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Is there any danger of mag tube explosion with a lever rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by leadcounsel, Jun 29, 2006.

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  1. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    A friend said that after reading that his lever action 30-30 could explode the shells in the magazine tube, he now loads one at a time.

    Is there any real concern that one of the bullets in the tube could strike the primer of another bullet due to the recoil, and cause an explosion?
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Not a zero risk, it has happened a few times in all the millions of lever action rifles built, but it is not a significant risk if you don't abuse the system.

    Use proper flatpoint, blunt roundnose, or the new rubbernose Hornady bullets and are sure primers are seated flush or below, and they will be as safe as any firearm made.
     
  3. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    Yes........

    if you reload with pointed bullets.........chris3
     
  4. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    pick up the june issue of handloader and read the article about it in there. it's interesting.
     
  5. torpid

    torpid Member

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    Handloader is a bit tricky to find in these parts, so a summary of what you found interesting would be much appreciated.
    :)
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    With standard factory SP or FP .30/30 loads there is no danger, and it's a stupid waste of time to load them one at a time. With hard spitzers or SP's that have a protected soft point there is a theoretical danger, but even then it's pretty remote. The rule is if you handload spitzers you should hand feed them into the chamber or use a Savage 99 or Thompson Center.
     
  7. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    Sounds like your friend is a little paranoid. Every firearm has a tiny chance it will go KABOOM every time you fire it. But if you're shooting factory 30-30 ammo, the chance of a mag explosion is almost (but not quite) zero.

    Lever actions are the oldest type of repeating rifle. I don't think they'd still be around if they routinely blew up in your face.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2006
  8. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    There was a very interesting article in the now-gone and much-missed magazine "The Accurate Rifle" by ML McPherson in which he reported and then demonstrated how primers could be discharged in a Marlin 1895 as a result of incomplete loading of the last cartridge. Basically, he concluded that the edge of the flat-tip bullet in the last cartridge could, if it was incompletely loaded and therefore at an angle to the bore/magazine tube, contact and ignite the primer on the cartridge in front of it. I would have said it was flat-out impossible, but he's a reputable and experienced lever smith, shooter and writer. The issue was described as being particular to the 1895 and not applicable to other Marlins or Winchesters, IIRC.
     
  9. torpid

    torpid Member

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    Whew, that was clo...
    Oh, 1895 you say?

    Ummmm...
    :uhoh:
     
  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    page 6, column by dave scovill "skepticism"
    basic jist is that most of us know if you take a box of bullets and dump them in a fire, they pop, but aren't dangerous when they cook off because they're not in a confined space and don't build up the pressure they would in a chamber.

    also, he's got a picture of some rimmed cartridges laying on a table like they would be laying in your magazine. the point being that the "point" of the bullet isn't centered on the primer, and would more likely be poking where your headstamp is.

    he makes a point that it is mandatory that primers are properly recessed.

    he explains a few incidents where cartridges were set off outside a gun, and in all his examples, the bullet is found lying next to the brass.

    his conclusion, oddly enough positioned in the middle of the article, is that "the notion that a pointed bullet would set off a chain reaction in the magazine and blow up the gun was pretty far fetched".


    btw, you can subscribe to an ONLINE version of handloader
     
  11. torpid

    torpid Member

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    Thanks! :)
     
  12. rockstar.esq

    rockstar.esq Member

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    Although others have already covered it, I have firmly held that the whole "chain reaction" thing was somewhat akin to the asinine notion that Glock frames "melt" from laying on the dashboard on a hot day. Just because theoretically it's possible it's still not dangerous. I'd wager that aside from the noise and filth, there'd be no ill effects to rifle or shooter. Again this is all about the basic physics that dictate without a pressurization chamber, the bullets wouldn't do any more than pop free.
     
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