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How the 4 rules saved my skin-- OR-- How my Rock Island tried to kill my car! (AD)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Keaner, Aug 9, 2008.

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  1. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    This is a true story of a malfunctioning firearm causing a 'true' AD! I am still ND-less, so I'm hoping I stay that way.

    So, after having a great time at the opencarry.org Oregon BBQ today (thanks Cougfan2 for a great time!), I decided to go to Portland to open carry with two of the other members.
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/

    I realized during the event, that the Fobus holster I had was not up to the task of long-range carrying, since it was cutting into my side. I decided on a Galco suede lined holster, and a 2 magazine holder. All are pictured here:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/

    Upper left is the bad fobus, lower left is the new mag holder, upper right is the new galco holster, and the hand gun in question on the lower right. Another picture of the holster:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/


    This is a pretty good holster by the way, extremely comfortable, and fits nicely despite my lack of a good belt.


    ANYWAY:
    I got back out to my car, and went to chamber a round. I placed the round into the chamber (i know, it can cause wear, but I was kind of being lazy and I was sure the round was all the way in the chamber), pointing the gun in a direction that would not intercept my leg, I closed the slide with the release, and the hammer apparently followed the slide, firing the round, INTO my center console of my car! I looked down, and the casing was on the floorboard, with a distinctive hammer-hit. The hammer was stuck in the middle-catch position.

    I went back into the store to see what to do (afraid I might have to call the police or something :/). Oddly, the didn't hear it, even though I was right in front

    Pictures of the center console:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/

    The path that it took:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/

    And from another angle:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/

    Fortunately, the round missed the part of the wiring harness that is about 2 inches back from where it went through, and it bounced off of the metal floorpan underneath the plastic. I did see the bullet in there right after it happened, but I couldn't get it out, and it moved before I could photograph it.

    HOWEVER, that isn't all the damage! In that little tray, is where I was keeping my spare magazines! It hit one of the magazines, fortunately not causing any rounds to go off.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/


    Another picture:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/

    As you can see, the three rounds there, the round that it DID make contact with got seated a little much... see:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29395648@N07/


    The left round is a brand new one, the center is the one that got over-seated, and the right is a snap-cap I have. I spot checked the height of a few of the other rounds from the same box, and here are the heights:
    New: 3.22cm +/- .03cm
    Snap cap:3.02cm
    Depressed round:2.90 cm

    as you can see, it depressed more than 30 mm!

    All in all, the damage was minor. It is a hole in the console of a car I care very little about, no damage other than the plastic that broke out, and the magazine, and a single round. It definitely could have been worse! I went to a gunsmith here (beavercreek amory) and the guy told me to just send it back to Rock Island.

    What I have discovered:
    -It was NOT a result of a finger on the trigger, every time I hit the slide release, it drops the hammer to the 2nd notch, hitting the firing pin in a semi-open situation.
    -The position of the grip safety doesn't matter
    -If I pull back the slide and release it, it will not drop the hammer
    -If the round is loaded from a magazine, it will not drop the hammer
    -The presence of the magazine is meaningless. Only when there is a round in the magazine will it not drop the hammer.
    -The 4 rules saved me, especially that 'never point at things you do not wish to be destroyed' one.

    Video of the malfunction to come.
     
  2. Dave P

    Dave P Member

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    Good story - glad you followed the rules! But rule 4A says the less number of times you load and unload, the less likely to have an AD or otherwise.

    Why was the gun not fully loaded at the beginning of story??

    DAve
     
  3. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    The gun was not fully loaded, because I had unloaded it to test-fit holsters. The gun-shop's rules are also to keep all firearms unloaded at all times, so I left all but one magazine in the car.

    This weapon was JUST upgraded to my carry piece, and only has a few hundred rounds through it, and was cleaned immediately after it was last fired.

    Update:

    Here is the video. I'm sorry about the brightness, its just my little digital camera, and I dont have any good lights. As you can see, I started with the slide locked back, and just pushed the slide-release. The hammer ends up hitting the firing pin, and finishes resting on the 2nd catch.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3c5dYFrCBI
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  4. neviander

    neviander Member

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    Where is the video?
     
  5. KelVarnson

    KelVarnson Member

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    How's your ears?
     
  6. FCFC

    FCFC Has Never Owned a Gun

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    Sounds like a ND to me.

    Um, you shot your vehicle. And your mag.
     
  7. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    Sorry, the post above I fixed it. Not video of the actual event, just video of it malfunctioning.

    My ears were ringing pretty bad when it happened. Actually, the left ear is worse (i was in the drivers seat, with the windows closed, so this is the 'far' ear). At the moment, its actually pretty good. It is ear-waxing up, but there is no ringing. The right ear is perfect.

    I was with the understanding that a ND required negligence. I don't see any action that I did that would reasonably cause someone to believe the firearm would go off. My finger was completely off the trigger, and I was using the weapon in a way for which it was intended.

    As for the 4th rule, I guess you are right. However, in that case, (a closed vehicle), I was pointing it in the direction that would cause the least damage. All in all, I caused less than 50 bucks in damage. If it had gone into a floor board, it would be much more expensive, if the round had gone into the seat, it would have been an expensive seat. As it is, I'm down 1 magazine, 1 round of ammunition, and a 20 dollar center console in my 'beater' car.
     
  8. maestro pistolero

    maestro pistolero Member

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    Never never drop the slide on a round already in the chamber, it's a good way to break off an extractor which is NOT designed to flex enough to snap over the case rim.

    Also, as you found out, the momentum that slide develops while slamming home with no round in place to moderate its speed, may be enough to slam fire the weapon. It's probably time for a new, possibly extra power, firing pin spring.
     
  9. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    Thats true about dropping on a round, as I've found out just recently through an armorer. I hadn't realized it, and this was most likely the first time I've done this.

    However, this was not the cause of the firing. It DID not slam fire, it actually dropped the hammer on the round. I don't have the casing anymore (I left it at the shop), but there is a distinct firing pin mark (DEEP), and the video shows it hitting the firing pin when the slide drops.
     
  10. neviander

    neviander Member

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    Okay, I can see the vid now. It is dark; freaky story though, good reminder for the 4 rules.
     
  11. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    I'd give RIA a call and tell them what happened, that the hammer followed through when you dropped the slide, cooking off the round in the chamber. That is definitely a gun problem (out of spec sear, most likely). RIA has pretty good customer service, and given what happened, I'm sure they'll bend over backwards to ensure your gun is fixed right.

    Glad you are okay, you did good by not blowing a hole in something you care about more than your beater. I would classify this as an AD (mechanical failure).

    But here is some advice for the future: I like to check for hammer follow through (among other safety checks I make) prior to each time I load my 1911. But it is not a good idea to drop the slide without a loaded mag, which can batter the locking lugs. The act of scooping a round off the top of the mag into the chamber acts as a shock absorber, reducing wear and tear on the locking lugs.

    So I handloaded some dummy rounds (no powder or primer) that I use for this purpose. You can buy dummy rounds or snap caps for this as well. Basically, I lock the slide back. Then, I insert the mag with the dummy round, then drop the slide. If the hammer follows through, I don't cook off a live round. I repeat this step two or three times (in addition to my other checks) until I am sure the gun is working properly before I load it. Also, with the gun empty and the hammer cocked, I apply moderate pressure against the hammer with my thumb to see if it budges. I also dry fire it while holding the hammer with my fingers, I then let the hammer run forward to see if the 1/4 cock notch catches the hammer before contacting the firing pin. This and my other checks add time, but it is time well spent, IMO.

    One last thing: when loading the chamber, put only one live round in your magazine. When you drop the slide, if there is a problem (God forbid), there is only one round to fire. If you mag is loaded and your 1911s slamfires, you could potentially blast though the whole mag until it runs dry. Though this is extremely unlikely, I load my 1911 this way just to be as safe as I can. So basically, I top off the chamber first (with one round in the mag), then I apply the safety and insert a full mag.
     
  12. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    Jad- That is excellent advice. I think I'm going to start doing that check! I have a bunch of snap-caps that I use for dry-fire practice, and for reloading practice, so this sounds like it'll be a good thing to do. I never actually thought about it, and I learned about handguns from a force-trained cop, so I guess I didn't get any of these 'learned tricks'.

    As for calling RIA: They aren't open on the weekend, but my plan was to call them. I've heard good things about their customer service as well, so I'm not too worried. Other than this one incident, I'm pretty satisfied with the gun, so I'm not terribly unhappy. I just want it fixed.

    I didn't mean to say anything bad about Rock Island(or imply it), as I'm sure issues occur with every manufacturer. I posted mostly just because I thought this would be interesting to you guys, and I kind of wanted to share.
     
  13. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

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    Did you purchase the Rock Island new or used? If new, did you have anyone do any sort of modification or work to the trigger or any of the internals?
     
  14. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    I bought it new at a local gun show. It has never had any modifications to it, and I have only ever field stripped it to clean it. I have less than 1000 rounds through it (I bought 200 rounds right after I got the gun, and 1000 rounds afterwards, and still have ~4-500 left).

    It is less than a year old, it turns a year in September. I think it is a manufacturing issue, or something that wore/broke.
     
  15. Drgong

    Drgong Member

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    Glad your ok, could of been much much worse...
     
  16. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    Yikes. Glad you're not walking around with any extra holes in you.
     
  17. gym

    gym member

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    Glad your ok, also lucky the windows didn't blow out of the vechicle, and your ear drums didn't sustain any permanent damage. I have seen some vechicle windows blow out, if airtight, from the concussion.
     
  18. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    Woah, that WOULD have been nuts! I had the windows cracked about 1.5", so maybe thats why it didn't happen? They were only cracked to keep the inside of the car cool, but I guess that did it.

    Now that I think about it, I am amazingly surprised how quiet the shot was. Everyone I've ever heard talk about an ND/AD says it is the loudest, but to me, it was pretty soft.

    I don't think the gun was in full battery the way it went off, and the fact that even though it ejected the casing, the hammer still wasn't at the full cocked position, so I think maybe that helped.

    Thanks for all the well wishers, I, and my mom, are both very glad I came out with only the holes god gave me.
     
  19. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Might want to check those measurements.:D
     
  20. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    Why, how far off are they? I just spot checked a whole bunch of ammo, and they are all within a few mm of 3.2 cm. It might be off a little bit, as it is a cheap, plastic caliper, but they are all consistent.

    It ends up being 1 17/64ths, assuming I'm reading the inches side correctly (I only ever learned metric :/).
     
  21. Nickotym

    Nickotym Member

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    Not much to add, but I disagree on doing the function check before loading every time. After a cleaning and field strip should be plenty sufficient. From the hammer follow through, it definitely sounds like a sear or maybe disconnector issue.

    Just to reiterate what another poster said, please don't ever put a round in the chamber in your 1911 and then drop the slide. Definitely not good for the extractor claw. Don't think it is much good for any gun.
     
  22. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

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    I think what Dogtown Tom means is that in this statement:
    You're off by a factor of about 10.
    Doesn't look depressed by more than 3 or 4 mm to me. (3.2?) Still too dangerous to fire at any rate.

    Bullet puller is in order.
     
  23. Keaner

    Keaner Member

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    Ah, you're right. I got my mm powers off, its more like 3 mm off... Off by a power of 10!
     
  24. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    The hammer can't touch the firing pin when it's on the half cock notch. And a 1911 can't fire when it's not in battery because of the disconnector. If it DID fire out of battery, you have a lot more serious problem than just adjusting the tension on the sear spring. More likely the hammer is following, and when the slide cycled after the shot the hammer followed again, but this time the half cock notch caught it.

    I'm sure Ivan and ray at Advanced tactical (Armscor) will get you squared away.
     
  25. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Never chamber around this way, period. You pointed the gun in a safe direction thankfully, but you broke a simple mechanical rule about guns. Sure, 99% of the time you will get away with this, so I guess you just got lucky, so to speak.

    Yes, the gun needs fixing, but never slam a slide home on an empty chamber, and never slam a slide home on a round. A hammer that does not follow on chambering a round properly can follow doing that. Granted, it should not, but it is bad for the gun, and you are beating up on the sear/hammer which will eventually lead to hammer follow. Exactly what happened to you.
    I think it fired, then slipped to the half cock position afterwards.
     
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