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Old June 16, 2010, 10:51 PM   #1
leadcounsel
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Squibs and hangfires in combat

Seems like you'd be screwed if you had hangfires or especially squibs in combat, firing full auto or 3-round bursts. Yet we rarely hear of these. Anyone experience or read about squibs and hangfires in combat? What were the results?
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Old June 16, 2010, 11:02 PM   #2
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Im sure the most common reaction is "@%*!", followed by a rapid attempt to chamber another round or switch to a different weapon...
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Old June 16, 2010, 11:44 PM   #3
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Modern ammo is pretty good stuff, so I'd imagine it very rarely happens.

Also, "tap, rack, bang" and you're on your way again.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:14 AM   #4
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I had a first generation M-16 which probably fired thousands of rounds during my tour in Vietnam. I can never remember having a hang fire or a squib round. But, the standard procedure if the gun didn't go bang was to pull back the charging handle, eject the round, and try again. My memory is not 100% that far back but I cannot remember that procedure not clearing any problem.

That particular weapon was prone to a fair amount of problems and the solution to pretty much all the problems was to keep the jungle out of the gun which meant cleaning it three times a day whether it was fired or not.

My modern day M4 Carbine, although not automatic nor 3 round burst capable, has taken a tremendous beating and has never skipped a beat, regardless of what gets ingested.
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Old June 17, 2010, 08:28 AM   #5
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never had a hangfire with a military weapon, but I did witness a squib once. I was supervising ammo detail and the other instructors were range safetioes on a SAW range. They were trying to finish up quickly before we had to shut down the range due to a small fire downrange that had been started by tracers. They weren't changing barrels because the spare barrels had to be left behind due to not having good certs.

One of the guns had a malfunction and instead of waiting to clear it SOP says wait 15 minutes in a training environment), they opened the feed tray cover after only about 15 seconds. The round in the chamber cooked off while the bolt was to the rear and the bullet didn't have enough backpressure to push it out the barrel.
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Old June 17, 2010, 08:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Modern ammo is pretty good stuff, so I'd imagine it very rarely happens.

Also, "tap, rack, bang" and you're on your way again.
All true, except the way I use the term "squib" is that the bullet is lodged in the barrel. In that case, TRB is not advisable, am I right? Or am I using the term wrong?
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Old June 17, 2010, 08:55 AM   #7
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squib round and TRB....

You are correct.
To do a TRB operation on a squib load would be very dangerous. In fact, it is likely to destroy the gun and possibly cause injury to the operator.
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Old June 17, 2010, 09:01 AM   #8
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Yep, I guess screwed would be the word.

This is one reason why I scream loud and sharply to never use reloads for combat weapons. I've never had a reload fail me, but I still have at least a slightly greater faith in factory ammo than I do my own loads.

My HD weapons are kept loaded with both reloads and factory, usually about 50 50 as I rotate out the stock.
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Old June 17, 2010, 09:28 AM   #9
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Both were probably common problems in the days of wars fought with muzzle loaders.
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Old June 17, 2010, 09:37 AM   #10
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Someplace I saw the results of a squib in a minigun. I can't find it now but the barrel in question looked a lot like this http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/15767Picture_167-2.JPG
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Old June 17, 2010, 10:21 AM   #11
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I have no idea what I'm seeing in that picture. It sure appears that the barrel has cobalt in the alloy, though.
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Old June 17, 2010, 10:42 AM   #12
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I never had a squib in the 10k+ rounds fired while in the Corps. Never heard of one either!

Modern cartridges are loaded to prevent this. They usually load 1 gr. over max from most civilian reloading manuals. This is one of the reasons ... to prevent squibs. Very little gets past Lake City AA anymore. They weigh each individual round before it is packaged. If it weighs 1 grain under ... they reject it.
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Old June 17, 2010, 11:21 AM   #13
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I Had A Squib Recently -- Pretty Dang Scary

My wife was shooting my HK P30 L for the first time at our range.

We were using brand new 124 gr. Federal American Eagle 9mm ammo. Pretty decent range stuff.

Jill was shooting and I was maybe 40ft behind her, loading mags. (Learned a big lesson there.)

She had a FTE and tapped, racked and ejected the cartridge. The next round wouldn't feed into the chamber.

By this time I was beside her. Removed the magazine and disassembled the pistol. Sure enough, there was a bullet stuck in the barrel.

Thank God, the bullet hadn't moved far enough down the barrel that she could have chambered another round behind it. We were very lucky.

We learned a lot that day. Still gives me the chills.

ETA

Posted this in the wrong thread. Sorry.

Mods, can you move this to the thread started by skans re: Hangfires, etc. ?

Thanks.
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Old June 17, 2010, 12:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
I have no idea what I'm seeing in that picture. It sure appears that the barrel has cobalt in the alloy, though.
You are seeing a test barrel that had multiple rounds fired after a squib to see how the metal withstood the pressure.

My point was that "gatling gun" squib barrel looked the same because it was firing so fast it crammed the squibbed barrel full of additional rounds before anyone could react.

My search-fu is weak today though 'cause I can't find the article again <sigh>.
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Old June 17, 2010, 06:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
You are seeing a test barrel that had multiple rounds fired after a squib to see how the metal withstood the pressure.
Said barrel has had a section cut out (bottom of picture) to reveal the bore filled with bullets packed together in the formerly open bore.

Rendering one barrel in a rotary gun unusable is bad enough, but the thing has to hold together and not cause a catastrophic failure.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:40 PM   #16
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what sort of rounds was that firing?

I could recognize the 6 impacted bullets, but the rest of the stuff in that bore is a mystery.
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Old June 17, 2010, 09:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
what sort of rounds was that firing?
I'm afraid I have no idea.
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Old June 21, 2010, 05:57 PM   #18
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I still have at least a slightly greater faith in factory ammo than I do my own loads.
Not me. I have a far greater confidence in my own loads, as I prefer myself for quality control.
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Old July 1, 2010, 06:58 AM   #19
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My recent experience with squib loads is unfortunately quite extensive. Although not in a combat environment, it was in one that attempted to simulate combat conditions.

I had loaded about 800 rounds of .45 ACP with 200 grain SWCs over 5.0 grains of Bullseye. I needed the ammo for a close-range gunfighting course I took. Although I randomly spot checked my loads, I missed discovering that about one round in every 15 or so was a squib with insufficient powder to launch the bullet or cycle the slide on my 1911. Apparently I had left powder for too long in my powder measure in a damp environment (my basement), and powder was clumping and bridging in the powder measure and not flowing well.

So there I was on the line with about 25 other shooters using Tupperware hearing all kinds of noise about 1911s being inherently unreliable. (Assistant instructor: "We know that 1911s will not feed LSWCs." This nonsense after 32,000 rounds of SWC through that weapon). You can do TRB all you want with a squib and get nowhere. I didn't tumble to the real problem until in total frustration I attempted to load a magazine of Hydrashock 230s and they wouldn't go either, because of the SWC lodged in the chamber throat. You can't see the squib unless you look down the barrel from the muzzle. And who teaches to stick your pinky up the chamber to check for a squib in combat?

In a semiauto handgun, a squib means that the bullet usually lodges at the chamber throat. Standing with a number of other shooters blasting away effectively hides the sound of the squib in the general racket. And frankly, if one is not particularly recoil-sensitive the lack of recoil goes unnoticed as well.

The squib effectively prevents the chambering of a new round, thus preventing a KB. Ties the gun up real quick though, and TRB is a lost cause. In combat, this means run, hide, draw a second weapon, etc. In other words, you're effectively screwed when pressed for time, as the weapon needs to be field stripped and the bullet pushed back out from the muzzle with a ramrod in order for it to be returned to service.

With this kind of potential problem in mind, I have never considered my reloads (or reloads assembled by anyone else) safe for defense, and always carry a quality factory product for that purpose.

Rather than tediously unloading each round with an inertial bullet puller, I opted to run the remaining suspect ammo though my M1917 revolver. Squibs were pushed back out with a ramrod with the cylinder open. The hazard here is that the much-touted "just pull the trigger again on a DA revolver if you get a misfire" will just align a fresh round under the stuck bullet. Bad juju: KB/bulged barrel, etc.

When shooting DA revolvers quickly, it is very, very hard to stop that second stroke if the gun goes "click."
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Old July 1, 2010, 11:08 AM   #20
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Squib Load = Less than normal pressure caused by not enough powder charge and or wet or faulty cartridges.

Two things can happen with a Squib load:
1) Bullet gets lodged in barrel, not always near chamber
2)or doesnt have enough power to make it to the target or be effective when it hits the target.
You will definately hear a destinctive pop vs a bang, and feel a slight difference in recoil or watch the action of the gun move slower. All these things could be very difficult to notice when the SHTF scenario goes down or when on the line shooting with other shooters. I carry a small straw with me for this particular reason, and a BUG for this exact reason. Murphy's Law is not something I would bet against.

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Old July 1, 2010, 12:40 PM   #21
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"In combat, both the enemy and Murphy get a vote." -paraphrased from quotes by GEN Tommy R. Franks (Ret)
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Old July 16, 2010, 11:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
When shooting DA revolvers quickly, it is very, very hard to stop that second stroke if the gun goes "click."
And that is why I've always considered semi-autos far safer than revolvers for rapid-fire. I've yet to hear of a squib strong enough to cycle an action.
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Old July 18, 2010, 01:39 PM   #23
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Nope, never had either.
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Old July 22, 2010, 10:25 AM   #24
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Fifteen years ago, I had one in my glock 19, round went off, sounded funny slide cycled fully and wouldnt close all the way. Fast forward 19 yrs and saw some folks on the range have the same issue when they were shooting reloads through there S&W TSW .40 cal. Both times I had witnessed it, I heard the pop and saw that the slide was open only about 2 mm. That is scary stuff right there, the other folks had no Idea how close they came to becoming seriously hurt or disfigured if I hadnt told them to cease fire. They never heard of such a thing.

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Old July 22, 2010, 12:25 PM   #25
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Saw one in a match, 300 H&H magnum shooting reloads. Primer went off but powder did not ignite, bullet was stuck in the barrel and had to be removed on the line in the middle of a thousand yard string. Old boy was good. He cleared it and went back to shooting, only missed shooting 3 rounds out of the 20 required and he was not low man on the score board. If it had been me I would have gone to pieces back then, (1972), today I would shrug my shoulders, just another day on the range.

Only squib from a combat weapon was on our 5"x54 aboard the Farragut. Round stuck half way down the barrel and it was an HE round. Getting that out was interesting, especially for the seaman who carried the round in his arms down the starboard side of the ship in order to dump it off the fantail. Seconds after dumping it the shell detonated.

Not a squib but worse. The DE behind us in the north Atlantic fired a 4"x50 and the shell exploded approximately 50' from the muzzle of the gun spraying the ship with shrapnel. They had loaded up at the same New York ammo dump we did before we deployed. They got bum ammo and we got bum wings for our missiles.

That was an exciting 3 days, 3 missiles launched, 3 missiles lost, one back tracked and flew between the 2 stacks on the ship before hitting the water. We would launch and the wings were falling off due to a bad locking mechanism. They were blaming the missile house boys but they were innocent. Good thing we weren't going into a shooting situation because our fangs were pulled and our toenails clipped to the quick.
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