FAL "kaboom"

AntonioAntonio Senior MemberPosts: 2,342 Senior Member
Friend of mine just told me his harrowing experience this morning.

Some weeks ago some of the shooters of the local Army-sponsored (They give us their range, ammo and Mauser rifles) civilian shooting clubs were asked by officers to help training some soldiers for an inter-forces shooting match. Guns to be used are military-issue FAL rifles and targets will be placed @ 220 yards, with 3 sets of prone, kneeling & standing shooting series. I was supposed to give a hand but couldn't skip work in the mornings to help.

My pal could do it and after a few range sessions with the appointed "instructor" (Mainly a NCO in charge of checking the shooting team) and the range deputy were able to choose a few FALs in decent working condition, sight them and instruct the soldiers in proper shooting techniques (Sling use, breathing, sighting, etc.) to achieve decent scores.

Today he went to the Army range, plinked a little with his Anschutz .22LR rifle and waited the team to arrive; oddly, instead of the usual range deputy (Who has some knowledge about guns) a replacement with evident little idea of weapons handling showed up to help.
After everything was in place they started firing and after a while one of the soldiers raised his hand asking for help; my pal approached and saw that his rifle had misfired, so he ordered the guy to remove the magazine, put the gun aside and grab another FAL to resume training, and that he'll inspect the rifle later to check what was the problem and if possible, solve it.

Instead of that and because he had already sighted this rifle, he pulled out the magazine as told and observed that the last round wasn't properly fed into the chamber, protruding a few millimeters and stopping the bolt to fully close on a loaded chamber.

According to my friend, he saw the soldier pull the bolt handle again but couldn't act fast enough to stop him from doing it; he clearly saw that the guy wasn't pulling the trigger, but oddly the bolt rammed against the round, detonated it. Even more strange was that he heard a dull "Pop!" he recognized as the primer being detonated, but the round missed to fire like it had no powder, and the bullet was still fitted inside the case. Amazed by this unusual situation, he took the rifle from the soldier's hands and told everyone else that the rifle will no longer be used, putting it aside in a table after removing the dud round. His commentary about the potentially dangerous situation was that sometimes God had pity on the fools.

Resuming fire, he didn't noticed that the replacement range deputy, who witnessed the whole incident and clearly heard the instructions about not using that gun anymore, grabbed the rifle, walked behind the chest-high wall behind the shooting positions and tried to load another round!

My friend was kneeling next to one of the soldiers giving him some sighting instructions when he heard a loud "Bang!"; fortunately the wall covered his back but managed to see a burnt-faced range deputy holding a heavily-smoking broke-up FAL in his hands with an astonished, frightened look. Same thing happened again with a not fully-chambered round, only this time it did what it was supposed to: Detonate.

Parts of the rifle's receiver section were scattered in a 20-feet radius and apparently the gun was a goner. The idiot holding it was lucky enough to have a few cuts & nicks in his face (Fortunately he was wearing eye protection after my friend demanded so at the beginning of the training) and hands. No one else was hurt.

After recovering the parts and scolding the guy for his wreckless actions (He said that he hadn't pulled the trigger, that the gun just slam-fired) they resumed firing. At the end he inspected the damaged FAL to find the accident's reason, assuming it was due to a broken case neck stuck in the chamber, but couldn't find evidence of it (Probably it was the real cause but apparently the obstruction dislodged itself with the blast).

For those who wondered, these are assorted FN-made military FALs bought between the mid-'50s and the early '70s and ammo used was Chinese-made (Early '90s) 7.62 NATO FMJs.

Now I'm not having second thoughts about skipping job a few hours for a little free range time......

Replies

  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Wow.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,983 Senior Member
    Scary
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • KSU FirefighterKSU Firefighter Senior Member Posts: 3,246 Senior Member
    If you are going to be stupid, you better be tough was never truer than this case.
    The fire service needs a "culture of extinguishment not safety" Ray McCormack FDNY
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,731 Senior Member
    Lucky he didnt get hurt. FTFI

    Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Well, their first thought was probably bad ammo, clear and try to reload and fire again. However, after clearing the stuck/primer popped no fire round and a thorough inspection of the rifle/chamber/bore should have followed before attempting to shoot it again.

    Any other "Misfires" on the line that day from that ammo?
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,183 Senior Member
    One of the failure modes of the FAL is a broken spring that lets the bolt ramming home trip the sear. The other is a worn sear that causes the same failure. Guy is lucky that it didn't do more damage to the rifle and HIM!
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,342 Senior Member
    No more ammo misfires that day. Now they have switched from Chinese ammo to local production rounds (FAME) but I sincerely doubt this would be of any help, since performance & reliability seems to be pretty much the same, although they'll probably have to re-sight the rifles for this "new" (Probably late '90s production) ammo.

    Unlike the other branches' rifles who showed at the range for practice, Army guns are usually observed in very poor condition, with taped-over broken handguards, little remaining finish, improper or no lubrication at all, poor cleaning, marred stocks, etc.
    Some say that this is because the local Army gathers the lowest less educated levels of our society and does little to properly instruct them in basic weapons handling & caring, unlike the Navy or Air Force do.

    Anyway, these poor FALs have been rode hard and put away as they came from the field; most should be at least 35 years old and seems like little has been done to keep them in good condition (Parts are usually cannibalized from other rifles or made up locally due to a probable lack of spares), so it wouldn't amaze me that the failures Tennmike describes will sooner or later become endemic. Hope they at least hold on during the match day, or they'll be giving a very poor image of the Army shooting team.
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,342 Senior Member
    Yesterday we were in an air rifle shooting match at the Army range while their shooting team was training and a 2nd. FAL rifle blew up. This time the shooter got a nasty gash in his forehead and had to be evacuated to the hospital to get some stitches. Ammo was locally-made FAME of '90s production and rifle was, according to some witnesses, literally broken in 2 parts.

    Either ammo or rifle issues, I sincerely doubt the shooting team is going to perform properly with the fear of a potential accident right in their faces.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Antonio wrote: »
    Yesterday we were in an air rifle shooting match at the Army range while their shooting team was training and a 2nd. FAL rifle blew up. This time the shooter got a nasty gash in his forehead and had to be evacuated to the hospital to get some stitches. Ammo was locally-made FAME of '90s production and rifle was, according to some witnesses, literally broken in 2 parts.

    Either ammo or rifle issues, I sincerely doubt the shooting team is going to perform properly with the fear of a potential accident right in their faces.

    Remind me never to buy any MILSURP rifles from Peru or ammo either......:yikes::yikes:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • mpotucekmpotucek New Member Posts: 21 New Member
    being stupid should be painful
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,342 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Remind me never to buy any MILSURP rifles from Peru or ammo either......:yikes::yikes:


    Don't worry; State policies are towards destruction of surplus firearms. Few years ago around 500 M1, M1A1 & M2 Carbines and 200 FN 1935 Mausers in police hands were destroyed; soon a batch of other U.S.-made WWII-era small weapons will follow.
    FAME ammo is apparently being sold in the US, but can't recall who sells them or if they still have them in stock. I'd rather blame the rifles' wear and poor cleaning & storing procedures before pointing the ammo as culprit.
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