I fouled up BIGTIME! Please read!


Well-Known Member
Jan 28, 2011
Spokane, WA
Stronger words are indicated, but its a public forum. Short version MY reloads blew up in a kids face this weekend. His physical injuries were fortunately minor 3 stitches worth. He is holding up well psychologically. Kids perspective when do we go again-and dang that's the rifle you were giving me! Description of events-plan was for him to use my 6mm Remington as he is 10, and not exposed to recoil. This rifle failed a pre-range test of the safety. So I decided to load my 30-06 down to about 30-30 levels. Looking at resources on the shelf I chose some 180 grain Hornady round nose that have been around a while, and some 168 Bergers, brand new Lapua cases, Federal 210 primers, and Accurate Arms 5744. Both bullets shot extremely well at 32 grains, but recoil was a bit more than I desired, and I went with 29 grains very low book in the sources I had. We shot a handful of these in the morning with great results. Pop cans and pine cones dying every time. This trip was mostly about him shooting, so while I was changing out of damp clothes a friend set up another can and had helped him shoot, hit the can dead center first shot. Second one all hell broke loose, I could tell from the sound it was wrong before the yelling started. Hands were numb mostly, cheek swollen small cut over right eye, small peppery looking spots of small fragments. Yes he had headphones, no on glasses, I wear glasses all the time, and take for granted they are there. Nearly an unforgiving mistake as the eyelid had a small ding that did not reach his eye. God looks after children and old fools I guess.
Post event analysis-Possibility one, I double charged a case. I don't use a loading block, I pull a primed case from a bag, powder directly from the scale, checked visually under the over head light as a I turn and seat a bullet on a press on a second bench behind me.
Scale/Measure calibrated before use, and verified with check weight. Only one powder on the bench. I did pause a time or two when my feet got cold on the basement floor. I wish I had a security camera to tell you for sure it wasn't doubled.
Second possibility it was a low charge incident. I was using 5744 as its purported to be for this type of use with no filler. I've used it in other cases, and have used other powders and low charges in cast bullets, and fireforming, and was very conscious while loading that a double charge would be disaster, and an under charge could be as well. In no way take this as an indictment of the powder as either way its 100% on me. It was the first thought that came to mind as soon as I heard the shot, and it nags at me yet.
The young man went to school knowing he would be teased, I submit this to you my peers so I walk a mile in his shoes. Comments of any kind welcome, nothing can be said to worsen my sense of failure. Especially to you fathers and grandfathers getting flack about exposing kids to risk with firearms I'm sorry, as I'm now the poster child for why folks feel that way.
I feel for you. Yep there is a God and he watches over folks like you and I.:)

Thankful there are no permanent damage.

I'm not sure what AA 5744 as I don't know what a full tilt load with bullet weights would be but there could, and only could, be another explanation. Though I've never heard of it in an 30-06.

With extremely low charge weights of powder there are times when something called secondary ignition occurs. I saw a 22-243 come apart due to a reduced charge of 4831.

The theory is that a reflected pressure wave from the base of the bullet comes back and adds to secondary pressure wave coming from the case.

I have witnessed two large pressure spikes when using the RSI pressure trace on my 338 RUM. There is the normal expected pressure trace then a very significant spike just before the bullet leaves the muzzle.

I talked to RSI and the fella said it is frequently seen in the 338 RUM.

I confirm my powder charges the way you do but load nothing smaller that a 338 RUM with 50 BMG to the base of the neck. Keeps me out of trouble.

I'd recommend sending a little thank you upstairs.:)
The listed loads for 168 grain bullets in the 30-06 of 5744 range from 29-38 grains. Its a fast powder, the scale I looked at placed it between IMR 4227 and H4227. Its designed for these light load no filler situations. Bullets seated to magazine length adds a smidgeon more capacity, no contact with rifling didn't measure it, but the 180 roundnoses are the same length they don't touch either. I can't say for certain this was the cause, I will say if I ever load "light" again I will use a filler, and probably avoid bottom of the book loads.
Kids a champ-a lot of folks are interested until it gets hard. First words to his mother please don't make me stop over this. First words to his grandmother were, you be nice to Carl. They seem more supportive after. Funny how different folks respond when it gets tough.
God is the only explanation why he has both eyes, and all his fingers. I remain very thankful.
sorry to hear of your mis-fortune. at least it wasnt worse.
of course an injury to a person is allways more important than property, or a rifle in this case. as property can be replaced but a life cant. but... just out of interest i wonder what physicaly happened to the rifle, or what it went through. just to understand the pressure rifles go through and what can happen. maybe what happened to the case also. if you are prepared to share the details...
Stuff comes and goes, but the technical side is meaningful in the review. Pre-64 Model 70 30-06 Featherweight, in an older Brown Precision stock. Magazine spring and follower exited via hinged floor plate. Some gas exited scarring the underside of the scope, which looks otherwise undamaged time will tell, the external pieces of the extractor are gone, some chipping of stock where gas exited forward port of receiver. A thin piece of metal on the forward portion of the bolt looks like a peeled popcan and is about as sharp. Of course its welded shut. On the left portion of the stock about 8 inches of stock is missing from just behind the rear bolt into the tang, and just behind the bolt at the receiver front.
From the left side everything is exposed. It would make a good cut away for showing off pillar bedding. New thought maybe pillars held it together a bit. Bolt release gone, chunk out of the receiver. No barrel bulge noted. From a shooting standpoint this rifle would shoot great groups with about anything, but first shots with the Bergers were awesome. My nomenclature is failing me right now sorry about the general descriptions.
I'm not good with pictures, but did mange to send one by phone to Tikkamike. Mike if your reading and are willing to post a picture that would be great. Give it a day for him to chime in. If not PM your number, and I'll try to send it to you. WOW has been the most common reaction to seeing it.
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.
Thanks, as I speak with more folks I'm hearing there are more low charge incidents than I
was aware of. A friend relates they saw more under load issues come through the shop than over load.
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You did not follow the common rules of safety with another persons child.

Thats why I'm here Buffalobob, sincerely please point out my shortcomings as they may be ones I've missed. Guilty as charged and not trying to diminish my culpability. I wake up thinking about it and fall asleep thinking about it.
You did not follow the common rules of safety with another persons child.

And what rule/rules did he not follow? Chit happens and I don't think he can show any more remorse, concern, or ask for help anymore than he has in trying to learn/figure out what happened so it is not repeated.

SO WHAT RULES DID HE NOT FOLLOW keyboard critic????
HARPERC: Your response to Buffalowhatever was posted as I was typing and fuming at the same time.

My heart goes out to you and I can only imagine what this has put you through. I wish it was an easy answer but truth be known you will never know for 100% absolute certainty. It sure points to a low or delayed ignition problem but could always be something else.

I had a professor in college that was my advisor as well as dept head and he was a professional consultant on varius types of incidents. He used to bring in some of his past cases and present them to us unexperienced to be mechanical engineers and we would divide into 3 person groups and figure out what we thought happened, why they happened and then one of the group would present our results. The one common result I came away with from these exercises was never ever solve something by looking at it and saying this is what caused it because of this. His approach was to list every and anything, then start by process of eliminations. In the end it was amazing - you usually found out it was a cause that you initially had not considered.

And YES - over 2 years of this there were multiple firearms incidents.
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