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Old November 9, 1999, 06:10 PM   #1
John Foley
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I was at the range, yesterday afternoon, when the guy on the bench next to me had his customized Ruger explode! It blew the magazine out, blew pieces of the scopes' front mounting ring my way, the firing pin dropped out, the bolt was blown back about an eight of an inch and jammed so tight it couldn't be moved, his custom laminated stock was split both fore and aft.

I was watching him when it happened...it was a sight to behold. He was lucky, he came out of it quite "shook up" but with only a slight cut on his forehead. I know him, from the range, and he is an experienced handloader. I don't remember what powder he was useing but he had told me that there was only 25 grains in the .223 case. I don't reload, for the .223, but by looking at the size of the case I doubt that he could have double charged it with out knowing it.

In all of my years, around firearms, I have never see one blow up. Anyone have any insight as to what may have happened?
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Old November 9, 1999, 07:17 PM   #2
HankL
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25 Grains of Bullseye would most likely do the trick. I would love to know the answer to this one myself!
Hank
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Old November 9, 1999, 07:47 PM   #3
WalterGAII
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25gr. of H335 is a pretty common load for .223. The case is almost full when loaded with that charge. There is enough space left to dangerously overcharge, but not to double charge. Fortunately, I gave my Mini away some time ago, so I don't know whether a Mini can fire out of battery or not. Another possibility is that he fired a hot round behind a squib.

I almost had that happen to me with my AR this past week. Bullet was lodged about three inches into barrel. Hammer for second shot was cocked, but action had not cycled sufficiently to extract/eject spent round.

Makes you want to wear kevlar gloves and eye protection, doesn't it??

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Old November 9, 1999, 09:11 PM   #4
James K
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Hey, Guys,

ALWAYS wear eye protection!

I can't make a guess about the blowup without seeing the gun, but the word "customized" makes me nervous. And even experienced handloaders do make mistakes.

Jim

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Old November 10, 1999, 04:59 AM   #5
oberkommando
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Walt I don't think mini will fire out of battery any more than an AR will. You would need primer, firing pin, disconector, and chartridge headspace problem(S) and is likely that it would fire just after lockup. This is what I gathered from M14 SHOP MANUAL.

Check out Speer reloading manual saying you can max ch 223 with 26 grains using mil brass, this exceeds all other manuals using commercial brass, dont believe everyhting in reloading manuals folks.

Walt,
Sounds like you need Hk USP just shoot stuck bullet out barrel, but then again that AR ain't no Hk. HaHa
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Old November 10, 1999, 10:26 AM   #6
4V50 Gary
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OKH is right about the Mini14 firing out of battery. Like the M14, the web (or bridge) of the receiver cams the firing pin back until the bolt is fully locked up. Once the bolt is rotated into full lockup, the firing pin is free to be driven forward by the hammer. This safety feature could be defeated if the firing pin was broken.

From what I've heard, it sounds like the ammo is at fault. Remember that all guns are proof loaded (150% above SAAMI specs) at the factory. To blow up a gun the load would have to be considerably higher.

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Old November 10, 1999, 03:40 PM   #7
WalterGAII
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Could have been a feed-ramp induced bullet setback. I had it happen with .400 Cor-bon shooting through a G21. If you're not crimping into a cannelure, your chances of setback are increased.

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Old November 12, 1999, 05:54 PM   #8
John Foley
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OK guys, two more quetions. Could faulty brass rupture and cause the blow up? Or, could a flaw in the action, or metal fatigue do the job. He had it rebarreled and a custom stock installed and had fired over a 1000 rounds through it before it blew.
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Old November 13, 1999, 02:58 AM   #9
WalterGAII
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My guess is that he was using depleted uranium bullets and one of them just went critical! Well, that's as good a guess as any.

BTW, in addition to two sets of eye protection, I'd suggest asbestos long underwear and kevlar gloves when you run another round in behind a stuck bullet in that HK!!

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[This message has been edited by WalterGAII (edited November 13, 1999).]
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Old November 14, 1999, 10:21 AM   #10
artech
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My guess based on the description would be a case head failure. See these a lot on AR's. Usually with cheap ammo, but not always. The damage described would be due to the escaping gas flowing through the action and stock.

Case head failures are usually caused by a defect in the brass of the case head, but they can be a result of a headspace/setback problem. Usually there will be other problems if this is the case, and you don't mention anything like that.

I suppose the customization might be suspect, but unless something was annealed and improperly heat treated it shouldn't be. I can't imagine any reputable gunsmith doing something like that, though. I'd concentrate on any pieces of the case you can find to investigate. I'm willing to bet you'll find a good sized piece missing where it blew out.

Careful disassembly may result in the rifle being salvaged, the damage may not be as great as it seems at first glance. Hope this helps.

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Old November 14, 1999, 12:22 PM   #11
John Foley
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Walter, Thanks for your smart a** answer, you information was very helpful. I always thought that a person had to be at least 18 to post here.

artech,

I think you are on the right track. Because of the the confusion, at the time of the "blow up" and trying to remember what happened later, I forgot to mention that we found very small pieces of brass imbeded in the shooting bench.

You wrote, "...but they can be a result of a headspace/setback problem. Usually there will be other problems if this is the case..." What other problems should a person have looked for?

The gunsmith is a very reputable one from Wyoming, so I think we can probably rule out any problems in that area.

He was going to send the rifle, and the parts to Ruger, and I hope he remembers to tell me what they find out. With the information I have been able to gather, I agree with you, I think Ruger will find parts of the case missing

Thanks for your insight and input.

Semper Fi
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Old November 14, 1999, 02:46 PM   #12
WalterGAII
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John:

Failed to notice the "Semper Fi". Sorry.

[This message has been edited by WalterGAII (edited November 14, 1999).]
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Old November 14, 1999, 10:07 PM   #13
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A condition of undercharge could also create the results described. Instead of being a squib load, the air-space to propellant ratio is such that when the flash from the primer ignites the larger surface area of the smaller charge, a detonation occurs instead of a rapid burn.
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Old November 15, 1999, 08:10 AM   #14
John Foley
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Mykl,

Thanks for the information, I am trying to gather as much as I can about what could possibly make a rifle blow up.

WalterGAll,

What's the matter...no guts? You manage to insult every one who ever served in the USMC and then delete that part of you post to me so other can't respond to it!
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Old November 15, 1999, 09:49 AM   #15
WalterGAII
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John:

I just realized that one stupid, assinine post didn't deserve another. I was wrong in my ******-off response to your post, and decided to delete the offensive part. I have several close friends and relatives who are Marines, and I have only the highest respect for that branch of the service.

Probably takes more of a man to admit a mistake than to make a few hostile vibrations in the air or taps on a keyboard.

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Old November 15, 1999, 04:39 PM   #16
John Foley
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Walt,

Let's let it go...OK?
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Old November 15, 1999, 04:58 PM   #17
WalterGAII
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My sentiments, exactly, John. I REALLY was trying to help in all but that depleted uranium post.
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Old November 15, 1999, 05:46 PM   #18
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John,
I'm going to tax your memory a little. Many moons ago (May, June?) we were talking about using lead bullets and Accurate #9 in your M1 Carbine. I was wondering how that went. The discussion on blowing up guns brought this to mind.
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Old November 16, 1999, 05:20 PM   #19
John Foley
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Mal H,

Want me to start a new post on the lead bullets and the .30 carbine? I shot some of it, but I forgot which grain weight. I have the targets and the loading data in the basement. I usually analize it in the winter when I can't get to the range. But I'll be glad to look it up and get back to you within a week. I also loaded up and shot some 85gr JRN pistol bullets ( I know it is not recommened, but some damn fool has to try it!)with interesting results.

Walter, I know that, your first post shows it.
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Old November 17, 1999, 01:15 AM   #20
STUMPTHINKER
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THINK ABOUT THIS. THE MORE YOU RELOAD A CARTRIDGE, THE MORE STRECHED AND WEAKER IT BECOMES.BUT, EVEN WITH A CASE/HEAD SEPERATION, THE 223 DOES NOT GENERATE ENOUGH PRESSURE TO CAUSE THAT MUCH DAMAGE AS LONG AS THE BORE IS FREE TO ALLOW BULLET AND SOME GAS TO PASS THROUGH IT. THE ANSER WOULD PROBABLY BE THAT THE RIFLES BORE WAS OBSTRUCTED FROM THE PREVIOUS SHOT. YOU WOULD NEVER NOTICE FROM SHOOTING BECAUSE THE SOUND WOULD REMAIN THE SAME, AND BULLET WOULD STILL STRIKE TARGET, BUT WHAT IF DUE TO THE WEAK CASE, THE BULLET TORE SOME OF THE BRASS CARTRIDGE NECK LOOSE AND IT LODGED AROUND THE GAS PORT AREA. THIS EQUALS PLUGGED BBL, EXCESSIVE PRESSURE AND EXCESSIVE DAMAGE ON THE NEXT FIRED ROUND.
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Old November 17, 1999, 07:00 AM   #21
slickpuppy
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stumpthinker,
Caps aren't necessary in the forum, friend.
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Old November 17, 1999, 11:53 PM   #22
STUMPTHINKER
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Sorry,bad habit of forgetting to hit button.
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