A 32-year-old Monroe man lost his leg below the knee following an accident with Tannerite this past weekend. According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the accident happened when the victim, David Presley of Monroe, shot at an old lawn mower loaded with 3 pounds of Tannerite. The damage to his leg occurred when the bullet hit the lawn mower, causing it to exploded.
Battalion Chief Craig League with Walton County Fire Rescue said Tannerite is the brand name of a binary explosive marketed primarily for making exploding targets for firearms practice.
“It is a patented combination of ammonium nitrate (an oxidizer) and aluminium powder (a fuel) that is supplied as two separate powders that are mixed and shaken to produce an explosive,” League said, adding that it is relatively stable when subjected to a lesser force than a high-velocity bullet. It is not flammable. Because it is sold as two separate powders, it can be sold without restrictions. “It has become extremely popular in the last couple of years, and is sold in many outdoor supply stores such as Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, and others. One of the drawbacks with Tannerite is that the more of the product that you mix together and shoot the bigger and louder the explosion. This makes it quite dangerous for amateur use.”
League said the use of Tannerite often results in calls to local authorities, although not usually because of injury.
“It has become quite common for us to run calls involving Tannerite. Typically 2-5 calls per week,” League said. “Usually these calls are reported to the 911 center as an explosion was heard in a certain area. We send apparatus out to check, but nothing is usually found. If you hear a loud boom and it shakes your home, your windows and the china in your cabinets rattle around; then there is a good chance one of your neighbors is shooting Tannerite.”
The good news is that injuries as a result of Tannerite are not that common, at least not in Walton County.
“To my knowledge, this is the first injury that we have encountered in Walton County from the use of exploding targets,” League said.
However, according to the incident report from Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Saturday’s injury was substantial. It happened at about 3:50 p.m. on March 19, 2016 at 2260 Emmett Doster Road. Deputies responded to the location and arrived to find that two of the victim’s friends had helped him to a vehicle and driven him to the bottom of the driveway. He was missing his left leg below the knee. Presley was picked up from there and flown by helicopter to Grady Hospital. Witnesses told authorities that they do have a video of the incident.