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Old July 28, 2013, 04:23 PM   #1
dajowi
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One bullet away from disaster

A gentleman arrived at our private club's indoor shooting range the other night during my scheduled stint as RSO.

He was shooting a Remington, (new model) .45. He was using his own reloaded ammunition.

During a lull we got to talking about the gun and he asked me If I wished to shoot it. Well..."hell ya". (One of the perks of being an RSO is everyone wants you to try their gun. So You get the opportunity to shoot WWII Lugers, diminutive Derringers, tack driver race guns, cowboy six shooters and anything you can imagine). It's great!

The gun is loaded with a full magazine and I start firing downrange. After the sixth round the slide is closed and locked tight. It will not budge.

We have rules on the firing line on how to handle a "hot" (loaded) malfunctioning firearm. One rule is that everyone stops shooting immediately and backs away from the firing line.

My personal rule of thumb is unless it's obvious that the shooter is unfamiliar with their firearm, the owner of the firearm in question "is the expert." So after attempting to clear the weapon by pulling the slide back without any luck I removed the magazine and handed the firearm to the owner. He attempted to lock the slide back by pulling it rearward and also failed. So he takes the pistol and with the muzzle pointed downward uses the edge of the table to force the slide back. When the slide locked back it ejected a brass case which fell to the floor. Picking up the extracted shell casing I noticed that the primer wasn't struck.

Before he could reload another magazine into the pistol I told him to check the barrel to make sure it was clear. (You know, just in case). It wasn't clear. A bullet was lodged in the barrel.

He had been shooting the same FMJ reloads through the gun without incident.

I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what happened. But one thing is for sure - SAFE GUN HANDLING IS NO ACCIDENT.
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Old July 28, 2013, 05:16 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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GUESS

He isn't crimping tight enough. Recoil shifts the bullets slightly forward in the case. Last round ==> saw six rounds worth of recoil to make this happen.

If the bullets he uses have a "fat" profile, and/or his barrel has a short leade/freebore, a bullet that's set a bit too far out in the case may engage the rifling before the slide if fully in battery. Apparently, the rifling grabbed the bullet hard enough that, when he knocked the slide back, it pulled the bullet free from the case and left it stuck in the barrel.

Several of the knowledgeable reloaders on the reloading area at M1911.org recommend testing any new round with what they call the "plunk" test: remove barrel from pistol -- hold barrel vertical, chamber up -- drop cartridge into chamber and listen for the distinctive "plunk" of the case hitting the shoulder -- turn over and verify that the round falls out freely.
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Old July 28, 2013, 05:25 PM   #3
GJSchulze
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I'm missing something. How do you know it wasn't a squib?
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Old July 28, 2013, 05:41 PM   #4
palabman
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Re: One bullet away from disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by GJSchulze View Post
I'm missing something. How do you know it wasn't a squib?
He said the primer wasn't struck.
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Old July 28, 2013, 05:44 PM   #5
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I'm guessing that the round was just enough oversize to prevent it from chambering fully and the interlock in the system prevented the firing pin from hitting the primer since the gun wasn't fully in battery.
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Old July 28, 2013, 05:50 PM   #6
Sevens
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Quote:
I'm missing something. How do you know it wasn't a squib?
RSO noticed ejected empty piece of brass had -unfired- primer, thus bullet lodged in barrel was pulled from the cartridge by the extractor, bullet was left in bore.
Quote:
He isn't crimping tight enough.
Kind of correct, but IMO, improper terminology or technique, depending on how we look at it.

When loading semi-auto pistol such as .45 Auto, we aren't truly "crimping" anything. The modern seat/crimp die is constructed to impart what we call a "taper crimp" but the purpose of this taper crimp isn't to hold any bullet in place. It's sole purpose is to remove the case mouth flaring we imparted earlier in the process.

If we impart too much flare, we can alter the cartridge case's inherent ability to retain the bullet properly of course. We can also do that if our sizing die is out of spec. But the bottom line is that bullet pull (or case mouth tension, 'grip' on the bullet) is not something we give to a loaded semi-auto round with our seat/crimp die.

That case mouth tension is built in the case through the sizing process.
Taper crimping a .45 Auto is not any manner of a method to gain bullet pull.
In fact... when done improperly, it will lessen it. And also wrinkle the brass.

As to the entire situation -- excellent job in avoiding a mess. Chances are good, however, that the next (good) round wouldn't have seated properly in the chamber anyhow. Still good work in examining the bore.

Back in the day before everything was "TACTICAL", shooting slowly and taking extreme care with unplanned stoppages (factory ammo or handloads) was the proper method, and it seemed pretty much universal. These days, the "proper method" seems to be "clear the SOB as quickly as you can & go back to dumping rounds at warp speed". In fact, it's pretty much what is being trained. Nearly everywhere.
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Old July 28, 2013, 07:15 PM   #7
DMZX
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Recently I had a very similar incident shooting a Remington (R1) 1911, with some .45 ACP catridges I had just loaded. 230gr CMJ's.

First 4 shots went down range and then a misfire. I dropped the magazine out and attempted to extract the unfired round. The slide was very difficult to retract. With some effort I locked the slide back and retrieved the unfired round.

I decided to curtail any further shooting and go check some things.

I rechecked the COL and found it was out of spec'. 1.290" instead of 1.260". I figured that the bullet had engaged the rifling before head spacing correctly on the rim, just enough to prevent the gun from going into battery. The first 4 had gone into battery and fired. The fifth round did not. The difficulty I had pulling back the slide was due to the fact I had to pull the bullet out of the rifling.

I checked the rest of the loads and they were all a bit too long. This was my mistake in that I must have failed to do a final check of the COL after the final settings with the seater/crimp die.

I brought the remaining rounds into spec' and they all fed and fired just fine.
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Old July 28, 2013, 07:18 PM   #8
Boncrayon
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One bullet away from disaster

"During a lull we got to talking about the gun and he asked me If I wished to shoot it. Well..."hell ya". (One of the perks of being an RSO is everyone wants you to try their gun. So You get the opportunity to shoot WWII Lugers, diminutive Derringers, tack driver race guns, cowboy six shooters and anything you can imagine). It's great!

I'm RSO at a Sheriff's Range and it is NOT allowed for us to shoot another person's firearm for liability and safety purposes! Our job is ONLY to watch for compliance on the range, to call "range hot" or"range cold" or "CEASE FIRE." Not sure what "perks" your range offers you!

A squib load is the next worse than a mis-fire! If the primer of the round was not struck, it would not have fired. But if these were hand loaded, that poses an interesting situation if the bullet was not seated properly in the casing and lodged in the barrel. The casing must have been ejected, leaving a bullet lodged in the chamber. Curious.
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Old July 28, 2013, 07:21 PM   #9
Hawg
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Quote:
Several of the knowledgeable reloaders on the reloading area at M1911.org recommend testing any new round with what they call the "plunk" test: remove barrel from pistol -- hold barrel vertical, chamber up -- drop cartridge into chamber and listen for the distinctive "plunk" of the case hitting the shoulder -- turn over and verify that the round falls out freely.
I started doing that after I got a few rounds that the slide wouldn't quite go into battery on. It works.
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Old July 28, 2013, 08:08 PM   #10
Sevens
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Quote:
Not sure what "perks" your range offers you!
His sounds much more enjoyable, and it also sounds like he does a fine job running it.
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Old July 28, 2013, 08:16 PM   #11
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That could have ended badly, but you were doing your job and stopped what could have been the start of a terrible day.
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Old July 28, 2013, 09:55 PM   #12
James K
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"...the purpose of this taper crimp isn't to hold any bullet in place. It's sole purpose is to remove the case mouth flaring we imparted earlier in the process."

A proper taper crimp does three things. It does remove the case mouth flare, but it also tapers the case mouth inward (which is why it is called a taper crimp) and that crimp also helps prevent the bullet from being forced back into the case when feeding. A taper crimp is used on cartridges like the .45 ACP which are supported on the case mouth; a full roll crimp, like that used on most revolver bullets, would not provide good case support and the result would be inaccuracy and possible high pressures.

Often a bad crimping setup will go unnoticed for a long time as long as the rounds feed and fire OK. In this case, it was brought to light only because the bullet, probably already partially dislodged by the recoil of the previous shots, stuck in the leade of the barrel and kept the slide from fully closing.

When enough force was applied to the slide, the case was pulled free, leaving the bullet stuck just ahead of the chamber.

Jim
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Old July 28, 2013, 10:19 PM   #13
44 AMP
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Quote:
Several of the knowledgeable reloaders on the reloading area at M1911.org recommend testing any new round with what they call the "plunk" test: remove barrel from pistol -- hold barrel vertical, chamber up -- drop cartridge into chamber and listen for the distinctive "plunk" of the case hitting the shoulder -- turn over and verify that the round falls out freely.
Whether intentional or not, this makes "the plunk test" sound like a new idea. It's not. And left out was the other important thing you are checking.

The level of the base of the cartridge, compared to the barrel hood. You need to check both to ensure good ammo dimensionally. A too long or a too short case can "plunk" and drop freely.

A case too short might still function and fire normally if the extractor holds it in position. A too long case can give serious problems when its extreme.
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Old July 29, 2013, 07:02 AM   #14
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If, as you suspect, the bullet lodged in the leade, I seriously doubt the next round would have chambered. The second round would have to jam the bullet completely into the rifling and/or setback it's own bullet completely into the case. I don't think there's room in a 45 case for powder AND the bullet. I also know that pushing a bullet fully into the rifling takes more force than is likely generated by the action spring.
I do commend you on using the proper procedure when encountering an unexpected stoppage.
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Old July 29, 2013, 11:25 AM   #15
dajowi
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I'm RSO at a Sheriff's Range and it is NOT allowed for us to shoot another person's firearm for liability and safety purposes!

You mention safety in your comment. Are the range officers assumed to be "less safe" shooting someone's elses firearm rather than their own?

Safety is #1 as far as I'm concerned. The range I work at has 10 lanes and there are always two RSOs on board. Just to be clear, there have been plenty of times when I didn't shoot someone's firearm even though I wanted to because the range was busy. I don't screw around at the range, and I conduct myself like I wish all RSOs would. I've seen RSOs grab the firearms from a shooters hand and act disrespectful to the point that the shooter leaves the facility. Not the best way to encourage new shooters.

As far as range / club "perks."

Besides shooting many types of handguns.

I shoot for free indoor / outdoor 7 days a week sun up to sun down.

Free brass from those who don't reload in all the calibers I reload for.

I can swim in the river.

Fish for trout, steelhead, or salmon.

Have a picnic and kick back and have a "cold one." After shooting of course.

In as far as this incident, the bullets were Berry's, either plated or FMJ.
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