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Rambo IV (2008) (titled Rambo in the US) has a scene towards the end of the film in which Rambo uses a powerful 0.50 caliber machine gun (it is the turret of a car).

My question is: How do the producers shoot such a scene without killing actual humans? The machine gun is so powerful it penetrates through the whole body, severing limbs in the process. So, how is this actually done in practice?

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    I'm a little unclear what you're asking. Apr 24, 2022 at 20:01
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    @MeatTrademark I think the core assumption of the question is, that it is an actual working machine gun that is fired during filming. The question is then asking how this is safely done.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 24, 2022 at 21:05
  • I didn't want to assume that really was the question. I thought there must be more since they used the words "actual humans" and the tag "effects," which is most of the answer. Apologies. I thought they might be after minutiae. Apr 26, 2022 at 4:13

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They are using blank rounds - cartridges that have no actual bullet to act as a projectile, but which produce a noise and flash.

However, blank firing weapons are still dangerous. There have been incidents where something has fouled the barrel and acts like a bullet during filming, causing injury or death (famously, The Crow and, more recently, Rust). Even without a projectile, the hot exhaust of gases and matter can hurt someone if they are too close, so precautions during filming include shooting away from people as much as possible, and using weaker charges (you notice this when weapons produce less of a kick than you'd expect).

The effect of bullets hitting the target and around it is usually done by using squibs - very small explosives. Although these are also not without some risk of minor injury.

There will be a weapons master and/or team on the set to ensure safety, and also highly trained experts managing the use of squibs.

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