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Reloads Cause S&W AR-15 Kaboom

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There sure seems to be a lot of guns going kaboom lately, in the latest known incident NVCapCop on AR15.com experienced what had to have been a very frightening experience when his S&W AR-15 rifle had a catastrophic failure. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, it was concluded that a bad batch of .223 reloads from USAammo was the culprit (but is it just me or does that rifle look a little too dry? Just saying).

The batch used was the USAammo 223 55 gr FMJ Lot #2906113 ammo, according to the CEO of USAammo they received powder from their supplier with velocities that were too high creating overpressure. In light of the situation it seems like USAammo is stepping up and really trying to fix the issues, they also have said they would purchase a new rifle for NVCapCop. If you’ve recently purchased .223 reloads from USAammo I’d check what your batch number is and get in touch with them to see if it may be an affected batch. Better safe than sorry.

From AR15.com:

My S&W M&P15T was destroyed today with an epic Kaboom (catastrophic failure).

I did not suffer any major physical injuries – received a welt on my left bicep (MagPul AFG hold) that looks like a bad bug bite or bee sting from shrapnel impacting my skin. A tiny little cut on the left forearm as well as lots of tiny red dots on inner side of elbow. The injuries felt kind of like a rug burn a few hours after the event.

Cartridge #45 out of the first 50 round box. USAammo 223 55 gr FMJ Lot #2906113.

The ammo was recently purchased USAammo, remanufactured on once fired LC brass. As you can see from the pics, the usual parts suffered catastrophic damage. The Troy quadrail seems to have helped keep the upper receiver from completely coming apart.

The destruction: Both sides of S&W factory upper assembly, the dustcover, both front corners of the magwell, hairline fractures directly under the left and right sides of the picatinny rail, cracked barrel extension in the middle of the feedramp, factory lower bulged on the bolt catch side. The PSA MPI bolt, the Failzero bolt carrier, and the PMag were completely damaged also.

Possible damage: BCM vltor gunfighter CH, RRA 2 stage trigger/hammer, pivot pins.

Parts and accessories that survived the blast: ACOG TA31F with LaRue Mount, MagPul AFG, BAD lever and MOE grip, BattleComp 1.0, Vltor Modstock, Troy Rail and Sights.

I have saved the ammo box with remaining cartridges as well as most of the spent casings. I will record a video of the BCG removal and the cartridge case stuck in the chamber. My LEO buddy, who purchased the ammo, took alot of pics with his I-phone immediately after the event. The RO at the public range also witnessed the damage.

Update 7/26/11: Spoke to the CEO this a.m. He is eager to investigate the ammo lots so KBs don’t happen to other purchasers. He admitted that some of his ammo has been overpressured due to “Western” powder supplier using powders with faster burn rates. The overpressure would also explain why my buddy had so many stuck cases of .308 175 gr. match ammo in his ArmaLite AR-10.

We’re working out the details on replacing the firearm. RMAs and return labels have been issued. Ammo will be shipped back tomorrow for inspection.

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