How common are "slamfires"?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by lawdawg, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    This may be an old topic, but I'm a new member so let me hit the proverbial dead horse one more time if it is.
    I've recently bought a Springfield M1A "Scout" rifle. It was used, but in excellent shape. The paperwork that accompanied the rifle warned about slamfires if shooting anything but military surplus ammo. then I started to read magazine and internet articles about slamfires. Research has revealed that this phenomenon is most likely caused by non-military primers, or improperly seated primers. I purchased the CCI military primers to use in my reloads, but was wondering how safe it is to shoot commercial ammo in this rifle. Are all these slamfire warnings just CYA by the manufacturer and their lawyers? I know that slamfires occur, but are they common enough to be concerned about? Of the several military clone or military surplus weapons I, or a family member, have owned or shot, I've never experienced a slamfire. I'm not that great of a shot anyway, but when I'm nervous about the gun blowing up and taking a hand, eye, or my life, I really don't shoot well. All of you who regularly shoot these old war-weapons or their clones, have you ever had a slamfire?
  2. USMCSpeedy

    USMCSpeedy Member

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    I can't say for a M1A as I have never shot one but I have had it happen with my SKS. I've found with the SKS that a very good cleaning of the bolt, firing pin, etc. does wonders to help prevent it from happening. It may be the same on the M1A. I will say that its a BIG suprise when the thing starts going full auto. Not something you want to happen when your not expecting it.
  3. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    It seems that it has something to do with the free-float firing pins in military type weapons. When the bolt slams forward with force, the inertia of the firing pin will cause it to strike the primer. If the primer is not hard enough or seated properly, the cartridge will fire. If it happens when the bolt is not fully locked, it can destroy the firearm and the shooter as well. SCARY!
  4. Shopnut

    Shopnut Former Guest

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    I have a Springfield Inc M1A. It has doubled on me a few times, but I think it was due to a faulty trigger group. From what I have read about slam fires in the M1A and Garand rifles, it is due to softer primers.

    One guy wrote about accidently using pistol primers and getting frequent slam fires. This guy was doing some research into it after one of his Garands slam fired and injured him slightly with pieces of the bolt. If I can find the article I will post it.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  5. USMCSpeedy

    USMCSpeedy Member

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    I don't exactly like the free-float pins. I put one that had a spring on it to hel prevent it in the SKS but after only 100 rounds or so the spring puked and then the pin broke anyway so I ended up putting the original back in.
  6. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    I think I have read the article you are referring to, and it is a good article. It is where I got most of my information about slamfires. I can't remember the author's name though.
  7. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

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    The real hazard from slamfires is a stretch in the greybar hotel if the wrong people are present !! Self-loading arms are machines, and as such, subject to wear, malfunction and parts breakage. But the BATFE doesn't see it that way........

    Suffer a "double", (or worse) with your pet 12 ga, .22RF or anything else and you are in possession of a "machine gun".....according to their lights. If you admit to taking it apart for cleaning in the past, you're guilty of "modifying it" ! If you've "touched up" the bluing or changed the barrel in your Ruger, you're guilty of "manufacturing without a license"..... And so it goes.....on.....and on.......and on.......

    BATFE is largely a collection of mad dogs with a government license to abuse, entrap and otherwise mistreat anyone they're set upon by Washington !! Not to say there aren't still some good folks in the organization, but most of the "goodun's" retired years ago..... >MW
  8. wyoredot

    wyoredot New Member

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    +1 on that.. All the new young punks trying to make a name for themselves and/or impress the boss(es).
  9. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i think the batfe has better things to do than get people for having a weapon that might slamfire.

    i think that the agents that work for any of the government arms might use such words as tactics to scare some into doing what they want done. but in the actual they dont prosecute people with thess ridiculous and misused laws

    i have read up some on gunsmithing and i know that a person can modify their gun or work on it legally unless they make it into a weapon of a different class. with the exception of making a pistol into a rifle. for example. you cannot make a rifle into a pistol. nor can you make a rifle into a machine gun.

    you cannot work on other peoples guns without a license however. if you have the license you must record the persons name and information and information about the gun if they choose to leave the gun with you. however no ID is required, nor any paperwork if you work on the gun in their presence. i am not sure if you need a license to work on others guns while they wait, but i believe you do.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  10. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I've been shooting for over 50 years, never had one.
  11. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    I have HEARD rumors of this happening, but have never been able to confirm it. Most of the BATFE agents I've worked with on various cases seemed like pretty good down-to-earth people. They have assisted us (local police) on numerous drug search warrants where the drug dealer was supposed to have explosives and such, and we've assisted them when they would be in our area and request assistance on a case. As with any law enforcement agency, federal in particular, there is some level of arrogance among some of the agents, but most seemed pretty good. The did not seem to have a stick in their rear ends about people owning guns, just people who are not supposed to own guns and illegal guns. Kinda like a traffic cop not being against people driving their car, they just want you to obey the laws in place. But again, there are horses (rear ends) in any profession.

    Back to the slamfires. The article I was referring to in an earlier post is by Wayne Faatz. It first appeared in the October, 1983 issue of American Rifleman. The author experienced a "rare" slamfire in his Garand and from there conducted a lot of experiments and research. He concluded that several factors may contribute to this phenomenon, the most common being primer related, particularly commercial primers. I've got several thousand rounds of commercial .308 ammo and was wondering how safe it is to shoot.
  12. wpage

    wpage Active Member

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    This must be extremely rare. After being in the DCM program many years in a org with many others involved as well. Having shot hundreds of thousands between us never had a issue.
  13. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

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    lawdog,
    Don't doubt your assessment of those BATFE agents you've dealt with. It may be a "regional thing" as well.....

    However, in addition of subject reports there's pages upon pages of court testimony, video and audio, all describing how BATFE :
    1. Refuses to establish any protocols or "standards" for its testing and evaluation of suspect arms.
    2. Has declared in court such commonplace items as paper clips, shoe laces are "machine gun sears.....
    3. Recently reversed decades of its own practices by ruling the process of a gunsmith's "accurizing" an action, installing a custom barrel, rebluing/finishing, or restocking to be "manufacturing" !
    4. In a case pertinent to this thread, worked diligently for several months to come up with combination of soft primers and "cleaned/inspected" parts to get a suspect weapon with a known failure history to repeat the event causing them to get involved. The gunsmith is enjoying government hospitality, even though all parts were correct and unmodified.

    There's a long history of this sort of thing in BATFE. Pardon me if I doubt their veracity or bureaucratic ethos.... >MW
  14. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    millwright

    i expect that the vast majority of batfe agents us common sense when matters like this are concerned. but i also imagine that some of the agents use their power to undermine law abiding citizens rights. there are probably cases where the batfe prosecuted someone for having a slam fire. or for having a paper clip/shoe lace too close to their receiver. however i expect that these cases are very rare. that doesnt make them right though.

    my honest opinion is that the government, including local law enforcement has too much power and that a person should be "allowed" to have any type of gun they wanted.

    remember jack weaver? ruby ridge? weaver was somewhat a shady character however by merely cutting a shotgun barrel down 1/8 of an inch he did not commit a crime by anyone's standard except the government or perhaps some liberal.

    and should jack have had a better mindset, and been better prepared... even with a few dozen like minded friends, he might have been the pinnacle for a new movement in the gun rights world.

    where it stands though, the batfe sees 18" legal for a shotgun barrel and 17 7/8" illegal. which in my opinion is bullcrap and is reason enough for the american people to fight for their gun rights.

    ~john
  15. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    If we can leave off the anti-BATFE rants, let's get back to real slamfires. I have never had one with any rifle or handgun (except SMGs where it is supposed to happen).

    Many people confuse doubling caused by a defective sear or hammer with a slamfire. A true slamfire occurs when the rifle fires as the bolt is closing, without the hammer being released, and will almost always result in firing unlocked. That again almost always results in destruction of the rifle and very often injury to the shooter. When someone tells me (as one chap did) that he had five "slamfires" in an afternoon, I know he didn't have a slamfire.

    It is common for an M1/M14 rifle to show a slight dimple on the primers of rounds that have been chambered; due to the way an M1/M14 works, that is common, but also of no concern. But people see that, and inevitably think one step beyond, feeling that if there is a light dent, there will have to be a heavier dent sometime. Not true, and not a problem. Barrng tampering or out-of-spec parts, it just doesn't happen.

    And if it does, you won't have to ask if you had a slamfire. You will know. Holding your bleeding head and picking brass out of your eyes is the first clue.

    Jim

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