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Old June 1, 2012, 03:12 AM   #1
bbman25
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M1 garand cracked receiver

so about.. 2 and a half months ago a buddy and i were shooting the garand at the range. we were shooting reloads that my grampa and i made, he is an experienced reloader and has been doing this since the 60s. i have a 1942 manufacture spiringfield garand. anyway, about 5 rounds in, i pulled the trigger and heard 2 rounds go off. there was only 7 cases on the ground, for a short time we couldnt even find the missing case or any evidence of it. when we did find it, the neck was all ballooned out, and the case looked like a giant .45. so we are assuming what had happened was the round went off as it was being chambered, and we have no idea why. luckily the bullet left the barrel and i only got minor powder burns on my neck..
as a result of the incident, the rear of the receiver cracked on both sides, and the op rod was bent slighty and will not close the bolt all the way unless i give it a good whack. the stock was also cracked, and a nice chunk came out of the back of it.
i have had some bad luck with the rifles, having just repaired the mauser stock for the 5th time a few weeks ago..

needless to say we were pretty ticked off about the whole thing, and now i am looking into either buying a new one or getting it repaired.

so, based on my friend's research, a receiver is about 250-300$, an op rod is 100-160$ a stock is about 70$ (mine is still usable so i may skip this one) along with my barrel looking pretty nasty inside with quite a bit of wear, so i think i need a new barrel as well- another 100 some dollars.

i could spend nearly 500$ to get the parts, then probably some more to get a gunsmith to do the work. or, i could put this one on the wall and try to find another rifle for about the same price or less.

any ideas? opinions? good places to check for parts or a new rifle? Id like to find one with a lower number like mine (which is in the 400k range), if that is possible for that low of a price. condition is not a major issue, as long as it works and isnt rusted away and obvioulsy very rough. my dad and i can clean up the metal and get it re-blued/parkerized at the shop.
I will add some pictures of the damage later today if anyone is interested in seeing.
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:58 AM   #2
jaguarxk120
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Hang it on the wall and be thankfull tat nothing worse happened.
You won't find a gunsmith that will weld on a reciever for repairs anywhere.
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Old June 1, 2012, 08:09 AM   #3
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Just order a new one from the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and salvage whatever parts you can from what you have.
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Old June 1, 2012, 08:34 AM   #4
musher
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To avoid out of battery slam fires in your new Garand, make sure your reloads have the primers seated fully.

Many recommend not using federal primers in this rifle.
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Old June 1, 2012, 01:09 PM   #5
Orlando
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Buy a Service Grade from CMP for $625, and part out what you can on your Garand
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:09 PM   #6
bbman25
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here is an image of the cracks for anyone who is curious.

I guess i'll look into getting a new rifle then, thanks for the input. as for the primers not being fully seated, that's definitely a likely possibility, as we were having some trouble with the press that day.. I was hoping to try to find one for a little less than what the CMP has them listed, but if I can't then I'll just need to save up for another few weeks.
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:43 PM   #7
gunsmokeTPF
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Stick with factory ammo next time.

Last edited by Mike Irwin; June 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM.
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Old June 2, 2012, 08:52 AM   #8
Willie Sutton
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Actually.... that receiver is not probably badly cracked enough to remove it from service. That's not a highly stressed area of the receiver... I am SURE that armchair experts will disagree (awaiting flames), but... those are pretty insignificant cracks from an impact load that is not what the receiver was designed for. Unless you repeat the error, and blow the thing up again, that receiver will not see any loading in those zones again. The receiver is not generally taking much if any load there in firing, compared to the forces at the front of the receiver. If it were mine.... I'd not scrap it "just yet".

To give more detail, that area is literally as far away from the locked area of the receiver as is possible. At the moment of firing, the bolt lugs are locked into the forward most area of the receiver... this is at the extreme rear.

I would do a dye penetrant inspection of the area, and document the dimensions of the cracks, and then shoot 100 rounds and re-inspect. if the cracks stay the same, shoot another 1000 rounds and re-inspect. If the cracks stay the same... forget about it. This is exactly how we would handle a crack in an aircraft engine casing. In fact, I suggest that you take the receiver to your local airport, find the A&P (airframe and powerplant mechanic) that works there, and ask him for help in doing the dye penetrant inspection. It's cheap, easy, and accurate. Cracks in aircraft engine casings are part and parcel of them... any A&P mechanic worth his salt will be able to assist you. A crack is not absolutely a "bad thing" as long as it does not change. Good documentation of the dimensions and monitoring for changes is a smart way to proceed. If a repair is something to consider, a SMALL tap of a TIG weld on the bottom of the receiver at each crack point, and then filing off and stoning to smooth the weld area flat would likely prevent any future migration of the crack in normal shooting.

Or you could buy a new one.... By the sounds of it, this one has just about had it as far as being a shooter, and as others have opined, by the time you add an op rod, stock, and perhaps rebarrel it, you can replace it.

I'm looking for a cheap M1 receiver to build up a BM-59 project. Box it up and send it... I'm an A&P and I'll take my own advice and see how it shapes up.


Willie

.

Last edited by Willie Sutton; June 2, 2012 at 09:17 AM.
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Old June 2, 2012, 09:11 AM   #9
Dave P
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"That's not a highly stressed area of the receiver.."


Yes, I disagree. If it was a low stress area, how did it ever crack then???

It is the back of the receiver that is designed to stop the bolt and absorb the force (hitting it hard!) every time the rifle is fired.
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Old June 2, 2012, 09:13 AM   #10
Willie Sutton
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The velocity of the bolt when it taps the back of the receiver with normal unlocking is... "very low" in comparison to the velocity it hit in this case.

But your point is well taken. "Low" is relative in comparison to the loads at the locking area up front, and is also "low" in the normal case as compared to this particular case in the rear of the receiver.

I will edit my previous post to more accurately reflect this, and continue the explaination below to hopefully avoid any errors. Thanks for the excellent point.

My bet is that the op rod was not connected to the bolt when this occured.. depending on how the rod bent it likely disengaged the cam. The back of the receiver then took all of the load... no op rig spring or the mass of the op rod to slow things down. The rear of the receiver is what prevented the bolt from entering the face of the shooter and exiting the back of his head. No kidding. Even if the op rod stayed attached, this was a VERY bad thing to have occured, see following:

Think about shooting an "unlocked BLOWBACK .30-06" rifle" v/s a "Locked until bullet passes gas port at end of BBL and then a delay while to op rod cams rotate the bolt, and then retard that with op rod spring and the mass of the op rod/bolt combination" rifle and my guess is that the forces at the rear of the receiver were likely an order of magnitude (10X) those normally seen there, or perhaps even more. Maybe 2 orders of magnitude (100X). It's a REALLY large difference.

Evidence: What we can surmise by the description of the recovered case is that the round was NEARLY chambered when this occured, otherwise the case would be ruptured and likely fully separated at the head. A fully unchambered premature would have developed low pressures. THIS thing developed what is likely nearly FULL pressure in the case. Blowback .30-06 with a LIGHT recoil spring being the only thing resisting the load? Yowie!! The MOST VULNERABLE point for a premature is JUST before the bolt begins to rotate to lock, IE: the round is "nearly" full chambered so it will develop full pressure, but nothing is holding the bolt locked. I would be interested to look at the bolt to see if there is any evidence of any locking... even a few degrees. None PLUS the evidence provided by the case shape = worst case from a stresses standpoint.

I'd still be inclined to play with it... but with the tools and techniques here to do this correctly at no cost other than labor. The OP probably does not have that facility. For HIM the best bet is likely to buy another service grade rifle. HERE I'd look it over more carefully and likely salvage it.


Willie


.

Last edited by Willie Sutton; June 2, 2012 at 09:38 AM.
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Old June 2, 2012, 09:54 AM   #11
musher
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Willie, you are correct that this area of the receiver isn't heavily loaded in normal operation. You're also correct in surmising that the crack may not spread in further normal operation.

The thing that troubles me about your analysis and recommendation is that if a similar malfunction were to occur when shooting the cracked receiver, it may well injure the shooter, perhaps seriously.

We see that the receiver absorbed substantial excess/misdirected energy in this malfunction, protecting the shooter from the rearward exit of the bolt. There's no reason to believe further cracking will be progressive rather than a total failure.
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Old June 2, 2012, 10:23 AM   #12
Willie Sutton
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I respectfully disagree based on my experience with properties of metals, and the ease of preventing a similar malfunction. But please include the word "respectful" in the answer... I always also advise that each individual do what is the most conservative thing that THEY are comfortable with. My own comfort level would be met with that receiver. Others... not so. I respect that completely. And... if it were mine, and I completed a rifle using it... I'd probably not sell it to anyone for liability reasons. Safe? Absolutely. As safe as if new? Uhh... probably not. Shoot it? Absolutely. Argue with lawyers after someone else shoots soft primers in the thing and your worst fears are realized? Uhh... prefer not to.

Further advice: Stay away from soft primers, and if possible, shoot what it was designed to shoot: milspec ball ammo. "The only way to make something foolproof is to keep it away from fools". "Anything" can happen in theory. he chances of this happening a second time can be fully answered by shooting it correctly with what it was designed to shoot.

That's just me... actual mileage may vary. Caveat Emptor, etc.

Really: I'd gladly buy that receiver... I really do want a trial one to do a BM-59 build on. A Bit-O-TIG and a file and... well, you get the point.


Best,

Willie

.

Last edited by Willie Sutton; June 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM.
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Old June 2, 2012, 11:18 AM   #13
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It's certainly true that everyone has to draw their own line. I'm not so sanguine about my ability to predict and prevent future malfunctions and there's no shortage of Garands in the world. I wouldn't shoot that receiver in its present state. Risk/reward from my perspective doesn't justify it.

Of course, I don't shoot low numbered Springfields either, so there you go.

I was responding more to your original suggestion the op take the receiver to an A&P and have the crack dp inspected, then shoot it in the cracked state while monitoring the crack growth. Suggesting that course to a third party is somewhat different than analyzing your own level of acceptable risk and taking the plunge yourself.

In your later post, I think you tried to clarify that you were withdrawing your suggestion that the OP to follow this course of action. While I wouldn't presume to deter anyone from taking their own educated chances on this, I did feel uncomfortable seeing someone advise a third party to do so.
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Old June 2, 2012, 12:09 PM   #14
Willie Sutton
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I'd guess like so many skill-based things, if you want either "black" or "white" then it's a self fulfilling prophesy, as follows:

(1): Anyone needing the advice is not competent enought to use it independantly.

and

(2): Anyone proficient enough to do this themselves isn't seeking advice.


So... why bothering giving advice at all?



I offered what I offered under the premise that I am discussing it with someone who is "able to make their own choices" but could use some assistance as to the tools that are available to do so. Sort of a middle ground of "grey" between the two extremes above. I give some basic credit for basic intelligence and the ability to be educated to my fellow man. Actual mileage may vary... Or in other words, Darwin sometimes DOES rule the roost.


I don't shoot low number '03's either BTW. I can't test them. I can test cracks.


Best,


Willie

.
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Old June 2, 2012, 12:25 PM   #15
Orlando
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So what happens if you were to use the reciver that is cracked and you happen to get a hot load. It wouldnt be pretty.
Garand recivers can be bought from CMP for $195.00. It isnt worth the chance.
IMO it isnt anything more than a paperweight
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Old June 2, 2012, 12:29 PM   #16
Harry Bonar
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Welding reciever

Sir;
NEVER, NEVER, weld on any part of any rifle reciever!
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Old June 2, 2012, 01:12 PM   #17
Willie Sutton
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Hmm: I'll bear that in mind next time I field strip any of a number of things that have welds on them.

Never saw any of the M-14 clones made from M1-A's with the selector lug welded on? That weld is in about the same area as these two tiny cracks are located. And before you moot it... none of them are re heat-treated after welding. You simply weld fast and keep the rest of the areas cool.

Or any of the M1 Garands made from two demilled receivers welded together?

Or any of the (Thompsons, Stens, Sterlings, MG-42's, MG-34's etc,. etc, etc) that have been rewatted?

It is not for the foolish... but it's not to be ruled out either. To each job the correct technique.



"So what happens if you were to use the reciver that is cracked and you happen to get a hot load"



Uhh... nothing at all. If you knew the Garand you would know that. "Hot Load" meaning 45 grains of Bullseye? If it'll blow this up,. it'll blow up your Model 70 too... But as I said, I expected a load of armchair experts to want to argue.....


Fact of the matter is that you could REMOVE all but the front TWO INCHES of a Garand receiver, chamber a round, lock the bolt into the bolt recesses, and fire it without an Op-Rod and you would be as safe as a baby in church. Hot loads or not... did you actually LOOK at where the cracks are, and do you actually UNDERSTAND how a Garand works?



Willie

.

Last edited by Willie Sutton; June 2, 2012 at 01:17 PM.
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Old June 2, 2012, 02:12 PM   #18
edward5759
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That is a repairable crack!
Before my stroke I welded hundreds of M1 Garand receivers and had no problems. I do re-harden the receivers after the weld. Even after I welded a rear lug on them. TIG weld would work for that.
The only thing you need to avoid is the porosity in the weld so run heavy argon with the weld.
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Old June 2, 2012, 03:10 PM   #19
Orlando
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I will not get in a <pointless contest of ego> with you but I understand completly how the Garand works. I have owned 24 of them through the years and built several myself and have a few more ready to have barrels installed and assembled
I also never said the Garand would blow up
I do know that the bolt hits the heel when fired and having a cracked heel and someone possibly firing a round that is hot/not designed for the Garand along with a weak Op Rod spring and having the heel posibly come back in someones face is not something I would ever take a chance on.
If you are a gambler more power to you but telling anyone else its 100% safe is negligent.
My opinion, yours may vary

Last edited by JohnKSa; June 2, 2012 at 08:45 PM. Reason: Terminology adjustment.
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Old June 2, 2012, 03:18 PM   #20
Willie Sutton
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Got one guy here who's welded them... and another who says "Not Me"...

The difference between theory and practice is that in theory they are the same, but in practice they often differ.

I'll take the practical answer.


Best bet: TIG it and shoot it.

Possible bet: Measure, Monitor, and shoot.

Dumbed-down answer: Paperweight it.

Hoped for answer: "I'll send it to Willie and let him play with it"...




Enjoy,

Willie

.

Last edited by Willie Sutton; June 2, 2012 at 03:24 PM.
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Old June 2, 2012, 03:23 PM   #21
Orlando
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Try selling that rifle some day with welds, no one would touch it. I would bet you would have a real hard time finding any gunsmith that would take on the job because of liability
Garand recivers are easy to come by and not all that expensive
You have your way, I have mine
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Old June 2, 2012, 03:26 PM   #22
Willie Sutton
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Really?

Thousands of welded up former dewat rifles are circulating and still selling.

Throw away an old soldier? Seems like a crime.

This isn't even close to the splicing of two cut off receivers that was a common practice in years gone by. I guess buying two dozen Garands does not bring with it history lesson of how Garands first came to be owned here by civilians. Hint: They were all spliced together from two halves long before there was TIG welding. Nope... they were just ordinary stick welds followed up with a surface grinder.


Willie


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Old June 2, 2012, 04:21 PM   #23
P5 Guy
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M1 Rifle

Too little information.
bbman25, was this rifle from the CMP/DCM? What powder did the reloader use, how much and what weight bullet?

The receiver may have been a weld-up already? And lead dipping to anneal the heels of some receiver was a practice at Springfield during war production.
My personal opinion is that I treasure my boyish good looks too much to have them ruined by and exploding rifle.
As stated by some of the others. Salvage the undamaged parts and go to the CMP to buy a Field or Rack Grade M1.
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Old June 2, 2012, 05:56 PM   #24
James K
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Well, some of those "cut and weld" receivers did crack at the welds, no matter what anyone says. The location of the weld meant that none (AFIAK) caused any injury or catastrophic failure of the receiver, but to say that none ever cracked is not true.

The receiver heel is not intended to stop op rod travel; that is done at the front of the receiver. The heel allows a place for the bolt to stop when play between the op rod and the bolt allows the bolt to keep moving after the op rod stops. Normally, there is little force applied at that point, but the heels did crack (just like that) when firing rifle grenades before they developed the valve type gas cylinder lock screw and the grenade launchers that open the valve. Subsequently, the heels of new receivers were annealed in molten lead, and some were annealed during rebuilds; probably that one was not treated.

I guess I am on the fence on this one. I agree that continued firing of the rifle is unlikely to cause any further problem, even if the cracks are not welded, and that welding them will do no harm. Yet, on general principles, I don't like the idea of continued use of that receiver unless absolutely necessary. It is not a matter of life or death, of needing the rifle to defend home and homeland, and there are other M1 rifles available at reasonable cost.

Jim
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Old June 2, 2012, 06:21 PM   #25
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Quote:
so about.. 2 and a half months ago a buddy and i were shooting the garand at the range. we were shooting reloads that my grampa and i made, he is an experienced reloader and has been doing this since the 60s. i have a 1942 manufacture spiringfield garand. anyway, about 5 rounds in, i pulled the trigger and heard 2 rounds go off. there was only 7 cases on the ground, for a short time we couldnt even find the missing case or any evidence of it. when we did find it, the neck was all ballooned out, and the case looked like a giant .45. so we are assuming what had happened was the round went off as it was being chambered, and we have no idea why. luckily the bullet left the barrel and i only got minor powder burns on my neck..
An experienced reloader and an experienced gas gunner reloader are two different things.

What you had is obviously an out of battery slamfire. That cartridge likely had a sensitive primer and it is highly probable that Grandpa’s reloads were too long or too fat.

The Garand has a free floating firing pin, like this M1 carbine. The M1 Carbine and the M1 Garand have a firing pin retraction cam. This cam pulls the firing pin back during extraction. It also has limited utility as a safety device, but is easily defeated by tight or long rounds. If your round was smaller than the chamber the odds would have been in your favor to have an in battery slamfire.

Only at final cam down is the firing pin retracted. Up to then the firing pin is totally free floating and tapping the heck out of the primer.

This is a M1 Carbine firing pin retraction cam.



This is the M1 Garand firing pin retraction cam they are functionally identical, just the carbine is easier to visually understand.



These are M1 Garand receivers and the firing pin is fully forward and just touching the firing pin retraction cam. As you can see there is only thousand's of an inch of forward movement left in bolt cam down and yet the firing pin is out about 0.064" of the bolt face.





This is most likely where your sensitive primer went off. Before lug engagement.

If the bolt has to stop here to crunch fit a long case or a fat case that firing pin is rebounding off the back of the primer at its highest velocity in its forward travel.

That is why it is important to small base size cases used in these rifles and to set up the dies with a case gage and size to gage minimum. This will reduce the risk of an out of battery slamfire.



I am curious to know if Grandpa used federal primers. Federal primers are the most sensitive primer on the market and the most "slamfiring" primer in Garands.

For these rifles it is safety critical to ream primer pockets to depth, seat the primers by hand, and verify that all of the primers are below the primer pocket. There is a chance that a cocked primer, with the anvil firmly seated on something, will cause a primer initiated slamfire. A high primer can cause a slamfire but only if the anvil is firmly seated. High primers are one of the most common cause of misfires because the primer won't fire unless the anvil is seated and is pushed up into the primer cake. However, given a shallow pocket it is theoretically possible that high primers could have done this.

Just examine the back of the ammunition you have and see if there are high or cocked primers.

It is also safety critical to use the least sensitive primer around because these rifles will slamfire in battery or worse, out of battery, given a sensitive enough primer.

I recommend CCI #34's and Tula7.62 primers as they considered "Mil Spec" primers. Which means they are less sensitive than commercial primers, federal being the most sensitive commercial primer on the market.

It is my considered opinion that Granda Pa's reloads cracked your receiver. It is also my considered opinion that your receiver cannot be repaired.

You are very fortunate that you did not lose an eye, or have wood fragments injure you.

Would you please post clear pictures of the blown case and the primer? The slamfire cases I have seen had clear firing pin indentations in the primer.
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Last edited by Slamfire; June 2, 2012 at 06:39 PM.
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