View Full Version : HELP!! Locked A-bolt 30-06

August 9, 2006, 06:55 AM
My brother came over to shoot with me and I gave him some neck sized 30-06 cartridges from my rifle. (I do not know what I was thinking) The first cartridge hung in the chamber and will not eject. The bolt is all the way forward in the upper position. It had not rotated yet. It should come open as the lugs are still in their raceway and not locked. I used a brass punch and tapped on the bolt as hard as I dare. I tried to use a cleaning rod to tape on the cartridge, all that did was push the bullet in the case and compress the powder.

?? If I really pound on the bolt will I destroy the rifle.
?? Do I need to remove the barrel.
(Browning 30-06 A-bolt)
Any suggestions appreciated. !!!

August 9, 2006, 11:41 AM
You can use a rubber hammer to hit the bolt handle to knock the bolt loose, or put a 2x4 against the handle and hit the 2x4 with a hammer. Since the bolt wasn't locked, it should not take too much to loosen. Unless you hit it like you're driving nails, you shouldn't hurt it.

August 9, 2006, 12:10 PM
you may want to pour some oil in the barrel so it will run into the casing and hopefully kill the powder and primer first !

August 9, 2006, 12:29 PM
Looking at the gun from the rear and holding it upright, does the bolt handle stick out slightly above or below horizontal? It should be slightly above horizontal to be all the way open on the A-bolt and free to move rearward in the ways. Slightly down, and the lugs have already started to engage. It isn't much different.

Assuming the bolt really is open, you've done the equivalent of sticking an unlubricated case into a sizing die, and that can cause it to stick severely. Hammering the bolt back may break the extractor or it may tear the rim off the case. A truly stuck case can be very hard to get out. I have had to resort to etching them out of a sizing die after an RCBS stuck case remover tore the head off the case. You might have done better to force the bolt closed and shoot it, but now that the bullet has been pushed back, that carries a significant risk of creating excess pressure. It depends how much it's been set back and what the load was?

So, you've got a heck of a mess. It's another example of why reloading for others is risky. Train them to use your equipment, but let them load for themselves so they keep track of their own components.

What to do next? If you have already pushed the bullet all the way into the powder, I would carefully see if I couldn't pour the powder around it and out through the barrel? You would have to point the muzzle down and use a cleaning rod or small wood dowel to keep the bullet from dropping into place like a valve while you do this. Maybe you would have to jiggle it?

Once you have the powder out and the bullet well back in the case, you can close the bolt and fire the primer. The bullet may or may not jam in the throat doing this, but you can get a 1/4" brass rod at Lowes and use that to tap it back in with if it does. You would then hammer on the brass rod to drive the case back and the bolt open. Driving it straight back against the bottom of the case will tend to stretch it rearward and to narrow it, like stretching any tubing.

If the bullet is still held by friction in the case mouth, it is dangerous to have your hand over the muzzle and push on it. The mainspring is cocked. I can think of ways I could set up to push the bullet the rest of the way in while avoiding exposing myself to a bursting receiver or barrel, but I can’t recommend you do this yourself. It may be time for professional help. Calling the factory service people may get you a place to take it. I don’t believe it is safe to ship with the round in the chamber. It needs to be treated as a loaded gun, even with the bolt not fully closed.

The only other thing you might try is to wrap the gun in plastic (for condensation protection) and leave it in the deep freeze overnight. Brass shrinks a little more than steel for each degree of temperature drop. It isn’t a big difference, but might let you pull it open? You could also do this before trying to knock the case out with a brass rod as I described above.

Be very careful and good luck.


August 9, 2006, 01:56 PM
Freezing is a good idea, Nick.

If that doesn't work, use the old hydraulic method. Open and remove the bolt. Fill the bore with motor oil. Fit several patches tightly on a short rod that you can hammer on. The rod should not fill the bore, so for a 270, use a 3/16" rod, for 30 cal use a 1/4" rod. Put the rifle butt on the ground. The patched end should fit tightly in the bore. Tap with a hammer. The oil, being uncompressible, will try to knock the loosest thing out of the bore. Hopefully this will be the stuck case.

Wear safety glasses and clothes you won't mind getting dirty. This is messy.

August 9, 2006, 02:07 PM
take it to a gunsmith, why risk damage


August 9, 2006, 03:04 PM
I'd be nervous working in front of the barrel with the cocked firing pin behind that primer....

If the freezer doesn't work (or maybe a bit of dry ice), I'd pound on that bolt handle with a plastic face dead-blow hammer until something gave (with the barrel pointed in a safe direction).

Either the case will come out, the extractor will rip out a chunk of rim (most likely) or the extractor will break. Whatever happens, you now have a much safer situation without the firing pin behind the primer.....

Good luck.


August 9, 2006, 06:40 PM
I tried Unclenicks suggestion of pushing the bullet in enough to get the powder out. I rigged a handle on a cleaning rod so I would not blow my fingers off and tapped lightly on the bullet. Eventually I got the bullet in enough to turn it upside down and pour out the powder. With the bullet out of the case I was able to release the bolt with a rubber mallet.

Thanks everyone for all the advice. I am clearly relabeling all my neck sized ammo.

PS: I was a little scared as my grandfather blew his thumb off with a double barrel shotgun. He shot a rabbit and forgot to decock the live barrel when he loaded it.

Harry Bonar
August 9, 2006, 07:03 PM
Dear Sir:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, shoot someone elses reloaded ammo!
Harry B.

August 10, 2006, 01:02 PM
8 mm,

I'm glad you cured your problem. However, for the sake of persons reading this who might be tempted to try the same thing, you'll note in my original post I suggested the method only if the bullet were already in the powder from your earlier poking, but that you not try to push it further without professional help. The main danger was not blowing a hand off, which you guarded against, but rather was a discharge with the bullet already deep in the case (which raises pressure by lessening case volume) added to a barrel with an obstruction present in the form of the tamping rod. A discharge under these circumstances could easily lead to catastrophic failure of the receiver and/or the barrel with metal fragments flying in all directions.

Proper precautions would have involved getting the gun behind sandbags or inside a heavy-walled containment vessel for the procedure, as well as fairly substantial protective equipment on the person doing the job, albeit with long-handled tools. I didn't go into all that detail because it is easy to underestimate what will work adequately if you have no experience with handling explosives or how to take precautions working with them.

So, I think you may have dodged more than a bullet here. Glad you did. Be careful and stay safe in your future undertakings,


August 11, 2006, 12:00 PM
I'd be nervous working in front of the barrel with the cocked firing pin behind that primer....

Ditto. Especially now that the load is compressed. :eek: I'd try the wooden or rubber mallet thing before getting in front of the bbl.

Oops, nevermind..problem solved.