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Can tubular rifle mags be dangerous?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Vitrophyre, Jul 24, 2010.

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  1. Vitrophyre

    Vitrophyre Member

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    A salesman at a gunshow today told me I should stop looking for a lever action 308 and buy his 308MX which shot polymer tips because a regular 308 fmj/hp in a tubular magazine could ignite the primer of the round infront of it. Not only am I pretty sure I can buy regular 308 with polymer tips, but if this happened lever actions wouldn't be so popular. I took it to be hoggwash. But, I've never owned a lever action, and he got me thinking.

    Can they be dangerous?

    Has a round in a tubular magazine ever gone off to you or someone you know?
     
  2. Jeff F

    Jeff F Member

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    Most of the .308 lever guns I have seen used a box magazine not a tube. A hard kicking lever rifle with a tube magazine and pointy bullets could lead to a detonation in the magazine and would at the least ruin the gun and possibly hurt the shooter or those around him.
     
  3. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    That is why most lever gun rounds are always a round point. Hornady introduced the leverevolution rounds to solve this problem. When a hard spire point bullet is pressed against the primer of the round ahead of it. The momentium of recoil and the resulting jar could possibly set a round off in the magazine tube. Not all that likely but the chance does exist.
    The only time I have found a tubular fed gun to be dangerous was on a .22lr. The bullets are pretty dirty as it the lead nose one anyway. So the grime from the bullet itself and whatever debris is on the shell after they have been in your pocket dropped on the ground and such. That grime builds up inside the tube. I had one instance and heard of others where the gun was empty the action had been cycled numerous times to make sure of it. Yet a round hung up in the tube. Then after storing or jaring the gun the round broke free. Next time you cycle the action on a empty gun you checked now you have a loaded round in the chamber that you were sure was empty.
     
  4. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Lever guns with tube mags historically use soft point or flat point bullets. The early .44 Henry, the .44-40, and others were flat. The .30-30 was also.
    Some more modern ammo used rounded nose with softpoint bullets which functioned safely.
    At one point a "accelerator" type ammo was made for the .30-30 which had a .222 caliber bullet in a sabot that did have a spire point, but it was only to be used as a single shot.
    More modern "Leverolution" --- or what ever the spelling is --- uses a soft rubbery tip so it won't set off the primer of the round in front in the magazine.
    There are lever rifles with box magazines which can take pointy rounds, such as the old 1895 Winchester.
    But generally speaking rifles with tubular magazines are safe enough as long as you know what you're doing. But then, if you don't know what you're doing, any gun is going to maybe Darwin you out of the gene pool. ;-)
     
  5. chicharrones
    • Contributing Member

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I've never seen a tube mag have a kaboom. I've only seen tube mags jam up if the ammo was put in backwards. I do clean tube magazines on .22s every time I clean a gun, mostly because I don't want the inside corroding.
     
  6. BMW2

    BMW2 Member

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    I've never seen a tube mag gun in .308, other than the new Marlins in .308marlin which is a proprietary cartridge but a pretty cool concept. The Savage 99 would be a great choice in .308 and uses a box magazine so it's perfectly safe with any ammo. Winchester 1895 would be good also if you like old school but I don't think it was ever available in .308, they are available in 30-06 though. For a new gun, the Browning BLR is available in .308 and is a really nice gun. Both of those are box mags too.
     
  7. 375shooter

    375shooter Member

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    A possible danger with a Marlin lever gun in .308 Marlin Express would be to accidentally load a spitzer .308 Win round, especially a polymer-tipped one (very sharp tip over regular lead-tip spitzer), into the tubular magazine.
     
  8. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    Only DANGEROUS if you put a pointed bullet in the tube.

    Make sure your bullets all have flat noses and you should be fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  9. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Tube mags are not dangerous if you pay attention. Flat point ammo only (though I'll do round nose soft points in lighter kicking rounds).

    That being said, in hunting situations, you can use a lever action as a 2 shot repeater with spire point ammo by keeping one in the chamber and one in the mag.
     
  10. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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    They have been around quite a while are proven and work very well. They aren't dangerous just a couple of things to pay attention to.
     
  11. nitetrane98

    nitetrane98 Member

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    Most tube feeders I've seen Have a brightly colored plug on the end of the feed rod. When it's empty you can see it sticking out the end of the tube inside the action. If you don't see it, it ain't empty.
     
  12. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    Most tube feeders I've seen Have a brightly colored plug on the end of the feed rod.
    That may be true now, but I have a Marlin 336 SC that is an older gun, the follower (plug) is blued steel.
    A little red paint fixes that problem.
    I have heard of that happening actually..Now bear in mind this is a second hand story.
    Serviceman comes home from a Deer Hunt, he has cleared his 30-30 three times by the time he makes it in the house,...or so he thinks.
    His wife is laying on the floor watching Football and he drops the hammer with the muzzle resting on his big toe.
    BOOM...!
    Gun goes off, toe flies across room and hits wife in the back of the head. She screams because she thinks she has been shot in the head; He is screaming cause his toe is gone and he is left minus one toe and a burning sock,......and UCMJ Monday morning.
     
  13. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    In a tubular magazine rifle that lines the cartridges up directly end to end, you must use flat point bullets or the new soft polymer tip bullets that are made for them. If a hard, pointed bullet (or even some round nose) contacts the primer of the cartridge(s) ahead of it, recoil can cause it to set off a primer and cause a chain fire. :uhoh: You could use pointed bullets if loading singly or as a two-shot (i.e., one round chambered, one in the magazine). I would not recommend the latter as it is possible to lose track of how many you loaded. Inadvertently loading two or more rounds into the magazine could still cause a chain fire.

    There are a few tubular-mag rifles that have a helical twist in the magazine so cartridges are not stacked directly end to end, e.g., the Remington 14/141 pump action. These can use pointed bullets.
     
  14. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    Question: Has anyone personally experienced or seen a spitzer bullet set off a primer in a tube mag?

    Second cousin's brother's sister's wife's husband doesn't count.

    BSW
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    He is exactly right, but still wrong.
    You can look all you want, but you will never ever find a .308 Win lever-action rifle with a tubular magazine. The only lever-guns ever made in .308 Win have box magazines.
    And there have been some fine ones, including the Browning BLR.
    http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/family.asp?webflag_=003B

    The recent .308 Marlin Express is a propriority cartridge only loaded by Hornady, and they use soft polymer points on the bullets, which makes them perfectly safe in the tubular magazine. Performance is similiar to the .308 Win, but you are limited to only the one 160 grain FTX bullet & load made by hornady.
    http://www.hornady.com/store/LEVERevolution-FTX/

    http://www.hornady.com/store/308-Marlin-Express-160-gr-FTX-LEVERevolution/

    http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/308marlinexpress/default.asp

    rc
     
  16. Jeff F

    Jeff F Member

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    Never seen one go off, but I have seen a couple hanging on the wall at a couple of ranges years ago and that was the story. I'd say its happened in the past probably more then a few times.
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    This is true.
    It can be done with enough effort by a hand-loader using the wrong bullets.

    But is so uncommon with factory loaded ammo as to be a non-issue.
    If it happened even once or twice in recent times, lever-action rifles would quickly be a foot-note in history after the lawsuits were settled in todays courts.

    But lever-actions with tubular magazines have been in continuous production for well over 154 years now, with no end in sight.

    Fogedaboutit!
    If you want a lever-action with a tubular magazine, buy one.
    They are perfectly safe.

    rc
     
  18. bowman1962

    bowman1962 Member

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    tube feed centerfire lever action.

    Didn't Savage make a 30-30 with a spiral grooved tube so you would be able to shoot pointed 30-30 rds?
    Only problem was that I have never seen factory ammo in 30-30 that had pointed projectiles. :confused:
     
  19. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    Well, Hornady has quite a few product lines with red tips, but only one of them is the FTX (Flex Tip Expanding) bullet which is safe for tubular magazines. It's soft, and the other polymer tips like the SST are hard.

    Tommygunn already said this, but I thought I'd follow up by calling attention to the fact that the tips can look the same, but they're not...
     
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    .25, .30, .32, and .35 Remington Model 14, 14 1/2, and 141 pumps had the Pedersen designed sprial fluted magazine tubes.

    I'm not aware of any Savage having one as Remington held the patent on it until they stopped making them.

    rc
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    There you go, right there. Fast handling, powerful and light weight. Look for a late model 99E as they're going to be the most affordable and also the most likely to be in .308 Win. Earlier ones tended to be in more obscure chamberings such as .303 Savage.
     
  22. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Savage pumps in 35 and 30-30 were both tube fed
     
  23. sonier

    sonier Member

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    theres a reason they dont make pointy bullets for the 30/30 besides those hornady flex tips.
     
  24. Greg Koziol

    Greg Koziol member

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    YES especially in heavier recoiing calibers. thats why there are no .308 winchester or .30-06 springfield calibered lever action rifle.
     
  25. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    You mean other than the win88, sav99 and browning BLR?
     
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