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Posted: 9/10/2010 5:31:59 PM EDT
Blown up Colt .45




I was shooting this gun the other day. On my 4th cylinder of cartridges it blew up on the 3rd shot. I squeezed off the shot and knew something was wrong - recoil felt consistent, but I felt some pieces hit the bench and noticed I couldn’t see the front sight. I didn’t notice a squib on the shot before the Kaboom.

I found one piece of the cylinder on the bench. The nearest loaded shell was missing it's bullet and primer.

Yes they were hand loads. 255 grain RNFP Penn bullets, new Remington brass, Federal large pistol primers, 6.8 grains of W231. I’d shot maybe 50 rounds from the gun working up hand loads.

Actually, my first few cylinders that day were loads using Unique, as I didn’t much like the small charges of W231. I prefer a fuller case.

About the gun.



It’s an old Colt New Service. I got it from a friend. It was an old “Royal Northwest Mounted Police” gun and was stamped 1921. I’m pretty sure it was an original 45 Colt and it wasn’t cut for moon clips.
It’s reblued, and the reblue job had some light rust. Grip panels had chips. Front site was filed down.
This thing wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea, but since I had it and it wasn’t worth a lot, I figured I’d try it out as a fishing gun. I built up the front site with epoxy, bought dies and components, and I was working up a load that I figured would be appropriate to the gun.
It shot pretty well, once I added ¼” to the front site. The trigger wasn’t great, but I’ve shot worse. It shot pretty tight groups out to 25 yards and it had a nice feel, although the grips are a little small for me.

What did I find?
I pulled down the 10 remaining loaded shells, they were all dead on for powder weight.
I’m really meticulous about loading, especially while working on loads. I really doubt there was a double charge.
There is no bulge in the barrel. I didn’t feel a squib on the previous shot and there were two hits on the target ( Kaboom was #3).
Going back through my fired brass I’m finding some off-center firing pin strikes. The shell that blew up had a strike nearly on the edge of the primer.
When I first got the gun it didn’t lock up consistently. I detail cleaned it and thought that solved the problem.

What do I think happened?

I think that the gun fired out of battery. The bullet hung up on the forcing cone and the gun went boom.

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:33:55 PM EDT
Blown up old Colts make baby Jesus cry.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:35:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 5:36:05 PM EDT by Rustynutzz]
R.I.P Colt Makes me wonna cry.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:35:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 5:45:51 PM EDT by paul_the_welder]
That might be the saddest thing I've seen all day. sorry
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:36:55 PM EDT
glad you're ok dude, but damn, a blown up RNWMP pistol makes me want to cry
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:37:46 PM EDT
Talk shit now Glock haters!



No seriously, that sucks ass. What a fucking shame to see a nice gun die.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:37:52 PM EDT
That has to be the oldest Glock I have ever seen.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:40:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By nobodyg17:
That has to be the oldest Glock I have ever seen.


Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:41:07 PM EDT
sucks for your loss man, that looked like it was a sweet gun.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:41:11 PM EDT
Don't think I take any pleasure in this.

I got it from an old friend who had it for 50 years.

He said he shot it right after he bought it, then put it away. It came to me wrapped in an oily rag, in a classic Kennedy toolbox, with cleaning tools.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:42:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By paul_the_welder:

That might be the sadest thing I've seen all day. sorry


Hate to see that. Glad your OK.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:44:02 PM EDT
Tag for opinions.

The brass is deformed in a puzzling way.

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:44:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:44:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 5:46:00 PM EDT by conductor]
No bulge in the barrel means no squib. What you had was a double charge of powder.

Firing with the cylinder out of alignment would not have caused damage like that. Besides, if the cylinder were really out of alignment, the firing pin wouldn't have hit the primer. Check the primer on the case that caused the kaboom. I'll bet that the firing pin strike is dead center, or very close to it.

Sorry to say this, but it was carelessness that caused this kaboom. Thank your lucky stars that you didn't get hurt.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:45:48 PM EDT
Glad you were not hurt, the gun can always be replaced.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:48:16 PM EDT
That is a beautiful gun.


Shame
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:49:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By nobodyg17:
That has to be the oldest Glock I have ever seen.


Nah this one is older:

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:50:13 PM EDT
My son and I did something similiar to a sort of rare old Astra 1915..French WWI issued .32 auto..

Was shooting some reloads, son was shooting and must have had a squib load..then fired about 2 more rounds behind it..and the gun locked up.

I examined it..and it had a stack of bullets in the barrel. Bulged the barrel...essentially ruined a cool old piece. Fortunately, the old Astra had a thick, tough barrel.....and I'm a dumb-ass
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:51:51 PM EDT
The old girl pulled serious service and has an inglorious end. Sorry OP, that really blows.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:52:31 PM EDT
Double charge. That's horrible to see.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:52:36 PM EDT
Thats a whole lot of mess. It could have literally been bad metal in the cylinder. in 1921 they didnt exactly have the tech we have now. Kinda weird it blew up 2 cartridges no?

I wonder if Colt wouldnt have an opinion on this or if they wouldnt take it in for testing. Can you even double charge with the loads you were cooking up?
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:55:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By paul_the_welder:
That might be the saddest thing I've seen all day. sorry
And how.

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:56:01 PM EDT
Sorry for your loss
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 5:57:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:03:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By conductor:
No bulge in the barrel means no squib. What you had was a double charge of powder.

Firing with the cylinder out of alignment would not have caused damage like that. Besides, if the cylinder were really out of alignment, the firing pin wouldn't have hit the primer. Check the primer on the case that caused the kaboom. I'll bet that the firing pin strike is dead center, or very close to it.

Sorry to say this, but it was carelessness that caused this kaboom. Thank your lucky stars that you didn't get hurt.


Could be - but I don't think so.

These were individually weighed. Empty cases in one tray, charged in another. I visually check powder levels before I seat bullets.
There were test loads - I loaded them 5 at a time.

I'm very thankful I wasn't hurt.

The case that blew up. Top of cylinder was up.


A case from an earlier shot:
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:04:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Ruxpin:
The old girl pulled serious service and has an inglorious end. Sorry OP, that really blows.


Think of it this way. It went out being shot. The worst death of a gun is sitting in a box, long forgotten and left to rust away.


And a cheap shot: When did glock start making revolvers?

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:09:00 PM EDT
Obviously due to an unsupported chamber...
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:09:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Thats a whole lot of mess. It could have literally been bad metal in the cylinder. in 1921 they didnt exactly have the tech we have now. Kinda weird it blew up 2 cartridges no?

I wonder if Colt wouldnt have an opinion on this or if they wouldnt take it in for testing. Can you even double charge with the loads you were cooking up?


I do have resources to check the metal - and there's a reddish discoloration along the break that may be rust. I couldn't find the other half of that break line. I also didn't find the unfired bullet or primer.

I'm not sure if the loaded cartrige fired, or the bullet and primer were just forced out. There's no soot on the brass.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:11:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lost-Drive-In:
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Thats a whole lot of mess. It could have literally been bad metal in the cylinder. in 1921 they didnt exactly have the tech we have now. Kinda weird it blew up 2 cartridges no?

I wonder if Colt wouldnt have an opinion on this or if they wouldnt take it in for testing. Can you even double charge with the loads you were cooking up?


I do have resources to check the metal - and there's a reddish discoloration along the break that may be rust. I couldn't find the other half of that break line. I also didn't find the unfired bullet or primer.

I'm not sure if the loaded cartrige fired, or the bullet and primer were just forced out. There's no soot on the brass.


sorry
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:14:16 PM EDT
any way a skilled welder could replace metal in the frame?
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:15:31 PM EDT
Heartbreaking. You lost a classic firearm. :(

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:15:36 PM EDT
Glad you did not get hurt. I don't think weak brass would do that. Looks like a double charge or maybe a primer was dropped down in the shell. CSI stuff man.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:18:14 PM EDT
it went out doing what it was meant to do.
glad your hand is okay.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:20:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Cypher15:
any way a skilled welder could replace metal in the frame?


A very skilled machinist might be able to cosmetically restore it, but it will never safely fire again.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:22:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lost-Drive-In:
Originally Posted By conductor:
No bulge in the barrel means no squib. What you had was a double charge of powder.

Firing with the cylinder out of alignment would not have caused damage like that. Besides, if the cylinder were really out of alignment, the firing pin wouldn't have hit the primer. Check the primer on the case that caused the kaboom. I'll bet that the firing pin strike is dead center, or very close to it.

Sorry to say this, but it was carelessness that caused this kaboom. Thank your lucky stars that you didn't get hurt.


Could be - but I don't think so.

These were individually weighed. Empty cases in one tray, charged in another. I visually check powder levels before I seat bullets.
There were test loads - I loaded them 5 at a time.

I'm very thankful I wasn't hurt.

The case that blew up. Top of cylinder was up.
http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/Lost-Drive-In/colt/0043.jpg

A case from an earlier shot:
http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/Lost-Drive-In/colt/0044.jpg


If you were looking at each one, I doubt you'd not have noticed a double charge. And 6.8gr of W231 is pretty mild for that gun. My money is on metallurgy.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:27:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 6:28:27 PM EDT by Seven-Shooter]
That fuckin' sucks. Beautiful old piece, too.

ETA: Good that you're in one piece, even if the gun ain't. They don't make them like that anymore.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:30:08 PM EDT
Im thinking a stress crack or cracks from somone shooting some real full house stuff through the old girl. Maybe even prior to you owning it. Combined with being such an old pistol. Heck alot of loads now dwarf loads when they were originally designed. They just didnt have the tech in 1921 we do now. Its a real shame it happened to the pistol. Like with any older firearm its better to error on the gentle side with loads.

Think about old antique shotguns. There are plenty of older shotguns that would absolutely blow up with some of the modern high brass loads we have today. I had an Old (dont even know what year or and cant remember what brand it was) Double 16 gauge. That almost seperated on me using fiochi low brass loads. If my brother didnt say " Hey wtf was that? It sounded funny when you shot that bird" The next trigger pull might have been my last
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:34:51 PM EDT
I'm glad you are ok but what a damn bummer about the Colt.





Bill
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:37:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Im thinking a stress crack or cracks from somone shooting some real full house stuff through the old girl. Maybe even prior to you owning it. Combined with being such an old pistol. Heck alot of loads now dwarf loads when they were originally designed. They just didnt have the tech in 1921 we do now. Its a real shame it happened to the pistol. Like with any older firearm its better to error on the gentle side with loads.

Think about old antique shotguns. There are plenty of older shotguns that would absolutely blow up with some of the modern high brass loads we have today. I had an Old (dont even know what year or and cant remember what brand it was) Double 16 gauge. That almost seperated on me using fiochi low brass loads. If my brother didnt say " Hey wtf was that? It sounded funny when you shot that bird" The next trigger pull might have been my last



I would put my money on this one...stress cracks form previous hot loads.... sorry
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:38:27 PM EDT
Wow! Glad you are ok.

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:42:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Plumbata:
Double charge. That's horrible to see.


Reloaded .45 colt many years now. Hot charges crack the brass. Ask how I know. That is a double charge. Not much tolerance for hot loads unless Blackhawk.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:47:13 PM EDT
Are you sure it was chambered for .45 colt, and not .455?

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:52:41 PM EDT
I'm speechless.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:52:54 PM EDT
Man that sucks
Im glad your ok though.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:53:15 PM EDT
Would the case hold a double charge?
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:54:41 PM EDT
That poor New Service.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 6:57:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Powderfinger:
Would the case hold a double charge?


Charge is very small. Case may hold a triple charge.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:00:42 PM EDT
OP- glad you're all right–– sorry to see that destruction....
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:04:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 7:05:03 PM EDT by DragoMuseveni]
So what ever happend to proving guns with a 4x normal charge like they did back in the day so stuff like this doesn't happen?

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:06:05 PM EDT
Shit!

Glad you're okay OP.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:06:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Powderfinger:
Would the case hold a double charge?


Of 231? I bet the .45 Long Colt round would hold a triple charge.
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