Previous Post
Next Post

JRF_5045 Reader Jason F. writes:

On February 23, 2014 I was at Okeechobee Shooting Sports (where I work) along with a few members and friends enjoying a game of 5-stand. I was also there to help a friend get his wife — who happens to be terrified of guns — comfortable and interested in shooting. I had grabbed a flat of Rio 12 gauge 1-1/8 #8 off the sales floor. During the outing, a shell exploded in the Fausti Caledon I was shooting. The bang was loud enough that shooters from the two neighboring fields came over to see what happened. I was literally stunned for about five minutes. My right ear went almost deaf for 30 minutes or so and was pretty sensitive to loud noises for a month . . .

The shotgun was completely destroyed and fragments impacted the shooter as others tore a hole through the metal roof of the shooting station. This catastrophic explosion is far greater than anything we’ve seen in over 50 years of gunsmithing experience.


As you might expect, my friend’s wife may never get near a firearm again. We notified Rio Ammunition of the issue and sent them the remaining flat of shells along with photos of the shotgun. A month or so passed with no response when an explosion at the Rio plant in Tennessee happened causing the tragic death of an employee. Many more months pass with no response despite our efforts to reach out to them for any kind of communication.


We finally threatened to seek other remedies. Ten minutes later, Patrick from Rio called stating he would take care of it. He made several calls that month promising compensation to cover the destroyed shotgun, but still nothing.


It’s one thing to say “No, we aren’t going to reimburse you,” but it’s a totally different story to tell us, “Yeah, we will take care of you,” and then ignore our calls. Many of you in the shotgun sports have firearms that cost far more than ours. You would probably be irate if your Kriegoff of Perazzi was destroyed and not replaced by the ammo manufacturer. I caution everyone to think twice before using Rio Ammo due to the threat of personal injury or loss of your firearm.



This originally was posted at and appears here with permission.

Previous Post
Next Post


      • At the risk of being redundant or obvious, don’t just “throw it away.” Contact somebody in the area who knows how to properly get rid of it. Or pile it all up 100 miles from nowhere and blast it with tannerite or something. >:-&gt

        • Do NOT blast it with Tannerite!
          Tannerite is a low explosive- it won’t have the brisance (shattering power) to get through the casings and get rid of all
          the explosive hazards.
          Tannerite may set off one or two shells, but it will kick out the majority of them. All of whom, will be damaged, and even more unpredictable.
          In army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal- the Army’s bomb squad) we burn small arms ammo. A pit two feet deep, the ammo is placed at the bottom in a single layer, and gas soaked kindling (pallet wood, usually) is stacked on top and lit.
          This usually burns the stuff out completely without having any explosive residue remain. And nothing flies out and starts a secondary fire.
          24 hours after the last smoke is seen, we inspect the pit, make sure everything is burned out, then send it to scrap metal.
          Unless you want to do that on your land (Do it on public land and get fined $25,000 if someone sees the smoke- they will), it is best to hand it over to a local police department, and explain why you are turning it in (so they don’t use it, either).
          Print out this page and hand it in with the ammo. I hate going near cops, too, but it’s your safest bet, unless you own a lot of land you can burn ammo on, without people showing up to see what the smoke is about.

  1. That’s good to know. Unbelieve what the Rio ammo did to that gun. Heck of a thing to happen with a new shooter. I’m glad no one was killed.

    • Yeah, how can that happen? Looks like triple charge or even more! Can that amount of powder fit in the shell? Are we sure the barrel wasn’t blocked somehow? I know, that’s pretty difficult when you can look down it while putting the shell in, but that damage doesn’t seem possible from overcharge.

  2. Ouch! I have some Rio ammo in my stock. Better sort it out and see what comes of this situation.

    I’m glad nobody was hurt. I’m taking a newbie to the range this weekend for his first firearm experience. I’ve never heard of a .22 going KA-BOOM before.

    Please to keep us updated on this case.

    • I had a .22 case failure just this last weekend. As far as I can tell no damage to my P22, but would have been a bad time with any centerfire cartridge.

      • I had a case failure a .22 recenlty, too. The back pressure knocked the extractor and a spring clean out of my Ruger Mk I. No lasting damage, but quite a surprise. Rather than being loud, it sounded more like a dud, but the rattling of a gun that *never* rattles was the real signal to what had happened. The bullet was sticking half out of the muzzle.

      • I had a simllar experience with my SiG 1911 when an overcharged Winchester M-22 blew back in my face. Nothing serious and no damage to the gun but it made me wonder what would have happened if it was a 45 round that went kaboom on me.

      • had a .380 do this to me, bullet went half down the barrel and I didn’t realize it had happened before I sent the second bullet down range. luckly the gun was brand new and only put a buldge in the barrel and a little powder in the face.

    • I have seen burst barrels on .22 LR firearms as well, so it can happen to anything (although the total explosive force would be considerably less than a shotgun or centerfire rifle load).

      For many years, a local shop (out of business now) had a Marlin 39 rifle hanging on the wall with a barrel that was split almost its full length. The gunsmith had diagnosed the cause as being fired with a plug of snow in the barrel while winter hunting.

    • I was shooting a friend’s brand new Ruger 10/22 takedown (the one that splits in half) yesterday. He had some issues with his magazines not feeding fully. A round got stuck with just the bullet and very end of the case in the barrel, and the rest exposed by the ejection port. I was jiggling the bolt handle to feed it, and the round went off. Fortunately it was only a .22. Afterwards, I figured I probably put some pressure on the rim, igniting the primer.

    • It’s happened to me. A screw shot out of the bottom of a 10/22 and my hands got a little burned, but it wasn’t catastrophic.

    • Yes a 22 round can explode. I had a round explode in my Winchester tube feed 22 with such force that it deafend me for half a day. It blew the block open and blasted metal fragments out the ejection port. Fortunately it didn’t have enough force to explode the gun. I don’t know if it was caused by a malfunction of the gun or a defective round. I Never fired that gun again.

  3. Huh. I’ve used almost nothing but Rio in my 870 for about the last two years. Sucks that you got a bad lot. Sucks even more that their CS sucks. Tempted to go with another brand now.

    • A bad lot is having too many click-not-booms. (Magtech .357 Magnum comes to mind…)

      This is … Something else. I’m wondering just what they did that would cause this. Wrong powder? Double / more charge? Guncotten for wadding?

  4. Um… If this was completely caused by the ammunition I would be thinking a legal course might serve. You already said there is a woman that will probably never touch a gun, there is your hearing, the shotgun, and let’s not forget the gun that you mentioned. I don’t think that emotional compensation is out of the question. People have carried scars for life from incidents less extreme.

        • Yep. This rush to blame the ammo may be slightly premature. Have there been any other reports of defective ammo from this lot?

        • I seriously doubt that for a few reasons. First, he was not hunting, he was shooting 5 stand. So its not like mud got in the barrel. Next, it is extremely obvious if a shotgun wad does not exit the barrel, they are very visible. Furthermore, it is obviously a over/under shotgun. If there was wad and shot stuck in the barrel, then not only would it be easily seen while loading the next round, but also he would have had shot literally dribble out onto his feet when he opened the gun. The likelihood of a barrel obstruction is basically zero.

        • Barrel blockage will bulge/split part way down. This failure clearly happened right at the chamber. I’ve never seen the sideplates blown off a shotgun and a chamber blown in half before now.

        • There was a K-80 with the right side of the receiver blown out making pictures on the ‘net awhile back. I think that was a heat treatment/stress riser issue.

        • “Barrel blockage will bulge/split part way down. This failure clearly happened right at the chamber.”

          Yep, my thoughts exactly

        • I have blown a lot stuff up in my day and will call BS on this, it looks like he ran it over with a truck. Further more this was a target load and unless they put cement in the load (which is possible I guess) their wouldn’t be enough pressure but even with complete compressed charge with no where to go I don’t see this happening. I think it was user error, a hot reload with some type of cast slug to big or something completely different like dropping it out of a vehicle at 60mph which is what it looks like. I have seen some pretty messed up people try and get something for nothing than when they don’t the bad mouth the other party. He needs some better proof than a photo and a story for me to write off this company. It kind of pisses me off even if it did happen but because of his ignorance and without investigation he can’t say.

  5. Thankfully no was seriously hurt in this explosion.
    I cant say as in the factory since I have ZERO knowledge of shotguns or its ammo.

  6. So hmm the whole case of Rio 2 3/4 #8 I have sitting in the closet could make my Browning Citori look like that poor shotgun… ouch.

    Academy had a GREAT sale on all sorts of Rio last year (even 00) so I bought a ton, glad most of it is gone now.

  7. Glad I didn’t buy Rio when I was in the market for some 20 gauge 6 shot a couple weeks ago…

  8. I didn’t know Acme had a shotgun ammo subsidiary.

    Safes, explosives, roller skates, rocket motors, and pharmaceuticals (Earthquake Pills), yes. But not ammo.

    Seriously, glad you’re okay.

    I would second the suggestion of legal action, perhaps getting the rest of the lot of ammo analyzed first?

  9. As a devil’s advocate, are you sure this was an issue with the ammo? Not to excuse their customer service but the gun looks like it was literally blown apart. Its hard to believe something like that could happen unless there was something wrong with the shotgun.

    • Good question; offhand, though, other than a plugged barrel I can’t think of anything on the gun side that would cause this much damage everywhere, to so many different parts of the gun.

      • It looks dropped out of the back of a truck at high speed or as if someone put a 3 1/2″ slug or even a game load in a 3″ or 2 3/4″ only target gun. I can’t see how this could happen unless their was a serious blockage that couldn’t be blown out because even if you loaded the shell twice as a target load it would just blow out.

    • I saw a very similar over and under shot gun (a Belgian pre ww2 bring back) at a club about 20 years ago it was caused by some one dropping a 20ga into a 12 and a 12 next to it taking a shot then rejecting the fired 12 not noticing that 20 had slipped forward to the forcing cone area and dropping in a pair of 12s then shooting a double the distruction was almost identical and it was pure luck that a piece of the 20 ga shell remained to point to the cause
      My money is on an obstruction in the cone forward of the chamber and I would give odds it wis a smaller ga such as a 20

  10. Im sure there has to be an ongoing OSHA investigation if an employee was killed in an explosion at their plant. Has there been any recall or warning not to use any RIO ammo? Its pretty obvious that to cause that level of destruction to the shotgun that either the shells are massively overloaded with powder or a completely incorrect powder is being used. I cant imagine that the base or hull being defective could cause that sort of destruction.

    • No kidding!

      If you’re going to scare the sh!t out of everyone and make them question Rio ammunition you should at least give some details like Lot #.

      My guess is the author simply wants Rio to go out of business. If Rio makes ammo this dangerous and has customer service as bad as Jason F. claims then they deserve nothing less.

  11. I’ve seen one kaboom and the aftermath of a couple (bad hand load in one and a plugged barrel on the other) but I have never seen anything as bad as the above. I have no idea what could blow up a shotty like that.

    • Incredible damage, I mean shotgun shells are such (relatively) low pressure… Somebody didn’t quite mix the batter right

    • Agree. That’s just a strange way for a gun to fail. Doesn’t look like a blockage, yet it’s hard to imagine what had to be present in the shell to cause such a pressure spike.

  12. Oh shit. I cringe to imagine how my face would look if that happened with my KSG. Rio is my practice ammo, but I may pay the extra $10 to get Remington 00, and save my handsome face!

  13. Do you have a lot # on the defective flat. I have switched to using Clever in my 12ga, but my club still only carries 20ga in Rio. I buy a flat of each every other week, I don’t think I’ll be running anymore through my Caesar Guerini!

  14. Suing Rio for your property and medical damages might actually be doing them a favor in the long run. Since conscience and decency don’t motivate them maybe fear of consequences will get them to change their behavior before one of their customers is killed or maimed.

  15. I’ve got one 20-count box of cheap Rio target loads kicking around. After seeing pictures of that kaboom, I think I can live with throwing away $8.

  16. Shoot Fiocchi premium target ammo your score will go up. High antimony shot always patterns better.

  17. Wow. Everyone is very fortunate not getting injured or killed!
    Glad I’ve never bought any of their stuff

  18. Damn thanks for the info. I was going to buy some on sale at Cabelas. Now I’ll wait and see.

  19. A 12 ga target load is going to be what, 7, maybe 8K psi?

    It would take, at minimum, a quintuple charge to blow up a gun.

    • Indeed. The British proof house’s pressures on shotguns is in the 16K+ region.

      A “hot” load in a shotgun might get to 10K PSI. Most target loads are in the 7 to 9K (absolute tops) range.

      To cause this sort of failure with a double (or more) charge of powder leaves me puzzled as to how it could fit in the shell. The way most modern shotgun ammo is loaded, if you wanted to double (or more) the powder charge, you’d have to get a different wad/buffer on a 1 1/8oz load.

      • Would putting pistol propellant in the shell do this? My understanding is that pistol powders burn faster than rifle powders (I have no idea what’s used for shotguns) which I presume would generate a higher pressure.

        • I believe that Shotgun and Pistol powders have similar burn characteristics. I think there are some powders out there that can do double duty. So, no, I don’t think that explains it.

        • What Jim Barrett said. Pistol and shotgun powder is basically the same.
          Plus, I don’t think Rio makes handgun ammo, so there wouldn’t be any risk of issuing the wrong powder in their factory.

          Rifle powders burn slower than pistol/shotgun powders, making it even less likely to cause an explosion like this.

          If it was the ammo, it would have to be something other than a double charge/wrong powder.

        • Pistol & shotgun powders have very similar burn rate characteristics. Some shotgun powders are used in both shotgun loads and pistols. On another thread, I pointed out that one of the powders I used in my .45 ACP (Alliant’s “Unique”) is actually a widely used shotgun powder. Another powder that gets used quite a bit by both shotgun and pistol reloaders is Alliant’s “Red Dot.”

          Other examples are the Hdgdon powders “Titewad,” “Titegroup,” “Clays” and so on that are used in both shotgun loads and handgun loads.

  20. Call me a skeptic. How did you rule out a failure in the metallurgy? Was the receiver forensically examined by a lab? I don’t think a 12ga. shell will hold enough powder to cause a catastrophic failure like this. Looks more like a barrel obstruction or a parts failure.

    • That was my thought too. Those shells have 18.5 grains of powder in them. It’s unlikely that they could do that to a shotgun by themselves. At first I thought they might have been misloaded or overloaded, but then it occurred what most likely happened.

      While 18.5 grains of powder most likely won’t do that, 37 grains might. If the first shell took out the second shell in a double barrel shotgun, both shells at once would cause that much damage.

    • From what I can see in the photos, it appears that the monoblock failed, the joint of the lower barrel to the monoblock also failed. Gas pressure took apart the lower part of the receiver, and since the monoblock and the barrel join just into the forearm, the pressure blew the splinter off the forearm hanger.

      If there was a blockage, I’d say (again, with only the evidence I see in the photos) that the blockage was just forward of the forcing cone, or perhaps not even beyond the forcing cone. I’m saying that from not seeing any obvious bulge forward of the chamber. Sometimes, there are conditions when a wad is left in the bore (usually happens only with reloads) and putting another round of shot into a wad left in the barrel will result in a significant bulge in the barrel, but possibly not a rupture.

      Without knowing whether this gun was back-bored or what the forcing cone taper looks like, I can’t say with certainty whether a 20 ga shell lodged in the chamber would do this. I can say that in a nominal older gun, with 0.729″ bore diameter and a fairly conventional forcing cone, the a 20ga shell would become lodged just before the forcing cone is joining the bore, which would keep all the pressure bottled up in the monoblock area of the gun.

    • One more thought popped into my skull this AM:

      When they’re proofing shotguns, the Brits (at the Birmingham Proof House) don’t increase the powder charge.

      They increase the shot weight.

      When the Brits want to increase the chamber pressures to 16K+ PSI, they make up rounds with a heavier shot charge, not a heavier powder charge.

      It takes two to tango, and another way you can get high pressure excursions in smokeless powder loads is to increase the mass of your projectile(s) – whether bullets or shot.

      eg, if you take a .30-06 load mean for a 110 gr varmint bullet and you keep the powder/primer the same, but now stuff on a 180gr hunting bullet… you’re likely going to have a Bad Time[tm].

  21. I’ve always thought Rio was crappy ammo after some light target loads choked a friend ‘s Mossberg. 930 with a 26″ sporting clays barrel attached. To me, this seems to be a barrel obstruction, although there isn’t much to go on. As Dyspeptic and others have mentioned, that would have to be one hell of a powder charge to turn a shotgun into a grenade.

  22. My Father had a Remington round not clear the barrel in his Tommy gun and the next round behind it fired bulging the barrel.Remington quickly took care of the situation.

  23. Firearms companies (and ammunition companies) are shielded under US laws from lawsuits so long as the products they sell don’t injure someone during a malfunction. If the shell exploded in the shotgun and destroyed a firearm, that sounds exactly like the kind of thing they are not protected from. For you to say that someone from the company contacted you and made a promise to fix things for you, but never had a member of their legal team contact you, is pretty odd. The lawyer should have been the first one to call you. If he promised to help you, then stopped returning your calls, there is a reason for that. Either they think you’re not telling the truth and just want to sue them, or they think you’re telling the truth and they have a reason for stonewalling you. There is absolutely no reason they shouldn’t address the problem immediately. A medical bill or two, a new shotgun, and a piece of sheet metal don’t sound like they would be nearly as expensive as a court case or losing customers once the internet learned of what happened.

  24. The first thing that comes to mind is that somehow pistol powder got dropped into a shotgun shell. I don’t think that even a double charged shell with shotgun powder would do that.

    This is even extreme for a stuck wad. And being an over/under, you have to really be trying to shoot with a barrel obstruction.

    • For all practical purposes, pistol powder IS shotgun powder. It’s very dangerous to load pistol powder into a rifle, but there is little or no difference between pistol powder and rifle powder. Many powders have factory load data for several pistol calibers and a couple of shotgun gauges. Informed speculation can lead to enlightenment, but speculating from ignorance only spreads ignorance.

      So far, my favorite theories based on the photographs are:

      1) 12 gauge shell loaded behind 20 gauge shell.

      2) Extreme metallurgical defect in the shotgun chamber.

      The only way I can see this being an ammo issue would be to leave out the wad and quadruple charge the shell with powder. That’s not a loading accident or manufacturing defect. That would be a deliberately malicious act targeting a random Rio customer.

  25. It looks as though this was Ye Olde 20ga down the 12ga hole. look at that rio shell, its not ruptured- shotguns, especially target loads operate at some pretty low pressures, I’m not even sure if a double charge would do this. the barrel is split just forward of the chamber, or just about where a 20ga would lodge.

    You have to look at it this way: what could possibly go wrong with the manufacturing process? the wrong powder- probably not, it would affect more than one round. Too much shot? no- wouldn’t fit. too much powder? probably not that either, I don’t think being overcharged would generate that kind of pressure.

    kinda only leaves one plausible cause unless I’m missing something.

    • You are. Look at the picture again, the intact shell is from the top barrel. The little blue fragment underneath is the shell from the lower that blew up. Also, notice how the lower barrel is missing the chamber? I’m guessing that’s because the shell blew up. Everybody seems ready to blame this on a bore obstruction, but A) wouldn’t that obstruction still be there afterwards, and B) wouldn’t the damage be different?

    • As a youngster, my neighborhood pal and I grabbed a box of 12 gauge shells (green paper on brass, unknown brand) and his single shot shotgun. We shot a few rounds and he loaded a shell that had a white spot shaped like a thumbnail starting at the edge of the brass. I suggested we ditch that round but he assured me it was OK. I took the shot and I don’t recall anything unusually loud but when I handed the gun back to him it came apart. It had broken in a straight line down from the back of the barrel. Naturally I was blamed for this and had to pay $40 for the gun which they kept.

      So much for ancient history, I am wondering if this shell was weak at the base on the side we cannot see in the picture. There is an extra piece of blue plastic in one picture that has no explanation. I personally lean towards the 20 ga. theory. I have done a lot of clays with Boy Scouts and we use 12s and 20s since some of the boys are younger/smaller. It is very easy to have someone drop a 20 round in a 12 gauge gun.

  26. The gun should be inspected by a independent, unbiased, qualified third party gunsmith. My NOT professional theory/opinion: maybe the upper barrel had become delaminated from the lower barrel causing the recoil load to be placed well ahead of the breech/lockup mechanism. Then leverage/overload came into play. Were you firing the upper barrel? Bottom line; professional failure analysis should come before blame and accusation.

  27. I called BS when this was posted on Shotgun World and I still think there’s more to this story. It is impossible to load a 12 gauge shell hot enough to cause this damage. This was a GUN failure. The cause of the failure is another question. I’m with the other folks who have offered the 20 gauge lodged in the barrel theory. That makes the most sense. There is no reason to believe a single shell — from any manufacturer — caused this. It is MUCH more likely to be user error.

    • Thats a great thought however, if that were the case there would be a bulge in the barrel where the blockage was. How much experience did you say you had diagnosing stuff like this?

      • A 20 ga shell in a typical (old school) type 12ga chamber will hang up in the forcing cone area, which will be just forward of the monoblock. There might be no bulge because the monoblock joint failed before the barrel expanded.

        But without seeing the gun in person, I can’t offer anything other than conjecture. Just sayin’, 20 ga shells in a typical 12ga barrel/chamber, won’t go halfway down the bore. They’ll hang up just forward of the chamber. The 12 ga shell probably won’t get a chance to fully open up, unless the 12ga had a 3 or 3.5″ chamber and you were shooting a 2 3/4″ shell in them.

  28. some good points here. Having a 20 leftover in the bottom of a shell bag and getting it in a 12 would be bad. That would be a worst case scenario. with a 20 lodged in the barrel, not only do you have complete Blockage, bit you have the powder in the 20 and the 12 ga charge going off. thats a lot of available energy.

    • Read ninjaTED’s comment. If there was 20ga dropped in or some other kind of obstruction, the barrel would be bulged or blow up at the spot of obstruction. The metal in the barrel is obviously much thinner than that of the chamber. What we see in these photos is an exploded chamber. That pretty much rules out obstruction all together.

      • I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. A 20 gauge shell would be a bore obstruction directly in front of the chamber. It’s different from a bore obstruction at the muzzle or halfway down the bore. I think the pictures could be consistent with the chamber explosion that could occur if a 20 gauge shell were blocking the front of the chamber.

        Metallurgy is much better today than twenty years ago. I think a modern well built 12 gauge shotgun would probably stay together with a 20 gauge shell in front of a 12 gauge shell. Probably, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Shotguns aren’t built to tolerate rifle chamber pressures. Consider the much larger volume of a 12 gauge chamber compared to a rifle chamber (other than 50 BMG). There is a lot of stored energy in a 12 gauge chamber, and when one does blow, it does so violently as evidenced by the picture. It’s not much different from a grenade.

        • This is an example on video of what a 20/12 burst would look like… seems to look a bit different? I understand there are some varioables but seemingly none that would cause such a drastic difference in outcomes. What do you think?

  29. According the the victim’s statement on shotgunworld:”Bladeswitcher, we are as dumbfounded as you. It was NOT an issue with barrel obstruction as this happened on the first shot of the true pair set and both targets were broken on the previous report pair.”

    If that is factual, either he dropped 3 cartridges into the gun on one loading, one of them being a 20ga, or there was something very unusual with either the gun’s metallurgy or the shell.

  30. I have never been impressed by the quality of their ammo. Tried one box and then went back to Winchester.

    • To be honest, neither have I. The hulls aren’t worth reloading, the overall impression one gets of their ammo is “this is cheap, cheap, cheap ammo.”

  31. Saw something in the shotgunworld thread that grabbed my attention.
    Did he just say that his shotgun isn’t 2A protected arms?

    “There was no weapon involved in this case at all. It was a sporting gun, not a weapon.

    We have enough bad press already, with too many people thinking that all a firearm is good for is killing people. We should all try to help people understand the safe, legal uses of sporting arms. Calling sporting arms “weapons” is harmful to our cause.”

  32. I was using the Rio 12 guage target load, shooting my 1187 Remington. The primer came off and got inside of my trigger assembly, not knowing after at least 15 shots till it got jammed where I can’t shoot. All I can say that I’m glad it did not blow up or something bad happened…

  33. Okay here’s my penny’s worth regarding the blown shotgun using Rio ammunition:

    A few years back one of our club member’s had his shotgun explode on the skeet range (Valley Gun Club, Cape Town, South Africa). Parts of the chamber were recovered about 100 yards back and the shooter’s arm was split open like a banana peel – luckily the cut ran with the muscle grain and not against it so the wound healed pretty well.

    Now in this case it was a reload using once fired Rio cartridges with MS200 powder (Somchem product) and 1 oz shot . The reloader was a hornady 365 progressive reloader (fantastic machine!), which is identical to the reloader I use as was the powder.

    The immediate assumption was that it was a double charge. This I checked and found that with a double charge the amount of powder was such that the case could not crimp – in fact it could hardly begin to crimp! Double charge therefore not the issue.

    We then assumed that as the person was a reloader the previous shot was a blooper with the wad getting stuck in the barrel – but this was dismissed as the chairman of our club was standing next to and giving the said shooter some guidance on shooting skeet and he confirmed that in the previous simultaneous doubles both clays were solidly struck with absolutely no difference in shot sound. Thus wad obstruction was not the issue.

    We thus came to the conclusion that the gun was at fault and contacted the manufacturer with the full explanation plus pictures. We never received a reply. Tried again – same result.

    So in our mind the problem was a gun failure which the manufacturer was clearly trying to wish away.

    Last year I discovered what, in my opinion, was the true cause of the explosion.

    I was sitting at my reloading bench one evening and came across some Rio once fired cartridges which were at the back of my cupboard (we had in fact stopped importing Rio cartridges some years back). For some or other reason I had a look into the cartridge and noted that the plastic seat had a split in it from primer to edge. This was most odd so I discarded the cartridge and checked the rest of the batch – of the 50+ hulls there were a few more with split seatings and to my horror I found 3 where the plastic seating had blown up into the hull and 1 where the plastic seating was totally absent – presumably blown out! I obviously then discarded the entire batch of Rio’s for reloading purposes.

    My theory is thus that in shooting the simultaneous pair the plastic seat of the one shell had blown loose and was sucked into the barrel where it lodged. The shot was not effected nor was there any change in the sound of the shot. The next shot fired smashed into the stuck plastic seat which caused the sudden and dramatic increase to chamber pressure which in turn resulted in the big BOOOOM!

    This could well be what happened to your shooter.

    It just goes to show that one should always check that the barrels are clear after each shot irrespective of whether or not the cartridge was a reload or new.

    In conclusion I must add that I used Rio cartridges (both new and for reloading purposes) for clay target shooting for many years and never had any reason for complain.

Comments are closed.