Shooting At Computer Hard Drives

I have had several old desktop computers languishing in my closet for years. One was so old it had Windows 95 in it. Finally my wife wanted rid of them because they were taking up too much space. I didn't want to toss them for fear someone could take the hard drive out and retrieve the information. So I took them out on the patio, pulled them apart, and removed the hard drives.

The other day I took them to the range, along with my Ruger Model 77 Stainless in .30-06. I set them out on a berm at 75 yards, and had at them. The results were all similar to this one. These things are really tough! They're made from a very heavy cast Aluminum housing. The Western Digital models like the one in the photos seem to be the toughest. But the 168 Gr. Sierra Matchking sailed right through, no problem.

The first shot hit just to the left of center, right under the bar code. The next one nicked the edge, but as you can see in the other photo, it blew the whole upper left corner of the housing completely off, exposing the platter and arm. It landed on edge, so I put one edgewise into the right side, and that pretty much finished it off. That last shot blew the unit right over the top of the berm, and I found it about 30 feet on the other side of the berm itself.

The other hard drives all met with a similar fate. It was fun to be able to shoot at something other than paper all the time. And I doubt that anyone will be extracting any information off of them now!

This has been my preferred method of deleting the data on my old hard drives for many years.

Nothing like "airing out" a drive to insure your data will never be read.

And yes they are tough. Most pistol rounds will not completely penetrate them. 10mm and 357 are the only things I regularly shoot that would go completely through. It's interesting to see what the bullets/projectiles stuck halfway through look like.


uber Member
The magnets inside are fantastic
I attached a couple with zip ties to the bottom of my street bike to help with those pesky signal lights that don't register bikes made mostly from Aluminum.
For decades I've attached strong magnets to my engine oil pan and transmission pans to crab onto metal shavings.


Active member
Instead of hiring a high priced tech firm to wash the data from her devices, Hillary could of just taken them to the back yard and shot them! When the local cops arrived, she could tell them she saw burglars and fired her double barrel into the air just like uncle Joe has suggested.


uber Member
Hey billt, thanks for the link.

I have mag plugs on all my vehicles (except my lawn tractor).
I also put the ceramic magnets on the spin on filters, even the fuel filters.
It's a small price to pay for expensive stuff.


Obsessed Member
Staff member
Forum Supporter
2019 Supporter
Now for the bad news,,,,, before I retired, we were able to recover data from hard drives that had been degaused after having erase programs run as many as 7 times back to back, and having multiple holes drilled in them.

I don't mean we were able to recover all the data, but we were able to recover a good bit, where most folks would expect there to be none.
Our own hard drives went thru a metal shredder and into a furnace to be melted. Other than the shred and melt method, everything else leaves a ghost image that with the right equipment, including a scanning electron microscope, can be recovered.

We're the NSA, and we're here to snoop, er, I mean help!