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Thread: round going off when dropped

  1. #1
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    round going off when dropped

    Im sure this has been covered before, but I want to let everyone know that it IS possible for a round to go off if dropped just right.

    Today was my last day at Frontsight for the 2 day defensive handgun course, and pretty much on our last time out on the range, after we had completed our administrative unload, and were walking back to our seats, we all heard a "shot" and I saw what looked like a ND hitting the ground near like 5 people. We were all pretty worried including the instructors, and the lady who we all thought somehow managed to shoot accidentally despite the through safety checking, informed us that she had just dropped a round out of her hand and it went off. None of the instructors or students had ever seen this happen before, and only a couple of them had even heard of this happening.

    Anyways, we never found the projectile, but we DID find the case! I got a couple pics to post for the unbelievers
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    pretty wild if you ask me!

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    My quess would be that the round fell in JUST the right orientation on JUST the right size rock to strike the primer. Odds are you could take a case of ammo, drop them one by one and not have this happen again for a LL-OO-NN-GG time. But statistics caught up to you this time. PS. if you think about the physics involved; the bullet, having the highest mass, would have gained the least velocity from the detonation.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    I've heard of it, ONCE. This makes the second. And when you see how many rounds are fired at Front Sight every day, and they've never seen it... That lady should have skipped class that day and dropped $3 in MegaBucks.
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    The good thing is that under these circumstances, the round wouldn't have much force behind it. Being that there was no chamber/barrel for pressure to build behind the slug, it wouldn't be much more than a noise maker. Still , one in a million me thinks.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    The case becomes far more of a projectile than the bullet, which now assumes the far heavier roll and is the recipient of the recoil.
    Last edited by MAC702; 10-17-2012 at 11:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    The case becomes far more of a projectile than the bullet, which now assumes the far heavier roll and is the recipient of the recoil.
    yeah I think in most of these incidents, the people end up finding the bullet and not the case.. but for some reason for us it was the opposite.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    round going off when dropped

    Wow, pretty crazy. Good thing everyone was okay. Maybe we should submit it to Mythbusters so they can give us the odds of it happening.
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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    I totally believe it. I once had a round go off on the road and the case lodged into my tire. I heard a loud snap and then a tap tap tap noise as I ran over the rim of the case over and over. I pulled over to check my tires and saw a piece of brass sticking out of my tire (what caliber I couldn't tell. The rim had been chewed up beyond recognition by that point, but it was somewhere around .380 or 9mm). How the case got lodged mouth first into my tread without the bullet going in I have no idea. I was able to get the case out without having a puncture all the way through the tire.

    So yeah, a round falling and going off isn't anywhere near as weird as that, so I definitely believe it.
    Last edited by SovereignAxe; 10-17-2012 at 08:29 PM.
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    We always worry about this happening when a round gets dropped, but I've never heard about it actually happening! Good to know and the pictures help a lot!

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    I was teaching a class that consisted of the wife of a very good friend of mine. He was sitting in, too, and we had a good time while she learned all the safety and basic knowledge and laws for carrying in NV. When we discussed the part about ammunition, she actually asked if a round could go off when dropped. I gave her the same one-in-a-gazillion chance, and you'll never hear about one.

    Later at the range, we were sitting at the table loading magazines, and she let a round roll off the table onto the concrete. I hunkered over with my eyes squinted and put my fingers in my ears. She about had a heart attack, and my friend about died from laughing so hard.
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    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    perhaps it was a reload and the primer did not get completely seated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by twoskinsonemanns View Post
    perhaps it was a reload and the primer did not get completely seated.
    Then in that case it would be more likely not to fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twoskinsonemanns View Post
    perhaps it was a reload and the primer did not get completely seated.
    I am pretty sure front site checks all ammo and does not allow reloads.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 28kfps View Post
    I am pretty sure front site checks all ammo and does not allow reloads.
    Yes, reloads are prohibited, but you bring them one box for inspection, but they trust you that you are using the same stuff for the whole class.
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    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yard Sale View Post
    Then in that case it would be more likely not to fire.
    Perhaps. If the primer was not properly seated then it could have been sticking out slightly, allowing for it to be struck when dropped.

    But it was said reloads are normally prohibited so scratch that.
    Last edited by twoskinsonemanns; 10-25-2012 at 07:52 AM.
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    High primers don't ignite when struck by firing pins. I imagine a high primer wouldn't ignite when dropped on a rock. The primer's anvil needs to seat against the case.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SovereignAxe View Post
    I totally believe it. I once had a round go off on the road and the case lodged into my tire. I heard a loud snap and then a tap tap tap noise as I ran over the rim of the case over and over. I pulled over to check my tires and saw a piece of brass sticking out of my tire (what caliber I couldn't tell. The rim had been chewed up beyond recognition by that point, but it was somewhere around .380 or 9mm). How the case got lodged mouth first into my tread without the bullet going in I have no idea. I was able to get the case out without having a puncture all the way through the tire.

    So yeah, a round falling and going off isn't anywhere near as weird as that, so I definitely believe it.
    The casing should be flying the opposite direction of the bullet. Maybe what you ran over was a primed casing with no bullet, and it went bang from the primer going off as you ran it over? Or maybe the bullet fired and lodged itself into your tire but the ground prevented the shell casing from exiting? [Although, I would expect more tire damage from the latter.]

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    Quote Originally Posted by twoskinsonemanns View Post
    But it was said reloads are normally prohibited so scratch that.
    It's possible for something like that to escape a factory as well, I believe. I've seen some pretty odd looking factory defect cartridges.

    As for whether it will go off if the anvil is not in the right place I do not know. Maybe it isn't in a spot where it can go off initially, but after a bit of plastic deformation of after being smacked into position, it seems it could be possible.
    Last edited by Felid`Maximus; 10-25-2012 at 01:30 PM.

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    Regular Member The Big Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yard Sale View Post
    High primers don't ignite when struck by firing pins. I imagine a high primer wouldn't ignite when dropped on a rock. The primer's anvil needs to seat against the case.


    Tis true in my experience. Back when I was new to reloading I had some '06 that would not fire. When I looked at the primer I could see that it had been struck. I would re-chamber the round and it then went bang on the second strike. As I was confused by this I ran it past my reloading mentor and he explained that the chances are that the primers were not completely seated. When the primer struck the first time the primer would seat and then go off on the second strike.

    I would not 100% guaranty that a dropped round with a high primer would not go off, but I think it highly unlikely. Primers can vary some in their sensitivity. My best guess would be that this was a combination of a very sensitive primer with the weight of the round, falling just right on something sharp and hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoobee View Post
    Fulminate of mercury is not supposed to do that.

    But Murphy's Law supersedes all other laws.

    This is why it is best not to keep a cartridge chambered if you can possibly avoid doing so...
    I'm missing your point. Why is it best to keep a gun unloaded?

    I'm failing to reach your conclusion from the evidence.
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    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I'm missing your point. Why is it best to keep a gun unloaded?

    I'm failing to reach your conclusion from the evidence.
    He must be speaking of firearms without a firing pin-trigger interlock... After first learning of the concept I went through my handguns and everyone of them have some interlock to lock the firing pin back unless the trigger is pulled. I have no idea when this became the norm.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twoskinsonemanns View Post
    He must be speaking of firearms without a firing pin-trigger interlock... .
    Since the vast majority of firearms have one, his statement would be misleading, if so. But he also clearly said "any revolver" so I honestly don't know what he is thinking.
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    Newport Oregon

    In Newport Oregon about 8 years ago or longer, one of the officer's cartridges did this samething. He suffered the loss of one testicle from it. when doing drills with their Glocks they must eject one cartridge as to simulate a round that didn't fire and when his hit the ground it struck a rock and the projected bullet shot him in the testicle. Not sure if they stopped this drill after that or not but it can happen and can hurt someone in the process.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phlip74 View Post
    In Newport Oregon about 8 years ago or longer, one of the officer's cartridges did this samething. He suffered the loss of one testicle from it. when doing drills with their Glocks they must eject one cartridge as to simulate a round that didn't fire and when his hit the ground it struck a rock and the projected bullet shot him in the testicle. Not sure if they stopped this drill after that or not but it can happen and can hurt someone in the process.
    I'm calling BS.

    A cop carrying a Glock gets shot in a testicle. That's the only part we REALLY know.
    Last edited by MAC702; 10-25-2012 at 06:59 PM.
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    Talking Call it al you will

    [QUOTE=MAC702;1843281]I'm calling BS.[/QUOTE
    Call if you will! I have no way of proving it, but you can try to call the Newport Police department and ask they may say yes or no! they don't have to say his name! I will try to remember the officer's name but it has been a long time since I move away from there.

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