Receiver Explosion - Reloading Issue



Ok? An over crimped bullet.


I’m not certain that would cause an explosion. Would this cause a gun to explode or would something else have to go wrong?

Here is the story with the pic …

This was the next bullet in the magazine; immediately following a receiver failure. The RSO showed me this during my trip this Saturday, so i dont have any pictures of the receiver. The person who was a shooting had severe damage to their thumb and cheek from the shrapnel.


Additional detail is needed.

What’s the caliber? Make/model of rifle? What was the specs the round was loaded to?

For example, if you take a .30-06 and load it hot and put it into a modified M96 Turkish/Spanish Mauser or into an M1 Garand you’re playing with your life.


It was .223

A bit more info …

nothing in barrel and to my knowledge you shouldnt get this with an overcharge in the case. they did confirm it was rifle powder, although i don’t remember what type.


While the bullet looks to be over crimped, I’m not sure that would be the likely cause for blowing up a gun. The neck of the cartridge which holds the bullet, is the thinnest and weakest part and would likely give to the pressures of a normal load. But, if the cartridges were over loaded, they could build pressure so quickly to cause fail of the case in a manner that would be more likely to blow up a gun.

Given the lack of information and the example of a round that was gorilla pressed to crimp it that hard. Odds are that the individual reloading possibly made other mistakes. The most common mistake in reloading that leads to a blown up gun is over charging. The second is a no charge round sticking in the barrel and being shot into by the next round. But that tends to blow up the barrel.

So I would guess over charged round rather than over crimping, even though the crimp is what we have been shown. they were still able to remove the bullet even though it was over crimped in your picture, showing the weakness of the neck to hold the round.


It says that was the next round in the magazine not the round that blew up. Without really any info other than “gun blew up” and a picture of the following round my guess is hot load with a overly crimped bullet or possibly an improperly seated bullet causing an out of battery discharge. If they took shrapnel to the face I will also guess they are a fellow lefty shooter with the breach right there in front of their face.

Without pictures of the receiver these are all just wild guesses.


Yup. Wild guesses. Semi-auto? Bolt Action? (We can assume it’s not break action since there was talk of a magazine.) Each will have different typical failure modes.

I have to lean towards thinking it was overcharging too with the little information that was provided.


If you’re using proper powder, it’s (generally) difficult to overcharge a rifle round to the point of causing it to blow out the receiver. Most recipes for bottleneck cases show the max charge being pretty close to “compression” state. Those “max charges” generally come with benign symptoms like stuck case, primer pocket flowing into bolt face, etc.

Now… trying to use pistol powder in quantities necessary to near-fill a rifle case, that can do it.


If that cartridge has not been chambered it appears to be roll crimped rather than taper crimped. Crimping should be minimized for rifles if the bullet doesn’t have a cannelure.

One possible reason for an over pressure round when all of the components are reasonable is if the brass is over length. If the brass intrudes into the throat of the chamber it can’t expand to release the bullet. Instead of a container with a weak side, the bullet, you have a sealed chamber that holds the pressure until a weakness is found.

This isn’t a problem for a bolt action because the bolt will be hard to close. The inertia of the cartridge and bolt of a semi-auto can cause the neck to be swaged into the bullet.

It would be difficult to get an accurate measure of the length of the cartridge in the picture but if it is near to the maximum length it would be a good possibility.

Russell Ward


Doesn’t the color of the case near the bullet look odd?


I think what you are seeing is tool marks from a roll crimper.


I dunno. It does look like a cannelure at the bottom, but the angles look funny to me, like it might be damage from being rammed into the damaged receiver by the battery stroke of the bolt, and possibly hit a metal edge, or leftover parts and pieces of the case, receiver, or both. Of course, could just be reflections, the pic isn’t too strong on details.

Also, not many modern bottleneck dies include a roll crimp seater or die, since the vast majority of non-commercial ammo reloaders use tapered crimps or neck tension alone. I’m not poo-pooing the crimp theory, and thats a certainly a possibility as well.

If I were looking for the cause of the kaboom, I’d be looking at the receiver and round that failed, not the round jammed into the mess that followed.