Tannerite explosions rocking the Hill Country almost every Sunday

Have you been hearing loud booms rattling through the hills of Texas, that sound like explosions? What were first being reported as cannon booms are actually from an explosive substance known as tannerite.


What is tannerite?

It is a pair of separated substances, ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, that when mixed can be made to explode when hit with a high velocity rifle bullet. Otherwise the mixed substance is relatively stable and not flammable. The explosion creates a loud noise and a cloud of water vapor that resembles smoke.

Target shooters would use this for the fun of seeing and hearing a target react, but also to get positive feedback when shooting a rifle at longer ranges where it is difficult, if not impossible, to see hits on a paper target.

The separated substances are legal and not explosive by themselves. Some people may think that it is complete lunacy to sell such a thing. However your local hardware or grocery store is filled with all of the ingredients, while completely legal and non-explosive by themselves, can be mixed with other legal compounds. Tannerite is sold with explicit instructions on how to use the product safely.

The problems with Tannerite occur, as is true with most things, when users don’t follow directions. It is true, people have been killed and maimed by misusing the product, usually by using large quantities near metal or using it with other things like gasoline.

It is legal to own because the two substances alone are not explosive and thus ATF regulations allow it. They also fall under the same laws as black powder and are legal for personal use.

Multiple calls have come in to the Kerr County Sheriff’s office to go investigate, but since the uses of tannerite in the Hill Country have been legal (at least to our knowledge), there is nothing that can be done if this bothers you.

Take a look at this video to see tannerite take on an oak tree.