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What harm could be caused by a loose shotgun cartridge?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by vito, Jan 12, 2019.

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  1. vito

    vito Member

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    Without it being in the chamber of a shotgun, I don't see a loose cartridge posing a risk for children or anyone else. I guess a toddler could bite it and ingest the powder and shot, but that doesn't seem a realistic risk for older children. A relative of mine, while at my home, found (unfortunately) a loose 12 gauge 00 buckshot cartridge that had rolled under my workbench and totally freaked out. This person is very anti-gun, the kind that seems to think a firearm can jump up on its own and start shooting people, so anything firearm related seems to set him off. Was I wrong in downplaying this issue? I just don't see, realistically, what harm could have come from an older child finding this. To my knowledge I have never before left a live round unsecured, but I do think that my relative greatly over reacted. Am I wrong?
     
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  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    You are not wrong
     
  3. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Sounds like you need a new relative.
     
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  4. vito

    vito Member

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    That is the truth. I grew up in NYC and moved away at 22 when I entered the military. Most of my family, and my wife's family, still lives in the NYC/NJ area and most are brainwashed and believe that strict gun control is a good idea.
     
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  5. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Wait, that isn’t what we are talking about. To unreasonably broaden the conversation on the third reply in response to no specific stimulus bodes badly for the longevity of this thread.
     
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  6. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    I really don't see any way to hurt oneself with a loose cartridge.

    I guess you could hold it to your forehead and strike the primer with a hammer, even then im not sure you could set it off.

    you could throw it in a fire and it will go off but not really have enough power to penetrate anything.

    your relative is a nutjob, of course in his world he is normal and probably knows enough people that think the same way he does that he is justified in his mind for his reaction. very sad.
     
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  7. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    For the broadest range of "what could go wrong" shotshell is the only thing that a typical person is likely to own that could have any issues. The hull crimp can soften, and then you get lead and buffer out and about.

    But going off? No. In a fire even, not at all worried about any one round below about 37 mm.

    There is very little propellant, and ammo is very hard to ignite without being in a gun, properly seated, etc.
     
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  8. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    And I should have said the shell is a non-issue. No worse than many other common household items.
     
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  9. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    Nope, he's just showing his ignorance, and shocked that others won't share his Koolaid.
     
  10. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    I would limit that relative to only safe spaces in my house. No workshop, reloading ares, kitchen or bathroom. No stairs, chairs or tables. You don't want them falling. Ahh lets make it simple. Don't have them in your house. As for someone lecturing me about a shot shell in my house I would have inserted it and told them don't sit down hard.
     
  11. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I would not want to be holding a 12 gauge (any gauge!) shell in my hand if it were to go off. Older children can sometimes be secretive and experimental ( I once found a pack of cigarettes at one grandparent’s home and a bottle of whiskey at another... consequences of which were predictable) so there might be concern if an ignorant child were to hammer the primer, etc.

    Of course the hysteria is an over reaction, but you have to admit the shell should have been more securely stored. You have (had?) the opportunity to thank your relative for finding the shell, then hopefully educating said relative with a trip to the range. Good luck! :thumbup:
     
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  12. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    It won't do anything. I did it as a kid. The primer will push the shot, cup, wad and powder out the crimp all over the floor. Not really loud either. A typical firecracker is a way bigger bang.
     
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  13. Dan Forrester

    Dan Forrester Member

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    My 3 year old has some live 10ga, 12ga and 20ga shells mixed into his toy bin. He grabs them along with his pretend guns he’s made out of legos and walks around the house stalking and hunting make believe animals.

    I probably wouldn’t give him a handful of .22 shorts because he might put them in his mouth and choke on them. I also wouldn’t give him exposed lead shells again because he might put them in his mouth and get lead exposure. However I’m not in the least bit worried about shotgun shells.

    Dan
     
  14. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Ammunition is designed to be hard to set off. You would have to sharply dent the primer.Outside a gun barrel, a small arms cartridge just won't build up pressure to do more than pop the shot or bullet outside the casing and leave a lot of the powder unburnt. And most commercial and military primers get insenstive with time (go dud) rather than get hypersensitive.

    The movie "Phantasm" had a scene where a boy taped a shotgun shell and a thumbtack to a hammer and used that to blow a lock off a door. That was more incredible than the plot line of a graverobbing space alien undertaker. Made it hard to willingly suspend disbelief for the rest of the movie. But since curious kids will try stupid things with found ammunition, I would control my inventory around kids and not leave loose rounds lying about. Anyway, a good grade of bet-your-hunting-trip-on-it-going-bang 12ga 00 buckshot is easily a dollar a round.

    On the family property on the mountain, we have burned trash in a pit and in a barrel (weather conditions permitting, and it's best to call the county and get a verbal burn permit). The casing might travel a short distance. But it is not at all like the movies or cartoons. Worst case scenario: I have been told that if a military ammo can is in a fire, with the lid latched down, what happens is: the rubber water seal will melt away before the ignition level of the primers is reached. When the primers pop and they won't pop all at once, the powder burns, the projectiles (bullets or shot) rattle around, projectiles and casings are contained within the ammo can and hot flaming gas will spew from under the lid. A can of volatile paint in a fire is scarier; box of cans of volatile paint would be more terrifying.
     
  15. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    Just make sure he knows to put the round peg, er shell, in the round hole before hammering it.:rofl: Sorry.:D
     
  16. Catcar67

    Catcar67 Member

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    In my younger years I found several 12 Ga. shotgun shells around the area where people had been pidgeon hunting. I'd lay them on top of a stump and shoot the brass end with my BB gun until I hit the primer to set off the cartridge. And, yes, they did "fire" but the pellets only went about 10 feet away.
     
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  17. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Well, it's a slim possibility that something may get dropped on it and mash the primer or hot gets dropped and cooks it off. Or a kid gets curious and eyes the vice and a hammer. Remember, intelligence and wisdom are separate attributes.
    Even then, the only danger would be mild bruising, or to yours ears. Still sounds like a terrible overreaction.
    Unless your workbench and luck are like mine...
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  18. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I recommend hanging a shotgun shell from all the entry doors of your house to ward off relatives like that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  19. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I disposed of some 12ga black powder reloads by pushing them crimp first into a clay bank and plinking at the exposed primers with a scope sighted .22. With a good hit I was rewarded with a Fump! and a lazy rising cloud of white smoke.
     
  20. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Nope. Remember, we get to choose our friends - not so much our relatives.
     
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  21. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    If dropped, hit, or thrown hard enough, and if the primer is struck perfectly the round could go off. And the explosion could injure or kill someone nearby. The odds of that happening with a centerfire rifle or shotgun round are extremely low. I've witness it happening to a 22 Rimfire cartridge that was thrown against a brick wall however. While the bullet, or shot will not have much force behind it, the casing will be moving fast enough to cause some damage. Especially to a smaller child.
     
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  22. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    The father of a high school friend said he tried to build a raft as a kid with "golden nails" he found in the basement as a kid. The round went off after a hit or two with a hammer but he still had ten fingers and a healthy respect of firearms.
     
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  23. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    There is a case to be made for simple ignorance. In other words no bad intentions. He just doesn’t know any better. As hard as it may be to understand for many of us, some folks have never had the slightest exposure to firearms. You can’t blame them for their ignorance.
     
  24. Jeff Burgess

    Jeff Burgess Member

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    My only worry would be if they were holding them by the casing and banging the primer on everything and anything.
     
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  25. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    Yes you were wrong, just think what might have happened if a child were to manage to set that shot shell off.

    The ‘explosion’ would be devastating. The shot shell being unconstrained in a chamber…would be free to propel hot gases, pellets and ‘shrapnel’ in all directions. Think of the carnage. Some of the pellets would probably escape your domicile where any passing California Condor could pick them up and die from the lead poisoning. Then how would you feel…? ;)


    Hah! You were fine…..my friend. I wouldn’t give it another thought.
     
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