Safety Glasses - WEAR THEM!

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Good reminder that safety is not just a punchline.

I was shooting at the range today and paused to watch the guy next to me shooting a real nice looking 1903. He pulled the trigger, and BOOM! A flash flew out the side of the gun, reminiscent of an old flint musket. He stood up and staggered backwards in a daze. The blood was already pouring from the multiple cuts on his face.

Luckily he was wearing a good set of glasses. He only ended up the facial lacerations.

Upon investigation of the gun, the bolt would not move so we could not open it up to see how the cartridge failed. Fortunately, he was only shooting 1 round at a time so there was no live ammo stuck in the internal magazine. The speculation is that the brass was weakened and a case-head separation occurred. There was talk about a potentially double charged case but apparently a double charge is very unlikely using the particular powder he was (it would have overflowed the case).

The craziest part was that I actually SAW it happen. It's not one of those stories of "i looked down, heard a noise, looked up and saw the aftermath." I actually saw him pull the trigger, saw the flash, saw the gun blow up, saw him stagger back, and saw the blood start flowing. It was quite surreal.


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MisterHappy

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was it a low numbered model which are known to do that?

That problem, IIRC was with '03s ...the pictured rifle ( based on the receiver-mounted sight) appears to be an '03-A3 (WWII era, as opposed to WW I)

Hell of a surprise....hope that the shooter can provide a "post mortem" as to what went wrong!

I've "caught gas" from old military ammo gettign case splits, but never anythign like this....

Good reminder, thanks for posting!
 

appraiser

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As long as everyone is OK, life is good, but it is sad to see a gun like that with so much history become non functional
 
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As noted above, the rifle is a 1903A3 and by Remington. They are not part of the low number Springfields or Rock Islands that are considered by many to be unsafe to shoot.
It looks as if the receiver handled it all okay. The destructionlooks like it was escaping gas that took out the extractor and stock. It does sound like case head separation and it would be nice to know more about it.
 
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If it was barrel obstruction, I believe it would have been a bit more dramatic.

As others have indicated, this is an 03A3 - so the "low number" problem wouldn't be a problem, although there's always the chance of a reweld (not likely in this case since it was not the receiver that failed.)
 

PatMcD

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Something was seriously overpressure, whether it was from the ammo or some obstruction. I've had case-head seperations before, and it caused no damage to rifle or shooter like we see here.
 

gene

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It was an 03-13 that he had put together professionally with parts from multiple manufacturers. He is an experienced reloader and the head space was checked and was tight. The 5th round, the one that blew was quite loud unlike a typical 30-06 round. Sounded like a shot gun to me when I looked over. He reloaded with what looked like his own cast bullets as they were all lead. Unfortunitly the weapon had only a peep site and his face was pretty close to the receiver so his nose caught the shrapnel from the blast. He was fine. Very good advise to wear the glasses all the same. The bolt would'nt open even with a hammer so we had no way of checking the case but the blast appeared to cause damage at the top of the bolt, both sides and the lower mag section of the rifle. I was beside him (couple of benches away) with my MP15-22 but if he had a squib with that round, I am sure he would have known it.
 
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MaroonedinMA

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Don't forget the hat too!!! Seriously, I know we all know to wear headgear of some sort and I was certainly wearing eyes and ears but I thought, "eh, I forgot my hat...whatever." So three mags in to the day I catch a flier piece of scalding hot .45 brass which lodges between my cheek (just below the eye) and the safety glasses. It took me nearly two seconds to figure out what happened and remove the brass and as a result, I have had a nice scar under my eye for nearly three months which shows no sign of going away...

Anyway, just wanted to add that little reminder since hats often get overlooked when focusing on the primary eyes and ears.
 
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When I first looked at the headline, then the first post and pics, my absolute first thought was: "I bet he's a reloader"...


Don't forget the hat too!!!

Absolutely - I cover all the bases and just wear this to the range. Can't be too safe - especially when counting on basement loads...

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AntiHippie

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Don't forget the hat too!!! Seriously, I know we all know to wear headgear of some sort and I was certainly wearing eyes and ears but I thought, "eh, I forgot my hat...whatever." So three mags in to the day I catch a flier piece of scalding hot .45 brass which lodges between my cheek (just below the eye) and the safety glasses. It took me nearly two seconds to figure out what happened and remove the brass and as a result, I have had a nice scar under my eye for nearly three months which shows no sign of going away...

Anyway, just wanted to add that little reminder since hats often get overlooked when focusing on the primary eyes and ears.

I had to learn the same thing the same way. Didn't get a scar from it, but learned from it none the less.
As far as eye protection - after nasty bilateral corneal abrasions from sleeping with rust and waste blast media contaminated contact lenses - I even wear them when I mow the lawn now. Eye injuries are very likely the most painful thing one can experience.
 

M1911

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Don't forget the hat too!!! Seriously, I know we all know to wear headgear of some sort and I was certainly wearing eyes and ears but I thought, "eh, I forgot my hat...whatever." So three mags in to the day I catch a flier piece of scalding hot .45 brass which lodges between my cheek (just below the eye) and the safety glasses. It took me nearly two seconds to figure out what happened and remove the brass and as a result, I have had a nice scar under my eye for nearly three months which shows no sign of going away...

Anyway, just wanted to add that little reminder since hats often get overlooked when focusing on the primary eyes and ears.
Yup. I tell folks they should wear a hat (and why) every time I teach a range orientation class at my club. Dunno how many take it to heart, though.

One additional word of advice on this subject: the hat won't do its job if you wear it like this:

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The bill needs to go in front.
 
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I had to learn the same thing the same way. Didn't get a scar from it, but learned from it none the less.
As far as eye protection - after nasty bilateral corneal abrasions from sleeping with rust and waste blast media contaminated contact lenses - I even wear them when I mow the lawn now. Eye injuries are very likely the most painful thing one can experience.

mine wasn't, it stung more than anything and only for a second or two. then again the doctors don't know why that was. in that regard i was lucky. i lost the sight in that eye but it didn't hurt. in fact my doctor now (this happened 35 years ago) doesn't know why I'm not in pain from my eye now. i developed glaucoma in the eye and the pressure is way up there. this was not a firearm related injury.
 

Pilgrim

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That problem, IIRC was with '03s ...the pictured rifle ( based on the receiver-mounted sight) appears to be an '03-A3 (WWII era, as opposed to WW I)

You are right, of course. I was so blown away with the receiver damage that I didn't look at the sight.

That's the type of damage that a low number 03 would experience.
 
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I don't think that shooting a lead projectile out at high velocity in a rifle isn't a good idea as even hard cast will lead out a barrel very quick. Could it be possible that the leading caused the bore diameter to constrict enough to cause a high pressure situation/catastruphic failure but because the projctile is lead it could still exit the barrel without getting stuck & blowing the barrel?? It looks like the stock started to peel like a bananna...
 
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