View Full Version : Hot Loads Safety

March 24, 2010, 08:37 PM
Have you guys every hear of someone being injured or killed due to hot loaded ammo? Someone once told me that in a bolt rifle the bolt can be blown off the back of the rifle and hit your face. I have also heard that Wolf ammo is not safe since it is often loaded hot. I have a cheap bolt rifle (Marlin XL7 to be exact); would it be safe to shoot Wolf ammo in this?

March 25, 2010, 01:33 AM
I'm not familiar with your model, but it is a modern rifle. My guess is that it is plenty strong enough to take more than 150% of what SAAMI says it needs to.

I don't know of anyone personally that has been seriously injured, but I have seen some pictures of rifles that people had exploded and I'm sure that some of them must have resulted in injuries. I'd be willing to bet that most catastrophic failures are due to bad reloads ... I do know someone that blew up a Springfield with what seems to have been a "detonation" (undercharged load that ignites in a strange way, and causes serious pressure spikes) ... the bolt failed, but didn't come out of the receiver ... the shooter was peppered with tiny fragments of brass from the case and couldn't hear too well for a while, but was more or less fine.

I imagine that a person could really test their luck by chambering the wrong ammo ... think 8x57 in a 30-06, or 30-06 in a 270 ... something like that will cause serious problems :eek::eek:, but I seriously doubt that Wolf ammo is going to abuse your modern bolt action rifle ... I suspect that some folks just don't like that it was made in Russia. I have used it extensively in 7.62x39 carbines and a few times in 7.62x54R rifles, but other than the fact that it is usually dirty, has a distinctive smell and is usually not reloadable, it has always been fine for me.


March 25, 2010, 05:14 AM
I think that the Wolf brand is probably no worse than any other brand. I have gotten some miss-fires in 7.62x39. It pays to check the bore after a dud, the ones I had trouble with had no powder and the primer pushed the bullet up the barrel a few inches. I may be the only guy it ever happened to. The "Big Three" ammo has gotten cheesey the last 20 years. I see a lot of low quality brass with defects coming out of their boxes. What it comes down to is you should check the ammo no matter who makes it.

March 25, 2010, 11:43 AM
I have heard hundreds of stories about people being killed or injured by exploding guns. Only trouble with it is most of the stories are unconfirmable or just flat out BS, kind of like the stories in the National Enquirer. Every now and then you hear about a kaboom that is actual backed up by photos, personal testimonials, and police reports. Oh yeah, police reports. Without them, any story about exploding guns should start out "Once upon a time . . ."

March 25, 2010, 01:23 PM
I've seen lots of photographic evidence of blowups. The Sako/Tikka blowups from apparently defective barrels [Beretta didn't announce recall though they did have one] .The squib loads which put a bullet into the barrel ,then when another round was fired the barrel splits like a peeled banana. The 12/20 shotgun problem where a 20ga round is mixed with 12ga.I knew of one death from that.Various pistol problems of overloading or using cases that are no longer safe .Etc, Etc. All these events can cause injury or death.How much do you want to risk ?

March 25, 2010, 04:06 PM
Wolf ammo uses powder that is 'dirty', leaving lots of residue, but is perfectly safe in modern arms in good condition.

Reloads with excessive pressure can cause problems, such as being unable to open the bolt on a rifle, but destruction of the weapon is very uncommon.

An exception is pistol loads that can contain 2 or even three charges of powder (accidentally we hope). It is still uncommon, but double pistol loads can certainly put the weapon on a crippled list.

The only two instances of a long gun 'blowing up' that I personally know of were caused by barrel obstructions (bullet in barrel from a squib)

James K
March 25, 2010, 04:34 PM
Having encountered, one way or another, a number of rifle "blowups", I think it is safe to say that a bolt actually blowing out of the rifle is extremely unlikely. Far more common is barrel failure, usually due to an obstruction, or rarely to a manufacturing defect like a steel flaw or too deep fluting.

Extreme overloads usually cause case failure, in which the case head literally melts or dissolves, letting high pressure gas loose in the action. Some actions handle that situation well, others do so poorly and the shooter can be injured or even killed. If you are overconcerned about such incidents, the answer is simple: sell your guns and give up shooting. It is like automobile problems; one might not buy a brand known to have problems, but I know of no one who has given up car ownership as a result.

I have not owned one of those Marlin rifles, but I have no doubt it is well made of excellent materials, like all the other Marlin products, and should stand up to any factory load or reasonable reload with no problems. I know Wolf ammo to be "dirtier" than some other brands, but have never heard that it is dangerous or is loaded hotter than any other factory ammo. That sounds like a story told by someone who has another brand to sell.


Harry Bonar
March 25, 2010, 06:30 PM
Harry B.

March 26, 2010, 12:14 PM
If you feel or see something different when shooting, stop and check it out immediately. The part I never could understand about people is why they keep on shooting after something odd happens. You look at a rifle and the extractor is gone, and there is brass fragments inside everywhere, and then the guy tells you he punctured two primers before that! If you think you can't get injured from a blown up gun, you need to see a M-2 .50 let go. It is quite impressive.

March 26, 2010, 12:27 PM
Someone once told me that in a bolt rifle the bolt can be blown off the back of the rifle and hit your face.

The only rifle I know of this being documented on recently was a Mossberg ATR rifle. I think the law suit was settled out of court. I know if you search 24hr Campfire forums there was several posts on this incident plus some links to the news articles about it.

IIRC the Mossberg ATR has a multi piece bolt, and the bolt handle is pressed onto the bolt body. In this case the bolt handle rotated down into what appeared the locked position, however it didn't engage the recoil lugs. The bolt blew out the rear seriously injuring the hunter, and blinding him in one eye. It was factory ammunition used in the rifle and not handload as well again if my memory is correct.

James K
March 27, 2010, 09:45 PM
I had not heard that about the Mossberg and found it interesting. When that rifle first came out, I looked at the drawings and pictures and concluded that the bolt could be put together and fire without the key that engaged the section with the locking lugs. That would mean that if the bolt were improperly assembled, the bolt body would turn but the locking lugs would not. I was so perturbed that I even wrote Mossberg but never heard from them and assumed that either I was wrong or they would fix the problem. I simply couldn't believe any one would design a rifle like that or that it would make it into production. Looks like it did.

FWIW, Remington uses a similar built up bolt, but Remington holds the front part on by furnace brazing, plus a heavy pin that is brazed in place. The result is a permanent and immovable assembly.

(If the Mossberg case is true, though, it was a case of bad design and negligence, but not due to any overload or ammunition problem.)


March 27, 2010, 10:07 PM
Does your Marlin have a small hole drilled in the side of the receiver towards the front?