July 20th, 2013

Firebird Exploding Targets from the UK Are Fun, Easy to Use

We thought the USA enjoyed the coolest shooting stuff. But the Brits may have one-upped us this time. Now available in the United Kingdom (but not the USA) are Firebird exploding, reactive targets. These affordable, pyrotecnic targets are offered in four different models: Hi-velocity rifle (rimfire and centerfire), Air Rifle, Shotgun, and Archery. Unlike the binary explosive kits available in the USA, Firebird targets are ready-to go right out of the box. You just take the adhesive-backed target disc out of the box, and place it on the target frame. (The air rifle version requires a small retaining cup behind the target disc.) For the shotgun Firebird targets, you simply stick the Firebird disc on the back of a clay pigeon. Peel and stick — simple as that.

Firebird Reactive stick-on targets

Here’s a video showing Firebird targets in use. (See more videos on the Firebird website). Looks like good fun to us — the targets go bang with a puff of smoke when hit. Simple to use. No messy chemicals. No mixing required. Just stick ‘em on the target backer and shoot. Kudos to the Brits for bringing this to market in the UK. Hopefully we will see Firebird targets on this side of the Atlantic sometime soon.

firebird reactive targets centerfire UKSniperfire Exploding Targets
The Firebird SniperFire 40mm and 65mm are designed specifically for use with any high velocity firearm, rimfire or centerfire. Backed with double-sided tape, SniperFire targets can be affixed to any clean, dray and uniform surface such as plywood, fluted plastic, or stiff cardboard. Now being used by military and police units in many countries, the Firebird SniperFire is a practical training tool that gives shooters “instant gratification” when hitting the target. SniperFire targets cost £18.95 ($28.92) for twenty 40mm discs, or £19.95 ($30.45) for twenty 65mm discs.

firebird reactive targets centerfire UKAirflash Standard Air Rifle Exploding Targets
Specifically designed for use with air rifles, Firebird Airflash Targets come in 40mm or 65mm sizes. Once hit with an air rifle pellet, the target ignites with “a significant pyrotechnic reaction and loud report” as the Brits say. In other words, it goes “bang” with big cloud of smoke. The £24.95 Airflash Starter Kit includes twenty 40mm reactive targets and an Airflash Magplate (sort of like a small-cupholder). Airflash 40mm refills (with 20 targets) cost £18.45. The 65mm refills are £19.95.

Firebird Reactive stick-on targets

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June 1st, 2012

ATF Issues Notice Concerning Binary Exploding Target Products

Binary Exploding Rifle TargetFor those who enjoy reactive targets that explode with a big bang and a cloud of smoke, binary compounds are available from a variety of vendors, including Midsouth Shooters Supply.

These binary compounds, when mixed together, will explode when hit by a projectile of sufficient velocity. When used with proper safety precautions, binary target compounds such as Tannerite and Shockwave can create crowd-pleasing “special effects” at fun shoots. (But be sure to place the target at safe distances and never encase the exploding targets inside boxes, cans or other containers which can create flying shrapnel.) The video below shows the inventor of Tannerite, Daniel J. Tanner, hitting a 1-pound Tannerite target at 500 meters. Projectile was a .308 caliber 180gr Hornady HPS.

Federal Laws Apply Once You Mix the Binary Elements!
While separated binary explosives are currently legal to own and use (with minimal restrictions), there are some important legal considerations involved in the storage, distribution, and use of MIXED binary explosives. Individuals, shooting club directors, and range operators must ensure binary explosives are used in compliance with all local, state, and Federal Regulations. These issues are covered in a recent notice from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Anyone who plans to use Binary Exploding target compounds should read this notice carefully:

ATF Notice Re Binary Exploding Target Compounds

ATF has recently received inquiries about the applicability of the Federal explosives law to binary exploding targets.

The components of these binary targets (typically an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal-based powder) are not separately listed on the List of Explosive Materials and do not meet the definition of “Explosives” in 27 CFR 555.11. Therefore, ATF does not regulate the sale and distribution of these component chemicals, even when sold together in binary target “kits.”

However, when the binary components are combined, the resulting mixture is an explosive material subject to all requirements of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40 and 27 CFR Part 555. Accordingly, all such exploding targets must be stored in an explosives storage magazine as prescribed in the regulations found in 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart K — Storage, unless they are in the process of being used.

Further, mixing the binary components together constitutes manufacturing explosives. Persons manufacturing explosives for their own personal, non-business use only (e.g., personal target practice) are not required to have a Federal explosives license or permit. However, individuals or companies must obtain a Federal explosives manufacturing license if they intend to engage in the business of manufacturing explosives for sale or distribution, or for their own business use. Such business uses include manufacturing binary targets for demonstration or product testing purposes.

Licensed manufacturers of exploding targets are subject to Federal recordkeeping requirements and must comply with regulations concerning records of manufacture or acquisition, distribution, exportation, use, inventory and daily summaries of magazine transactions found in 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart G—Records and Reports.

In addition, a Federal explosives license or permit is required for the transport of explosive materials. Therefore, a person must obtain a Federal explosives license or permit if they mix binary exploding targets and subsequently transport them to a shooting range or to any other location. For further information, please contact the Explosives Industry Programs Branch at eipb [at] atf.gov or (202) 648-7120.

Tannerite Informational Video — Shooting Demos Start at 6:34 Mark

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