Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

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Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by 86er »

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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Old Savage »

Details??
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Mike D. »

What kind of bad reload? Must've been EXTREME. Pistol powder substitute? :shock:
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by nemhed »

Is this a recent picture and do you have any details on the bad reload? Other than that, it looks like it failed just like I've read a big bore Marlin will fail if pushed too hard. :( There's a lesson there for everybody!
Last edited by nemhed on Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by J Miller »

:o OUCH!!!!!!

Yes, we need details.

What was wrong with the reloads?
Was the shooter hurt? By the looks of the forearm, I'd bet yes.
Where did this happen?

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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by 86er »

Seems like an undercharge put the bullet in the barrel but it didn't exit. Next shot blew up the gun. My buddy only lost two fingers. Not bad considering. Look how thin the receiver and barrel is. Oh boy.......
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by J Miller »

86er wrote:Seems like an undercharge put the bullet in the barrel but it didn't exit. Next shot blew up the gun. My buddy only lost two fingers. Not bad considering. Look how thin the receiver and barrel is. Oh boy.......
Joe,
On the serious side, I don't like to hear of shooting injuries. They happen, but it's not fun to hear of them. Give your buddy my condolences and sympathies and let him know I'm rooting for him.

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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by crs »

Bad blowup indeed! My condolences to the shooter.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by alnitak »

Joe, my condolences to your friend. While the loss of two fingers is a tradgedy, it could have been much, much worse. He's lucky to be alive.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by dr walker »

Ouch, that must have hurt. I am glad no bystanders were injured. I hope your friend heals up OK.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by 86er »

More details :

This is a friend of a friend, not a close aquaintance but known to me nonetheless.

He is an inexperienced handloader and was using manual equipment, ie: beam scale, powder trickler, manual primer, single stage press.

The Marlin was a relatively new model, made in the 2000's.

He heard the round fire but did not notice anything peculiar. The next round contributed to the blow up.

Most of the personal injury was due to the wood chips flying at high velocity.

None of the rounds waiting in the magazine tube ignited.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by 2ndovc »

alnitak wrote:Joe, my condolences to your friend. While the loss of two fingers is a tradgedy, it could have been much, much worse. He's lucky to be alive.

That's for sure!

Joe, were you there when that happened? Glad no one was standing next to that!

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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by rkt88edmo »

Yowza - two fingers is still a lot but, certainly could have been worse all things considered.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Modoc ED »

86er wrote:He is an inexperienced handloader and was using manual equipment, ie: beam scale, powder trickler, manual primer, single stage press.
I know you used that description to explain the event BUT there is nothing wrong with his choice of equipment. That's exactly what I use to load all my .444 Marlin handloads with the exception of the single stage press. I use a LEE handpress (only for .444 Marlin).

As to his inexperience, I don't think that was his problem. My .02¢ says it was a lack of attention to detail. All of us, even experienced handloaders, suffer from that.

Anyway, he got off lucky with just the loss of a couple of fingers. It could've been an eye.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by kimwcook »

alnitak wrote:Joe, my condolences to your friend. While the loss of two fingers is a tradgedy, it could have been much, much worse. He's lucky to be alive.
+1 Very, very lucky.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Jacko »

I am sorry to here your mate was injured . Losing 2 fingers is awefull , I know when I have simply broken fingers the simplest tasks have become frustrating as I could not pick things up .

I bought my first lot of reloading gear on Sunday just gone , a Lee Hand Press and will be sitting down over the weekend to do my first reloads . This is a sobering reminder to be on my game .

regards Jacko
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by El Chivo »

he must have skipped the step where you check all your loaded cases for double powder (or NO powder) before inserting the bullets.

Other than that, I have similar equipment, and weigh out each charge by hand. I have a very experience reloader friend who recently got a double charge from his progressive equipment. He was shooting a Contender so it didn't blow up, but the resident gunsmith said the pressure was in the 120,000 range.

One good habit for this might be to shake each round and listen for powder. You won't hear anything if it's empty or a compressed load.

I have another question. This always seems to happen with the 45/70's. Would a 30-30 blow up as violently? Or at all?
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by AJMD429 »

86er wrote:Look how thin the receiver and barrel is. Oh boy.......
Even a thicker one would likely have burst, only when the pressure rose a bit higher - maybe with more resultant damage. Still - it reminds us all not to push things too far...!
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Old Savage »

There are a variety of things that could have gone wrong, no powder, squib load, stall, double charge, a piece of tumbling material in the flash hole....

I talked to a guy who had this very thing happen and saw his repaired hand. This is the typical way the big Marlins open up with an event of this type.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Rusty »

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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Jayhawker »

Why does it always seem to be the 45-70s that blow up? Too much cartridge space or thin barrel at the threads?

BTW, it looks like it's due to an overcharge to me and not a barrel blockage. That barrel let loose right at the chamber.

Bet that guy is glad to be able to still talk about his adventure.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Bear 45/70 »

If the first bullet did not leave the barrel then the recoil had to have been way low. You never fire another round when that happens until you check for a clear barrel. Reload errors happen, but shooter error is what caused this.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Old Ironsights »

86er wrote:Seems like an undercharge put the bullet in the barrel but it didn't exit. Next shot blew up the gun. My buddy only lost two fingers. Not bad considering. Look how thin the receiver and barrel is. Oh boy.......
Two fingers on the off (left) hand I'm assuming?
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Leverdude »

Jayhawker wrote:Why does it always seem to be the 45-70s that blow up? Too much cartridge space or thin barrel at the threads?
Yep, 45/70 is the end of the line & has the least room for error.
Glad the guys almost ok.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Bear 45/70 »

Leverdude wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:Why does it always seem to be the 45-70s that blow up? Too much cartridge space or thin barrel at the threads?
Yep, 45/70 is the end of the line & has the least room for error.
Glad the guys almost ok.


Shooting a rifle with a plugged barrel that then fails mean the failure was behind the trigger and not the rifles fault, design, materials or otherwise. There are very few rifles that will not destruct from that kind of abuse with a high powered cartridge.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Charles »

I don't buy the stuck bullet story. I have seen some of those and a bulged barrel or frozen action is all you get. Rifles don't turn into grenades with bullets in the barrel. Hatcher in is notebook talks about experments the Army did with the 03 Springfield and bullets lodged in the barrel follow by a full snort round. They used up to six bullets in the barrel and still no blown up rifles.

What happened to the Marlin in the pics was an overload of monster porportions. I am glad the guy who did it is not dead, but the fool should wear some kind of ankle bracelet that locks up every loading press within 50 feet of him.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Leverdude »

Bear 45/70 wrote:
Leverdude wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:Why does it always seem to be the 45-70s that blow up? Too much cartridge space or thin barrel at the threads?
Yep, 45/70 is the end of the line & has the least room for error.
Glad the guys almost ok.


Shooting a rifle with a plugged barrel that then fails mean the failure was behind the trigger and not the rifles fault, design, materials or otherwise. There are very few rifles that will not destruct from that kind of abuse with a high powered cartridge.

Not saying its the guns fault. Just making the obvious conclusion that the 45/70's blow up more often, almost exclusively really, because of the lack of metal surrounding the chamber. Unless you think that nobody but 45/70 users make mistakes, or you have links to 30/30's & 35's doing this you almost have to agree. (I say almost because if I know anything I know you dont have to agree with anything. :mrgreen: )More likely its just that when it happens in smaller calibres the guns just dont blow up, they get ruined but dont come apart like that. We've all seen guns with ringed barrels & I bought a 30/30 with a swelled chamber so bad you had to about stand on the lever to get the spent case out but the gun was fine. Marlin screwed in a new barrel & sent it back to me. The original 1895's had a bigger receiver than the 336 action does & I bet that would make all the difference in the world. But, it is what it is, I'm not afraid of blowing mine up.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by KirkD »

86er wrote: He heard the round fire but did not notice anything peculiar. The next round contributed to the blow up.
If he heard the round fire, I'm thinking that the bullet must have exited the barrel. The failure seems to have occurred right in the chamber, which makes me think he had an overcharge in that particular round. If a bullet was lodged part way down the barrel, there should not be a problem until the second bullet gets almost within contact of the first bullet, at which time the failure should occur at the location of the collision where the barrel is much thinner than in the chamber area.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by 1886 »

Very glad he was not hurt more seriously. I have seen several big bore marlins that have let go. Each and everyone still had the bolt and locking lug in place. They feature a very strong lock up. The chamber area seems to be the spot. Two fingers is bad but it is better than an eye or a bolt sticking in one's face. 1886.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by iceman »

A long time ago I seated a bullet on an empty case. (just the primer) It was obvious upon firing, no recoil low noise etc. The bullet exited the case and maybe an inch down the barrel. Another round would have chambered probably and if fired maybe similar results. (30-30 mod 94) I use a single stage press, weigh each load. What I do is empty brass are primer up in loading block and obviously loaded cases the other way. Limited chances of this problem happening again. Best wishes for the injured shooter.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Mike D. »

Had that been an 1886 Winchester, the situation might have not ended quite so dramatically.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by gary rice »

Just about a month ago i had a squib load in my marlin cowboy 45-70. They were light loads of 35 grains of imr 4198, 405 grain cast bullet. i knew when i fired what it was. Low report. the bullet was about an inch from the muzzle when i drove it out with a wood dowel. i took it all apart right there at the range looking also for alot of unburned powder in the bore and action. their was none to be found. Evidently no powder in the case. my fault but i do know what to listen and watch for. First time thats happened in 35 years.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Travis Morgan »

Remind the guy he has $10,000 coming from his NRA insurance for those two fingers. :D Then, encourage him to invest it in some training. Seriously!
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by SmokeEater2 »

I read this thread just before loading up some .45 Colt loads and I noticed that I was extra careful with the powder charges and triple-checked them once I had the loading block filled. I'm glad this was posted, it serves as a rather vivid reminder that attention to detail never goes out of style at the reloading bench.
My condolences to the gent that was injured.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Malamute »

I saw a Marlin 45-70 barrel at a gunsmiths that had a crack in the underside of the chamber area. He said it was the second one he had seen, and I believe he said he had heard of others. IIRC, he said they had been used for heavy loads, but not above what was believed to be OK in them. The 336 receiver used for them requires a magazine tube cut in the underside of the barrel right at the chamber area. That was the spot that the crack was in in the barrel I saw.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Ysabel Kid »

WOW! I hate to hear about the injury and someone losing a nice gun, but man was he and everyone around him lucky. I agree - probably not paying attention while loading, and not paying attention enough while shooting. Great wake-up call to us all - thanks for posting Joe!
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by PaulB »

What I do is empty brass are primer up in loading block and obviously loaded cases the other way.
I also keep empty brass primer up. However when I put powder in a case, I immediately seat the bullet. My loading block never has anything but empty cases or fully loaded cartridges.

Visual checks sometimes don't work well for small charges. I just don't like mass-production of the powder-charging step. Makes me nervous.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Rusty »

On second thought if he was shooting light loads already, and they look like cast lead bullets. Too light and a gas check could have come off and lodged in the barrel.

That would account for what he thought was normal recoil.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Old Savage »

There were pics here on another thread sometime back of an 1886 that let go.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Mike D. »

Old Savage wrote:There were pics here on another thread sometime back of an 1886 that let go.
Affirmative, it was a circa 1902 gun that also belonged to a member of this forum. Definitely not a "modern" rifle, and with an older ordnance steel barrel.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Hobie »

Mic McPherson has discussed this weakness of the Marlin action at some length. Consider the .50 AK on the Marlin 1895...
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by missionary5155 »

Good morning
Being here in Peru I do not see or hear about these mishaps.
First I rejoice the shooter survived. I Pray he heals without any complications.
Second this is a good visual example that even a Marlin will let loose..as any firearm. Stuff happens in life. I have been around casting /reloading since I was 4 (my dad). BUT I still appreciate being advised stuff will happen... even to the most cautious and experienced shooter... stuff still can happen.
I shoot 45-70 and 38´s. I am surprised a cast load would do this... But a barrel obstruction is just that.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by C. Cash »

In addition to the thinness of the chamber due to the large round, this has me thinking of the barrel steel. It seems that the Winchester's Chrome Moly steel barrel is superior in strength when compared to the Marlin. But then again, if there is any place you want a rifle to "let go" it would be in the chamber/barrel, rather than have the barrel hold and then catch the bolt full force into the face with a failed locking lug. Better a couple of fingers than an eye or a life I reckon.

Glad this fella is okay...very sorry to hear of the loss of his fingers. Thanks for sharing this Joe!
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Chas. »

Those pics make me want to go downstairs and unload everything I've got loaded just to check.
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by cnjarvis »

Joe, is there any chance you can find out the load data he was using and pass it along?

Glad he's still alive!
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by madman4570 »

I have a hang up on Hot 45-70 Loads for my Ruger#1/H&R Handi

I guess the 405 gr buffalo bore is enough for me for a while.
I was really getting some Hot loads in that ruger but I am content
will the Buffalo Bore/Grizzly stuff as my Hot stuff for awhile????

I want to keep my fingers and face!
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Charles »

I see no need to hot rod the 45-70 in the Marlin levergun or any other for that matter. The round will kill anything in American graveyard dead with a good bullet at black power velocities. Almost the entire Bison population got wipped out with it and similiar rounds. I load the RCBS 405 FNGC bullet over a dose of 4759 for a velocity of about 1.4K fps in my Marlin. That is a couple of hundred fps over black powder velocity. Accuracy is plumb scary and there is plenty of thump for any critter. Recoil is also mild all things being considered. A hot rod load in the Marlin can produce recoil that will bring tears to the eye of a strong man, and perhaps a detached retina in the process.

I don't know why it is, that fellers latch on to a new rifle and proceed to try and find out where the red line is located, and even go beyond if they think they can get away with it. To each their own, but when a fellow has spent 60 years cuddled up to the butt plate of a rifle, he must have learned something of worth. When I was young, limber and could jump a five strand fence, I melted some case heads in a 300 Weatherby with pressure beyond belief. An older man sat me down and gave me a good talking too about life, living, eye sights, chamber pressure and being a darn fool. The scolding took on me!! Today when you scold a fellow, they just get upset. "Times they are a changing!".
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by madman4570 »

Charles.

Point well taken, and thanks for your thoughts on this!!
See ya,
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Old Savage
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by Old Savage »

I don't recall any of these incidents happening with factory ammunition.

86er, what handload did he think he was shooting?
In the High Desert of Southern Calif. ..."on the cutting edge of going back in time"...
JP_TX
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Re: Bad Reload = Blown Up Marlin

Post by JP_TX »

Well I'd like to add my 2 cents.

My approach to handloading and shooting is almost exactly like my approach to using power tools. I'm no kid and power saws are not strangers to me, but every time I light up one of those buggers, to this day, just the sound makes the hair stands up on the back of my neck. I am all attention until it stops moving.

I load my ammunition the same way. I practice safety so much you'd laugh if I told you. No company. No radio. No TV. Absolutely no beer. Single stage set up, one round at a time, all charges weighed. Never more than 20 rounds at a time. etc, etc.

I don't understand how someone can underload/no powder load a big bore. I load for a 444 and I can see the powder in the case cause it is never much more than a half inch below the mouth when I set the bullet. It's probably different for those progressive set ups. I don't think I need one of those.

Last point regarding lost fingers. I'm guessing but I'll bet this happened at a range or at least on a bench rest. I NEVER hold the forgrip when I am shooting work up loads. I've seen a couple of pictures like this and I gave up on the foregrip unless I'm in the field.

I told you, you'd laugh.
JP_TX
444 Marlin
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