May 19th, 2019

Blood and Gore — Injury After Pistol Powder Loaded in Rifle Case

Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

This is a grim tale. A man almost lost the use of his right hand, and did suffer terrible injuries to his fingers. All because he picked the wrong bottle of powder off the shelf. We have run this story before, and we will continue to run it every year, as a caution to our readers. This mistake is easy to make, but the consequences can be dire. Always, always double-check your powder labels before you start the hand-loading process. If you don’t, you may not have a hand to load with next time…

Similar Labels, Disasterous Consequences
The shooter, Denny K., was assembling some rounds for his brand new 7mm-08 Savage hunting rifle. He thought he was loading with Hodgdon Varget. Instead he had filled his powder measure with Hodgdon TiteGroup, a fast-burning pistol powder. The labels are similar, so the mistake is understandable. But the results were devastating. Here’s what 41 grains of TiteGroup can do in a 7mm-08:

Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

Posting on the Firing Line, in a thread entitled “Lucky to Be Alive”, Denny writes:

“This is the hardest post to post. I know if I had read it a week ago my comment would have been: ‘You have no business reloading’. I had everything perfect, except pouring the wrong powder in the powder measure. I type this slowly with my left hand, embarrassed but … possibly saving someone else a tragedy or, like me, a long drive to the Emergency Room and surgery to save my finger.”

CLICK HERE for bigger, more graphic photo of injury.
Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

The Still-Sealed Bottle of Varget
Denny did not initially comprehend exactly why the kaboom happened. He thought maybe his new Savage rifle was at fault. Then, on his return home, he discovered something…

Denny wrote: “The seven-hour period it took to go to ER, transport to Trauma Center and surgery made me think it was a Savage rifle issue. Brand new rifle, new brass, triple-checked loading data. The next day I was humbled when I realized the Varget powder was still sealed.

I knew what powder to use. I thought [Varget] was what I used. Not until the following day did I realize the Varget was still sealed.”

At that point, Denny realized what caused the accident — “operator error”. He knew he had to warn others about using the wrong powder: “I knew I needed to share my mistake, even though it is embarrassing, just to remind people. I’ve been reloading for 30 years…”

Editor’s Comment: Denny was not a novice reloader. His experience demonstrates that this kind of mistake can be made by any hand-loader, even one with decades of experience. Be safe guys, take your time when you load your ammo. Remove powders from measures after your loading sessions (pistol powders can look very similar to rifle powders). And by all means CHECK the LABEL on the jug. As the TiteGroup label says: “A little goes a long way.”

It’s not a bad idea to separate your pistol powders from your rifle powders, or perhaps even load for pistol in a separate part of your workshop.

Permalink News, Reloading, Tech Tip 12 Comments »
December 8th, 2017

Affordable Hard Cases for Valuable Rifles and Optics

gun fire plano hard case rifle scopeThis photo was taken from my driveway at 12:23 am on December 5th. The fire was one mile away. In the darkness I packed essentials and valuables, and prepared to leave my house to its fate.

This past week this Editor was near a major fire zone in California, a few hundred yards from the mandatory evacuation line. In preparation for the evacuation order, I packed my station wagon with important items, including some valuable rifles and scopes. When I finished loading, there was over $7000 worth of optics in the car — more than the blue-book value of the vehicle itself. That made me think carefully about gun cases and how one would want to transport high value, optics-equipped rifles both on the road and by air. Here are two gun cases that offer excellent protection at a very good price. Both these Plano cases are strong enough to survive rough airport baggage handlers, while cushioning your firearms in customizable, thick foam interiors. No they are NOT fire-proof, but they’ll help cradle your precious rifles and scopes while you get to a safe zone.

Plano 52″ Double Rifle Case with Wheels, $112.74

Plano double scoped rifle case with wheels

This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case is an Amazon Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is under $115.00, while the equivalent SKB is around $240.00, so you can buy two Planos for the price of one SKB. The 51.5″ interior will fit most scoped competition rifles up to about 29″ barrels (measure your own rifle to make sure). If you separate the barreled action from the stock you can transport even ultra-long ELR rifles. The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move through airports and parking lots. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money (plus there’s Free Shipping for Amazon Prime members).

Exterior Dimensions: 54.625″ x 15.5″ x 6″
Interior Dimensions: 51.5″ x 12.63″ x 5.25″
Pluckable Interior Dimensions: 46″ x 10″
Features: Wheels, Secure Draw-Down Latches, O-Ring Seal, Pressure Relief Valve, Customizable Foam

Plano 43″ All-Weather Tactical Gun Case (43″ Interior), $45.80

Plano rifle all weather tactical case bargain

This is one of the best available medium-sized, hard gun cases under $100.00. But with Amazon’s sale price now just $45.80 (with free Prime shipping), you can get TWO cases for under $100.00. MidwayUSA is also selling this case for $45.80, but shipping is extra. While designed for AR15s and tactical-style rifles, you can also fit longer-barreled rifles inside if you separate the barreled action from the stock (which, by the way, may be a good practice for airline travel.) This case is very tough and strong — offering protection like an SKB case for less than half the cost. The foam in the 43″-long interior is “pluckable” so it can be configured to fit your rifle. This case is a favorite with Amazon buyers, earning a full FIVE STARS with over 1600 buyer reviews. Here is a recent verified review: “Awesome case for the money $$. As good as other manufacturers wanting 4X the money. Highly recommend.” Strong enough for air travel, this case is pretty heavy for regular trips to the range. Consider the lighter-weight, top-opening Plano Air-Glide Case for basic transport of your rifle from home to the range.

Exterior Dimensions: 46″ x 16″ x 5.5″
Interior Dimensions: 43″ x 13″ x 5″
Features: Secure Draw-Down Latches, O-Ring Seal, Pressure Relief Valve, Customizable Foam

Other Emergency Evacuation Tips
When you must leave your home in an emergency, you need to be able to collect key records and valuables quickly. I wasted time locating important documents in three different rooms. So, I recommend you have a small, totable fire-resistant safe for your most vital items. This could normally be kept inside a larger Gun Safe, but always ready to “grab and go”. Here are some of the items you’ll want to keep in the smaller safe/security box:

Passports and IDs
Birth Certificates
Medical Plan ID Cards
House Insurance Documents
Vehicle Titles/Registrations
Important Prescriptions
Recent Tax Returns
Cash and Travelers’ Checks
Valuable Jewelry/Watches
Family Photos
Flash Drive with Photos

I strongly recommend that you walk through your house and take photos of all the valuable furniture, electronics, and heirlooms. This will be proof for your insurance. Even better, make a video with your smartphone as you walk through the house. Narrate descriptions of your valuable possessions/furniture in each room. For example I have one antique desk that is worth more than my car. You need evidence of ownership and quality. If possible, copy these photos/video to a flash-drive, which is kept in your “getaway” file safe.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
July 12th, 2015

Emergency Medical Information Bracelet Holds Digital Data

AccurateShooter EPIC-id emergency bracelet Band EMT Flash Drive USB lifesaver

Here’s a smart new product that could save your life (or the life of a loved one). The EPIC-id bracelet stores your vital information on a shockproof, weatherproof USB flash drive that can be instantly accessed by an EMT or doctor. Your Editor just bought two of these med-info bracelets — one for himself and another for a diabetic family member. If you’re a shooter, or spend much time outdoors, you should have this device or some other kind of tag that provides your vital info (such as blood type and drug allergies) to first responders.

If you’re injured, first responders need to know if you have a medical condition, have drug allergies, or take any medications. With this bracelet, that vital info is available even if you can’t communicate. The EPIC-id Emergency Band stores medical data on a USB flash drive that can be “read” by any computer or mobile device with a USB port. Firefighters, EMTs, and medical professionals can instantly determine your name, emergency contacts, insurance, and medical information. (Read my experience below).

AccurateShooter EPIC-id emergency bracelet Band EMT Flash Drive USB lifesaver

It’s easy to load your medical data on to the device. Standardized emergency info forms come pre-loaded — just insert the Epic-ID into any computer to fill out the forms. PC and Macâ„¢ compatible, the waterproof EPIC-id features a durable stainless steel clasp and trim-to-fit silicone band.

Editor’s Story — Why This Is Important
Just this past Wednesday July 8th, at 2:00 am, a family member was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. She was non-responsive and unable to communicate at all. This created problems for EMTs because they were unaware of her current medications, insulin needs, resusitation preferences, and some relevant past medical history. After that experience I decided to buy these bracelets for her and myself. The good new is that she survived… but it was close.

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 7th, 2010

New DeLorme GPS Offers Satellite Communication Capability

Delorme Text Messagaing SPOT GPSDeLorme has come out with a new, handheld GPS that can send messages via satellite, using SPOT satellite technology. What’s the benefit? This allows a user to stay in touch with others (or reach emergency responders) even when out of cell phone range. With its texting ability, DeLorme’s new Earthmate PN-60w offers many of the benefits of a satellite phone, at a fraction of the cost.

The Earthmate PN-60w is the world’s first handheld GPS that enables Type & Send text messaging via satellite. With the PN-60w you can send a text message (with your location), from pretty much any spot on the globe. Having that capability can be a life-saver for a hunter or hiker stranded in the wilderness. Messages are created on the PN-60w’s internal keyboard, sent wirelessly to the separate SPOT communicator, then relayed via satellite to individual email addresses, cell phones, buddy lists, and/or geo-caching websites. In case of emergency, SOS messages can be sent directly to rescue services with the user’s GPS coordinates embedded.

Delorme Text Messaging SPOT GPS

As a stand-alone GPS, the Earthmate PN-60w has premium navigation features including a 32-channel GPS chipset, dual-core processor, 3-axis electronic compass, barometric altimeter, elevation profiles, and GPX file transfers. The Earthmate PN-60w comes with DeLorme Topo North America GPS maps and desktop software included, with topographic and street coverage of the U.S. and Canada. The unit can also display high-resolution aerial imagery, official USGS and Canada topo maps, NOAA nautical charts, and Navionics charts, (all extra cost). The text messaging, track progress, and emergency SOS/911 features are activated via separate fee-based SPOT subscriptions (not included in hardware price). MSRP for the PN-60w and SPOT Communicator bundle is $549.00, with product availability in July.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »