Magnum BusterCartridgesFragstickSnocapDocumentsProducts Catalogue




The Magnum Buster™ is a compact, cost-effective, and portable piece of equipment which is extremely useful in the splitting and breaking of rocks and boulders, as well as the demolition of concrete structures.

Magnum Buster Technology

The Magnum Buster™ is a compact, cost-effective, and portable piece of equipment which is extremely useful in the splitting and breaking of rocks and boulders, as well as the demolition of concrete structures. The sheer convenience of operation and low operating costs make the Magnum Buster™ the first choice in standby (real time) rock breaking equipment.

The SUCCESS OF THE SYSTEM results from our proprietary propellant technology and patented initiation system.

The unique characteristics of the propellant and cartridge design results in a rapidly developing pressure wave. This impulse pressure (transmitted through the fluid column) starts the propagation of fractures in the direction of stress concentrations through to the nearest free face. The furthr pressure developed by the cartridge initiation and rapid gas expansion develops enhanced mechanical stress on the rock, resulting in the tensile fracturing of the rock. Additional rock breaking control can be inhanced by optimal drill-hole placement.

  • Safe and simple to operate
  • Energy effecient
  • No damage to stuctures and equipment
  • Very low concussion
  • Insignificant toxix gases
  • Little or no fly rock or scatter
  • No blasting license required
  • Light-weight and compact
  • Cost-effective
  • Secondary breaking in mines and quarries
  • Civil Construction
  • Demolition
  • Site clearing
  • Foundation and swimming pool excavation
  • Trench digging
  • Farming operations
  • Dimensional stone dressing and sizing


Setup Procedure

The Magnum Buster™ is hand portable. The device works on the principle of breaking rock (or like structural materials) in tension through rapidly expanding gas pressure. As such, the technology is much more efficient than slowly expanding cements and chemicals. The tool can do anything a small diameter blast-hole charged with conventional explosives can do, but in a controlled manner. It will break boulders and concrete, or rock structures encountered in a variety of construction applications, with the energy developed in a shotgun size cartridge. The device can be used safely around structures, overhead lines, and people, due to negligible noise and vibration levels; all while eliminating fly-rock. It is not necessary to evacuate personnel or shut down other activities when using the Magnum Buster™.

Setup and Operating Procedure:

1. A hole is drilled into the rock.

2 . The hole is filled with water.

3. A cartridge is inserted into the drill hole.

4. The tool is inserted into the hole.

5. A Primer Cartridge is inserted into the breech plug

3. The Lanyard is attached to the firing hammer

7. The unit is fired from a distance of 20 feet (7 meters)

8. The resulting broken rock

magnum op

Magnum Buster Operation

Helpful Tips

Drill the hole in the middle of the rock.

Look the rock over from several directions before deciding where to drill. When the drill hole is located in the center of the mass, optimal and uniform breakage will result.


We've outlined some of the details below in order to gain the maximum benefit from this technology. Scroll down until you find the heading for the subject you are interested in, or read through the entire section.

Using this tool is a user friendly and straight forward process.

1. A hole is drilled in the rock.
2. The hole is filled with water.
3. Power Cartridges are inserted into the drill hole.
4. The tool barrel is placed in the hole.
5. The Hammer is moved to the safety side of the Breach Plug.
6. An initiation cartridge is placed in the Breech Plug.
7. The chain on the lanyard is placed in the slot on the head and the washer is placed over knob on the hammer.
8. The disc weight is placed on the head.
9. The protective mat is placed over the tool.
10. The unit is initiated manually with the brisk pull of lanyard from around 25 to 30 feet away.


You have to drill a hole before you can utilize this rock breaking system. There are several practical ways to drill holes in solid rock or concrete. The most common drills used are the hand jackhammers or sinker drills that require compressed air. This equipment can be rented from any of the thousands of rental stores around the country that supply contractors and furnish construction equipment. Unless you already have a relatively large source of compressed air, you will also need to rent a compressor when along with the drill. The rental people will have the correct size, which will be a machine capable of developing around 80 cfm (cubic feet of compressed air at 100 lbs per square inch), or more. When using these drills, you will want to have a drill bit that will start a hole that is 1-1/2" in diameter. Alternatively, the Magnum Buster™ can be supplied with a smaller diameter barrel that will fit drill holes down to 1". The correct size bit to use with the Magnum Buster™ will depend on the drilling equipment and accessibility to the job site. When using these hand drills, the common practice is to start the hole with a drill rod about 2 ft long. Drill that length to depth, then if you need a deeper hole, take out the two foot steel and replace it with a four foot steel. Occasionally you might benefit by utilizing a slightly smaller bit with successive lengths of steel. Continue the process until the required depth is attained. Only rarely will a hole deeper than four foot be necessary with this system.


In most applications, especially when you are simply trying to break exposed boulders, a single drill hole in the center mass will be optimal. Step back and evaluate at the rock from all sides and locate the center of the mass. This is where you aim the drill. Ideally, you want to drill about half to three quarters through the rock towards its center. In other words, if you have a boulder that is about 6 ft high, you would need to drill a hole that is about 3 to 4 feet deep to get past the halfway point.


Users have had been successful breaking very larger boulders with a single shot. This system has achieved superior rock breaking results, even on projects where the most powerful hydraulic hammers could only produce minimal appreciable breakage after many hours of operation. This is one of the areas where this tool performance pays. Boulders that measure eight to ten feet across can nearly always be broken into three or four pieces with a single hole and single shot. For the extremely large boulders (where the center mass is four or five feet from any edge) it might be more cost effective to drill and break the total mass down to manageable sizes in multiple shots.


It's fairly easy to get it right when you are working on an exposed boulder where you have a clear three dimensional perspective. It gets more challenging when the boulder or rock horizon is partly buried, is a solid rock ledge or when driving a trench. When you can only see part of the rock you need to break, it is essential to break your way to a free face as available space is necessary for the movement of the broken material. This can take additional time but, once accomplished, sets the stage for more effective advancement of the excavation. This usually requires breaking smaller volumes in the initial work sequence in order create an open face. Then commence breaking material and removing it as you proceed in order to keep the face exposed. In these tight situations, you will usually get less broken material from each shot than you would when dealing with a fully exposed rock or block. When drilling into a rock that is mostly covered it becomes difficult to determine the optimal hole depth. On occasion you will drill through the bottom of the rock. When that happens, abandon that hole, drill another close by, and gauge a shorter hole depth.


After drilling the hole, fill the hole with water. The fluid introduces a non-compressible physics and is essential for the performance of this breaking technology. The gas impulse from the initiation cartridge is directed through barrel into the water column. This shock wave fires the Power Cartridges within the drill-hole. The Power Cartridges produce a powerful gas expansion effect against the water column that cannot compress. This results in forced crack propagation of the natural fractures from within the center mass of the rock. Water and gas under high pressure wedge into the micro-fractures thus splitting the rock into natural fragments. Normally, regular water is sufficient. However, on occasion the drill-hole will not hold water that results from natural cracks and seams. Do not fire the Magnum Buster™ if the barrel is not fully inserted into water phase. The barrel needs to be in contact with the fluid, or the energy will be lost compressing the air and breakage will not occur. In order to overcome this natural leakage a thickening agent will be necessary. We supply a dry granular polymer, that when mixed with water, expands and produces a chunky product that substitutes for fluid in the hole. The gel is has a non-sticky texture when mixed with water and is convenient to work with in the field. This material will produce equivalent breakage results to that of water alone. You should mix this material with water about an hour before it's needed to give it time to expand to an optimal state. You can keep a supply mixed up in a container so it's available when you use the tool. It has an indefinite shelf life, even when mixed.


There is one Initiation Cartridge and three Power Cartridge strengths used with the Magnum Buster™ system. The first is the small Initiation Cartridges that fits into the Breach of the tool and is used to initiate the cartridges within the drill-hole. The Power Cartridges are available in different power sizes. This affords the operator important flexibility in real time rock breaking decision making. These cartridges are available in No.10, No.20 and No.30 power loads. Selection depends on the rock conditions and breakage demands. One or more Power cartridges can be placed in the drill hole depending on the rock size and confinement. They initiate with the shock wave derived from Initiation Cartridge. They are not physically connected with the tool, other than through the linkage created by the shock impulse traveling through the water column in the drill hole. The number of Power Cartridges required is usually determined by the depth of the hole and size of the material to be broken. Deeper holes and larger boulders generally require more Power Cartridges due to the greater mass. In deeper drill-holes, maximum breakage efficiency might be obtained when the cartridges are evenly spaced along the length of the drill hole. We supply a field fit wing that will allow the cartridges to be placed at strategic intervals along the length of drill-hole. The thickened water gel (described above) can also be used to easily accomplish this strategic placement. For rocks that are less than three or four cubic yards in volume, the energy provided with a No.30 cartridge is usually sufficient for adequate breakage. For medium rocks a No.20 cartridge would be the best choice. For very small rocks the No.10 cartridge can be used for better controlled breakage. For very larger rocks, or when a mass is confined, one or more Power Cartridges might be more productive. Some special situations might require even heavier charges, but the user should develop some experience with these larger masses before considering loading holes beyond recommended levels.


Check to make sure that the barrel fits tight down in the drill-hole, that the barrel end is below the water level, and that the tool is not wobbling. Poor or no breakage can result with a loose and fit. Make sure the four bolts fitting the barrel tot the breach are tight.


The ballistic nylon safety mat furnished with the unit is designed to catch the small low velocity pieces that might be spall from the rock when the charge is activated. The mat should be placed over the entire tool and boulder prior to firing.


The complete unit includes a cast weight disc that fits over the top of the head and has access to the internal breach and hammer. The disk provides both extra weight by itself and as a result of its flat surface allows for additional weight (field debris) to be placed on the tool to provide for additional hold down force and sealing benefit as necessary. The firing impulse will tend to lift the unit out of the drill hole. The weight holds the unit in place for that fractional time it takes the pressure pulse to force crack propagation before lifting the tool. The disc has a flat top, so when extra boosters are used, in particular, more weight can be added on top of the disc to enhance breaking performance.


Note the location of the drill hole in relation to the edge of the rock. If there is any vigorous movement of material when the rock is broken, it will usually be towards the direction where the material is thinnest between the drill hole and the face of the rock. Position the slot on the top of the head facing a direction where the rock movement is least likely to occur. Then after the primer cartridge is installed and the chain is placed in the slot, the chain ring can be positioned over the knob on the hammer. The operator can then move to a position where it is safe to initiate the unit. Have all personnel move away at least 30 feet in all directions from the unit prior to initiation and be sure no one is in front of the weak side of the rock. Stretch the lanyard to its full length lining up directly with the side of the head that contains the slot, and when everybody is clear, activate the unit with a firm pull.

boulder buster


The addition to the standard equipment configuration, Magnum Buster performance can be enhanced with optional Stem, Stem Extension and Sleeve components. These component attachments are intended to be a quick replacement for the Gas Injection Barrel on the standard Magnum Buster and can be changed back as project conditions demand.


Ignition Barrel Setup

The Ignition Barrel setup is the conventional Magnum Buster configuration, where all cartridges are placed within the drill hole (below the Barrel). These cartridges are initiated through the activation of a small Initiation Cartridge in the tool breach.

The shock wave generated through the gas channel of the Ignition Barrel and in to the water column initiates the cartridges within the drill hole. This option affords the fastest setup time with minimal tool preparation for ongoing production.


Stem and Cartridge Sleeve Setup

The Stem and Cartridge Sleeve setup is an optional Magnum Buster configuration where one or more cartridges are placed within a special enhanced gas production sleeve that is attached to a Gas Injection Stem.

This setup enhances the pressure buildup within the cartridges and produces a more powerful breakage effect. This is the optimal setup for the more difficult rocks conditions (ledge, bench, trench, etc). However, there will be more time required to clean and prepare the tool for ongoing production.