Personal Experiences With Rifles Malfunctioning In The Field

Major Khan

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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...
Someone upstairs must really like you . You survived 3 encounters with dangerous game , where your rifle jammed . Thank you so much for your input. I am glad that you survived unscathed and lived to hunt another day.
 

Major Khan

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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.

View attachment 330044 View attachment 330045
Thank you so much for your input , Four Five Eight. Over zealous hand loading has often caused many a decent fire arm to malfunction , often during the most unfortunate of moments .
During my career as a professional shikaree , l often advised my clients who used large calibre rifles for close up shooting of dangerous game to use rifles equipped with a wide V back sight and a bead fore sight for quick , close range shooting . I noticed that telescopic sights sometimes go out of setting when bumped .
 

Major Khan

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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.
I have also seen an Auguste Francotte double barreled side by side rifle , chambered in .458 Winchester magnum also develop a nasty habit of double discharges , Ben KK . The effects of the unexpected recoil of both barrels going off simultaneously actually caused my unfortunate client to fall out of a macchan once . Unfortunately , the animal we were hunting that day , happened to be a royal Bengal tiger and it was still very much alive and angry when my client had fallen to the ground . I do believe that the incident of this shikar will be an interesting story to write about , on African Hunting Forums tomorrow night.
 

Ridgewalker

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1) Remington 700 30-06 bolt doesn’t lock closed when on safe causing it to easily open while slung dropping the chambered round. Fix, none I’m aware of. Some 700s don’t lock the bolt when on safe and some do.
2) Winchester pre 64 Model 70 carried in the back seat antelope hunting. I pulled it out and stalked. The firing pin dropped, but the cartridge didn’t go off. Rechambered a round and again failure to fire! Looked at the end of the bolt and there was a piece of grass stem padding the firing pin. Fix, cleaned it out and killed a nice antelope. Keep the bolt cloaked on an empty chamber to prevent trash from blowing in.
3) Kimber 375 H&H load testing the case head tore off during extraction leaving the case lodged in the chamber. Melted Cerosafe and filled the cartridge. When hardened, I tapped it out with a brass rod from the muzzle. Root cause was to many reloads in the case casing case head weakness and separation. Fix, control the number of times I reload a case.
4) Remington 700 22-250 blown primer. Root cause developing hot loads on cold days and then shooting them on very hot days in a hot sunny location. Fix, develop loads on hot days.
5) MRC 375 H&H (new) failure to fire on cheap PPU practice ammo. Fix, cleaned and flushed out bolt, firing pin and spring. Lubed well.
6) MRC 375 H&H failure to feed the last round. Fix, don’t short stroke! The magazine spring is at its weakest point on the last cartridge. A stronger spring might be the best fix. Looking for one.

I think that’s all. At least all I can remember.
 

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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 ?
yes the old 303 is easy to clean and works well

the 375 was an interarms, custom built rifle
 

Bushpig4Ever

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During 45 years of hunting mainly in Africa but also in Germany and other countries I never ever experienced any kind of malfunctioning. But of course I never purchased average quality but superior rifles and guns from Krieghoff, Sauer and Heym.
 

Newboomer

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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 ?
They were 160g Barnes TSX.
 

Major Khan

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1) Remington 700 30-06 bolt doesn’t lock closed when on safe causing it to easily open while slung dropping the chambered round. Fix, none I’m aware of. Some 700s don’t lock the bolt when on safe and some do.
2) Winchester pre 64 Model 70 carried in the back seat antelope hunting. I pulled it out and stalked. The firing pin dropped, but the cartridge didn’t go off. Rechambered a round and again failure to fire! Looked at the end of the bolt and there was a piece of grass stem padding the firing pin. Fix, cleaned it out and killed a nice antelope. Keep the bolt cloaked on an empty chamber to prevent trash from blowing in.
3) Kimber 375 H&H load testing the case head tore off during extraction leaving the case lodged in the chamber. Melted Cerosafe and filled the cartridge. When hardened, I tapped it out with a brass rod from the muzzle. Root cause was to many reloads in the case casing case head weakness and separation. Fix, control the number of times I reload a case.
4) Remington 700 22-250 blown primer. Root cause developing hot loads on cold days and then shooting them on very hot days in a hot sunny location. Fix, develop loads on hot days.
5) MRC 375 H&H (new) failure to fire on cheap PPU practice ammo. Fix, cleaned and flushed out bolt, firing pin and spring. Lubed well.
6) MRC 375 H&H failure to feed the last round. Fix, don’t short stroke! The magazine spring is at its weakest point on the last cartridge. A stronger spring might be the best fix. Looking for one.

I think that’s all. At least all I can remember.
Thank you so much for your excellent input , Ridge Walker. Is your Kimber brand rifle a push feed or a control round feed design ?
 

Newboomer

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They were 160g Barnes TSX.

I had a Rem700 30-06 lock up from steel cased Russian ammo. After a few rounds the shellac melted and glued the case into the chamber. Upon trying to extract the case it tore a piece out of the cartridge head. Ended up knocking it out with a dowel. No more steel case ammo.
 

Ridgewalker

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Thank you so much for your excellent input , Ridge Walker. Is your Kimber brand rifle a push feed or a control round feed design ?
Both the Kimber and MRC are CRF. I just overworked the brass. It stretches just above the web where it thickens for the belted area. My own fault just being too cheap to throw brass away.
 

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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 .
Oh my word, Major!! That incident with the 405 was dangerous!! But as they say "necessity is the mother of invention"!! And quite possibly your client may have been the first to experiment with brass solids that today's monoliths derive.

My dear Major, my only hope was that you cried with laughter with that experience I posted here. (y)
 

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In 1979, my brother and I went wild pig hunting in Central California. Anyway, I had handloaded 63gr of H4831 with a 130gr Sierra BT in my .270 Winchester cartridge and Winchester M70 rifle. TOO HOT! I fired at a pig and all I saw was a flash through the scope. Bolt locked closed! I did get the pig though, and a gunsmith got the bolt open and no damage to the rifle. With that same Winchester rifle, I have since taken a number of deer and pronghorn with no issues. I’ve also used my Browning A Bolt .338WM with no issues. Lucky I guess, but I do maintain my firearms.
 

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Winchester 70. 375 H&H. Round detonated when safety pushed forward on loaded chamber
Gunsmith stayed it was due to dirty bolt
Gun was brand new, sent back to Winchester , no problem since
 

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Rem 887:
drops 1 shell (only when using 3 1/2 inch shells) when working the action out of the loading gate.

Rem 742 and Rem 740:
Both had "shoot out" worn rifling

Marlin model 60:
Multiple times---multiple rifles bent wire loading guide

T/C Encore:
x 2- broken latch pins

Gun lock on Remington and Taurus firearms locking on recoil

Taurus 22 magnum Pathfinder revolver:
Spent brass stuck in all cylinder chambers:
cylinder chambers needed polishing to allow spent brass to be ejected.

Gunsmithing repair work I've done:

Browning Auto 12: (not mine)
Bent barrel (sent to another gunsmith for straightening)

Multiple type magazines/clips---multiple type models---multiple brands:

Weak magazine springs: feed failures

Bent, broken, worn: firing pins

Broken, cracked stocks

Stuck cases in chamber: live and fired

Rusted, stuck cap nipples on black powder firearms

Rusted: cylinders, barrels, actions from: not cleaning; improperly cleaned; firearms left in out (barn) out building

Cylinder stops: worn spring, worn cylinder lock

Bullet stuck lodged: between cylinder and barrel-- locking the cylinder in place, in barrels----handguns and rifles

Iron Sights: bent, missing, missing
adjustment screw, elevation leaf, fiber optic

Warped stock: wooden
 

Timbo

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Rem 887:
drops 1 shell (only when using 3 1/2 inch shells) when working the action out of the loading gate.

Rem 742 and Rem 740:
Both had "shoot out" worn rifling

Marlin model 60:
Multiple times---multiple rifles bent wire loading guide

T/C Encore:
x 2- broken latch pins

Gun lock on Remington and Taurus firearms locking on recoil

Taurus 22 magnum Pathfinder revolver:
Spent brass stuck in all cylinder chambers:
cylinder chambers needed polishing to allow spent brass to be ejected.

Gunsmithing repair work I've done:

Browning Auto 12: (not mine)
Bent barrel (sent to another gunsmith for straightening)

Multiple type magazines/clips---multiple type models---multiple brands:

Weak magazine springs: feed failures

Bent, broken, worn: firing pins

Broken, cracked stocks

Stuck cases in chamber: live and fired

Rusted, stuck cap nipples on black powder firearms

Rusted: cylinders, barrels, actions from: not cleaning; improperly cleaned; firearms left in out (barn) out building

Cylinder stops: worn spring, worn cylinder lock

Bullet stuck lodged: between cylinder and barrel-- locking the cylinder in place, in barrels----handguns and rifles

Iron Sights: bent, missing, missing
adjustment screw, elevation leaf, fiber optic

Warped stock: wooden
Oh Sweet Jesus!! You really have had a bad run with firearms!!!......



.....just remind me NOT to buy a gun from you!! :ROFLMAO:
 

Ridge Runner

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Oh Sweet Jesus!! You really have had a bad run with firearms!!!......



.....just remind me NOT to buy a gun from you!! :ROFLMAO:


:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: The Marlin model 60, 22 LR, semi auto's I owned one and each of my 2 step brothers had one. I sold mine, but couldn't get my step brothers to sell theirs.

The Remingtons 742 and 740 were going to be project guns, but a friend wanted them as they were: my friend sold them to fellows as pay back:):).

As you can tell I stayed fairly busy gunsmithing.

No worries about buying a firearm from me. I guarantee it will be safe to shoot, function properly, and accurate.:)

Remington knew about the design and malfunction problem of the 887, but would never admit to it nor fix it.
 

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1980, hunting a ridge about an hour out of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Nerves were a little on edge as a wolf pack had just eaten a native woman in the area. No one knows to this day if she was dead beforehand, but it was unusual behavior to say the least. Timber cruisers were refusing to go back In due to the aggressive behavior of this pack. I hunted til dark about 5 miles in. There was 8-12” of snow on the ground. Coming out in the dark I heard a wolf pack open up on the next ridge. It soon became obvious they were trailing me out. They got very close, closer than 100 yards. With snow and moonlight, I came very close to getting a bullet into one. With my attention on the wolves, I didn’t realize I’d walked into an exposed granite shelf covered in ice. I slipped, the butt of my Remington 788 hit the rock, and the rifle went off. The good news, it didn’t hit me and the wolves backed off. Testing the rifle later I was able to recreate the failure. Apparently the sear was a little too finely set.

FYI, I know the wolf issue sounds odd. I believe that if you google
It you can still find the stories. The ministry finally went in and took that pack out.
 

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Ruger M77 Alaskan in .416 Ruger
Wing Safety locked on safe. I had to put the rifle on the ground, put my foot on it and use both thumbs to break it free. That happened when I jumped a bear
Click and no boom from a light strike. That happened later that same day when I located another bear and had a clear shot at 85 yards
I sent the rifle back to Ruger. They replaced the magazine box, replaced the safety, replaced the firing pin and spring, and polished the rails and feed ramp. No problems since but the bolt will bind so I am going to do some polishing and lapping here sometime soon.
 

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