Yesterday also found time to go out shooting in Ramona with Dan and Eric. Dan was up 'till 6am reinstalling his firewall Linux box, so we didn't go 'till almost 5:00, and thus, we were there past dark. It's quite amazing how much the steel-tipped SS-109 very-light-armor-piercing ammo I have for the AR-15 sparks when it strikes metal. The ordinary South African-surplus 5.56mm NATO stuff punches right through, but not near as spectacularly. (We shot up an old, dead, steel-cased UPS I bought a while back. $25 bought me eight 6V sealed lead-acid batteries, and a target.)
In the darkness, we also saw the two extremes of muzzle flash. Eric's Mosin-Nagant rifle (7.62x54mm) is blindingly bright. When shooting something tipsy at close range, you don't see the target fall. The flash effect is so bright it obscures it. And it also throws a very crisp shadow behind the shooter. At the other end was Dan's Walther P22 (.22LR), whose muzzle flash was downright pretty. There was an outward blossom pattern to it.
I had some old, old Diet Barq's in the garage I'd been meaning to get rid of. Shaking up pop cans and shooting them isn't as spectacular as you'd think. Maybe they split in two, maybe you just get two holes that spray streams in opposite directions. But there's no big splatter. If you want an awesome splattering target, you gotta stay with large fruits. Canteloupe have worked well for us in the past.