Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The World's Largest Shotgun Shell?

This video shows what must be the world’s largest shotgun shell: the 120mm canister round designed for the cannon of an M1 Abrams tank. The 50 pound shell contains 1150 .40 caliber tungsten pellets launched at 4500 fps, with an effective range of 500 yards.

What’s fascinating to me is that you can see clearly that the shot charge of the canister round behaves exactly like a load of shotgun pellets. As the round leaves the muzzle, the pellets at the front of the pattern encounter air resistance and begin to peel off and fall behind the main charge, opening the pattern and forming a shot string. The pellets to the rear of the shot column draft behind the leaders, retaining velocity and moving to the front. The canister flies with the pattern for quite a ways (our light plastic shotcups have petals that open open and slow the cup quickly). Eventually, though, the poor aerodymic shape of the canister causes it to slow down, and you can see the trailing pellets catching up and passing it in flight.

The last shot shows how much the pattern opens up at long range as the shell decapitates every one of a row of targets that must be 30 yards across. Given the price of tungsten, I can only imagine how much the three shells fired in this video must have cost. Best not to think about it; just click “play” and enjoy the sight of your tax dollars flying downrange.

--Phil Bourjaily via

Sheriff: Woman spent 2 years sitting on boyfriend’s toilet

WICHITA | A 35-year-old woman who apparently spent two years in her boyfriend's bathroom in Ness City had become stuck to the toilet seat, authorities said Wednesday.

"She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body. It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself," Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said in a telephone interview, adding that it appeared her body fat had grown attached to the seat.

Authorities planned to present their report to the county attorney later Wednesday to see if any charges should be filed against her 36-year-old boyfriend, Whipple said.

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that "there was something wrong with his girlfriend," Whipple said, adding he never explained why it took him two years to call.

He said the boyfriend had brought the woman food and water during the two years and told investigators he asked her daily to come out of the bathroom.

"And her reply would be, 'Maybe tomorrow,'" Whipple said. "According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom."

The house had another bathroom he could use.

Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to her mid-thigh as if she was using the toilet. Her legs looked like they had atrophied, he said.

"She was sitting on the toilet and was somewhat disoriented," Whipple said. "She said that she didn't need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave."

She refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out. She was taken to a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles southeast of Ness City, where she is listed in fair condition. Whipple said she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.

"We pried the toilet seat off with a prybar and the seat went with her to the hospital," Whipple said. "The hospital removed it."

Authorities said they did not know if she was developmentally disabled.

Police have declined to release the couple's names, but the house where authorities say the incident happened is listed in public records as the residence of Kory McFarren. No one answered his home phone number.

A neighbor, James Ellis, told The Associated Press that he had known the woman since she was a child but said he had not seen her for at least six years.

He said she had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up.

"It really doesn't surprise me," Ellis said of the bathroom incident. "What surprises me is somebody wasn't called in a bit earlier.

At one time the woman worked for a long-term care facility, he said, but he did not know what kind of work she did there.

The case has been the buzz of this western Kansas town.

"I don't think anybody can make any sense out of it," Ellis said.

It's true.