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243 Ammo Partial Explosion

JuddHunterJuddHunter Posts: 8 New Member
I shot some ammo today that could be 10 years old or could be 40 years old.  It has been in a gun safe of my father for years.  The first bullet didn't fire and so I loaded a second one and it shot, but I felt a slap to my face like sand hitting it hard and then i looked at the cartridge and it has two tears/holes in it. 

Does anyone know what happened here?

Do you think the gun is damaged and what should I do with it?


Replies

  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 2,315 Senior Member
    What rifle were you shooting?
  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 2,315 Senior Member
    First reaction is discontinue use of that ammo!
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 6,676 Senior Member
    Reloads? Factory? Whatever don’t shoot any more of that ammo. You may want to have the headspace checked too.  
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
  • Some_MookSome_Mook Posts: 380 Member
    Second the suggestion not to use that ammo.  I'd also recommend having the chamber inspected.  Looks like the primer pushed out a bit and the residue pattern on the outside of the case seems pretty odd.  Pull a bullet out of one of the rounds from that lot to see if the powder has caked.  Smokeless powder and modern primers kept dry should last for a very long time without issue.  The misfire of the one round and the failure of another would suggest the rounds at some point may have become contaminated. 
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine
    "I know my place in the world and it ain’t standing next to Jerry Miculek" - Zee
  • MichakavMichakav Senior Member Posts: 2,817 Senior Member
    DO NOT shoot the ammo or rifle! You need to figure out what your dealing with first.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,153 Senior Member
    That's a serious looking Federal cartridge case. Lucky you weren't hurt. 

    Good advice here. Discontinue that batch of ammo, double check rifle. Chamber, bolt, chambering, etc..


  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,437 Senior Member
    welcome,

    yes, stop doing whatever you plan or want to do.

    the ammo/brass looks like its corroded.


    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 13,042 Senior Member
    Welcome hey, any damage to the gun? Post a picture of the chamber and the bolt face.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 624 Senior Member
    I'm also betting the inside of the brass is corroded thin. I hope to God that hot gas didn't destroy the chamber. I've seen blown primers eat into a bolt face with ease.
  • JuddHunterJuddHunter Posts: 8 New Member
    I really appreciate all the responses.  I really wonder how close I came to blowing off a piece of my face today.  I am very serious about gun safety and have never had an accident like this before.  I will dispose of ammo properly.  Thank God I had safety glasses on today when this happened.

    I've posted a few photos below.  I also contacted a local gun shop who has a gunsmith and asked them if they can take a look at the gun next week.  It is an old Winchester 243 that I think my father used when he was in his 20's living in the sticks of North Dakota, but I could be wrong.  It's one of a bunch of old family guns.

    I visually inspected the chamber just now and didn't see anything odd or out of place, but I am no expert.

    Any other comments/advice are always welcome.  What a cool site this is and thank you again!





  • JuddHunterJuddHunter Posts: 8 New Member
    Here is a photo of the Ammo.  Anyone have a guess how old this is? 


  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,722 Senior Member
    Tough to see from the pictures but, is the extractor claw missing from that bolt?  If so the case head would not be fully supported when it fired.  Would like to see a picture of the bolt by itself completely removed from the gun.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • JuddHunterJuddHunter Posts: 8 New Member
    I don't know how to take out the bolt, but I'll ask the gunsmith if he can do it and get a photo.  Here are three photos I took closeup of the bolt.  Not sure if you can tell anything from the photos.  I'll also ask the gunsmith to take one of the bullets apart to look for "caking" as someone suggested in another post here.  


  • FreezerFreezer Senior Member Posts: 1,868 Senior Member
    edited September 2020 #15
    Look at the cartridge on the left. There appears to be green corrosion on it. The box also appears to have been carried in someone's pocket for a while as the corners and end edges are worn.

    Nice rifle! If that's an example of what's in that safe I would take pics and write down all the info you can find then show it to your gunsmith.

    By they way, we always appreciate pics of nice guns.
    I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter :wink:
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,153 Senior Member
    The extractor is not on the bolt. Its missing. The gunsmith can likely fix it, and you'll be ready to shoot without further mishap.
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 656 Senior Member
    That brass was definitely comprimized. Can you pull a few more up and take a picture where they are in the plastic ? 
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,040 Senior Member
    Looks like a post '64 M70 push feed. There's a small lever at the back of the bolt, push it forward/down and it will release the bolt.
    See the source image
    See the source image
    Post 64.
    See the source imagePre '64

    The ammo looks corroded. That green stuff is bad juju, weakens the brass. New ammo should work fine!!
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,208 Senior Member
    edited September 2020 #19
    Definitely discontinue the use of that firearm. When you take it to the gunsmith, have the smithy run a borescope down the chamber to check for pitting or other damage. Also, have the smith verify headspace during the safety inspection.

    Finally, get rid of that ammo. It looks like someone did carry that box in their pocket for a bit, like Freezer said. Sweating on ammo and then storing it for awhile doesn't do the ammo any good. Worse still, removing the rounds with your bare hands and then placing the ammo back in the box for storage is really bad. I've had lots of ammo turn green on me mysteriously. Never could figure why until I paid close attention to "where" it was turning green. In the picture below, it's turning green right where someone would put they're thumb and forefinger to remove a cartridge. That brass is most likely compromised at that location. Take the ammo, loaded, spent or misfired with you when you visit the smith and see what he tells you. Btw, that box looks like it was from the 80's. Time and sweat do wonders on brass.

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,722 Senior Member
    Big Al1 said:
    Looks like a post '64 M70 push feed. There's a small lever at the back of the bolt, push it forward/down and it will release the bolt.
    See the source image
    See the source image
    Post 64.
    See the source imagePre '64

    The ammo looks corroded. That green stuff is bad juju, weakens the brass. New ammo should work fine!!
    Al is correct, push feed post 64.  I’ll go with corroded compromised brass too.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • JuddHunterJuddHunter Posts: 8 New Member
    I feel like I owe you all a beer for the help. 

    One more question:  Does it matter which Gunsmith I go to?  I see on the Winchester website that they have certified gunsmiths, but there really are not all that many of them and certainly none in my immediate area.  I'd be happy to ship the gun out to make sure that it is fixed/inspected to the highest standards. 



  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 624 Senior Member
    I feel like I owe you all a beer for the help. 

    One more question:  Does it matter which Gunsmith I go to?  I see on the Winchester website that they have certified gunsmiths, but there really are not all that many of them and certainly none in my immediate area.  I'd be happy to ship the gun out to make sure that it is fixed/inspected to the highest standards. 



    Where about are you located? I'm a gunsmith in Ohio and I'd be willing to inspect it for you.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,562 Senior Member
    edited September 2020 #23
    Yes, choice of "gunsmith" matters. I put the work in quotation marks because, as far as I know, anyone can CLAIM to be one, and hang out a shingle.

    Never met Justsomedude, however I know he's done work for some other members and they've been pleased. 
    I've found decent ones, and some HORRIBLE ones around here in west Alabama, but not what I'd call a good one, yet. 

    I'd suggest asking around, at gun shops, sporting good stores, etc and see who they recommend that's local.

    An example of what I have to deal with... I have a Rock River Arms AR with the "Elevated Optics Platform" (EOP) upper. At the time, most AR upper vises wouldn't fit the upper. I had over 15K rounds through the barrel and accuracy had dropped off because of throat erosion. I was in the process of ordering a new barrel from Lilja for it, and needed to get the old one removed. A new gunsmith had opened up in town, and he said he could handle the EOP upper. Take it to him, he looks at the upper and says he can't do anything with it. Then, with nothing more than eyeballing the bore, proceeds to tell me the barrel's not shot out, it's just copper fouled. Then he proceeds to grab a cleaning rod and some of his homemade bore cleaner, that he sells, and proceeds to start running patches through the bore from the muzzle (HUGE no no without a bore guide)  If I hadn't already ordered a new barrel, I'd have had a "sho nuff" fit. Funny thing was, I'd left a message with Lilja with a question, and about the time I was ripping my upper out of that clown's hands, my phone rang and it was Dan Lija himself, returning my call.

    When I finished my call, the "gunsmith's" eyes were  huge when he asked, "Was that Dan Lijla calling you?" I just smailed, said, "Yep" and walked out.

    I typed all that to emphasize that going by a direct reference is a safer bet than just searching for "gunsmith" online and going to see one you know nothing about

    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,358 Senior Member

    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,784 Senior Member
    We had A LOT of such case failures over here when the Army sended us batches of old, poorly stored (usually local-production) 7.62 NATO ammo for our club's shooting practices, and so far other than ocassional stinging on the face (of course we use safety glasses all the time) haven't seen issues in our FN military Mausers yet.
    Usually those rounds will spread all over the target at 220 yards so will just keep shooting and hoping same problem won't repeat with the next round since we have to spend anyway the issued prectice ammo before being able to ask for more.

    Friend of mine cut a few of such cracked cases and all showed internal corrosion in the brass walls, both those showing the poor storage effects externally and the ones that were still clean and shiny; the ammo was always non-corrosive Berdan primed.

    If you can, make a gunsmith check your chamber anyway (down here we can't afford such "luxury") but my guess is that that Winchester should be fine. Only time I've seen clear damage to a gun in such kind of incident was in a .357 Taurus revolver cylinder that showed an evident eroded scar inside one of the chambers after the owner used some old CCI aluminum-cased ammo he had that cracked after being fired and blew hot gas and metal splinters against his hand. After that he usually had extracting issues in that chamber even using brass-cased .357 & .38 ammo.
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