≡ Menu

Noted In Passing: My 50 Cal Exploded

“Just put a thumb in it.” <–[Catchphrase explained in video]

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ghostsniper May 1, 2021, 3:02 PM

    It’s a risky hobby at times.
    I’ve been lucky, so far.

  • Kevin in PA May 1, 2021, 3:49 PM

    Some guys will do anything to sell t-shirts.

    All kidding aside, I’m glad the dude survived. He is living proof of the soundness of always shooting with a buddy.

    If I recall the 50 BMG chucks a projectile weighing in at 700 grains and I forget how much powder in a normal charge, but it’s a lot. I’ve never owned or loaded for .50BMG. I have shot them quite a few times and they are a HOOT-to-SHOOT, but damned expensive to feed. For comparison – I load my .30-06 Springfield hunting rounds with 57 grains of powder pushing a 165 grain bullet.

    While I was working as a RSO (range safety officer) some years ago, one of our regulars, a reloader, was shooting a .300 Weatherby Mag. and near as he could figure, he must have thrown a double charge of powder when he was loading his ammo. His gun blew up in a spectacular way…not quite as showy as the .50 in the video, but plenty enough spectacular for my tastes seeing it live. Our member suffered severe lacerations on the fingers of the forward hand, facial bruising and lacerations and safety glasses blown apart (good thing he had them on!). The gun was totaled.

    One thing is for certain; the margin for error when dealing with firearms is very, very thin.
    And when that margin is exceeded it usually results in spectacular failure…up to and including death.

  • Dirk May 1, 2021, 6:46 PM

    Awesome vid, opportunity to learn. I did shoot a Barrett 50 at my last agency. I quit, and built my own 338 lm, the sheriff signed a letter allowing my to shoot my own sniper rifle. Back to the fifty.

    Bitchen rifle, trash ammo. We had a lot of Korean conflict, 50 ammo, LOTS, none was consistent on impact. Had friends over in Brookings Oregon who at the time was machining very high end 50s. Took the rifle to him, and he narrowed it down to a shot out barrel, I concur. Pete, offered to rebarrel the dept rifle at his cost.,” a swinging deal” . The sheriff refused, stating it had to go back to Barrett. I contacted Ronnie, and discovered a barrel replacement wasgoimg to be thousands.

    My friend Pete, was going to rebarrel using a PAC Nor Barrel. “ at the time pac nor, Was in Brookings Oregon. Pete had a great relationship with the guys.

    Ive seen m4s come apart like that, never had it happen to me. I won’t shoot ammo of which I don’t know the origin or the loader.

    My 338 lm was the ticket. On my third barrel not shooting like I use too. , always Krueger #9s barrels non fluted, at 26 inches minimum. “ sorry keeps changing my spelling.

    Village Idiot


  • Tom Hyland May 1, 2021, 7:16 PM

    This dude was not wearing ear protection. Right there that’s got me doubting he’s the responsible type.

  • EX-Californian Pete May 1, 2021, 11:06 PM

    A few points about this mishap- unless I’m mistaken, that’s an RN-50, pretty much considered the “poor man’s .50.” They go for around $1000. Bad idea- cutting costs when buying a gun of that massive caliber.
    Next, it’s a freakin’ BREAK ACTION. Sorry, that’s a really bad design all the way around for that pressure and caliber. That’s pretty much self-explanatory.
    Then there’s the unknowns- the age and origin of the ammo. Again, with that high of a caliber, the risk and danger increases exponentially. Then consider the type of rounds- incendiary, adding even more risk under those unknown factors.
    There was just too much stupid going on in that video, and the poor dumbass learned that the hard way. Thankfully, he didn’t permanently cripple or kill himself.

    I rarely shoot ammo that I haven’t loaded myself, especially since ammo companies have had to go into “triple overtime” to meet the current “panic demand” over the last year or so.

    All 5 of my reloading presses are single stage, because I’m in no hurries, and safety is paramount to me.
    I double check every component, process, and measurement.
    I clean & check my dies after every 100 rounds I load.
    I check OAL on every single round.
    I double check my powder scales (I use two- one to check on the other) every 10 rounds.
    I cast my own bullets, use my own recipe for bullet lube, powder coat many calibers, and check each bullet weight after casting and sizing.
    I use my own lead/tin/linotype formula.
    Maybe that all sounds a bit paranoid, but paranoid reloaders live longer than careless ones.

    So the guy bought a cheap .50 BMG instead of spending thousands more on a higher quality one.
    Well, I bet his medical bills amounted to about the same cost as buying at least two or three Barrett M82 A1 rifles with all the trimmings, and a few boxes of ammo.
    All that aside, I think it’s good that he took his disaster and make it into a “public service announcement” video.

    There’s an old saying- “Cheap guns ain’t good, and good guns ain’t cheap.”
    It’s true.

  • OldTexan May 2, 2021, 5:09 AM

    I saw this video yesterday evening and then I woke up in the middle of the night wondering why a person would ever want to take the cheapest 50BMG screw-on cap pipe gun and then shoot crazy surplus from who knows where or when ammo at a steel fire hydrant which has all sorts of parts and various angles that could send bullets and pieces of bullets all over the place and then brag about how cool it is to make a lot of noise and punch 1/2 in holes in old steel. That would be the desired outcome until things don’t exactly work right and the poor, goofy guy (he makes Florida man and good ole boy Oklahoma guy look almost normal) blows metal into parts of his head and body requiring a whole lot of medical care including one of those expensive care flights and then he comes out looking like a stitched up bald headed Frankenstein talking about sticking his thumb into or up it.

    Kind of reminds me of my old Army First Sergeant, Sgt. McCord who would scream at us asking what was our major malfunction and we instructed to pull our thumb out of our ass and start to use our head so we did not get injured doing dangerous stuff. Sgt. Mac always made a point in 1966 that our job was not be injured or disabled so that we could injure and disable the bad guys. This silly man shooting .50 BMG was kind of a do it yourself major fireworks show, here hold my beer, watch this !

    I rate this video a number 10 on weapons grade stupid.

  • Glenfilthie May 2, 2021, 6:44 AM

    Go back to California, Pete. Take Tex with ya, he’ll fit right in. Hopefully you two get run over by a steam roller on the way so that we can all laugh at you.

    There was nothing wrong with the gun. We know this because it would have been proofed at the factory. Guys that build guns that blow up get sued into penury. It was the ammo. Most of us have shot surplus ammo at one time or other. Lots of folks still do today. I am a reloader too, and no, you don’t have to double and triple check your equipment three times a day. It is virtually impossible to double charge a case; there is usually insufficient volume. It’s a simple process, all you have to do is be watchful and act like a responsible adult.

    Scott is a clown and comedian for gunnies. He had an ACCIDENT. Sometimes shit just happens – even to pin heads and neurotics that “triple check their dies three times a day”. I’ve heard of guns blowing up in the military too, with modern ammo and guns. Would it fuckin kill you morons just to say “get well soon”?

    Dear gawd, some of you people need a brain transplant.

  • Glenfilthie May 2, 2021, 6:53 AM

    For those of you wanting a factual background in order to put this incident in context:


  • ghostsniper May 2, 2021, 7:31 AM

    I found it interesting that the exact same method of the locking bars on that .50 are used on my Winchester model 71 .348cal. Thousands of factory rounds have been run through that gun and after cleaning it last week they are still as tight as a nun even though my dad bought it new in 1957. Everyone that has heard that gun fire giggles nervously afterward. It’s frightening. Old “western” style gun with the bark of a modern day dragon. Yeah, a 3′ flaming hellstorm comes out the end. Costs $4 for every trigger pull so I don’t do it often.

  • Dirk May 2, 2021, 8:41 AM

    Friends, Life Is The Lesson,,,,,,,What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I’ll add, Wiser. Reasonably certain this gent won’t make that mistake again.

    I appreciate he’s eating his humility to school/teach others, to not make the same mistake he did, a VERY valuable lesson.

    He’s a very lucky man. Didn’t he say “spall”clipped his juggler?

    From a very early age I recognized that good is the goal, good also contains a lot of luck!.

    Village idiot

  • Kevin in PA May 2, 2021, 9:06 AM

    Glenfilthie raises an interesting point. One which I have never been able to figure out.
    ” It is virtually impossible to double charge a case; there is usually insufficient volume.”

    How in the world is it possible to double charge a load? For most calibers when pouring modern smokeless powder the case is near full for standard loadings. There is simply not enough room in the case to pour in an entire extra load of powder. So, I just never understood how a “double charge” of powder is even possible.
    By contrast when using black powder and loading for say, a .45/70 Gov. can leave a gap in the case, which is why a patch is sometimes tamped down on the powder charge before seating the bullet.

    The fact remains that hand loading ammunition requires a clear head and a very high degree of attention to detail. It is not a hobby to engage in while watching the boob-tube.

  • James ONeil May 2, 2021, 9:58 AM

    OK Karens, sometimes sh** happens. Doesn’t mean limits shouldn’t be tested. Safety is highly overrated in this day and age.

  • EX-Californian Pete May 2, 2021, 10:18 AM


    Wow, you’re a real charming little fellow, aren’t you?
    “There was nothing wrong with the gun.” Um, It FAILED.
    So, a screw cap (like that on a .12 gauge zip gun) and two puny 1/4 thick exterior “lugs” should be plenty enough to stop all that pressure? They didn’t. Maybe you didn’t notice.

    “It is virtually impossible to double charge a case; there is usually insufficient volume.”
    News flash- different powders burn at different rates. People can get powders mixed up, or can double charge using a hotter powder. If you put 53 grains of Alliant Red Dot in a .30-06 instead of 53 grains of IMR 3031, it will blow your face off.
    But PLEASE-don’t take my word for it, TRY IT yourself!

    Another news flash- gun manufacturers occasionally later find flaws in guns that have “passed all testing” and have to recall them. It’s happened many, many times. And all manufacturers of everything occasionally pop out a “lemon” product.
    There have been powder and ammo recalls, too. Maybe you didn’t notice.

    I do hope you feel better after slinging all those petulant insults around- seems you needed something to cheer you up.
    And I understand why you got so angry about my calling out the poor guy’s stupid mistakes and his choice of poorly built cheap weaponry, or “Bubbas” as we call them. I guess even Bubbas need to stick together.

    Oh, and “get well soon.”

  • gwbnyc May 2, 2021, 10:28 AM

    nothing brings gun guys to the table faster than a failure&its causes.

  • OldTexan May 2, 2021, 11:06 AM

    Yep, what EX-Californian Pete said, I have friends who have had bad gun blown up experiences leaving scars and a deaf ear and I have seen an example of poor reloading on a fellow squad members shot gun while shooting skeet.

    I did a bit of looking on line and found this bit of wisdom:
    20 · Aug 29, 2010 https://www.1911forum.com/threads/50-bmg-slap.283434/
    SLAP has been around for quite a while. There was some of it on the surplus market about 10 years ago. Good for an M2, not so good for other guns. When it was being sold there were lots of warnings about not shooting it in any gun with a muzzle brake, as the sabot could come apart in the brake and break it off. I always wanted to try some, I don’t recall ever seeing a head-to-head comparison of it with AP. Other sites discussed imported .50 BMG from various countries being loaded very hot and dangerous to shoot. Were I wanting to shoot one of those nifty .50 BMG civilian rifles I wold be very careful recognizing the amount of power involved and only shoot fresh ammo from a trusted known source.

    I am an old man who has been shooting for almost 70 years and I took time this morning to shoot in a Steel Challenge competition here in my home town so I am an active gun guy. I have experienced debris flying back, got a piece of shot stuck in my ear shooting skeet, had a piece of .243 fly back and imbed in my hand after shooting and hitting part of a steel rack and eyes and ears are alway necessary for safe shooting.

    I wish the goofy shot up guy more years and years of doing whatever he wants to do with guns and hope he never ever has a close call like the last one again.

  • Kevin in PA May 2, 2021, 11:12 AM

    Note to gwbnyc,
    And 9mm -v- .45
    and revolver -v- semi-auto
    and open carry -v- concealed carry…..
    It can be entertaining.

    As the old saying goes; opinions are like *ssholes. Everybody’s got one…….

  • ghostsniper May 2, 2021, 1:25 PM

    And the money part.
    “My $3000 custom built Kimber will eat your $200 M&P for breakfast and shit it back out at lunch! If you can’t run with the big dawgz stay your ass on the GD porch! Now GIT!”

    nothing bringz out the feminist in a cuck with a little bit of knowledge like a gun challenge lol

  • Snakepit Kansas May 2, 2021, 1:31 PM

    Tighter than a nun…hehhehhhehhhe. Ghost…he-he.

    Rifle cartridges are difficult to double charge. If you are loading with Bullseye, Unique or other powder that fills less than half the case, it is possible to double charge some pistol cartridges. For rifle cartridges I use a mechanical drop then put the charge on a mechanical beam scale, then trickle the rest to get an exact weight. I do this on every every single rifle cartridge I load.

    Safety glasses and ear plugs are required. I had a slam fire on an old 9mm once and ended up embedding some brass in my cheek. It worked its way out a few years later. I had safety glasses on and don’t know if that saved my eyesight or not.

    Ear plugs are always in my pocket. Saving what is left.

  • Mike Seyle May 2, 2021, 2:49 PM

    “Saving what is left.”
    I hear you (when I have my hearing aids in). Shot doves/ducks from age 10 through 18, when I joined the Army. If they even had ear plugs in the 50s/60s, I wouldn’t have known, and if they did, I wouldn’t have used them and been called a sissy among my Texas peers anyhow. Now I put my hearing aids in to listen to my wife. Turns out she is very smart.

  • EX-Californian Pete May 2, 2021, 3:27 PM

    Hey Ghost-

    I agree with you about Kimbers- I’ve shot a couple and they’re nice, but I’d never pony up that kind of bucks for one. BTW, over the years, I’ve never done any gunsmithing one one yet, so I’m assuming they’re pretty well-built. And I’d never buy a Korth, either.
    Hey, let me know where those $200 M&P’s are, OK? For that price, I’ll take 2 dozen of ’em.

    For those that are curious, the model RN-50 has only been on the market since 2018, and reportedly has a few parts made of “powder cast” metal. Not my first choice of hardware material. Maybe for a smaller caliber, like those cheapo Cobra derringers.

    For a little levity, here’s a video of my favorite Kimber owner in action- first he blows a hole through his leg, then tosses that pricey Kimber on the rocky ground. It’s set to music, so try your best not to laugh, OK? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTGmTrQXrwg

    I’m pretty sure there was some alcohol involved.

  • ghostsniper May 2, 2021, 6:29 PM

    HA HA HAAAA now that was funny.
    Tragic, but funny.

    Imagine that 1/2″ hole DOWN through that leg.
    So, he puts his finger on the trigger BEFORE he pulls the gun up out of the holster.
    Then, while he’s pulling that gun up that same trigger finger is pulling up too.
    I’d say that qualifies not as poor trigger control but NO trigger control.
    I’m ASSuming he was pretending to pull that heater on a bad guy that was all up in his grill.
    How do you let a bad guy get that close?
    Was he THAT lonely for a frend?

    He walked it off so that is an indication he didn’t hit the bone, at least not enough to break it.
    But he’ll have a month or so of ass sittin time to consider his bad behavior.

  • Desert Rat May 2, 2021, 6:52 PM

    I am happy he survived. And I am happy his father didn’t have to watch his son bleed to death. Thank God for pretty clear thinking under extremely trying circumstances and for modern medicine and skilled doctors and nurses who were able to patch all that damage and get things back together and working.

  • Casey Klahn May 2, 2021, 11:09 PM

    That rifle is under built.

    Just maintenance errors with an M2 will get you severely injured, if you don’t treat it with respect.

    I have no idea if the round was hot or not, but suspect we’re looking at ammunition issues going forward. “…a guy I know reloads” sounds like a recipe for trouble, but I don’t reload so what the hell do I know? If he paid $100 for that round he was damn sure going to fire it. If the rounds were that erratic at short range, I’d rethink the whole system.

    My 2 cents.

  • ghostsniper May 3, 2021, 4:35 AM

    @ Pete, that was early last year when my son bought the M&P for, I think he said, $229 new.
    You can’t find hardly anything worthwhile, and I’ve been looking.
    Got a couple bux burning my pocket and no place to spend them.
    What I’m really looking for is a lightly used Ruger Mark I .22 semi pistol and about a dozen mags, to start. I had one 40 years ago and foolishly let it go. Now, they are rarer then hens teefs. Oh yeah, also looking for a used Win 94 in 30/30.

  • Snakepit Kansas May 3, 2021, 5:34 AM

    You can find a 94 in .Dirty-30 if you are willing to pay for one. Once Winchester quit making them, the price on used ones got stupid. Ruger Mk I is difficult to find. Mk II is just as good, maybe slightly easier to acquire.
    Used guns at the range I work at all got bought up. Ammo availability is still sketchy. Forget about primers and powder. We can thank Plugs for all that. At some point the murder rate in Chicago, Baltimore, etc. will go down, due to lack of ammunition availability.

  • Anonymous May 3, 2021, 8:14 AM

    Well Pete – I am not especially tolerant of fools, so there’s that, I suppose. But I AM a gunnie, and a damned good one, if I do say so myself. Been reloading and shooting competitively for 40 years. I know my stuff. Yes, you CAN mix powders. That is not the same as double charging a case. You mispoke or don’t know what you’re talking about. Own it. And another newsflash for YOU – Scott was not shooting relods. And as for checking your dies three times a day – I suppose you wear your seat belt even when you’re not driving too? You’re probably one of those pin heads that walks around with three masks on so you don’t get COVID too.

    As for manufacturing defects – list the recalls within the last 30 years that were instigated because guns “blew up”. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    Really, you are so dumb I don’t think I could troll you. I am not impressed with you either. I may not be a large man, but I am tall enough to look you in the eye and call you a brainless twit.

  • Jack May 3, 2021, 8:23 AM

    Man, I just love reading comments about guns; guns of any kind actually. Like most on AD I’ve been shooting and hunting all of my life. I’m a rifle nut and I reload for 3 different rifle calibers; never for the highest velocity I can achieve but for accuracy. Always accuracy and that upon the idea that if I can’t put that bullet where I want it to go, it don’t matter how fast the thing goes. And, what’s the fuss about 200-400 fps when the thing is already roaring along in the upper 2000’s?

    I’ve never drooled over the large calibers and while I’m not recoil sensitive, having shot stuff up to the .375H&H, I tend to draw the upper line at the .30 cals because nearly everyone can shoot them without too much grief. But I love quarter-bores and 7 mms of every kind.

    I’ll say that it is pretty tough to double a powder charge when reloading if your round calls for max or near max loading. Sure, if you’re an idiot you can dump more than enough powder into nearly any case to cause yourself a ton of problems but the upside is, you probably won’t do it more than once; harsh and painful lessons in reloading and all of that.

    I own a pair of .22 Hornets; one a Browning Micro Medallion and the other a Winchester 1885 Low Wall; both wear 4×12 Leupolds with AOs. I have some other sentimental favorites in other calibers but I enjoy working on loads for these two rifles and I use Lil Gun for them. Hornets are very sensitive to 1/10th of a grain load variations and when I began loading them I saw several comments written by guys who said ‘just use a good Hornet powder, fill the case to the top, seat the bullet and you’ll be fine’.
    That’s pure nonsense but some people will follow that advice and never consult a couple of manuals to realize that comments like that are the worst kind of ‘advice’.

    It’s just as easy to stick or completely destroy a case, and possibly hurt yourself, by adding an additional 1.0 to 2. grain of Lil Gun in a .22 Hornet, if you can get it into the case, as it is to load 53 grains of IMR-4350 into a .257 Roberts case. Shooting ammo that certainly came from only God-Knows-Where is positively nuts.


  • EX-Californian Pete May 3, 2021, 10:30 AM

    Well, I’ve waited days for someone else to post it, and can hardly believe that no one has yet.
    So I will.

    There’s an age-old, time-tested “technique” used when testing/abusing a gun, ammo, etc., etc., that adds a HUGE amount of safety to the person doing the shooting or testing.

    Secure the rifle (or pistol) to the bench by placing it in or on a rest or clamp, or cradle. bungee or tie it down, and back it up with sandbags or something heavy.
    No bench? I’ve seen pallets, truck tires, etc. used- laid right on the ground. Some folks just tie or secure the weapon to a tree. You can still zero on a target, or move the target into the cross hairs.

    Here’s the most important part- tie a LONG string, cord, etc., to the trigger and get the hell away from the gun. Stand behind something solid- berm, truck, tree, whatever.

    THEN you pull the string. How difficult is that?

    Seriously, I’m shocked that no one else posted that, but I’m not raggin’ on anyone.

    To Anonymous- Hey, isn’t the internet WONDERFUL? It’s a place where folks like you can anonymously huff & puff, brag without any real credentials, make completely idle threats or promises, and proudly post infantile insults.

    You’re a “gunnie and a damn good one?” Well, I’m absolutely certain that in your mind, you are.

    And I bet in that same mind you’ve rifled barrels, built, inletted, finely checkered, and maybe expertly relief carved a gazillion rifle stocks from blanks. I bet your 5 tank hot bluing setup is much nicer than mine. And I bet your expertise with a forge, lathe, and milling machine simply dwarfs mine by far. And I bet your personal formula for color case hardening produces more vibrant colors than a box of Crayolas. Why you’re such an expert, you’re the only one here that knows the correct spelling of “relods!”

    Sarcasm aside, why would you even bother to post the lie that you would EVER “look me in the eye and call me a brainless twit?” That’s such obvious BS that I’m embarrassed for you. However, should you miraculously gain enough testosterone to actually do so, there’s a match at Camp Perry on the 22nd of this month, and if that’s too little notice, there’s one next month, and even a few more this year. I’m pretty easy to spot in a crowd.

    So you’re not impressed with me? I can’t say how happy I am to disappoint you.


  • Gordon Scott May 3, 2021, 12:37 PM

    My goodness. The words are flying downrange hot and heavy. The only subject more controversial is how to roast a prime rib.

    Now that discussion can be vicious.

  • ghostsniper May 3, 2021, 2:55 PM

    Gordon sed: “The only subject more controversial is how to roast a prime rib.”
    Apparently no one knows because every single PR I have seen was barely even cooked and not edible by me. That’s why I was never a cowboy, cause that saying, “Just knock the horns off and wipe it’s ass.”, just didn’t work for me. I don’t go for that bloody assed shit. Fuk U. I require my graar to be done. period.

  • EX-Californian Pete May 4, 2021, 8:47 AM


    Yep, seems that there’s a couple of guys here whose tempers have a “hair trigger” on ’em.
    I guess I might have started it- when I punched the other guy in his fist with my nose.

  • James ONeil May 4, 2021, 12:15 PM

    My takeaway; build or buy and keep near at hand an IFAK kit.

  • Dirk May 4, 2021, 6:01 PM

    “ with a grin”, where does one place a tourniquet on a juggler wound?

    These simple medical devices are critical, we have stocked all of our vehicles with two tourniquets, a good models under 20.00,,,,cheap insurance. Blowout kits. Money well spent. We’ve purchased units, but have been building our own for years.

    Great gifts for kids, nieces nephews, children of friends whom are responsible. Gifting anybody without teaching them how to apply properly is not a good thing.

    We’ve seen insulin shock cases three times in the past couple weeks. Unsual evidence, look and act drunk. Simple solution is anything with sugar.

    Village idiot

  • James ONeil May 5, 2021, 9:19 PM

    For the folks saying buy a more expensive gun, another take: https://youtu.be/bBNHI1_urWs