Explosive Material Used As Target Near XNA Airport

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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.


  • TAB

    So this may be legal but what about the Burn Ban in Benton and Washington County. Seems like the flames are something that can get out of control and why was that not an issue?

    • Brian

      There are no flames with this. It’s a simple concussion (noise) and water vapor. Completely legal and has been on the market forever. Don’t be scared. It’s okay.

  • Concerned

    All explosives are banned during a burn ban, are they not? Also a precedent is being set here allowing the misuse of Tannerite and its knockoffs and eyes are remaining closed. Personally I think this needs to be stopped and now.

    • Aaron Trinkle

      I would worry about all the smokers dropping the butt out the car window or the people using fireplaces to heat their homes more then a bullet or Tannerite creating a fire.

  • Toby

    It doesn’t make a spark. Its just water vapors. The bullet itself was more likely to start a fire from a spark. Don’t be so freakin scared all the time. It was just someone having good clean fun.

  • barney

    Amen Toby! Too many folks are content to let ALL remaining (or should I say ‘what few’) freedoms we have be eliminated.

  • Landlady

    What about damage to the neighbors property due to vibrations – window seals broken, wall cracks, foundation cracks, etc. What about damage to the wildlife? I remember an endangered species in Cave Springs a few years back ? Noise Pollution – we cannot have noise coming from USA Metal Recycling but we can have this activity legal ?

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