Georgia Man Loses Leg After Shooting Explosive Stuffed Lawnmower

A Georgia man lost his leg after shooting a broken-down riding lawnmower packed with explosive targets. He was making a video to show off the explosion, but he was too close to the target and the resulting shrapnel took out his left leg below the knee.

Exploding or reacting targets provide an instant highly-visual confirmation that a shooter hit the target at longer ranges. They are popular with recreational shooters across the country and are safe to use from a distance in small quantities.

However, a few popular Internet celebs have produced videos showing off the detonation of much larger amounts of reactionary material, leading others to follow in their footsteps. This video shows just how dangerous explosives are when used at close ranges. They can also pose a threat when they’re used to destroy targets instead of being used as a signal.

“We get a lot of calls about Tannerite,” said local Sheriff Joe Chapman to 11Alive News. “It can be extremely dangerous if it is not used correctly.”

David Pressley, the shooter and casualty aged 32, reportedly used 3 pounds of Tannerite to blow up the mower. Tannerite is one of the more popular brands of reactive target makers and the manufacturer recommends that shooters use no more than half a pound of target material per target.

See Also: Tannerite Files Lawsuit Against NBC for Libel, Slander

Pressley’s friends were able to tourniquet his leg and drive him to meet first responders at a nearby location. Rescuers airlifted him to a hospital in Atlanta.

This is a sadly predictable result of using explosive targets at close ranges and in large quantities. Exploding targets are made by mixing aluminum powder and ammonium nitrate. They can only be set off by high-velocity projectiles such as a bullet fired from a rifle or carbine.

Most people use these targets responsibly and have a lot of fun in the process. However, precautions must be taken at all times when using any explosives or people can be badly hurt. It’s clear from this video that the shooter and the cameraman and anyone nearby could have suffered much worse.

Tannerite and other reactionary targets are completely legal in most states for recreational shooting. Police have not pressed charges against Pressley or his crew.

Reactionary targets have been blamed for not only causing injuries but sparking fires as well. While some brands, including Tannerite, are considered unlikely to start fires, some types of reactive targets have been linked to wildfires just the same. Because of this, the use of reactionary targets is prohibited on federal lands when a Special Fire Order is in effect.

(Editor’s note: The improper use of Tannerite or any other potentially explosive material can and will put you on the ATF’s radar.  An ATF Fact Sheet on Illegal Explosives Devices clearly states, “under federal explosives law it is illegal to engage in the business of manufacturing explosives without a license, to improperly store explosives, to sell or distribute explosives to any person who does not hold an ATF license or permit, to receive explosives without a license or permit, or to transport explosives materials without a license or permit.”  

While this information was in reference to M-80s and M-100s, when one packs a lawnmower with Tannerite they are, in effect, creating a pipe bomb!  The ATF also states, “Each year ATF investigates explosives accidents involving the manufacture of explosive devices such as these. These accidents often result in serious injury to or death of person(s) and extensive damage to property. ATF cautions the public against handling suspected illegal explosive devices and urges everyone to report the manufacture or sale of such devices to their local ATF office or by calling ATF’s toll-free hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).”  

Bottom line: Don’t misuse Tannerite — because you’ll ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t be stupid — because you’ll injure yourself or, worse, get yourself killed. And don’t break the law — because you’ll potentially lose your right to keep and bear arms.)


About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 65 comments… add one }
  • mike June 16, 2017, 9:27 pm

    all I can say is wow! DONT TRY THIS AT HOME! I definitely wont……that was stupid

  • 2B or not 2B 2A April 8, 2016, 6:53 am

    Just curious, but do you need a license to buy this stuff? According to the authors “end notes” the very definition given by the ATF, I would think, would make this illegal. Mind you I would love to shoot at something and watch it go bang but if this got in the hands of the wrong folks (San Bernadino comes to mind) it could be bad news.

  • Phred April 6, 2016, 6:29 pm

    How about some empathy for a fellow human being that made an error in judgement. Never made a mistake ?

  • Rick April 4, 2016, 10:14 pm

    You can’t fix STUPID

  • Chris Baker April 4, 2016, 8:54 am

    I suspect he’s going to mature a lot from this “Hey watch this!” moment. Before this he’s probably learned about explosions from TV shows where people outrun concussion and fire waves and cars blow up because they hit something. I think they should take all the safety warnings off of products like bleach and drano and such and let evolution take it’s course. I know that’s sounds harsh but it would do the human race a lot of good.

  • Red Green April 2, 2016, 9:22 pm

    As my father use to say: “This guy couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with the directions on the heel.”

  • cr0ak April 2, 2016, 12:57 pm

    What a pity he wasn’t castrated. It would have been a step in the direction of “another drop of Clorox in the gene pool”. I wonder if he has kids. If he does (or will), he’s passing along his stupidity.

  • Clyde April 2, 2016, 1:04 am

    Forrest Gump – “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Scotty Gunn April 1, 2016, 10:15 pm

    His new nickname is Skip.

    • Clem April 9, 2016, 9:45 pm

      “Hop along Skippy” is his full name?

  • Archangel April 1, 2016, 8:43 pm

    What about that FSP-Russia dude?
    He blew up a puckup truck and either a door or a fender when whizzing by within a couple feet of him and the look on his face said, “don’t poop your pants on camera, don’t poop your pants on camera, don’t poop your pants on camera” as he just looked of in the distance, mental gears grinding.

  • oldtiger64 April 1, 2016, 7:34 pm

    “You will INJURY Yourself”, you just flunked Sophomore English! If you ever went to high school.

    • Chris Baker April 4, 2016, 8:47 am

      It’s just a typo. Don’t get your panties in a wad over it.

  • Roscoe Gattington April 1, 2016, 6:47 pm

    Huh huh d’mower blowed up real good ! huh huh.

  • arnold April 1, 2016, 4:09 pm

    Sad to see children get hurt playing, but after all they are only children and do not know better. Happens all the time.

    • Matt April 1, 2016, 8:30 pm

      He is 32 years old.

      • Chris Baker April 4, 2016, 8:49 am

        Doesn’t matter his chronological age, what matters is his mental maturity age. He is still a child. But he will probably mature quite a bit from this life lesson. As others have said, he could have lost a lot more than just one lower leg. And if he does have kids he can pass this lesson along to not do stupid stuff like your daddy did when he lost his leg.

  • Leetrav April 1, 2016, 3:33 pm

    Darwin NEVER sleeps. he operates 24/7/365. It’s wise to stay off of his list…

  • Al Soto April 1, 2016, 2:07 pm

    Stupid Dumb-Ass Idiot against Tannerite packed Lawnmower…

    Tannerite Lawnmower 1

    Stupid Dumb-Ass Idiot 0 (make that 1; 1 leg-less)

  • Larry April 1, 2016, 12:26 pm

    It appears that one of the “herd” nearly culled himself! Dumbass!

  • rmw April 1, 2016, 12:13 pm

    40′ away? first off, the guy is about the WORST shot in the world if you cannot hit the 4″ target from 40′ (missed on the initial shots and then crawled closer). Second … who the hell are such idiots (and it appears there was an entire crowd of idiots) that thinks you can be 40′ from an explosive when it detonates?

    We had some tannerite for “fun” a few weeks ago. we were using it AS DESIGNED … the small little jars it comes in, probably 100 yards or more (and yeah, it’s pretty hard to hit at that distance with short barrels like an AR and no scope … hell it was hard to even see them!) … and you STILL could feel the percussion of the explosion when they went off. These clowns (not just the tractor boys, but the ones blowing up cars and barns) are using a HELLUVA lot more than the one jar.

    Good thing the liberals did not have the video of the “flying pigs” … that might have gotten Obummer’s attention!!!

  • alex April 1, 2016, 10:47 am

    one of my bosses used to say, let the stupid be punished. when he first said it i laughed my ass off ,but the more i thought about what he said it’s 100% right.

  • Chris April 1, 2016, 10:40 am

    I wish they would show this kind of video on the local and national news every single time it happens. Not for politicians to use as an excuse to ban something… but for everybody to learn something. The more we are exposed to this kind of unusual crap, the more we know. Knowledge is power.
    Think of all the lives that would be saved if we were given an education every time we watched TV, instead of all the useless, mind-numbing garbage that is shown now… you know what I’m talking about… the Kardashians, Miley, the Bachelor, etc……..

  • Doug April 1, 2016, 10:31 am

    As John Prine wrote in a song; ” It don’t make no sense that common sense don’t make no sense no more”!

    • Chris Baker April 4, 2016, 8:00 pm

      It’s not a new idea. Robert Heinlein mentioned that very same idea in his book “Time Enough For Love” in one of the notes from Lazarus Long he simply said “Common Sense Isn’t.”

  • Austin April 1, 2016, 10:25 am

    Unfortunately this adult made several poor decisions that led to his losing a limb.

    The Tree of Life has a way of dropping the bad fruit all on its own. I hope others use this as an example of what NOT to do.

  • Lee Blackman April 1, 2016, 10:15 am

    Seriously…. the publicizing of this is worse than the actual event. Sure folks need to be educated about safe usage, but something like this ends up on fox news, and then you’ll have senators, congressman, and mothers against everything fun trying to make bills to ban it….

    If you have a dumb friend, please step in and tell him to take about a couple hundred yards of steps back before he ignites several pounds of tanerite…. and if he says here hold my beer, now watch this… give him an “idiot check” by stopping him and ask him what he’s about to do first…

  • jim April 1, 2016, 9:52 am

    Stubby was merely taking his shot at applying Darwin’s principles. People who exercise poor judgement provide good guidance for the future behaviors of the rest of us. Lesson learned; think of how many lives he has saved!

  • Dewey April 1, 2016, 9:49 am

    Another redneck, tacti-fool, mall ninja, wannabe commando doing irreparable harm to your second amendment rights of intelligent gun owners. Go ‘Murica.

    • Larry April 1, 2016, 12:29 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better, Dewey. Awesome post.

  • DanF. April 1, 2016, 9:30 am

    Now y’all know why there’s a warning on just about everything. And sensible people look at the warning and say “What kind of fool would do that?” The answer is–this kind.

  • Sean April 1, 2016, 9:25 am

    Do the math, High explosives stuffed in a machine built out of pure metal = Pure shrapnel that will cut down anything in it’s path. Unreal

  • Ram6 April 1, 2016, 9:07 am

    As that famous American John Wayne once opined, “Life is hard, it’s harder when you are stupid!”.

    • Doc April 1, 2016, 9:51 am

      Oh so true.

    • Gary April 1, 2016, 10:00 am

      never more true in Ga.

  • Roger April 1, 2016, 9:00 am

    So the man did something stupid and he paid a serious price for it. People here or anywhere need to restrain themselves from making cold and insensitive comments that are commonly just stupid cliche’s and phrases that are repeated to make themselves feel good. Tsk tsk. Shame on all of you.

    • Alan April 1, 2016, 9:50 am

      Roger, stop being P.C.
      Look, there are many things to say here, and yes some will be insensitive, but part of being smart and safe is the knowledge that criticism will befall you when you do something really dumb.
      I have observed that many millennial’s DON’T have the embarrassment voice in their heads. Their generation has taken foolishness to several levels above, much due to Facebook and social media.
      I’m wise enough to remember that I didn’t do many stupid things because I didn’t want to hear my father or friends criticisms of my mental state at the time.
      I truly believe this is why we see so many of these foolish escapades. Lack of peer and Guardian criticism of foolish acts.

      • Wanita Wally April 1, 2016, 3:35 pm

        Well said, Sir. I concur wholeheartedly.

    • Joe April 1, 2016, 12:58 pm

      Agreed, everyone has done stupid stuff. Some paid with an appendage. He doesn’t need our help to point out his poor decisions…..he knows better than anyone now.

    • Jay Warren Clark April 1, 2016, 1:46 pm

      Regardless of the package self righteousness is just that, self righteousness. And there is nothing more stupid than pointing your finger at someone else and saying, “Stupid!” Likely the thing will come back on you three times before the day is out–if you are looking, which these guys are not doing.
      Furthermore, this guy has no exclusive hold upon stupidity and most of these guys pointing their fingers were lucky to get beyond their teens alive and/or in one piece. Why? Well, testosterone and stupidity. And the tried-and-true way to avoid looking at yourself has always been to point one’s finger at another. This is a very old teaching that some of these bright boys missed I guess. Oh well, as the Hindus say, “They’ll come round again.”
      Thanks Roger for an alternative view. I only wanted to show that it might be something more than a limp wrist and a fixation on political correctness. JWC

      • Wanita Wally April 1, 2016, 3:36 pm

        Hear hear!

      • Alan April 2, 2016, 10:02 am

        That’s fine Jay, but I disagree. While in some instances it may be “self-righteousness”, I would point out that even in the animal world the young learn from the old.
        You too, are coming across as P.C. in your stance of things coming back to you.
        If you believe in Karma, fine, but I don’t.
        What I WILL point out is that there are certain consumer commodities that were really just fine until several non thinking people misused or abused them and they went away. I enjoyed Lawn Jarts. and NEVER was hurt by one.
        In addition, it’s fine for you to criticize those that criticize, but THIS is why our courts are full of lawsuits.
        And why guns have stupid safety systems, and I could go on.
        These kinds of things effects us all, so I stand by my comment in total.

  • MikeyMc April 1, 2016, 8:52 am

    Great, now that this dummy pulled this stunt the Democrats will be pushing to restrict the sale of Tannerite. Hillary and Bernie may even push to restrict the sale of lawnmowers or create a Federal Lawnmower Registration List so they can keep track of the owners of these dangerous machines! 😉

  • Jay E. Simkin April 1, 2016, 8:36 am

    It is wrong to use “Reactionary” to describe explosive or volatile materials. “Reactionary” is properly used to describe, “a person or a set of views … opposing political or social liberalization or reform.” The word – that should have been used – is “reactive”. The author uses “reactive” and “reactionary” as if they have the same meanings. Not so.

    Carelessness with words can have results as bad as carelessness with explosives, propellants, and other chemicals. It is important to know the meanings of words, and to use them properly. It is important to know the qualities of materials and to use them properly. The “Internet” makes this far easier than used to be so. If you want to know about something, “Google” it.

    • GaryD9088 April 1, 2016, 10:02 am

      Yep, you are 100% correct. Words are every bit as dangerous and destructive as explosives.

      Although a lot of people don’t know this, I’m sure someone as highly educated and intelligent as you do, but ISIS has converted several of their training camps to ‘VAT’, verbal assault training. Instead of using explosive belts or conventional weapons, they run into crowded venues and use specially designed phrases to inflict massive casualties and damage. Just the other day, a suicide yeller attacked a restaurant and left it in ruins. Nobody survived.

      ISIS really likes the new weapon, because has no weight, size or cost; is undetectable and available 24/7/365…..unless someone has laryngitis. The only limit is the volume of each individual’s voice, but ISIS is looking into issuing miniature microphones that amplify and broadcast voices over long range. Those specially-trained operatives will act as snipers.

      And how, you ask, would I know anything about this top-secret training? I Googled it.

      • Ken April 1, 2016, 10:56 am

        I’m glad I don’t know one word from another as VAT wont affect me.

        Don’t need no stinkin’ Google !

  • Rowdy Redneck April 1, 2016, 8:35 am

    Ha. Surprised he wasn’t trying to ride the lawn mower first in an extreme redneck mower race. Look on the bright side, now he can add disability to his unemployment. But on a serious note, that probably hurt.

  • Rick_A April 1, 2016, 8:33 am

    The guy was 15 yards away from a bomb he created. Results are predictable.

  • walt morris April 1, 2016, 8:23 am

    does this guy have a sister teaching college in north Dakota? it is too bad that it didn’t take off his head instead of just his leg.

  • John S April 1, 2016, 8:11 am

    Any time you hear the words “Hey y’all, watch this…” you know something bad is going to happen. Stupid can’t be cured. Another candidate for the Darwin Award.

    • 1st508th Airborne April 1, 2016, 8:30 am

      Fortunately, he can’t sue the lawnmower manufacturer… his case doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

      • Mitch Rapp April 1, 2016, 9:58 am

        Now that is FUNNY! Nice job!

  • Infidel7.62 April 1, 2016, 8:02 am

    No matter what activity you are engaged in it seems there is always at least one idiot who will screw it up for everyone.

  • Bo April 1, 2016, 7:59 am

    Life has consequences for stupid actions. Sorry the dude lost his leg, but even a blind squirrel could have seen that coming!

  • RetNavet April 1, 2016, 6:39 am

    If this idiot tries to sue….he will have “a leg to stand on”…but just one. On the bright side, he can now sign up for the “ass kicking contest with the one-legged man on a frozen lake”

  • Tarheel Realist April 1, 2016, 6:19 am

    Even Mall Ninjas take fire. This guy most certainly is going to be a finalist in the 2016 Darwin Award.

  • Jay April 1, 2016, 5:57 am

    I feel bad for the guy however each single tannerite exploding target I have ever seen has a long list of Warnings and a disclaimer on them! If a person disregards these warnings, instructions and does not follow directions and just plain ol common sense, bad things can happen. Looks like these guys didn’t follow a lot of the instructions and warnings on the package! I mean come on, even fireworks improperly used cause harm! My children and their kids use these targets quite often but they follow the common sense rule not to be too close and don;t use too much of the stuff. The liberals will be trying to ban the stuff now along with the jack boots ATF!

  • roger April 1, 2016, 5:50 am

    The parts of the mower caused the damage to the idiot. Maybe he could sue the mower manufacturer?

  • 3rd AF Crew Chief April 1, 2016, 5:42 am

    Left his brains in his other hat

  • Superweinerschnitzel April 1, 2016, 5:18 am

    I don’t get it. Why would you think that was a good idea?
    I wonder how long it will be before there is a push to register tannerite.

  • Michael April 1, 2016, 4:01 am

    Tannerite doesn’t take legs off. Stupid people with tannerite takes legs off.

  • SolidStateTactical April 1, 2016, 3:38 am

    Here’s your sign…

  • Matt April 1, 2016, 3:17 am

    You can’t fix stupid.

    • GaryD9088 April 1, 2016, 10:04 am

      No, but Tannerite helps thin it out of the gene pool.

  • Mike March 26, 2016, 11:30 am

    Explosives- Shredding human bodies since 900AD.

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