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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had two blow-ups. I blew a new J.C. Higgigns pump when a wad didn't clear the bore and I kept shooting. That was 1965, I know better now. Forward to 2006. This time a Schofield 45colt blew up its first time out. Took out four chambers, the top latch did not fail. The frame did. Could not find any of the parts.

Have you ever blown a chamber, buldged a barrel or been present when something let go?

No gunshot wounds, Please just distressed hardware.

Why did the Schofield blow? In my next post.
 

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Don't know how but I've seen a Smith model 29 that had 3 chambers and the top-strap completely blown away. I've also seen a Beretta 96 blow from the wrong caliber being used that turned the safety lever into a high-velocity projectile. The remainder of the gun permanently locked-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was at a range many years ago when I saw a fellow shooting a 29 that must have had a no-powder load that stuck a wad-cutter in the bore. He fired another one. Big fire ball, knocked the shooter into a guy standing behind him, both went down. They only suffered emotional injuries. Oddly, the 29 seemed OK, still functioned fine.
 

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Yup, had a .44 Mag TC Contender come from "together to apart" in my hands long years ago.

I loaded some range pickup brass with S&W headstamp with 24.0 grains W296 and a 240 grain bullet. When I did my normal look into cases to be sure all powder levels are same routine the S&W cases looked too full. I dumped the powder and dropped it again. Still too full looking. I dumped again and checked cases, they had nothing inside. I filled them with proper powder charge and loaded them. BAD DECISION.

When I pulled the trigger the gun literally came apart in my hands. No injuries to me or bystanders luckily but it sure got my attention. To their credit TC replaced the barrel at no charge even after I told them what happened.
 

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When I was a teenager, I was shooting an old 12 gauge bolt action, with some reloads my cousin cooked up. Who at the time was not much older than me. The stock split from the receiver to the butt plate and something hit me between the eyes. Still don't know what it was, but gave me a good cut. It had one heck of a recoil also. To say the least I learned a lesson that day.
 

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Had an old Stevens dbl barrel dbl trigger 12ga that I took quite a few birds with in my younger days. The action would lock up tight but yet still got loose enough to start spitting fine debris back in my face when shot. I was just smart enough to sell it to an old gent (after explaining what it was doing) who just wanted it for a wall hanger.

Also had the six o'clock cylinder discharge once when firing my 1860 army colt :eek: no injury or damage but no fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What blew my Schofield? It was a mystery for a while. When I reload I use my 'pallette' which is a piece of 3/4 plywood with ten 5/8 holes. I put the charged cases in and look for uneven or missing powder levels. That is the main reason I don't use a progressive loader. The load was 8.5 unique [45colt]. I had just taken delivery of a Navy Arms Schofield. I was firing at a steep angle downwards, the first shot was normal. The next was a bit hotter, the next blew up. I assumed I must have overcharged [double] a round. I shot the rest of these several hundred [different gun] with no problems. My gunsmith insisted it was a detonation. If that was the case then, why me? The load seemed reasonable. I quit using unique in 45colt, but it is my standard load for 45autorim. One day I tried 8.5 double load [17.0 unique] in a 45colt, it doesn't fit. That leads me to believe it must have been a detonation [hi-pressure stall?]. At least that lets me off the hook.

The kind people at Navy replaced gun N/C.
 

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All blow ups are blamed on detonation. So far no one has ever been able to intentionally duplicate a detonation. I say bologna to detonations. It's merely an over charge or a barrel obstruction when guns come from together to apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Let us quote the rest of the article [Guns,Aug 1999]:

"When you want to use smokeless powder to duplicate the pressures of the old ammo, there's a lot of space left over.
Bad things have happened to people who didn't recognize the potential for disaster caused by that excess space. One of the myths explains the catastrophes that have befallen .45-70 shooters is that small charges of smokeless powder detonate with explosive force. There's only one problem with that story: it cannot be duplicated in the laboratory.
Powder and reloading authorities tell me that true detonation simply cannot occur with the relatively small quantities of smokeless powder used in any handloads.
Well, if it didn't detonate, what blew up those guns? Let me be the first to say that I don't know if the things we have seen with .45-70s are caused by the theory I'm about to report, but it is certainly plausible. Metallurgical examination of some guns that were destroyed doesn't show evidence of detonation, it shows that the failures were due to high pressure, but powder charges were relatively small. How could that be?
When gunpowder burns it produces gas under pressure to move the bullet. As the bullet moves down the barrel, the volume of the combustion chamber increases. If the volume increases at a rate greater than the rate of gas production then the bullet can slow down or even stop in the barrel.
If the bullet stops, it becomes, in effect, a bore obstruction. To paraphrase Mr. Newton's law: bodies at rest want to stay that way. And they don't care even a little if that behavior happens to make your gun blow up.
If it weren't for the fact that the volume of the combustion chamber (cartridge case and bore) increased to reduce the pressure, a relatively small powder charge could wreck almost any gun, but usually it takes a combination of bad things happening to do it. The .45-70 is a potential candidate because of all that extra powder space."

[Guns Magazine, August, 1999 by Charles E. Petty]

I understant the difference between a propellant and an explosive. Putting a small amount of Unique in a large case doesn't convert it to TNT.
The point here is this; Small amounts of powder in a large case does not act any differently. It can however, cause your gun to blow up.

A small charge of slower powder in a large case can cause your gun to blow-up, for no other reason.
 

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One of the better explanations that I have heard came from right here at GBO but I disremember who the member was. If detonation does exist, the theory was that a light charge of powder set off by a magnum primer Might result in that hotter primer moving the bullet forward far enough to be caught by a cylinder throat in a wheel gun, or rifling in a long gun, an instant before the main charge ignited.

The bullet, needless to say became the obstruction. Seems like it would be an elementary test for the professionals trying to duplicate it but we (or I) have not read the full details of such testing nor have I found the details of such test to include bullet hardness, cylinder throat size, or the like. I would rate the possibility of detonation under these conditions as plausible...Everyone can make a mistake but it seems like this rears it's ugly head now & again by careful, conscience, people with good reloading habits. The best advice to date is not to go below recommended powder charges of course.

I have used Unique in the .45 Colt but for a short six years but with many pounds fired for general plinking with a fair amount in the 6gr to 8gr range. Have had no mishaps but my bullets are a good (slip fit) in those cylinder throats and my primers were and are always standard.
 

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Nope.... nearest I got was a blown primer pocket in one .270 win rifle. Yet that same load is fine in another 270 Rifle of the same make ??? ::) I always thought the first one had a tight bore now I know it does have a tight bore. Brought a Mannlicher Mdl 1903 Schoenauer with a Lined barrel that the chamber was bad in. It caused new RWS factory ammo to have case seperations. Didn't notice until you extracted the cases and saw the line. You just flicked the top part of the case and it parted :'( a new barrel has sorted that problem.

And I hope that I never do have a blow up ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was blasting away at a range in Yuba County when I noticed an end of a 300 winmag case on the ground. Blown off at the web. Then I noticed about a dozen more. Gutsy shooter.

In regard to the 45colt blow-up[?]: I have to wonder about 8.5 of unique causing a 'detonation', as I mentioned I fired 200 more I had with no problem. Cowboy shooters should have guns scattering frequently. I have read you should use faster powders for light charges. Temperature? Humidity? A curse? God's wrath? Light crimp?
 

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out of about 3,000rds loaded I've made only ONE squib and it's my name at work now.... if you mess up a gun, don't have a machinist at work fix it for you because everyone is gonna know about it in five minutes (all they had to do was hammer a bullet out of the barrel but I'll never live it down)

if I didn't catch the obstruction, I would have had a blown up gun... thing is I WASN'T THE ONE SHOOTING IT, that's the horror of my story. it was my girlfriend and she told me to check it because she thought something was weird.. thankfully it was her that had it and it was the last round in the cylinder too - - I had two mexican immigrants with us and it was their FIRST time shooting. If they had a gun blow on them their first time, they would have been lost to us forever, and my girl would have been disfigured maybe.

PAY ATTENTION EVERYTIME, ALL THE TIME, AND EVEN IF YOU DO IT ALL RIGHT AND CHECK QUALITY NON-STOP, YOU'RE STILL AT FAULT WHEN YOUR PERSONALLY LOADED AMMO BLOWS UP A GUY. BE SAFE!!!
 
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