30 Apr 2021


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Scott (of Kentucky Ballistics on YouTube) was making a video of firing his Serbu single-shot .50 caliber rifle April 9, 2021 when a hot surplus round literally blew up the rifle in his face. Flying debris broke the orbital bone of his right eyes in three places (despite his wearing shooting glasses), lacerated his jugular vein, punctured his right lung, broke his nose, and severely mangled his index finger, but he miraculously survived. One piece of the receiver fortunately took off his hat, narrowly missing striking him in the head.

Quite a survival story, too.

4 Feedbacks on "Ouch!"

Glypto Dropem

I was in boot camp at Fort Dix in 1981. Near the end was something called “FreedomTrail” where recruits got to do basic combat maneuvers in daytime and nighttime. We did at least a 10 mile march to the area, slept in tents, threw live grenades, did bayonet training fired the M60, M72 LAW, and M203. During the daylight fire and maneuver with live ammo, one of the guys in my company did not hold his rifle properly low crawling in the dirt. He unknowingly packed his barrel full of dirt, and when he got to his firing position and pulled the trigger, his rifle blew up in his face. He was MedEvac’d out with his cheek torn open and teeth missing. I only caught a glimpse of him holding his face as the D.I.’s halted the exercise to assist.



I’d bet a previous round left part of its sabot in the barrel. The pressure expected sort of assumes the projectile will have a clear exit. If not, things get exciting.

In the M60 MG the 30 Cal SLAPs were “notorious” for misbehavior. If the Cal 50s were “old”, I’d have to wonder about the condition of the polymer in the sabot and the likelihood of leaving a little something in the barrel. That type of thing might also account for the aiming issues.

There is a lot of energy being generated by that ammo.

Schill McGuffin


I’d thought about that myself as I watched the video, though I’d not heard anything about the rounds’ reputation. Might that also be an explanation for the previous shots that went a bit wild, or seemed to have unusual flashes? Perhaps an accretion of sabot debris over several shots led up to the final blast?

I would think there’d be a thorough examination of the barrel in the aftermath of this.


Nah! A thorough examination would take away from the video appeal and the sale of the T-shirts.

Anytime you fire something weird and wonderful, inspect the barrel and push a tight jag through. You are, after all, conducting an experiment.

“Stick a thumb in it!”, is a great sales line. Something to consider when someone offers you a box of ammo that they “found behind the old chimney”. Did you think that Ol’ Uncle Wilber was born looking that ugly?


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