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I was reading a manga, and I saw this:

So I was wondering. Will a bullet be split in half if it hits a butter knife that is fixed in place? Have there been experiments to test that?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 75 down vote accepted

In the television show Penn and Teller Tell A Lie, a competitor to Mythbusters, they conduct an experiment to try this.

Here is a YouTube video of the result.

In the single instance they show with a slow motion camera, the bullet is indeed at split in half - or at least, fragmented into pieces - by a normal butter-knife. This is not a large sample, and doesn't demonstrate it works with all bullets or all butter knives, but shows that it is, in fact, possible.


Bonus: Another video on the stunt using a machete from a source I have no particular reason to trust.

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6  
and the mythbusters got it to work on an axe –  ratchet freak Jun 5 at 9:12
    
That makes sense for soft slugs designed to be stopped by flesh. I wonder how armor-piercing bullets would fare. –  Cees Timmerman Jun 5 at 10:45
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@CeesTimmerman From experience (not exactly with butter knives), I can safely say that this won't work with almost all types of armor-piercing bullet. –  Adnan Jun 5 at 11:30
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I'd say what there was a fragmentation of bullet rather than splitting of it in half... Unfortunately, Penn&Teller didn't went into closer details like bullet type (I'd say it was .45ACP Ball) and damage done the blade. @ratchetfreak, even dullest of axe blades is far superior comparing with butter knife. see also youtube.com/watch?v=FiIxUUu6Ojk Also, I;ve seen SOG commercial entitled "knives can do that" featuring an expansive bullet accurately split by hitting the tactical knife edge –  Free Consulting Jun 5 at 14:58
    
@FreeConsulting: Yes, now you mention it, I think fragmentation is a better description. –  Oddthinking Jun 5 at 15:04

Mythbusters conducted a similiar experiment. But they used an axe. The answer is yes. It is possible. At least with a particular type of axe and with the particular bullet and gun, and with the right distance. quoting Wikipedia:

After setting up a target and sticking an axe in it, the Build Team received training from an expert in antique American firearms and began shooting from 40 yards (37 m). Each member took three shots, moving up to 20 yards (18 m) after Tory went first. Although several bullets nicked the blade or handle, none split on it until Tory tried again with a stand at the shorter distance. With one bullet hole appearing on either side of the blade, the team declared the myth confirmed and decided that a person could consistently make the 40-yard shot with enough practice. In addition the expert then proceeded to show the 40-yd.-shot standing, cleanly bursting two balloons located to the left and right of the axe blade.

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