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golden sky

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I know of three people in my town that have shot themselves in the hand with a ML. Each incident was due to them doing something stupid. I think most of the accidents we hear about where it “just went off” are most likely from something foolish being done. Let’s face it, lots of people aren’t going to own up to being foolhardy when it lead to an injury.
those folks might also have loaded with the cock in the fire mode instead of resting on nipple or in the safe position. its easy to do even when friends are around and your chatting each other up, accidentally place a cap on it and forget your loading sequence
 

Ian Straus

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Here we go again...... How about some non hearsay evidence for the AD story. Bottom line, embers are "urban myth". Please search other threads.

Spreading this kind of misinformation is detrimental the hobby. It causes the uninformed to attribute unnecessary danger to black powder. That causes other uniformed people to make rules and regulations that hurt the hobby.
.......
No, that's wrong: Embers are real. I have been present at two flashes, But both were with rifled muskets, firing fast: One live fire at a skirmish and one with blanks at a reenactment. And neither produced worse than a burned hand, because there was no projectile in the bore yet and the charge was not compressed, and had no ramrod on top of it. The drill prescribes where to have your fingers, for good reason.

Nothing worse than a singed hand should happen if you are pouring a charge of black powder down with the proper procedure, though I do still think cleaning between shots with your patched round ball rifle is a good idea.

But I can see that with Pyrodex pellets there is an added risk IF you actually have to ram that pellet down. I don't use pellets myself, so can't personally say whether that is necessary.

I do think that a ramrod with a T handle or a ball on top encourages you to put your hand at risk, while a plain old straight hickory range rod grasped by the side appears to me to be safer.

But I admit I have a T handle on the big brass ramrod I got for my matchlock, because that's the only configuration in which i could find a rod that long and heavy. I do clean between shots with the matchlock, and the rate of fire is extra slow so any ember should burn out or be put out before I pour the next charge down..
 

Stykbow

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those folks might also have loaded with the cock in the fire mode instead of resting on nipple or in the safe position. its easy to do even when friends are around and your chatting each other up, accidentally place a cap on it and forget your loading sequence
Oh no, they were stupid. One had adjusted the trigger weight so low that when he slid it onto the platform of a stand (with his hand over the end of the barrel) the bump on the butt fired it and blew one of his fingers off. The next one shot himself thru the meaty part below the thumb when he grab the end after hoisting it into the stand and pulled. A branch was thru the trigger guard and touched it off when he pulled. The third one wins the prize though. Couldn’t remember if he had left his ML loaded or not. He decided to find out by firing a cap with his hand over the barrel to see if he felt any air come out. Well, he felt lots of stuff come out right thru the center of his palm. I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt like you, but I think we can all agree that these three guys absolutely did something stupid.
 
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A member of our club in NYS had a custom TC Hawken. Most of us wiped between shoots during our winter indoor (shooting thru opening in door) shoots. He didn’t. Poured powder in, as he pushed patched ball down, gun went off. Messed his fingers up pretty good. His range rod went thru the ceiling and jammed half way thru the club house metal roof. I’ve been told he came back the next year and it happened again. That was it for him. Never got the final resolution, but we all thought his breech must have held a ember.
 

ord sgt

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I have experienced a "cook off" while practicing for an upcoming competition. Pour powder, seat minie, ram, cap, aim and fire. Doing this in real time on the firing line. After firing several times, I pulled the minie from the plastic tube and started to pour the premeasured powder charge. In the middle of the pour, some of the FFFg found an ember, igniting the whole premeasured power charge. Seeing flames and smoke going between my fingers was really a sight to see. I never found the plastic tube. I did receive first degree burns on my fingers.
Also saw the same happen to a shooter on the firing line during a timed competition at a regional match. The man regained his composure after burning his hand and continued to load and fire until the time limit.
 

stikshooter

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I can't find that story now but here's another:




That's just nuts, isn't it?

Now, to be clear, I think the odds of such a thing are *exceedingly* small when proper technique is used. Still, over the course of thousands of shots spread over decades, it becomes perhaps statistically significant. I'd just rather keep all my body parts.

Grabbing the rod on the sides rather than pushing down seems like a good idea. (I've also heard of guys using a tree or something else stationary for the final push...)
Now that there is down right (SILLY) ,leaving my more vulgar reply out / Ed
 

Gunny5821

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OSHA equipped muzzleloader safe loading devices.
welder-cowhide-rust-split-glove.jpg
Welding Leather Helmet.jpg
 
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ADs from rapid fire exercises with paper cartridge's is real. I should have covered that. Such activities seem pointless to me. IF you want fast, get a modern gun.

I would bet a significant sum that the vast majority of the ADs while loading were caused by capping or priming first, and then loading at full cock.

I saw the results of several accidents over the years. All involved operator error, negligence, or stupid experiments. In most cases the person who screwed up lied about what happened. When proven to be a liar they sometimes fessed up.

Bottom line is that if you have a little commons sense you will be a safe ML shooter. No special procedures are necessary.
 

PaulF70

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Where's "Mythbusters" when you need them? A five minute ember and a wet fire piston explosion need investigated. Safety first but some risk is involved in about any activity that includes firearms, motorcycles. cars, airplanes, steps, ladders, and a million other things. One dangerous activity is believing everything you read on the internet.

Are you calling the guy who posted the story on thehighroad a liar? You could write him.

No, that's wrong: Embers are real. I have been present at two flashes, But both were with rifled muskets, firing fast: One live fire at a skirmish and one with blanks at a reenactment. And neither produced worse than a burned hand, because there was no projectile in the bore yet and the charge was not compressed, and had no ramrod on top of it. The drill prescribes where to have your fingers, for good reason.

Nothing worse than a singed hand should happen if you are pouring a charge of black powder down with the proper procedure, though I do still think cleaning between shots with your patched round ball rifle is a good idea.

But I can see that with Pyrodex pellets there is an added risk IF you actually have to ram that pellet down. I don't use pellets myself, so can't personally say whether that is necessary.

I do think that a ramrod with a T handle or a ball on top encourages you to put your hand at risk, while a plain old straight hickory range rod grasped by the side appears to me to be safer.

But I admit I have a T handle on the big brass ramrod I got for my matchlock, because that's the only configuration in which i could find a rod that long and heavy. I do clean between shots with the matchlock, and the rate of fire is extra slow so any ember should burn out or be put out before I pour the next charge down..

Also don't use pellets. Also will never use ball rods again.

That's all my OP was about, really.

A member of our club in NYS had a custom TC Hawken. Most of us wiped between shoots during our winter indoor (shooting thru opening in door) shoots. He didn’t. Poured powder in, as he pushed patched ball down, gun went off. Messed his fingers up pretty good. His range rod went thru the ceiling and jammed half way thru the club house metal roof. I’ve been told he came back the next year and it happened again. That was it for him. Never got the final resolution, but we all thought his breech must have held a ember.

He did this TWICE? Now that's unreal! That's incredible stupidity.

There are some good posts is this thread but I'm puzzled by those who seem offended or agitated over even talking about BP accidental discharges. Yes, they're super rare. And yes - I'll admit this - I posted immediately after reading that thread on thehighroad from a guy who did NOT do anything stupid yet got his hand blown apart and was still under too much influence from that single story.

Although, now, I must admit that he DID do something stupid just by having so much of his hand in the line of fire. I had thought that using ball-type rods was common and almost necessary - I was wrong about that and not using them in itself will make this activity a lot safer.

I smiled at the "driving to the range is more dangerous" comment because of this: I'm also a private pilot. Pilots love to parrot the very same line with regard to flying. The fact is, though, it's a lie: General aviation is approximately six times more dangerous, by mile traveled, than driving. (Commercial air travel, OTOH, *is* much safer.)

I fly because statistics are meaningless with a sample size of one (me). I know what I'm doing (and I even fly at night, alone, IFR). If my number comes up, that's God's business; I did everything right.

In contrast, I am sure that shooting ML guns *is* safer than driving, statistically.

For the record, I also think the static and compression musings are BS. I've seen the vids on static - massive high-voltage sparks won't ignite black.

I think embers are the danger. I have experimented with loose BP and have seen just how easily it is to ignite.

So, my takeaways:

- NO rammers that put my whole hand over the barrel

- ALWAYS swab between shots
 
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Not “one time I heard,” or “my college roommate’s cousin’s friend.” I know a guy who’s been shooting BP since I was a kid; I’ve been shooting with him at Rendezvous a number of times in the past 20 years. Several years ago he was using a range rod to drive a very tightly fitting PRB into his unprimed rifle, and the charge ignited, blowing the rod out and injuring him in the face and hand. Near as he figures, it was the piston-like compression that ignited the charge. Before and since the accident, I’ve known him to be a very model of safe gun handling.
Never can tell.
Jay
 

golden sky

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You make my point, you read it on the internet. I was always told there are bold pilots and old pilots but very few old bold pilots. Tailwinds, blue skies.
there are so... bold Old pilots, i've met them. they still walk amung us. as long as you know your machines limits and your capabilities, there's no issue , similar to BP shooting
 
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"Couldn’t remember if he had left his ML loaded or not. He decided to find out by firing a cap with his hand over the barrel to see if he felt any air come out."

I had to read this three times to make sure I didn't misinterpret something - Sweet Mother of God what is wrong with people?
 
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What a silly response. Being fearful of actual danger is intelligent. It's how people survive to pass on their genes.

Do you have anything to say regarding the actual issue? Do you believe an accidental discharge is possible even when everything is done correctly? If not, it seems there exists contrary data. If so, and you're not fearful of such an event - well, I wonder a bit about such a person.
I don't think it was a silly response, if you are fearful of loading you will make mistakes,
 

TFoley

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Oh no, they were stupid. One had adjusted the trigger weight so low that when he slid it onto the platform of a stand (with his hand over the end of the barrel) the bump on the butt fired it and blew one of his fingers off. The next one shot himself thru the meaty part below the thumb when he grab the end after hoisting it into the stand and pulled. A branch was thru the trigger guard and touched it off when he pulled. The third one wins the prize though. Couldn’t remember if he had left his ML loaded or not. He decided to find out by firing a cap with his hand over the barrel to see if he felt any air come out. Well, he felt lots of stuff come out right thru the center of his palm. I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt like you, but I think we can all agree that these three guys absolutely did something stupid.

Call me a heartless ghoul, but I would have paid good money to have seen that.
 

waksupi

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I have seen metallic cartridge weapons blow up. Squib loads and overloaded hand loads were causes.
Actually under loads cause more detonations. Reducing a slow powder to less than 1/3 of recommended loads generate a secondary explosive effect, starting the projectile down the bore before the charge fully ignites, causing a bore obstruction.
 
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