My friends, stuff happens. If you ride a motorcycle long enough, eventually you will go down. If you work a chef's knife on a board long enough, eventually you will get cut.
Well, if you shoot long enough.... eventually something will go not-right. Usually, almost always, it will involve a slip in concentration and a stupid mistake.
As shocking as it may be, Carteach is not immune. After a lifetime of shooting, a slip in concentration led to a serious whoops... and a severely damaged rifle.
There was no one else at fault, and no one else to blame. This one was all me... and it was dumb. Nothing malfunctioned outside my own brain. Luckily, no one was hurt. In fact, not a single person at the range even noticed the issue but me.
I fired my AR-15 with a foreign object in the bore.
What it was does not matter. How I came to be so stupid, doesn't matter. The series of mistakes I made in procedure leading up the event are of importance only to me. It happened, and I own it.
The Colt upper took the event in stride like it was nothing, but the barrel suffered the damage seen in the image above. The 62 grain bullet upset in the bore on striking the object, and the immense pressure swelled the barrel right at the point where the factory muzzle brake was screwed on and tack welded in place.
I realized the instant it touched off that I had screwed up on a whole new level, and suspected my entire upper unit might be a write off. While not another soul on the crowded ranged had a clue there was anything untoward happening, they may have wondered at my field stripping the rifle right at the shooting bench.
Then again, the folks there are used to me doing unusual things. They hardly even look twice anymore.
I cleared a chunk of bullet jacket from the brake area, and ascertained the bore was clear and straight. Hoping against hope the rifle had escaped injury from my stupidity.... I tried a few more rounds. Sadly, the 100 backstop had become an unobtainable goal. The rifle which held two inch groups with open sights could no longer reliably hit even the target backer.
I packed it up and took it home.
The upshot, I had damaged the end of the barrel quite badly. Not so terribly that it couldn't be cut down, but enough to render it useless without surgery.
After machining, the undamaged part of the barrel measured just over a legal 16" by using the ATF's own method, and that was enough. The rifle now sports a snazzy new look, and if anything shoots better than it ever did before.
Friends.... fellow shooters.... a word of advice from someone who just looked over the edge into that abyss. If you are working on a weapon, keep live ammo FAR FAR away from the area.
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