Re: I fouled up BIGTIME! Please read!
I'm really glad the boy, and any bystanders are ok considering the damage described to to rifle. It's quite possible that the mishap was a result of a high pressure condition caused by an undercharge of powder. Years ago I was heavily into shooting the the old double barrel express rifles, mine being a 500-450 H&H. These rifles were originally designed to shoot with the old Cordite stick powder of the day. The modern alternative was to use powders like IMR 3031 with the big 500 grain Woodlieghs and such to try to duplicate velocity and ballistics to match the regulated double barrels. The cases had very large capacity that modern smokeless powders would rarely fill and a large air space would remain. I saw and heard about more than a few rifles that had delayed ignition problems, and the occasional blown chamber. It appeared to be dependent upon how the powder was situated on the case when the rifle was fired. Sometimes no problem, other times delayed ignition, once in a while a blown up rifle. If the rifle shot OK initially, you could be deceived into thinking you were OK. It was very important that any excess air space above the powder in the case be taken up with filler to avoid this effect. The most common material was Kapok, a fiber material seen in pillows etc. Ever since, I have always been very cautious about any undercharge, or load that leaves a large portion of the case unfilled presenting the possibility of a secondary explosion. IMHO.
"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready"-T. Roosevelt