Bearthread ammo story???


El Tejon
March 8, 2006, 07:59 AM
Please forgive this double hearsay story, but in all my 4 decades of shooting I have not heard of such a thing:

Last night at martial arts practice one of my fellows mentioned that a buddy of his at work (a large pharm company), who was a gun devotee, was carrying a bag of .45acp out to his backyard range. This individual dropped the bag of ammo on his driveway and a round in the bag discharged.

My friend was shown the case of the alleged discharged round and described it as have a large vertical mark on the primer as if from the rim of one of the other rounds. The bullet could not be recovered.

I have no reason to doubt my friend who is well-educated (PhD) and owns several firearms. Could his buddy at work be bearthreading him?

Anyone heard of such a thing? How do you achieve the necessary pressure to discharge? What say you: truth or bearthread?:confused:

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March 8, 2006, 08:07 AM
If the ammo was loose in the bag, and a primer got struck hard with something pointy, then ummmm yeah maybe. Basic Physics law says the casing, being MUCH lighter, would travel a lot farther than the bullet...but only a few feet at best. What does an empty primed .45ACP case weigh? 40 grains, maybe? 50?

Never mind HOW I know this, other than to make the usual disclaimer of a found .45ACP round, a BB gun, and a {somewhat} mis-spent youth.

Hmmm .45ACP ammo is rimless, IIRC.

I wave the BS flag on this one.

March 8, 2006, 08:08 AM
Discharge on drop is _rare_, but it does happen once in a blue, and it's pretty well documented.

Usually, it's exactly like you say: a pebble or sharp edge hits the primer.

Without the confinement of chamber and barrel, the bullet achieves very little velocity, the danger level is equivalent to a large firecracker.

March 8, 2006, 08:12 AM
lawyer talk on my ammo boxes there is no warning of such a thing.

March 8, 2006, 08:14 AM
Since it doesn't take a very high number of 45ACP rounds to get weighty, the bag could have struck the ground with a good deal of force. The mass and momentum may have been sufficient to cause this rare event to happen.

I vote low chance of happening but still possible.



March 8, 2006, 09:27 AM
certainly possible. besides, if they're loose in a bag, they're probably reloads... if they're reloads, there could be a high seated primer...

March 8, 2006, 09:40 AM
Also, there are primers that are "softer" than others - i.e. easier to ignite. It's an unlikely scenario, but definitely possible.

March 8, 2006, 09:54 AM
Sounds like a job for Mythbusters.

Send 'em an email, El T.

Red Tornado
March 8, 2006, 11:15 AM
Although rare, if it happened I would expect a THR member to hear about it. I haven't heard about it yet, so I guess we were due. I'd take it at face value.

Anyway, my main point is that I've never heard the term bearthreading. Is that a regional term like "pulling my leg?" Inquiring minds in the boondocks want to know.:)

El Tejon
March 8, 2006, 01:03 PM
bearthread=a fictional story about a nonevent, any thread about bears, see e.g., typical THR fact pattern: "One time I saw (through the bottom of Old Crow I was enjoying at the time) this bear driving a car in downtown Indianapolis and a puma was in the passenger seat. Can I shoot them full of holes if I live in Texas and what gun(s) should I use?":D

Fly, hmmm, interesting, maybe I will send an email.:)

March 8, 2006, 01:23 PM
Back in the mid-80's when I was in the Army I carried an M60 machine gun - for the younger crowd, it was the 7.62mm ancestor of today's M249 SAW.

I was stationed at Fort Knox, and I remember one day we'd been at the machine gun range and had been burning through belts all afternoon. With that much ordinance being lobbed down range in full auto, it's not hard to imagine the heaping piles of expended brass that would accumulate pretty quickly next to each firing station. At the end of the day, we were all given empty cloth/nylon/whatever-that-stuff-was sandbags to police up all of the brass. One of the guys in my platoon filled up a bag, and when he threw it into the bed of a duece-and-half a round inside of it went off.

Nobody was injured. If I remember correctly the bag was split and empty brass blew everywhere, but that was pretty much the extent of the damage. Our assumption was that he had accidentally picked up an unfired round, and when the bag was thrown into the truck something hit the primer and set it off.

Now, that's a very different situation than a bag full of .45ACP set on the ground, and prior to this thread that one time was the only time I'd ever heard of this happening, but I wanted to toss it in here because I can (sort of) say from personal experience that it's plausible, anyway.

March 8, 2006, 09:45 PM
Never mind HOW I know this, other than to make the usual disclaimer of a found .45ACP round, a BB gun, and a {somewhat} mis-spent youth.

Pantywaist! Try it with 30-06. :D :neener: :D


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