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Old December 11, 2004, 09:58 PM   #1
PsychoSword
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Stainless Tikka .243 exploded at the range today - lots of luck

First of all I wanted to say that there were no injuries and that's gotta be a miracle because there were about 40 people there. I wish I had brought my digital camera because you would not believe what the pieces looked like if you saw it with your own eyes. I'm posting this to see if anyone else has heard of or had a similiar experience. (and is still alive )

Was at the rifle range today shooting my MK9, P35 and .22 Ruger. Had a pretty good day, was impressed with the accuracy of my MK9 and I've almost got enough rounds through it now to consider it "broken in". My dad has packing up his stuff and I'm about ready to leave thinking I'll save the other value pack for another shooting session.

I was shooting the last of the Winchester 9mm 100 round value pack when all of a sudden I hear a loud clang and see a large piece of metal bounce in front of me. I stopped shooting and looked down thinking someone had shot part of their target off or something my dad goes, "what the hell"? And I says what is that a piece of someones target stand? Then I look to the right and notice nobody is shooting so I walked out a foot in front of the firing line and pick it up. It says something like "CAL .243 WIN MADE IN FINLAND *"

So right away I'm thinking "barrel". I look to the right and there's about 20 people standing around a bench at the other end of the range about 12 benches down. So we walk over and laying on the bench is an absolutely destroyed Tikka rifle. The guy's wife is standing behind the bench with a not too happy look on her face. This (what was once a rifle) has gotta be in over two dozen pieces if not more. The other half of the completely bent, jagged, twisted barrel is laying on the table. I tell the guy that the other half of his barrel landed in front of me at the far edge of the range and lay it on the table. Both parts of the barrel are separate from the frame, the frame is in several different pieces. The Simmons scope is destroyed, the front of it is bent to an oval and the glass is missing. The scope and mounts are still screwed onto a broken off top piece of the frame. There are many small pieces laying on the table. The synthetic stock is in many pieces, but the butt of the stock is largely intact.

The only thing that wasn't destroyed on this rifle was the bolt which was in perfect shape, the extractor was even in place and looked fine and had spring to it. I haven't seen a Tikka up close before, but I did notice that the broken up frame looked cast while the bolt looked machined out of barstock. I don't know if that's true, but that's what it looked like to me. A guy commented that he was surprised the bolt didn't come back and hit him. The only injury was that the guy's hand was a little red, he said he had been resting it on top of the scope.

The ammo he was using was 100gr. Federal Power Shok. I'm not sure if it was the Soft Point bullet or the Speer Grand Slam bullet, but it was definately 100gr. It was the stuff in the new blue boxes. He said he had only two and a half boxes of ammo through the rifle. The round that the rifle detonated on was round #10 of box three. I asked the guy if there might have been a barrel obstruction and if the last bullet had hit the target before this happened. He said yes, the last bullet had hit the target. Eventually him and a couple of other people went down to check the target and sure enough there was 9 holes in it when he brought it back. The other scary thing is that his wife had been shooting the rifle before him and his daughter before that.

The cartridge case was split in half evenly halfway down the case, the bottom half of the case wasn't buldged. So it looked like a normal case that turned into a "V". If I was thinking at the time, I would have looked at the primer to check for signs of overpressure. A guy commented that it was probably an overcharged round. Probably an ignorant statement, but I commented myself that I never thought a .243 could get overcharged enough to detonate a rifle in such a way, probably more wishful thinking than anything.

The last scare came on the way home when my dad told me that the guy that was standing in back watching had said the twisted jagged half of barrel that landed in front of me had gone waaaaaaaaaay up into the air and when it came down just about hit me in the head. I had no clue I thought that it had rolled over! The more I thought about it the more it made sense though because they guy's bench had to be 50 yards away.

The guy happened to buy the rifle at my favorite gunshop. I don't know if he transfered it or what. I'll be asking if they found anything out next time I'm there. "Hey Bruce, you know that guy that brought in that detonated stainless Tikka..."
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Old December 11, 2004, 10:50 PM   #2
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Not the first--probably not the last

This is at least the third such incident involving stainless Sako/Tikka rifles and good quality factory ammunition. It does not appear to be an ammunition problem, but rather a problem with the rifle barrels.

Anyone who owns a stainless SAKO or TIKKA rifle should contact the manufacturer before firing it again.

This thread contains contact information for the manufacturer/distributor as well as pics of a blown up SAKO rifle.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...2&page=1&pp=25
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Old December 12, 2004, 12:01 AM   #3
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I would appreciate it if any THR members who read this would post a link to this thread in the thread referenced above. There is a very serious problem with these rifles and somebody is probably going to get killed when one of these things lets loose. I could have been killed and I was on the opposite end of the firing range. I'm going to be calling around tomorrow to the gunshops and warning them.

The ironic thing is that I was considering buying one in .308 last week.
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Old December 12, 2004, 01:14 AM   #4
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THERE IS A RECALL ON STAINLESS STEEL TIKKA AND SAKO RIFLES PURCHASED THIS YEAR. Unfortunately Sako and Beretta are trying to hide that fact. There has been a detailed discussion of 5 such blow-ups with photos on the Gunsmithing section of the forums on www.accuratereloading.com I will post it there . Please try to find out more and if you can contact the owner and notify him of the recall...Photos would be nice Save all parts. At this point it seems to be a problem of a bad batch of steel ..SHAME ON BERETTA
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Old December 12, 2004, 01:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
I would appreciate it if any THR members who read this would post a link to this thread in the thread referenced above.
Done.
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Old December 12, 2004, 02:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Please try to find out more and if you can contact the owner and notify him of the recall...Photos would be nice Save all parts.
I will be contacting the area shops as well as anyone on Gunbroker/Auction Arms/GunsAmerica who are selling stainless SAKO/TIKKAs. The FFL holder at the shop usually doesn't work Mondays, but I will see if he will let me have the serial number or partial serial number and if what is left of the gun is still there I'll ask him if I can take some pictures. I'll call tomorrow and Monday to see if he brought it in yet.
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Old December 12, 2004, 02:49 AM   #7
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One more thing that I forgot to mention in all of this. The guy told me it was a Tikka. So it's not a Sako, but according to what I've now read the Sako's are also affected by this. I'm still a little shook up over this, I can imagine how the guy feels.
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Old December 12, 2004, 02:34 PM   #8
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Stainless steel can be really brittle under certain conditions. I've mentioned the pistol barrels I've seen with fractures along the lands.

Don't think I ever mentioned here that in the past when I was into sailing I welded up custom fittings for my boat, so did some research into heat treatment, corrosion resistance and fatigability of stainless alloys. You'd be surprised how just a little contamination on a weldment or a little bit too rapid cooling of hot steel (maybe just a couple psi too much pressure of the tri-mix gas when welding) can turn what looks like a really tough piece of metal into something easy to fracture.
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Old December 12, 2004, 06:28 PM   #9
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Stopped by the shop today to see if I could get some pics. The guy had already brought it in last night and then took it home to take some pictures.

The gunshop guy I spoke to thought there was only a recall on the Sako rifles and he had a picture of an exploded Sako off of some forum. I explained a bit to them about the Tikkas and hopefully convinced them that it's a problem with Sako AND Tikka rifles. I told them there is a recall on Tikka rifles as well.

I left my number for them, hopefully if he brings it back in tomorrow they'll give me a call so I can get some pictures and a serial #.
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Old December 12, 2004, 06:37 PM   #10
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I hope they don't send everything back to Sako.Some parts should be kept for evidence and analysis.
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Old December 12, 2004, 09:51 PM   #11
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There definitely seems to be a problem with Sako/Tikka rifles, or at least those with fluted barrels. The problem of a split barrel can happen with other rifles, though. A couple of years ago, a Springfield Armory, Inc., M1A went to pieces when a "no name" barrel split in half lengthwise. IIRC, analysis indicated an occlusion in the barrel metal. Once the barrel split, the two pieces of barrel acted like pry bars to pull the receiver ring apart, and the rest followed as you would expect. In that case, as in other similar cases, the cartridge case was split also, with the bottom half remaining in the bottom of the chamber, almost like a demonstration cutaway. The bolt was intact and neither the bolt nor the case showed any sign of excess chamber pressure.

Jim
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Old December 13, 2004, 08:53 AM   #12
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Blown Tikka

I've since got hold of the pics on one of the other sites and - HOLY COW!!
(puts my Webley MKVI to shame - only the top strap detatched and it was 86 years old - much the shame)
but I do own a Tikka in 6.5 x 55 - not very new and not stainless -
where I have had problems opening the bolt after using 6.5mm/141 gr FMJ - a round which works well in my M1895 Swedish Mauser - a winning combination in that "milsurp" - not a nice word or thought for such a fine old gun.
but I have just bought a Remington VSS in 308 in which I was planning on using some heavy loads - was not brand new when I bought it but seems to work well on quite a range of home loads and even odd milsurp stuff.
any horror stories on 700s?
I think my next gun will be a Blaser - don't think they do a stainless?

DCC UK
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Old December 13, 2004, 11:51 AM   #13
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Egad man.

Questions:

-Was this a fluted barrel?

-Are ALL stainless actions/barrels at least slightly more brittle than carbon steel, or is it the case that they're only more brittle if not properly manufactured/treated in accordance with the most modern techniques, in which case they're equally as strong as carbon steel barrels?
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Old December 13, 2004, 02:37 PM   #14
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By fluted do you mean tapered? If so, then yes I believe it was tapered.

I've always thought that while carbon steel is stronger, stainless steel tends to have more elasticity making a kaboom less likely. I dunno though.
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Old December 13, 2004, 03:52 PM   #15
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Well, no, not tapered, but the recessed "columns" in a barrel, called fluting, say, 5-6 different channels or columns, where material is removed -it's supposed to make the barrel stiffer and therefore more accurate, and lighter as well, and I guess it does, but with less material, this obviously makes it weaker at the recessed areas as well - thinner is always weaker.

In any event, thanks for the heads-up - hope no one gets hurt from this defect. Sounds like you were lucky, and the shooter was REALLY lucky!
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Old December 13, 2004, 03:57 PM   #16
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It was not fluted as far as I could tell.
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Old December 13, 2004, 04:48 PM   #17
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For metallurgical info please see my comments on www.accuratereloading.com .Fluting consists of grooves ,lengthwise, usually three or four,which reduces weight while maintaining stiffness. The Sako/Tikka problem is a bad batch of barrel steel, not the flutes.I hope to eventually find the exact cause.
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Old December 14, 2004, 01:40 AM   #18
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I understand fluted as in fluted and unfluted revolver cylinders, I thought he was referring to tapering though as I've never seen any non-target barrels that were actually fluted.

I'm going to call again tomorrow to see if he brought it in and if not, I'll ask for the guy's number so that I can get a copy of the pictures and maybe a serial number. I should have been more proactive in trying to find the information out when it happened, but at the time, and when I first posted this thread, I assumed it was probably just a freak occurance or an overpressure load. That's what I get for "assuming" anything.

mete, since you're researching this, I thought I'd ask you, do you have a copy of the recall list and serial numbers that are supposedly affected by this?

Found this on Glocktalk according to a thread referenced:

"Only affects SS barreled Sako/Tikka rifles from about February 2004 on up, serial numbers 419140 to 461951. Contact Beretta USA @ 800 636 3420 for verification if your rifle is affected. Seems their phone system is down until tomorrow currently."

Does that jive with everyone else's info?
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Old December 14, 2004, 04:32 AM   #19
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Those are the only numbers that I have seen.
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Old December 15, 2004, 12:17 AM   #20
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A little more infor for you...

I had one of the recalled rifles (.308). After a lot of research and BS'ing with people at Beretta's customer service I finally got the direct phone number (301)-283-2191. Cheryl (ext 1212) is in charge of this "situation" and was very helpfull (once she called me back). The best thing to do is to call that number then hit "0" for the receptionist. You won't get through to Cheryl but chances are you will get through to Peter. I spoke with him twice and he got my message to Cheryl with a quick response. They do not have any stock of certain calibers (.308 would have been a long wait) but they did offer me a 270wsm, which I took. The replacement rifle's serial number fell between the two numbers given by them so I called both Peter and Cheryl again yesterday. I finally heard back this morning(and to be honest, that's not a bad turnaround for the thousands of calls they are getting) and they have assured me that the new gun is NOT one of the recall guns. Evidently, not all of those serial numbers are affected. However, I am still livid at the way they are handling this. They have put out this list of serial numbers and my new gun falls between the two. I am not real thrilled with shooting this rifle and have had thoughts about selling it but I imagine that any shop would have the list of numbers and would probably not do a trade without written proof from the company(and due to their secretive nature about this I'm still not thrilled about shooting the damned thing). I plan on calling tomorrow and asking for some sort of verification in writing. Any more info would be appreciated and I'll update as well.
TC
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Old December 16, 2004, 11:34 AM   #21
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Hi guys,
I am in the Uk and 3 weeks ago I bought a brand new sako 75 stainless laminate in .222 rem, after reading this thread last night I imediately took my gun out of my cabinet and checked the serial number, imagine my shock and horror to see that my gun's serial number fell between the two numbers qouted in the previous post, so this morning I rang the UK part of Beretta ( GMK ) and they told me that only 80 rifles were affected with the crap steel and 20 of them were sold ,the rest never made it on sale they were caught in time, it sounds like the affected rifles went over the pond to you guys, thankfully mine was not one of the duff ones, I couldnt sleep last night thinking that I had a lemon in my cabinet.
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Old December 16, 2004, 01:32 PM   #22
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That's good news, Scaramanga, BUT, do you really, actually feel 100% safe that they're not mistaken when they say that it was limited to 80 rifles, and yours wasn't one of them? I would still be fearful when shooting it, unless I had excruciating detail of how, exactly, they knew that the crappy steel was only in "these" particular 80 rifles - why did it happen, how did it happen, in what way was the steel inferior, how exactly did they pinpoint it and thus know it's limited to those 80, etc.? I sure would like more details, and if I were you, I wouldn't be able to shoot it just with some telephone assurances and hope that their fear of lawsuits caused them to tell me the truth (particularly if they don't have attachable assets within the jurisdiction within which you would have the ability to sue them if it DID blow up on you).

Quote:
I've always thought that while carbon steel is stronger, stainless steel tends to have more elasticity making a kaboom less likely. I dunno though.
Hmm, I dunno - anyone know?
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Old December 16, 2004, 02:05 PM   #23
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I would have thought the opposite. Nickel and chromium make steel harder, but not more ductile.
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Old December 16, 2004, 02:06 PM   #24
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First freedom, it's not good to make generalizations on steels, too many variables.....Scaramanga , as I understand it there have been blowups in Sweden, Australia,Canada [2], USA[2].
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Old December 16, 2004, 06:27 PM   #25
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You've got to understand that rifle barrels can get stress risers anywhere the radius of curvature of a corner is very small, i.e. every edge of every groove. So microscopic cracks can develop as a matter of routine, even though most of the time they never go anywhere unless the barrel is overstressed, like in shooting overloads, or with throat erosion from magnum loads.

But if the alloy is hard or brittle then bigger cracks can occur more easily and propagate quicker. With a sailboat you're only seeing forces of maybe 5,000 or 10,000 pounds but the fittings get more angular flexion. With rifles the flexion is smaller but the pressures are much greater. The sailboat rigging failures I've seen occurred under high winds but how do you create a low pressure situation in a rifle barrel.

Only stainless barrels I'm really comfortable with are my Glocks, which have no lands nor grooves (thus less potential for stress risers), .22s because they are thick and low pressure and my black powder rifle, because of the need for rust resistance and the fact that I can load it to only 100 grains of powder. Turned down on a really good buy on a Steyr last week because it was stainless.

More discussion on fatigue resistance and crack propagation:

http://www.key-to-steel.com/Articles/Art45.htm

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...p/t-66380.html
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