Of all the crazy garage-built weapons I’ve ever come across, this one from YouTuber/tinkerer Alex Smyth is definitely one of the craziest. It’s actually designed to fire rounds filled with ionized plasma, which in turn should, at least in theory, explode on impact.
If you’re unfamiliar, a railgun is a type of weapon that uses electricity instead of gunpowder to fire a projectile. Leveraging a phenomenon called the Lorentz Force, rail guns work by delivering a high power electric pulse to a pair of conductive rails, which in turn generates a magnetic field and rapidly accelerates the bullet situated between them.
“The projectiles I made for this to fire are 10 by 60 millimeter,” Smyth explains. “What they are is a glass vacuum tube that’s full of neon gas, with a copper sleeve around it. So the current goes through the rails and accelerates the copper sleeve through the double helix, so it gets some spin to it. Then, the electromagnetic field in there ionizes the neon gas, so it should glow bright red. The hope is that this will be accelerated, hit the target, the glass will break, and the plasma will dissipate — hopefully blowing up one of the pumpkins.”
The pumpkin doesn’t quite explode, but apparently the projectile manages to punch through a piece of steel behind it — although the video is too dark to see the evidence.