How rare is it for ammo to discharge from dropping etc.

How rare is it for ammo to discharge from dropping etc.

This is a discussion on How rare is it for ammo to discharge from dropping etc. within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I would like to share something that happened to me a couple of years ago and get some feedback. I had one of the 500 ...

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Thread: How rare is it for ammo to discharge from dropping etc.

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    Member Array jhogan2424's Avatar
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    How rare is it for ammo to discharge from dropping etc.

    I would like to share something that happened to me a couple of years ago and get some feedback. I had one of the 500 count bulk boxes of .22 ammo sitting next to my printer on my work desk. I was printing something and the paper jammed. I went to clear the jam and accidently knocked the box of ammo off onto the hardwood floor. One of the rounds went off and hit the very narrow rubber heel of my boot. It was a scary feeling when I realized what had happened and started checking myself for holes. My heel felt as if it had been hit with a sledge hammer. The whole rear of my foot turned black and I walked with a slight limp for several days. I am not sure how often this happens in general but it did happen to me and has made me a little "gun shy" of loose ammunition. I was wondering if anyone else has had something similar happen to them? Is this something that is common only with rimfire ammo or can it happen with any type of ammo? Was this a "one in a million" circumstance or is it common to have rounds fire when dropped or otherwise knocked around?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    Never had anything like that happen to me. Saw a video posted on here a while back of guys shooting at boxes of ammo and none fired. I have also seen the mythbusters episode, and other videos that have shown that unless the round is chambered the bullet doesn't have the concentrated or channeled energy to "fire" the projectile, more in that the case explodes. The bullets the fired that were NOT chambered didn't even penetrate cardboard.
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    Senior Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    A couple of years ago I read a magazine article (I can't remember which one) about a guy that was shooting his .45 at the range. I think he was a re-loader and had his live ammo in a coffee can either on the shooting bench or on the ground. I can't remember which. One of the empties from his gun flew into the coffee can and struck the primer of a live round and it went off. No injuries, no damage. There was a picture of the fired shell with what looked like the imprint of the rim from the other shell across the primer. Since he was a re-loader, I suppose it's possible that the primer wasn't properly seated and that contributed to the discharge. But from the picture, it looked well seated. It's scary to think that something like that be enough to fire.

    On the other hand, I've dropped plenty of cartridges without any of them firing.

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    VIP Member Array jbum's Avatar
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    I saw a video somewhere a few weeks ago where they did all kinds of stuff to ammo to make it go off most of it did not work. They had an ammo room filled to the brim and set it on fire the ammo did go off but didn't cause that much damage the firemen were right up on it putting it out. The also had a semi truck loaded with ammo they set on fire and a fire fighter was standing probably 10 feet away with rounds going of and hit his turn out gear causing no damage at all.

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    Ex Member Array gregnsc's Avatar
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    I've never seen that happen.I wouldn't have thought anything, about the ammo falling,other than having to pick it up.It's something i will pay more attention to now.

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    I haven't ever had an accidental discharge of rimfire ammo, but the primer is shock sensitive so I can see something like that happening in the rarest of rare circumstances.

    When I was about 8 and staring my scientific career, I held a match under a .22 round to see if it would go off. (My hypothesis was that it would. I was right.) One little thing, I neglected to stand away from it, so when it went bang the case hit me in the chest like a hammer. Didn't quite knock the wind out of me, but I had a pretty good welt on my chest and I was sore for a week. Good thing Mom wasn't home!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    I haven't ever had an accidental discharge of rimfire ammo, but the primer is shock sensitive so I can see something like that happening in the rarest of rare circumstances.

    When I was about 8 and staring my scientific career, I held a match under a .22 round to see if it would go off. (My hypothesis was that it would. I was right.) One little thing, I neglected to stand away from it, so when it went bang the case hit me in the chest like a hammer. Didn't quite knock the wind out of me, but I had a pretty good welt on my chest and I was sore for a week. Good thing Mom wasn't home!
    And kids wonder HOW we can figure out when they are going to, or have just done something stupid...our own "personal experience".
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    Distinguished Member Array chuckusaret's Avatar
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    Air dropped many cases of ammo out of a helicopter from a high hover and never received any reports of damage or of rounds Firing on impact, but we were are war and had more to worry about.
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    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    From my understanding of readings from the internet over the past few years, rimfire cartridges use like a primer paste that is more sensitive than the primers used in centerfire ammo.

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    Member Array lyodbraun's Avatar
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    here is a video of some testing on ammo

    SAAMI Safety tests On Sporting Ammunition
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    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    Never heard of this happening.

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    Never heard of this happening but it may be possible with rimfire ammo, back in the 1940s General Julian Hatcher conducted test using a hotplate to cook off different rounds. He placed a cardboard box over the hotplate to contain any shrapnel. Of all of the rounds tested the bullet remained in the original position but the cases did rupture but none of the resulting shrapnel penetrated the first layer of the cardboard.
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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    Never heard of that happening. Anything is possible I guess though. What surprises me is that it bruised your foot thru a shoe.
    I caught a bounce back 22 fired from a pistol at about 30 feet in the center of the chest and yeah it punched in till it hit my sternum and stopped and burned a hole from the hot bullet but no bruising or anything like that from it. Still got a little scar from it though thats barely visible now.
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    Member Array BelaOkmyx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhogan2424 View Post
    ... I was printing something and the paper jammed. I went to clear the jam and accidently knocked the box of ammo off onto the hardwood floor. One of the rounds went off...
    I had to laugh when I read this. I've heard of accidental discharges when clearing a jammed weapon, but never due to a paper jam!


    This is very rare. If it were me, I would have gotten rid of that ammo, sent it back to the manufacturer perhaps.

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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelaOkmyx View Post
    I had to laugh when I read this. I've heard of accidental discharges when clearing a jammed weapon, but never due to a paper jam!


    This is very rare. If it were me, I would have gotten rid of that ammo, sent it back to the manufacturer perhaps.
    Or the printer
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