Sunday, October 11, 2009


I have never had a gun go KaBOOM on me before. Before today that is.

I don't know if this qualifies as a full KaBOOM. First off it wasn't a Glock that I was shooting. Secondly, my gun still seems to be intact, more or less. But I figure anything that destroys a mag, damages the remaining bullets in that mag, splatters gun powder residue all over my hands, and face, draws blood from my cheek and chin and puts a gouge in the left lens of my shooting glasses and blows apart the right grip on the gun should qualify.

I headed out this afternoon to go watch my son shoot at his Boy Scout Troop Shoot Camp Out. Since I had to drive right past the range where I shoot to get to the range that my Son's Troop was camped out at I decided to take along a few tools of my own to get some practice in with on my way home.

I watched my son and the other scouts shoot for a while. My kids is getting pretty good with a shotgun, but still has some learning to do with a rifle. After a while I headed out and stopped by the Ridgecrest Gun Range in order to break in my new Henry 357 Magnum Big Boy Rifle. The rifle shoots like a dream. After 30-40 rounds I decided I needed a change so I hauled out my Rock Island Armory 1911A1. I had 100 rnds of Winchester white box I was going to shoot, but I decided to start with the last 20 rounds of hand loads from the last batch my Father had loaded for me. I had fired somewhere between 80 to 100 other rounds from this batch over the last few months and had no trouble with them.

Things started out smoothly until I fired off the fourth round in the mag. The report sounded normal but the gun kicked oddly in my hands and the mag shot out the bottom of the gun. I don't know if the plastic baseplate on this mag broke during misfire or when it hit the concrete floor. But simultaneously the gun got a lot lighter (missing a mag and 4 rounds), and I felt something sting my face in a couple spots. Out of habit I pushed the mag release to drop the mag out of the gun, that is when I discovered that it was already gone. Next I racked the slide to check for a round in the chamber - there wasn't one.

This is what the mag looked like after the insident.

KaBoomed mag

I still wasn't sure what had happened. So I laid the gun down on the shooting bench and started looking around. I noticed the busted mag and the four remaining rounds on the ground almost immediately. Then out of habit I started gathering up my spent brass. My 45 is pretty consistent in where it throws the brass - about 6 feet over my right shoulder. But I could only find three pieces.

So I took a few minutes sitting in the car and collecting my self. I finally checked my cheek in the mirror. It had a small injury that was oozing a little blood. A spot on my chin was also bleeding. But stopped quickly once I used the last of my water bottle to wash off my face and hands.

I checked out my gun pretty carefully and as best I could determine it was not damaged.

So in a minor fit of careless judgment I decided that the mag was to blame and I loaded up a second (all metal) mag with more of the hand loaded 45s. The first shot I fired acted a lot like the previous shot. This time however the effect was much harder on me. I didn't get hit in the face this time. My right hand, the one squeezing the grip got thumped pretty hard right in the palm. My hand almost immediately went numb. If I had been shoot with only one hand I probably would have dropped the gun.

This time the mag didn't fully shoot out of the bottom of the gun, it stopped about half way out. I assume that is why the grip on the gun broke, the expanding gases inside the gun couldn't exhaust out of the bottom of the mag well so they went out the side. This is what my baby looked like after the second shot.

KaBoomed 45

I don't know why the mag didn't full eject out of the bottom of the gun. When I took a hold of it, it easily slide right out of the gun.

After checking the chamber for a round (and not finding one) then safeing the gun I again stepped back to do a quick inventory and see if I was hurt some more. I wasn't, the numbness in the my hand dissipated very quickly and other than a new coating of owder residue all over my hands I had no new injuries. But as I was checking my hands I did notice something off to the right of me.

I was able to determine which of these rounds was the first and second fired because the second one was still warm.

I'm pretty sure that these were the culprits in my little escapade

Culprit 1:

Culprit One

Culprit 2:

Culprit Two

After this I decided to put the 45 away for the day, and I headed over to the rifle range to shoot there for a while. I have cleaned up the 45 since getting home and I still don't see any visible damage to the gun. I think I'm going to take it to a gunsmith and have him give it a once over anyway. I also called Dad and told him what happpened. He is going to check his hand loads and see what he loaded that batch with. We'll check out the rest of the batch in a few weeks.


mostly cajun said...


Maybe a double charge.

May be some bad brass, like incorrectly annealed by oven-drying at too high a temperture after cleaning.

Glad both you and the gun are repairable.


Stan said...

Glad to hear your ok. Has the brass been reloaded before? I've heard of Glocks having trouble as the cases stretch over time until the walls are too thin to support the pressure. The small area not contained by the chamber is subject to this type of behavior.