Don’t leave your cleaning jag in the barrel! (Graphic kB Pics)

Ouch! That’s all I can say about this kB posted to Bore obstructions are absolutely no joke.

The rifle was a Contender, apparently chambered in .17 VHA (5.7×28 4.6×30 – thanks Daniel! – necked down to .17 caliber). Pictures after the break.





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Thanks to Jay for the tip.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Dan

    Well that is a lesson learned, hard and probably very painfully.

  • I thought the .17 VHA used the 4.6x30mm HK case.

    • iksnilol

      What place sells 4.6x30mm and what guns can you get that are chambered for it (MP7 no count)? Genuinely curious even though I will probably never use it.

      • Fiocchi offers a 4.6mm round loaded with JSP. I presume the users of the .17 VHA are either pulling down factory ammo, or have another source for the brass.

        • iksnilol

          It is cheaper than I thought. Maybe Savage should make a cheap bolt action rifle chambered for it? I found out that Lilja makes 4.6mm barrel blanks.

          • I’m surprised that no one hasn’t tried to rebarrel existing 5.7x28mm firearms.

          • iksnilol

            Do they use similar bolt faces? That might be an explanation.

          • They are extremely close in rim size and shoulder length.

    • You’re right, it is. It looks like earlier experiments used the 5.7×28 case.

  • Giolli Joker

    Luckily the eye is safe… those wounds are surely painful but they’ll just leave tiny scars with time.
    If he wasn’t wearing goggles, he will surely start to.
    (Never heard of .17 VHA, any link?)

    • It’s .17 Varmint Hunter’s Association, a necked down 4.6×30 HK. Should be able to find it via Google.

  • Cymond

    Wow, that’s pretty serious, but I always wonder how this happens.
    How do you leave a jag in the bore? Did the jag come off the cleaning rod, and he just didn’t notice?
    Also, I’m curious what the gun’s remains look like!

    • Jeff Smith

      I’ve had it happen while using a brush that was a little too big for my bore. As I was pulling the bush out, it engaged the rifling and untwisted from the rod. That being said, I’m not sure how you wouldn’t catch it – I almost fell over when it came loose.

  • jeff

    lesson learned always check the bbl before shooting. i never check the bolt and bbl but i will from now on

  • FWIW

    And that, friends, is why you always wear eyepro. No exceptions.

    • ThomasD

      Thankfully it would appear no bystanders were injured. I can accept the price of my own screw-ups, but would hate to have them hurt anyone else.

      Nothing makes me triple cautious quite like kids on or near the firing line.

    • Barry

      Eye protection? He needed forehead protection! Don’t listen to the other kids, little Jimmy. Always wear your helmet!

    • iksnilol

      Eye pro would have done nothing there, it hit his forehead. Unless you recommend everyone wear those helmet things with the bullet-resistant mask* that gunners use. A “regular” ballistic mask would have helped but then it wouldn’t be eye pro.

      Note: I don’t wear eye pro when shooting, then again I shoot “safe” guns for the most part. Heavy bolt actions and AKs. That and I wear glasses so more crap infront of my eyes would mess up my aim.

      *It’s called Batlskin.

      • Man you never know! Defective ammo can still get you no matter how good the condition of your gun is in.I always wear eye protection usually some Oakley ballistic shooting glasses. Most events I attend whether it’s SHOT, Gunsite you name it you don’t shoot unless you have eyes and ears on.

        • iksnilol

          Do thick glasses with plastic (ish) glass count as eye pro? If so then I already wear it.

          If not, to be honest: the risk is so small that if I got hit I might as well just win at Powerball and buy myself bionic eyes (we have the technology). Important thing though is to be aware of the risk you are taking and to take responsibility for the consequences if there are any. Personally, I don’t use hotrodded ammo and I am always following the 4 rules + always check if the bore is okay before shooting. So I will live with this risk.

          • w0lfie

            Or you could just buy some prescription shooting glasses and mitigate said risk. It’s all a fun academic argument on the internet until you’re blind.

          • iksnilol

            Could do that, could also wear a helmet when walking (I know a guy who fell and hit his head on a rock). Point is, if you do it I have no problem with it but I personally won’t do it except in an indoor range where brass bounces everywhere.

          • I buy decent eye pro, and it doesn;t interfere with my glasses when I’m shooting. (Admittedly, I wear contacts most of the time for the last ten or so years, but I’ve been shooting and wearing glasses since the 1980’s.)

            And, NO, your standard perscription eyeglasses (even with high-tech polycarbonate lenses) aren’t good eyepro. Even if teh lenses hold together, it doesn’t help if the frames fail, and send the LENS into your eyeball edge on — which has been known to happen. Plus, normal eyeglasses provide NO protection on the sides. (Admittedly, I worry about side impacts more when around shotguns than pistols and rifles. . . )

      • It wouldn;t have helped here, because the crap hit higher up. If it had come in at his eye level, he would have lost an eye, most likely.

        In fact, I wouldn;t be surprised if one of the photos NOT posted was one of his eyepro, with a big ol’ chunk of metal embedded in the lens, with the eyepro functioning exactly as intended..

        • iksnilol

          I believe that if he had eyepro he would have shown a picture of it while saying something like “lucky I had these on” or “remember your eyes and ears, kids”. SInce that is what people usually do when posting about their accidents.

  • gunslinger


    • Joseph B Campbell

      I second that, Ouch!

  • echelon

    That was some of the best shooting I’ve seen
    to date – right up to the part where you almost got killed. You never, never
    leave your jag in the barrel.

  • CrassyKnoll

    He’s lucky that it is only brass embeded in his forehead. Steel would have gone into the skull.

  • ThomasD

    I’ve always checked the bore after cleaning, but to be honest it was only to admire my shiny handiwork.

    Never stopped to think it might be saving me from that sort of disaster.

    • Keith Melton


    • Doom


  • imadumbasslol

    so, am i like, the only person who does a bore inspection after cleaning?

    how else do you know if there are deposits or rust?

    • raz-0

      No you are not. I’m not form the school that cleans guns after every use, but when I do do the job, I make sure it’s done.

    • Cknarf

      My first rifle was a 91/30. I am an obsessive bore inspector lol.

    • ihatelibs

      Nope . I Always do . Standard procedure

  • Don Ward

    I can understand why he didn’t want to do a barrel check. Cleaning guns is a dangerous activity. Just ask Jose Canseco!

  • A Hill

    …and that is why in Canada we have “E” in PROVE.

    (for this non-PALers)
    P – oint in a safe direction
    R – emove all cartridges
    O – bserve the chamber
    V – erify the feed path

    E – xamine the bore

    Each time you pick up/work on/before loading a firearm!

    (Yes, having someone look the down the barrel still makes me cringe, if you do the first 3 steps you are safe, add in a bore light to help and for extra safety that way there is NO WAY the action can be closed / dangerous)

    • w0lfie

      Good mnemonic; thanks for sharing

  • Duh, duh, duh duhduh, DUMBAZZ!

  • ihatelibs

    Lucky he Still has Two Eyes

  • Kivaari

    In the Army 30 years ago, at each qualification was preceded with a SFC running a cleaning rod through the bore.