...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Always havea Butane lighter in you day pack or pocket. But, you must have some type dry wood, etc. for it to start a fie. Try whittling a few shivers of wood off a dead limb, etc. then you get to the dry wood and repeat the shivers. Most of us never think we may have to spend the night in the wild, so best we prepare for the worst and pray you don't need the stuff you been carrying. I have one of those pocket knives, with screw drivers, blade, etc. and I keep a extra round of ammo(wrapped in foam rubber) in the but end of my syn stocked rifles just in case I run out of ammo. That one round may save your life or kill game for food.With todays electronic world, a Cell phone goes with me when I hunt. Never know when you needed at home or habe a accident. Always tell someone where you plan to hunt, a general area will do. Being disabled, I must have help if I kill a animal to get the critter out, and the phone is a must.Shoot-um-straight and often

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from CPT BRAD wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I go with Clay on this one, if you're out and wet, wind is blowing and the leaves are wet then you're going to use about 10 rounds to get a fire started or you could use one cotton ball or about a 1/4 stick of fire starter, and either will burn for about 10 minutes. I will give you CPT Bs unscientific example I have pulled the bullet on a 50 BMG which is some of the slowest burning powders out there and laid a line Yosimity Sam style in the dirt. You light the powder and you will have about 5-10 seconds worth of fire. Thats dry ground, no wind perfect conditions. Now heres the difference a 50 holds about 5 times as much powder as you're rifle cartridge, burns about 2 times as slow and I assume most of you guys aren't lugging a 50 around for deer. I think you're seeing my point by now. Carry 2-3 cotton balls, a lighter, or fire starter sticks. Now that we've worked through that one, one more thing please don't try to pour it out through the primer hole..... Very bad things will happen if you go that way! :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from benafrye wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I doubt I would have a pair of pliers in a survival situation..., what did he mean by tap the bullet out? I am in the backyard trying this and I cannot get this 30-30 bullet out of the shell. Please advise.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

sounds like you could have trouble in a survival situation even with a pair of pliers! try putting the cartridge in a vise first

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from woofbarkenarf wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

yikes! just don,t clamp the primer in the vice!

I never leave home without my leatherman. When I go out to the woods, I can ALWAYS find something to use for tinder, even during a downpour. If you're in a pine forest, find a dead and down rotting pine, kick one of the knots out (where the branch met the trunk), and make shavings. We call it "pitch-pine". similar to the south's "greasewood" You can tell the pitch-pine by the aroma. If you have birch trees, the bark on these has oils in it that will burn even when wet.I could go on and on...hey, I already have! soap box is yours.

woof

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 49 weeks ago

I never, and I mean never, go into the woods without the following: my old brass waterproof match container, vaseline saturated strips of cloth, my leatherman tool and a folded space blanket. These few simple tools are very small and light to carry and could easily save your life. I have never considered the cartridge powder but it could be very useful. Thanks for the good tip!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Not with the cartridges I use. All of mine are crimped and I usually don't carry pliers (a poor bullet puller at best) when I'm out hunting. All the above about powder burning rates too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dudester wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Thats a good thing to know

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from j-johnson17 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Vaseline on cotton balls works great also - then you can save your ammo...and I guarantee you can light the Vaseline with a single spark. I've actually submerged Vaseline soaked cotton balls to see if they will still light, and they do - every time.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogman2 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

all you people that say it does not work or it is hard are stupid it does work that is how people in the old days started fire...duh....reality check stop acting like you know everything and listen for once in your life....grow up....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogman2 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

hey Elmer Fudd up their learn how to talk...first....so get out of the conversation...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogman2 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

jking...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rocketman121 wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Libertyfirst; that's a good idea. Where would one get such a match case? I need to make myself a small survival kit.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jamus wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

i love these posts:)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I always take a Leatherman tool or Swiss Knife "Champion" Model with me when I go hunting or fishing or even just walking in the woods, you never know when a survival situation and arise, to carry matches you can always buy a cigar in a metal tube smoke it or throw it away if you don't smoke and put KITCHEN matches in them ( You can strike them with a fingernail or the sole of your shoe if its leather and dry or the seat of you jeans). All the other suggestions will work.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cheap Shot wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

There's another whole post on pocket survival kits. Search the survival topics.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from genoisno1 wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

ya they did this on mythbusters and even if you have pliers you cant yank out a factory load. The only way it could work is if it was reloaded and wasnt crimped enough

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BarkinSpider wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Vaseline and cotton would be my #1 choice. Not the point. The point is it's a survival situation. Pretend just for a minute that you are all out of matches, flares, lighters, vaseline, butane, kerosine, diesel fuel, trioxine, etc. This works. It's easy enough to pull the lead out with a leatherman. You can pull a 22 with your fingers and shotgun shells can be cut open.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from genoisno1 wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

barkin spider i would love to see you pull out a 22 load with your hands and the only way to pull it out with a leatherman would be if u had the case secured in some way because it would twist in your hand before the lead would twist out of the brass

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cheap Shot wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Come on guys! In a desperate situation you WILL figure out how to "de-seat" a bullet from a cartridge. Keep in mind that you don't care if you damage a case. Stick the bullet point in a crack in rock or fork of a tree and wiggle it back and forth. Heck, stick it in the muzzle of the gun. The case is annealed brass, not titanium. I reload and when I want to reverse engineer a great factory load I use a bullet puller. Sometimes it takes a few good whack if the bullet has a good cannelure, but a design feature of a bullet puller is the assumption you want to save the brass.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ron Wilson wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Why not do this before you go out ? Use an old medicine bottle. Stick it in a fanny pack you're ready for an emergency. I always make sure I have an emergency fire starter / First Aid kit on me before I take off ...Sure makes an emergency less stressful & yu don't feel so stupid either...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Start a Survival Fire With a Bullet?

Better have plenty of ammo, LOL!

Looking for something that really works and I mean really works even after being stored wet for a long long time! Well by’golly get’ya a small jar of good old fashion Vaseline from and a magnesium fire starter stick from your local Wal-Mart. So simple of an operation A caveman can do it. Take a 2x2 inch piece of cloth and saturate it with Vaseline and scrape a little magnesium on it and hit it with the flint side and now you have instant fire 6 to 10 minutes of flame, now compare that with any other lighter and remember you haven’t really used your fire starting resources at all. I still got the same Vaseline jar in my back pack some 10 years ago and still work as good as the day I put it in.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nick Jensen wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

So how exactly do you "tap" the bullet out?

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Always havea Butane lighter in you day pack or pocket. But, you must have some type dry wood, etc. for it to start a fie. Try whittling a few shivers of wood off a dead limb, etc. then you get to the dry wood and repeat the shivers. Most of us never think we may have to spend the night in the wild, so best we prepare for the worst and pray you don't need the stuff you been carrying. I have one of those pocket knives, with screw drivers, blade, etc. and I keep a extra round of ammo(wrapped in foam rubber) in the but end of my syn stocked rifles just in case I run out of ammo. That one round may save your life or kill game for food.With todays electronic world, a Cell phone goes with me when I hunt. Never know when you needed at home or habe a accident. Always tell someone where you plan to hunt, a general area will do. Being disabled, I must have help if I kill a animal to get the critter out, and the phone is a must.Shoot-um-straight and often

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from woofbarkenarf wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

yikes! just don,t clamp the primer in the vice!

I never leave home without my leatherman. When I go out to the woods, I can ALWAYS find something to use for tinder, even during a downpour. If you're in a pine forest, find a dead and down rotting pine, kick one of the knots out (where the branch met the trunk), and make shavings. We call it "pitch-pine". similar to the south's "greasewood" You can tell the pitch-pine by the aroma. If you have birch trees, the bark on these has oils in it that will burn even when wet.I could go on and on...hey, I already have! soap box is yours.

woof

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogman2 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

all you people that say it does not work or it is hard are stupid it does work that is how people in the old days started fire...duh....reality check stop acting like you know everything and listen for once in your life....grow up....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buck hunter 17 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

i never a bullet could be so usefule in different situations.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from streack wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Golfing:

Take a pair of pliers and yank it out.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Gunpowder can provide a hot flame to ignite damp tinder?

Hot flame measured in milliseconds and does the phrase, “ A FLASH IN THE PAN” come to mind!

POOOFFF! NO FIRE!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

@Clay : the smokeless powder in a modern cartridge will burn slow and hot enough to get properly prepared tinder started just fine. The flash-bang-gone effect you're thinking of would happen with true black powder or a modern substitute like Pyrodex or Triple-7.

Great tip on the Vasoline! That stuff's good to have for blisters and small cuts too, so it already goes in my survival gear.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from nopojan wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Why not carry 10 or 12 tabs of trioxane. It is not bulky and can be used by itself for boiling water if needed. It is also a great firestarter. And it lasts about 10 minutes

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I'm assuming powder from a shotgun shell works?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

BTW I've been lambasted plenty of times for saying "bullet" when I should have said "cartridge" ... but I wouldnt do that to you [g]

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from benafrye wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I doubt I would have a pair of pliers in a survival situation..., what did he mean by tap the bullet out? I am in the backyard trying this and I cannot get this 30-30 bullet out of the shell. Please advise.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Not with the cartridges I use. All of mine are crimped and I usually don't carry pliers (a poor bullet puller at best) when I'm out hunting. All the above about powder burning rates too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from j-johnson17 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Vaseline on cotton balls works great also - then you can save your ammo...and I guarantee you can light the Vaseline with a single spark. I've actually submerged Vaseline soaked cotton balls to see if they will still light, and they do - every time.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rocketman121 wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Libertyfirst; that's a good idea. Where would one get such a match case? I need to make myself a small survival kit.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jamus wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

i love these posts:)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cheap Shot wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

There's another whole post on pocket survival kits. Search the survival topics.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunter0323 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

That could come in handy in a survival situation.I never thought to use a bullet to start a fire.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Reid Jones wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

whoever gave buck hunter a NO for good comment is an idiot. i did not know this either. golfing sportsman also is a 5 star rank on here and DOES know his stuff. come on guys.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rserwe44 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Couldnt the bullet accidentaly explode if you hit the primer?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CPT BRAD wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I go with Clay on this one, if you're out and wet, wind is blowing and the leaves are wet then you're going to use about 10 rounds to get a fire started or you could use one cotton ball or about a 1/4 stick of fire starter, and either will burn for about 10 minutes. I will give you CPT Bs unscientific example I have pulled the bullet on a 50 BMG which is some of the slowest burning powders out there and laid a line Yosimity Sam style in the dirt. You light the powder and you will have about 5-10 seconds worth of fire. Thats dry ground, no wind perfect conditions. Now heres the difference a 50 holds about 5 times as much powder as you're rifle cartridge, burns about 2 times as slow and I assume most of you guys aren't lugging a 50 around for deer. I think you're seeing my point by now. Carry 2-3 cotton balls, a lighter, or fire starter sticks. Now that we've worked through that one, one more thing please don't try to pour it out through the primer hole..... Very bad things will happen if you go that way! :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 49 weeks ago

I never, and I mean never, go into the woods without the following: my old brass waterproof match container, vaseline saturated strips of cloth, my leatherman tool and a folded space blanket. These few simple tools are very small and light to carry and could easily save your life. I have never considered the cartridge powder but it could be very useful. Thanks for the good tip!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dudester wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

Thats a good thing to know

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogman2 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

jking...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 43 weeks ago

I always take a Leatherman tool or Swiss Knife "Champion" Model with me when I go hunting or fishing or even just walking in the woods, you never know when a survival situation and arise, to carry matches you can always buy a cigar in a metal tube smoke it or throw it away if you don't smoke and put KITCHEN matches in them ( You can strike them with a fingernail or the sole of your shoe if its leather and dry or the seat of you jeans). All the other suggestions will work.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BarkinSpider wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Vaseline and cotton would be my #1 choice. Not the point. The point is it's a survival situation. Pretend just for a minute that you are all out of matches, flares, lighters, vaseline, butane, kerosine, diesel fuel, trioxine, etc. This works. It's easy enough to pull the lead out with a leatherman. You can pull a 22 with your fingers and shotgun shells can be cut open.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cheap Shot wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Come on guys! In a desperate situation you WILL figure out how to "de-seat" a bullet from a cartridge. Keep in mind that you don't care if you damage a case. Stick the bullet point in a crack in rock or fork of a tree and wiggle it back and forth. Heck, stick it in the muzzle of the gun. The case is annealed brass, not titanium. I reload and when I want to reverse engineer a great factory load I use a bullet puller. Sometimes it takes a few good whack if the bullet has a good cannelure, but a design feature of a bullet puller is the assumption you want to save the brass.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ron Wilson wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Why not do this before you go out ? Use an old medicine bottle. Stick it in a fanny pack you're ready for an emergency. I always make sure I have an emergency fire starter / First Aid kit on me before I take off ...Sure makes an emergency less stressful & yu don't feel so stupid either...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shootstir wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

With all the wonderful alternatives to starting a fire, not to mention spoiling a perfectly good hunting cartridge, I think this is an idea relegated to the trash heap. Too many idiots out there are likely to end up injuring themselves, if not from the careful separation of components, of spilling the powder on their person when they go to light the match. POOF!- their went your idea...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogman2 wrote 4 years 48 weeks ago

hey Elmer Fudd up their learn how to talk...first....so get out of the conversation...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

sounds like you could have trouble in a survival situation even with a pair of pliers! try putting the cartridge in a vise first

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from genoisno1 wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

ya they did this on mythbusters and even if you have pliers you cant yank out a factory load. The only way it could work is if it was reloaded and wasnt crimped enough

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from genoisno1 wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

barkin spider i would love to see you pull out a 22 load with your hands and the only way to pull it out with a leatherman would be if u had the case secured in some way because it would twist in your hand before the lead would twist out of the brass

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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