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Another AR-15 Kaboom from the forums

Posted By "Phessor" 03/08/2003 :  18:15:21

While out with my wife today shooting my Olympic Arms CAR97 I had a problem.   I had fired 44 rounds through the rifle when a large bang went off.  At first I thought that it didn't sound right, but then I realized that something was terribly wrong.

I felt the blast on my face and my hands where I got burned and I received a small scratch on my left forearm. When I looked down, the magazine had been blown out of the bottom of the mag well and was laying on the ground. The magazine floor plate was blown off and the spring was hanging out of the bottom of the magazine with bullets laying on the ground. Then I looked into the magazine well I could see that the bottom of the bolt carrier was split down the side leaving the bolt jammed in the rifle.

Following are some photos of the weapon: (Click for larger images)


Notes about the photos:

You can see the chalky white powder residue on the upper receiver on both sides.  The magazine base plate was blown out of the magazine along with the spring and 6 rounds. The follower is stuck sideways inside the magazine along with 10 rounds of ammo.


My first reaction wasn't to get mad, just a little discouraged. Its not every day you spend over a $1500.00 on a weapon and its accessories and only have it for 2-1/2 week and have it break. Later when I could feel the powder burns on my face I was very grateful to have not been injured any worse. My wife told me about it, asking me if I saw all of the dust come up but I really didn't see that.

It appears that when it fired it ejected the spent case. At the same time it must have blown a lot of gas pressure back and split the bolt carrier down one side on the bottom. This caused the bolt carrier to take a small chunk out my USGI 30 round magazine as it went back. Thus not allowing another round to be fed into the chamber. Now the bolt and carrier are stuck in the rifle in such a way that I cannot take the upper and lower apart. So now it is dead.

I purchased this rifle about 17 days ago and I have shot a total of 264 rounds through this rifle on three separate occasions with out a single misfire.  I was shooting Remington 55-grain FMJ bullets. This is my third AR and so far I have been pleased with it until today.

The rifle, as stated before was an Olympic Arms CAR97 and the ammo was Remington 55gr FMJ purchased from Cabalas about a month ago.  I know that there wasn't a bullet stuck in the bore as I was sighting in my scope and watching each shot. By the way I had 3/8" groups at 100 yard when this happened.

Posted:  03/17/2003 :  22:49:53

I have been in contact with Andy at Olympic Arms and he has been great. They determined the cause of the accident was a very hot round. They have also contacted the ammunition company and they have agreed to repair my rifle for me and exchange the 739 rounds I didn't fire for new ammo. Now I just have to wait for my rifle to get back.

Posted:  04/08/2003 :  00:23:25

Well after 30 days of unbearable waiting my baby is finally back home. I went and picked up my AR today and put her all back together. But now she has grown up a little. No longer a 16" heavy barreled fake carbine. Now she is a 24" free floated stainless steel bull barreled gal ready to go out and get Wyle. I also had Olympic change her out to an A3 flat top receiver and then I added an 8X32x40 varmint scope and a Harris bipod. Now I am just waiting to get my A.R.M.S. 38S-EX Swan rail to have a back up iron sight to go along with the detachable front sight I have for her.  The lower has my old serial #'s on it, but it looks new. There was no wear in the mag well and no scrapes on the outside anywhere. This was a fairly new AR but it still looks like they replaced the lower on it.

I guess its out to the range this weekend and I hope that I never have to go through that again.



Quarterbore's Postscript:

I wish to thank Phessor for allowing me to host this story on my website.  While this case worked out with Phessor getting both his rifle repaired and his ammo replaced, I feel confident that this is another example to indicate that the AR-15 weapon system has the potential to be extremely hazardous if it is fed improper ammo!

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