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Man loses legs in blast

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by meef, May 1, 2008.

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  1. meef

    meef Member

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    Not exactly gun related, but close. And might help someone, someday. Not that anyone here would be this careless.

    Moral of the story: Don't play with old munitions, boys and girls.

    If the thread isn't appropriate or relevant, I'm sure it'll be dealt with accordingly.

    :(

    From the Eugene, Oregon Register Guard.

    Blast victim remains in critical condition

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    CRESWELL — Investigators have identified the munition that blew off a Creswell man’s legs Wednesday as a World War I-era 37mm cannon round manufactured in Paris, France, in September 1916. Lane County sheriff’s deputies have learned that Vernal Gary Miller Sr., 49, was attempting to separate the projectile from the casing in order to recycle the brass when the round exploded inside his mobile home. He remains in critical condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
     
  2. PTK

    PTK Member

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    A 37mm!?! He's lucky it...

    A) Didn't kill him
    B) Didn't injure anyone else
    C) Wasn't a gas shell

    :uhoh:
     
  3. Ash

    Ash Member

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    I have a contractor doing work for me who shot his leg off with a rifle by accident.

    Ash
     
  4. Rachen

    Rachen member

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    Has anyone read the most recent issue of American Rifleman, where they had a section about Project Eldest Son, the special recon missions where the US special forces sabotaged Viet Cong ammunition by filling it up with a high explosive instead of common gunpowder?

    There were accounts of servicemen bringing back souvenir AKs and accidentally fired an Eldest Son cartridge, resulting in injuries.

    Now, lets move on from "Eldest Son".

    It's not wise to play with old munitions period. Especially if they are smokeless powder rounds. Smokeless deteriorates over time, turning into different chemical compositions that may either weaken the powder, or turn it into a high explosive.
    Black powder cartridges are much more stable, and I have heard stories of modern silhouette shooters using black powder cartridges that are over a hundred years old, and they have no problems with them.
     
  5. Rachen

    Rachen member

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    A couple of young people near Harbin, China in 2006 discovered a Japanese artillery shell left over from World War II.

    Turns out it wasn't a gas shell or an exploding shell either.

    It was filled with powderized pneumonic plague bacteria, part of the Unit 731 bioweapons program to wreck havoc on Chinese resistance.

    They got sick and many people got ill from exposure too, however, they were treated with antibiotics and most of them recovered. I am not sure if there were any fatalities, but the story itself was horrifying enough.
     
  6. Bezoar

    Bezoar member

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    for really interesting reading, focus your reading on the trenches in france from ww1. yorkshire diggers i think they call themselves.
    moral of the story is that 300 plus tones of ww1 ordnance is dug up out of fields every year, though im not sure on the correct amount.
    Nothing like digging through an old trench to find a few dozen ready to fire livens projectors with shells that still have phosgene inside.
     
  7. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Am I right in thinking that the 37mm was an anti-tank round?
     
  8. Rachen

    Rachen member

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    Or anti aircraft, or anti light ship. The 37 mm is a very versatile round, and it could be used for anything from tanks to armored vehicles, even on the seas against lightly armored destroyers and scout boats.

    When the Chinese 8th Route Army ambushed the Japanese advance columns at Pingxingguan in 1938, we fired 37 millimeters straight at their tightly packed columns and trucks. It was a terrific battle, and the enemy was literally caught on the narrow road, with no means of escape at all. The 37 mm shells pretty much devastated their lines. My grand uncle was there and he witnessed everything. The destruction done to their columns, and their trucks was pretty appalling.
     
  9. rero360

    rero360 Member

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    Thats why there are spots on military bases that are off limits, not just the impact zones for artie and mortars, and the like but also the surrounding areas, even with modern munitions you will stull get a dud once and a while.

    Funny story, we were at Ft. Dix for our predeployment trainup. At one of the ranges, a couple of the younger guys wander off into the wood line to relax, goof off, hide, whatever. One of them happens to find a mortar round 60mm if I remember correctly, so what does he do? picks it up and start waving it around, one of the more knowledgable guys sees it and yells at him to stop, tell him that its probably a live round so he just tosses it back into the bushes and walks away. theres some luck right there, could have killed all 5 of them standing there.
     
  10. buttrap

    buttrap Member

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    It looked like a old one pounder round to me from the pic they showed. worth a lot more as is vs trying to scrap the case for cash like this dummy was trying.
     
  11. Sans Authoritas

    Sans Authoritas member

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    Almost every week in Europe, there's a short newspaper story about some farmer who blew up himself and/or his equipment while tilling a field.

    It's a shame how such beautiful land has tens of millions of artifacts buried and above ground, reminding people of the slaughter that took place there.

    -Sans Authoritas
     
  12. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Gee... Twice a year (well, once this year...) at Knob Creek, folks shoot of thousands of rounds of ammo that can date to well over 50 years old...
     
  13. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Or part of it turns into something similar to primer...

    Another issue is that a lot of bombs are of the "two pin" variety. Both pins keep a spring depressed; the big one is supposed to be pulled during flight or right before (like the pin on a hand grenade) while the thinner pin breaks either on impact or pressure or altimeter-delay fuse (airburst) or whatever.

    *Either* pin can rust to a point where the spring (still present and functional) is past "hair trigger" and well into the "breath on it and goes boom" range.

    My dad was British army, engineer, service in Cyprus and Suez. On mustering out he was approached to help get rid of old land mines in North Africa left over from the campaign against Rommel. He turned THAT gig down flat.
     
  14. Sato Ord

    Sato Ord Member

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    Some people are like magpies, they can't leave things alone. Divers are constantly being warned to leave munitions alone when diving on or near old wrecks, especially military transports. Still, you hear about some nincompoop who just can't resist trying to recover a "really cool souvenir."

    One guy I met had scars on his chest from chemical burns. He found an old steam boat in a Florida river and didn't have a collection bag with him. He was wearing a wet suit so he stuffed a bunch of old bottles inside the front. As he came up the release of pressure on the outside allowed the pressure form the degraded chemicals to push the corks out of several bottles and he has some nice burn scars as a reminder of the incident. Good thing he didn't find an old artillery shell and stuff it into his shirt.
     
  15. MakAttak

    MakAttak Member

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    Off? OFF?

    What kind of rifle shoots a man's leg OFF?

    I'm assuming he shot it and it had to be amputated, because that sounds a bit much.
     
  16. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Okay, fine by me. He wounded himself to such a degree that the leg had to be amputated below the knee. He now walks with an artificial leg. Quibbling about semantics does not change the fact that he pulled the trigger on his rifle at point blank, blew a giant hole in his leg, and had it removed.

    Ash
     
  17. meef

    meef Member

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    Blast victim remains in critical condition

    By Rebecca Taylor

    The Register-Guard

    Published: May 2, 2008 12:00AM

    CRESWELL — A man who lost his legs in an explosion in his mobile home on Wednesday was dismantling a live 37mm cannon round to re*cycle its brass casing for cash, officials said.

    Had he been successful, the casing would have been worth less than $2.

    Vernal Gary Miller Sr., 49, remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center on Thursday after undergoing surgery to repair severe injuries to the lower half of his legs.

    A person who answered the phone at Schnitzer Steel in Eugene on Thursday afternoon said the brass casing would be worth about $1.75.

    Members of the Eugene bomb squad have determined that Miller was taking apart the World War I era munition about 2:20 p.m. when it detonated inside the home at the Riverwood Mobile Home Park, 33838 E. River Drive, south of Creswell.

    Miller’s girlfriend, who was in the next room at the time, was not injured, but Miller had to be flown to the hospital by helicopter.

    The round Miller was handling measured about 11/2 inches in diameter and about 7 inches in length.

    It carried either a high explosive or black powder burst charge initiated by an impact fuse in the nose, similar to a large rifle primer, investigators said.

    It was manufactured in Paris in September 1916.

    Investigators have not determined how Miller came to possess it, but said similar rounds are common war souvenirs found in the United States, Canada and Europe.

    A search of the mobile home revealed no other dangerous items, Lane County sheriff’s Lt. Byron Trapp said.No one else was injured and the blast did only minor damage to the home.

    The case remains under investigation, but Miller may face criminal charges for possessing an explosive device, Trapp said.The decision ultimately will fall on the Lane County District Attorney’s Affice.

    “There is really no civilian use for it — it’s a very destructive device,” Trapp said of the round. “They’re war material and they can be very damaging.”

    Trapp urged anyone who comes across any kind of ordnance to leave it where it is and call police for help. Certainly don’t try to pull it apart.

    “Messing around with any type of ammunition can cause pretty significant injuries,” he said.

    “The powder that’s in them is pretty explosive and it can be ignited pretty easily.”
     
  18. damien

    damien Member

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    Did you hear the story about a guy recently killed trying to defuse a Civil War cannonball?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353998,00.html

    "CHESTER, Va. — Like many boys in the South, Sam White got hooked on the Civil War early, digging up rusting bullets and military buttons in the battle-scarred earth of his hometown.

    As an adult, he crisscrossed the Virginia countryside in search of wartime relics — weapons, battle flags, even artillery shells buried in the red clay. He sometimes put on diving gear to feel for treasures hidden in the black muck of river bottoms.

    But in February, White's hobby cost him his life: A cannonball he was restoring exploded, killing him in his driveway.

    More than 140 years after Lee surrendered to Grant, the cannonball was still powerful enough to send a chunk of shrapnel through the front porch of a house a quarter-mile from White's home in this leafy Richmond suburb."

    ...

    Ouch. Don't screw with old munitions.
     
  19. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    The hell it doesn't!! I don't like arguments over semantics either, but what you said and what you then describe with more detail are not even close. I had an image in my head of a guy cleaning a rifle of some sort and all of the sudden, with a thundering roar, his leg is GONE.

    Shooting yourself in such a manner that requires amputation is much less sensational. ;)


    -T.
     
  20. woodybrighton

    woodybrighton member

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    Belgium reckon there have cleared the backlog of uxbs by 2040:eek:
    then they can start of the debris from ww2:uhoh:
     
  21. p2000sk

    p2000sk Member

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    oh boy.
     
  22. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    "Am I right in thinking that the 37mm was an anti-tank round?"

    Sorry for the long post. I am an old time EOD/UXO guy. That WWI 37mm round was used against personnel and bunkers. It was fired from the infantry gun which was about three feet long. The gun was crewed by two guys, a gunner and a loader.

    You sometimes see this gun in old WWI documentaries. The Germans had a gun almost like the US.

    Arguably, more folks have been killed or maimed in mishandling 37mm rounds and projectiles than any other type of explosive ordnance. US military EOD personnel are not allowed to pick up a fired projectile of that type. While on active duty in the Army a friend and I wrote that procedure into doctrine because of the number of EOD folks hurt/killed with that projectile.

    Herr Hess was a revered German EOD man who successfully disarmed thousands of WWII bombs after WWII. He got his hand maimed when a 37mm US projetile exploded as he picked it up.

    The round and its ammunition were upgraded several times and it was in service until about the 1970s as a subcaliber gun for the 155mm howitzer. The entire gun fit into the howitzer barrel with an adapter.

    The WWI Brit, French and US 37mm rounds were identical.
     
  23. Ash

    Ash Member

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    "The hell it doesn't!! I don't like arguments over semantics either, but what you said and what you then describe with more detail are not even close."

    I shall describe fully, then. He was returning from a hunting outing, carrying a Remington 700 in 300 Winchester Magnum. He assumed the safety was on (still blames a defective safety). He put the rifle on the tail gate and it started to fall. He grabbed it, inadvertently pulling the trigger and the rifle fired. The round entered his leg about 4 inches below the knee, mushroomed and in doing so, severed all major arteries and veins, obliterated about 3 inches of bone, and left a chunk of flesh along the calf about 2 inches holding the leg on. You suppose that is sufficient to call it blown off, or would you have been more pleased if that two inches were removed, too? But, in any case, it could never be possible because it merely blew away most of his shin and calf, which as everybody knows, is only half a leg. How silly of me.

    But, if you don't like arguments about semantics, then why engage in them?

    Ash
     
  24. meef

    meef Member

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    Interesting thing about pi**ing matches.....

    Mostly, everybody participating gets wet.

    :cool:
     
  25. Ash

    Ash Member

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    :rolleyes:

    Then I most certainly suggest that you duck, as you have chosen to be involved.
     
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