Explosive Material Used As Target Near XNA Airport

An explosion rattled western Benton County early Sunday night (Jan. 19).

The “boom” sound was the result of a man shooting a dryer filled with explosive material near Highfill and Cave Springs, according to Benton County officials.

That material is a binary explosive used to make exploding shooting targets. It is legal because the two components are sold in separate packages and only becomes explosive after they are combined, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Tannerite is a popular brand of the binary explosive and when shot with a high-powered rifle, it produces a water vapor and thunderous boom, according to the company’s website.

Steve Sturm, the owner of Sturm’s Indoor Gun Range, said the explosives typically sells by the pound and is less than $10. The warning label states the shooter should be about 100 yards away.

“You really got to set it off with a rifle, you can’t set it off with a handgun,” Sturm said. “It’s got to have a high-velocity bullet to explode.”

Cave Springs residents said they heard and felt the explosion.

“It was a big boom and it’ll shake the walls and the pictures will get kind of crooked on the walls,” Cheryl Matuscak said. “It definitely shook the ground.”

Melissa Belden said she was concerned it was a plane crash at first.

“We actually thought maybe somebody hit our house or something,” she said. “The whole thing shook it like something really big fell over.”

Deputies said they checked out the location near Arkansas 264 and no one was cited.

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