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Old 10-10-2018, 03:00 PM
Cal44 Cal44 is online now
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Default Hang fires -- a real problem?

Yesterday, at the range I had a light strike problem with a revolver.

I went on and pulled the trigger again, had a second light strike.

Then it occurred to me that if I had a hang fire after the first light strike, I might have destroyed the gun if I had a hang fire after the cylinder rotated.

By hang fire, I mean when a round is struck, doesn't fire immediately, and then 10, 20, or 30 seconds or so later does fire.

Is this a real problem?

Has anyone actually experienced a hang fire as I defined it?

Or is this a rare problem that once happened to a guy in 1896, and hasn't happened again to anyone in over 100 years?
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:15 PM
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We used to have to wait 5 minutes if we had a hangfire before we could do anything!

Of course we were dealing with a 3 pound Revolutionary War cannon. If we touched off the powder and the round didn't go BANG, we had to wait 5 minutes before we doused it with water down the tube and then emptied the mess from the barrel. UGH.

I seem to recall we used 1/4 lb of black powder double wrapped in heavy duty tin foil; rammed it home; pierced the foil with a prick and then filled the touchhole with either more powder or a fuse. Add a burning linstock and BANG! (We were Royal Artillery Battery "W" out of Annapolis, MD part of the Maryland Loyalist Battalion.)

I just loved that cannon. (And we rarely had hangfires.)

And I too worry about a hangfire in a revolver...and maybe based on my cannon experience, usually wait 5 or 10 seconds before I try to correct the problem.
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:30 PM
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In 60+ years shooting (some years quite a lot of shooting) Iíve never experienced a hangfire nor do I know anyone who has.

Of course, I donít shoot black powder cannons or muzzle loading small arms.
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:37 PM
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I have had a hangfire, but it wasn't for a long stretch. It was more like a click-BANG. Happened twice with the same loads, so I stopped after the second one and pulled the rest of the loads apart.

This was in .460 S&W Magnum and while I cannot be certain, I believe the issue was far too little crimp which allowed the slug to jump forward from the primer blast. My other theory was that I might have had tumbling media stuck in the flash hole which greatly impeded the flame from the primer.

I'm not 100% sure, but it was a scary wake-up call.
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:39 PM
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I've experienced hangfires, but only in rifles. These have occurred with handloads where I used a powder that may have been recommended in a load manual but was not the best powder choice for the load combination, or perhaps the powder charge was the recommended minimum.

Most of the time this has been with cast bullet loads where much lower powder charges are recommended than the suggested charges for jacketed bullets. In every situation, the "hangfire" fired very quickly after I pulled the trigger; the lapse between pulling the trigger could not be measured in seconds. It would be a much smaller measurement unit than seconds, whatever that is called.

A round firing after ten or twenty seconds? Possible, I suppose, but unlikely. I've never experienced it in more that fifty years of handloading a lot of rifle and handgun cartridges. As I recall, I think I had a hangfire or two with some old factory or military ammo, but that's been a while.

The best example of a hangfire I can recall was more than ten years ago when developing some cast loads for a rifle in .375 H&H Magnum. This is a huge case and whatever powder I was using should have been suitable but the load was susceptible to hangfires. Switching to a magnum primer solved the problem in that instance.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:02 PM
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While modern self defense instructors teach jam and missfire clearing drills with no regard for the possibility of hangfires, NRA safety rules and hunter safety classes teach hangfire safety precautions.

The self defense instructors I've discussed this with called hangfires with modern cartridges too rare to concern themselves with. However, to me it's like the presumption that guns will not slam fire when a spring drives the bolt or slide into battery. Working at ranges I've seen too many examples of both and had both things happen with my guns too many times to share their confidence. I once had a neighbor who had a real chrome plated toilet paper holder inlet into his Honda above the rear bumper. It held a fake plastic roll of TP over the bumper sticker "**** happens." Spend enough time at ranges and you are going to see and or experience "rare" events. In the heat of a timed match I take the risk but not while casually target shooting. Is putting your expensive S&W revolver at risk worth saving 20 seconds? It is your gun.

After reading Redcoat3340's cannon story I can not resist retelling an old story that my uncle told me. He volunteered to dynamite stumps on the site my parents were clearing for a house. A charge did not go off. He was so afraid to go near it that he stayed and helped them hand dig the well for two days.

Last edited by k22fan; 10-10-2018 at 04:49 PM. Reason: rockquarry made a good proof reader.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:12 PM
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I've had hangfires in a few of the thousands of rounds of many-decades-old surplus rifle rounds I've fired. None since the Nineties, but most of that garbage has been shot up.



Not Soviet stuff, by the way.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:25 PM
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Hangfires and misfires aren't the same.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:47 PM
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Never experienced a hang fire with a modern centerfire or rimfire arm, but have a couple times when firing cap & ball or flint weapons. Did have a black powder revolver "triple" on me once. That wakes you up.

No proof, but hang fires may have been more prevalent back during the days of the switch to cased ammo, hence the warning.

Larry
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockquarry View Post
Hangfires and misfires aren't the same.

I don't know if you're talking to me (your post was right after mine), but in case you were, I know what a hangfire is.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:02 PM
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Haven’t had one in years, but hang fires were not too uncommon with older rim fire ammo.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:06 PM
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Maybe 1 dud centerfire primer I can remember in many thousands of rounds shot. Never a hangfire even with very small amounts of powder in rifle cartridges. Like 6 gr of fast pistol powder in a 30-06.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I don't know if you're talking to me (your post was right after mine), but in case you were, I know what a hangfire is.
No, didn't see your post until after I posted mine.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:11 PM
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Never had a hang fire with a cartridge weapon, have had several with muzzleloaders and it seems a old term that really doesn't apply to cartridges.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epj View Post
Haven’t had one in years, but hang fires were not too uncommon with older rim fire ammo.
That is the only hangfire I've ever experienced; was with Remington "ThunderBolt" ammo... Imagine that! I'll shoot Golden Sabre but anything UMC, or Green Box, isn't worth the box its shoved in. It's ruined at least one gun of mine in the past and tried to ruin an otherwise sunrise reliable M&P40 (mid-size)...

OP, your problem was probably due to your strain screw needs a little tightening!
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:39 PM
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Never in many tens of thousands of rounds fired. I know it's theoretically possible, but it has to be very rare.

I have had a few "duds" though - primers that did not fire despite a heavy firing pin mark on them.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:57 PM
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I've never had a hangfire with any commercial, handloaded or surplus military ball made as far back as 1935. However, .303 British surplus made with cordite is brutal stuff. I made the mistake of buying a few boxes of the stuff on the cheap, and found at least 50% were hangfires.

After shooting a few rounds I broke all of them down and disposed of them.
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:00 PM
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I have. Some older military 8MM rounds probably from the 50s. Got rid of that junk fast.
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:40 PM
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Yes I had a hang fire once shooting Winchester silvertips through my model 66.
It was an old partial box of ammo that iirc came from a garage sale.
CLICK ....1001....1002....BOOM
Be careful with old ammo.
Stuff happens.

The next round was a squib that wedged in the forcing cone and locked up the cylinder.
I had to drive the bullet back into the cylinder with a wood dowel to open it.

The rest of that ammo ended up in the creek.

Last edited by ch1966; 10-10-2018 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:54 AM
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I had a couple hang-fires shooting 45 Colt (+P) loads using AA9 powder in my Ruger SRH 454. Also once when I was experimenting with reduced loads using H110 in my 500 S&W.

As long as you don't have a stuck bullet in the barrel (squib) before the hang-fire it's biggest danger is hitting something you weren't originally aiming at because you were distracted by it.

.
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal44 View Post
Yesterday, at the range I had a light strike problem with a revolver.
I have built and tuned a lot of revolvers and when testing I would on rare occasion have a light strike when this happens I would hold the trigger and just fan the hammer back once or even twice to get it to fire. If I had already released the trigger I would just give it 30 seconds before rotating the cyld back and cocking it again and firing it.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rpg View Post
In 60+ years shooting (some years quite a lot of shooting) Iíve never experienced a hangfire nor do I know anyone who has.

Of course, I donít shoot black powder cannons or muzzle loading small arms.
I MUST SIMPLY ADD A "DITTO" TO THIS POST, WORD FOR WORD ! ! !

MY EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN THE VERY SAME, IN MY 60 YEARS OF SHOOTING......
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:49 AM
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No, but I always give it at least a five count.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:08 AM
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Twenty-some years ago I experienced several hangfires with commercial .38 Special ammo which, as I recall, may have once been owned by Uncle Sam. Mixed brands, I believe, all given to me by a LGS owner friend, less than a box. Questionable storage, but probably not even forty years old, and externally decent condition.

Anyway, I had a few barely perceptible hangfires, at least one for a large fraction of a second, and perhaps one even longer. I have no idea why.

Hangfires exist.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:13 AM
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Some years ago I bought a bunch of old US .45 ACP ammo headstamped
1918 at a gun show that the seller had tumble cleaned to make it shine.
It was in heavy plastic bags and I didn't look at it closely until I got it
home. All of it fired but there were a very few slight hangfires, just click
and boom, nothing like what happens sometimes with muzzle loaders.
No big deal and the only hangfires I have experienced with center fire
ammo.
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHands View Post
That is the only hangfire I've ever experienced; was with Remington "ThunderBolt" ammo... Imagine that! I'll shoot Golden Sabre but anything UMC, or Green Box, isn't worth the box its shoved in. It's ruined at least one gun of mine in the past and tried to ruin an otherwise sunrise reliable M&P40 (mid-size)...

OP, your problem was probably due to your strain screw needs a little tightening!
For the record, I've shot a lot of Thunderbolt and 9 mm UMC recently, without a hitch.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockquarry View Post
No, didn't see your post until after I posted mine.

Cheers, brother!
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:05 AM
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misfires, yes.
Never had a ‘Hangfire.’
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:52 AM
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Someone mentioned rimfire ammo. I shoot a lot of this stuff and buy CCI standard velocity by the case. Generally, I've found misfires (never had a hangfire with .22 LR ammo) are to be expected occasionally with cheap, bulk ammo.

After years and many thousands of rounds of CCI SV in rifles and handguns, I've had only one misfire, about a month or so ago. You pretty much get what you pay for with .22 ammo. I like to spend just a little more and get more dependable ammo.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsmJim View Post
I've never had a hangfire with any commercial, handloaded or surplus military ball made as far back as 1935. However, .303 British surplus made with cordite is brutal stuff. I made the mistake of buying a few boxes of the stuff on the cheap, and found at least 50% were hangfires.

After shooting a few rounds I broke all of them down and disposed of them.
I've had hangfires with more than a few old military and commercial rounds over the years. 7m/m Mauser, 7.5 French (also prone to not going off at all!), various old 22's and others. Even though I collect old ammo I have tried various odd loose rounds from time to time just to see if they would still fire. Always suspected that the classic click---bang hangfire was due to a weak primer most often (smoldered before fully igniting) but really don't know for sure.

With 303 it was Pakistani made stuff that seemed to be the worst. Had a bunch of it (it was cheap) and did find that laying it in the sun for a while before shooting seemed to reduce the number of hangfires. I finally broke the last hundred down and since I had figured out a workable but slow way to re-load the cordite tried transferring it into new commercial cases. With new primers it shot fine, no more hangfires.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:05 PM
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I've never seen one . . .
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:09 PM
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Our rule is if the gun goes "click", keep the muzzle pointed down range or in a safe direction. Count to thirty, and try to see what happened. Sometimes there is no round in the chamber, or a light strike primer in a revolver. NEVER get in a hurry. I have had several hang fires --- in My flintlock. Just keep the muzzle in a safe direction. Never rack the slide or open the cylinder imediatley after a click. The result could be a disaster.

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Old 10-11-2018, 02:00 PM
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Has some hangfires with questionable 7.62x54mmR tracers by buddy bought, and some inconsistencies in recoil forces an audible signatures.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rpg View Post
In 60+ years shooting (some years quite a lot of shooting) I’ve never experienced a hangfire nor do I know anyone who has.

Of course, I don’t shoot black powder cannons or muzzle loading small arms.
50+ years for me , NRA Bullseye Match , practice , plinking, hunting ( also some years a lot) have never experienced or seen another shooter have a "hang fire" they would go bang or not go bang. At the range , waiting one minute was the protocol . But none of the no bangs ever went off later....still a good idea to wait 30 seconds ...just in case !
Gary

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Old 10-11-2018, 02:29 PM
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Never had a hangfire. I have had misfires. And just a couple weeks ago I had a squib 45 Colt which got a bullet stuck in a gun barrel.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:40 PM
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In 56 years of shooting and hunting I have only seen 1 in loaded ammo. I've had/seen many hang fire in black powder guns. It was a reloaded 12 gauge Federal paper hull shotgun shell. The hang fire was only a spit second from primer snap to boom.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:50 PM
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Hang fires -- a real problem? Hang fires -- a real problem? Hang fires -- a real problem? Hang fires -- a real problem? Hang fires -- a real problem?  
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I found some old 45 Auto Rim at a shop I used to work at with plans to shoot it up for the brass so I could reload it. I shot 1 cylinder that was fine and then the next cylinder the first 3 rounds didn't ignite and the 4th didn't either ... and then it did.

Luckily for whatever reason I thought to myself that I was going to wait just to make sure. Really glad I didn't destroy a really nice Mod. 25-2 and I proceeded to pull the rest of it.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:42 PM
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Was in old or new ammo or reloads you purchased or reloaded yourself??
What revolver did you use??
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:21 PM
2152hq 2152hq is online now
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A few of the early 20th century pump repeating shotguns had a 'hang fire safety' in their mechanism.
The designers/mfg'rs thought they were important enough for some reason or another to keep the shooter from opening the action too quickly after a 'click' on a loaded round.

On most common pump action shotguns and some of that time, dry firing or in the instance of a dud round,,the action of the gun is free to be opened by simply cycling the pump action.

With a hangfire safety in the mechanism (a counter weight that worked under recoil from the shot to allow the bolt slide to unlock),,, a dry firing or dud round still leaves the action locked.
That natural instinct to quickly cycle the action open is prevented and the possible 'hang fire round' is still secured at least for that time in the chamber of the locked action.
In order to open the action, the shooter must depress the slide latch an then the action can be cycled.
That extra time needed to do that was what they wanted to intervene betw the dud round and some time to think about the hang fire possibility.
They simply did not trust the shotshell ammo of the period.

This was in the time from before WW1 till right up to WW2.
I think it was something to do with the cross over betw BP and smokeless shotshell ammo which was taking place at the time (early 1900) and perhaps some hesitation about the pump action itself.
It was a fairly new thing, not trusted yet in the way that the all American single shot and SxS was. Just my opinion of course.

Stevens used a hangfire safety in early production Model 520. This in the 1912 to 1915 period.
All the Marlin Hammerless Pump shotguns made had a H/F safety in them.
I believe the Remington Model 17 had this type of mechanism also where you had to use the slide latch to open the action even if the gun was dry fired or a dud round. Might be wrong on that one though. Don't have my M17 to check it out anymore.

H/F safety not to be confused with the sear disconnector style used in many of the early pumps that allow the so-called 'slam fire' (a misnomer but the most popular description anyway).

Some early designs didn't have that 'slamfire' sear disconnector and can not be fired continuously by holding the trigger back and cycling the action.
But they also did not have a hang fire safety in them either.
The Remington Model 10 (1908-1928) is one.

The orig Winchester Model 12 never had a H/F safety mechanism and always had the 'slamfire' type sear disconnector.

The Japanese/Browning repro Model12's have a full sear disconnector,,so no slam fire feature. So do the repro Model 42 shotguns.
This most likely a gift of the Legal Dept/Lliability Research Div of Browning to help keep you and children of the world safe at night.

For me personally I have seen but one gun damaged from a hangfire round,,and it was a pump shotgun. A HighStandard (102?). 12ga, the round went off with the breech unlocked and partially opened to eject a dud-round.

That Pakistani mfg 303 ammo mentioned earlier had a lot of hangfires to it.
Yes it was cheap, but you knew why when you went to use it.
Great for Flintlock firing simulation. Anywhere from a second to perhaps as long as 2+seconds between the firing pin click and the round going off. Not every one,,but enough of them that they were just laughable to use.
'POF' Pakistan Ordnance Factory was the mfg of the stuff.
We crowned it Pride of Frankenstein ammo.

Probably should have just pulled the bullets and scrapped the stuff, but hey, it somewhat went bang!

Last edited by 2152hq; 10-11-2018 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:05 PM
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About 29 years ago, I was messing with this girl and her ex came in and started tearing the place up with an axe, she lived with her Dad and he had an old 20 guage side by side hanging on the wall. I got to it , broke it open to find only one shell in it. By that time he was right up on me with axe cocked back ready to swing so I pointed mid chest and pulled the trigger. He froze, axe still raised and poised to stick down on me. Click, nothing. Now...cant say how long the exact delay actually was, but I remember going ....oh ****...looking down at the gun, looking up at his eyes, looking down at the gun and back at his eyes again to see the hesitation expire and the movement of the axe proceed in the upswing. As I pulled the shotgun from me shoulder and began the transition to use the gun to block the down swing of the axe, the gun finally fired and put a few bird shot pellets in his right thigh. The axe was dropped, the guy started a one legged dance and hop, and ran out the door, hooting and hollering as he ran off down the road. Later her dad had told be that the shell was about 20 years old.and had come with the shotty when he bought it.
That's my only experience with a hang fire, that I remember.
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