Looking for some insight from the educated masses.  Below is the best picture I have of a rifle that had a catastrophic malfunction.  My brother was with the owner who was firing at the time.  Other than minor shrapnel to the arms, everyone is ok.  Rifle was a factory Savage AR with the 223 Wylde chamber; owner had it about 2 weeks, estimated probably just shy of 100 rounds, all supposedly Hornady Freedom ammo.  As of right now, bolt is locked up solid; receiver is cracked from from of ejection port towards barrel nut, mag was blown out the bottom, no visible damage to the barrel.  Prior to the kaboom, the owner did not report anything out of the ordinary.  Take it with a grain of salt as neither of them are prior LE/mil or have much AR trigger time.  This is the best pic I received.  I've shot enough AR's, built a couple, and attending an armorers course a while back.  Gunsmith at the range where it happened is saying it was a squib round; does that make sense?  If a weak load left a round in the barrel and the next round was fired, wouldn't there be noticeable damage to the barrel?  Also, for anyone that's experienced this, does it pay for him to go to Hornady or Savage for a new rifle?

Keeping the pic large for detail...

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

Original Post

I've never seen one like that in person.

Any idea where the rest of the firing pin went?

In the cases I've been involved or known about through work, if I had to hazard a guess, your best bet would be Hornady.

It looks like that thing was pretty much locked into battery when it went, that would seem to indicate ammo, as in squib in barrel or over-pressure round (pistol powder in rifle being a possibility if reloading, but not likely if it was factory ammo)

To my recollection, if the firearms gave any indication of being out of battery when it fired, the firearms manufacturer was the one who replaced under warranty.

I'd contact both. 

Thing is they should have had a fail to extract with a squib round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...=3&v=qoZnCxqa4QA

Here are pictures of one attributed to an over pressure round:

http://bulletin.accurateshoote...st-i-have-ever-seen/

Are you sure the barrel isn't bulged under the handquard?

 

Is the firing pin retaining pin still in place?

 

 

 

 

....

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

 

When violence is the local language, be fluent.

 

“Governments may think and say as they like, but force cannot be eliminated, and it is the only real and unanswerable power. We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.“   Lt. General Paul Carton de Wiart, British Army

 

I can't see the photo (work computer), but here's my advice. 

First, retain the rifle and every separate piece they can find.  Don't do anything with it.  Don't try and take it apart.  Don't do anything to it.  Retain the ammo they were using, any fired cases they picked up, and the boxes.  Have everyone involved write separate statements of everything they remember.  Send identical letters to both Savage and Hornady, with copies of the photos, and tell them what happened.   

Hornady and Savage are going to be looking at why it is the other guy's fault and it will probably be the ammo.  If it is a squib, they should have observed a muffled shot since the bullet didn't leave the muzzle.  If it was a squib, it probably didn't reach the gas port, but depending on where the bullet ended up, either it didn't get past the gas port and therefore, couldn't cause the rifle to cycle, or it did and the fact that the bullet didn't exit the bore may have provided enough pressure to cycle the rifle.  The reason I said they should write statements separately from each other of their own memories is to determine if anyone heard anything odd before the fateful shot.  

The companies may want to send someone to examine the rifle and ammo.  If they have the boxes and lot numbers, Hornady will of course do an investigation on their end of any issues with that lot.  If the companies are smart, since the injuries were minor they'd be better off if they split the cost and offer to replace the rifle and ammo.  

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Dorsai posted:

I can't see the photo (work computer), but here's my advice. 

First, retain the rifle and every separate piece they can find.  Don't do anything with it.  Don't try and take it apart.  Don't do anything to it.  Retain the ammo they were using, any fired cases they picked up, and the boxes.  Have everyone involved write separate statements of everything they remember.  Send identical letters to both Savage and Hornady, with copies of the photos, and tell them what happened.   

Hornady and Savage are going to be looking at why it is the other guy's fault and it will probably be the ammo.  If it is a squib, they should have observed a muffled shot since the bullet didn't leave the muzzle.  If it was a squib, it probably didn't reach the gas port, but depending on where the bullet ended up, either it didn't get past the gas port and therefore, couldn't cause the rifle to cycle, or it did and the fact that the bullet didn't exit the bore may have provided enough pressure to cycle the rifle.  The reason I said they should write statements separately from each other of their own memories is to determine if anyone heard anything odd before the fateful shot.  

The companies may want to send someone to examine the rifle and ammo.  If they have the boxes and lot numbers, Hornady will of course do an investigation on their end of any issues with that lot.  If the companies are smart, since the injuries were minor they'd be better off if they split the cost and offer to replace the rifle and ammo.  

It's the ammo.  The weapon itself has no pyrotechnic or energetic elements.

The case in the chamber is the "Smoking gun."

That's what I was leaning towards as it had already been fired without issue.  It seems like a material defect in the rifle that serious would have come to light earlier.  Also, I ask because I have no idea; can an AR barrel withstand a round being fired into another bullet stuck in the barrel and not rupture?  I've never experienced it, but I feel like the barrel should have blown and not just the bcg.  As far as the question on the retaining pin, I don't know but am working to find out.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

I would not suggest running a cleaning rod down the barrel and pushing anything out at this point, as if there is an obstruction then I would suggest leaving it.  The obstruction will often give an idea of what happened, and by removing it you could mess this up.  When we see a barrel obstruction, we generally will mill out the side of the barrel where the obstruction is at, as this will allow you to see the obstruction from the side, and see what else is around it, often times you can see a squib or where a squib was hit by another live round, and we will see where someone has shot a 300-Blackout in a 5.56 barrel.   You mention that the rifle is a .223 Wylde chamber, as this may also be a contributing factor, so again I would suggest not removing any obstruction in the barrel or cleaning it, until a proper and thorough inspection can be done.    

There are many reasons that a rifle can blow up, a detailed and thorough inspection will need to be done to figure out why.

It could possibly an ammunition issue, but could also be something else or a recipe of things that contributed to the issue, so I would not suggest just jumping to the conclusion that it was the ammunition is at fault without a thorough examination of everything. 

IMHO of how to figure out what happened, a detailed inspection of the rifle, ammunition from the box, and empty shell casings will need to be done. After a thorough inspection of everything, most times you can come up with physical evidence of what happened and why.

The ammunition should be inspected on both the live rounds, and empty fired shell casings. The live ammunition needs to be examined for many things like bullet weight, bullet shape, bullet set back, crimp, powder type, powder weight, powder consistency, should be pressure tested, internal case dimensions, etc. Fired shell casings also need to be thoroughly inspected for signs of over pressure, weak casings, stressed casings, bad primer pockets, stretched casings, deformed casings, internal dimensions, deformities, etc.

A thorough gauging and inspection of the rifle should also be done. The bolt should be measured to make sure it is within proper dimensions, as I have seen similar blow outs where the bolt faces internal circumference was too large and didn't support the casing.  The firing pin hole dimension should also be inspected and measured.   The tail of the bolt and internal gas chamber area of the bolt carrier should also be gauged to make sure they are in proper spec dimension, and don't have a large fouling build up that would cause the bolt carrier assembly to unlock too early. Headspace should be gauged for minimum and maximum, as too short or too long you can cause things to blow up. I would also do a chamber cast, as we have seen several blown up rifles that checked correct for proper headspace, but the chamber cast showed that the chamber was offset to the bore, most likely caused by someone using a reamer with no pilot, and in the case with 5 blown up rifles we have seen after the shooters had put several thousands of rounds down each barrel with the only issue being some blown primers, and eventually they blew things up. A chamber cast may also show that the chamber has no free bore, see this quite often.

The barrel should be inspected thoroughly inside and out. Put it on a gauging table and run a depth gauge down it, and it may show a slight deformity that cannot always be visually seen where a live round was shot behind a squib or other barrel obstruction, seen several of these. Run a bore camera or borescope down the barrel may might show bad machining of the chamber, free bore, of any type of deformity where a live round was shot behind a squib or other barrel obstruction. A bore scope or camera run down the barrel may also show where a bullet may have had jacket separation which we see occasionally on frangible and plated ammunition.  A bore scope would also allow you to see if there was a squib, and a live round was shot behind it, as there will be evidence of fouling or damage that can often be seen.  A bore scope or camera close up look at the chamber and free bore, may show maintenance issues, where there is a build up of fouling that caused or attributed to the over pressure. We have seen several hundred blown up AR15 / M16 type rifles, and one of the common things we see is a heavy fouling build up at the end of the chamber and free bore area. This build up is kind of like the fouling that is on the tail of the bolt, but it has a a glass like appearance and is very hard, my guess is from people not cleaning or thoroughly cleaning a chamber or possibly not getting the dirty solvent out. I am a big fan of using a chamber brush, and a bore brush, and not a fan of a boresnake or other pull through cleaning systems that don't do a good job of cleaning a chamber. We also see a build up inside the chamber and/or bore when people use solvents that get gummy or varnish things up when it isn't thoroughly removed, hence why I am not a fan of using banana oil based solvents in the AR15 / M16 type rifles. Lube and/or solvent in the chamber and bore and cause pressure issues (usually extraction issues), and in a rare situation can result in damage or firearms blowing up. The gas port should be gauges to see what is is and where it fits into the specs. A barrel should also be checked for straightness, as a bent or warped barrel can cause pressure issues.

Other things that should be inspected is the rifle for any signs of the rifle unlocking too early or violently. The receivers should be gauged to check to see if things are in proper spec. Hammer & trigger pin holes can be gauged to show if they are in spec, and will often show signs of the rifle unlocking too quickly or violently. The receivers should also be inspected to make sure they are machined properly, and not off set out out of proper alignment. The buffering system should also be inspected to see if they are within spec, and show any signs of stress or the action cycling too quickly or violently. I have seen rifles that people have built that had no clue what they were doing, and had them unlocking too early and blew them up. I have seen rifles that people suppressed, didn't realize that adding a suppressor can change the timing cycle, and blew them up. I have also see 3 blown up rifles from the same LE Agency, that their in house Armorer (trained by another company) built using piston conversions, that were unlocking too early. And one of the more common causes of blown up guns in the last couple of years that we have seen is when someone puts a 300-Blackout in a 5.56 chamber.

 

CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
TheDefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123

Was it hornady freedom or frontier ammo? If frontier, there are numerous reports of that ammo being very hot, like blowing primers out hot, with certain lots which could explain some of the damage if gasses were being vented back into the bolt and then tearing off a chunk of the carrier. If he kept any of the fired cases it would be interesting to see if they still have primers or any sort of pressure marks. Also might be worth doing a google search of that ammo and lot number to see if you get any hits of people also having problems with that same lot number.

I was told Freedom but I'll ask.  Unfortunately, I'm getting involved after the fact and separated by a couple hundred miles.  Again, I appreciate all the input; keep it coming.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

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