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Guns exploding

Seems there’s a suit against Savage because one of their front-stuffers tends to get explody. Now, first things first, I know very little about muzzle loaders. But it seems with that type of gun, there’s a lot of points in the loading process that could break down. Such as using too much powder, not seating a bullet, etc. Again, I know nothing about muzzle loaders other than what they are. Anyone experience something like that?

11 Responses to “Guns exploding”

  1. Huck Says:

    I’ve been using front stuffers since the early 1980s. Not fully seating the bullet, overcharging, and using modern powder instead of Black Powder or Pyrodex, (YUK!No real smoke poler uses that crap)are the only things that I know of that could be done by the shooter to cause the gun to burst.

  2. ASM826 Says:

    In this case, the muzzleloader is designed for modern smokeless powder. That raises the possibility of using the wrong powder, but removes the issue of not seating the bullet. I don’t know of other muzzleloaders designed for smokeless, so there may be issues related to pressure spikes that are unique to this rifle.

  3. Kasper Says:

    Huck, this is the Savage smokeless powder muzzleloader that was blowing up. User error or a bad batch of barrel steel, who knows for sure what the cause was in these cases.

    Marketing and people pushing the envelope trying to make muzzleloaders shoot more like modern rifles got strange several years ago. The biggest Sharps *buffalo* rifle used 140 grains of black powder, companies started building and marketing rifles for *deer* that used 150 grains of Triple 7 which is something like 30% stronger than black powder. That seemed crazy as hell to me.

  4. Lyle Says:

    There was a lot of chatter about the whole “smokeless powder muzzleloader” concept some years ago on the muzzleloading forums.

    To summarize; the idea was tried and abandoned. It comes down to the lack of that all-important part of modern ammunition that’s absent in a muzzleloader; the brass case, which expands under pressure and seals the breech.

    The higher pressures generated by smokeless powder are easily contained by using modern steel, but without a brass case to seal the breech, the there is high pressure getting into the breech plug threads, which, over time and a lot of rounds fired, erodes the breech plug end of the barrel.

    That’s what I gathered over a lot of reading on the subject. Don’t know how true it is. do know that those companies that tried making a smokeless muzzleloader all quit production due to safety issues.

    Of course with smokeless, there is a wide range of different powders with very different burning rates, and using the wrong powder can make all the difference. Fill a 223 case full of Varget and it’ll be OK. Fill it with a fast burning pistol powder and your AR and you will have a very bad day. Black powder comes in different granule sizes, but the finest to the coarsest doesn’t cover near the range of burning rates that smokeless powders exhibit.

    Also it is almost impossible to overload a quality gun with enough real black powder to blow it up. I tested my home-built 50 cal Hawken by using a 150 grains of 2F powder and a heavy conical (it’s a round ball twist barrel, so that was approximately a double charge of powder with a double weight bullet). No problem. The standard for black powder is to double your maximum intended charge for a proof load. Try that with smokeless, in any gun, and you’re definitely having a bad day.

    Smokeless powder can exhibit a sharp rise in pressure resulting from a relatively minor over-load.

    It’s just a dumb idea anyway. A muzzleloader charged with black powder is a quite capable firearm. I’ve killed all my deer using black powder. Black powder ignites at a lower temperature too, so you get more reliable ignition for a given ignition system.

    If you want to use smokeless powder, use a modern metallic cartridge in a gun that’s built for it. Keep it away from muzzleloaders.

    Also; don’t confuse the increased velocity, that one might get from some black powder substitutes, with higher peak pressure. Peak pressure and velocity are only loosely related. The substitutes are designed to replace black powder on a volume-for-volume basis. The only reason you see that “reduce charges by X%” is to more closely reproduce the exterior ballistics of a particular black powder load (so you don’t need to readjust your sights, etc.). It’s fairly clear once you read the descriptions carefully.

    Stay safe, but don’t get too carried away with safety or you’ll never get anything done.

  5. SPQR Says:

    A smokeless muzzle loader is an amazingly stupid idea.

  6. Bill Twist Says:

    The whole concept of a smokeless powder muzzleloader is wrong from a safety standpoint.

    With a black powder muzzleloader, or one that you use a BP substitute in like Pyrodex or TripleSeven, you’ve got a lot of leeway in measuring. BP is measured by volume (and substitutes also, I’m just going to use BP from now on but everything I say about BP applies to them also). A 5 grain difference in BP isn’t probably going “push you over the edge” into an unsafe load. In fact, when I’m working up a load for one of my flintlock rifles, I do it in 5 grain increments because you can’t really see a difference with loads that differ by 1 or 2 grains. Heck, my adjustable powder measure is only marked in 10 grain increments.

    Not that I recommend this, but you can probably “double stuff” a muzzleloader with twice as much powder as recommended and still be OK. BP burns slowly enough that you’ll hit a point where you aren’t getting any increase in velocity and just blowing powder out the muzzle.

    Smokeless powder, on the other hand, burns much quicker than BP when confined, and has much more energy available per unit of measure (either weight or volume) than black powder. My .54 caliber flintlock takes about 80 grains of BP to achieve a muzzle energy of about 1,200 ft/lbs. A .223 Remington with a 60 grain bullet will take about 24 grains of smokeless (depending on the specific powder) to achieve the same amount of energy.

    With a cartridge gun, a “double load” normally isn’t possible. You certainly *CAN* overload a cartridge, depending on the powder type, how much, and bullet weight. With a muzzleloader, you absolutely can double charge the gun, but as long as you properly seat the bullet, you will *PROBABLY* get away with it. After all, that’s how they used to proof guns in the olden days.

    But a muzzleloader using smokeless? That’s simply a recipe for making a bomb. A charge that’s 5 or 10 grains above maximum on a BP muzzleloader will be shrugged off by the gun. A charge that’s 5 or 10 grains above maximum on a smokeless gun is a kaboom waiting to happen.

  7. Joe Says:

    They halted sales of that model. That tells me they know that there was something wrong with their design or manufacturing process that probably resulted in weak barrels.

    The danger for the public is that there are still some of that model in circulation.

  8. Drake Says:

    Saw a musket break a man’s shoulder and burst the barrel once at a battle reenactment. During those “battles” we would load the powder but obviously no shot or ball. Then blast off the charge which kicked very little.

    This guy apparently didn’t notice his musket wasn’t firing so he kept loading and misfiring. Then with the powder of several dozens shots crammed down the barrel, a spark finally made it through – with a large ka-boom!

  9. Joe Hooker Says:

    Check out this video where they (safely) try things like double charges and smokeless in a run of the mill T/C front stuffer. They will take quite a bit before letting go,which makes me think this is a metal problem.

    You can also search Youtube for “overloaded muzzleloader” and get a lot of examples.

  10. Kristophr Says:

    Just a bad idea, smokeless muzzleloaders. If some idiot used pistol powder instead of the recommended smokeless, he would create a pipebomb.

  11. Firehand Says:

    ” BP burns slowly enough that youíll hit a point where you arenít getting any increase in velocity and just blowing powder out the muzzle. ”
    Years back I read that some rifle makers(muzzleloaders) long ago said that the way to find the most powerful load for your rifle was to fire it over fresh snow: keep adding a few grains at a time until you found unburned powder granules on the snow; the load before that, where no unburned powder was found, was the max load you should use.