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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 02-02-2020, 05:29 PM
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Default UPDATED-Bad day at the range...

Yes, there is such thing as a bad day at the range. My beautiful 629-4 was blown up by a hand load today. I figure I must have got a double charge somehow. I use a Hornady progressive press and can't understand how I could get a double charge.

I caught a piece of shell casing in my left cheek and it bled A LOT! Docs are just going to leave it in there. A souvenir I guess.



Update 2-3-2020:

I went back to the range today to clean up my mess. I figured blood on the firing line might cause others some stress. I found where my top strap had struck the steel supports for the roof. It also sent wood particles all over, which I found in all my gear when I got home yesterday.



I also found a hole in the roof that went clear through the wood and the metal roofing above it. A screw from my rear sight is embedded in the wood below and to the left of the hole.



The stress shown in the metal in the following pictures illustrates the extreme pressure causing the failure. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. My two companions and I were extremely lucky. This easily could have killed someone. Be safe my friends!














Last edited by Shark Bait; 02-03-2020 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:33 PM
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I'm glad you weren't more seriously injured. I also hope you figure out how you got the double charge to avoid a repeat.

Best wishes.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:35 PM
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Nice gun too. Glad you survived.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:35 PM
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Holy cow! Sorry to hear that, and glad it's only shrapnel you caught...
Pricey revolver to replace, as well.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:38 PM
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Sorry about your revolver but I'm really glad you were not injured worse. Guns can be replaced you can't.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:41 PM
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Wow. Terrible day! Damage to that revolver is catastrophic!

Seems like something as easy as putting each loaded cartridge on a scale after you've completed loading would suffice to ensure you didn't double charge it.

It takes guts to admit you made a mistake and post it here for all to see. I commend you. People can hopefully learn from your mistake.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:42 PM
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Well if you were a cat you would be down to eight lives left.

Like said above best find out how you double charged no sense going through that again.

I had a double go off in a model 27 years back. With that smaller bore on the large frame she held together but it was very interesting!
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:47 PM
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Glad you were not seriously injured.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark Bait View Post
Yes, there is such thing as a bad day at the range. My beautiful 629-4 was blown up by a hand load today. I figure I must have got a double charge someho. I use a Hornady progressive press and can't understand how I could get a double charge.

I caught a piece of shell casing in my left cheek and it bled A LOT! Docs are just going to leave it in there. A souvenir I guess.

That is the reason why I dislike fast powders in high power calibers. You cannot get a double load with the appropriate powder because it fills the cartridge.

I'm glad you are OK. Too bad for the revolver though.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:53 PM
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Very sorry that has happened to you. I would be devastated. Very glad you did not sustain more serious injury.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:54 PM
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That's why on my Dillon 550 I do not use it as intended.
I interrupt the process by removing them from the shell plate as they move toward the powder station, Put them in a 50 round block, throw the charges by hand using a separate measure, looking at the powder levels in all the cases for uniformity, then feeding the charged cases back into the loader for the remaining seating and crimping stations.
Some of my ammo is used in 1866 and 1873 Uberti replica's, and I don't want to take a chance on having the awkward situation of a firing pin rod being driven back into my eye socket.

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Old 02-02-2020, 05:58 PM
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Ouch! Fortunately, Model 629s are still available, good luck with the shrapnel souvenir and glad that it was not worse!
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:00 PM
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Thank God you are OK.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:03 PM
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Thanks everyone. Kurusu nailed it. I was using Tite Group and that means plenty of space for a double charge, or worse. And the idea of weighing each cartridge is a great one. Guess I just learned something the hard way. Too late cry now.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:03 PM
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That'll ruin your day. Kabooms will sure shake you up. Glad you're ok.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
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That is the reason why I dislike fast powders in high power calibers. You cannot get a double load with the appropriate powder because it fills the cartridge.

I'm glad you are OK. Too bad for the revolver though.
Iíll double down on precisely this comment. If it were Alliant 2400, AA#9 or H-110, no possible way to double charge. As a matter of fact, you could go way over book and make an unsafe load with the right powder but there isnít enough space in the case to do this damage when using any of the three I listed.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:05 PM
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WOW!!! Glad you were not seriously injured. I have not handloaded in years, but was always afraid of such things happening. That is why I loaded with 2400 in 44 cases. A double charge is impossible.

S&W is to be commended for the strength of their weapon
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:10 PM
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Iíll double down on precisely this comment. If it were Alliant 2400, AA#9 or H-110, no possible way to double charge. As a matter of fact, you could go way over book and make an unsafe load with the right powder but there isnít enough space in the case to do this damage when using any of the three I listed.
Yup, I'm convinced to switch to one of those from now on. And I'll weigh my remaining cartridges. Things that don't kill you are great learning opportunities, aren't they?!
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:14 PM
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Two things I need to add: I’m also sorry that this happened & applaud your guts for sharing the experience, glad you were not harmed (badly.)

However... nope, sorry folks, you cannot reliably weigh a loaded round in hopes of catching a double charge of Titegroup. You would be looking to weigh a small amount and the variance in the weight of components will usually make for a pretty wide variance across a whole bunch of rounds.

Is there -ANY- chance that it was more than just a double charge? In a progressive, it is possible that if one got a double that another got a light charge or no charge, leading to the possibility of an obstructed bore. At that point you not only have a double charge of Titegroup but you have effectively doubled the bullet weight. That wouldn’t just add to the catastrophe, it would multiply it.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:16 PM
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Weigh the remaining cartridges just for the exercise but you are plumb crazy if you don’t disassemble each and every cartridge. Whatever failed once could very well have failed more than once.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:18 PM
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Geez, that must have been scary as heck! Glad you are mostly ok. Thanks for sharing this, ugly as it is.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:23 PM
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Thanks for sharing and the warning. A lesson to us all. Remember, scars are tattoos with stories.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:26 PM
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Where’s the rest of it. Amazing that the fired one took out the two adjoining rounds.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:26 PM
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And it doesn't have to be a double charge of a fast powder. This was 27 gr of AA7 instead of 17. Scale 1 notch off. Estimated pressure (calculated for me by the powder company), 170,000 psi.

Notice that frame of the 69 deformed but did not catastrophically fail. Parts and pieces of the cylinder and yoke went sideways so nothing hit me.

Edit - Send the gun back to Smith for evaluation - they'll determine it was your fault so no warranty (LOL)- but offer to sell you a replacement at a very nice discount. That's how I got my 66 snubby.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:31 PM
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Glad to hear you not hurt too bad. Now you have one hell of a desktop pencil holder with a story.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:33 PM
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True, if you load slow powders to magnum levels you won't have a problem, but what if you want a mid-range load? Trail Boss is a solution but outside of that even medium burning powders suitable for lower-power loads are going to leave room for a double charge.

What do you do? Load .44 Russian brass? Give up on the caliber? What about the .45 Colt? Is Trail Boss the only real solution outside of "process improvement"? I just don't think that "load something that fills the case" is always a practical solution.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:34 PM
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When using the same bullets, same cases, same powder. It's easy to weigh the bullets to catch a double when in doubt.
So, its 9g of titegroup at a 200 gr bullet. On a digital scale, it's easy to find a 9g discrepancy.
I've sat at my livingroom table and just weighed the completed bullets. If I've doubted a stroke.
On a progressive, you can double it. And easy if your mind is preoccupied.
I've done the opposite. And made about 5 squibs(?). Enough for me to carry a squib rod and a small hammer in my range bag.

I was just at the range yesterday and finished off my last box of loaded 44 mags with titegroup. Having been a reloader for many years, one knows the dangers.

OP. Sorry for your loss. I'm glad your ok. The gun can be replaced with the same one. You cannot be so easily replaced.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:34 PM
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Weigh the remaining cartridges just for the exercise but you are plumb crazy if you don’t disassemble each and every cartridge. Whatever failed once could very well have failed more than once.
You're right, of course. I'll pull them all and switch powder. Can you believe that a tiny hole in the face did this? It wouldn't stop bleeding for nearly a half hour, and it was coming fast too.


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Old 02-02-2020, 06:36 PM
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Yes, there is such thing as a bad day at the range. My beautiful 629-4 was blown up by a hand load today. I figure I must have got a double charge somehow. I use a Hornady progressive press and can't understand how I could get a double charge.

I caught a piece of shell casing in my left cheek and it bled A LOT! Docs are just going to leave it in there. A souvenir I guess.

Yep. Bad day. I can't make it any better. Once upon a time I had a double charge on a .45 ACP. Empty casing ejected right back into my forehead. Learned. Haven't had it happen again. Lucky. Gun was not damaged. Do so very much wish it had been different with you and your revolver. Surprised the bit of shrapnel was left in your face. I got spattered back about 2000 when a Yugoslavian 8mm round did an "M split" in my K-98. Gun was not hurt. Several bits of brass had to be picked out of my eyebrow/forehead. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:36 PM
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Man, that's gotta be a 10 on the spinchter pucker scale! You are a lucky guy to be walking away with relatively minor injuries. Go play the lotto!
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:38 PM
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That is scary. Thanks for sharing this.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:40 PM
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That is just bad. Glad you are pretty much okay, it could have been worse.
Kind of like holding a hand grenade when it goes off!
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:42 PM
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Shouldn't this be in the Top Break section?

Seriously. glad you are basically alright. Lot of metal flew off that in a big hurry. Really would be great to figure out just what went wrong.

I wouldn't trust the weight the assembled rounds theory very much. Cases and bullets can have some variation. Unless you clean all your cases and sort by manufacture and lot they can vary several grains. Same with bullets, especially cast sized and lubed bullets. Most handgun ammo isn't loaded like match ammo. It wouldn't surprise me to find variations of 5 grs or more depending on a lot of variables.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:50 PM
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All new Starline brass, 240 gr Lasercast SWC, and 8.4 gr of Titegroup. Should be close, right?
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:51 PM
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If your gun looks like that, and you are leaving with the same amount of eyeballs and fingers as you started with, then it was a good day, not a bad one.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:55 PM
lscocoa lscocoa is offline
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Glad youíre okay. I did the same thing to a 29-4 whitetail hunter. My mistake was not stopping to talk to my grandson and put a double charge of tite group in one case out of a couple hundred I made that day . The range was full and thank God no one was hurt just my pride and my most favorite 44 .
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:04 PM
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This is a great post to WARN people that reload their own ammo to use Extreme caution in the pursuit of their hobby!
A friend of mine blew up a Model 19 I had sold him. When I asked if I could buy it back, he told me there was no gun left to sell. It looked a lot like yours shocker. No one hurt but the cylinder blew and bent the back strap.
Glad you didn’t suffer more sever injuries!

Be SAFE and Shoot Often!

Last edited by Execpro; 02-02-2020 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:17 PM
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Glad you are okay. If you saved the pieces, I believe J.B. Weld may fix it. It will probably be stronger than before. I look forward to the range report.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenwolde View Post
True, if you load slow powders to magnum levels you won't have a problem, but what if you want a mid-range load? Trail Boss is a solution but outside of that even medium burning powders suitable for lower-power loads are going to leave room for a double charge.

What do you do? Load .44 Russian brass? Give up on the caliber? What about the .45 Colt? Is Trail Boss the only real solution outside of "process improvement"? I just don't think that "load something that fills the case" is always a practical solution.
I have done it, yes. But not on a progressive press. All cases with powder on the tray are inspected before seating the bullets. Better slow and safe than sorry.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Iíll double down on precisely this comment. If it were Alliant 2400, AA#9 or H-110, no possible way to double charge. As a matter of fact, you could go way over book and make an unsafe load with the right powder but there isnít enough space in the case to do this damage when using any of the three I listed.
or Unique or Universal plus it'll load lots more different calibers. Yes, you'll have to clean your gun more often.....
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:41 PM
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Glad you're OK....good post for all of us to see!!!!
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:00 PM
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Glad you weren't hurt.
Endoscopes an be had for less than $20. It is a camera on a cable, plugs into your phone or computer. I've thought about mounting mine on my Dillon, so I could see into the case before seating the bullet. I might just do that now. It wouldn't take much to do it.

ANY disruption of the loading sequence when using my Dillon causes me to check all cartridges in process at that moment. I will pull the next couple of cases off stage 3 and weigh the charge, for instance, if I have a primer mess up, or even if the case in stage one doesn't go up into the size die because I didn't have it aligned properly.
You can't be too careful.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:11 PM
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Bad that it happened but lucky that you can still talk about it.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:18 PM
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Glad you still have your digits left. That is one of the main reason I prefer to load by stage on a single stage press, I can look at ever stage for safety. I was given a progressive loader for Christmas and used it once. After that I put it back in the box because I just wasn't comfortable with the lack of visual safeties I had with my single stage.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:35 PM
GypsmJim GypsmJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothshooter View Post
That's why on my Dillon 550 I do not use it as intended.
I interrupt the process by removing them from the shell plate as they move toward the powder station, Put them in a 50 round block, throw the charges by hand using a separate measure, looking at the powder levels in all the cases for uniformity, then feeding the charged cases back into the loader for the remaining seating and crimping stations.
Some of my ammo is used in 1866 and 1873 Uberti replica's, and I don't want to take a chance on having the awkward situation of a firing pin rod being driven back into my eye socket.
Sounds like an excellent approach to safety. I do the same thing, but with several single stage presses.

So, what's the sense of buying a megabucks Dillon, when a couple of Lee presses will do the same thing at a significantly reduced price.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
However... nope, sorry folks, you cannot reliably weigh a loaded round in hopes of catching a double charge of Titegroup. You would be looking to weigh a small amount and the variance in the weight of components will usually make for a pretty wide variance across a whole bunch of rounds.
^^^ This

Quote:
Is there -ANY- chance that it was more than just a double charge? In a progressive, it is possible that if one got a double that another got a light charge or no charge, leading to the possibility of an obstructed bore. At that point you not only have a double charge of Titegroup but you have effectively doubled the bullet weight. That wouldnít just add to the catastrophe, it would multiply it.
It would have blown the barrel off, not the cylinder.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:46 PM
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Are you positive it was in fact a handload?

This type of thing appears to be MUCH more common with factory ammo from what I’m told.

Either way, send the revolver in to Smith and I’ll bet they respond back with a discounted current model of your choice. The new guns are every bit as good and in many ways better. Think of it as trading up.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:00 PM
Mr. HillBilly Mr. HillBilly is offline
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Glad you did not get hurt worse.

I load on a Dillon 550 (4 stations), I size and prime alone. After everything is primed I run powder on station 1 and then station 2 always has a RCBS powder check die in it.

Simple little thing that shows me how much powder is in case by a free floating rod that the powder in the case raises it up, next to a stationary rod with a O Ring on it. Just give it a quick look at the bottom of the press stroke.

I do not care if I am using 296 or anything else that fills the case I still prime separate and run my check die. Just makes me feel better.

RCBS Powder Checker Die
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:06 PM
dcopper dcopper is offline
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God is Good My Friend! Glad you were not seriously injured! Sorry for the loss of your revolver! Once again My Friend I'm not sure about the Luck Part, but I do Know you were Blessed by The Good Lord! To God Be the Glory!

Last edited by dcopper; 02-03-2020 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:13 PM
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That’s why I don’t like tight group. I’ve always been a fan of unique. Glad you made it through.
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