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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Contributed by Malcmalc People in story: My father, Major Hart, My fathers friend Location of story: Plank lane, Leigh, Lancashire Background to story: Civilian Force Article ID: A2853713 Contributed on: 20 July 2004 From the age of 14 my late father worked for what was later to become the NCB and at 22 was promoted to Lamproom Foreman at Bickershaw colliery which made him exempt from joining the forces during WW2. As a result, the nearest he could get to any 'action' was Dads Army or as he officially referred to it The Home Guards! This was a unit attached to the pit which was owned by a Major Hart. To get to my point the 'Major' had arranged for my Dad and his friend to try out some Royal Enfield 303 rifle ammunition which he had 'commandeered' from an army acquaintance and so it was on the following Sunday morning that the Major, my dad and his friend were at the Rifle Range with the old but 'as new condition' World war 1 Royal Enfield rifles, - (which were the only rifles that the Home Guards were allowed to be issued with), and a box of ammunition. The honour of the first shot went to my dad and he duly loaded a single round, aimed the rifle and shot but to his utter shock and surprise the bullet had completely missed the large target and had hit the embankment some several feet above and behind the targets, I recall my dad saying to me " it kicked like a mule",this caused my dad much embarrassment, for he prided himself as a 'crack-shot', (he had owned several guns during his youth, some legally, others not!) and so was reasonably familiar with the reaction from guns being fired. The Major took the rifle and checked the barrel and general condition of the rifle and gave it back saying - "try again, you are not used to these weapons man! You have only used small arms before", my father dutifully reloaded the rifle and fired another shot aiming very low in an attempt to register a 'hit' but to no avail, the rifle kicked even more violently than the first time, the round hit the uppermost edge of the target! After my father complained a second time about the severe 'kick-back', the Major took the rifle and handed it to my fathers friend and instructed him to try a shot at the targets, the man took the weapon and loaded another round, took slow aim and fired, the rifle exploded and severely lacerated the mans face and my dad told me that with the severity of his injuries, was lucky to escape with his life! The rifle barrel had split into many strands and looked like "an inside-out umbrella with the cloth missing". My fathers friend eventually made a full recovery after extensive treatment and several visits to the local hospital! Now, bearing in mind that the rifle was in very good condition mechanically and the ammunition was eventually proven to be faultless - yet there is a simple and valid mechanical reason why the accident happened. Can anybody give the reason?
I would be happy to reply to any further questions that any reader may wish to ask!
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/13/a2853713.shtml
 

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Ablation?

at the Rifle Range with the old but 'as new condition' World war 1 Royal Enfield rifles, - (which were the only rifles that the Home Guards were allowed to be issued with), and a box of ammunition.
The "accuracy" of this statement raises an additional question or two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The answer should be simple enough, it took me only a few moments.
Seriously its a riddle of sorts.
Try to figure it out. It should be obvious.

No. 2 pencils only no, .30 caliber pencils allowed .
This counts as 90 % of your final grade.

Hint
This has nothing to do with previous discussions.

If you can't play step aside and let others have a go.
 

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The whole piece is so riddled with inaccuracies (Starting with Royal Enfield which was motorcycle manufacturer and nothing to do with Enfield Lock.) it isn't really possible to comment on it. Except to say that it is typical of the Chinese Whispers that are so often taken as fact by some sections of the WWW.
 

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"Can anyone here Answer this? "

Yep! It's a clearcut case of breech of copyright. If you'd have cared to read the conditions of use part of the webpage before you proceded to copy-paste it here, you would have seen how easy it was to abide by the copyright owners wishes.

As for the story- I'm with Beerhunter. Not enough accurate info for judgement.... but the only thing I'd consider may cause the result would be oil in the chamber.
 

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Oiled ammo was regularly used in various types of Enfield trial with no ill results at all. Some issue ammo even had a lubricant coating (e.g. quite a lot of South African MkVII), and it was a common infantry battle drill to clean and oil ammunition prior to use.

Rifle was presumably a P14 or M17, or perhaps even a Springfield '03. Sounds like he was looking through the wrong part of the rearsight... (In our NRA open days its amazing how many people choose to use the left or right foresight protector ears of a SMLE as foresight blade, instead of the rather obvious bit in the middle...)

That pattern of barrel failure is something usually associated with modern rifles with over-deep external fluting - its not something on record with any WW2-era rifle.


Sounds like a load of cobblers to me. My guess is either:

(a) guy had a pierced primer, and has since considerably embellished his story;

(b) someone showed him that recent picture of a modern fluted AI barrel that had burst in the manner he described.


I correspond with all sorts of veterans on other forums. A few have pin-sharp memories and provide accurate data on rifle shooting, but a very large number have hopelessly garbled recollections of even fairly recent service - or even repeat stuff they heard down the pub as if it were their own experience.
 

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I got it! There was a bullet lodged in the barrel. When they fired the first round it hit the lodged bullet, knocking it out with no accuracy, lodging the second bullet and stressing the barrel. they fired the second round, same result but with a bulge where the stress had been. The third bullet lodged sideways in the bulge and the trapped pressure blew the barrel.

Either that or someone used the gun as a cane like in the John Wayne western.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you wish to use this content under 'fair dealing' terms - eg as part of a non commercial project such as an educational research project or a cost-recovery project such as a public exhibition or publication, you may do so, but should acknowledge the provenance and copyright holder of the content in the following way. On a credits / acknowledgements page, or in a prominent position if used as part of a display:
All information pertaining to copyright and link to fair use information is displayed in the OP.
This is not a commercial application and anyone who wishes to can contact the author for further information.
Fair Use and Fair dealing are meant to allow information to be made available. Linking to the source benefits the source so its a fair trade.
Its also a matter of public service since a safety issue is involved.

I'll hold off with the most logical explanation till later to let others have a whack at it. The author can probably give the exact cause and order of events, if not I'm sure he would like to hear alternative explanations.

The innacuracies in the account are part of the puzzle. remember that in Oral History Projects you use the rules laid down by Alcibiades.
A witness can only testify to the limited range of experiance of that individual, what is known later had no effect on what the participants knew then . Its the Roshoman effect. The LEO on the forum will probably know or guess what I mean by that.
Not being delibrately obscure, just don't wish to add any spoilers just yet.
 

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I'll hold off with the most logical explanation till later to let others have a whack at it. The author can probably give the exact cause and order of events, if not I'm sure he would like to hear alternative explanations.
The author was not there.

I'll reiterate my point. It is not possible to explain what happened based on the information supplied. Any explanation would be pure surmise adding to the store of rubbish that can be found on the World Wide Web.

Garbage in - Garbage out.
 

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When the ifton pin gave way it could no longer hold the gazzornuts which caused the branagon bolts to sheer knowing then the unavoidable happened but should have been foreseen with regular maintenance. Without the proper Xray and magnaflux equipment this was common.
 

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The only difference between aircraft machine gun ammo and rifle ammunition in the WW1 time period was the extra care taken in manufacture. A jam on the ground could easily be cleared, BUT a jammed machine gun in the air could mean you had a rather short life expectancy.:eek:

Even so, it you look at aircraft belts being loaded, you often see a MG barrel hanging from the bench, where each round could be dropped into the chamber to ensure that it fit properly.
 

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obstructed barrel, IMO.

Failure sounds like the one below from firing a rifle with collimator still attached.

(Picts not loading at present, I'll add them later.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The only difference between aircraft machine gun ammo and rifle ammunition in the WW1 time period was the extra care taken in manufacture. A jam on the ground could easily be cleared, BUT a jammed machine gun in the air could mean you had a rather short life expectancy.:eek:

Even so, it you look at aircraft belts being loaded, you often see a MG barrel hanging from the bench, where each round could be dropped into the chamber to ensure that it fit properly.
Don't know about WW1 but later on the primers were especially tested by lots not only to insure ingition but to measure the time of ignition to avoid even the slightest delay. Synchonized guns were still in use on many aircraft so a slight hangfire could cause a hole in the prop. Some WW2 aircraft could withstand dozens of hits to the propeller blades from enemy fire but being hit by one of their own guns was a great deal worse.

Barrel failures can take many forms, Banna Peel , and Umbrella are two not that uncommon types.
Some just snap off so cleanly they look like they were cut off.
Others blow out to one side or another.
I've seen images of one recently that split cleanly full length as if sectioned.
If I remember correctly the umbrella effect suggests damage to the barrel from stress starting at the breech, it took three shots to burst the barrel so each instance of excessive recoil forces suggest that a .303 bullet expanded in the chamber neck and chanmber to form a plug which blew out, the last being too much for the barrel.




Mismatch of ammo to rifle?
Confusion between P14 & M17?
That would be my best guess also. Though I've wondered how the .303 rim could fit into the .30-06 breechface. Then I ran across photos of earlier types of .303 cases which had very thin and what looked to be smaller diameter rims.

.303 Savage cartridges loaded into a .30-06 chamber is a similar bad combination, but association of the .303 Savage to such a mix up might more easily happen in Canada where a few Savage lever action muskets in .303 Savage chambering were used, probably by police.
 

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All information pertaining to copyright and link to fair use information is displayed in the OP.
This is not a commercial application and anyone who wishes to can contact the author for further information.
Fair Use and Fair dealing are meant to allow information to be made available. Linking to the source benefits the source so its a fair trade.
Its also a matter of public service since a safety issue is involved.
Here we go again... only select and take notice of the words that suit your purpose, not the intent of the whole statement. What part of-

"...you may do so, but should acknowledge the provenance and copyright holder of the content in the following way. On a credits / acknowledgements page, or in a prominent position if used as part of a display:"

-don't you understand. It's the second sentance of the quote you posted in your reply above!

Ok, it isn't being "used as part of a display" so a "prominent position" isn't applicable. The format here probably doesn't lend itself to a "credits / acknowledgements page", but only linking it back to the source document isn't enough. If it was they wouldn't have added the sentance you chose to ignore.
 

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The original information is so garbled and devoid of knowledge of the subject, that it certainly isn't possible to narrow this accident down to one specific right answer. To try to do so, would involve some of the startling quirks of logic and evidence we sometimes see on this board.

The author, for example, doesn't say whether there was any damage to the breech or bolt, which I think would be about inevitable with a Lee-Enfield, and probable with a P14 or M1917. For the initial inaccuracy we don't need to look any further than pointing the thing in the wrong direction, and unfamiliarity with any high-powered rifle might account for the complaint of heavy recoil. I doubt if using .303 ammunition in a .30-06 rifle would produce this result, or if any .303 cartridge could be inserted, although I suppose there is a possibility that a bolt susbstitution might have resulted in its use. While getting some kind of obstruction in the bore might well produce damage, it would have been near the muzzle, probably in the form of a ring bulge or clean amputation, and would be unlikely to harm the shooter.

I have a photo taken in Dubai in 2002, in which the barrel of an apparently stainless barrel based on a US Enfield action has split in two longitudinally, from only a few inches from the action to the muzzle. It is splayed into a sort of tulip shape, widest a few inches behind the muzzle and then curving inwards. I don't know how that was done, unless the barrel was full of water. But I had it from a witness to a suicide attempt of long ago, that that doesn't necessarily burst a Lee-Enfield. The complexities when we see the damage, become far worse when we have as vague a description as the author's.

Allowing for some inaccuracy of description, it might have been a bad barrel, with seamy or burnt steel areas since it was made. An 8mm. round may have been fired in a .30-06 chamber. Or some member of the intellectual classes may have started using the pull-through, and left it there, or a rod and jag or brush which he accidentally unscrewed. We are not talking familiarity with firearms, here. Attempted use of some wrong kind of round may have caused its bullet to be drawn and left in the throat, to be forced further in on top of the next round loaded. They may even have got hold of some proof rounds, which the rifle ought to stand, but wouldn't in combination with any of the above.
 

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.303 round into a .22 trainer?
Won't chamber nor will a 30-06 in a .303. A .303 will chamber in a 30-06 (M1917, M1903) but those rifles have bloody great red stripes and warning saying .30 ONLY on them.

Additionally Home Guards that I have spoken to received regular warnings about mixing ammunition. Once the Home guard got properly organised they were at one time a 30-06 army. In terms of Small Arms, they were mostly armed with US equipment: M1917 rifles, Lewis Aircraft guns converted to ground use and Colt-Browning M1917 Medium Machine Guns.
 
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