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Published August 23, 2012, 08:31 PM

Exploding rifle targets have authorities concerned

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- It is happening in cow pastures and gravel pits - one of the fastest growing sport shooting activities involves an exploding rifle target called Tannerite.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- It is happening in cow pastures and gravel pits - one of the fastest growing sport shooting activities involves an exploding rifle target called Tannerite. Mixing two powders together produces a big bang, but safety officials want the word out that too much of a good thing can be risky.

Beethoven and Brahms would likely not be impressed; a piano blown to kindling after someone attached Tannerite to it. The exploding rifle targets have been around awhile, but thanks to YouTube and cable gun shows, the pastime is on fire.

Now again, Tannerite is very legal, but safety officials get concerned when people combine several of these to make a big explosion.

Nick Leinen – Red River Valley Regional Bomb Squad: "Some type of metallic item, and that explosion causes it to come apart like shrapnel of a grenade. It’s very dangerous and can cause injury. Another dangerous thing about it is, the closer someone gets to it, the more likely they are to get hurt."

Nick Lienen of the Red River Valley Bomb Squad says Tannerite is safe when shooters use manufacturer’s specs.

Tannerite is a binary compound, meaning two powders, aluminum and ammonium nitrate, are mixed together. The jar is then placed on a target. and someone fires a rifle at the jar. The problem comes when people use several pounds of Tannerite to blow up big targets, like cars and washing machines.

Nick Leinen: "The closer people get to it, the more they put together, and it becomes an obvious safety concern."

It doesn't take much. A few ounces can send metal and debris flying. Fun? Of course. But playing it safe is the challenge.

In Maryland, a new law goes into effect this October that bans the sale and ownership of Tannerite.

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