A Loaded Muzzle Loader
“I didn’t know it was loaded”
“I didn’t know it was loaded” is the stock expression used by those who are rudely awakened by an explosion when they pull the trigger of a any loaded firearm. Muzzle loading firearms seem to be even more prevalent in this due to the lack of observation of the chamber. They seem to be always presumed empty.
An old muzzle loader is more likely to be loaded than would at first be thought. One reason lies in its slowness of loading. This resulted in many muzzle loaders being kept loaded habitually, as the only way of keeping them ready for use. Another reason lies in the difficulty of unloading, which caused many users to put off that tedious operation and finally forget it.
It was usual to leave the cap (or priming charge, depending on the type of ignition) off …
1974 total views, 0 today
Ammunition is Effected by Temperature
Temperature has a marked effect on both velocity and pressure. Factory ammunition is, as a rule, rather conservatively loaded so that no danger will result even under extremes of temperature.
Twenty years ago a large quantity of 6.5 x 55 ammunition was imported into Australia, (I was responsible for a few million round of it) It was 139 grain FMJ brass case with a berdan primer I suspect made by Norma in Sweden. In normal conditions it was excellent ammunition. (I once shot a five shot.500 inch group at 200m with it). There were reports that it had blown up guns, on investigation this was not the same ammunition only the same calibre. It got everybody talking though.
A southern importer had imported blank ammunition in this calibre and had replaced the wooden blank projectiles with 140 grain soft points. This would not have been …
1975 total views, 0 today
Exploding Barrel Blockages
Obstructions in a firearm barrel are almost certain to damage the barrel on firing.
The kind and amount of damage depend on location of the obstruction, on its mass (weight), and on the type and thickness of the barrel. A very great variety of results are possible. I have known of them killing the shooter next on the firing line, and only giving the owner of the firearm a sore shoulder. This is the extreme but it can and does happen.
An obstruction close in front of the cartridge in the chamber has the effect of increasing the chamber pressure. An obstruction in the middle or forward part of the barrel produces a local injury.
The action of an obstruction does not depend on trapping air. Experiments with coils of wire and other open obstructions resulted in damage about the same as solid obstructions of …
2818 total views, 1 today