Mosin-Nagant Mishap

The Provo City Shooting Sports Park gun range in the local canyon recently had a mishap with a Mosin-Nagant. I haven’t volunteered as a Range Safety Officer on the city managed range in close to a year, so I wasn’t there at the time of the incident. I don’t have enough information to speculate seriously but maybe someone else recognizes the state of the cartridge in the photo.

We had a gun/ammunition accident at the range Saturday. A 7.62x54R cartridge exploded, causing damaging a shooters hand. This is the second time I’ve seen this problem. However I can’t find anyone on the internet that has had this problem. Attached is a picture of the cartridge in question. The primer had not been hit. Most of the bullet was still in the case, part of it did hit the 25 yard berm. The shooter is having metal taken out of his hand, wrist, chest and throat today.

If anyone has any knowledge of this kind of problem, please let me know. If you have any contacts that may have seen this problem let me know. I am taking suggestions on what to say in a training script, so we can work the problem before it happens again.

Mosin cartridge

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6 comments to “Mosin-Nagant Mishap”
  1. What are your thoughts on it being from Rim lock? Did the cartridge get smashed hard? I was up there that day after it had happened. “G” had mention they were putting lots of pressure on it. My Guess: Gun was loaded incorrectly causing rim lock. rather than opening up the magazine and letting the cartridge fall out they smashed causing the round to go off. Thoughts?

  2. There is no controlled feed on the Mosin-Nagant rifle. What the shooter did, was push the bolt forward, picking up the top cartridge from the magazine, and chambering it. Then, the shooter got distracted somehow. Assuming the rifle was unloaded, the firer pulled back the bolt, without having locked it first, which would have forced the extractor to snap over the rim of the chambered cartridge. The shooter then introduced another cartridge into the magazine, or the bolt raceway, shoved the bolt forward, and had the cartridge in hand above detonate the chambered cartridge. The chambered cartridge exploded, probably sent the bullet down range, and produced all of the metal fragments from the steel case. The cartridge pictured is the second one, that detonated the first, hence no obvious shrapnel pieces missing. The telescoping of the bullet and case was caused by the explosion of the chambered cartridge against the forward pressure exerted on the bolt.

    There are legions of North American shooters that literally have only ever fired self-loading/semi-auto firearms. The bolt action causes these folks problems, much like the injury sustained by the firer in the photo.

    • You are incorrect with your assumptions.
      First, tell me…how did the round remain in the chamber when the bolt was drawn back? I have never seen or experienced the bolt not extracting the brass when opening it back up. The extractor just doesn’t snap over the rim of the cartridge. I can’t find a single instance of anyone indicating failure to extract a round on a Mosin. So, if the shooter did open the bolt back up, the first round would have ejected to allow the next round to be chambered.
      Secondly, you assume the shooter got distracted…not very likely, seeing as if the round chambered correctly, the natural thing to do would be close the bolt and get ready to fire.

      Now, I’ll tell you exactly what happened, as the identical thing happened to me…

      Upon cycling the bolt, extracting the last fired brass casing and advancing the next round in the chamber, the round did not fully rise to it’s correct position at the top of the magazine and into the receiver, causing a misalignment with the round. When the bolt advances the round, it only jams the round tighter between the magazine and receiver, not moving forward very far at all. When additional thrusts to the bolt are made, it further jams the round, causing the front of the round to hit the underside and below the feed ramp.
      The round finally goes off due to compacting the powder and setting the nitro off in the berdan primer.
      There was no round in the chamber at the time of the incident.
      I have photos to show the damage to the round, which coincide with my explanation.

  3. Internal primer compaction, its the reason we dont use berdan prime anymore. the chamber had a piece of case from the previous round breaking a piece off in it, they tried forcing another in causing bullet setback into the cartridge compacting the powder and setting the nitro off in the berdan primer, no strike but spent, seen it happen mostly on MG’s where case sep happens more often. saw and afghan Army Soldier showing off and the same thing happened. he was trying to keep up with an American running a Remington m24, watch it come apart as he reached for the round to clear the jam.

  4. Given the condition of the cartridge, with no visible damage to the rim, I am inclined to agree with your theory. It’s the only reasonable story that explains that sort of cartridge damage.

    The Mosin-Nagant is a strong and remarkably safe rifle–they were quite expensive to build at the time. But because the refurbished 91/30s are currently so inexpensive, they are going into the hands of a lot of less-experienced shooters who don’t always demonstrate good range practice.

    It is unfortunate that incidents like this are often cited as reasons that the Mosin rifles are unsafe, when in reality it is entirely the responsibility of the shooter.

    I would be interested in seeing the bolt. That would tell a lot of the story.

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