Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pay Attention to What You Do...

A shooter can't get so carried away that he misses a squib load!

Ruger .40 S&W Model PC4 Carbine with burst barrel; photo courtesy of Jim Crump Okay, this did not happen with a Glock pistol, and it's not anywhere near as spectacular as a catastrophic failure as Chris Comer's astounding M1A kB!.

But it illustrates what can ocur to a good gun with one piece of bad ammo, when the shooter isn't paying attention to what he is doing while he's on the trigger.

The following information came from Jim McLoud:

What happened?
A squibb round on the third shot; customer kept shooting... the entire magazine was fired.

December 2000.

Manchester Firing Line Range, LLC, of Manchester, New Hampshire.

The offending ammunition: Sellier & Bellot .40 S&W What round was being fired?
Sellier & Bellot .40 S&W... they took the box after the event so there is no information on the lot number now. (I had others that had up to 50% light primer hits....)

Were there any injuries?

What was your After Action Procedure?
I sent the gun to Interstate Arms where the ammo was purchased. They passed the buck to S&B. S&B refused to take the blame. Interstate tried to say "Tough shit!" I directed them to replace the gun or face small claims court.

I got a new Ruger! [SEG]

Closer view of burst barrel of a Sturm, Ruger PC4; photo courtesy of Jim Crump Thanks, Jim... a squib load; shooter too intent on yanking the trigger to take note that one round had responded erratically, and persisted on pouring seven or eight more rounds and never noticed that there was a seriously obstructed barrel, and that no rounds were impacting round range!


TGZ regular contributor Daniel Watters did a little digging and learned that Manchester Firing Line Range provides rental guns.

Additionally, there's been questions raised about how an underpowered ("squib") round could cycle the blowback action of the PC4 carbine; the inescapable conclusion is that the shooter must have, upon experiencing a failure to fire, manually operated the bolt, extracted and ejected the "squib" shell-casing, loaded the next round and happily kept on yanking the trigger until the barrel burst.

18 June '01 Update...

TGZ correspondent Carl Vickery reports:
I was at my local indoor range in Garland Texas yesterday (17 June) when a shooter complained that his Glock 22 had a mal-function. The pistol was locked up tight. After about 20 minutes and a bit of vigorous coaxing with a rubber mallet I finally managed to get the slide off the frame.

Shooter was firing Czech Sellier & Bellot ammo (foolish me, I failed to get the lot number off the box). Apparently one round lodged in the bore just at the muzzle. Shooter did not notice this. Firing a subsequent round caused the barrel to bulge and split about 1/2-inch aft of the muzzle.

Both bullets went down-range. The bulge/splits in the barrel are just behind the front face of the slide, firmly locking the barrel into the slide. No damage visible except to the barrel, which will require the services of a machine shop to remove.
Okay, two separate incidents with .40 S&W S&B squib loads, several months, and 1,500 miles, apart... while this is not yet dispositive of prob-lems endemic to Messrs. Sellier and Bellot in general or their .40 S&W rounds in specific, it is suggestive.

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