Bullet Stuck In Barrel?


March 30, 2011, 02:24 AM
Anyone ever had this happen? I've always wondered (aside from not hitting your target) if you could tell if something happened before firing another shot.
Does it feel different? Less recoil, more? Terrible noise?

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March 30, 2011, 02:35 AM
I'd imagine it would be pretty apparent because the barrel would likely rupture. I mean all that pressure has to go somewhere doesn't it?

I've heard of it happening in a revolver though. The first bullet didn't clear the barrel but apparently the shooter didn't notice and fired the rest of the rounds, all of which became wedged in the barrel behind the first one. The gun was made into a cross section and there is a picture of it in David Miller's Illustrated Book of Guns.

I guess it didn't blow because all the gasses bled out through the cylinder face.

March 30, 2011, 03:27 AM
I've had two squibs in a revolver in 20 years. The first I got lucky on. I shot my last shot of the day. I noticed a reduced sound and recoil. I thought nothing of it and packed up to go home. That night I found a bullet stuck halfway down the barrel of my 6" gun. I pushed it out. FWIW, that bullet was from a commercially remanufactured round. The second time was about a year ago. I heard and noticed the difference. I checked the gun and saw the bullet. This was one of my reloads...Not that it matters, but the gun was also my same old trusty gun from 20 years ago....I've shot tens of thousands of round thru her and had it happen twice.

March 30, 2011, 03:31 AM
For a squib load like that, the shot would most likely be an incredibly light load, blank, or primer only, so much less noise than normal. A full power shot should always clear the barrel, or if it's obstructed give you some pretty strong evidence something is wrong. Like the barrel bulging or splitting if it's a reasonably powerful rifle.

Squib loads are scary things if not recognized. I've never had one, and I hope I never do. I've have had hang fires, and waiting 30 second and extracting a round that has failed is painful enough. Squib loads can destroy a firearm very quickly, and have led to the deaths of a couple of my favorite actors.

March 30, 2011, 03:34 AM
I doubt if either of mine were primer only. The bullet went half way down the barrel.....I have seen others with revolvers that had a primer only squib. The bullet didn't leave the case all the way. It just went far enough in the throat to jam the gun up to where the cylinder couldn't be opened....For times like this, I now carry a length of an oak wooden dowel in my range bag...LOL.

March 30, 2011, 04:06 AM
With a pistol, you're dealing with very small loads anyway, so I think you're probably right. Probably a partial load, there are a ton of factors that could cause it with both commercial and handloaded ammo. Or bad powder, or a bad primer...there are a lot of ways you can have not enough power behind a shot.

A revolver is probably one of the least dangerous places to have a squib load, if you have to pick a place. Shotgun is probably also not the end of the world (although I disagree with Mythbusters a bit, I've seen a shotgun with a major bulge that features in a rather famous author's story). But I wouldn't want to clear a squib by firing a round with 70+ grains of rifle powder behind it and a well-sealed chamber.

March 30, 2011, 04:18 AM
Had that happen in a Beretta Storm Rifle. Fired the first round and #2 hit it. Did not fire #3. All was well with the barrel. Bad batch of ammo from American Eagle.:)

March 30, 2011, 08:07 AM
I've had 3 squibs over the years and my wife has had 1. We were shooting AAA (.380) in a Bersa when she had her squib. The bullet got stuck in the barrel and when she fired the next shot it bulged the barrel. She got me from the next shooting station and told me that the gun kicked really hard and a lot of fire came out. Now it was jamming every round. The barrel was bulged and as it was pressed into the frame I could not get the slide off. This gun went to a buyback program a few years later since it would have cost more to repair than it was worth.
As for my squibs....it was easy to catch. I was doing slow fire and the gun felt more like a capgun than a firearm when it went off. The noise and recoil were very light. Had I been doing double taps I might have missed it until it was too late. I put some oil in the barrel and tapped them out with a wooden down and a small rubber mallet. 2 of them were .38spl and one was a 9mm. For some reason it was a lot harder to get the 9mm out. I don't know why.
I always tell new shooters about squib loads when I bring them out to the range.
Oh yeah, I was shooting a IDPA match about 4 years ago and a shooter had a squib in a M1911. The range officer caught it and yelled cease fire. I don't know if the shooter would have caught it or not with everything else going on. I really doubt it.

March 30, 2011, 08:12 AM
Had that happen in a Beretta Storm Rifle. Fired the first round and #2 hit it. Did not fire #3. All was well with the barrel. Bad batch of ammo from American Eagle.:)
I've gotten the bullets out of pistol barrels without much difficulty but how hard is it to get a bullet out of a 16" barrel?

March 30, 2011, 08:32 AM
I'd think it would push out easier than pistol (generally smaller caliber, comparable amount of bearing surface).

The only squibs I've had were when searching for the lowest power 9mm load I could get. I was trying to find something that would shoot like .380. The bullet barely cleared the brass, and stopped just barely into the rifling. Pushed out easily, thought.

March 30, 2011, 08:37 AM
More likely happens with reloads. I found out W231 is position sensitive in 38 special. If the powder is spread over the space, a bullet can stick. If the powder is piled up by the primer, normal ignition. Bullet goes halfway down the barrel and needs to be hammered out. Carried a rod ever since. Also happened to me once with commercial reloads, squibs sound different, feel different.

Saw it happen to someone else during a match. Revolver, brand new replacement barrel, first round squibbed, piled up 5 more bullets behind it. Tip of the 1st one sticking out the muzzle. Ouch. There was a line of 10 shooters at an indoor event so it was noisy.


Hk Dan
March 30, 2011, 08:42 AM
I shoot competitiely and see 15-20 squibs a year from different folks. You can ALWAYS identify it. The gun does not cycle and there is time to yell "SQUIB!" before he shoots again.

A revolver is the WORST gun to have a squib with because it doesn't "jam", but can be fored immediately after the squib. On many autos the bullet is just barely out of the chamber and the next round won't seat anyway, but this is not always the case. Whne the gun goes bang, bang, pop--get a pencil and check the bore.

March 30, 2011, 12:14 PM
I'd imagine it would be pretty apparent because the barrel would likely rupture. I mean all that pressure has to go somewhere doesn't it?

If the pressure was high enough on the stuck round it would not be stuck.

The lower energy generated by the squib round has already been dissipated driving the bullet part way up the barrel.

The NEXT round is the one that can wreck the barrel if it has a full load.

It is going to run into the stopped bullet from the squib load, often at a place in the barrel that is not nearly as strong as the chamber end of the barrel.

Barrel bulges are a good outcome.
Ruptured barrels are not as nice.

Both barrels are wrecked though.

March 30, 2011, 03:10 PM
It is a simple case of being aware of your suroundings and what you are doing. If your gun goes "pop" instead of "bang", something is not right. As Rush says, there are too many oblivions in this world.....chris3

March 30, 2011, 04:22 PM
Modern handguns (both revolvers and semi-autos) will withstand a bullet in the bore -- if the problem is merely a bullet in the bore. The result may be no damage, or a bulged (and ruined) barrel.

The real awsh** happens if part of the powder charge follows the bullet into the bore and remains behind it, unburned. If a round is fired behind that combo, the unburned powder will compression-heat and every kernel will burn simultaneously instead of progressively. The results are astronomically high pressures (upwards of 100K PSI) and ruptured barrels/disintegrated guns.

That happened to one of the Glock 19s being tested for durability in the XM-11 9mm pistol trials. The barrel ruptured, the slide bulged on both sides, and the plastic bottom of the frame was shattered. If the shooter hadn't been wearing heavy leather gloves, he could well have lost fingers! On a humorous side note, the serial # plate was lost in the explosion, and the arsenal had a heckuva time accounting for the weapon that now had no serial #! :uhoh:

I can't overemphasize the need to STOP FIRING IMMEDIATELY if you encounter a "funny" or unusual sounding or feeling shot, and check the weapon thoroughly before continuing. :eek:

March 30, 2011, 04:30 PM
Once when I pulled the trigger of one of my Lee Enfields I had a rather anemic "pop!" instead of the usual "BOOM". I set the rifle aside for a minute or so then carefully opened the chamber. Gunpowder spilled out into the magazine. For some reason the gunpowder did not ignite and the primer pushed the bullet just into the rifleing. I don't know what caused it to happen but suspect a piece of media stuck in the flashhole. Anyway, all it took was a poke with a cleaning rod to clear the bullet. Being aware of what one is doing is very important.

March 30, 2011, 04:36 PM
I don't know what caused it to happen but suspect a piece of media stuck in the flashhole.I suspect a speck of tumbler media would stand about the same chance of causing a problem as a fart in a tornado when the primer went off.

White hot gas and primer pocket pressure generated by the primer explosion would vaporize a speck of tumbler media instantly.


March 30, 2011, 05:31 PM
I had it happen with my own handloads. For straightwall pistol cases I use a Square Deal Dillon and was (unnecessarily) weighing every tenth charge. I forgot to put the powder back in. I say "unnecessary" because my loads are way below maximum and are only for plinking.

There was no recoil and I figured something had happened.

People say to use a wooden dowel. It splintered.

I cut off a section of aluminum cleaning rod and tapped it out.

These days, unless I load something approaching maximum, I just try to check for double charges and don't worry about it so much.

March 30, 2011, 06:02 PM

March 30, 2011, 09:23 PM
About a year ago I had a .45 Colt cowboy load squib fire, and plunk a bullet right in the middle of my S&W 460V’s barrel. A female friend of mine was shooting it at the time, and fortunately I saw the squib and my friend had the good sense not to pull the trigger again. With that gun I like to load up 3 rounds of .45 Colt, 1 round of .454 Casull, and 1 round of 460 mag. It illustrates the power levels, and the evolution of the 460 cartridge in a fun “holy crap” kind of way. The next round to be fired was a .454 Casull. I get a little sick thinking what could have happened if a full power 300 gr. .454 had slammed into the back of a stuck bullet. It still scares the heck out of me. The bad round left some rather interesting marks on the gun. Check out the pics.

M2 Carbine
March 31, 2011, 12:43 PM
Bullet Stuck In Barrel?
It's not all that unusual.
The problem is, even experienced shooters many times fail to catch what's happened.

A recent example was a few weeks ago.
At the gun store I allowed a fellow and the manager to shoot my LC9.
All went well until the man fired a powder-less round.

Neither the shooter or manager saw what happened.
The manager said the fired case didn't eject.
The shooter tried to chamber another round (ejecting the fired case).
I was standing by the shooter and I grabbed the top of the gun, not allowing the slide to go forward, and said, "Don't shoot. There's a bullet stuck in the barrel".
The shooter immediately let go of the gun and asked "How do you know?"
I said I heard the primer fire and the gun didn't function.

Both shooters, with years of experience, were going to chamber and fire a live round in a gun with a blocked barrel.

I pushed out the bullet with a brass rod, no problem.

When I teach someone to shoot, once in a while I slip a primed case, (no bullet or powder), in their guns. Some time earlier I have covered the subject. If the shooter tries to fire the gun I tell them they have just blown up their gun in their face.

Owen Sparks
March 31, 2011, 01:17 PM
I had a squib once in a revolver once that was caused by a reloading malfunction where I failed to put powder into the brass case. The primer had just enough force to cause the bullet to lodge in the forcing cone with part of it still in the cylinder gap. This locked up the revolver and the bullet had to be driven back into the cylinder with a cleaning rod and a mallet before I could open the cylinder. It did not hurt the revolver though.

March 31, 2011, 01:24 PM
I got lucky. I was shooting a Model 10 when the trigger wouldn't pull back. A squib load had left most of the bullet in the barrel with just enough sticking out into the cylinder to lock it up. I had been shooting rapidly (Magtech!) and felt no difference at all. If the bullet was stuck just a hair forward, the cylinder would've turned and I'd have definitely fired another round.

Owen Sparks:
Wow, it's almost the same story.

March 31, 2011, 09:08 PM
I had a friend who rapid fired an Colt OP in .38 using reloads. All six slugs (jacketed) filled the barrel front to back.The last one prevented the cylinder from turning,and the first one protuded from the barrel.He was wearing muffs,and didn't hear or feel the difference.He had to drill out the bore to remove the barrel (bulged), buy a replacement barrel and he was good to go.Other than the barrel,the gun was unharmed. Since he was shooting rapidfire,all six shots had been fired before he realized there was a problem. He said he will shoot single action only from now on.

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