Equipped To Survive Equipped To Survive® Presents
The Survival Forum
Where do you want to go on ETS?

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#119382 - 01/08/08 07:18 PM Alternate fire starting methods
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
While in the field yesterday I decided to play around with this idea and test to see if it would work. This is not something that I would do unless I had no other means at hand. I always have plenty of quality fire starting material while in the field but I like to plan for the worst and hope for the best. As we all know, despite our best efforts it seems that if it can go wrong then it usually will. (Like the possibility of being separated from your gear) For this reason I try to have a plan B, C and the flexibility to make a plan D on the fly while in the field. When not in the field at work, I hunt quite a bit. As such most of my survival training revolves around the situations I will likely face and for me at least, I usually find myself in the field with a gun. If caught in a really bad way with only a gun and some ammo, and assuming the worst case that all other gear including sparking tools etc has been lost, this is how a fire can be made.
If using a rifle:
a. Scrape a small trench in the ground and fill it with dry tinder, place a piece of cloth or other combustible material in the trench and lay it flat.
b. Carefully remove a bullet from the cartridge case with a multi-tool or by pressing sideways on the tip to loosen it. Sprinkle the powder along the cloth and then roll the material in a loose cigar shape. Ensure a small amount of powder spills from one end of the cloth tube.

c. Place a piece of wood over one half of the cloth tube and surround the tube with dry grass, leaves etc. Have all other materials for the fire close at hand.
d. Place the cartridge case with the live primer back into your gun. Place the tip of the barrel flush with the end of the cloth tube where the powder spills out. When the trigger is pulled the flash from the primer should ignite the powder and then the cloth. Quickly pile more grass etc on top of the burning cloth. If the cloth is smoldering then do not lean forward to blow on the embers as the powder will flare up very intensely for a second or two. Note that I used a .30-06 and the rounds use large rifle primers. Even by itself the primer has enough power to put a flash 1-2 inches from the muzzle. I do not know how this will work with a smaller type of primer/cartridge.
If using a shot gun:
a. Prepare a large pile of tinder such as grass. Cut the end off of a shell carefully, and then remove the shot cup/wads exposing the powder. Roll a piece of cloth cigar like and then fold the tube in half. Stuff the cloth in this shape(exposed ends down) inside the shell ensuring the cloth is in contact with the powder
b. Load the cartridge into the gun fire it pointed down towards the ground near your pile of grass. The cloth will be smoldering and may or may not catch fire. Gently blow on the cloth and it should catch.
c. As soon as you have flames slowly add the grass to build the fire, be careful not to smother the flame.
I used the cloth from an LMG pouch which catches fire easily and burns well. Although not tested I am sure that paper towel or a section cut from other material would be adequate (as long as it isnít fire retardant). As well using the rifle method the powder could be wrapped in leaves etc. Some small points for the rifle method: the powder will not explode but it will burn very hot and flash up a half foot or so. If you do not place a stick etc on the roll of material the power from the primers muzzle blast will scatter the powder everywhere rather than lighting it. For the shot gun method, keep the cloth small but in tight contact with the plastic sides of the shotgun shells hull. This will prevent the hot burning gas from escaping past the cloth when the trigger is pulled. The cloth most likely will smolder and need to be fanned or blown gently into a flame. Have the tinder ready and try to shoot the cloth as close to it as possible.

Like said before, the purpose of doing this was simply to see if it would work. I carry my mini PSK and thus a way to start a fire on my person to lessen the chance of being separated from it. My larger PSK held in my back pack is made up of smaller pouches that will easily fit into coat pockets if there is a chance I may become separated from my pack(like crossing ice) and it contains even more fire starting stuff. These methods would be only a last resort but it is nice to know that they will work if push comes to shove. Even if all I had was gunpowder for a source of tinder I would only use the rifle primer method if there was NO other way to ignite the power (sparking tool would work a lot better)
Anyone else have any last ditch methods for starting fires?? I have read articles on polishing the bottoms of drink cans with chocolate or even using clear ice etc to make lenses for the purpose but I remain skeptical. Even though I always travel with quality fire starting gear it is always in the back of my mind that WHAT IF?? For me at least, almost every operation or hunting trip I have ever been on Murphy has decided to tag along with me.

I apologize for the size of the pics as I am having trouble making them smaller for posting. I couldn't hold the gun and the camera at the same time so I hope the pics are good enough to get the idea across.

#119386 - 01/08/08 07:28 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Firearm method B. take the classic english Westley and Richards I just picked up at a garage sale for a song (seller- lousy brit rifle has this strange cartridge I thought was an ought six when I bought it.) Flip open buttplate trapdoor he didn't know about and extract two vintage cartridges. Replace one with a small tube of firemaking kit and close trapdoor. Call old western Scrounger for cartridges. Hit self in nose with 26" barrel walking into apartment.

#119390 - 01/08/08 07:44 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
I thought of this stock/trapdoor idea after watching Les Stroud do it in Labrador with a .22 cal. Although an awesome idea all my stocks are molded honeycombed synthetic and cannot be opened without cutting through the plastic which I havenít had the courage to attempt yet in fear of doing something I cannot undo. Some stocks you can purchase with compartments just to store items but they are a bit on the pricy side. My own guns aside, The Army really gets mad at me when I try and alter my service rifle for any reason so that is not an option at work.(lol) Besides, the idea of lighting a fire this way is an ABSOLUTE last resort when all else may fail. It was really fun to try though......

#119391 - 01/08/08 07:49 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
JIM Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: The Netherlands
I can recall a thread about this method of fire-starting several years ago.. You only have to put half the gun-powder on the tinder, and keep the other half in the cartridge, but YMMV

(how do I seem to remember all those 'forgotten' posts on ETS, while I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning...hmmm blush )
''It's time for Plan B...'' ''We have a Plan B?'' ''No, but it's time for one.'' -Stargate SG-1

#119450 - 01/09/08 02:53 AM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: JIM]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"(how do I seem to remember all those 'forgotten' posts on ETS, while I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning..."

That's because your brain only remembers the IMPORTANT stuff!


#119455 - 01/09/08 03:25 AM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852

NICE!!!--i have see these methods in 1950's "tips for outdoor's men" magazines but never a real life demo..

#119458 - 01/09/08 03:51 AM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
Stretch Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 707
Loc: Alamogordo, NM
That was a great write-up! Pretty good pics too... they were as big as they needed to be.

#119459 - 01/09/08 03:53 AM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Raspy Offline

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 351
Loc: Centre Hall Pa
Just saw a movie. Pierce Brosnan was ambushed while trapping in the high mountains with snow everywhere. Ended up rolling down the mountain loosing his rifle.

A little later he desperately needed to start a fire. Part of the lost gear was his flint and steel. He had just started a fire before the ambush. Explaining the loss.

He still had his cartridge belt and some ammo. Being set shortly after the civil war they were obiviously black powder.

Using his bowie he pried out the the bullet. Then somehow wedged the casing facing his tinder. I didn't really catch how. Then with his bowie and smacking the handle. He used the point as a firing pin to set off the cartridge.

Thus igniting the tinder.

Yes I know most of it was movie magic. Setting off the primer this way would be a real pita. But it might be another way to get a fire going. If you are desprate and have noting else available.
When in danger or in doubt
run in circles scream and shout

And always remember TANSTAAFL

#119476 - 01/09/08 02:24 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Raspy]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 458
Loc: Northern Canada
Nice. I don't have the guts to try this method yet.....

#119477 - 01/09/08 02:47 PM Re: Alternate fire starting methods [Re: Taurus]
Ian Offline

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 198
Loc: Scotland
I tried the rifle method and just blew my nicely piled tinder and cloth all over the place.

As a modification, remove bullet head, screw cloth into case over powder edges to powder as shown in the shotgun method above, load and fire into the air, when the cloth comes down pick up, fan/blow and light tinder.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  Alan_Romania, Blast, cliff, Hikin_Jim 
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
Who's Online
5 registered (Phaedrus, Jeanette_Isabelle, M_a_x, Ren, quick_joey_small), 71 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
MarcusPetz, CBlackRaven, TnSweetie, Sundiver70, Keh
5320 Registered Users
Newest Posts
I'm Moving Out of Hell
by Phaedrus
0 seconds ago
What did you do today to prepare?
by M_a_x
Today at 02:11 PM
Hikers, protective gear requirements, and SAR
by Phaedrus
Yesterday at 08:59 PM
Bunny Ears Figure-8 Loop Knot w tutorial link
by TonyE
06/29/20 04:50 PM
Boring gear
by chaosmagnet
06/29/20 01:29 PM
Globe Knot Lanyard
by TonyE
06/27/20 07:32 PM
Why Are We Preparing?
by hikermor
06/27/20 03:44 PM
Summer Every Day Carry (EDC)
by Ren
06/27/20 02:38 PM
Newest Images
Tiny knife / wrench
Handmade knives
2"x2" Glass Signal Mirror, Retroreflective Mesh
Trade School Tool Kit
My Pocket Kit

WARNING & DISCLAIMER: SELECT AND USE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Information posted on this forum is not reviewed for accuracy and may not be reliable, use at your own risk. Please review the full WARNING & DISCLAIMER about information on this site.