Do machine guns ever get slow loads that get a round stuck in the barrel and then the barrel blows up with the next round?

3 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    Heck yes.  ANY firearm can have this happen.  Ammo got a little wet but not enough kill all the powder, primer misfires, the ammo could be physically damaged or not enough powder added at the factory or handloader. 

    I have seen a bolt action rifle this happened to - it developed a bulge in the barrel where the stuck bullet was struck with a freshly fired one.  Owner said it didn't bother accuracy much...... I have suspected he was not a very good shot to begin with and the bulge made a coinvent excuse.

    I saw a rifle in a gun shop.  Split in half, left to right, from the receiver forward the whole length of the barrel save for the last 2" - the barrel curled up like a piece of decorative flower pot hanger.  Smitty said the owner survived although the guys hand swelled up like a catches mitt.

    Not just machine guns.  

    That said - with a machine gun about nobody worries about a squib load.  We worry about 'cook off'.  Cook off happens when you fire a lot of ammo over a very short time - and the chamber gets so hot it begins to make the powder explode from heat .... and it keep happening even when the trigger is not pulled.  This is bad.  If you poured some modern powder out in a line and lit it with a match you would be shocked how slow it burns.  When the firing pin hits the primer - that powder burns the whole length of the barrel... fast, but, not that fast.  In cook off - all that powder goes off at once - it is not burning, it is exploding.  Detonating.  It why you see guys with buckets of water on WW2 ships - dipping and pulling up water to pour over the M2 and other mounted 50cal are larger machine guns while doing anti-aircraft protection.   

  • 1 month ago

    I do not think so. If there were not enough power to push the bullet down the barrel there would not be enough power to cycle the action. You did not say blowback, recoil, or gas/piston/DI operated MG. If the bullet stopped before or at the gas port on a gas-piston operated it would make a very strange muffled noise and when you tried to manually extract the case captured pressure would indicate you have trouble in the bore . Only a negligent operator would not check out the bore before manually loading a next round. 

    They, meaning googled pictures, say that has happened on a revolver and the bullets started stacking up but did not blow up because of the space between the cylinder and barrel.

  • Matt
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    It is very rare but they are called squib loads. This is essentially a cartridge which was loaded with too little or no gun powder from the factory or the at home reloader, the latter is more likely. The minimal pressure generated by the primer or too little gun powder generates enough pressure for the bullet to enter but not exit the barrel. This can most certainly cause a catastrophic malfunction of the weapon depending on the type of cartridge being fired. There have been cases where more bullets get stacked up behind the stuck one until the firearm simply just stops firing all together. 

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