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The VERY real dangers of potato guns.

This is a discussion on The VERY real dangers of potato guns. within the XDTalk Chatter Box forums, part of the XD Talk category; Apparently, this guy's fun wasn't so fun after all. http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=0,60522 Potato Gun Explosion Kills One A man in Hull, Iowa is dead as a result ...

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Old 09-02-2007, 07:23 AM   #1
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Unhappy The VERY real dangers of potato guns.

Apparently, this guy's fun wasn't so fun after all.

http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=0,60522

Quote:
Potato Gun Explosion Kills One

A man in Hull, Iowa is dead as a result of what officials say was an accident involving a potato launcher. Officials say 21-year-old, Ryan Meerdink died from injuries he received after the gun was lit and exploded Friday evening. Now fire officials say this accident and others like it show the very real dangers of these seemingly fun devices.

They're all over the internet--videos on how to build potato guns. There are nearly four-thousand on YouTube alone, but there's just one key fact many of them leave out. "When something goes wrong with a potato gun, it goes very wrong," said Jim Sideras, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief.

As it did in Hull, Iowa last night, when one exploded and led to the death of Ryan Meerdink. Sideras says he hears about these types of accidents nationally every year and that launching potatoes is entertaining, but not safe. He said, "You can shoot them 200-300 feet away. With that kind of force if it were to explode or someone was hit by the potato, it can cause serious injury or death."

Heavy duty potato guns are dangerous because of the combination of a spark and household items like gasoline or hairsprary. That's how you ignite the gun, in a chamber filled with chemicals, started by a fire source. But, Sideras says because the devices are usually homemade, they often malfunction. "When the device explodes, whatever it's made of will hurl out and hit everyone in it's path," he said.

And he says that's not a chance people should take. "It's best to just get rid of it. It's not safe. Sooner or later, somebody's going to get hurt."

Sideras says there's no way to use a potato launcher without the risk of severe injury.

A police official tells KELOLAND News that launching potato guns is illegal within the city limits of Sioux Falls.
I didn't know the guy, but it makes me think about all the potato guns out there and how poorly designed they are. I also wonder how many uses that PVC pipe can take before it gets weakened enough to be dangerous.
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:44 AM   #2
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I had one years ago and built it out of the thickest PVC I could find. Im sure some folks dont look at the pipe rating before putting one together.
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:59 AM   #3
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They are dangerous. I had built one when I was in college. I gave it to my handicap cousin (he has spina bifada-has trouble walking, etc but gets around better than the dr.'s thought he would) who was 5 years younger than me when he came to my wedding with his parents permission. About a year after he had it, he was using it and it would launch a potato. Due to his handicap, he can't do a lot of things like you and I and one of those is bend over. So, instead of bending over to lay the potato gun on the ground, he grabbed the end of the barrel and swapped ends to lay it down. When he did this, the barrel was pointed right at his face and when the end hit the ground, it went off. It was probably a delayed burn. It hit him in the right eye, knocked out his eye and broke his right eye socket. They had to air lift him from western Kansas where they live to Wichita. He lost his eye. He has recovered and has a coral eye but I felt aweful and still do about it. Potato guns are dangerous and people should be very careful if they are going to mess around with them.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:09 AM   #4
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It wouldn't be fun if it wasn't dangerous.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:18 AM   #5
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Well mine was launching potatoes well over 300 yards.

It has had a TON of potatoes through it with no signs of wear.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:00 AM   #6
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I was a safe and responsible teenager who never built a potato gun. I did launch model rockets loaded with black powder or M80s though. Hmmm. Maybe I wasn't all that responsible after all...
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:26 AM   #7
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Sucks for him but if you are going to build something like this it seems logical to do the research and stay within safe limits. Then again that is coming from a firearms enthusiest.

The compressed air/rifled versions always intrigued me. But then again you can carefully watch pressures and be fairly sure you are not exceeding the limits.
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:34 PM   #8
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The article lacks details. What type of PVC did he use? What propellant?
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by darkvibe View Post
The article lacks details. What type of PVC did he use? What propellant?
How in the world should I know?
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Old 09-02-2007, 02:02 PM   #10
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Scott VanPala - The Potato Gun
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Ugh, more bad press "potato gun" kills 21 year old - Page6 This thread Refback 08-30-2011 10:23 AM