If you own a firearm with a tube magazine, you probably heard at some point that you should never load pointed rounds in it, which supposedly could cause the gun to go off or even explode if you dropped it. The assumption was simple: with pointed bullets, a sudden drop could force the tip of one round into the back of another, acting as a firing pin and setting off the primer. The resulting explosion could be catastrophic, and according to anecdotal accounts, it can completely shred a gun—and the shooter if they’re not careful. However, how likely is this to happen under normal circumstances? We know that with certain rounds this is more likely than others: looking at you rimfire .22 LR.

YouTube Taofledermaus decides to find out how easily pointed rounds can detonate in a tube magazine. To do this, he put four 5.56 rounds in a clear tube magazine, complete with spring, and loaded them into an old shotgun. Instead of jostling the gun or dropping it, the team decided it would be safer to put a fiberglass plate against the butt of the gun and simply shoot it. As you can imagine, it wasn’t exactly the most practical test.

You can see the results below.

Image is a screenshot from the YouTube video

What's Your Reaction?

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
  • Snug

    I have read of Henry rifles , converted to .44 Henry centerfire exploding when loading with the rifle vertical ,also on a partially filled magazine if the spring loaded follower was not lowered slowly . If the priming charge was fulminate of mercury , and it was hot , it would be touchy indeed . If that was true of the Henry C.F . it could be the origination of the legend .

    • Casca2525

      I think it WAS quite true, but is no longer the risk it once was, my dad had a 94 Winchester in .30 WCF one of the claims made by the company that re-chambered it to .30-30 was that modern .30-30 ammo would not cascaded if the weapon was dropped the way the .30WCF would.

      • Snug

        The .30 WCF is the .30-30 , Marlin’s name for that clambering .

      • Casca2525

        when he he could still the .30 WCF they were loaded with black powder, this was pre wwII era

      • Casca2525

        ok, call me confused, I did some checking, his 94 was made in 1911, {7 years before him :)}, and was not ever a black powder weapon, I talked to my uncle, he says it was a rebarreling, but he does not remember why, but thinks that it was because the round it was chambered in was discontinued, do you have any insight to help clear up the mystery?

  • Dirty 30

    5.56 military primers are harder than standard primers.

  • art frewin

    you are loosing energy as the gun goes forward. the gun held so all the energy is taken by the bullets in the tube. just a thought

  • alandeon2 .

    I would think dropping them down a mag one a a time would be enough impact to the primer to set it off. They need to vary this test quite a bit before they can conclude it’s a myth.

    They could also strike the cylinder mag from the front as if they dropped the gun and it hit the cylinder mag.

    • John R. Thompson

      Stupid is as stupid does!

      • alandeon2 .

        Care to explain that “stupid” comment?

  • Jackson Landers

    It’s just a poorly designed experiment. The plastic tubes, held on with electrical tape, are flexing and absorbing impact. They don’t even have a real bench rest. This does not simulate the forces of a centerfire gun on a real tubular magazine. A better way of designing the experiment would be to use a steel tube, screwed or bolted to the barrel of the gun. Bench rest the gun, load it, and pull the trigger by pulling a string from a safe distance.

  • firelooker

    I think the shot gun should have been held in place securely like it would be if you were shooting it.

  • Steve

    Why take an unnecessary chance. A pointed bullet could certainly act as a firing pin. Don’t get stuck on stupid.