Another Blown Up .40 S&W, This Time A Beretta M96A1

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Just the other day, I posted about the Glock 35 that blew up. Which was originally posted by Cowboy Guns on their Facebook Page. Well they just reported of another pistol that blew up, a Beretta M96A1.

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The explosion took out the extractor and a chunk of barrel where the casing ruptured.

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The Beretta seemed to fair much better than the Glock 35. However the catastrophic failure looks to be different. The GLock 35 blew up due to a squib, this Beretta M96A1 blew up from possible double charge when reloading.

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I do not believe anyone was hurt. Click here to follow the post by Cowboy Guns.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • DW

    And the slide didn’t crack or fly off, this is impressive.

    • AC97

      Berettas these days are actually designed to prevent the slide from flying off in the event of a catastrophic failure.

      • Lou

        DW & AC97,
        “These days” ??? Beretta 92/M9 series pistols have been designed to prevent the slide from coming off for three (3) decades. All of the phony stories of Beretta slides coming off are and have been BS. You always hear “stories” of Beretta slides coming of from people who know someone who knows someone who knows someone who says his slide flew off and hit him in the face – all BS. The stories of the Army testing failures with a 92F originated when the Army used hot German sub machine-gun 9mm ammunition during the 1980s T&E when they were not supposed to – only used this hot ammo on Beretta pistols not on the S&W, etc. from what I understand. Beretta sued the government because of the negative press it generated and won in a settlement. And by the way, the side NEVER came off in that incident either but Beretta ended up engineering the gun shortly thereafter so that it could never occur – tear one apart and you will see how it can’t happen – this .40 example above proves this perfectly and should shut up the internet “keyboard commando” “gun experts” out there.

        • Dougscamo

          When I attended the Beretta Armorer’s school in Accokeek in December 1993, the instructor (a Beretta employee) stated that it did happen with a couple of ITALIAN MADE slides and pointed out the rear slide stop that had been installed on the frame to prevent it from separation. It has never, to my knowledge, been an issue with American-made slides….

        • DW

          Slide could still come off the pistol in a KB though, just not the “flying back and hitting the shooter in the face” kind.

          • Dougscamo

            It would have to be a “Super Catastrophic, Lost My Hand Kaboom” since the frame mounted rear slide stop would either been sheered off or the slide blown up and away from the rails….

  • AD

    Looks like it handled the failure quite gracefully.

  • datimes

    The cheapest and most effective method of avoid a double charge is a powder check system on the reloader. It will not verify the exact charge but will alert if it is unusually high or low.

    • Drew Coleman

      I always charge my cases in batches of 50, and I inspect them with a flashlight before I start seating bullets (I load on a single stage right now). I’ve also purposefully double charged cases to see what it looks like so that I know what to look for (I of course immediately dump the cases after)

      Point is – if you are careful this won’t happen.

    • Christopher Wallace

      id think that double charging a 40 would be very difficult/near impossible. i load 10mm and if i accidentally doublecharge powder goes everywhere and its very clear what i have done.

      • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

        I guarantee you can double-charge .40 with really dense powders like Bullseye.

        • Dougscamo

          That’s why I use Unique exclusively….I can’t shoot well enough to tell the difference in PISTOL powders…..now rifle powders….different story…

        • Christopher Wallace

          gotcha

      • datimes

        I’m with you. A double charge would fill up the cartridge on what I reload. It might also over flow. Unless, of course, you’re not paying close attention.

  • M&M’s

    Ammo issue, no a gun issue as usual with .40 kabooms.

    • iksnilol

      Yup, the .40 S&W chambering was the true issue here.

      *smh, can’t believe people still go for that cartridge when it has been scientifically and repeatedly proven that it is weaker than 9mm.

      • Dougscamo

        Ain’t gonna rise to that bait….

        • iksnilol

          Not bait, is truth.

          How many .40 pistols have been blown up by loading a 9mm in them? How many times has the opposite been done?

          Schooled homeboy! 😛

          • Dougscamo

            Gee….that’s the first time anyone called me homeboy….don’t know whether to smile or not….guess I’ll smile….
            That being said…I will gracefully note that your first post was intimating that 9mm was a better cartridge (thus the bait)….though you DID say first that the .40 chambering was the problem so once again…you sly….
            P.S. I generally avoid blowing up pistols….even with my handloads….bad form to do otherwise….

          • iksnilol

            Well, you came in defense of the glawk “problem solvah” fo-htay, so I assumed you were familiar with the vernacular of the urban culture.

            But yes, I only blow them up if it is under warranty.

          • Dougscamo

            I’m a Southern redneck (actually I prefer Appalachian-American as a descriptor) with “too many guns”… and we are just now using “Homey”….:)

          • iksnilol

            Oh my goodness, darlin’ . I’m in the south too (in Norway, but still, south is south and south is redneck).

          • Dougscamo

            I’m far to the north for “that” Southern accent….that’s grits country and magnolia tree South…bless your heart…

          • iksnilol

            Well, pardner’, Ah did mah best.

          • Dougscamo

            Nope….too far West….keep trying…though you did get “mah” right….

          • iksnilol

            Feller’ ? Does that work?

            Ah did ma best, feller’ ?

          • Dougscamo

            “Man” is our most common usage….to end a sentence….if we don’t use a preposition….

          • iksnilol

            Ah did not have intimate relations with that woman, man.

            Did I use it correctly there.

          • Dougscamo

            Probably as close as you’ll get….though that was Bubba from Arkansas….and we would use a cruder term for “intimate relations”….and “there” isn’t a preposition…
            P.S. Considering the digital firestorm in the comments above….I stand on the merits of my original “bait” comment….

          • iksnilol

            So it was a success then?

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de77d7d88199b5bd70fbc74c83f9659c6d55f8c3103abe675605d6354cb4e05f.gif

            Gotta help keep the lights on somehow, me figures driving up traffic slightly helps earn a bit more ad revenue.

          • Dougscamo

            GOOOOAAAAALLLL!

            BTW, it appears that the firestorm has dropped in the column order…..my bad……

          • iksnilol

            a firestorm is a firestorm, what’s important is that Smokey failed. 😀

          • Richard

            But Bubba was referring to hillary rotten when he made that statement which probably made the statement the truth.

          • throwedoff

            “Man” should have been “suh” (sir)!

          • throwedoff

            “feller'”?

          • iksnilol

            I don’t know! I was spitballing.

          • throwedoff

            I’m a Texas redneck, and I absolutely refuse to use urban/ghetto slang. However, I can drawl with the best of ‘um on request.

          • Dougscamo

            10-Roger on that….we only use “Homey” as a disparaging remark….and “Man” when we’re kidding friends…..

          • Mike Lashewitz

            What no sense of adventure???

          • Hoplopfheil

            Ironclad logic!

          • Tom Currie

            “How many .40 pistols have been blown up by loading a 9mm in them? How many times has the opposite been done?”

            How many 12ga shotguns have been blown up by loading a .308 rifle cartridge? Come on guy, let’s limit the conversation to shooters with a IQ above indoor room temperature.

            Saying a .40 is dangerous because it is possible to stuff a 9mm round into the barrel then blow it up by loading and firing a .40 round behind it is as ridiculous as saying that 5.56mm ARs are dangerous because it is possible to chamber and fire a .300ACC in it. For almost every common caliber, there is some combination of really stupid things that someone could possibly do.

          • iksnilol

            No, it just proves (scientifically since this crap can be measured) that a .40 S&W pistol is structurally weaker than a 9×19 pistol.

          • AJ187

            Smaller bullet in a chamber creates a higher pressure peak than the round it was designed for. This is first day stuff, dude. Keep up.

          • Mike Lashewitz

            Hmmm a 308 in a 12 gauge? I will go try that….

            Damn! the .308 would not stay put and slid right down the barrel. I need a bigger hammer….

      • RocketScientist

        I’m curious how you define “weaker”?

        • iksnilol

          Literally any way.

          Doesn’t provide more energy, doesn’t provide worse wounds… and then you have the ironclad argument of .40’s blowing up easier than nines or .45s.

          • hghgf

            .40s&w is more powerful than 9mm and .45 due to the velocity and weight of the bullet. It’s heavier than 9mm, and faster than .45 look up kinetic energy vs potential energy and you will see….full power 10mm is more powerful than all of them

          • iksnilol

            About as much energy as +p loads in 9mm (which are common). And both 9mm and 40 sw in any form beat most of 230 grain loads for energy.

            So yeah… you could’a saved yerself some embarassment with about 2 minutes of googling, pardner’.

          • RocketScientist

            +P+ loads in 9mm can reach 450 ft-lbf at the muzzle, the hottest 9mm load i can find hits 500, which is impressive. Keep in mind though that this is overpressure +P+ stuff. Meanwhile I can find SEVERAL loadings in .40, at standard SAAMI pressure (aka the same pressure as a standard 9mm, both are at 35ksi per SAAMI) that meet or exceed the HOTTEST overpressure 9mm ammo I can find. And If I start looking at overpressure .40, I can find them hit 550+ ft-lbf energy. So when the hottest +P+ 9mm loads barely meet the same energy as standard-pressure .40, and the hottest .40 loads handily beat the hottest 9mm loads, I don;t see how you can claim that 9mm has the same muzzle energy. It simply doesn’t

          • iksnilol

            I meant +p, not +p+ (there’s a difference).

            I don’t dabble in overpressure.

          • RocketScientist

            “Doesn’t provide more energy”, well most standard pressure .40 rounds have noticeably more muzzle energy than than standard pressure 9mm rounds (400-500 ft-lbf vs 350-450), which ain’t nothin’. Sure, you can find +P and +P+ 9mm loads that hit the 450-500 ft-lbf range, but those are beaten or matched by standard-pressure .40 loads… similarly hot .40 loads will far exceed a hot .9mm. There’s simply not enough rigorously controlled scientific data on wounding potential of any handgun round to draw any conclusions about relative abilities… I think its probably very likely that the difference between .45, 9mm and .40 is negligible, but there’s certainly not enough evidence to state that (or its opposite) as fact. As for as .40s blowing up easier… wha? They have the same SAAMI pressure as a 9mm, a firearm properly designed for .40 is no more dangerous than one properly designed for 9mm… not sure how it’s an ironclad argument? Knowing you, theres a solid 90% chance this is all trolling, but you often do have some pretty insightful pearls of wisdom. I don;t mind coming off looking like you “got me” to strangers on the internet if theres a chance of learning something… I’m no .40 fanboy, but i think it’s demonstrable that a “typical” 40 round will on average have more energy than a “typical” 9mm round, and the remaining arguments don’t make much sense.

          • iksnilol

            Actually there is, there’s been observed plenty of failures with .40 S&W (amongst them being hollowpoints that open up too rapidly, not penetrating much). Shooting someone is if you will excuse me… a crap*shoot*. No guarantees and all.

            But I digress, point is, it’s a marginal larger amount of energy in exchange for noticeable reduced capacity and noticeable slower multiple shots.

            I’ll admit tho, I don’t like .40 S&W, it’s pointless.

          • Manfredi1

            Thanks for admitting it delivers more energy and in turn is not weaker though it markedly more than marginal per any manufacturers specs comparing the two within the same line of ammo.

          • Tom Currie

            On that basis, then the 9mm is equally pointless – in that it provides no greater effective capacity than a .45ACP

            There IS a reason why the vast majority of countries where the military uses 9mm almost all teach the double tap. Two rounds of 9mm are nearly as effective as one round of .45ACP

            [smirk]

            Note: For those with no sense of humor (or simply no sense), the above is just a jibe aimed at our 9mm fanboy.

          • iksnilol

            Wha, what?

            But it provides literally more than twice the capacity. And double taps are smart no matter if it is a .22 or a 14.5x114mm. If it’s worth shooting once, it’s worth shooting twice 🙂

            But yes, good joke, comrade, party have many laugh.

      • efred1

        If the 40’s are weaker, then why do the guns blow up?

        The supposition is illogical.

        A more accurate conclusion would be: To minimize double-charging, select a powder that nearly fills the case, so they cannot be overfilled.

      • Wingbert

        If only more of them blew up right? Maybe we can rid ourselves of that caliber

  • Matt

    Looks like this gun could be put back in service with a new extractor and barrel assembly pretty easily and safely.

    Beretta 90 series pistols generally handle kBs quite well and are easily/cheaply repairable.

    • Matt

      Additionally, the trigger bar blew out as per design to vent gasses away from the shooter’s hand. I’ve seen this before with double charged cartridges in a 90 series. If the bbl hadn’t popped, this gun could have probably been put back in service in about 20 seconds with a field strip and removal of the right grip to reset the trigger bar.

  • Black Dots

    So how much money does reloading save, again? I know I’ll take crap for this, but I don’t care: how much money do you save reloading vs. how much additional risk do you take on by reloading? I’m sure most responses to this will be along the lines of “Well, I don’t worry about it because I know what I’m doing, blah, blah…” Yeah OK, because mistakes never happen. It just seems like a lot of risk and time in exchange for modest savings.

    • lee1001

      I use Unique reloading powder, you can’t double charge it in 9mm due to its low density.

      • Dougscamo

        Right in there with you lee1001! Though I still inspect the loading tray….after charging under natural light…it is comforting to know that powder spilling out of the case when it is charged is a sign that a boo-boo has occurred…

      • Porty1119

        700X in .45, IMR-3031 in .30-30. Same here.

    • iksnilol

      More than enough to fix the damage, if you like match ammo that is :=)

    • raz-0

      It saves somewhere between not enough and quite a lot.

      9mm plinking ammo? Not much savings.

      .40 about half the price of commercial.

      .45 you save a bit more than .40.

      .223? I can load decent accurate ammo for about $200 per k vs. $380 per k or bulk 55gr fmj blasting ammo. The former is ~moa ammo across my guns, the latter is about 1.5-2moa depending on the gun. Another upside is with judicious inventory control, I can keep a supply around that price across market spikes that send the $380 case of ammo through the roof. I can also load match grade ammo that would cost me a buck a round for about $350 per k. Similar for things like speer’s gol-dot ammo.

      Then there’s the weird stuff. Like I set up a .444 marlin round using all copper bullets to shoot flatter. Cost is around $1.25-1.50 per round when I make them. Nobody sold them for a while. Now they do, well cor-bon does.. sometime.. it’s $89 a box of 20 and you usually have to wait to get it.

    • Dougscamo

      Admire your resolve and courage…..to endure the crap….not that I agree with you….imho….

      • Black Dots

        I’m “Apple Removing the Headphone Jack” Courageous 🙂

        • Dougscamo

          OUTSTANDING…lol…..

    • Dave Parks

      I wonder…

      Squibs happen in factory ammo from time to time, and hot loads aren’t unheard of. I wonder if anyone has mean-rounds-between-injury statistics on factory vs reloads.

      • Dougscamo

        Since this isn’t baseball where they count EVERYTHING….I doubt it….

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      The risk while reloading is no more or less than shooting factory ammo. It’s just not a concern.

      There are MILLIONS of reloaders. If the risk was so great, you’d be hearing about exploding guns more frequently on the evening news.

    • KiwiGuy

      The risk with reloading is the same as the risk using a firearm – do something stupid and you’ll get hurt. Follow the rules and you’ll be fine.

    • CAShooter

      But this logic assumes that mistakes don’t happen in factory ammo, i assure you they do, I’ve seen it in person a few occasions. the fact is anything is a risk, and that risk amplifies if the person committing the action is careless. I trust my own judgement and procedures better then some invisible anonymous factory worker. With that said, i do still shoot factory ammo, as well as drive a vehicle that someone else built, because I understand and accept those risks. my rambling point is, people want to bash reloading, because idiots blow up their guns and hurt themselves. But if we stuck to that rationale, or allowed the media and gov’t to use it, then we wouldn’t be allowed to have guns, because the inherit risk in shooting is exponentially higher than golfing, or any other number of activities. if you are a responsible, intelligent adult and want to reload, then do it. if you don’t want to, then don’t. its simple. but it is a good idea to not shoot someone else’s reloads. I have reloaded for almost 30 years and except for a couple of squib loads (which were instantly detected and promptly cleared), I’ve had no problems or safety issues. I however have been present at 3 kabooms, with only minor injuries luckily, but they were all using out of the box, factory fresh ammo. Luckily they were not my guns and I wasn’t pulling the trigger. I also recently had to clear jammed gun for a guy, which ended up being caused by a factory cartridge not having a flash hole! Tell me how that slips past QC. S**t happens, so be careful

  • Some Rabbit

    Using slower burning powders avoids the risk of a double charge since the normal load nearly fills the casing (plus it gives the highest velocity).

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      Or just using less dense powders.

      I can double-charge easily with Bullseye, a fast and very dense powder. Not so much with Unique, W231 or Autocomp, for example.

  • Patriot Gunner

    The yankee marshal is off crying somewhere

    • AC97

      I swear, that guy has some utterly asinine beliefs. He honestly thinks Lehigh Xtreme Penetrator is a good choice for carry because “it goes through bulletproof glass and IIA armor”.

      Never mind the fact that they might be wearing IIIA armor, which literally nobody has tested the round against, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be wearing armor anyway.

      And apparently hollow-points aren’t all that great because they perform poorly against bone, according to him. Oh, and overpenetration just isn’t a concern also, according to him.

      • Patriot Gunner

        “I swear, that guy has some utterly asinine beliefs.” LOL I know right? I won’t even get into his politics, just as asinine as his choice for a defensive carry ammo.

        He loves to make fun of mall ninjas yet keeps touting that your defensive carry ammo should be one that handles body armor wearing terrorists.

        • AC97

          This just occurred to me:

          For a guy that has gone on quite a bit on how revolvers are adequate for defense because “six rounds are all you need for defense since at most one or two shots are usually fired and revolvers are more reliable”, he does love to fantasize about the even more unlikely event of an armored threat, doesn’t he?

          And yet… I keep watching that channel.

          • Patriot Gunner

            Yes!! Exactly!! I must confess, I keep watching his channel too, lol. It’s like one big hairy train wreck you can’t avert your gaze from.

          • Dougscamo

            Not me….I gave him up for Lent….and I suffer from hypertension….

          • Patriot Gunner

            Wise move

          • De Facto

            Yup, I watched maybe 6 or so videos and decided I’d rather stick with more objective/reasonable/fun channels. Military Arms Channel, Hickock45 and demo ranch.

  • Gary Kirk

    Cowboy guns needs to really check their 40 ammo

  • Gary Kirk

    Yeah, it’s amazing how many people place their head in that place.. Not really sure if they do it for the warmth, or if it’s just comfortable to them

  • Kevin Gibson

    That’s the new ventilated chamber design; patent pending.

  • James

    This is one of the reasons I use powders that have a higher volume but have results I favor. For instance, using Accurate #5 to make major power factor will overflow the case when double charged. Yeah, it costs a little more than using Titegroup, etc.

  • Anon. E Maus

    If you’re gonna handload for a Beretta 96 why would you ever not have a Brigadier slide?

  • GordonTrenchard

    I wonder if this will still work with new barrel, trigger bar, and extractor. My guess is yes.

  • Louis Bethel

    Seems to me that Cowboy Guns group has a recurring problem. Perhaps they should step back and learn about ammunition.

  • Core

    The slide looks old and the casting looks rough. The metal in the barrel looks poorly forged. I’m guessing this one got past QC.

  • ckeltz3

    Operator error on both….know your ammo.
    It’s not the gun’s fault some dip-shit didn’t stay on top of his reloading procedure(s).

  • pismopal

    I guess it must be the calibers as it certainly could not be faulty reloading.

  • maodeedee

    I never knew that Berettas and Glocks were considered Cowboy guns.

  • Humpy

    If you’re stupid enough to put those stickers on your pistol, I don’t have much confidence in their ability to maintain their firearm or even use proper ammunition.

  • The Beretta seemed to fair much better

    The Beretta seemed to fare much better

  • jbird

    Pretty misleading headline.

  • Richard Lutz

    Best to stick to 9mm in pistols originally designed for this round. The Glock 19 rules IMO, with the Gen3 variant being adopted by the U.S. Navy SEALs last year.

  • House MD

    So much for “40 Short and Wimpy” I guess…

    Goes to show that any errors or mishandling aren’t easily forgiven, even if the calibre in question is the FBI’s bastardised pussified version of the 10mm