Hang Fire - What do you do?


August 4, 2007, 08:48 PM
I've had the occaisional hang fire in my S&W 625 .45 ACP with the
moon clips. I usually keep it pointed at the target and wait
a minute at least. A friend was shooting his .270 Win Bolt Action. He
had reloaded with a Lee Loader. THe Lee Loader is the old load em
one at a time model they probably still make. He had a HF waited
10 seconds and raised the rifle to bring back the bolt and "BANG!"

How do y'all handle HFs ?

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August 4, 2007, 08:50 PM
Never had one. Had a hang nail once though.

August 4, 2007, 08:57 PM
Just keep Aiming down range!!!

August 4, 2007, 09:00 PM
Pretty much what you did. Keep the gun pointed downrange for 30 seconds - 1 minute, then safe the gun and clear the round. Set it aside, keep on shooting.

Jorg Nysgerrig
August 4, 2007, 09:02 PM
There was an interesting thread about this a few months ago. You might want to see if you can find it. It discussed dealing with hangfires in a defense shooting situation.

August 4, 2007, 09:09 PM
I give 30 seconds if I pull the trigger and nothing happens. I have only encounterd 2 hang fires and they both went off under 10 seconds.

August 4, 2007, 09:13 PM
I just look down the barrel to see what went wrong. Doesn't everybody? </sarcasm>

August 4, 2007, 09:15 PM
In Army basic we were taught to immediately bang the magazine, pull the charge handle and keep right on firing. With a pistol it was bang the mag, rack the slide and march on. Bolt action rifle??? Hmmmm...

But then on a civilian range it's a bit different. At my first IPSC match (about 25 years after I got out of the Army) you had to go thru an orientation before you could compete the 1st time. Never having fired in a civilian competition before and not knowing anything other than what I was taught in the army when the RO asked what the procedure was for a hangfire and I told him bang the mag, rack the slide and keep right on firing the poor guy about had a heart attack. It took a bit for him to recover and I told him "that's how we did it in the Army". I was lucky I got to shoot the match that day. He didn't believe me. Luckily a couple of guys my age who'd also served explained to the RO that I was just using my training and not BS'ng him. Got a lecture about calling a cease fire, waiting 30 seconds while maintaining the firearm's dangerous end pointing down range, eject the round and move away.

Personally I think that's a bit over cautious because a hangfire on the ground is probably less dangerous than a firecracker but then I don't make the rules. The club does.

August 4, 2007, 09:26 PM
I'm with Werewolf. We were taught S.P.O.R.T.S.

S - slap the magazine
P - Pull the charging handle to the rear
O - Observe the chamber for obstruction, etc.
R - Release the charging handle
T - Tap the forward assist
S - Rock and Roll! (Shoot again)

I'm really surprised to hear that a primer will 'hang' and then fire. How would the primer, after the firing pin strike, wait several seconds before firing?

The only hang fires I have had is with cheapo 22LR ammo and it is pretty common. I usually just eject and move on. Some times when I'm curious I'll rotate the round so that the firing pin strikes a different part of the primer and about half the time the round fires on the second attempt.

August 4, 2007, 09:29 PM
If it's a pistol: tap, rack, bang.
If it's a rifle: wait 30 seconds, then tap, rack, bang.

This is because of the whole "defensive training" mindset. God forbid I ever have a hangfire in a defensive situation, I don't think I'm going to ask the goblin to wait 30 seconds. Rifles differ because I don't carry a rifle for personal protection. In the event the SHTF, I have no training to speak of with a rifle, so hangfires during a gunfight would be the least of my worries.

August 4, 2007, 09:35 PM
I've had the odd misfire with Eley .22LR. Use RWS now. My range's procedure is keep the muzzle pointed safe for a slow count of 30, then recock and fire again. If no joy, open the bolt and rotate the round so the pin hits a different part of the rim, and try again. If still no bang, eject the round and contnue.

Hangfires do occur. The primer may burn slower or colder than normal for instance. Pakistani .303 Brit surplus used to do it a lot I think.

M1 Shooter
August 4, 2007, 09:35 PM
The only hangfires I've ever had were with some geriatric surplus .303 British ammo from WWII. They all fired within a few seconds though. However, it doesn't make for very good groups when your rifle goes, "click, (wait a few seconds while trying to maintain sight picture) BOOM!!"

August 4, 2007, 09:39 PM
The danger in a hang fire is when you have opened the action and the round is still partially contained in the chamber. This causes the round to try to go off normally, but the case ruptures and turns into shrapnel. (Correct me if I am wrong). This is why I was taught to wait the 30 seconds to a minute in the event of a hang-fire or misfire when we are on the range.

In a defensive or combat situation, you must immediately take action to eject the round and load a fresh round. After all, you don't know whether it was a misfeed or any other number of malfunctions.

Once the round is clear of the chamber, it should pose minimal danger, even if it does go off. Of course, if the round goes off before it is fully ejected, I assume it will disable your weapon at the minimum, and possibly injure you.

I wait the time on the range. In a defensive situation, I would immediately run a clearing drill.

August 4, 2007, 09:46 PM
At the range:

Wait 30 seconds, keeping the muzzle pointed down range. If nothing happens, eject the cartridge make the gun safe and stick the offending cartridge in a bucket of water, sand or in an empty box of some kind - to avoid eye injuries or whatever, should it go off.

In combat:

Don't even wonder whether it's a hangfire or not, just tap, rack, bang.

August 4, 2007, 09:47 PM
"...did it in the Army..." IA drill in the CF left out banging the mag. Just clear the jam/dud and shoot. However, it ain't like that on a civilian range and never has been. Wait at least 30 seconds, then clear it.

August 4, 2007, 09:58 PM
wait.... keep pointing it down range. If after 2 minutes nothing happens, clear the round. Some people say 20 or 30 seconds, but I heard of a case when somebody did that and after clearing, the round went off on the ground.

August 4, 2007, 10:01 PM
I just look down the barrel to see what went wrong. Doesn't everybody? </sarcasm>

of course. Now if I can just find makeup to cover the hole in the middle of my forehead.

Jim K
August 4, 2007, 10:02 PM
Is it too much to ask a shooter to know if he is in a situation where the danger from an enemy outweighs safety factors? Or are we now so mindless and programmed that we have to respond to every problem as though ten thousand terrorists were coming down the road?

If you are on a military range, follow their procedures. If you are injured, the Army will take care of you (it says here). If you are in combat, do whatever you have to; take your pick of being injured by a hangfire or by the enemy; you get the PH either way, but with the hangfire, it might not be posthumous.

On civilian range, safety comes first, always. Wait that 30 seconds. It is better than having the round go off in front of your face.

Werewolf and MaterDei, yes, there is such a thing as a hangfire. The worst condition occurs when the round is still in the barrel or receiver or in the air right in front of the shooter's face. As for the ground, do you like bits of brass in your leg? Better than in the face, but still no fun.

I have seen a very expensive rifle destroyed by a hangfire round going off in the receiver after the shooter opened the bolt immediately. I once shot up some 8x57 Canadian ammo from 1949 that had a hangfire every shot; not long, only 1-2 seconds, but every shot!


August 5, 2007, 12:02 AM
On civilian range, safety comes first, always. Wait that 30 seconds. It is better than having the round go off in front of your face.I absolutely agree.

Werewolf and MaterDei, yes, there is such a thing as a hangfire. You know I can't think of any other way to respond to that but "uhhhhhhh DUH!"

Of course there are hangfires. I've even experienced one. Aug, 1971 on a range at Ft. Ord, Ca., shooting from the standing position. It went off about 15 seconds after I ejected it. Crack. No big deal and no brass shrapnel though I imagine under the right conditions there could be.

My point was that the only training I'd ever had regarding hangfires said tap, rack, shoot! The DI's I had didn't do a whole lot of 'splainin' the why's of what we were being taught. They did a whole lot of showin', yellin' and directin. After I got out of the Army all my shootin' was done on private land or at a gun club range that was unsupervised. I always reacted the same whether I got a failure to feed, eject or fire. Tap, rack and shoot. It was ingrained into my psyche, it was automatic. Period. Thuh army done trained me guuuud!

I didn't know any better and never thought much about it. I've been broke of the habit by IPSC and three gun though any problem I have is usually a FTE most of the time combined with a stovepipe which is obvious and can be quickly cleared without the wait. Sometimes I worry though that if I ever am in a SD situation and do have a hangfire that what I've internalized as a result of shooting in IPSC will get me dead.

The Deer Hunter
August 5, 2007, 12:06 AM
With the Estate ammo my club bought(we bought it through the club, bit cheaper) everyone gets an occasional ftf. They don't go off later, they just are sucky shells.

August 5, 2007, 12:08 AM
What about a hangfire in a revolver? Having a round go off in the cylinder after it's already rotated out of position seems like veeerry bad JuJu to me. :uhoh:

You'd have to wait 30 seconds, then either dump the whole cylinder, losing whatever rounds were left in the process, or try to pick the offending round out by hand, not so good either. The only safe thing to do would be to wait and just dump all five or six, seems to me.

August 5, 2007, 12:25 AM
Sorry but another I think this is spozed to start with
No <expletitive> there I was ...


USN - Gunline off Vietnam Destroyers shelled inland. A 5 inch / 54 max range is around 1-14 miles depending on what type of projectile is being
fired. THe ccaptain wanted to do 10,000 rounds for our single mount
single barrel platform. We even rebarreled at sea fun and a lot of muscle
with boom and tackl. Therre was a picture of why we had to rebarrel - a HE round cooked off about 4 feet before leaving the muzzle - looks a lot like a hollowpoint shot into water. No, we didn't make 10K but it was more than 9K - I transferred from the 8 inch gun cruiser the Newport NEws across the lines between ships with my duffel bag The Nl. 2 turret
forward of triple 8 inch /55 ( thats how high the brass carrier of the powder is - well the middle gun had the same thing but it was so old Ex-WWII greatest gun cruiser we built gun criser They just removed the middle
barrel - good old JImmy Carter turned most of the Salem class into razor

Rate of fire a Knox class DE only had a one barrel / one mount 5 inch but
a big magazine of 650+ plus rounds . One night they told us
to go in as close to shore and fire as long as we could - we damaged the sonar dome against something underwater but we emptied that magazine
12 miles inland to help some marines on a firebase It took less than a half hour to empty it - ended up expending all the specialty starburst and other stuff until we had nothing left to shoot. The gunner mates had to bring it
back to spec. because they had bypassed some safety switches in order to
fire at 40 plus rds a minute. We got inspected back in Cam Rahn bay
we had fried the barrel as well as needeing a new full magazine.
FYI - that was a lot of humping projectiles and powder The old Mk 42 had
two loading arms and a manned turret - the new Mk 45 is a single
loader and unmanned remote high tec. operated that fires
24 rds / min. - but they have a newer 5 inch / 62 with smart
GPS guided rds and 45? or more miles.

I'm driffiting off course but the Moose Druool Beer out of
Montana is going down easy

August 5, 2007, 10:08 AM
Hang fire with a cartridge firearm= Immediate action to get it up and running again.

Hang fire with a muzzleloader= Wait 30 seconds or so. Recap while keeping muzzle downrange and attempt refire.

August 5, 2007, 10:28 AM
Hang fires are much more common with us guys who shoot milsurps, using old surplus rounds. Some of those rounds are pushing 50-60 years old.

I have seen the bad results first hand at Bulletfest 7 (July, 2006) :what::what:

I was down towards the left end of the line, observing some guys shooting a 1919 going full auto. All the sudden a guy two canopies away at the very left end of the line goes to the ground and the range officers start blasting away on the emergency air horn. The line goes cold and they are yelling for the medic.

As I heard it explained, he had a hang fire, and did not wait it out. He immediately racked the bolt, and in the meantime the primer went off. With the case unsupported by the bolt, some or all of force of the powder going off went out the ejection port and consequently through his hand. Luckily there was a doctor not three canopies way who looked at him. He had to be taken away to the hospital via an ambulance.

NOT something to play with, especially with older rounds. I didn't see the hand myself, but I was told it was pretty messed up.

August 5, 2007, 11:41 AM
I've had the occaisional hang fire in my S&W 625 .45 ACP with the
moon clips.

Do you REALLY mean "hangfire"? Does the gun eventually go off without pulling the trigger again?

If not, then it was likely a simple misfire, something not that uncommon in S&W revolvers which have had the strain screw in the front of the grip frame backed off in order to lighten the trigger pull.

What kind of ammunition were you using? Many people find that (6)25 series Smiths are unreliable with handloads unless Federal primers are used.

The strain screw should be tightened completely. If it's screwed in all the way, and you still get light hits, AND the gun was purchased used, it's possible that the strain screw was cut short to achieve the same result. If so, replace the strain screw.

August 5, 2007, 12:53 PM
It's not a "hangfire" until it goes off. Until then it's just a dud. ;)

Strange, I've never had a cartridge hangfire, just duds - mostly 22s but at least one 7.62*39. And I think one of 38/357 handloads didn't go off (must have been a bad primer).

Black powder is a different story: lot's of hangfires with that. Most likely because there is some moisture in the powder. Actually, the way that flintlocks work, they are almost a hangfire at every shot - spark/flash/boom!

August 5, 2007, 12:58 PM
Strange, I've never had a cartridge hangfire, just duds - mostly 22s but at least one 7.62*39. And I think one of 38/357 handloads didn't go off (must have been a bad primer).
The ONLY time I remember having a problem with hangfires was in college. A friend had purchased a case of surplus Belgian .30-06 ball. I'd bet at least 50% of the rounds were hangfires, "click... bang!" And this was out of an '03-A3 Springfield. No problems with light hits in THAT.

August 5, 2007, 02:03 PM
I'd be surprised to hear of anybody having hangfires with metallic cartridges that weren't very old - and then it's usually momentary ones. Certainly not in recently loaded stuff.

August 5, 2007, 02:59 PM
I just look down the barrel to see what went wrong. Doesn't everybody? </sarcasm>

This guy did...


As you can probably tell from the URL the guy wound up dead.

tasco 74
August 5, 2007, 03:14 PM
what's the idea behind banging or slapping the magazine of your weapon to clear a hangfire?? i've only had a hangfire or missfire when shooting rimfires........ usually just keep the muzzle pointed down range and wait at least 30 secs then eject it and go..............

August 5, 2007, 03:23 PM
standard failure drill, you don't know if there was a round in the chamber or not. maybe the mag isn't fully seated and needs help.

at the range I'll do a slow 10 count then clear & continue. never had an actual hangfire yet, just duds.

1911 guy
August 5, 2007, 03:39 PM
The bulk of my shooting is handgun shooting and defensively oriented. That said, I run an immediate action drill and keep on going. The only danger is having a hangfire (which I've never seen with modern ammo) with the breech partially open. Solution: Stop lollygagging and get the gun operational again. And to dispell a common myth, a round going off outside a firearm isn't akin to a grenade. It's more akin to a damp firecracker. The pressure pops the case from the bullet at the crimp (sorry, no brass shrapnel) and the case will go a foot or two if you've got a doozy. Less if you've got anything .45acp or smaller. The pictures you see of split brass, hands with brass in them, etc. are from people ejecting live rounds (usually intentionally clearing, not action drills) and the primer hits the ejector.

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