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CarryTexas
04-08-2014, 12:33
A friend of mine was recently out shooting with one of his acquaintances and as I was told he heard an unusually loud bang. As you can see in the pictures, it resulted in a catastrophic failure of the guys AR.

I don’t have all the details, but I do know he was shooting his reloaded ammo and was using H-335. I also use H-335 and I know that a double charge will more than overflow a case so I am not sure how someone could make that mistake.

What could have happened?

My theories:
1. Squib followed by a live round
2. Wrong powder i.e. pistol powder was mistakenly used in place of rifle powder

Since I don’t know this person directly I don’t have all the facts so I thought I’d draw upon the GT brain trust to see what could have possibly caused this.

The last I heard the owner was contacting the manufacture to I guess try to get them to warranty it.

Is there any possible way this could have been anything other than my two theories?

ETA: There were no serious injuries.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Ah84QiAIm20/U0Q77o9y3oI/AAAAAAAAB4I/1ojBHPr1YR0/s640/KABOOM1.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ExRK5PhS-0M/U0Q771NXG3I/AAAAAAAAB4M/eo6AZu8G-Lc/s640/KABOOM2.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-c2A-wqzn63g/U0Q77nRBCfI/AAAAAAAAB4Q/1nwuaZ5073Q/s640/KABOOM3.jpg

FiremanMike
04-08-2014, 12:49
Wow yeah I'm with you, I bet he loaded pistol powder instead of rifle.. I don't really know of any rifle powder that would allow a double charge without massively overflowing the case.

IMHO, a squib then live round would blow apart the barrel, not back by the bolt.

fredj338
04-08-2014, 13:17
Well if it was the first round of a run of ammo, could be wrong powder. I read where a guy mistook PP for H335, not sure how, they look nothing alike. You are correct, a double charge of H335 will not fit, nor will any other rifle powder in the 223. Maybe a squib followed by another round, but I doubt it by the looks of that.
24-25gr of any pistol powder is going to do something like that. Not unlike most things, verify 2, 3, 4X before proceeding to be safe & not waste time, money, injury. IMO, I can NOT see how anyone loads the wrong powder if they are paying just a modest amount of attention.

CarryTexas
04-08-2014, 13:39
IMO, I can NOT see how anyone loads the wrong powder if they are paying just a modest amount of attention.


I agree!

I did hear of two AR Kabooms a while back where two guys shared a reloading press and there was pistol powder in the hopper and it was used to load .223...

I am fanatical about process when I reload. Keeping the powder separate and is double and triple checked when I am setting up the press.

dkf
04-08-2014, 15:32
That one of those cheapo plastic lowers?

Lots of pressure there, well over proof pressure. Depending on the profile of the barrel a squib should show some damage on the barrel, bullet particles stuck in the brake and etc. Looks pretty obvious the bolt was locked up, pressure just made its own window. Probably pistol powder in the case.

The manufacturer should not warrenty that gun since he blew it up with his own reloads.

I don't keep powder in my measures unless I am currently loading ammo.

themighty9mm
04-08-2014, 15:57
Wouldn't have to be a double charge or the wrong powder for that to happen. Could be as simple as simply and over charged load. If he was pushing max load to begin with and just went up a few more grain. You can get the exact same thng

Atomic Punk
04-08-2014, 16:40
well....looks like there are a few parts he can use to build another. wonder if the barrel is still good? looks like there may be some extra flare on the barrel extension.

CarryTexas
04-08-2014, 16:56
That one of those cheapo plastic lowers?

Looks like a forged lower to me.


The manufacturer should not warrenty that gun since he blew it up with his own reloads.

I agree


I don't keep powder in my measures unless I am currently loading ammo.

Same here. However, I reload every few weeks. Might be different if I was reloading all the time and had several measures... I would label them.

Wouldn't have to be a double charge or the wrong powder for that to happen. Could be as simple as simply and over charged load. If he was pushing max load to begin with and just went up a few more grain. You can get the exact same thing

I have no idea. I am assuming that he would have had a proven load that he was shooting. I guess it is possible if he loads right at the max he could get one with a variation that could put it over the limits. The damage suggests to me that it wasn't just a borderline failure.

well....looks like there are a few parts he can use to build another. wonder if the barrel is still good? looks like there may be some extra flare on the barrel extension.

Yeah, like the stock group and handguards!

FL Airedale
04-08-2014, 17:07
I don't know what happened, but I look at those pics and think of my AR and it brings tears to my eyes. I guess I'm too attached to my firearms.

steve4102
04-08-2014, 17:11
Wouldn't have to be a double charge or the wrong powder for that to happen. Could be as simple as simply and over charged load. If he was pushing max load to begin with and just went up a few more grain. You can get the exact same thng

No way, a few grains above 223 Max will put you into 5.56 range and that is what the AR 223/5.56 is designed to shoot. To get that kind of KB it has to a hell of a lot more than a 62K 5.56 load.

fredj338
04-08-2014, 17:49
No way, a few grains above 223 Max will put you into 5.56 range and that is what the AR 223/5.56 is designed to shoot. To get that kind of KB it has to a hell of a lot more than a 62K 5.56 load.

I agree. I don't think you can get enough rifle powder in the 223 to KB it like that. Blow a primer maybe, but not the gun.
FWIW, I do leave powder in my measures all the time, it can safely be done if one just pays attention. I have three presses on my bench, all can have diff powders in their measures. I simply put a sticker on the measure with the powder that is inside written on it. You would have to be a total moron to mess that up or maybe just illiterate.:dunno:

Taterhead
04-08-2014, 17:57
I agree. I don't think you can get enough rifle powder in the 223 to KB it like that. Blow a primer maybe, but not the gun.
FWIW, I do leave powder in my measures all the time, it can safely be done if one just pays attention. I have three presses on my bench, all can have diff powders in their measures. I simply put a sticker on the measure with the powder that is inside written on it. You would have to be a total moron to mess that up or maybe just illiterate.:dunno:

Question. Way off topic. One of my reloading buddies typically leaves his 223 powder in the hopper. The mfgs say not to do that due to potential deterioration (hygroscopic properties and all that). My buddy's powder started kind of gumming up and clumping together after a couple of months. Same powder also showed pressure signs with loads that had been fine earlier: same lot, same charge, same rifle, bullet and primer. Mixed brass as usual. This was an older hopper so oils were not this issue. Ever seen this problem from leaving in the hopper?

copo9560
04-08-2014, 18:56
Any chance your buddy loaded a 300 Blackout in the magazine by mistake?? Sad thing is these will chamber in a 5.56 rifle, with results similar to what your pics show.

Hoser
04-08-2014, 20:14
That one of those cheapo plastic lowers?


Sure is. Plastic and some sort of metal insert.

I am betting squib/barrel obstruction followed by live round. A case full of H335 would not blow up the gun like that. Destroy the case and maybe blow out the extractor, but not the whole barrel, barrel extension, bolt and upper.

jmorris
04-08-2014, 21:24
I don't think you can get enough rifle powder in the 223 to KB it like that. Blow a primer maybe, but not the gun.

Any chance your buddy loaded a 300 Blackout in the magazine by mistake?? Sad thing is these will chamber in a 5.56 rifle, with results similar to what your pics show.

I agree with both. That damage is far beyond a "hot load".

The lower is plastic/metal, MSRP $49. Whatever was chambered and se off would have ruined any lower though.
http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/americanhttp://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/american-tactical-omni-hybrid-polymer-ar-15-new-gun-review-shot-show-2014-preview/-tactical-omni-hybrid-polymer-ar-15-new-gun-review-shot-show-2014-preview/

dkf
04-08-2014, 22:16
If .300blk was shot in it there is a chance the bullet is still in the barrel.

In case any of you did not see this.

http://www.guns.com/2014/03/11/photo-day-happens-shoot-300-blk-5-56-rifle/

OrangePwr9
04-08-2014, 22:29
Where's the cartridge case?

CarryTexas
04-09-2014, 05:58
Where's the cartridge case?

In the pictures it's still in the chamber.

jmorris
04-09-2014, 06:49
Drop a cleaning rod in and mark the depth on each end, now tell us how much space is full of bullet(s).

Jbehredt
04-09-2014, 06:51
Grab the sawzall and stick what's left in a vice. The answers are stuck in the gun still.

CarryTexas
04-09-2014, 07:44
Drop a cleaning rod in and mark the depth on each end, now tell us how much space is full of bullet(s).

This belongs to the friend of a friend. I've asked my friend for more information, but he doesn't have the answers either.

PCJim
04-09-2014, 08:48
This could also be the result of not having fully cleared a previous reloading session's powder from the dispenser. A partial mix of pistol powder in with the H335 could easily cause the results shown.


Even with a dedicated quick change toolhead for each caliber, I always dump the powder after a reloading session back into the original container. I like the look of the clear hopper as opposed to the stained look if powder is left in there for a period of time, and the powder stays stored in a climate controlled closet. Pull two pins, disconnect the failsafe rod, and dump the powder. Return to upright, and dump again to get that small amount that settles on the hopper's internal diffuser. Lastly, manually operate the throw until nothing drops thru to insure there is no residual in the throw.


Making sure there is no residual powder is all the more important if one does not have dedicated dispensers for each powder used.

Harringtonarms
04-09-2014, 10:02
and that my friends is why you shouldnt hold an AR by the magwell!

Hoser
04-09-2014, 13:56
and that my friends is why you shouldnt hold an AR by the magwell!

Oh come on. It looks cool. All the Operators do it that way.

DoctaGlockta
04-09-2014, 14:37
That is going to need to go back to the shop.

Glad no one was injured.

Bren
04-09-2014, 15:03
I'd bet on the squib followed by a live round.

Last time I saw one blown up sort of like that, it was because a soldier has stuffed toilet paper in the end of his barrel. He was an Afghan.

steve4102
04-09-2014, 15:42
I'd bet on the squib followed by a live round.

Last time I saw one blown up sort of like that, it was because a soldier has stuffed toilet paper in the end of his barrel. He was an Afghan.

A sqib, wouldn't have ejected and chambered the next round. He would have had to do that manually.

Jbehredt
04-09-2014, 17:16
I'd bet on the squib followed by a live round.

Last time I saw one blown up sort of like that, it was because a soldier has stuffed toilet paper in the end of his barrel. He was an Afghan.

LOL, they don't have a clue what TP is for:)

norton
04-09-2014, 17:52
Could it have been set back?

fredj338
04-09-2014, 21:15
Could it have been set back?

No. A setback in a rifle is opp of a setback in pistol rounds. You are compressing very slow powder & increasing the jump to the lands & often reducing any neck tension. The result is less pressures, not more. The gun came apart, that is NOT going to happen with any reloading anomaly like setback or too much powder or even the bullet wedged into the rifling. At worst, maybe a blown primer.
That gun is in pieces. My vote goes to pistol powder loaded to rifle specs. You would be looking at pressures well in excess of proof loads, like 70k psi+!

Bren
04-10-2014, 04:41
A sqib, wouldn't have ejected and chambered the next round. He would have had to do that manually.

You are correct.

norton
04-10-2014, 04:55
No. A setback in a rifle is opp of a setback in pistol rounds. You are compressing very slow powder & increasing the jump to the lands & often reducing any neck tension. The result is less pressures, not more. The gun came apart, that is NOT going to happen with any reloading anomaly like setback or too much powder or even the bullet wedged into the rifling. At worst, maybe a blown primer.
That gun is in pieces. My vote goes to pistol powder loaded to rifle specs. You would be looking at pressures well in excess of proof loads, like 70k psi+!

Thanks Fred.
Reason I wondered, years ago I had a .223 round set back in my AR. It was a factory 40 grain hollow point. I caught it before firing, because the cycling action didn't feel right.

steve4102
04-10-2014, 06:05
No. A setback in a rifle is opp of a setback in pistol rounds. You are compressing very slow powder & increasing the jump to the lands & often reducing any neck tension. The result is less pressures, not more. The gun came apart, that is NOT going to happen with any reloading anomaly like setback or too much powder or even the bullet wedged into the rifling. At worst, maybe a blown primer.
That gun is in pieces. My vote goes to pistol powder loaded to rifle specs. You would be looking at pressures well in excess of proof loads, like 70k psi+!


^^^This^^^

WiskyT
04-10-2014, 18:25
LOL, they don't have a clue what TP is for:)

Or Jimmie hats apparently.

Tom Kanik
04-11-2014, 02:35
Squib followed by a good round.

steve4102
04-11-2014, 04:30
Squib followed by a good round.

Squib would not cycle the action and loaded the next round.

IndyGunFreak
04-11-2014, 17:08
I think it's pretty clear this was not a squib, and he probably negligently used a pistol powder instead of a rifle powder.

Not sure why on earth he thinks this would be covered under warranty. I personally would be to embarrassed to even ask.

CarryTexas
04-11-2014, 17:16
I think it's pretty clear this was not a squib, and he probably negligently used a pistol powder instead of a rifle powder.

Not sure why on earth he thinks this would be covered under warranty. I personally would be to embarrassed to even ask.

I couldn't agree more with all your comments!

steve4102
04-12-2014, 05:25
I think it's pretty clear this was not a squib, and he probably negligently used a pistol powder instead of a rifle powder.

Not sure why on earth he thinks this would be covered under warranty. I personally would be to embarrassed to even ask.


Agreed!

Jim Watson
04-12-2014, 05:58
What mystifies me is that the bolt is still in place in the barrel extension. There is no damage to the handguards, presumably the barrel is still in one piece. How did all that gas get out to demolish the bolt carrier, upper, and lower?

What we need is somebody to donate some guns to blow up under controlled conditions. Kind of like the people who shot out several barrels with steel jacketed bullets.
Tests should cover stuck bullets in rifle and pistol barrels, wrong powder, bullet setback, and finally lay to rest the "out of battery" legend.
Just waiting for somebody to screw up and then guessing the details is not the Scientific Method.

WiskyT
04-12-2014, 08:51
What mystifies me is that the bolt is still in place in the barrel extension. There is no damage to the handguards, presumably the barrel is still in one piece. How did all that gas get out to demolish the bolt carrier, upper, and lower?

What we need is somebody to donate some guns to blow up under controlled conditions. Kind of like the people who shot out several barrels with steel jacketed bullets.
Tests should cover stuck bullets in rifle and pistol barrels, wrong powder, bullet setback, and finally lay to rest the "out of battery" legend.
Just waiting for somebody to screw up and then guessing the details is not the Scientific Method.

You bring up a good point. I think Hatcher and maybe Ed Harris did that stuff for the Ordinance Dept or DoD. Hatcher documented some of that stuff in his books like "Notebook" and that stuff may even be online.

ETA: I know Ruger did the barrel obstruction thing with the P85 when it first came out. They ran adds in the magazines showing the P85 with a plug threaded into the muzzle and the gun repeatedly fired. The gun kept firing and they eventually started cutting pieces of the slide off as they went until ultimately the slide cracked. The barrel never burst. I think they emptied the bore of bullets as they went along as it would have been full at some point. I also think most service pistols would have performed in a similar manner, it was just a good advertising campaign by Ruger to highlight how strong their gun is, but I think other full size guns would be just as strong.

Of course, pistols and rifles are entirely different things when it comes to stuff like this.

CarryTexas
04-12-2014, 10:44
What mystifies me is that the bolt is still in place in the barrel extension. There is no damage to the handguards, presumably the barrel is still in one piece. How did all that gas get out to demolish the bolt carrier, upper, and lower?

My guess is that when the over pressure came through the gas tube it drove the bolt carrier back too quickly for the bolt to unlock. That resulted in the carrier breaking in half and maybe the escaping gases caused the rest of the damage.

Sound plausible?

Hoser
04-12-2014, 11:14
Has anyone taken the pieces apart yet to look inside the barrel?

marvin
04-12-2014, 14:01
No I don't think it would work that way the gas tube would burst long before the pressure could hurt the bolt carrier group

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G730A using Ohub Campfire mobile app

Hoser
04-12-2014, 14:32
If you take a look at where the bolt is at compared to the carrier you can see that the bolt came back faster than the carrier. The cam pin broke the right side of the carrier which came out the ejection port.

I doubt that pressure spike ever made it to the gas tube.

themighty9mm
04-12-2014, 14:48
No way, a few grains above 223 Max will put you into 5.56 range and that is what the AR 223/5.56 is designed to shoot. To get that kind of KB it has to a hell of a lot more than a 62K 5.56 load.



I have seen it and done it myself, with testing at work. Using 844. I believe the load was 28 gr with a 62 gr bullet. Out of a 16 inch barrel, IIRC the velocity was 3600 fps. Or in that ball park. Its been about a year or a year and a half ago so some of the numbers may be off. But I was the one on the trigger at the time. Saw it happen with my own eyes. Split the carrier right down the center to the gas key. Blew the extractor out. Blew out the ejection port side of the upper receiver. And bulged the lower receiver. And obliterated the magazine. IIRC the armorer said they don't usually see damage of the sort until around 90-100 psi. Sadly we were not doing pressure testing at the time