May 7th, 2017

Your Worst Nightmare: Catastrophic .338 Lapua Magnum Kaboom

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction
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We first ran this story a couple years back. We’re republishing it today as a reminder to our readers that safety should be their paramount concern at the range. Avoid distractions and always check your barrel for obstructions before you chamber a round or pull the trigger. A moment of inattention can result in a catastrophic kaboom …

Discharging a .338 Lapua Magnum round with a cleaning rod in the barrel — that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a fired .338 caliber bullet and a cleaning rod try to occupy the same place at the same time? Well you get a catastrophic kaboom, with metal pieces flying all over the place, and a shooter very lucky to escape without serious injury. This incident occurred recently in Manatee, Florida, as reported by Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg. We thank SnipersHide.com for granting permission to publish these revealing images in the Daily Bulletin. CLICK HERE for more Kaboom info on the ‘Hide.

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

This story should serve as a chilling reminder to follow proper safety practices whenever you are at the range. Always check to make sure there is no obstruction in the bore BEFORE loading a live round.

.338 Lapua Magnum + Cleaning Rod + Inattention = Kaboom!

Kaboom at Manatee!
Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg recently published shocking photos of a catastrophic kaboom involving a .338 Lapua Magnum (Savage action). The action was blown off the rifle, shrapnel went through the roof, and the barrel split at the tenon before taking an excursion downrange. The action did crack in the front but the lugs remained engaged so the bolt did not slam to the rear (luckily for the shooter).

Here’s the report: “This happened [January 20, 2014] at the Manatee Gun and Archery Club. Al, Ren and myself were there with a couple other folks. Ren was at bench 12, I was at 13. The fellow at 11 was running a Savage .338 Lapua. He had a very bad day! He damn sure could have killed himself and quite likely Ren as well.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Queeqeg added: “After the boom, I heard Ren ask ‘Are you alright’ and then turned to look in time to see the fellow reacting in total shock — literally stunned. Ren and I went over to him and could not see any major injuries. Ren was uninjured as well but had a lot of fiberglass splinters on him. The barrel nut is what I presume punched the two holes in the roof. The shooter is a regular there[.] He had been having a problem with sticky cases though he said he was certain the loads were mild. That’s why he was content to knock the sticky ones out with the rod. He simply forgot to remove the rod after knocking out the last stuck case. You can see what happened next.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

To learn more about this incident, go to the original Snipers Hide Forum Thread. There you’ll find more details and over four pages of related discussions.

The Important Lesson Here
What did the .338 LM shooter do wrong here? You will say — “Well that’s obvious, he left a cleaning rod in the barrel and then shot a round.” Yes, that was a potentially fatal error. But that was his second mistake — one that occurred only because he made a more fundamental judgment error first.

The FIRST mistake was not acknowledging the problem with his ammo. Had he heeded the warning signs, he would still have a rifle (and an unsoiled pair of trousers). When he first observed that he was having problems with extracting cases, a warning light should have gone off in his head. Presuming his extractor was not broken (and that the chamber was cut properly) he should have been able to extract his brass if he was running safe loads. The lesson here we all need to learn is that if you observe a serious ammo-related issue, it is time to stop shooting. Don’t try to invent work-arounds just to extend your range session, when there are clear signs that something is wrong, very wrong.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 7th, 2017

Howa Barreled Actions in 6.5 Creedmoor (and More) at Brownells

Howa Brownells barreled action PRS tactical HACT 2-stage trigger

Planning a new tactical or hunting rifle project? You may want to consider a Howa barreled action for your new rig. Brownells has a large supply of these well-made Howas in a variety of chamberings, including the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. You can just bolt this barreled action into the chassis system of your choice. These barreled actions start at $359.99 complete with two-stage trigger and magazine. The 6.5 Creedmoor barrelled action with 24″ Heavy Barrel is $449.99 blued, $479.99 blued/threaded, or $546.00 Cerakote Gray. Many other chamberings are carried by Brownells, including: .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 22-250, 6.5 Grendel (Mini), 7.62×39 (Mini), .243 Win, 7mm-08, .308 Win, .270 Win, .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag, .338 Win Mag and more.

Watch Unboxing of Howa Barreled Action in Video:

Howa Brownells barreled action PRS tactical HACT 2-stage triggerBolt-In to Chassis Systems
Howa barreled actions are ready to drop into stocks or chassis systems for quick, DIY bolt-action rifle builds. These barreled actions are available in a wide selection of calibers, barrel lengths and profiles in both blued finish and grey Cerakote. Some have threaded muzzles for easy attachment of suppressors or other muzzle devices. Actions have factory-installed two-stage HACT Trigger, and internal 5-round box magazines. Detachable-mag bottom metals and extra magazines are also available. Actions are ready to accept scope bases and rails. Brownells currently has more than 75 versions of Howa barreled actions.

HACT 2-Stage Trigger
One of the best features of the Howa barreled actions is the HACT 2-Stage trigger, which is way better than most factory triggers. Set at around 3 pounds, the HACT can be adjusted to about half that pull weight. This is a very nice trigger system, and we like the 2-Stage pull for field applications. Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus field-tested the HACT Trigger: “The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 2 Comments »
May 7th, 2017

Replacement Trigger Springs Available for Major Brands

Ernie the Gunsmith remington tikka cz browning trigger springs

Ernie The Gunsmith Replacement Trigger Springs
Ernie Paull from California was an active competition shooter for many years. However, his eyesight has declined so he has turned his attention to providing components for shooters and gunsmiths. Through his Ernie the Gunsmith website, Paull sells a variety of useful products including gun trigger springs, pillar-bedding kits, Accu-Risers, and pillar installation tools. This Bulletin post focuses on Ernie’s trigger springs. Ernie offers springs for a wide variety of rifles: Browning (A-Bolt, A-Bolt 22), CZ (m452), Kimber, Remington (XR100, XCR, 7, 700, 722, 788, 7600 and more), Ruger (77, 77-22, LC6), Tikka (T-3), Weatherby (MK-V), and Winchester (M-70).

Springs start at just $6.95. Ernie also sells springs for the Rem-compatible Shilen Benchrest trigger, as well as Rem 700 ejector springs and trigger alignment springs. For Rem 700 rifles, Paull makes a spring that fits all Remington M-7 and M-700 triggers including the early X Mark-PRO triggers. Ernie says: “On average, installation of his Model-700 spring will reduce factory triggers’ weight of pull by 1½ to 2½ lbs with no other changes. The exact amount of creep, over-travel, and weight of pull are dependent upon the type and amount of tuning accomplished by your gunsmith.”

While there is more to a good trigger job (in most cases) than just a spring swap, you need to have the proper rate spring when adjusting trigger pull weight downwards. NOTE: For safety reasons, we recommend you consult a competent gunsmith before modifying factory triggers.

Why Replacement Springs are Better than Tweaked/Modified Springs
Ernie has observed that some gunsmiths try to lighten trigger pulls by modifying factory springs in questionable ways: “I have worked with gunsmiths in the past who, when the subject turned to trigger springs, preferred to clip them, grind them, heat them, bend them, smash them, or simply back out the weight of pull screw until there was no or almost no pressure on the spring. With any of these methods, you get a spring whose rate is rapidly rising as the trigger is pulled. As the trigger is released, the spring rate rapidly decreases as it approaches full or near-full extension. A more uniform weight of pull will be achieved when the trigger spring is compressed within its normal working range throughout the entire movement of the trigger. In the long run, the benefits of saved time, plus more uniform and reliable results, will more than offset the cost of these [replacement] springs. If you want a lighter trigger pull, you need a lighter trigger spring.”

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »