September 11th, 2023
Live, Loaded Round Stuck in Chamber — Be Safe, Not Sorry
What would you do if you had a LIVE Round stuck in a chamber? Well, don’t hammer a wood dowel in the barrel, that’s for sure. Here is a tale of stupidity that could have injured the rifle owner. This account appeared on the Facebook Page of Brock & Norris Custom Rifles, a gunsmith shop in the United Kingdom.
Live, Loaded Round Stuck in Chamber — What NOT to Do!
Commentary by gunsmith Mike Norris
Here is a cautionary tale. A client came into the workshop with a problem which could have had very serious [even deadly] consequences. And it is not the first time we have seen this. Firing neck-sized-only ammunition, the client attempted to load a round which then jammed solid in the chamber. The bolt would not close and the round was unable to be extracted.
The problem was compounded by various attempts to push the loaded round from the chamber with cleaning rods and the assistance of a hammer (I kid you not!). All of which damaged the bore and the crown, culminating in a wooden dowel being hammered into the barrel which subsequently broke off in the bore. The end result was a barrel that was totally wrecked.
One Facebook friend posted: “Fortunate avoidance of a ‘Darwin Award’. I can hear it: ‘Go on hammer the bolt, she’ll go!’. We’re missing a ‘face palm’ emoji here.”
The Problem Started with a Neck-Sized Case
The moral of this story is DO NOT NECK SIZE cases. Mike advises: “Full-length size cases correctly. You only move the shoulder back 1 to 1.5 thousandths and the case will feed and extract EVERY TIME. Yes you will have to trim cases occasionally but it is one hell of a site cheaper and safer than jamming a live round in the barrel and wrecking the barrel trying to remove it. Not to mention the risk to life and limb!”
What Should Have Been Done in this Situation?
Mike was asked the best method for removing a stuck round. He stated: “The Grease Gun Method on a threaded barrel works*. However, in this case, this was not remotely possible due to 20 inches of wooden dowel being broken off in the bore as well. The live round (yes it was live!) was attempted to be removed by hammering on a brass cleaning rod (an actual hammer was used) to try to dislodge it. That brass rod broke, so then a wooden dowel was employed, and THAT broke as well.”
Mike cautions that, when a live, loaded round is involved you must be very careful: “Do not be taking chances with your own safety or others around you. When it is safe to do so, get the rifle to a professional. By the way he WILL [chide you] for being daft in the first place and then bringing the problem into his premises. Expect to be charged for the expertise to remove said obstruction, In the past I even had a client send me a loading die with a live .338 Lapua round in it through the Post no less!”
* This YouTube Video shows the successful removal of a jammed FIRED (not live) case from an AR15 barrel. You can see the fired case eject at 15:35 time-mark, after the primer pops out first. But note, this was NOT a live, loaded round. Extreme caution must be excercised with live rounds.