Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Swedish Potato Guns That Can Take Down Cows
From "The Local - Sweden's News in English"
Spud gun lands Swede in court
Published: 8th February 2006 11:11 CET
A Falun resident who made a potato gun which packed more power than a revolver may have been delighted with his technical prowess. But now he has had his chips: he is facing legal action for weapons offences.
The local newspaper Falu-Kuriren reported that two police units were called to a housing area one evening last August by concerned residents. Officers heard explosions and through a window of an apartment saw flames coming out of the end of a weapon.
Within minutes they raided the house - and found a homemade potato cannon. The 'spud gun', as such devices are known, was confiscated along with two boxes of ammunition. Uncooked.
The gun was tested by the National Forensics Laboratory, which declared that the projectile force was greater than that of a Browning revolver.(See below for notes on this - Bill)
The 25 year old man has confessed to making the gun. In July he had taken it to the Great Lake festival in Östersund but was refused entry.
On Tuesday he appeared before magistrates for a good roasting at Falun district court.
"Potato guns fall under the weapons licensing legislation," wrote the prosecutor in the court application.
Notes on Stopping Power of A Browning Revolver:
The Swedes ran some tests on that spud gun I see. But I bet those Swedish tests are pretty wimpy compared with the great Thompson-LaGarde Tests of 1904. Back then, the US Army wanted to know exactly how much stopping power a US military sidearm (e.g. the Browning Revolver) should produce.
Tests were conducted in which several army officials paid a visit to the Chicago stockyards. There, Captain John T. Thompson of the Infantry and Major Louis Anatole LaGarde of the Army Medical staff tested different types of bullets (and the guns that shot them) then under consideration for military use. Each was aimed and fired at live cows, though the testing was not very consistent.
Basically, Thompson and La Garde would shoot a cow, then see how long it took to die (such as 4 minutes). If death took too long, one of them would walk up and kill it with a hammer. Or, sometimes they simply kept shooting rounds at the beast until it expired. This evidently did not provide all the data necessary. The final test was to shoot at a hanging cadaver at various distances and rate the effect.
The details of the test are creepy, morbid, and wonderfully fascinating, at least from some people's (okay, my own) perspectives. Anyway, if that Swede's spud gun is as powerful as a Browning revolver, that's bad news for cows.
Details of the test are available here.
This may qualify as the second most grotesque report in US history, perhaps only behind the great Gerry Commission Report on death penalty procedures, which I provided in an earlier post