SKS double-feed causes fatality


June 8, 2009, 08:27 AM
Never heard of one like this before:

".. the casing of the round entered the left side of his stomach about four inches above his belt and traveled upward inside his chest... the casing traveled eight to twelve inches upward into the chest cavity after penetration."

Holy cr*p.

My take: This sort of ignition is possible with any firearm using pointed ammo, even bolt actions (why not)? What makes it dangerous is the proximity of the rifle's action to the body. I think that's the take-home point here. He'd have probably been OK if her did not have the rifle's action so close to his belly.

This sort of fatality is obviously a rare occurrence, but failures like that which do not result in serious injury might be more common than we think. My new habit will be to operate rifle actions with the butt against my hip, rather than at the side. Seems like an easy change to make, and that's one less hazard to worry about.

I've heard of a related failure in semi-auto pistols; if the user fumbles the unloading process, it's possible to trap a live round nose-forward in the ejection port. If you are unlucky that day, the extractor can strike the primer and the cartridge will explode. Usually, the user has his hand right there, ready to catch the ejected round, and that hand can get torn up. Once again, the danger comes from proximity; get the soft parts of your body just a few inches away, and no harm is usually done.

(FWIW, I like to unload pistols by first removing the magazine, and then pressing my palm against the ejection port while cycling the slide. This forces the round to fall into the mag well and keeps it out of the danger zone. A pinky, curled over the base of the empty mag well, will usually catch the ejected round and keep it off the floor).

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General Geoff
June 8, 2009, 08:31 AM
My new habit will be to operate rifle actions with the butt against my hip, rather than at the side. Seems like an easy change to make, and that's one less hazard to worry about.

Seems like a better idea would be to operate rifle actions with the butt against your shoulder.

edit; also, SKSes were not designed to function with detachable magazines. Are these not aftermarket modifications? Did Norinco do these modifications before importing/selling the SKSes? I'm not sure the plaintiff has any case whatsoever against Norinco or the importer, if these modifications were not done by them.

June 8, 2009, 08:38 AM
The shoulder is good, too. I was thinking of the times when I currently have it tucked close to my side, such as loading/unloading or when peering into the action to resolve a jam.

June 8, 2009, 08:47 AM
when I get a malfunction, I always remove the mag 1st... seems that in this case it would have saved my life..

June 8, 2009, 08:47 AM
A tragic accident to be sure, but does it rise to the level of negligence on the part of the manufacturer? Millions of SKS rifles have been imported for decades and this is the first time I've ever heard of an accident like this. I'm a firm believer that companies should be responsible for defective or dangerous products but, sheesh, do they need to be accountable for vanishingly rare freak occurrences--especially ones that could happen in any semi-auto rifle with an open-topped receiver?

June 8, 2009, 09:04 AM
Some SKS rifles were imported by Norinco which used AK mags standard and stock from the factory. I think they were "D" models.

June 8, 2009, 09:13 AM
SKS rifles have been built since 1945, and I NEVER ever heard of an accident like this! Of course, the Former Soviet Union wasn't in the habit of handing out accident reports to thier enemies regarding thier weapon systems.
Tragic and very, very odd.

June 8, 2009, 02:08 PM
Story isn't passing the stink test.

I'll just have to take as given the gun loving lawyer suing the non-present Norinco... who thinks there is such a thing as a 30 round clip...

Besides that, let's consider the number of failures that would have had to happen here for this to happen. Okay, round chambers and fails to fire right? Then doesn't extract? So is the extractor busted too? If the bullet fed out of the magazine the extractor would have had to engage the rim of the case as it stripped it out of the magazine. So we have a failure to fire and a busted extractor... uh huh, sure. Or, maybe he single fed the bullet (which we are told he didn't) and the bolt didn't close and that's why the extractor didn't engage... but then it wouldn't have fired out of battery... unless something else was broken..

I'm already out on this tale right there, but I've seen silly and stupid things on the range so let's press on. So, his weapon having failed to fire and fail to extract, he now checks the chamber by pulling the action all the way to the rear where the bolt can strip a new round out of the magazine? Uh, yeah. How many of you guys check the chamber by operting the bolt through it's full motion?

Okay, so maybe we have multiple parts of the weapon all fail at the same time, and we have a gun who checks the chamber by fully cycling the weapon.. We still have an out of battery detonation where the claim is that a case fragment penetrated eight to ten inches (.32 acp territory).. from an unsealed chamber. Oh, and remember that the bullet is reported to have left the barrel so enough of the comubstion force (from an unsealed chamber) was used to expel the bullet so less force would have been working on the case. Oh, and there was a round behind that case that is reportedly intact, yet somehow allowed the case to pass by it. Nifty trick that.

Of course, I'm still trying to figure out the physics of how a shell casing exits the chamber (bypassing the round that set it off), makes a 90 degree turn and enters a persons stomach, then makes another turn and travela upwards through the body.

Oh, and in case you think this lawyer is still straight up.. he says that the first thing a shooter should be on a failure to fire malfunction is drop the magazine. Our good shooting friend lawyer has apparently never heard of the Immediate Action Drill... You know, Tap Rack Bang... no magazine dropping there.

bill larry
June 8, 2009, 02:16 PM
This SKS is a very strong and sturdy weapon. It is not the rifles fault... (how could it be?)

Basically a tragic out-of-battery discharge that sent a piece of shrapnel into the user. He should have bought a lotto ticket instead of shooting, because the odds were rolling his way...which sucks.

June 8, 2009, 02:29 PM
A chambered round failed to fired. The user pulled back the bolt but the round failed to ejected. ... The second round slammed into and ignited the primer causing the chambered round’s casing to explode. It sent the bullet down range and a piece of the casing into the users stomach, causing death.

This exact scenario happened to me with an Auto Ordinance Thompson once. The bullet did not make it down range, it made it only about half-way down the barrel and was removed with a cleaning rod. The round that ignited with the bolt open shattered, sending small pieces of brass out the open ejection port, one of which lodged in my right hand's ring finger, at the lower knuckle. I know this because I just took a look at the (small) scar that is still there. The injury was not major, I removed the piece of brass, cleaned the wound, the put a bandaid on it. It bled a little bit but not enough to warrant a stitch.

Obviously I suffered far less damage than this guy, but it can happen. If you get a failure to fire, pull back the bolt and make sure the round clears before letting go of the bolt to chamber a new round. I did it in a very fast movement (pull back and let go immediately) and that was the cause of my problem, this guy probably did the same thing. Lesson learned.

Edit: As other have said, removing the magazine is a good idea too because of the round ends up not ejecting you then have a situation with your hands full if the magazine is still in there.

June 8, 2009, 02:37 PM
I have ever have a FTF or FTE I:

1: Put the firearms on 'Safe'.
2: Remove the magazine.
3: Check the chamber.

There can never be an exception. Too often with firearms familiarity leads to comfortability which leads to neglecting proper handling.

Unfortunately, if this individual had removed the ammo from the mag it would have allowed to bolt hold open to engage, making extracting the bullet much easier. Very unfortunate.

June 8, 2009, 04:35 PM
Question: if this had happened with a fixed-magazine SKS, what should the operator do?

bill larry
June 8, 2009, 04:48 PM
^^^Dump the mag. It has a latch to do just that.

June 8, 2009, 04:49 PM
Release the catch at the bottom of the rifle, back of the fixed magazine, swings forward, opening the magazine and lets the rounds spill out

Shadow 7D
June 8, 2009, 07:18 PM
correct me IF I'm wrong, but the SKS is ramp fed, so the 2nd round would have gotten hung up on the case rim, so actually striking the primer would be freekish, like BBQ steak in the rain by lighting freekish

June 8, 2009, 07:43 PM
Defensive weapon use may not allow for the magazine to be dropped every time. The magazine is not dropped for most IA drills, for example.

June 8, 2009, 07:57 PM
I'm not really buying it.

First off, SKS with 30 detachable mags are rare...

Secondly, The nose of the next round is usually WAY HIGH of the primer of the chambered round,
But at least that's in the realm of possibility.

Third, the fired round would have recoiled into the round that set it off, but that would be a directly REARWARD recoil.
Might have totaled the action, and if the second round detonated,
*IT MIGHT HAVE* Thrown shrapnel all around the breech and action,
But I don't really see how the casing of the FIRST round could have ejected sideways enough to have contacted the shooter...

WAY too many IF's, AND's MAYBE's, ect.
One GLARING problem with this 'Lawsuit' is,
Norinco is a CHINESE company, and they don't have assets or product liability insurance in the US.

Norinco has been 'Judgment Proof' for many years, and even though I don't credit any lawyers with having IQ's above toadstool status,
I know they are GREEDY and WILL NOT peruse a case where they don't get paid!

A quick check of the Lawsuit filings shows over 1400 judgments against retailers and Norinco for the AK/MAK victims, and Norinco has been Judgment Proof in every case so far...

June 8, 2009, 08:05 PM
This whole story is suspect. There is no information given as the the identity of the shooter, the location of the event, and the attorney is referred to only by his first name. Not to mention that the "attorney" actually states that his client messed up by not "dropping the clip." "Travis" the attorney:
"This is a serious problem. One should always drop the magazine or remove the live rounds from the magazine prior to inspecting the breech after a misfire."

In our current ridiculously litigious, gun fearing society, I can't imagine this happening without AT LEAST a local new story being done. Where is the link to the TV report or newspaper article? I'm gonna have to call BS on this whole thing until somebody comes up with something more substantial that a poorly written blog entry.

June 8, 2009, 10:13 PM
Sounds like he had a modified mag. The only sks's I had trouble with are the ones with the detachable mag modification. One we bought already done and my father modified one himself. They gave us trouble from time to time, but I dont know if it has any revelence to this story.

To add, this is obvisously user error as tragic as it is. Also, I understand how he can sue the importer but how can he sue or atleast recover any damages from a chinese company? The only way they can get anywhere with this is If he gets an entire anti-gun jury, but I doubt it would hold up on appeal.

Wes Janson
June 9, 2009, 02:19 AM
It sounds quite plausible, if astronomically unlikely. And given that the shooter was likely not possessed with the greatest degree of common sense, and considering the quantities of Norinco SKS models imported into this country, it seems highly probable that it was using a 30rd detachable mag conversion. Which utterly destroys any sort of product liability claim against Norinco.

June 9, 2009, 08:33 AM
this is addressed by one of the little known principles of gun design.

It's bad mojo to have the point of a cartridge being fed from the magazine to pass through the location of the primer of a chambered cartridge. It's one of the reasons guns have feed ramps at all...otherwise the magazines would be designed for straight line feed, and you could eliminate a boatload of feeding issues.

bigger hammer
June 9, 2009, 06:03 PM
Anyone hear a news story of this incident? Do we have ANYTHING outside of this blog?

I'm not buying it either. Too much wrong with the story. Too vague. Few details. No date. No location. No names. Etc.

June 9, 2009, 06:25 PM
I did a quick google on "sks double feed fatality" and got nothing but links to the same blog and threads on it, and threads on discussion boards calling it BS for lack of documentation.

If it were real, one would think it would be easy to substantiate.

June 9, 2009, 09:58 PM
I'm just having some severe doubts that an open breech case failure could kill. Put you eye out sure, but jacket metal entering the chest and causing a fatality???

From the link: "The second round slammed into and ignited the primer causing the chambered round’s casing to explode. It sent the bullet down range and a piece of the casing into the users stomach, causing death"

Yah, right. Everybody knows that the pressure of an open breech explosion will send deadly shrapnel out the ejection port AND have enough pressure to fire the round thru the bore.

Something stinks here and it ain't the Wolf ammo the shooter was using.

I need to see a link to a local paper that mentions the 'victim' by name.BSW

June 9, 2009, 10:20 PM
Hmm, if he writes his briefs the way he writes his blog, he is an attorney who is used to hearing the word, "What?" from a LOT of judges.

June 9, 2009, 11:36 PM
The scenario was as follows. A chambered round failed to fired. The user pulled back the bolt but the round failed to ejected. The user then dropped the rifle to the side of their body in order to inspect the action. The detachable 30 round magazine had not been removed and the bolt was let go. The second round slammed into and ignited the primer causing the chambered roundís casing to explode. It sent the bullet down range and a piece of the casing into the users stomach, causing death.

1. you wait 30 sec pointing downrange if you get a missfire...:confused:
2. if nothing happen after those 30 sec, REMOVE THE MAGAZINE or DROPS THE ROUNDS IN A FIXED SKS MAG-BOX (still pointing downrange):scrutiny:
3. rotate the rifle (dont turn it to you side) pull the bolt back and check the chamber, if a round it's still in the chamber " try to remove the round with a cleaning rod pushing the round "slowly" not hitting it.:scrutiny:

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