View Full Version : Worst gunsmithing accident?

December 10, 2010, 12:33 AM
What's the worst thing that's happened to you while working on a firearm? I'm not talking about NDs... just general accidents. The file slipped, the screwdriver slipped, the drill went too deep, etc.

For me it was while working on an AR15 when I first got into firearms. I had a rail installed on the free floated handguard. Decided to use loctite on the screws attaching it. I used too much and put the rifle back in the safe too fast. The loctite made its way down into the action and bonded the bolt and the receiver. I was able to tap them apart after an hour of work.. but still ended up replacing the upper. Nice little $600 mistake. To this day my wife still gives me trouble if she sees me using loctite.. on anything.

December 10, 2010, 01:49 AM
To me, launched the bolt spring for a Colt Trooper duty pistol into a black hole about 1 hour before the owner was supposed to pick it up as his duty sidearm. Let's just say he was not happy.

BUT, I watched as a smith in the shop reassembled a brand new, unfired Python after doing a trigger job and accidentally ran a screwdriver across the sideplate. That owner was not happy, either, and that one cost a lot more to fix. BTW, that accident led up to how I got my second blued Python.

December 10, 2010, 01:50 AM
One of the others forgot to put release agent on the metal when he glass bedded the rifle.That was not his first mistake and they asked him to leave !
The worst thing that happened to me was while buffing a revolver cylinder .The wheel caught the cyinder and threw it to the floor .That's when I learned how soft the steel was .A major effort was needed to restore two collapsed chambers.

December 10, 2010, 10:31 AM
Happened to me a couple times. Forgetting to check the sights and other parts to make sure they are steel and will attract a magnet. Had to replace the sights on a couple Ruger revolvers because the salts ate the sights when I put them in the bluing tank.

December 10, 2010, 10:45 AM
Trying to take off the fancy trigger guard on a pre-WWI Mauser, and realizing too late (2 screwdrivers and a buggered screw late) that the screw was decorative and riveted on the back.

k in AR
December 10, 2010, 01:45 PM
After market trigger for a Ruger M77 and filed the safety just a tad too much by using a course stone trying to rush the job....

DT Guy
December 11, 2010, 12:19 PM
Ran a Kimber slide into the mill for a Bo-Mar cut, and realized, after a minute or two of feeding, that I'd forgotten to do the final tighten on the vise.

It made an ....'interesting'.... slide cut, as the slide slipped down and away from the cutter.

Thankfully, it was my own part, and only cost me $$ and some pride, rather than any reputation or offerings of physical violence. :)


December 11, 2010, 01:48 PM
I did the same with a Llama slide . The table clamp came loose and dovetail was to wide.
I cut the little peice off a weld and built up, machined down
Customer was ok with it ,

December 11, 2010, 06:06 PM
My worst ? Just happened. Spent over an hour typing up a how-to home gunsmithing project to post here, went to submit new thread, TFL asked for my login information again........entered it......my post was GONE !! Can't recover it, I am [email protected]##@d.

I am going to go work on some guns to cool down.

James K
December 11, 2010, 10:40 PM
Not exactly a normal gunsmith occurence, but I once went to take the buffer spring out of a .50 M2. It got away and the cap went through the arms room window and screen, flew some 50 feet, and bounced off the wall of the adjacent company's mess hall. Darned things are almost as dangerous at the back as at the front.

Didn't happen to me but almost cost a friend his eyesight. He had the habit when bluing 1911's of just giving the magazine a quick polish and tossing it in the bluing tank. He did that with a BHP magazine, not knowing or forgetting that the follower is aluminum and that bluing salts dissolve aluminum. The follower let go and it and a handful of hot caustic salts came up in my friend's face, barely missing his eyes. (No goggles or face shield, of course, those were for sissies!)


December 11, 2010, 10:51 PM
No goggles or face shield, of course, those were for sissies!

Man, that hits close to home for me.

My ex-father-in-law was a welder. He didn't like to wear his mask until after he'd started the bead. Then one day he caught a spark right in his eye. Permenent double vision.

He's retired now.

December 12, 2010, 06:17 AM
1988 I was chambering a I think it was either a Douglas or Shilen Barrel for 308, or so I thought, actually I realized, after cutting and crowning the barrel to 24", that I had grabbed a 300 Win Mag ream. That sucks. It was a customer's build. I was tempted to try and talk him into a shorter barrel :o. Instead, I ate it. That was a first and last mistake like that.

December 12, 2010, 08:24 PM
One I always remember was a re-barrel job on a Python.

I had everything locked up and ready to break the barrel loose, when as I always did, I just put my hands in my pockets, stopped and looked everything over.
This is always a smart move to insure you don't have something backward or improperly set up.
As I reached for the handle on the frame wrench, out of the corner of my eye, I saw another Python in the ready rack.

I had the WRONG Python ready to pop the barrel off. It was in for work on the action. I just got careless and grabbed the wrong gun from the repair rack.
I almost always made sure to read the tag before doing anything, but I forgot it this one time.
After that there was no more "almost always".