Palmetto State Armory AR15 KABOOM Thanks To A CLUELESS Shooter

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The Rancho Deliverance Shooting Range located in Lake Elsinore in Southern California recently posted these pictures on their Facebook page of a Palmetto State Armory AR-15 that went kaboom. Apparently a customer had some sort of jam and asked someone at the range to borrow a cleaning rod, according to Rancho Deliverance Shooting Range:

Palmetto State Armory AR kaboom, customer asked to borrow a cleaning rod, apparently he thought he could pound a live round out of the chamber. This is why we get pissed off and have to kick people off the range from time to time

A commenter on the Facebook posting chimed in a with a bit more info:

Was told from folks that were there, he tried to unjam with a cleaning rod when the bolt slammed forward and fired . The rifle was not taken apart before trying.

This isn’t a knock against Palmetto State Armory at all, they make good AR-15 uppers and parts for the price (I have two uppers from them). This seems to be the result of a careless shooter who didn’t take the proper steps to ensure their rifle was safe before attempting to unjam a round. This is definitely not the first firearms related catastrophic failure we’ve posted about, there was that AR-15 kaboom from reloaded ammo we posted a while back where the case head failed causing escaping gas to split the upper receiver into pieces. Then there was the kaboom where a shooter fired a 300 BLK round in a 5.56 AR-15. Firing incorrect ammo seems to happen pretty often. Sometimes the shooter walks away unscathed but gun failures can cause horrific injuries, just like with this Marlin Lever Action Kaboom likely caused by a barrel obstruction. Stay safe out there kids!

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Ray I.

Long time gun enthusiast, archery noob, Mazda fan, Sci-Fi nerd, Whiskey drinker, online marketer and blogger. My daily firearms musings can be found over at my gun blog ArmoryBlog.com and Instagram.

Shoot me an email at ray.i@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • stephen

    Wow

    • Doc

      The charging handle looks intact Right side of upper top is bent. How did that happen.

  • I smell fish. The story of how it just went “off” sounds extremely fishy to me. I can not think of a way without a knuckle head sticking something in the trigger, that the gun could just go off. More likely he could not pound out a bore obstruction and decided to shoot it out. If he was using a cleaning rod on the barrel at the time when it went off and kaboomed then I would expect hand/finger damage at a minimum.

    Did he have half of a bore snake in his kit? Always a likely candidate for an obstructed bore.

    • Rick O’Shay

      If the BCG was held back on the bolt catch while he was pounding the round out, AND something tripped the hammer off the sear/trigger (or they were worn out, who knows), I could see something happening in all the banging the rod down the barrel and causing the bolt catch to drop. Of course, it’s an unlikely combination of circumstances, but if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s an idiot figuring out how to circumvent something idiotproof.

    • Captain Obvious

      I think it is possible. He might have pounded the cartridge just far enough back that when the bolt was dislodged it slammed fired. Since the damage appeared to be around the upper and lower receiver, it probably blew apart at the breach and did not discharge the cleaning rod.

    • Ken

      There was a live round in the chamber that he was trying to pound out. He must have locked the bolt back without removing the mag. While pounding on the cleaning rod, the bolt got loose and stripped a round off the mag, slamming it into the primer of the live round stuck in the chamber and igniting it. Without a locked bolt head behind the cartridge in the chamber, the case blew apart, dumping the expanding gases into the rifle action.

      • spotr

        The primer image supports your theory. There is an off-center mark on the primer which could be from the nose of the next bullet. The center “mark” appears to be an outward jetted “burn-through” indicating that no bolt face or firing pin was behind the primer (unsupported when it fired). The burn-through mark also looks to be smaller than a normal firing pin impact mark.

        • dg13

          That mark is likely a drag mark from the firing pin, when the primer was pushed sideways out of that big slot blown out of the case head, after the rupture event.

          the “burn thru hole” has a raised rim around it which is where the copper was pushed into the firing pin hole in the bolt head under the massive excess pressure.

          a plausible way this could have happened, is round is stuck, guy tries to knock it out with a rod. doesn’t work, so he decides to try to shoot it out, and either forgets about the rod, or has some other bore obstruction.

      • Tom Currie

        This is the only explanation that makes any sense at all together with the babble about what supposedly happened.
        BUT if this Kaboom occurred with a magazine in the weapon, why aren’t there pieces of magazine in the photo where they collected up the bits and pieces of the rifle? Anything that ripped open the upper should certainly have blown any remaining ammo, the follower, the spring, and the base plate out the bottom of the magazine.
        I still agree that a live round in the chamber AND at least one live round still in the magazine are the only circumstances that seem to account for what happened – but if so that should have been obvious from the debris and I would have expected it to be included in the photos.

        • Ken

          The lower is not in that photo. The mag probably was damaged as well and omitted from that photo. Maybe it blew the floorplate out and the rest of the mag is still sitting in the lower.

      • Bolt carrier would not have been demolished in your example.

        • Ken

          I guess the blast could have slammed the bolt head into the carrier with enough force to crack it? It managed to crack the barrel extension at the feed ramp.

  • sb

    covered by warranty…???

  • ClintTorres

    Where’s all the blood and gore?

  • De Facto

    YEESH.

  • Hinermad

    Firing incorrect ammo seems to happen pretty often.

    Understandable, especially when you can swap uppers fairly easily to change calibers. That’s the main reason I haven’t bought a .300 BLK upper for my AR-15. Well, that and money.

    • Spray paint. Electrical tape. Different range bags?

      • Pod

        There’s oodles of labeling and marking tools out there for magazines. Barring that, you could just only train with one or the other in a given session, i.e. today is 300BLK day, tomorrow is 5.56 day.

        • AirborneSoldier

          Just keep it lubed. Bet it was a dry chamber

      • Rick O’Shay

        Different color schemes for different calibers, with mags to match. My 5.56 is FDE, 300BLK is black.

    • Jwedel1231

      My greatest safety is the inability to purchase many things that can harm me.

      • JimboK66

        Well here’s to hoping the money to buy situation will fix itself for you. Nothing like shooting. My son and daughter say the same. Good luck to you.

    • AlDeLarge

      For now, I have plastic 20 rd magazines for my 300 BLK and my brother has GI 30 rd magazines for his 5.56. I say “for now” because I’m waiting for a couple of Form 1’s and I’ll want 30 rd magazines for my new, suppressed SBR. Might need to go with something a bit more immediately obvious than plastic and steel then.

    • I’ve already decided never to swap uppers of different calibers, and to always color code my AR15s. All of the 5.56mm ones (except the repro “early M16” one) have furniture that is *anything* but black. Anything else that has a mag well that will take a “STANAG” mag but isn’t 5.56mm is all black.

      Ditto for mags.

  • Bob

    Seeing as I have little experience with an AR, what would be the appropriate method for cleaning such a jam? I would assume just dissembling it would be safest?

    • Al Wise

      At the very least, yes, remove the bolt carrier and upper receiver.

    • Michael Lubrecht

      At the least, just pop the takedown pin and hinge it open. Better yet is to pop the other pin and just remove the entire upper and bolt for easier access and handier working.

      • Sianmink

        You can’t do that if the bolt carrier won’t go all the way forward.
        It gets complicated from there.

        • J.K.

          There is enough clearance to slide the upper forward if both pivot and takedown pins are open. I have an anti-tilt buffer that extends into the carrier, so the upper has to be taken down in this manner.

          • Yup, BTDT, with a standard carrier that was stuck back in the buffer tube a bit.
            With both pins out, I was able to work the upper forward and off.

    • politicsbyothermeans

      On the range, there is no need to perform “remedial action.” No one is shooting at you so take the time to safely reduce the stoppage. The bare minimum would be to “shotgun” the rifle and remove the charging handle and bolt carrier/bolt. Then, wearing eye pro and observing all of the normal firearm handling rules, you can put a cleaning rod down the barrel and attempt to remove the stuck round. If you can’t remove the round with regular muscle strength, involve a gunsmith.

      I am not saying that this is the easiest/fastest way to take care but it is the safest.

  • Gregory

    Some people just need to learn the hard way.

  • HKGuns

    Darwin award winner. Bet he starts posting his idiocy knocking PSA on the gun forums.

  • mikee

    It never ceases to amaze me how many technically incompetent jerks own firearms in the USA!

  • Rooftop Voter

    Paperweight now.

    • correction paperweightS……

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    No lawnmowers and tannerite? Lame.

  • If I was the idjit that did this, I would crawl into a social media free hole for a few months, no?

  • nadnerbus

    I was shooting with a friend once while he was breaking in a new CMMG upper. A live round was stripped and loaded, the gun went click when he pulled the trigger. Bolt was not fully in battery. Tried to pull the charging handle to eject the live round, and the bolt was stuck fast. Tried to tap the charging handle gently with a hammer with the gun safely pointed down range. Stuck fast. Tried to pivot open the action to get at the bolt carrier, and could not, as the tail of the carrier was juuuuuust inside the receiver extension. We ended up having to take a rag (to protect the finish), a pair of channel locks, and take off the castle nut and extension, carefully tap the bolt into battery, then take the upper off the lower, then use a hammer and chisel on the bottom of the bolt carrier to finally tap it lose and unlock the bolt from a live round.

    A small piece of brass shard had chipped off the mouth of the cartridge, and stuck between the bolt lug and barrel extension, locking them up.

    It was the damndest jam I’d ever seen. Took us ten or fifteen minutes to safely clear.

    • Allan

      After watching the mud bath test I assumed that all are 15 m16 rifles were jam proof , I am truly shocked .

      • nadnerbus

        Any rifle can jam up, obviously. That is one place I will give the AK higher marks, though. The roomy interior of the receiver makes junk like that more likely to fall out of the way, and the all steel bolt carrier and charging handle is strong enough to just whack with a hammer. We probably could have done the same on the AR, but I don’t trust an aluminum charging handle, plus it was a new rifle.

    • Evan

      I’ve had a similar jam. I ended up taking the lower of my friend’s AR and using the buttstock to bash the charging handle of mine until it cleared.

    • RickOAA .

      Mortaring. Remove magazine. Collapse stock. Hold charging handle. Slam stock on hard surface. If the rim of the case doesn’t shear the round will come out.

      • Bob

        the range officer will just love this!!

  • ltulrich

    Kaboom should be an acronym. Like,

    Kinetic
    Acton
    Because
    Of
    Obtuse
    Mentality

    I’m sure someone else can do better. 1, 2, 3, go!

    • jp2336

      That’s perfect. But since you did the hard work I’ll just use that.😉

  • mikee

    That’s funny!! good One!

  • Sianmink

    “Was told from folks that were there, he tried to unjam with a cleaning rod when the bolt slammed forward and fired . The rifle was not taken apart before trying.”
    the thing about an AR15 rifle is, if you can’t get the bolt all the way forward, you also can’t disassemble the rifle.

    • Nothing stopping you from popping the takedown pins and sliding out the bolt in that situation.

      • Hardwood83

        Well, yes there is. As he mentioned, IF the bolt isn’t all the way forward, it is stopping (or at least hindering) you from disassembly.

        Though, I do think we can all agree that whatever this guy did was wrong.

        • Pop *both* pins, and you can usually work the upper off in a forward direction. BTDT.

  • DL

    Sigh. If it had only been a bullpup style rifle. Our problems might have been sol-ved. Reloading is for grown-ups and the mentally sound. Still, there is that elimination of the lower ten percent to consider.

  • DIR911911 .

    charging handle looks fine . . . give u $5 for it

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Maybe im not understanding this.
    So the guy had a round in the chamber that failed to fire so he locked the bolt and jammed a rod down the end of the barrel, the bolt came unlocked and the slammed forward and fired without him pulling the trigger? How come it fired the second time?
    Or did he not notice it was live and thought it just failed to eject?
    Whenever I get a jam caused by a FTE I remove the mag and drop out the round jammed up against the one in the chamber, charge it then pull the trigger to make sure the round has indeed been fired before I put a rod down the barrel.

    This sounds weird.

  • J.K.

    I have a difficult time believing an AR BCG slamming forward could cause the firing pin to slam into the primer with enough force to cause ignition.

  • Lee Attiny

    i have guns in way worse condition than this and they work just fine. sub moa at 100 yards

  • I M Simpleton

    Could be FTF and when he pulled back on the charging handle, an insufficiently crimped round let the chamber act like a bullet puller and the case extracted leaving bullet in the bore? I’ve had that happen with 300AAC handloads.

    So he knew bore was obstructed, ‘oh, I’ll just push the bullet out with a cleaning rod cause I don’t want to waste my range time’, and if he still had a magazine in, bolt came forward and stripped next round from magazine? Still fishy, at the very least dangerous. Our range doesn’t allow cleaning or disassembly in any way on the firing line.

  • RickOAA .

    A guy came into a local shop ranting and raving; demanding a free repair for his new rifle. He was shooting 5.45×39 in place of 5.56×45. It was cheaper, you see. After the 3rd shot it jammed up tight. Genius.

  • Bill

    People amaze me. Just the other day a guy came into my favorite shop asking how he could repair a lower on a very spendy Cerakoted AR. Seems he had tried to replace the trigger guard without supporting the tabs. The resulting snap he heard was the sound of one of the tabs parting company with the lower and he was in the shop trying to cover up the damage by asking the staff to say that the receiver was defective. Not surprisingly, he was unsuccessful, and he left a very unhappy man. So it goes.

  • AirborneSoldier

    Did I miss someting? Many an obstructed round has been cleared from the muzzle end. This one goes boom? Why? As far as the modern “mortaring” technique goes, ive seen too many shooters end up with their face over the barrel. Oh, i see it now, the dipstick had the rifle together when he did this…a no no

  • Ray Jones

    Cannot fix STUPID……

  • CavScout

    Shooter should have taken more steps make sure the bolt could slam on the round, sure, but NO SURPRISE that the PSA gun was malfunctioning. Blowing the junk rifle to bits might be a good lesson, and maybe they’ll learn to buy quality next time instead of trying to pay as little as possible.

  • guest

    I some times wonder what an eagle’s eye, what limitless ability to contain one self, and what kind of tolerance for stupidity and other abilities an instructor of a public firing range must have. I mean some people can just do stupidest things like sweep with a loaded weapon, this kind of cleaning rod nonsense, lose control of a weapon due to recoil and complete lack of shooting skills… I mean just imagine doing that day after day, keeping such shooters “in line” so to speak. I guess in the long run it must get easier to weed out the complete morons because the instructor can recognize the stupidity before it has a chance to show itself in full force by observing the shooter’s attitude, behavior and what not but still – it probably takes a certain kind of personality to cope with that in the long run.

  • Archie Montgomery

    As the French say, “Le bummer’ “