OMG! Bullet exploded?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by rockr21, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. rockr21

    rockr21 New Member

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    I have been telling people for years that bullets do NOT randomly explode, nor do they go off when dropped. But today, I plopped a handful of .380 rounds onto my bed and BANG! I was confused and disoriented for a minute, then my father-in-law burst in to ask if I had an accidental discharge and if I was OK. I looked at him in shock and said, "No, my guns are empty and locked up!"

    We checked the bed, and found a small hole through the blanket and sheets and into the mattress. I couldn't believe it! I mean, isn't this impossible? What could possibly have happened? The ammo was brand new Prvi Partizan FMJ 94 grain .380 auto.
  2. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    Thats crazy I have never heard of that before now! How about some pics of the "spent" casing?
  3. rockr21

    rockr21 New Member

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    Still trying to find it, but I imagine it blew open like a banana peel... Unless it blew to bits entirely. I'll post some pics if and when I find it.
  4. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    I want to see if the primer was hit or not
  5. rockr21

    rockr21 New Member

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    Me too. If it was, that solves the question of how the cartridge was detonated, but that raises a new question: How could it have been hit that hard? I didn't slam them down. I put them on my bed for God's sake.

    Anyways, I found a small shard of brass in the room, probably shrapnel. I hope to find the butt end of the shell with the primer still in to shed some light on this.

    I have heard that if the bullet is not properly sealed in the casing, contaminates can get in there and that can damage the primer, making it unstable, and theoretically making the bullet a time bomb... But this seems incredibly far-fetched, and I would be very surprised if it were to actually happen. I called my boss at the shooting range I work at, and the best explanation he could come up with was, "Static electricity?" I laughed.
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I have heard of a shotshell dropped in gravel going off. Primer hit rock with enough weight behind it to go bang. I suppose 380 could do it also. Seems, though, that like eatin' a lot of Wonka bars to find a golden ticket, you'd have to drop a lot of ammo to have that happen.
  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    My only theory on this is that maybe a primer wasn't seated all the way and that even a seeminly small and gentle setting on the bed was enough for another round to hit the primer and seat/discharge it. I still feel that this is highly unlikely, but there HAS to be something that caused it, just my best idea and .02. Also, i would guess that the small hole through the sheets is about primer sized?

    btw, Prvi P ammo isn't my 5th choice for cheap ammo.
  8. rockr21

    rockr21 New Member

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    Nope. It was about 9mm wide... Incidentally, the same width as a .380 round.
  9. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    then look in the ceiling and walls for the case, you should find the bullet somewhere in the mattress. The bullet would not have had much energy to penetrate very far. The case on the other hand will certainly end up through a layer of 1/2" drywall. If you can find it, i would contact the manuf and look into this more.
  10. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Just when you think that you have seen and heard almost everything, something like this happens. I think this is an example of Mr Murphy's first law.

    The case head and a good bit of brass should be intact. The primer may or may not be in the case, but likely will be. The larger piece may be down in the mattress. Typically the bullet moves little and the case blows open and takes off at several hundred fps. The case usually partially fragments, also.

    Good luck; glad no one hurt, post pic when you find the pieces.
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Recently a magazine editor had a similar occurrence as he dropped a hand full of live cartridges in to a metal can. Apparently the rim of one case reached into a primer pocket of another cartridge and hit it with enough force to set the primer off on the other round. I think he said he had heard of other similar occurrences and now is a lot more cautious with handling live ammo.

    You two guys are the only such occurrences of this I have ever heard about in nearly 50 years of shooting.

    LDBennett
  12. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    did you have a nail or 2 mixed in with your pocketfull of shells? is there any sharp ends of a spring sticking up from the mattress?was there something just under the blanket that could have poked a primer when you dumped them out? wasit a primer that was hit once but didnt go off.
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't necessarily take anything sharp to set off a primer.

    The primer's anvil legs are seated on the bottom of the primer cavity in the case with the priming compound between the anvil and the primer cup bottom. The cup only needs to be crushed (how about by the rim edge of another cartridge?) to set off the very responsive priming compound. The shape of that edge is such that it could enter the primer cavity of the case and get at the primer cup and crush it if all the stars are lined up correctly. The primer is only inset a couple of thousandths below the case rear surface. The edge of a case could easily reach the primer cup.

    LDBennett
  14. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Won't be tossing any more of my ammo on the bed! I have a sleep # bed, and an accident like that would leave me sleeping on the couch!
  15. Suwannee Tim

    Suwannee Tim New Member

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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
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