M1903 Springfield KABOOM

Different gun, same story. The owner of this gun was shooting “factory reloads” (remanufactured ammunition) and did not stop shooting to clear a squib.

Kappy at WeaponsCache.com wrote

This happened at my range a few weeks ago. The owner of a Springfield 1903 was shooting some of the nastiest looking factory reloads I’ve ever seen. I looked at the bag of bullets (never a good sign) and saw old military spam, corroded ammo, etc. all mixed up.

People were picking up pieces of the stock, mostly splinters, from all over the shoot house. Fortunately for those around him, we have baffles to separate shooters for just this eventuality. The shooter received superficial injuries to his hands. A few stitches sufficed.

He was expected to be a bit gunshy, but was back out this past Saturday.

Apparently he had a squib which parked itself a round 10″ down the barrel. Instead of checking, he racked another one, pulled the trigger, and suffered the consequences. I’m glad he’s OK, though. Split that beautiful barrel like a banana peel, though.

By all means, save as much money on ammunition as possible. Buy cheap military surplus, buy in bulk, but don’t buy bags of loose “factory reloaded” ammunition from shady vendors at gun shows.

[ Many thanks to Matt for the tip. ]

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.


  • S.

    I had a squib once but there wasn’t enough force to eject the round and there was no bang. The round only traveled about 2 inches down the barrel and I had to hammer it out.

    • S.

      I meant eject the casing.

  • Nicks87

    Another good piece of advice is to listen and pay attention to the sound of the rounds going off. If something sounds funny, like a pop instead of a bang, make sure to unload the weapon and check the bore immediately.

    Stuff like this should never happen on the range. When in doubt, check it out. You have plenty of time to check your weapon if you have even the slightest suspicion that something is wrong.

    Quality ammo and proper maintenance help too.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Glad everyone is safe. At least it was a ‘sporterized’ (butchered) rifle and not one still in original, military furniture.

    • Flounder

      I wanted to give you a thumbs up but I just couldn’t do it; because even though I agree it would have been slightly more sad if this was a perfect, pristine, collectible rifle it just SUCKS that this guy blew up his rifle!

  • alannon

    I had a squib once. It was the only time I’ve ever heard a gun actually sound like a suppressed pistol from the movies.

    It was with brand-name ammo, probably Winchester white box; the only reloads I shoot are my own. But 1 round out of I don’t know how many thousands of rounds is pretty good.

  • gunslinger

    glad everyone is ok. but how do you not clear a squib? i can understand a FA device….but a bolt action?

  • Esh325

    I’m thankful for the smart people who made engineered these firearms to be safe and highly unlikely to kill you even when they blow up.

    I wonder if the action itself is okay?

  • The one squib I ever had occurred during a string of fire in an IDPA competition. I didn’t even notice it and would have continued firing if the RSO and everybody else on the range hadn’t started hollering at me to stop. Thankfully, the squib occurred as the last shot on a target, and there was time in the transition between targets for people to holler. I always listen for squib rounds when I’m shooting, but I guess in the heat of competition, I didn’t notice. The manufacturer took back the entire batch of ammo and refunded me for it.

    • I went back and re-read my blog post from that day, and actually what happened was I thought it was a dud round that didn’t fire at all. I was about to tap-rack when people who heard the squib yelled for me to stop.

    • Lance

      Hay josh are your eyes crying seeing a classic destroyed? mine are. Email me any new M-4 PIP news???

    • Lance

      Oh my email is L a n c e 7256 at the yahoo dot com

  • Lance

    Steve quit torching my eyes no more classic guns that blow up….. The shooter wasn’t paying attention you can feel a squib and he should have called it quits and punched the bullet out. much of the shooters fault.

    And Military 06 is getting harder to find all US stocks empty and Korean stocks low. may have to reload your self.

  • Icchan

    I’ve had soft ammo on me (fricking UMC .40 ball, I swore off the whole damn caliber after that and some other issues) but never a squib. I’ve no idea what it sounds like or how to tell it’s happened outside of “wow, there wasn’t even a puff at the far end, I wonder where that one went,” but my only real thought is this.

    Ammunition is like everything else – you get what you pay for. This also means you also get what you DON’T pay for. Feed your guns like you feed yourself; you wouldn’t dumpsterdive for something you could microwave for dinner, would you?

    I’m now going to hug my .38 and tell her she’s a good girl and she’ll never get bad reloads. There there baby.

  • D

    Never had a squib, thankfully. And when i’m firing the nagant, i always make sure it actually fired, before i cycle it.

  • Big Daddy

    Never fired one, but as a young man I held one they had at the American Legion. I will never forget how that rifle felt, like a piece of exquisite furniture with a barrel on it. You just knew when you shot it the round was true and would probably kill what you hit.

    I sure didn’t feel that way about the M16s I shot.

    The scoped model was used all the way into the Vietnam war. What a great weapon. I also held a late WWII Mauser, it was a later model and you can tell the workmanship was slipping.

    The gun laws here really are difficult and there are few places to shoot. It’s a waste of time to even try.

  • Charlie

    Garbage in, garbage out. You can’t put shit in a fine old rifle and not expect a turd to develop.

  • sgt fish

    i had a 25 AUTO round get stuck poking out of the barrel. luckily the firing pin broke at the exact same time and wouldnt let the next round shoot. i ended up hammering it out but i should have just put it in a shadow box and hung it on the wall

    • Zermoid

      Did you play the lottery that day?

      You sure were lucky!

    • Bob Z Moose

      Had that happen, but with a .44 Mag and “extra mild loads”. Was shooting and ended up pulling the trigger with a “POP”. My dad and grandpa freaked out and did everything biggest the gun out of my hands. I just turned around and said “It was the last round.” I had noticed the sqib and wasn’t going to keep shooting, but it was some sort of dumb luck the I actually couldn’t. Dumb luck, I guess.

  • Zermoid

    Have had a few squib rounds over the years, mostly firing old 22 RF ammo, but have had a few old paper hulled shotgun rounds go POP instead of BANG! as well. Have had more dud and hangfires over the years than squibs….

    First rule of shooting is if it doesn’t sound/kick like normal STOP!
    Figure out why before firing another round. Only exception would be in a gunfight. Otherwise the risk, both to you and your gun, is just too great to ignore.

  • JT

    the heck with him being gunshy or not. What kind of range would let somebody back in after such negligence when the only thing keeping his fellow shooters from suffering serious injuries was a few baffles. It’s not like it’s an indoor range with full fledged walls. This kind of thing would get people banned for life at any range that I go to

  • Woodroez

    There’s a sporting goods store downtown in my city that sells factory reloads; I once stopped in there for some 30-30 and inspected some of the ammo. The very first cartridge I pulled out of the packaging had a split in the casing, right where it bottlenecks down. IIRC, I inspected further and found a case with a dent. Garbage.

  • I will admit to having had several squibs when I first started using a progressive press. I’ve always cleared them, though.

    I think the issue is that the guy didn’t reload, so he just didn’t know ammo could be bad like that. I’m not going to claim that he was careless, needed to be kicked from the range, or anything of the sort. It’s one of those teachable moments.

    Beyond that… I shot in the bay next to him on his first day back… didn’t feel unsafe.

  • Oh… I should also add that it wasn’t a bag of ammo that he’d bought. He just brought the ammo to the range in a baggy.

  • derfel cadarn

    Over the years have had many misfires and other type issues with “factory ammo”,the fact that this “shooter” had a squib and failed to react safely is the problem here,not the ammo. If you are shooting and something does not sound right,feel right or smell right you have an obligation to your fellow shooters to find out what is wrong. If you get killed you were stupid if others were killed that would be a tragedy. Use your brains!

  • Chris B

    He didnt notice the round not coming out??? Wtf – don’t people look at your targets/ foreground/ background ?