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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
SN 371295446
2014

While shooting at the gun range my pistol exploded.

I was firing at a target 10 yards away. I was using one clip loaded with five rounds. The first five rounds fired were okay. I reloaded the clip with another five rounds and the first four rounds were okay. I had 9 hits on the target. On the next round, there was a really loud explosion and very heavy recoil. My thumb and palm felt like they had been hit with a hammer. That’s when I noticed that the gun had exploded.

The barrel split in two and the slide, barrel and misc parts all left the gun, only the handle and clip was left in my hand.

There were 9 hits on the target, the 10th round missed.

I located as many parts as I could find as well as some of the spent brass known to be from my gun. One of the brass casings was split open and the primer was flattened, even the brass looked like it had been flattened. The primers and other brass casings were not flattened.

The pistol had a total of 75 rounds fired since new.

All of the rounds fired were from a Remington Mega Pack 250 round box. Box Data: R213/5B-MEGA, PKG 61500A-1, G58196567
 

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Wow! First off, I'm glad that you are okay and didn't experience any injury!
That appears to be a VERY nasty explosion!

A gen 2 LCP with only 75 rounds through it should not explode like that.
I would have suspected that you had a "squib" (bullet stuck in barrel), but since your previous round fired and actually hit the target, I'd have to rule out a squib.

I think the culprit here is the ammo. Seriously over-pressured would be my guess.
I suggest that you contact Ruger first to get their opinion on what caused the gun to explode.
Then contact Remington and see if they will at least reimburse you for the LCP.

Again, glad you weren't injured. That's the main thing - but it is important to determine what caused the gun to explode.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did all the contacting, there was no explanation from Ruger or Remington.

Only one theory makes sense to me. It is really hard to "double charge" a .380 with factory loading equipment. A "light" powder charge is possible. If the powder level is below the primer, when the cartridge is horizontal, like it is in the normal shooting position, it is possible that when the primer fires, the powder does not do a controlled burn from back to front, but instead it all ignites at once and generates a short-term very high pressure.
 

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Wow! Glad you are OK. Sorry to hear of your problem. Sounds and looks like an ammo problem. I hope Remington takes care of you. Thanks for the post,
 

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How would that cause the problem?
If you ask this question, you must be new to shooting. There is a LOT of information out there on how a bullet, seated too deeply due to one of may reasons, can cause a tremendous increase in pressure when fired. Search and Google are your friends. Examine the remaining ammo in the box and see if the bullets are seated to the same depth. A few thousandths of an inch too deep may make a difference. Was the box crushed at any time? I heard of a case when an ammo box was crushed in shipping, pushing some bullets in too deeply. Check the ammo over. Needless to say, I am glad you are ok. There are several potential causes. You are a detective now.
 

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Really needs investigation on many accounts. I have shot so many boxes of Rem mega boxes, if added up, I would be rich. I never have had a problem that I can think of. Did your previous shot before the blowup feel different, make a different sound? I experienced a similar problem with a shell casing ripping apart on a 22. cal. A bad batch of ammo. You did well in collecting all ammo, shell casing etc. Take as many pics as you can and contact Remington. Save the box and take a pic of the batch info and report it here please. Good luck, and thanks for posting, and so glad you are ok.
Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm asking the question because I am not convinced that bullet setback would cause this much pressure in a .380 round, not because I'm an idiot or a newbie.

There is a lot of information out there, I also know that a lot of it is not reliable because it is based on faulty theory or bad guesswork.

Have you seen any charts that show ACTUAL MEASUREMENTS of the chamber pressure increases, in .005 inch increments, of setback for a .380 round? Do you know what pressure the Ruger .380 barrel is proof-tested at? If I had that data, I could make a case for, or against, the setback issue.

I consider myself a very safe shooter. I NEVER double chamber a round. I never shoot a damaged round, or one that was dropped. I rotate my carry ammo every six months. I clean my gun before and after each shooting event. I check my rounds before I load them. My ammo is stored in metal boxes.

Some say I'm paranoid, some say I'm scared of guns. I think I have a healthy respect for guns of all types. I have had bolts crack on rifles, I have had many stove-pipes, several rounds have fired before being fully chambered, and I have had many rounds cook-off due to a hot barrel.

Some of my background. I have done a little shooting; started in 1948 with .22's, fired almost every caliber and type of gun including full-automatic .45 cal. sub-machine guns. I was lucky, my dad was Chief of Police, an avid gun trader, and I was a deputy for a while. I did a lot of shooting during 4 years and 8 months in the Marines with .45s and 30.06s, including 1-1/2 years of combat in Laos and Cambodia in the 60's. Served 16 years in the USAF and had experience as a Systems Engineer on the helicopters and gunships, AC-119s and AC-130s, with experience on .223s up to 20MM weapons. I was a weapons engineer for Lockheed Martin for 18 years and had experience with automatic weapons up to 30MM. I also developed and taught Instrumentation courses at the college level, so I know a little about testing temperature, pressure, level, and flow parameters.

I am not a "detective", but I am a "Root Cause Analyst" and have my own Consulting Company.
 

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I see the flat primer now and have actually seen flatter ones but in rifle caliber. So our question is, what caused the over-pressure ? I looked in my stash and don't have one of those rounds. I would like to pull a bullet from one and see if a double charge is possible. Some powder is dense enough to overflow a case with a double charge and some powder is not so dense and could even fit a triple-charge. I believe most commercial loading machines check for over-charged loads optically. Powder charges for .380 range from 1.6 to 4.0 grains depending on what powder and projectile are used. Some fill the case halfway and some just seem to cover the bottom.
Bullet set-back may have also caused the problem. I don't have any data and do not know how far the projectile would have to be pushed into the case to have caused this catastrophe. Some ammo is so cheap, the projectile is loose in the case. A simple test would be to take a round and push it against your workbench. You should have to push pretty hard to move the projectile. If it pushes into the case really easy, don't use that ammo or be real careful. I'm glad Joustick is OK. Den
 

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Discussion Starter #12
More details and answers to some questions.

There was no noticeable setback when I loaded the ammo in the clip. I have found a lot of loose projectiles with .22 ammo, but none with any of the .380 or 9mm rounds I've used.

It is "possible" that it could have had a misfeed setback, but that is unlikely. The gun had never had any type of problems prior to that round.

I have never used reloads in my LCPs.

Remington checked the rest of the box and found no problems. Box Data: R213/5B-MEGA, PKG 61500A-1, G58196567

All nine rounds fired that day were normal, in sound, recoil, and accuracy. All were well on the target and no "wild" rounds except for #10. I never found that one.

Ruger didn't find any problems with any of the gun parts that I sent them.

I don't like to push a bullet back in the cartridge without knowing where the powder level is, which means never.

I don't know how much space the powder Remington uses takes up in the cartridge. From a liability and safety standpoint, it would make sense if they selected a dense powder, so a machine, or human error couldn't double or triple charge a cartridge.

With the huge demand for ammo in the last few years, who knows what is going on in the factories? High demand and profit motives could have caused some bad decisions.

Since the barrel was split in two and the brass was also flattened, the stamped letters show a lot of distortion, it is obvious that there was a LOT of pressure. A double charge, if there was room for two loads of the powder they used, would be my first guess for the cause. If a double charge was not physically possible, then a light charge would be my next guess.

It would be nice to know exactly why the gun blew up. Once was enough for me.
 

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I have more questions than answers. First off, I understand the theory of an undercharge, but I don't think that is is. I've seen pictures of failures before, but this is the worst one I can remember. Normally I'd say barrel obsutruction. There was a lot of force to cause the gun to come apart that badly. If you are 100% sure there was no barrel obstruction, it almost has to be ammo. A defective barrel wouldn't come apart that badly. My problem is I don't think a double charge would cause a failure this severe.

I'm going to throw out a theory, and please keep in mind I'm not accusing you of anything. You had a squib round that left a round in the barrel, then fired another round behind it. I know you think you accounted for all rounds, but did you? 5 rounds is an unusual number of rounds to load in a LCP, the magazine holds 6. Even if you meant to load 5, you can see how you could load 6 by accident.

I've personally had 2 squib rounds in a Ruger P89. This was due to a reloading error on my part, a primer with no powder. In both cases the bullet didn't go far enough down the barrel to allow another round to chamber. If it had I probably wouldn't have been aware of the problem enough and would have fired another round in a plugged barrel.

Also I have picked up some 9mm brass that was overload to hot. The primer was actually flowing outwards, much worse than your photos show. Your pics show overpressure but not to the extreme I've seen and I suspect the primers in 9mm I'm describing weren't double charged but just overpressure by maybe 50%.

Over course my above theory could be very wrong.
 

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I'm going to throw out a theory, and please keep in mind I'm not accusing you of anything. You had a squib round that left a round in the barrel, then fired another round behind it. I know you think you accounted for all rounds, but did you? 5 rounds is an unusual number of rounds to load in a LCP, the magazine holds 6. Even if you meant to load 5, you can see how you could load 6 by accident.
Over course my above theory could be very wrong.
I agree, he could have fired a round on a squib. Den
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have been shooting for a long, long time. I always load five rounds for range shooting, been doing it for over 60 years. That's what I shoot to evaluate a group on a paper target and for sighting in a pistol. I have a box I use to keep my range ammo in for the day. It has sections that hold 5 rounds. I shoot 25 rounds per range session with the .380 and 25 rounds with the 9mm, and 50 rounds with the .22. I load one magazine at a time, I do a visual inspection of each bullet as I load it, I count them as I load them, I look at the mark on the magazine when I finish to make sure there are five rounds loaded. Sure, it is possible that I could miscount. I don't think I ever have in my history of shooting. My box has always come out even, I have never been short a round at the end. I also am very particular about firing and making sure my bullets go where I think they are going. I shoot at paper targets, and check to see exactly where my bullets hit after each five round group. My dad taught me how to shoot and to call my shots. My Marine corps training and 1-1/2 years of combat reinforced my attention to how much ammo I loaded and how many rounds I've shot. I pay attention to sound, recoil, and slide position when I'm shooting. I don't pull the trigger again if there is anything odd. I have had two squib rounds with other guns and know how they feel and sound. Based on all that I'm 100% sure that did not happen.
 

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Trust me, you aren't 100% sure of anything. Once again, I'm not trying to say you did anything wrong, just explain the failure. If you had a squib round, that is still the ammo's fault. If we were dealing with a larger capacity case, say a 45 ACP, I could see a double charge or triple charge possible, but 380 cases are really small. I could see a double charge causing a major problem but not like this. Your failure is so severe, it blew the barrel in half and even bent the slide. It just screams obstructed barrel, but I'm sure there are more experts that might have some better ideas as to the root cause.

Another observation, which just leads to more questions, is the primer hit on the blown apart case seems off center. I don't know what that means. I need to look at some of my fires 380 cases also and compare them to your photos.
 

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I've seen brass look like that after an 'out of battery discharge', but the pistol didn't blow up. Course that was always in steel frame guns.
I did have an OBD in a shotgun once. Bent the crapola out of it. The stock was about the only salvageable part.
 

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I could see an out of battery fire, such as the firing pin being stuck, some kind of debris etc causing some kind of slam fire out of battery, but once again, I'm not sure the gun would come apart that much.
 
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