What happens when you shoot a Prince Rupert Drop with a .38 Special?

If you don’t know what a Prince Rupert Drop is, it is a toughened glass beads created by dripping molten glass into cold water, which causes it to solidify into a tadpole-shaped droplet with a long, thin tail. (from Wiki)

A Prince Rupert’s Drop has a reputation of being virtually indestructible; but what will a .38 special round do to it?
If you haven’t seen one before, a Prince Rupert’s Drop is an amazing feat of engineering that can stand up to a ton of pressure. In the past we’ve already discovered that even being shot point blank with a .22 will do next to nothing to one, but now Destin from Smarter Every Day has decided to step up his game and give it a try with a .38 Special.

If you are anything like us, your mind has probably just been blown by the fact that even a gun as powerful as a .38 Special is not able to actually break the glass that is a Prince Rupert’s Drop. While the .38 Special is obviously not the most powerful gun in the world, the round it shoots does pack a serious punch.

Video Transcription
Hey it’s me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day. In one of the previous episodes, we shot a .22 caliber bullet against various Prince Ruperts Drops, and you saw it splatter against the glass, it was fascinating. Now a lot of people had comments on that, and they said that the problem was that the lead would just splash against the glass, it didn’t hold itself together.

Instead of doing what we did last time, which was a .22 longrifle bullet, which was about 36 grains going about 1,200 ft/s; this time we’re going to do this. It’s a .22 magnum bullet -I am bad at this- it is a 40-grain bullet, and it’s going 1,875 ft/s, which is much, much faster. In my mind, the most important thing about this is that it’s a full metal jacket. Meaning it shouldn’t splatter like the .22 lead bullet did, it should hold itself together and impart more of that momentum to the Prince Ruperts drop. Anyway, if that doesn’t work, then the other pistol that I have handy is this, my .38 special. .38 special is a much, much larger bullet. I know everyone wants me to do 50 BMG, but I wanna step this up incrimentally, because I wanna find out where the point of breaking a Prince Rupert’s Drop is.

So I don’t know if this is going to work, but I have a .22 Magnum. The last time I did this shot was with a .22 with just a lead bullet. Now we have a full metal jacket. So I’m gonna shoot the Prince Rupert’s drop, if I can get it in the right spot, and see if the Prince Rupert’s Drop will beat that. Here we go.


WHAAAT. WHAT. Alright! That was a full metal– that was a .22 Magnum!! What on Earth?! Ok! I don’t-!!

Look at that! They’re tougher than I thought!

Ok, we used a .22 Magnum last time, now we’re gonna do a .38 Special. That one was a full metal jacket, this one’s gonna be a full metal jacket.

You can see that this particular Prince Rupert’s Drop doesn’t have a bubble in it, that’s atypical, so I’m wondering if that makes it stronger.

This is definitely gonna break because it’s got a long tail, the question is if it breaks at impact, or if it breaks because of the tail moving, like we’ve seen before.


OH NO WAY. NO WAY. [laughter] OH SHUT UP. Please say you triggered! Oh god, ok! Ok. Dude! It took a .38 special! Alright, let’s look. We’ve just lost light, so we can’t do another one today.

That’s… absolutely ridiculous. That might be the best slow-motion I’ve ever captured. I think it’s– I think it’s stronger, because there’s not an airbubble in it at all, and that’s atypical. We can see, instead of an air bubble, it pulled in the outer edge there, it pulled in the outside. This is a special one. The only place to go here is higher caliber, so 223 and AK47 in the next video.

(Drop it, drop it.)

Ok I hope you enjoyed this episode of Smarter Every Day, obviously we can’t rest here, I’m gonna do this with bigger guns. Next video, pretty soon, it’s gonna happen. Anyway, I wanna say thanks to the sponsor, which is Casper.com.

Casper makes matresses, and my wife told me years ago that we were going to get a Casper, and once we did that, they’ve been sponsoring ever since.

[More Sponsorship blurbs, and end shpiel.]

Sources: SmarterEveryDay Youtube, Chris Buckner, Wikipedia

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