Personal Experiences With Rifles Malfunctioning In The Field

Opposite Pole

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Oh my brother HAS beaten the crap out of him - I just omitted that part. He was Golden Gloves in boxing, so he gave him a good dose afterwards. Both are brawlers and have busted each others noses - while I sit back and laugh at their stupidity!!

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi
 

scott fairchild

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Remington 700 300 RUM AI with tight neck and tight base. Stuck case, would not eject.....
Bad idea, not enough taper on the case to eject after firing.
 

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1. Model 88 Winchester in .358. Often became too sticky to cycle. It was necessary to dismantle to clean. Not a straight forward job...
2. Browning bolt ( new circa 1985) action 22-250, failed to load often - jamming. I think the action was too large for the caliber and the cartridge was not 'guided' well enough into the chamber. It would hang up. The gun needed to have the lead ramp chamfered a bit.
3. .303 British Jungle carbine. Ranch gun. Magazine jammed regularly thanks to others using it and not taking care loading. Once had it happened when a cougar was about to come at me, unjammed just in time to singe his whiskers. Happened again on a very pissed off and wounded grizzly. Thanks to a good dog and some fast unloading/reloading I survived. Bear died.
4. 1903 Springfield in original 30-06, custom. Timney trigger. Sear came out of adjustment just in time to prevent loading (could not lift the bolt) to finish off a very pissed off and wounded bear. She changed her mind at the last second...
 

fourfive8

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Major Khan I've never had a serious incident with a rifle while in the field but have witnessed a few. One that stands out was a friend shooting a reloaded 270 while antelope (pronghorn) hunting. First shot at a very nice antelope jammed the action tight because of over pressure where the "Zigs" added to the "Zags". His rifle was a Ruger 77, 1970s model- a series somewhat known for "abnormal" chambers where Ruger outsourced some of their barrel and chamber work, IIRC. Apparently his reload was near max and the case a tad too long for what turned out to be a short neck chamber. Combination of max load and short neck chamber... high pressure lock up.

Only a couple of potential, big foul ups I remember for my rifles. Once, a loooong time ago, had to do with a scope and not the rifle or ammo. First day in camp after a few flights and who knows what handling incidents at the airports, I set up a target to check zero. My rifle, a 375 HH bolt gun with a Leupold M8 4x, shot a nice three shot group about 10 inches off center at 3 o'clock at 50 yards! This was a remote brown bear camp on the Alaska Peninsula. Not a good start and the outcome could have been very bad. I remained calm, adjusted the scope for 10 inches of windage at 50 yards and fired three more. On center windage but a little low. One more careful adjustment to increase elevation for about a 1.5" high POI at 100 yard equivalent. Three shots in a nice tight group just over center at 50. Whew! looks ok. One more shot to confirm desired POI at 100. Two days later shot and killed a large brown bear at 260 yards. A few lessons here. ALWAYS check zero after traveling and before hunting. Stay calm and think straight if something is not right with equipment. I could have easily blown all my ammo if I didn't use a slow, systematic approach to correcting the problem. I never figured out how the scope was jacked that much but have always suspected a disgruntled baggage handler opened the case and"twisted the dials a little".

The second "potential" was noticed and corrected in the final days of range prep before a Cape buffalo hunt. I had been noticing some small dings on the upper shoulder of my ejected brass after cycling during practice. A week or so before my trip, during a range session, I started really racking the action of the Winchester Model 70 fast and hard just to make sure. No problem at all with cycling and the action was very smooth as always. But after that session I saw pretty large dings on the upper bodies of the ejected cases. No interference with cycling, but was curious about what was going on. I ejected a couple more rounds really hard just as before but made a point to watch the cases flip out of the port. Sure enough each one was clipping the turret cover after clearing the port. By carefully listening, I could hear the clink sound as the cases hit the turret. I don't use scopes with more than two knobs and all have simple duplex reticles. I rotated the scope 90' left. A painfully simple solution hiding in plain sight!!! Windage becomes elevation so no issues for adjustment. No contact after ejection with a secondary benefit of opening up the loading part for easier and faster reloading during stress! I then turned all my hunting rifle scopes 90' left.

Pic of scope turret cover ding on case after an "aggressive ejection" and a scope rotated 90' left.

scope turret impact upon extraction.png
Win 70 416 scope rotation-1.JPG
 

Major Khan

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On my 2017 bear hunt, I lined up a shot at 150 yards and pulled the trigger. My old sporterized Springfield 1903 just went “click.” I ejected the round, saw the primer was lightly dimpled, and chambered the next round. Luckily, the bear stuck around, and luckily, the next round fired. Later I took the bolt apart and found the Springfield’s two-piece firing pin and spring were covered in ages-old gunk. It cleaned right up and hasn’t caused any problems since.
I am glad that you were able to have the rifle's action restored to apple pie order , Trail rated. During my career as a professional shikaree in the 1960s , l observed that the 4 most reliable rifle actions of all were the :
> Pre 64 Winchester Model 70
> Springfield Model 1903
> Enfield Model 1917
> Brevex magnum Mauser
 

Major Khan

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Not a field problem, but I bought a brand new Sako 85 in 30-06. With a low mounted scope the ejected case would bounce back down into the chamber instead of scampering off to my right. The dealer suggested higher rings, but was good enough to take the rifle back. I got an A-Bolt II from him, and have been very happy with it.
I have always been curious about 1 thing , Pheroze. Would you gentlemen classify the Sako rifle action as a push feed or as a control round feed ?
 

Major Khan

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Legendary arms works 375 H&H. Cartridges would jam if the bolt worked to quickly. At 100 yards third or fourth round would drop out of the group, like the barrel was heating up. Rifle is at the gunsmith currently. So far he found the action not sitting in the stock properly, cause of the jam. Also potential cause of accuracy issue. As an aside my 14 year old son never had a malfunction with the rifle no matter how he worked the bolt.
I have observed a very similar problem occur in the post 1960s push feed Fabrique Nationale Mauser / Browning Safari Hi Power bolt rifles , John J. After Fabrique Nationale / Browning had the bolt guide omitted on later models , the action would occasionally " bind up " .
 

Major Khan

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30-06 Rem 700 wouldn’t extract a live round after my buddy decided not to shoot. Also a blind mag fully loaded. Pulled the bolt out and ran a cleaning rod down the barrel. Had to do it a few times to unload the gun. I don’t know what ever came of it. I know it’s a common problem with factory R700 Extractors.

Auto Ordnance 1911 .45 ACP broken ejector, cracked barrel at the lugs. Got a parts kit and replaced everything. It’s at the smith now getting a fine tune.

T/C Venture 300 Win Mag I had out shooting steel prone position on a tarp. Opened the bolt after shooting it empty. I got up to walk the 10 yards to the truck for more ammo and a ridiculous gust of wind come out of nowhere. Picked the tarp and rifle up about 15-20 feet in the air and dropped it.

Broken Vortex Diamondback scope
Action/barrel packed with grit
Very scuffed and gouged crown
And the kicker....bent barrel

It went from 3/4”-1” groups before the airlift. After a thorough cleaning, barrel re crown and a refurbished scope from Vortex I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I did test the scope on another rifle and it passed.
You are not alone in your observations , Boom Stick. I have seen more than 1 Remington Model 700 have an extraction problem in my career . However , l only observed this problem occur on the .458 Winchester magnum and .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre models . Remington makes a fine rifle . However , for a dangerous game rifle , it would not be my 1st choice . There is a very controversial rumour circulating on the internet, of Remington Model 700 bolt rifles discharging on their own . However , l have NEVER witnessed this in my 10 year career as a professional shikaree. No one l personally know has ever witnessed this occur , either.
 

Major Khan

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Remington 700 ADL in 30-06 fails to feed second round after firing the first jamming on entry .. But ONLY with certain ammo. In particular local RSA PMP soft points... With Remington, Federal etc NO problem.
CZ 458 W Mag feed jam during elephant hunt... I short stroked in my haste to reload the 3rd round and jammed.. Was easily corrected and no danger resulted THAT time!
While on a very quickly arranged elephant hunt in Zimbabwe, I borrowed the PH's Chspuis 470 double... From the get go I wasn't happy, as the rounds were a very tight fit and would not even fall out when the rifle broken and tipped over... Imagine after firing!!
Anyway, only ONE shot was required, but I shudder to think of the consequences of any resultant charges, by either the shot ellie or any of the others in the vicinity.
I remedied this by suggesting that the PH throws it into the Zambezi!!!
I have witnessed this problem occur with a few double barreled rifles in my career as well , Bruce. I had an European client bring a double barreled side by side rifle chambered in .458 Winchester magnum , built by a Ferlach based gun maker named Franz Sodia . This piece was regulated for Remington Peters 500 grain ammunition .
Now , the client was a passionate hand loader . He decided to replicate the Remington factory loading with a hand loaded cartridge . He used a Winchester cartridge case for the hand loading . What none of us knew was that the diameter of the Remington cartridge case was just a tiny fraction smaller than the Winchester cartridge case. Our client did not test his hand loaded cartridges before bringing them to India ( in all fairness , he was an extremely experienced hand loader and neither he nor us knew about the peculiarity of Remington cartridge cases . ) After he fired his 1st 2 shots , we realized that the rifle itself is jammed at the breech ! It was just not opening .
Only after we returned to the shikar camp at night and used tools to get the rifle's breech open , were we actually able to open the rifle to get out the empty cartridge cases .
 

Major Khan

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Browning Abolt 7RM. Locked up and we couldn't get the bolt open even with a hammer. Sent it to Hill Country and they got it open. Sprung the receiver beyond repair, bent the bolt. Caused by faulty progressive press that threw loads about half again over max. It was set for 52g and threw 65 to 68g. I pulled all the remaining bullets in that batch and loaded them with my single stage.
Mossberg 152 22lr (circa 1950) went full auto after umpteen thousand rounds. Replaced the sear and now works fine.
Ruger 10-22 won't feed with banana mags. They don't lock up tight enough. Works with rotaries.
Thank you so much for your input , New Boomer . May l ask what weight of bullets were you using for your 7 mm Remington magnum calibre hand loaded cartridges ?
 

Major Khan

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Many years ago my elder brother finally convinced my eldest brother to let him borrow his (then!) pride and joy - his Winchester 1894 .44 Mag lever action - to go pig hunting at night. So after giving many sworn oaths and assurances that his darling .44 Mag wouldn't come to any harm or disrepute (and that he'd also return the rifle!), my elder brother with a mate in tow, gleefully departed into the outback with it.

On that very first night as luck would have it, he had a head separation. This happened at night and out in the densest scrub in the middle of nowhere. So, after a long trudge, muttering obscenities all the way back to camp, and with a now useless rifle, my brother lit upon the idea to extract the offending portion of the case himself and go back to pig hunting. Superb hunting keeness - but bloody stupid given the environment and availability of tools!! Remember, too, that what follows - as related by his mate - was done at night, and in the field, with the aid of a 2-cell torch.

Of course to extract that portion of separated case is impossible to do without the correct tools and equipment being wielded by a competent gunsmith, but my dear brother - being an eternal optimist - has always relished a challenge!! Oh, and btw - did you know he's NOT mechanically minded in the least? (Starting to spot the flaws in his "cunning plan"?)

So in the spirit of "to strike while the iron's hot" he began by hunting around to find something of a suitable length and thickness to insert down the barrel and "tap out" the offending portion of case. Now both my brothers were pretty good pool players back then, and it just so happened this brother had one of his old pool cues behind the seat of his ute (can you see where this is going??).

Roughly breaking the cue at .44 Mag calibre my brother then inserted the cue down the barrel and - yep!! You guessed it!! - as he tapped it further down with a hammer, the cue became progressively more and more jammed. I'm told that by torch light, the muzzle resembled an umbrella stand with a length of the now solidly jammed pool cue sticking out of the barrel like a mushroomed carrot!! (Much later I asked him why did he do this: his reply was that he thought that as the thicker the cue got at the muzzle, it would simply be shaved off by the muzzle - like some sort of cutting tool!! Actual events however conclusively disproved his ill-thought out pet theory!!).

So! It's now about 1am, pitch black in the middle of nowhere, with the now completely useless Winchester 1894 .44 Mag looking stupid and forlorn with 3" of pool cue sticking out of the muzzle. Any one else, waaaayyyyy back at that point when the head separation occurred, would've simply packed it in and gone home - but thats not how my brother thinks!! Remember - he LOVES a challenge!!

Reaching into the back of his ute he then pulled out the tool box. A quick shine around in it and he found all the tools he needed: a couple of screwdrivers and pliers. (Yep! This is getting worse - and as God as my judge - it's ALL TRUE!!)

So having failed to extract the head separation from one direction, my brother was determined to tackle the bastard from the other!! So with a heart-felt: "Let's start by taking this f@%king thing apart!!" - he embarked on Round Two of the operation.

Using the bonnet of his ute, he began unscrewing this and that until he'd had all the finely machined pieces scattered all over the bonnet. (Did I mention that he's never actually disassembled a lever action before?) Now the ute bonnet is slightly curved, and with their leaning on it and pieces left in darkness, screws and other vital, but very small, parts began trickling off, straight down into the sand at crucially important moments while struggling with the rifle. With exclamations of: "Oh Christ!!" interspersed with: "FFS!! Stop that screw falling off!!" - followed by wild flashes of the torch as it followed a shiny little errant screw trickling off into the abyss - you can appreciate that not much progress was eventually made from this direction either!!

Finally admitting defeat, my brother gathered up all the remaining little bits and pieces and dropped them into an empty plastic, crumb-lined, bread bag. Brooding silently, I'm told it was a very quiet, but tense, drive back to my eldest brother's home.

Cheerfully fronting up at my eldest brother's front door at sunrise, my elder brother simply handed back the rifle that now jangled in crumb-encrusted bits and pieces in a plastic bag. With a doff of his hat and a "Thanks mate!!", he got back in his ute and left! My eldest brother was stunned speechless at what had happened to his pride and joy, and at my elder brother's cheek!! Neither did he ever offer to pay the gunsmith to repair, replace lost pieces, or to reassemble the rifle. But the gunsmith (a family friend) reminisced years later it stood out as one of the most memorable jobs he'd ever done - mainly for the comedy value of events alone!

That was the last time he ever loaned ANYTHING to our brother, and this story is still retold with much laughter in our family! I hope this makes a worthy addition to your research. (y)
You know that feeling when you watch the film " Titanic " and it is a forgone conclusion that the ship is going to sink at the end... reading this article made me feel just like that , as l kept reading more and more. This made me CRY , Timbo .
What was your brother thinking ?!
Your eldest brother showed remarkable self restraint for a gentleman who lost such a valuable possession . If l were in his predicament , l hold my younger brother at gun point and make him sell a kidney to purchase a new rifle... And cartridges.
During my career as a professional shikaree , the only Winchester Model 1894 lever rifles which l had seen being brought to India by my clients for shikar , were all chambered for the .30-30 Winchester cartridge.
@Kawshik Rahman was telling me a story about a member of African Hunting Forums named Hoss Delgado , who once blew up the barrel of a .405 Winchester calibre Model 1895 lever rifle . Mr. Delgado ( who had no prior experience with hand loading ) , decided to machine some brass bullets from brass bar stock by hand , by himself . He then hand loaded these home made brass bullets into cartridge cases to try , in his Model 1895 lever rifle. He ended up bursting the barrel of the rifle and injuring his hand .
 

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Merkel double .500NE double-discharged due to a soft trigger gradually bending over time and finally causing a brush of the second trigger. I was sitting, and it pushed me over. The buffalo got away unscathed.
 

Pheroze

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I have always been curious about 1 thing , Pheroze. Would you gentlemen classify the Sako rifle action as a push feed or as a control round feed ?
I think it is more of a push feed. What I saw when tinkering with it did not look like a control round feed.
 

Major Khan

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have a 375 H+H. safety came on after firing, thus u cannot lift the bolt
sorted by gunsmith, lots of gunk inside caused the safety to slip back from recoil, hasnt happened since
303 lee enfield, firing pin was a hitting a bit short, also caused by dust(gunk) got in there, cleaned out and all sorted
I noticed the service .303 British calibre Lee Enfield bolt rifles during the Bangladesh Liberation War occasionally display the same problem . However , they were also extremely easy to keep clean in the battle field .
What make and model was your .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle ?
 

Major Khan

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I once lost a shot at a roe buck due to not being able to close the bolt on a round. I was blaming my hand loads but it turned out to be crap from in the moderator ending up in the chamber. I got rid of that moderator and bought one that could come apart for cleaning.
What rifle and calibre was it , James Anderson ?
 

Major Khan

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I have a Ruger Guide Gun chambered in 416 Ruger. During my lion hunt it jammed bigger than Dallas. It had extracted the spent shell fine but when I went to send the bolt home the new shell jammed. The bolt wouldn’t move forward or backward. I did not look down to see exactly what the issue was as I was watching a extremely upset and wounded lion coming at us. I was able to clear it by slamming the buttstock on the ground really hard while shoving the bolt handle back at the same time. It cleared that round and picked up the next one fine that time. I was able to get back up and put another round in the lion when it cleared the Bush just in front and to the left of me.
I know I didn’t short stroke it as in the video the shell ejects fine and you can clearly see the bolt go all the way back. I don’t know if I’m the excitement I sent the bolt home to hard causing the malfunction or what. My adrenaline was pretty high to say the least. That is the only time I’ve flat had that rifle or any rifle jam like that and it certainly couldn’t have picked a worse time. It has never done it since either and I still shoot it at Feral pigs and targets. I won’t take it DG hunting again that is for sure. Between the ammo failures with the Hornady ammo and it jamming during that hunt I don’t trust it with anything that truly bites back.
Nor should you , Gizmo . For any rifle to behave like that , is completely unacceptable ... let alone 1 intended for hunting dangerous game. It is a real shame that Hornady is a mere shadow of the great and reliable company that it once was . During the 1960s when l used to guide clients for shikar in Nagpur , l noticed that Hornady bullets were extremely popular among those of my clients who preferred to hand load their own cartridges . Especially , in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre , the Hornady 500 grain solid metal covered bullets were remarkable for their exceptionally thick steel " jackets " .
 

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