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Slam Fire - Tell me your story

This is a discussion on Slam Fire - Tell me your story within the M1A /M14 Talk forums, part of the Long Gun Talk category; Okay ladies/gentleman, I decided to create a thread as it relates to a incident that I personally have experienced(scary as all *ell). So I have ...

Old 08-19-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
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Angry Slam Fire - Tell me your story

Okay ladies/gentleman, I decided to create a thread as it relates to a incident that I personally have experienced(scary as all *ell). So I have been around firearms for almost all of my life, and have always maintained proper safety and SA when handling any firearm, but I had a very crappy, and scary experience I thought I would like to share with all of you.

So the story begins, one day after purchasing a used Mini-14 for a really decent price, test firing at their indoor range(several issues propped up with the weapon firing O/B several times, and the bolt would not go all the way forward), but since I bought the weapon(as in most weapons) "as is", I figured I would take it home clean and inspect for possible wear/damage. Well to get to the point, after cleaning, and stripping the weapon, I noticed nothing wrong with any of the parts that could cause the previous issues(bolt, firing pin, trigger group/springs and sear pin looked good), so I decided to cycle a few rounds manually(to test if the action was working correctly), everything was good, but when I placed a a new mag in the weapon(keep in mind the safety was on), I locked the bolt forward(it only locked about half way, so I gave the mag, bolt, and butt slight tap(pointing the weapon in a safe direction the ceiling, since I have roommates who live both down stairs, and adjacent to my room), and what do you know BOOM!! damn thing slam fired. My friend was watching me when it happened, other than the hole in my ceiling, and a ringing in my ears, no one was hurt, or injured, and nobody outside heard a thing.. I admit it was stupid act, but under normal circumstances(meaning a clean/good condition rifle) that is never suppose to happen. I hope anyone reading learns from my mistake, I have heard so many stories of slam fire's, and kind of had that "It can never happen to me mentality", given the Mini-14 operates the same as a M-1A, and the M-14 I figure I would post on this forum, also the weird thing is I have cleared similar issue's with several of my rifles by giving the bolt a slight push forward and never had a slam fire(not to say I should have never done it in my home for one). In the long run I got rid of that weapon, and purchased a M1A, and my god crafted beauty at it's finest. Thanks again ladies/gentlemen for reading my thread!!!
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Old 08-19-2012, 03:46 PM   #2
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Man you got lucky! I've never had a slam fire. (probably shouldn't say that, might have jinxed myself)

Cycling live ammo in the home is not a good idea at all IMO.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:38 PM   #3
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Cycling live ammo in the house kinda breaks one of the safety rules. Don't point the gun at anything you do not want to destroy.
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:10 PM   #4
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I wouldn't go so far as to say that a slam-fire can never happen. The M1/M14/M1A series rifle utilize a floating firing pin and I'm pretty sure the mini-14 does too. With this floating design, slam-fires are always a real possibility. It's likely that there was enough momentum in the firing pin from your tap/bump the detonate the primer. Also check the firing pin to make sure that it truly is free-floating and not stuck in the forward position.

You made no mention of the ammo used to cycle the action, but another cause of slam fires may be related to primers and/or reloaded ammo. A high primer may be a likely candidate.

A couple years ago up at Camp Perry during the Garand match, my buddy had a slam fire when chamering a round of Hornady factory 168gr ammo when shooting offhand. He followed all the normal precautions, but still planted a round into the dirt in front of the firing line.

Luckily, no one was hurt with your ND and hopefully police didn't get involved. Next time save the live-ammo for the firing line and stick to snap-caps
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sunday View Post
Cycling live ammo in the house kinda breaks one of the safety rules. Don't point the gun at anything you do not want to destroy.
I thought it was KILL, not destroy... and obviously he did not point it anything living so i'd say he didn't KINDA violate it, at all.
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:08 AM   #6
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Heard of it happening but never experienced it myself (nor anyone I know).

When it fired, did the hammer go forward on it (could you tell?) or did it fire because the firing pin was stuck forward in the bolt?

Just bumping the op rod forward with your hand won't impart enough velocity/force to the firing pin to set off a primer. There's a big difference between the velocity/force of the bolt traveling from its rearward position to chamber a round and you just bumping the op rod to move the bolt that last 1/4" or so.

With the M1A and the M1 Garand (I have an old Mini14 but have not shot or cleaned it in 20 years or so) the firing pin should not be able to strike the primer unless the bolt is fully seated/locked - unless there is a wear issue with the safety bridge or the firing pin tail. Pull yours (receiver/barrel/bolt out of the stock, roll it over and look at the piece of metal that runs between the sides of the receiver. That notch cut in it (M1A/M1 Garand & maybe Mini14?) allows the firing pin to move forward only once the bolt is rotated fully into the locked position. It should also pull the firing pin rearward (as the bolt moves forward) when the tail on the firing pin contacts the non-slotted part of the bridge when the bolt is still moving forward.

My ony issue with the Mini14 is accuracy. I don't have that issue with my M1 Garand so I shoot it and the mini stays in the case (maybe one day the grandchildren can shoot it till they realize there is something better out there - the M1A/M1 Garand).

At least you did keep it pointed in a safe direction.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #7
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What m1a4me said.

Theoretically, a slam fire is impossible because of that bridge and the FP's tail - theoretically.... Obviously, it does happen and usually with catastrophic results, like a ruined rifle.

I am suspecting the hammer followed the bolt home or the sear or hammer ears are damaged. Look first for a broken FP tail, damaged safety bridge, or a timing issue. Then look for hammer or sear problems.

And never use live ammo other than at the range for this kind of testing. If it is actually firing OB then it could pose a serious risk of blowing up the action. The fact that it didn't makes me suspect something else. If it is actually firing OB, you might see peening on the bolt lug or locking lug interface areas, especially at the leading edges.

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Old 08-23-2012, 03:39 PM   #8
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SKS...a few times fired..missed a cleaning

Chambered a round at the range...fired and 3 slung out one right after the other (caught the ugly looks of "he is shooting full auto" from many people on the line) put it up...took it home..cleaned the bejesus out of the bolt and firing pin, found a bur that was binding up firing pin and causing the slam fire (should be loose and floppy in the channel not bound up)

Or were you referring to a specific platform?
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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SKS here pulled the bolt back enough to chamber a round but the hammer didnt catch on the sear let it go and boom nearly broke my thumb happened on 3 different occasions until i finally figured out what was going on.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:16 PM   #10
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I have had this awful experience with my M1A Supermatch at a Regional High Power Match a number of years ago.....blew up the gun badly and got a face full of tiny shrapnel.

Thank God for good shooting glasses (Zeiss) that were badly damaged saving my vision.

The REAL culprit in this out of battery firing was that the sizing die was not setting the shoulder back properly and the bolt closed JUST enough to allow the firing pin to go forward and KABOOM! One thoroughly destroyed gun and severely shaken shooter...I have pictures if anyone wants...

Shakes you to the core doesn't it?


PS. It is WELL worth your time and money to invest in a case gauge ( Wilson, Dillon, Forrester) to check your ammo instead of trying to run it through your gun. Would have saved me a VERY costly experience.....
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