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The Vault

Dangerous Guns

After shooting the Bannerman Mosin-Nagant conversion recently, the subject of dangerous military rifles came up when I was talking with a friend. And y’know, there are more than a few designs and conversions that are widely considered dangerous…some really are and some aren’t. To name a few:

  • Canadian Ross M1910. Yeah, fiddle with the bolt wrong and you can get it to fire unlocked. Most were modified to make this impossible, though.
  • Italian Vetterli M70/87/15. This was a conversion of the early 10.4mm black-powder Vetterli rifle to smokeless 6.5mm Carcano. Not uncommon to find examples with cracked locking lugs. Yikes!
  • Austrian M1888/24. Similar to the Vetterli, this was the M1888 Steyr straight-pull of 11.15mm converted to 8×57 smokeless. Unlike the M95 family of straight-pulls, the 1888 design used a tilting wedge at the rear of the bolt to lock – not as strong as the later rotating bolts.
  • American Winchester 1895 Lee Navy. Smallbore, high pressure, and could be possible to blow the bolt out with a combination of a worn bolt stop and bad headspacing. Sarco’s Glenn DeRuiter was tragically killed by one of these rifles.
  • Japanese Type 99 Naval Special. This was a late war rifle that used a cast iron receiver (as well as some other iron parts). The barrel was changed from the standard Arisaka design, though, so the bolt locked into a steel barrel extension. The iron receiver thus saw no pressure, just as an aluminum AR15 receiver doesn’t take any pressure.
  • Polish wz.91/98/25 Mosin Nagant. A conversion to 8×57 Mauser, these rifles were equipped with new 8mm barrels and are perfectly safe to shoot.
  • French M1915 and M1918 Chauchat machine rifles. This is a case of ignorance – for all the flaws that the Chauchat does have, it is not unsafe. You will often hear that the .30-06 M1918 version was too high-pressure for the design, but this is just outright not true (note that the guns were used in 8×57 and 7.65×53 without any trouble).
  • Plus at least a few more that escape me at the moment…

Of course, any firearm can become dangerous with overpressure ammunition or broken/worn parts in the wrong places. But it’s interesting to look at the guns that are teetering on the edge of being unsafe in their issued condition – and also at the quite safe guns that have managed to develop an unearned reputation as dangerous.

89 comments to Dangerous Guns

  • Andy

    I encountered a similar attitude towards Carcano rifles, but it turns out they’re actually really well-made bolt-actions. Just goes to show how bad info spread in the post-war period survived on as Gospel Truth into the 21st Century.

    • Anonymous

      The major problem that I’ve understood with Carcanos isn’t the rifle itself, but instead with the ammunition. The Kingdom of Italy didn’t exactly have the capacity to make standardized ammunition loads, and the switch from 6.5 to 7.35 didn’t exactly make things any better. Modern and hand loads are actually fairly accurate.-

      • P161911

        Also, some Carcanos were converted to 8mm Mauser. Probably not a good idea.

        • Andy

          Actually this is precisely one of the myths I encountered that aren’t true. The receivers are perfectly fine for handling 8mm, those rifles were also proof-tested and military tested and approved. The conversions were professionally done and should be perfectly safe.

        • The 8mm Carcanos were made, as I understand it, for logistical convenience of the Italian units operating in Russia alongside their German allies.

          The Italian adventure in Russia did not end well. (Whose does? Not even Russians’, usually). Their army had the poor fortune to be next to one of the Romanian armies (one on each flank of Stalingrad) that the Russians had selected as breakthrough points. After breaking through the Romanians, they turned their attention to the Italians. The Italian units seem to have been of very uneven quality… some fought to the last man and last round, some (the Alpini, I think) broke out of the encirclement, and some went down with the 6th Army.

          The massive losses, coming on the heels of massive losses in the desert, probably sealed the fate of the Mussolini regime. At least the Italians captured in Cyrenaica and the Horn of Africa came home at the end of the war. The vast majority of the men that fell into Russian captivity didn’t. (On the other hand, I don’t think Stalin hung on to Italian prisoners for ten years like he did with the Germans).

          Somewhere in a Russian warehouse, there’s probably a metric crapton of 8mm Carcanos.

          • Denny

            You have good insight of military history Kevin and I appreciate to read it. There are always some other connections past factual matter of firearms.

    • Syntax Error

      There was a guy on Reddit who had a Carcano blow up in his face. Seems like it might have been a 6.5mm model, but there’s not much more details than that because he discarded of the rifle after the accident.

      http://www.reddit.com/r/guns/comments/1bd7nf/a_carcano_partially_blew_up_in_my_face_thank_god/

  • Thanks for the info – when collecting every little bit helps.

  • P161911

    The Nambu type 94 pistol could be fired by pressing the exposed trigger bar on the outside of the gun instead of the trigger.

  • Mu

    I notice a lot of “straight pull” and “conversion” rifles in that list. Coincidence I’m sure :D

  • Fidel Feederle

    Gewehr 88.
    SAFN 49.
    Anything in 8×57 I.

    • John D.

      The Egyptian contract SAFNs did not have a firing pin interruptor. This wasn’t a problem when using low sensitivity military primers, but has caused a lot of grief with commercial sensitivity primers. Other guns have similar problems, notably the MAS 44/49 series rifles and the wartime MG.42 LMG.

    • Big Al

      What’s wrong with the Gewehr ’88?

      • Chris Morton

        Inherently? Nothing.

        When you try to shot .323 “S” rounds through a .318 bore, a lot.

        Back in the mid ’70s when a lot of them were imported, they were sold as “rebarreled” to .323. In fact many (all?) were just modified with freebore (an unrifled stretch of barrel of greater than normal bore diameter reamed out at the bore end) to prevent the .323 bullet from hitting the .318 bore as quickly to keep peak pressures down.

        • Mu

          The S marked 88′s are fine, there was no need to rebarrel as they have 323 barrels. The groove diameter is identical for both chamberings. The issue was the tighter fit around the case neck after the switch to the S bullet. This could – in a tight chamber – lead to overpressure as the bullet would not release from the case.

      • Fidel Feederle

        1) Can be fired w/o bolt head (see Ross)
        2) Bolt can be closed with firing pin in forward position after incorrect reassembly.
        3) Original barrel is too tight for 8×57 IS, extending the freebore is NOT safe.

  • Mike Ege

    Not so long ago some Chilean Mausers on the market that had been armory converted to 7.62x51mm. Apparently both 1912 and 1895 models, the latter being considered unsafe.

  • John D.

    Interestingly, with Georg Luger’s Parabellum pistol the upper receiver assembly can be fired when it is separated from the grip frame. Pressing on the front of the sear bar can release the firing pin in much the same fashion as the Japanese Type 94 and similarly result in an accidental discharge. This must have occurred frequently in German police service because there are a lot of ‘police’ Lugers out there with a safety which prevents the sear bar from moving when the pistol’s side plate is removed. Of course, better safety training would have been a preferred solution.

    Early Mauser C96 pistols have a nasty habit of delivering their entire upper receiver assembly to the shooter’s face when the gun’s locking block fails. Early Mauser C96′s have fairly brittle locking blocks and are prone to such sudden locking block failures. Actually was on a range in the 1960′s when this happened to a shooter. It didn’t kill him, but he was seriously injured. This weakness must have been recognized fairly early on because the C96 was the last autopistol design which stripped to the rear.

    Despite these quirks, Lugers and Mauser Broomhandles are still highly prized. Not so the forlorn Type 94. Go figure….

    • Aron

      I was at the National Gun Show a couple years back in VA, and there was a guy who wanted about $350 for a Type 94. I damned near laughed in his face.

    • Keith

      Back in the 1980s L35 and M40 Lahti pistols had a reputation around here for the bolt coming out of the back.

      I only heard of one where the remains of the pistol were seen by someone whom I knew and trusted.

      The details were uncertain, and it was suspected that surplus hot Mk2z SMG ammo had been used in it.

      there were also stories of a Luger going full auto and self destructing when fed Mk2z.

      I’m increasingly inclined to the view that if you have a nice gun, and put dubious quality surplus ammo through it…

      as ye sow, so shall ye reap (weep)

      • Michael B

        According to “Military Small Arms of the 20th Century” (Ian Hogg, John Weeks): The Pistol m/40 is a Swedish-made version of the Finnish Lahti: “In general, the Swedish weapon was never as good as the original Finnish product, due to changes in the specifications of the steels required in order to suit the wartime availability of steel in Sweden. The chicken came home to roost in the early 1980s when it was found that using the standard Swedish 9mm Parabellum round, which is hotted up for use in submachine guns, in the m/40 pistols was leading to cracked frams; it was this which led to the resurrection of the m/07 pistol and the withdrawal of almost all the remaining m/40 weapons.” The Swedes used their supply of ancient 1903 Brownings (the m/07) for a few years until they bought a new modern 9mm pistol. The m/40 was built by Husqvarna.

        • Keith

          I think a lot of the “cracking” which Hogg refers to was around the accelerator at the front of the slide, and both L35 and M40 models suffered from it, though without much risk to safety.

          The small upright at the back of the receiver, which the recoil spring guide passes through, is, I think, the weak point when it comes to the bolt coming out of the back. It’s a good 20 years since I sold my M40, so I’m not able to check now whether that is the part which takes the impact from bolt over travel.

          I’m a little dubious about some of Hogg’s derision of the M40, and rich praise for the L35, as the Finns sourced much (?all) of their higher spec steel from Sweden, and later models of L35 used some Swedish parts.

          Lahti pistols were something of a teenage love affair for me, unfortunately I grew out of it, so I’m not up to speed on some of the more detailed info which is available now on who made which parts of what model, and out of what.

      • Keith

        Thinking about the M40,

        IIRC it can be assembled and fired without the locking yoke, and from the outside it would be difficult to tell whether it was in the gun or not.

        I think retaining the locking yoke during stripping was the purpose of the spring which gives the L35 an extra bulge which runs forward of the locking yoke bulge on the back of the slide/ barrel extension.

      • Geo

        My Grandfather’s 1940 Luger bring back has a tendency to fire two round bursts. Unfortunately, due to the toggle action, that second round flies way high.

    • strongarm

      All Browning/Colt pistols up to Model 1911, Bergmans,Glisenti, Langerhann and some others
      all have stripped to the back feature and all
      designed and made after C96. In fact, this
      pistol was not last, but the first handgun
      having that specification.

      • Strongarm

        Sorry to forget mentioning “Locked Breech” for Browning/Colt pistols up to
        Model 1911 at my previous post. Also should be added to the list; Woodsman
        Colts for more modern days production, and Ruger Mark lll series of pistols
        for recent times. They all have “Stripped to the back” feature, but this
        not makes them “Dangerious” since remaining only at “Suspection” side.

        Besides, “Suspection” criteria is also valid for Nambu 94 Pistols. Firing by
        accidental pressing the outside trigger bar is only “Supposed To” and, especially
        with manual safety on position, Nambu 94 is as safe as all other pistols. This
        pistol is also the “First” with a separate locking block with a barrel mounted
        within the slide. All others have a shrinked rifle like construction with the
        breechbolt in the upper receiver or barrel extention. Trigger bar and hammer
        connection is also unique and “Worst Handgun” title is rather unsuitable for
        this handgun.

  • Bill Miller

    This is a little off subject, but worth noting when dealing with mil-surp firearms.I happened upon a well used, full military K98 with a new looking barrel.The owner was selling it because it had excessive recoil when shooting it with 8X57 mm US ammo.
    After closer examination I discovered that someone had rebarreled it to 30-06 and not marked the barrel.
    Imagine pushing a .323 projectile through a .308 bore and living to tell the story.
    He was lucky to have not been using full power military loads.

    • Big Al

      If you think .323 through a .308 bore is nuts, then you definitely have not heard of the guy that reamed out the chamber of a Type 38 to .30-’06, but did nothing about the barrel! There was an article in the May, 1959 issue of American Rifleman about it. The owner of the rifle said it ‘kicked like a mule’.

      • Earl Liew

        Ay-yai-yai!

        • Big Al

          Literally! Though I am unable to find it online, I have read that the article had pictures of the fired bullets. They had been squeezed out to a length of 2 inches!

          • Earl Liew

            The designers of the Krupp 7.5 cm PAK 41 squeeze bore anti-tank gun would probably have loved to have a talk with this guy. The barrel was parallel ( untapered ) for the first 9.7′ ( 2.95 m ) of its length, then tapered at 1:20 for 9.84″ ( 25 cm ) and 1;12 for 7″ ( 18cm ) before becoming parallel again for the final 2′ ( 61 cm ). This compressed the tungsten-cored 7.5 cm Panzergranate 41 round down to 5.5 cm (!), creating extremely high muzzle velocity and kinetic energy. The enhanced armor penetration was also sustained even at extreme ranges since the projectile still retained its full mass and weight. The trade-off was a barrel life of only 500 rounds, but the barrel was made as a two-piece affair so that the tapered section could easily be unscrewed and replaced when worn. It was only the acute shortage of wolfram, the ore from which tungsten is made, that prevented the PAK 41 from going into large-scale production.

    • Keith

      case separation through grossly excessive head space would likely be a bigger problem than the bore size.

      The distance from the case head to the base of the neck in 8*57 is nominally 1.933″
      The distance from the head to the base of the shoulder in a .30-06 is nominally 1.948″ to the base of the neck it is 2.109″

      though, that said, the extractor might hold the case against the bolt face firmly enough to get away with even that – but the only place I’d be trying such a stunt would be with the gun tied to something and me firing it from behind a heap of gravel, with a long string to the trigger.

  • R. Aballe

    To Ian’s list I would like to add the Yugoslav Mannlicher M.95M rifles converted from 8x50R to 8×57 (I am not really sure whether the conversion work was done at Kragujevac or on contract by some foreign company); those rifles do have a bad reputation as being inherently unsafe for use as converted. The original extractors were modified for the much more powerful Mauser round. According to Manowar’s excellent website on Hungarian weapons history, “It is hard to find an M95M with an intact extractor. The extractor tends to break when the bolt is closed with a cartridge already in the chamber. The extractor does not have enough flexibility to jump over the cartridge’s rim while it is held in place in the chamber.” from http://www.hungariae.com/Mann95Se.htm

    • Magus

      Which of course doesn’t actually make them unsafe. It’s simply that if the extractor breaks, you have a club unless and until you replace it.

      I guess that would be pretty unsafe for any Yugoslav troops who had an extractor break on them in the middle of a battle, but it wouldn’t make the gun explode or anything.

  • Slavko

    The Orita-SMG too.

  • Joel

    People like to talk-down the Spanish M1916 rifles converted to 7.62 NATO.

  • duchamp

    most famously early m1903 springfields with brittle recievers, hatcher has written extensively about it.

  • Kevin

    Great article, us younger collectors need this information.

  • Matt

    Locally people are leary of carbon fiber framed AR15s.

    My friend had a carbon-fiber framed AR15 blow up on him several years ago. I don’t recall the manufacturer. Blew out the left side of the receiver and ruined the magazine well too. Peppered his face with bits of plastic and brass. Quality eye protection prevented anything from getting close to his eyes. The subsequent investigation failed to pinpoint a cause for the destruction. Might of been an excessive load in the cartridge, bolt might not of gone into battery, might of had an obstruction in the throat of the barrel. People around here now avoid carbon-fiber framed AR15 because of that one incident.

  • 277Volt

    Wasn’t the German MP-40 prone to firing if dropped with the bolt in the rearward position? Sticks in my mind I read it in a book a long time ago.

    • Many open-bolt subguns with fixed firing pins are susceptible to this, although it happens when the bolt is closed, not open. If you have the bolt closed and drop the gun, the bolt will drop backward when the buttstock hits the ground. Then the recoil spring pushes the bolt back forward. If dropped hard enough, the bolt will retract far enough to strip a round out of the magazine, and then the fixed firing pin will automatically fire the round when the bolt closes. On the MP40, the solution was to modify the bolt handle to allow you to lock the bolt in its forward position, so it couldn’t move anywhere if dropped.

      • Yep. The Jamaica Constabulary had a bunch of low-mileage Sterlings locked in the arms room. They used to throw them in the back of their patrol cars. And several times, a guy would be pulling on it (from the muzzle end, naturally) and it was snagged on something… he’d keep tugging until it came free, went kB!, or both.

        • Keith

          unusually light loads in an open bolt gun, or an accidental squib load can result in run away bursts as the bolt recoils far enough to pick up and fire the next round, but doesn’t go far enough back for the sear to catch it.

          Some of the later SMGs from the likes of Steyr and Star, had multiple sear notches and safety sears to act as inertia safeties and to catch the bolt in the event of a squib.

      • 277Volt

        Many thanks for the clarification. Makes perfect sense. Memory isn’t what it used to be!

  • Chris Morton

    Commission Gew M1888s erroneously advertised as having been “re-barreled” to .323 when in fact they still had .312 bores with freebore added to delay the .323 bullet’s need to swage down to .312 enough for the pressure to drop to “safe” levels.

  • Bert R.

    You could argue that the late Russian SKS (along with the Chicoms, Yugos and Romanian copies) is inherently dangerous with it’s floating firing pin and potential for slam-fires.

  • Keith

    Reputedly, the .30 carbine and .22 hornet chambered Kimball auto pistols, were at the point of having their bolts getting all touchy feely with the firer’s face after around 100 rounds (I’d be very interested to see a kimball if you get the chance to photograph or film one).

    I think unsafe ammo is probably a bigger problem than actual unsafe guns:

    In the same dimensioned case, the lovely mild 9mm Glisenti, with the interesting old pistols,

    Mild US commercial loads which won’t even reliably cycle a Luger

    Warmer, European commercial loads which will cycle a Luger, and possibly wreck a Glisenti.

    Downright hot SMG loads which will loosen up most autopistols, and crack the slides on guns with open slides and cutouts for a locking block, like the Walther P38, various Berettas and their clones.

    To an extent the same goes for .30 Borchardt, with hotter Mauser loadings, and very hot .30 Tok loadings for SMG use (reputedly, the roller locked CZ 52 has very little factor of safety over the roller cut-outs on the barrel)

    and to an extent with the longer 9mm rounds, with reasonable loadings in 9mm Steyr, Bergman Bayard / Largo and .38 ACP

    Then hotter loadings using the .38 ACP case in .38 Super

    and some SMG loadings in 9mm Largo, which crack the slides in old Astras.

    There is also the downright dangerous possibility of chambering a 9mm Federal (a rimmed 9mmP) in an old .38 long Colt or .38 special chamber.

    .38 special operates at black powder pressure levels, 9mmP operates at approximately double those pressures.

    • Magus

      9mm Federal will chamber in a .38 Special? Didn’t realize that. I would’ve thought that 9mm Federal’s tapered case wouldn’t fit in a .38 Special chamber.

      • Keith

        You’re probably right,

        I’m on the British Mainland, breech loading pistols have been banned here since the late 90s, so I can’t check

        That said, I can imagine a few Bubba type characters trying to force one in

  • George

    I’ve heard that Chauchat LMG are very unreliable because it has a cut-out on the side of the magazine, the cut is so big that the dirt in the trench would stuck them up, but I think this question can be solved by some duct tape … so have any frenchmen think about that, or just don’t cut on the new mag?

    • Big Al

      The cut-outs in the magazines of the Chauchat LMG were put there at the factory and were included by the designers. They were there to see how many rounds were in the magazine.

    • Pointless

      The issue is that so many magazines were issued, to multiple people, and in such numbers that it is not simply as easy as taping them up. The standard Chauchat team in the American army at least, was made up of five men carrying a total of 702 rounds of Chauchat ammunition in 23 magazines (filled with 18 rounds per magazine) and extra cartridge packets (source: Manual of the Automatic Rifle (Chauchat). In a typical squad made up of multiple teams, the number skyrockets.

      Unfortunately, the cut-out of the magazine stems from its original design in the Chauchat Mle. 1913, a weapon designed as an observer’s gun for aircraft use. While not compatible with the Mle. 1915 magazines, the CSRG 1913 has the same basic half-moon design… with the cut-outs intact (though interestingly enough in one of the few photos that exist of this gun with the magazine included, it seems the windows were on -both- sides of the magazine, rather than just one). Hell, even the M1918 Chauchat still had windows on the magazines (though admittedly far smaller), but sorry to digress.

  • Earl Liew

    Here’s one for you — the P08 Luger, of all things. It was actually possible to disassemble the gun for cleaning while still loaded, and the favorite method for re-assembly at the time within the German Army was to brace the barrel against one’s belt buckle in order to push the barrel back into the recoil mechanism. If the release catch on the side of the chamber was accidentally pushed while doing this ( something all too easy to do ), the result would be a nasty and often fatal self-inflicted wound. Definitely a combination of gun design and human error.

  • MacBeth51

    Every M-16 I was issued, in a faraway time, would fire if you slapped the side of the buttstock. Even on safe. One of the first things we were cautioned about at basic. Some of you with more recent experience can tell us if they still do

    • VXbinaca

      I’d like to know how this problem worked. Being a new AR owner.

      • MacBeth51

        The weapons I dealt with were made in the mid ’60′s early production. I don’t know if the newer guns do it if it’s been corrected. On the old ones, if you cocked the weapon, then slapped the stock, the hammer was released, and would fire the weapon if there was a cartridge chambered.
        I’d like to hear back from anyone who tries it with a more currently produced rifle

        • Earl Liew

          Thanks for bringing up this subject. I haven’t personally had any experiences with the condition you described, even after several years in military service on intimate terms with the M-16 and M-4, so the newer weapons ( as in post-1960′s ) apparently don’t have this problem. However, some old-timers I have spoken to had previously described the same symptoms that you brought up in your comments, and their experiences stem from the 1960′s. Therefore, it is entirely possible that they had to deal with early-issue M-16′s as you did. At that time, I did not ( regrettably ) take much notice of their stories, being the young and overly-confident buck that I was, so the opportunity to investigate it further was lost. On the credit side, I haven’t heard of M-16′s ( or M-4′s ) going off this way in thirty years, so the problem, thankfully, has long since apparently been addressed.

          • MacBeth51

            I suspected this problem had been fixed, because I hadn’t seen any mention of it in years. Thanks for the confirmation. The second thing they warned us was to never butt-stroke anyone with the weapon or you “would end up with a M-16 club”. Nothing I’ve read indicates the later models suffer with this problem, either. Do you have any experience that would tell if this weakness has been addressed?

        • Earl Liew

          Hi, MacBeth :

          Apologies for having to write back this way, but your April 12, 2013 / 7:24 p.m. comment didn’t have a “Reply” link. You are right about the buttstock issues with the early production M-16′s. Based on my own experiences, the M-16, M-16A1 and some M-16A2′s suffered from brittleness in the thin-walled FRP material used in the buttstocks and handguards, making them quite susceptible to damage from impacts. Later guns ( including A2 models still in late-run production ) addressed the issue with the introduction of high-density, heavy-walled polymers which are much more durable. M-4′s with polymer and / or aluminum furniture were / are also very resistant to impact damage. Hope this helps out a little.

          • MacBeth51

            Yes, it does help. I had asked these questions on other discussions on several blogs, but had received no answer. I know several other people that had experiences with the same vintage weapons as i did, and none of us had any faith in them. Over the time I was in, I was issued four different M-16s, and none of them would fire a full 20 round mag on auto without jamming. I have heard that chrome plating the chambers and changing the powder had pretty much cured that. I’ve been trying to find out if the other problems had been fixed, because I’ve been considering getting an AR.
            Thanks for your response

          • Earl Liew

            You’re welcome — My two cents’ worth concerning modern AR’s is to get one as close to Mil-spec as possible, i.e., one with a chrome-plated bore and chamber, and which is specified for 5.56mm x 45 NATO rather than .223 Remington. In that way, you will have the option of using either cartridge at will since a rifle stressed to fire the former is capable of absorbing higher chamber pressures. I have also found that unless one is dabbling constantly with certain specialized bullet weights, a barrel with a one-in-nine twist is generally the most versatile since this is the ideal rifling for the current SS109 ( M855 ) cartridge with a 62-grain bullet, but which will still accommodate the older M193 cartridge ( 55-grain bullet ) while maintaining adequate stabilization and accuracy, at least at shorter ranges. Some modern AR’s also offer reliable piston-driven systems rather than direct gas impingement, but they also cost a good bit more. DGI, as in the original M-16 / M-4 design, is fine as long as one is prepared to do more extensive cleaning and maintenance work, which I suspect you won’t have an issue with since you are ex-military.

            Best of luck with your new AR!

  • Andrew Marcell

    There is one that can be found and mistaken for a KAR 98. It is the rework of the 1899 Serbian 7mm rifles and carbines to 8mm then reworked to look like a KAR 98. It is not unusual to find these with the firing pin tips broken off.

  • VXbinaca

    Don’t forget the original M-60 LMG after it was broken in, so to speak.

  • Bubba

    I’ve heard of sporterized Swedish small ring Mausers re-barreled and converted to .30-06, or .308, I can’t imagine that the small, soft locking surfaces early Mausers would handle this safely.

  • Mu

    While the 6.5×55 typically runs at 55,000 psi all M96 were proofed at 65,000, way higher than even max load 308. As long as you keep an eye on the head space they are fine with 30-06 etc.

  • Mohawk

    The Heckler and Koch GMG has a well documented safety issue. During reloading the operator needs to make sure he pulls the bolt over the last (of nine) sear notches. If not the massive bolt(ca 9kg) proppeled by the stiff recoil spring, might suddenly release when the loading cover is smacked in place, stripping the first grenade from the belt and subsequently fire it.

    Back in May 2011 a Norwegian patrol in Afghanistan made this mistake and sadly Murphy`s law hit them hard, two civilian Afghanis where hit and one later died from shrapnel wounds.
    This is also a common occurence in the training courses given to the soldiers.

  • Daniel

    I have heard that Webley Break-Top Revolvers that were converted to .45 ACP are not safe. Due to the PSI levels of the .45 ACP being higher, than the proof test levels of the original .455 Mk II cartridge.

    Also, another gun, the Spanish Campo-Giro M1913 and M13/16 semi-automatic pistol. But sadly, the reason for this gun being unsafe to fire, eludes my memory for the moment. Someone here can most likely provide more information on this gun.

    One more that come to mind are some Swedish made Remington Rolling block rifles. Again, the details eludes my memory for the moment

    • Bubba

      I’ve seen a few blown up Swedish rolling-blocks, but all the ones I’ve seen have been fired with incorrect ammo loaded to much higher pressures than the original loads.

      The rifles chambered for 8x58R Should not be fired unless you are 110% sure you are using safe ammo. There is plenty of confusion about this, mostly due to contradictory load data. From What I understand some countries developed hotter loads in the same cartridge (up to 46 000psi THESE ARE NOT FOR USE IN ROLLING BLOCKS. The rolling blocks can only safely handle the much milder loads (no more than 26 000psi).

      The old black powder 12.7mm (.50cal) gun are perfectly safe provided that they are only used with appropriate black powder ammo.
      I’ve seen one that someone crammed a smokeless .50-70gov into. That disintegrated and seriously injured the shooter.
      And I saw another that some complete moron loaded with a .500Nitro express cartridge. The entire breechblock snapped in half and had to be dug out of the shooter’s brain.

      • Daniel

        Hello Bubba, Thank you for posting this information! I remembered hearing about some Swedish rolling blocks blowing up, but could not remember the details why.

        “And I saw another that some complete moron loaded with a .500Nitro express cartridge. The entire breechblock snapped in half and had to be dug out of the shooter’s brain.”

        I am confounded for words on that one!

  • john

    Years ago at Bisley I saw a shooter put a 9mmx19mm round in a 7.63mm Mauser pistol and survive. When the bullets were recovered they were long and thin !!

    • Earl Liew

      Hello, John :

      The firer was probably very lucky, to say the least. Just in case you missed it, we had a discussion about something similar in the comments above dated April 9, 2013 from 9:58 a.m. – 7:09 p.m. and on April 10, 2013 at 5:03 a.m.

  • Jacob Morgan

    Eddystone 1917′s and cracked receivers?

  • Magus

    I’d never heard of the Winchester Lee Navy being unsafe before.

  • czechfan

    VZ-52 pistol: Decocker/safety
    Love these pistols but the attempting to decock results in discharge on many of these guns. As the decock is “safe plus a little bit more”, this could be considered “dangerous”.

    Love the Tok, however, so they’re worth it. :)

    • Earl Liew

      Good to hear a bit more about the idiosyncrasies of the vz.52 pistol — I’ve been thinking of getting one soon. I agree about the Tokarev cartridge ; powerful and accurate with plenty of velocity and stopping power.

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