Springfield XDM Kaboom

Last weekend Steve was firing .45 ACP loaded Corbon 185 grain bullets from his Springfield XDM. Steve said in an email to me (emphasis added) …

The crack looks small, but when you disassemble the weapon, it doesn’t want to go back together. I also think that the extractor is bent or damaged. It felt like someone slaped my open palm with a 2×4, but no blood…thank goodness. As you can see in the images, the case “appears” to have been about 1/8th inch out of battery when it went off. I had fired two mags of the “Cor-Bon” ammo without any problem, the third mag fired the first two rounds without any problem, third round misfired. I cleared the weapon and it fired the next round, had a misfeed on the next, cleared it and then it fired one more round, and on the next shot, KABOOM! I had cleaned it the night before. I am a PPO, (Personal protection officer). I would hate to think that it might happen in a gun fight protecting a client.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • john

    that’s why i like the steel guns. corbon is typically hot loaded stuff. with a properly treated steel frame this wouldn’t have happened. people say they are too heavy for carry, but i’ve carried a full size 1911 everyday for the past year and no complaints. all you need is a good holster and belt and it’s like the guns isn’t even there.

  • Josh

    Hmm, doesn’t sound like the gun to me based off of the limited info.

    How many rounds through it total? What other ammo has it been eating without problems?

  • Martin (M)

    Oooo! Out of battery KB.

  • This is not the first one of these I have seen. I work at a very large firearms training facility in NV and have seen this on a couple occasions. As near as I can tell from what I have seen, it is not usually the gun at fault (with one exception). I have seen rounds (Cor-Bon loads among them) that have overpressured the gun. It looks as though that has happened to your gun. The problem I see with your situation is that you had some sort of open breech detonation problem. This can happen (and all too often does happen with the XD family of pistols) because of the way the magazines are made. The XD magazines are very susceptible to bending and widening of the feed lips. If that occurs you can experience a premature ejection of the round from the magazine during the action cycle. The primer can them be struck by the ejector, the extractor, or anything else. While I have never seen one struck by the extractor, it is definitely possible. Because you cited a bent extractor, I would suspect that was the culprit. Check your magazines for spread feed lips. You may need to compare it to a brand new magazine for accuracy. If they are too wide, replace them and use the old ones for training drop mags, etc. Also, based on the way the misfired case is deformed, it could have been a “crush” type open breech detonation. This occurs when the round is slightly misaligned with the chamber (bound in a three point jam) and the slide crashed against it. The crush of the case can detonate the primer.

    Obviously these are just theories since I cannot physically see your gun and gear, but as I said, I’ve seen quite a few of these. Check those mags! Hopefully they are the problem as they are easily replaced. I’m sure Springfield will take care of the cracked frame, too. Good luck!

  • RP

    Handloads or factory ammo? Not clear from the post. Decent point about the polymer frame vs. steel, but steel is not perfect either for protection.

  • Matt in AZ

    Yep, looks like it was out of battery and had a case head seperation. Frame is wrecked but the polymer absorbed the blow and the gun, from the looks of it, didn’t grenade. I could speculate about the ammo, or the condition of the gun, but I think we should point the finger at the loaded chamber indicator. Was the LCI fully up indicating a properly seated cartrige or just partially up indicating an unsure condition in which the gun was mechanically ready to fire yet unsafe to do so? Hmm? All kidding aside I am glad Steve is ok

  • Rob

    Just going to be a lot of pointless speculation without more info and detailed photos. Would especially like to know what those “misfires” were.

  • Trango

    In these instances I tend to look more towards the ammo than the firearm. Unless in scenarios where an individual is using an older model Glock and hanging a light from it.

    Never shot cor-bon ammo before so I personally can’t say for sure. Gut check though is that it’s the ammo. The XDMs are a solid platform and although the. 45 is new their .40s perform well.

    Stick with Federal or Winchester ammo.

  • zack991

    I agree with john. I switched from my XDm to a colt 1911 and I do not regret it at all. I loved my XDM, but simply polymers can not handle the same amount of stress as well as the all steel frame guns. I am sure it was the ammo, but either it was an over charged round or simply there was already a crack working its way and this was just the finishing blow.

  • Nate

    What Corbon ammo was it? Looks nasty, man. Glad you’re ok.

  • TZH

    hope there we’rent any injuries. never fails to give me the heebie jeebies

  • Brice

    I’m wondering if the crack happened before the KB. I’ve heard around the intertubes that XDs will fire out of battery. Is that actually true, or did this gun allow the cartridge to fail because the cracked frame?

  • Bill

    Aren’t all kabooms ammo related?

  • Jesse

    John saying steel is stronger than plastic is not always a accurate, it depends on the kind of steel and the kind of plastic. Some plastics are stronger and lighter than steel.

  • hmmm
    and we wonder why the Corps. sticks with 1911?
    “Why not go with a modern plastic fantastic?”
    …there you go.

  • Griffin

    Weird and scary!

    My XD45 has never once bobbled. Whether I clean it or not, lube it well or not, it just works.

    My XDM9, on the other hand, requires constant lubrication else it will fail to go fully into battery. I’ve only shot about 400 rounds through it though and I’m hoping it will break in and start becoming more reliable. If it doesn’t by 800 I’m going to send it back.

  • Scott

    Can’t wait to hear how Springfield handles this…

  • Daniel

    That’s why I like .357 sig. Bottleneck catridges mean the chance of a round not going fully into batter are almost nil.

  • Sian

    Great photos!

    Sure looks like an OOB to me as well. What’s the life on an XD recoil spring?

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  • Steve`

    This pistol has been fired approximately 500 rounds. Most of which was Win. 230 ball. I have carried the corbon in my 1911 for the last couple of years and wanted to make sure they would feed in the XDM when this happened.

  • Beaumont

    Steve, the info wasn’t entirely clear — was it a handload or a factory load? In my limited experience with the brand, Cor-Bon appears to have good quality control. It is hot ammo, but is supposed to fall within SAAMI specs. On the other hand, a lot of guns have been damaged by out-of-spec handloads. If this was a handload, my guess would be that the case mouth belling was not adequately removed.

  • From the limited information I have reading about it, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that it fired out of battery. It’s extremely difficult to get a modern handgun to fire OOB, and the XD and XDm series have a pretty sturdy reputation. I know the first thing anyone thinks when the dreaded kaboom happens is it fired out of battery, but I don’t believe that to be the case.

    With .45ACP in particular, an especially bad combination of circumstances can lead to this very situation. A hot load with relatively weak brass mixed with an aggressively polished chamber mouth/feed ramp can leave a little unsupported cartridge case exposed. The shape of the ruined case is indicative of a blowout, rather than firing out of battery.

    Just two cents from a PA gunsmith!

  • Travis

    Wow sounds like some trouble leading up to to it:
    misfire, cleared, fire 1, misfeed, cleared, fire 1, kaboom

    3 failures out of 5 rounds… something bad going on. Maybe a little bit of copper jacket or something stuck in the chamber, and that first misfire was due to being out of battery. Did the first misfire have a good primer strike?

    Sounds like it was running right at the edge of out of battery. And that last one was the sweet spot– in battery enough to fire the round, and out of battery enough to blow up.

    It seems to be firing after clearing, which would be manually operating the slide rather than letting the gun lock up on its own. All the failures where when the gun fired and reloaded on its own.

    Keep us posted, I expect Springfield will want the gun back to examine.

  • Ouch! Now I’m 50/50 on whether this was the firearm’s fault or the ammo’s fault.

  • kerrmudgeon

    The case head appears to have separated suggesting there wasn’t enough support. Martin could be correct, firing out of battery would leave more of the rear part of the cartridge unsupported by the chamber.

    Would a heavier recoil spring make this kind of event less likely?

  • Adam B

    Maybe I didn’t see, but is it factory ammo or reloads? If you’re running reloaded ammo and the cases aren’t perfect, then I can see this happening.

  • David Fiorito

    I admit that I do not know all of the specifics, but the sequence tells me this could have been avoided …

    “the first two rounds without any problem,”

    … good so far …

    “third round misfired.”

    … 1st sign. I usually stop at this point and give my gun a good look.

    “I cleared the weapon and it fired the next round,”

    … Okay. I can see thinking that everything is good to go.

    “had a misfeed on the next,”

    … 2nd sign. Now I would stop completely. Something is wrong and should be fixed.

    “cleared it and then it fired one more round,”

    … This is what engineers hate when troubleshooting a problem – intermitent occurrance.

    “and on the next shot, KABOOM!”

    … Unless you are in a fight, there is no reason to let a mechanical issue continue. You had two clear warnings that something was not right. At the range we need to be over cautious when it comes to mechanical issues.

    We need to put safety first, second, third, and fouth.

  • Sigivald

    Contra John, I don’t see how a steel frame prevents out-of-battery failures.

    (And a quick Google images search for “1911 Kaboom” will find you a nice gallery of 1911 frames that have failed…)

  • Jacob T. Royer

    This is a bit concerning, as I would expect a higher quality polymer from a company such a Springfield, but then again, this is also the reason I don’t trust most “plastic” guns. BUT I could be wrong, depending on whether or not this gun is Used, New, and how many rounds have been through it.
    @ John, 1911-Type pistols, in my own opinion, are some of the best pistols out there, if you know where to get them that is, once I get the money, I plan on buying a Kimber Warrior.

  • Richard Thibedeau

    What has Springfield Armory had to say about this? This is the first I have ever heard of a malfunction of the XDM. I saw the 20,000 round torture test on the XD 9mm and this doesn’t seem right. Sounds like something was restricting the round from going full battery.

  • Kyle

    Polymer frames have advanced so much in the years, the differences are negligible. I’ve seen as many steel guns kB as I have polymer framed guns

  • Bob

    Why does the bottom case have crimp marks and the other two cases don’t doesn’t look like its the same ammo. An 1/8 inch out of battery won’t let the trigger work. Try it on another xdm just bring the slide back a little bit and it wont fire.

  • I’d love to see more pictures. Firing out of battery is basically something I don’t understand. I’ve shoved folded over sheets of paper behind the hood of a pistol’s barrel to try to get it to fire out of battery. Basically, the design is so tight in lock up that if the thing isn’t within a couple of thousandths of closed, it won’t fire because the disconnector has been activated. I tried this in Glock and XD.

    I’d like to see if the barrel suffered damage. The first-hand witness to this event states that he was using cor-bon ammo, but the cases I can see in the photo feature different styles, although I can’t see the headstamp. He was also having misfires? Squib? No bang at all? etc.? Surely sounds like ammunition issues.

    If someone can explain to me how a pistol can fire while 1/8″ out of battery, I’d like to hear about it. I can’t duplicate the circumstance or figure out how to do so.

  • J Star

    Let’s see: The gun didn’t allow you to be injured. (Steel or not the frame could crack, so 1911 fanboys can stop it.)

    If you were a professional PPO, one would hope you would have already drawn your backup, given that you were having a bunch of malfunctions already. You wouldn’t blame the weapon, as you would realize that any and all guns can and do fail at the worst possible times.

  • Mr Maigo

    wow, it survived really well

  • Komrad

    interesting, but I don’t think this was because of the polymer frame, it didn’t really explode like a polymer grenade, and it didn’t fail because it was too weak
    it just fired out of battery

  • Bobnailer

    A friend of mine who’s spent most of his adult life working for alphabet soup organizations refers to his beloved Glock as “combat tupperware”; he loves his Glock(s) but also believes an all-steel sidearm is the way to go. I realize this wasn’t a polymer frame issue but the fact that the tupperware frame cracked indicates how much force was imparted on the frame. I agree with another post, if it had been a steel frame, there would’ve probably been no crack. If that polymer frame had expanded more, it would’ve sliced through your hand like butta, and let’s not forget, if an injury at a shooting range is severe enough, it qualifies as a GSW (Gun Shot Wound) believe it or not. I can hear it now, “Ya, doc, I was weed whackin’ my backyard and the darndest thing happened…”

    Bob

  • Nathaniel

    I have to comment that all this nonsense about this not happening to a steel-framed gun is utter nonsense. If you mean that the out of battery kB wouldn’t have happened at all, that’s false. If the OOB was design-related at all, it was fire-control group related, not frame related at all.

    If you mean to claim that a steel or aluminum framed gun would have protected the shooter’s hand more, then why? Not only did this shooter receive not a single laceration (sounds like the frame did its job just fine), but precisely why do you think a steel or aluminum frame would do a better job? Plastic is flexible, and able to bend with an explosion, whereas both steel and aluminum can spall and fragment, sending nasty shards into the palm of the shooter, which take surgery to fix.

  • charlieeye

    Travis seems to put forth a very good point in his theory on a possible cause. Previous malfs seem to indicate failure was coming at some point.

  • texasplinker

    i will be very curious to hear what the bottom line on this turns out to be.

    @ the steel is the only way crowd, with respect:

    http://pistol-training.com/archives/4027

    thats 50,000 rounds of .45 through a polymer pistol. still, GTG.

  • Ken

    Griffin,
    My xd40 took between 800-1000 rds to break in. I had “occasional” feed issues. All is well now. Find cheap ball and blast away.

  • AnointedSword

    I am with Komrad about the polymer frame. I also believe XDs are sub-par in the magazine department (Par being Glock) as well. With that said, I was a telephone call away from getting a XDm compact 9…then I remembered the first two XDs I owned. I called and got a Glock 26 gen 4 instead. No reason to flame, if you have good luck with your XDs, have at it.

  • Brad

    This happened more than 10 years ago, but I had a bad experience with some Corbon .357 magnum. Several cartridges, I believe 5 out of the box of 20, had no powder loaded in the cases.

    This was discovered when a friend of mine was trying out my then-new snubby Taurus revolver. I had just fired 5 rounds without any problem when I asked him if he wanted to try it out. Good thing too.

    I had fired the first five shots rapidly in double action. My friend fired more cautiously in single action. The second hammer fall resulted in seemingly nothing happening. Examination revealed an empty case and a bullet lodged halfway down the barrel. Apparently a squib event which pushed the bullet out of the case from the energy of just the primer igniting.

    We set the remainder of the box of cartridges aside after that.

  • “johnon 10 Feb 2011 at 4:10 pm link comment

    that’s why i like the steel guns. corbon is typically hot loaded stuff. with a properly treated steel frame this wouldn’t have happened. ”

    http://gunfreezone.net/wordpress/index.php/2010/12/02/kaboom-across-the-board/

  • Jacked Up High

    I’m glad to see that the frame did its job and protected the shooter.

    I’m a firearms instructor folks, this looks extremely similar to one of the sample casings that I use in class that had a double charge. Almost every pistol out there will fire with slight movement from fully in-battery, it’s how far that’s important to note. What I’ve personally found interesting with a double charge is that the pistol is already starting rearward when the casing shreds/separates the head, but why it doesn’t cause more damage to the walls of the casing is interesting to say the least. (you just have to love physics, though we don’t like these kinds of physics in practice)

    To the OP, would you be so kind as to post up if this was factory ammunition, hand loads, what manufacturer, and the lot number? That information would be immensely helpful should someone else have a similar problem with a lot of ammunition.

    Did you keep any of the misfires? It might be an indicator as to how much or how little powder (if any at all) was in those misfires (source of a double charge) and thankfully it didn’t wind up being a squib-load catastrophic failure.

    To the poster that put up the Federal AE recall info thanks so much for posting that!

  • cm smith

    One guess: Striker movement impaired in some way.

    The striker being unable to move forward freely could cause a failure to fire, obviously. (Symptom 1)
    Impairment so severe as to cause the striker to be stuck protruding from the breach face could cause a failure to feed/chamber (Symptom 2)
    or – worse – premature ignition as a new cartridge is chambered, firing the cartridge like a fixed firing pin open bolt submachine gun. (Symptom 3)

    One scenario: Cratering. Primer material extruded into striker channel and then sheared off by downward movement of the unlocking barrel. Multiple small pieces of sheared primer metal can accumulate, impairing movement of the striker.

    I had this happen, with the failure to fire result, in a 1911 using early Remington 185 +P .45 ACP and a Ti firing pin. The debris in the FP channel was obvious, as was the sheared, extruded metal from the primers once I knew to look.

    Either high chamber pressure or low firing pin energy (more of a rifle phenomenon) can cause primer cratering. Worse together.

  • Steve

    Hey guys, just haven’t had time to look until now. The cor-bon was factory ammo, as to the difference in the cases, they came out of two different lots, but all factory Cor-bon solid copper hollowpoint ammo. The pistol has been sent back to Springfield and I am awaiting their findings. David was right, I should have stopped after the first misfire. And I do carry a backup when I am working. This was just an afternoon at the range…..Bottom line is, I am very happy to have all my fingers. From all indications, Springfield is going to replace the weapon, and “I” couldn’t see any damage to the barrel, it just didn’t want to go back together. I appriciate the comments and concerns. My hand “tingled” for a couple of days.

  • “Federal will provide replacement product
    and will cover the cost of returning the affected product.
    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

    Heh heh… and we apologize for any unseemly amputations, blindings or other related maiming caused by our defective ammo turning your handgun into a shrapnel manufacturing engine.
    Seriously, that notice would seem to resolve the issue, to me. and above all, glad that there was NOT a serious injury – things like that have given me the creeps since I was a kid and saw an Italian rifle with a lug failure, blow the bolt out. Sure, we can’t live in fear or paranoia, but it is good to remember that each time we squeeze . press or otherwise move the trigger, we are setting off a controlled explosion in a metal chamber which is either resting in our hand, or sitting a few inches in front of our face.

  • Steve

    Up date from Steve: the ammo was all factory; it came from several different boxes of the CorBon 185 copper hollow points. Once the mags were loaded, the boxes were discarded. The mags are unloaded each week and then reloaded before I go back on duty. I should have kept the misfires but didn’t. At the price of this ammunition, I can’t (don’t) practice with it very often and have had these rounds for about a year. We learn from our own mistakes and if we are fortunate, from those of others. Personally, I just don’t shoot pistols that much, but need one for our Church Security as a PPO. I am really a long range rifle guy. I can assure you that IF and when I have misfires or failure to feed while practicing in the future, I won’t make this mistake again. It might have been avoided and maybe not. Wanted to let others know about the possiblities. Thanks for all of your input and comments.

  • Eli

    I am curious to find out what Springfield says the problem was. I use the Cor-Bon 180gr DPX bullet on my XD .45 ACP for my defense round. I have fired a box of them in the range as well as a box of Ranger T’s +P. I have yet to have any issues with my XD. If you could, give us the update once you hear from Springfield with the cause. Thanks for the info keep us informed

  • Steve

    As soon as I hear back from them, I’ll add to the post. The last word that I had from the dealer was that he “Thought” they would replace the frame at least and maybe the whole thing. I’ll keep you posted. On another note: I went back and pulled all the cor-bon rounds out of my magazines and found that they use Brass and nickel cases, some brass has the little indentions around the case, some don’t. The only things that all the rounds have in common are the case head stamp, (Clearly marked Cor-Bon) and the solid copper bullet. Just FYI

  • Vince

    I was at the range with my friend yesterday and had a similar mishap, well he had the mishap. He has a XDM in .40 with over 2000 rounds through it so far. Shot over 50 rounds without a hicup yesterday. Tried a new handload, 5.0 grains of Clays over I think a 155gr Berry’s plated. We looked in his Sierra book when we got home and his bullet weight is an intermitent weight, but the weight below his showed either 5.4 or 5.6 as max load and the weight above showed 5.2 as max load. So either way he was under max load.

    Fired the first round of his new load and checked the case, no signs of high pressure. No cratering around the firing pin strike, no flattening of the primer, no case bulging. He fired 5 more and on the fifth one KABOOM. It did not damage the frame at all but he had head separation that looks like the one in the picture. We checked everything over thouroghly and tried firing it again. Fired just fine but failed to eject. We pulled the slide and noticed the extractor was loose and flopping side to side, so it ended up getting bent at some point. I would think on the kaboom the pressure that escaped into the slide caused the extractor to bend, but that is only a guess.

  • steve shipley

    Springfield fixed the pistol….BUT they blamed it on the ammo, and sent ma a bill for the repair. I figure they don’t want to admit any liability. I’m selling it and going to have a custom 1911 built by Ken Crawley in Texas. This is my last plastic pistol. Thanks for all the comments. SS

  • Very glad to see the frame did it’s job, although I am rather disappointed that the weapon malfunctioned like that. I guess that’s a risk you take when you buy a polymer pistol, but they have their advantages as well. I picked up a Springfield XD .45 last year, and I haven’t put any Corbon ammo through it yet, but I was about to do a range report on my blog about the different types of ammo and the issues I run into with each one. . . I’m going to add a link to this post for my readers to see in my original review of the XD. That review can be found here: http://thelowready.blogspot.com/2011/03/first-look-springfield-xd45-45acp.html

  • Jay

    Interesting…because I’ve been shooting my xdm .40 for years without a hiccup…in fact I’d fired a round that had a double powder charge…went through about a mag and a half…the gun held up fine…Also, i dont know how this would be possible…because this particular design doesnt allow the firing pin to strike when its 1/8 out of battery…something kinda seems fishy…just my 2 cents…

  • Matt

    Glad to hear no injuries but hard to believe a commercial SAMMI spec round did this. The newer, not just XDm, pistols are designed with tolerances present that cannot allow for it to fire out of battery.

    The few rounds pictured are NOT all the same. It also appears, without a better picture I cannot be certain, that there are die marks from reloading on the case that blew.

    I have been using CoreBon DPX rounds as a personal carry/ballistic testing for years in several pistols, XDM – 40 being one, and never ever has there been any problems.

    You could certainly contact SA and see what if anything they could do if the pistol is still under warranty but I wouldn’t do so with the pictures provided as they are not the same round and the end result looks like a common over-charge. While anything is possible from a factory round I have NEVER seen it thru countless rounds of varying calibure of ammo.

    Also seeing some score marks as if made by a sizing die they would be more apt to write this off as an incorrect charge on hand loaded ammo.

  • Steve

    Matt, if you looked back at some of the older post, you would see that the rounds came from several different lots of ammo. ALL were factory rounds, even though the cases were slightly different. Having said that, they charged me to fix the pistol, which I immediately sold and ordered another 1911. Gave away any Cor-bon that I had left and it is a done deal as far as I am concerned. This pistol would fire (even after they fixed it, HA HA) with the slide moved slightly to the rear. As to the score marks, they came from driving the ruptured case out of the barrel. Have a GREAT day.

  • Elmo

    Steve, if I may be so bold and ask, What did Springfield charge to fix your pistol?

  • Steve Shipley

    Of course Springfield didn’t accept any responsiblilty, but they only charged $135 to fix it. Which I sold as soon as it came back. As to the guy that ask about the ammo, if he had look at the earlier post, he would have seen that all the ammo was factory, just from different lots. If you go look at any of that ammo, over a period of time, the brass is all different….

  • Steve Shipley

    They fixed it for $135 if my memory is correct. I sold it as soon as I got it back. All of the corbon ammo was factory, just purchased over a long period of time. Evidently they have used several types of brass over the years. It was ammo that I had unloaded into a box and they were from several different lots over about two years time. Hope that helps.

  • Mark

    Hey Steve,

    I would not even want to speculate what happened as there is not enough info, but one possible cause for a overpressure failure (if that was the case) could be repeated unloading and reloading of the same round causing the bullet to be set back into the case reducing the case volume and creating excessive pressure (especially on already hot loads). I know you stated these were old rounds if you unload and reload your weapon frequently make sure you rotate rounds in the magazine so no one round is recambered to many times and inspect COL from time to time. Even better toss some down range more often, that more fun.

  • Chris Honry

    If I had to bet money on this, I’d bet there was a squib in the barrel that caused the kaboom.