By heating it with a blowtorch.
With his parents and sister right there.
Let’s run that equation, shall we? Cordite + h (heat) + containment vessel (i.e. fixed ammunition) + t (time) = you guessed it, FOOM! And a trip for two to the hospital for removal of embedded brass shards, burnt and unburnt powder, and all the usual FOOM by-products.
As the French-looking Secretary of State, currently playing Lee at Appomattox with some random gang of mullahs, might have said whilst tugging his long chin, “Quelle surprise.”
The family was outside their home with the reservist, who had recently served in Afghanistan and returned home in the fall of 2014 with a souvenir — a .50-caliber machine gun round, said the commander.
“It’s one bullet but it’s not a regular bullet. It was a tracer round which, if you take the bullet out of the shell and light it on fire, it will act like a flare or a firework. So he took a blow torch to ignite it and he lit the bullet tracer round but it did not act like a firework,” said Moravec. “It exploded. It was a flash explosion.
“What he thought would happen didn’t.”
Famous last words, those: “What he thought would happen, didn’t.” Seriously? What in the name of the naiads of Niffelheim (yes, we’re mixing our mythologies in shameless pursuit of alliteration) did he think would happen?
We could have told him what was going to happen: “A couple of you knuck-heads are getting a bolance ride.” And indeed, the 25-year-old Prometheus and his 23-year-old Kid Sister got hauled to the ER, defragmented (it’s not just for hard drives any more!), and patched up. Mom and Dad were more lightly injured and refused medical treatment.
Way to make the reserves look like the Short School Bus version of the military, kid.
Still, the momentary lapse of forebrain activation that leads to “accidents” like this (scare quotes, because there’s nothing accidental about heating propulsive powder in a contained space and getting a bang) is not reserved for any particular unit, branch or contingent. A brash young SF soldier of our acquaintance did something nearly as stupid with a .50 round in Afghanistan. (Alas, he was an 18B). He has adjusted well to life with nine fingers, so there is that.