Earth-Shattering ka-Boom! How (and Why) Guns Explode 

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Just yesterday Scott at Kentucky Ballistics posted a very sobering video detailing his Serbu RN-50 quite literally exploding in his face. A lot of people have asked if I have seen it, and I figured this is a good opportunity to discuss the different ways in which guns can explode, and what some manufacturers have historically done to fail-safe their designs.
While not nearly as cool as Scott's "Just Put a Thumb in it" shirts, I do have a pretty nice lightweight Carhartt shirt now available in the Forgotten Weapons merch store:
Scott's original video on the event:
Forgotten Weapons
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Published on


Apr 30, 2021




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Comments 100   
Moon Moon
Moon Moon 7 hours ago
This reminds me of some operation in the Vietnam war when some American guys would go behind enemy lines to tamper with ammunition. They would take a random Chinese-made round out of the box, remove the powder, and replace it with high explosives. It was designed to induce paranoia about Chinese rounds, even though they were apparently actually quite good when not tampered with.
Rami 9 hours ago
that was horrible to see happen to someone, glad he made it, it coulda been disastrous
Great value
Great value 12 hours ago
How guns explode, you take the biggest gun with a screw on breech cap. Load it with the dumbest most expensive hand loaded bar made round. Fire it like a pipe bomb
M Hughes
M Hughes 14 hours ago
Research pistol powder in a rifle cartridge.
Goce Kocov
Goce Kocov 16 hours ago
i think the m1903 had a small hole on the side of the bullet chamber
MacMeaties 19 hours ago
I would HIGHLY recommend watching Backyard Ballistics video on this as investigating firearms related crimes and accidents is quite literally that guys job.
Adam A
Adam A 20 hours ago
Its kinda neet that the new Sig Fury round (6.8mm) is designed to run at 80k psi.
LiL Bill Reacts
LiL Bill Reacts 21 hour ago
basically to simplify his wonderful explanation, the pressure was faster than the bullet the the obstruction itself was the bullet. and the pressure didn’t feel like waiting for the bullet so i came out the back
James Johnson
James Johnson 21 hour ago
I would like to see a presentation on the issues with kabooms in the .40 S&W Glock pistols. How common is it? Mitigations that can be done. Contributory factors. Ammunition issues, etc.
Phy Day ago
Ian... You're lounge arm chairing this. I do not approve of this video.
Alex Moore
Alex Moore 8 hours ago
Scott’s incident isn’t even the majority of the video. Mainly discussing different failures
Matt Geiger
Matt Geiger Day ago
RN-50 for sale, was 1250 and now its 800. Message for Information, will meet
I was today years old when I found out that BMG stands for Browning Machine Gun
Cooper Bickett
Im curious which guns are historically failure prone
Wow! This was a great explanation of why his gun exploded! I am glad he is ok!
Wow! This was a great explanation of why his gun exploded! I am glad he is ok!
Sam Weber
Sam Weber Day ago
I have watched many of Ian's videos, and I really enjoy them, but this one is special. I would love to see some examination of how the M16 failed in the field.
beeleo Day ago
Dang it boy... you made me stop the video and Google "def·la·gra·tion." But I'm back now... please proceed. LOLOL
MilletMan00 Day ago
Thanks for making an informative video... to many people do not understand what a case, bullet and powder are ACTUALLY doing when u squeeze that trigger.... good vid 👌
Tim L
Tim L Day ago
I'll mention two things: 1.Most rifle/barrel manufactures will proof test their barrels/firearms. 2. Remington's 'Three Rings of Steel'.
Tony S
Tony S Day ago
I had a 6.5 Swedish Mauser that from time to time used to pierce the primer on firing .... the result is that the cocking piece comes back like a piston at high speed and used to hit my thumb and that was never pleasant .. I believe I was the cause of the failure as I purchased a couple of thousand primers from someone who had I believe subsisted Large Pistol primers to make up the number had no trouble when I changed to new bought primers the remaining primers where used to load pistol cal lever guns.
BVTV Day ago
I've loaded 300 in an ar 15
Fooli Cooli
Fooli Cooli Day ago
Thanks gun jesus for the class room upload
Scott Lewis
Scott Lewis Day ago
Scotts lucky his head is still on, maybe a carpenter bee climbed in the barrel while he wasn't looking!!
Paul Wiley
Paul Wiley Day ago
Great video, Thank you Ian! I have experienced the ego vs safety man first hand. As a speed competition shooter, I was way to wound up to "compete" when my pcc blew off an extractor. I blamed my mags for fails to extract, double feeds, whatever. It was only when i had the carbine at home cleaning it I actually looked at the bolt with eyes to see what the issue was. On the stage, the video my brother took CLEARY shows me looking at the bolt because it looked odd. I even reloaded the gun with a different mag. This is a blowback gun, and without the extractor, some of the brass case is exposed. I should have stopped and red tagged the carbine. Instead i had a very frustrating day full of malfunctions. I doubt my score would have been any worse if i had just stopped shooting. Bottom line, 99% of shooting is not life and death. Leave your ego in the car and listen to your internal voice of safety and reason. PS--I love the old black powder stuff, if ya find more to do videos on, I'd love to see it. Lets get a match together with muzzleloaders.
iskandartaib Day ago
Looks like we're no longer using the term "detonation" when we mean "deflagration".. 😁 (It was often used incorrectly in the past.)
Berth Ljunggren
Wonder how often a 22LR fail, the one i fired in a Revolver had some issue and the back plate of the shell came out of the side while the bullet came out the barrel, did not notice until the guy next to me told i was bleeding, shooting myself in the trigger finger is quite pro i think lol.
wm stacey
wm stacey Day ago
This is the third accident with a 50 BMG that I’ve seen on US-first, I am very disillusioned with so-called US-first stars who apparently will do anything for hits on a video… Let me be clear I’ve gotten a lot of real good information off this platform, but it is clearly being abused by folks just trying to make money… just my opinion
Q- Anon saved my life
Everyone wants to make money doing nothing just sitting there n talking
Savage. Day ago
How would the Barrett handle the same failure that Scott's RN50 had?
My opinion is that the slap's sabot deteriorated. As far as I can remember, Ian has had an experience where he specifically calls it as well. But also, as you said. Propellant can degrade in funny ways.
Henrik Oldcorn
Very interesting, I'd love to see more like this, stuff on safety systems in guns, drop safeties etc.
Matthew Nelson
This is the only gun video that is technically accurate about what happens when guns fail that I have seen. Thank you for not being a fucking idiot like everyone else with an opinion. Refreshing!
Lasertooth Tiger
Lasertooth Tiger 2 days ago
Got banned first thing I did on my new account is sub to forgotten weapons.
Q- Anon saved my life
I subbed to Paul harrel first then forgotten weapons
sandy murphy
sandy murphy 2 days ago
brilliant chat ! very on to it.
MrPossumeyes 2 days ago
This is good stuff. Thankyou.
Mic Draypr
Mic Draypr 2 days ago
I like to watch at .50 speed and imagine Gun Jesus had a few drinks
Caleb Smith
Caleb Smith 2 days ago
Please make one of the guest creator videos for him!!
Sean P
Sean P 2 days ago
One of the reasons I hate the early beretta 92’s.
Calvin The Salesman Honda
Always great content! No suggestions; just keep doing your thing!
The Geekiest Guy
The Geekiest Guy 2 days ago
Thank you for making this an informative video. I'm seeing too many "sErBU bAd" videos spouting off with no real info. I always appreciate your vids, Ian. I usually show folks this channel so they'll learn. Thank God Scott's on the mend. Stay safe, everyone. God knows accidents happen so try and keep a thumb handy just incase. 👍🏾🤙🏾🤙🏾🤙🏾🦆🔥
Earl Collinsworth
Hey! I really appreciated this! I now know a bit more about my old gun thanks to Ian!
Essential Liberty
My brother had an out of battery with my FAL. Mag is round. Floor plate almost gave him a sex change.
John 2 days ago
The RN-50 is a shit design. The receiver is essentially a pipe bomb with an extremely robust "pipe" that the "cap" threads onto leaving that cap as the path of least resistance which is incidentally pointed directly at the shooter. Simple. The fact that most in this community are too dumb to understand this boggles my mind. The round being overpressured is only half of the equation. The fact this result in it's specifics has never occured with any other firearm design should be most obvious but people are just stupid.
Terror Billy
Terror Billy 2 days ago
I couldn't agree more. I periodically revisit this video and Scotts just to brows comments and most people put 100% of the blame on the slap round without realizing that any kind of barrel obstruction regardless of the round that's being used in this rifle is going to have the same result as what happened to Scott. The stupidity in this community is enough to make me want to pull my hair out.
233kosta 2 days ago
It appears the firearm underwent a rapid unanticipated disassembly
Technophant 2 days ago
A .50 that’s 1/10 the price of the gold standard Barrett M82 blows up. Surprised? No
Ryan Bennett
Ryan Bennett 2 days ago
Thanks for the educated breakdown. Needed to be done to offset the internet range masters and keyboard snipers.
Walter Burton
Walter Burton 2 days ago
Aghate Wahedi
Aghate Wahedi 2 days ago
A non heat treated and non hardened back cap with a safety factor of about 1.5 didn't make the situation better. Neither does the fact that .50bmg loading data is 100 years old and has according safe pressures, that modern military rounds exceed by a long shot. Even worse on heavier tungsten projectiles. And if you add a constantly closed rifle that has a hot chamber after very few shots and keeps the round in there a long time before shooting, resulting in a thermal treatment of the powder that increases pressure even more, that's a recipe for failure. There is a reason why neither the rifle nor the slap rounds were CIP certified. And never will be.
William Gallop
William Gallop 2 days ago
Didn't US troops sabotage Vietkong AK47 ammo storages by adding there high pressure ammos?
andyf10 2 days ago
Too early to say it was a hot round. Might easily be plastic residue from the sabot built up on the muzzle break caused over pressure. The wild inaccuracy of previous shots suggests just this. That was a warning ignored.
Ericmyrs 2 days ago
Guns are dangerous yo. Listen to Jesus's safety tips.
Derek Wall
Derek Wall 2 days ago
well that's one of the many hazards to loading your own ammo, too much powder in the casing can detonate your gun (which is what happened to a friend of mine 20 years ago)
Stupid Problem
Stupid Problem 3 days ago
Gun Jesus has spoken
Basil Daoust
Basil Daoust 3 days ago
Thanks, I watched several videos now all sort of related and I did enjoy this chat. I know when I took my gun safety test we needed here ages back we saw some guns that had barrel issues and we talked about water in the barrel. However no complaints and thanks. My father owned a 30-30 that I have become the owner of, It has a tube where the ammo is stored not as nice as a clip. My uncle was unloading the rifle by clicking the lever through the cycle ejecting the shells when the gun decided that it should fire which it did then right into his foot. He recovered just fine after some time in the hospital and some foot reconstruction but yeah things happen and we are not always ready when they do. So be careful.
Monkey King
Monkey King 3 days ago
such a good video,perfectly written, and just really instructive after all,watched till the end,worth every second i spent watching hamdoulah Scott is fine, his resilience is admirable ❤️
patriot boi
patriot boi 3 days ago
Some new information surfaced about those tampered SLAP rounds. God Bless America! us-first.info/player/video/Z7yhlo-olWugaYk.html
Mutar Fuqueer
Mutar Fuqueer 3 days ago
When gun Jesus says you're lucky, you better damn well believe you are lucky!
screwgle 3 days ago
so the cartoons are right? the old finger in the barrel trick works?!
Bud Ehrmann
Bud Ehrmann 3 days ago
As a certified Range Officer in USPSA, one of (#1 for me) the things I watch I watch for are potential squibs when running a shooter. If it even sound like a weak report, I will stop the shooter. If there is no squib, the shooter gets a reshoot. Better to be safe than calling the paramedics for a severe hand injury. Been doing this for 25+ years and hope to never stop a shooter for a 'non squib'.
Sagittarius A*
Sagittarius A* 3 days ago
Bugs Bunny taught me about bore obstruction when he'd put his finger in the barrel of a shotgun.
Don Timberman
Don Timberman 3 days ago
Is it possible that was a “Trapped” round? We have been doing it to al-Qaeda and Isis for years.
Curtis Napier
Curtis Napier 3 days ago
You were not there and dont know what your talking about
Birgers våpenrom
have made some attempts with snow in shotguns (with us a known problem). found that it is not the charge that hits the snow that is the challenge. it is air that is compressed between charge and snow that reaches such a high pressure that the barrel explodes.
alejandro Sosa
alejandro Sosa 3 days ago
Scientist 💯 💥 🙏🏽 🇺🇸.. makes perfect sense how yu broke it down but he also stated they were custom * tampered slap rounds that were aged and passed from multiple owners . 🎞
Peter Parsons
Peter Parsons 3 days ago
Excellant information for all shooters. Things we would often talk about at the shooting club and it’s good to disseminate to today’s shooters. Personally 50+ years of shooting and it’s amazing the amount of rare, weird things can happen. With more experience, comes some complacency and there is no margins for error. I cringe thinking about the number of close calls, not a lot but some and the more you shoot the percentage increase. Don’t let your self get complacent because there’s so many meaningless warnings on everything from toothbrushes to hot coffee. The things Ian talks about can and do happen.
A. Black
A. Black 3 days ago
just put a thumb in it
although technically correct isn't saying "they all come down to bore obstruction" kinda like saying you got punched in the face because your face was in the way of a fist?
Lorenzo Bicocchi
Lorenzo Bicocchi 3 days ago
really interesting. Pls continue to tell about firearm's failures
macdeath26 3 days ago
French rifles were used to demonstrate... so typical of him.
Dewey Vicknair
Dewey Vicknair 3 days ago
All critical structures (of a firearm) are, or SHOULD be, designed with a safety factor of AT LEAST TWO, meaning that the rifle should have held 100KPSI. If the threads will fail at 85KPSI (as allegedly stated by the maker), that is a safety factor of 1.55, which obviously is much less than 2. Military small arms are designed for a combined safety factor of around 3. If an action meant to operate at 55KPSI will fail catastrophically at 85KPSI, that design would seem deficient. It is indefensible that you state categorically that this event occurred: 1) because of the ammunition, 2) because of a bore obstruction, because you do not know any more about the event than anyone else on US-first. Your statement that every single failure of a rifle in battery comes down to a bore obstruction illustrates just how much you do not know about this subject. Stick to firearms history, leave engineering, design and failure analysis to those who know about those things. It is still an open question as to whether these rifles are proofed, rather than simply test fired, when manufactured.
checkacola 3 days ago
Ross Rifle: hold my beer
Captain MustanG
Captain MustanG 3 days ago
Another amazing video!
Q- Anon saved my life
I just seen his video , holy frijole !!!! What a huge scar he going to have , now I’m more fan of slower heavy bullets then high pressure fast ones lol.
Alan 3 days ago
Well done Ian , Unknown ammunition , weapon mechanism reminiscent of a pipe bomb . " Safety glasses must be worn at all times "
Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis 3 days ago
I would love a whole video on gun failsafes and breakpoints. It could really help lots of people to know how common weapons are designed to fail safely or break safely in a bad situation. Knowing things like that can prevent someone from accidentally removing a safety feature and not knowing it while customizing their gun, or be able to recognize the gun faield to save their lifer and it isn’t the gun being bad but rather working as intended.
RADIZ2013 4 days ago
I bought a musket from india many people on the internet claim it will blow up but I got it proofed and it shoots fine
Rtb Inc
Rtb Inc 4 days ago
Yes - I'd love to see more videos like this discussing ways things fail. It fits well with your knowledge of guns that are more interesting than safe or useful.
Bill 4 days ago
Before one can determine what happened in Scott’s case, a full engineering/ metallurgical investigation of the rifl,a no particularly the failed screw-on breach must be made. Even a 50% overpressure in the gun should NEVER result in the catastrophic failure shown in Scott’s video. If the threads on the cap sheared off as Scott’s video claims, something in conjunction with an overpressure round was at play here, namely a flaw in the breach cap (wrong material, wrong steel temper, improper thread engagement, etc.). An experienced mechanical engineer in conjunction with a metallurgical lab can easily figure this out.
Waleed Raza
Waleed Raza 4 days ago
"every so often, everything will line up just exactly wrong" -Gun Jesus
Berth Ljunggren
Same thing with say plane accidents, they have so many safety systems but sometimes the failures or misses line up and stuff goes very bad very fast.
Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes 4 days ago
Yes definitely more videos like this one!
NC Dave
NC Dave 4 days ago
There is one more reason guns explode. Salted/spiked/explosive powder ammo. However they call them. Maybe you can make a video on that if you haven't already
Obi Wan Kenobi
Obi Wan Kenobi 4 days ago
Staying with the times i see
brayden nelson
brayden nelson 4 days ago
As the old saying goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
VxNemesis 4 days ago
A lot of manufacturers take this very seriously and build failsafes as you mentionned. I don't think serbu falted in that it is a very cheap (in the not expensive sense) firearm and thus it only does the minimum to be serviceable with the lowest price possible. If you shoot it with factory ammo you are perfectly fine. A friend of mine created a .50, maybe one of the best in the world, and when he tested it for operator safety he jammed a monolithic projectile in the barrel with a 12 ton press, put a raufoss in the chamber and shot. Both bullets exited the right way and there was minor damage to the barrel and muzzle break (barrel bulged a little, muzzle break cracked). He changed the barrel and the rifle still shot as good as new.
Gabriel Santee
Gabriel Santee 4 days ago
Some more details came out from the forensics - Can be seen here us-first.info/player/video/sNBmfH6RkqqedYE.html
Simon 4 days ago
I know nothing about guns, but still love watching your channel. Great work again Ian.
David M.
David M. 3 days ago
@Simon FW is good place to learn! ;-)
Darth Mayonaise
Darth Mayonaise 4 days ago
Solid intel. Thank you for your hard work..
Lucius Maleficent
All steak, no soup. Information with no hype. Got yourself a sub from me.
SAIIIURAI 4 days ago
I am far from a expert and thankful for quality information like this every time! But in Scott's case, i really don't like the safety design (or the lack there of tbh.) of the serbo RN50 and what you think about that maybe in a follow up video? Thx! Ps: Sorry for my broken english btw and i am really glad like everyone else that Scott is ok and recovering so good from something like that!
Mariano Tombetta
Mariano Tombetta 4 days ago
buggs bunny plugging elmer's shotgun with a carrot
sjow 4 days ago
Why are patents on safety a thing.
Xacto 4 days ago
I would love to hear some more information from you about stuff like this, amazing video.
Wild Bill57
Wild Bill57 4 days ago
Really good video, wish you’d do one about the Chinese rocket every is talking about. Just kidding, great video though.
charles norris
charles norris 4 days ago
i believe he said it wasn't a barrel obstruction.
Cee Boodrow
Cee Boodrow 4 days ago
After seeing what happened to Scott (thank God he's still alive and kicking) I'm not shooting nary another rifle without donning every bulletproof vest and steel armor I own. I might look like the marshmallow man from Ghostbusters but I can't take what Scott did. I'd be deader than dead as I weigh around 105 pounds maybe... If what happened to Scott (great guy I love that dude) happened to me it would've ripped me in half and took my arm off. Seems size does matter. So note to self: get swole and wear all available armor. Man I'm glad he's alive. I'm sick to death if good people dying for nothing. Where I love I lose a friend or family member nearly every week I'm used to it. Seeing Scott hurt my feelings though
Wild Bill57
Wild Bill57 4 days ago
Scott’s dad staying calm, saved his life.
CrusaderJackaran 4 days ago
Really well done video. Put this in a folder of "Basics to Firearms" probably like video #2 or #3 in the playlist. A lot of this regarding brass and gas venting I already knew, however the gun design safety was new to me. You strung it together well enough that I think anyone who's familiar enough with the basics of a firearm could understand how a failure occurs and what are the simple factors to a malfunction. You didn't touch on atmosphere/environmental factors, but that's why I'd say this is fit for basics. In a class room setting this works well to breakdown the "ideal" situation and how it can be disrupted. Your videos are very educational and I enjoy them a lot, you guys are great. Well done!
Gordon Deitz
Gordon Deitz 4 days ago
I saw a guy load a 2 1/2" 12 ga.trap load into a single barrel break open gun he found. The stock was broken an with it closed the lever could move some and the barrel could move up an down some. We all said don't try it but he had to. Of course the gun burst an he lost two fingers and severely messed up his face due to blow back.
callie jinx
callie jinx 4 days ago
Ian, I have shotgun ammunition that 53 years old and I have stored in an unheated garage I also have pistol almost as old and stored in a similar condition, should I be worried? I have read in different gun magazines, many years ago, that old ammo becomes less powerful with age, and a few examples have confirmed this. How true is this?
no1bandfan 4 days ago
I’ve always thought of the brass as a metal gasket for the chamber.
Mahashma 3 days ago
Basically, yes.
no1bandfan 4 days ago
I saw someone accidentally put a .40 s&w in a .45 1911. The cartridge fired, sent the bullet out the barrel, cycled the action far enough to pick up a .45, meanwhile the .40 case is in the middle of the barrel when the .45 is fired. He was lucky to keep his fingers.
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