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Confession Time - My stupidest thing whilst reloading


Buckshot Bear

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Confession Time - My stupidest thing whilst reloading

 

 It’s been over 40 years so I feel safe now entering the public confessional of the Saloon and recounting this story of an idiot......an idiot that happened to be me.

  

Bought myself a pre '64 30-30 Winchester that had never been fired from one of Sydney's largest gun shops, then Mick Smiths right in the middle of the city. Also bought a Lee reloading kit (the simple one that you used a hammer to make the reloads) and brass, projectiles, powder, and primers.

  

The salesman gave me a cursory lesson and explanation on how to make a round.

  

So's anyway, there was (and still is) a very old and well-known rifle range at the Southern end of well-known Maroubra Beach (about 8 kilometres as the crow flies south of the more famous Bondi Beach) I lived then at Maroubra Beach and would go to the range nearly every weekend to blaze away with my new 30-30 and reloads. It was a Monday, and I chucked a sicky and rang up work and said I wasn’t coming in because I was feeling unwell.

  

I'd load the rounds in my bedroom on my desk, one day I wondered how much powder I'd used out of the tin of IMR 30-31, put the lid on and shook it......felt like it had gone down a bit but wanted to know a little more exactly how much I'd used and how much I had left.

  

How to tell better? Hmmm jeez I know.....I'll stick my finger in there and see if I can feel powder, that'll tell me how much is left in there easy peasy.

  

Unscrews lid and shoves finger in hole, can't feel powder but it’s a little tight. Shoves finger in as far as it will go and then twists finger......oh uh that didn't feel too good.

 

The turned down razor sharp edge of the lip of screw top literally cut a perfect circumference around my finger and to the bone. Tried to pull said finger out, not going to happen. The metal was well and truly now embedded, and I could feel blood running down my finger and dripping inside the can. Worry started to set it, then doubled in a few minutes when I could start to sense a loss of feeling in my finger. 

 

 I had no choice now…….left the house with can of powder hanging from my right hand and got in my car and drove one handed to the emergency department of one of Sydney’s largest hospitals. Found a carpark and wrapped a towel around the gunpowder tin and made my way into the hospital. It’s packed with people sitting down waiting to see a Doctor, I go up to the main counter and get told to take a seat. I unwrap the tin of IMR30-31 and tell and show the guy manning the main counter that I’ve got a tin of gunpowder hangin’ off my finger he loudly exclaims “Gunpowder”??? Now everyone is lookin’ at me……around from his little bastion of authority comes main counter man and immediately takes me to a small room down a corridor. Then things really start getting interesting….Doctors are coming to look and saying they aren’t touching me because of the gunpowder but if they don’t get the can off soon I could lose my finger. The head honcho of the hospital then arrives and tells all in the room that he’s rung triple 000 and the police are on there way…..minutes later I hear police sirens from multiple police cars coming from many different directions all converging on the hospital.

 

Now remember, I’m only a young bloke some 42 years ago.

 

Within minutes uniformed police and plain clothed detectives have converged into the room that I’m in. All asking me what I was doing “Making bullets” and how did this happen and why would I come to a hospital with a tin of gunpowder (hey it wasn’t strapped to me like a suicide vest!).

 

Hand was starting to swell now and I couldn’t feel the inserted finger anymore.

 

Before much longer the police rescue squad had arrived. Explained everything again and everyone stood around scratching their heads. One police rescue guy got a screwdriver and literally started trying to stab the metal container which made everyone nervous until someone stopped him. More head scratching ensued. Then another police rescue guy asked one of the nurses for a large bowl of water and Ice (42 years later I still wonder why the ice) and again then the guy with the screwdriver starts trying to stab the tin this time under water but once more with no satisfactory result other than almost ripping my finger off.

Now another police rescue guy speaks up and asks for a old fashioned drink can opener and can opener….more head scratching. One of the police rescue guys volunteers to leave the hospital and go to the shopping centre nearby and buy one. Whilst he’s gone more questioning of me and more headshaking of what an idiot they have sitting in front of them.

 

Next the head hospital honcho came back into the room and said there’s a bunch of newspaper reporters and a TV crew who’d picked it up on the police scanner at the hospital and they wanted to interview me and was that ok?…….now I was wet behind the ears still but knowing what an idiotic thing I’d done and that I’d rung up work sick that being the headline on the nightly news and the front page of the evening newspaper was not a great idea and said no. I can still see the disappointed look on head hospital honcho guys face.

 

Eventually the police rescue guy arrived back with can opener and can popper and popped the can underwater and the can filled up and they emptied the can and wet powder out. Then they were able to eventually cut the can off my finger and the doctors were able to get to work on my finger.

The police rescue team said that they were going to make a note that all the rescue trucks were to have can openers now in case this ever happened again (as if!).

 

Eventually all left and the Docs finished bandaging up my finger and I was allowed to go home.

Well, that’s the most stupidest thing that I’ve ever done reloading

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I still have several cans of IMR 3031 and I now now NOT to stick my finger in the can. I know a LB of Powder weighs 7,000 grains. I'd just pour out the powder in a dish and weigh it and know how much I'd used and how much is left. EZPZ

 

Big Jake 1001

 

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T'weren't me - I do have better sense - but I recall one of our "no longer around" shooters who was loading a cap and ball revolver while he was smoking a cigar.

 

Lovely burn went all the way up to his elbow.

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Did you dry out the powder and try it out?!?

 

I was just given that style of can. Now I know not to stick my finger in it.

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My stepdad was a big model 12 guy. He reloaded a lot.

For some reason there was about 5-pound keg in my brothers and my bedroom.

There was a little powder in it.

We had bunkbeds i was on the top bunk. Woke up Sunday morning, told my brother to quite messing with it.

Went back to sleep, next think i knew i was on the floor. He managed to get the lid off. He struck a match dropped it. 

He burned off his eyebrows and eye lashes. Had burns on face. Couple of weeks he was fine.

I think i was 9 yrs old.

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You’re lucky you didn’t do it now. Can you imagine the reaction today? The simple word Military on the can label would probably cause an evacuation of the hospital and activation of the SWAT team. 
No doubt you’d end up on the no fly list and be lucky to avoid prison. :rolleyes:

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Just WOW:P

 

At least nowadays with the plastic container you could at least remove the label.:D

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Bear,

 

This one has you beat.  From a now passed on cowboy, familiar to many of  the "old timers".

Credit goes to to Boston John Doucette.


I'd been looking at a pretty, brass-framed BP revolver in the case at Shattuck's Hardware for a couple of months, and boy! Was I ever proud the day I went in and plunked down the money for it! Eleven dollars in one dollar bills... and eighteen dollars in quarter and dimes. Old Man Shattuck was a great old guy, whose eyesight, thankfully, had gotten really bad over the years... he didn't recognize me as he sold me the .36 caliber pistol... he even threw in a box of pure lead balls with the pistol and percussion caps when I bought the pound of black powder.

I told Mr. Shattuck that I was anxious to shoot it and was heading straight for the dump, and asked him to show me how to load the gun. "It's pretty simple," I recall his telling me. "You measure your powder into the cylinder chamber, put a bullet over it, ram it down in with the hinged thing under the barrel, put your cap over a nipple, and you're set to shoot." I thanked him for his help and headed for the door.

"One last thing!" he called to me as I was running out the door, "Don't forget to put grease over your balls! Crisco works fine!" I didn't understand the need for the last part, but I stopped at Tony's Grocery and bought a little blue can of Crisco grease. And now... to the dump! Where bottles and cans, rats and crows were just waiting for this ol' cowboy to do 'em in!

I replayed Mr. Shattuck's instructions in my head as I laid out all my gear on the smothed-out, brown paper bag at my feet. The first thing I realized was that I didn't have anything to measure the powder with... UNTIL I remembered my knife! I carried one of those folding stag handled camper's knives- you know, the ones with a fork on one side and a spoon on the other? The spoon was perfect for what I needed! Very carefully (thank heaven there wasn't any wind blowing) I poured a spoonful of powder from the can into the spoon, then tipped the spoon up and tapped the powder into the cylinder. Sure, I spilled a bunch over because the spoon held so much more, but what the heck! Powder was cheap, back then... and I had plenty to spare...

Being a methodical kind of kid, I filled all six chambers with the powder, managing to spill as much around my feet, I suppose, as I was getting into the cylinder. I can laugh now, but when I bent over to get the bullets all the powder fell out of the cylinders onto my boots... so I had to fill them all over again! I managed to get all the chambers filled with powder and then stuck a bullet into the first cylinder... I had to really tap it in with my knife to get it started... then shoved it in as far as it would go with the rammer thing. I lost a little powder in the process, but eventually I had all six chambers loaded and ready to go. Then I put percussion caps over the things sticking out the ends of the cylinders... Oops! I forgot a couple of things!

Now, I'll admit my ignorance about a lot of things... but why I was supposed to smear Crisco on my balls is still a mystery to me. But I figured Old Man Shattuck knew what he was about, so I looked around to make sure I was alone, then dropped my pants to my knees, opened the can of Crisco and began to smear it over Lefty and Righty. Standing there in the hot summer sun, slowly massaging soft, silky grease into my scrotum... gee WHIZ! I guess the old man knew what he was talking about after all ! Welcome to the joys of shooting!

I had to force myself out of my reverie...

One last thing and then I'd be ready to shoot... I took my baseball cap off and stuffed it inside my shirt over my left nipple. Okay... I guessed I was ready (except, of course, that in my haste I'd forgotten to pull up my pants...)

Well sir, I crooked my left am out in front of my face, rested the trigger guard of the pistol in my right hand on it, drew a tight bead on an old Four Roses bottle, and squeezed the trigger. I remember a bright flash, a burning sensation on my arm and face, then something hit me square in the forehead and the lights went out.

It must have been quite sometime later when I awoke. I was laid out across the back seat of Sheriff Miller's car (I knew this from the plexi-glass partition and a previous ride when I'd been sixteen), the rider's side door was open and my feet and lower legs were hanging out. As I raised my head to look for the source of the voices I heard I felt like someone had hit me in the head with a sledgehammer. I could see two men in the dim, evening light, just outside the door and within my range of vision. At least, I thought they were two men... I could hear two speaking but they were sorta spinning around and they looked like six. From the voices I knew they were Sheriff Miller and my Dad... "... busy on another call so the volunteer fire department was the first out here," I heard the Sheriff explaining to my dad. "Mabel Krutchner called it in... said she saw smoke comin' from the dump and had heard an awful explosion over this way."

"Near as I can tell from what the firemen say, when they got here they found your boy lying over there. At first they thought he was dead. The dump was on fire all around him, his left arm and face were all black, his boots were scorched pretty badly, he had a HUGE knot on his forehead where somebody'd cold-cocked him... And... well, we think the boy's been... well, taken advantage of."

"What do you mean 'Taken advantage of?'" I heard my dad ask.

"Well, Al, it's like this," the Sheriff said. "The first men to get to your boy said he was unconscious; they found part of a gun by his body; his pants were down around his ankles, his crotch was smeared with KY Jelly and he was sportin' a big boner..."

Then I heard Mr. Shattuck's voice. "I always knew there was something wrong with that boy...This will probably keep him out of the army..."

And THAT'S why I don't shoot black powder...

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2 hours ago, Tex Jones, SASS 2263 said:

Bear,

 

This one has you beat.  From a now passed on cowboy, familiar to many of  the "old timers".

Credit goes to to Boston John Doucette.


I'd been looking at a pretty, brass-framed BP revolver in the case at Shattuck's Hardware for a couple of months, and boy! Was I ever proud the day I went in and plunked down the money for it! Eleven dollars in one dollar bills... and eighteen dollars in quarter and dimes. Old Man Shattuck was a great old guy, whose eyesight, thankfully, had gotten really bad over the years... he didn't recognize me as he sold me the .36 caliber pistol... he even threw in a box of pure lead balls with the pistol and percussion caps when I bought the pound of black powder.

I told Mr. Shattuck that I was anxious to shoot it and was heading straight for the dump, and asked him to show me how to load the gun. "It's pretty simple," I recall his telling me. "You measure your powder into the cylinder chamber, put a bullet over it, ram it down in with the hinged thing under the barrel, put your cap over a nipple, and you're set to shoot." I thanked him for his help and headed for the door.

"One last thing!" he called to me as I was running out the door, "Don't forget to put grease over your balls! Crisco works fine!" I didn't understand the need for the last part, but I stopped at Tony's Grocery and bought a little blue can of Crisco grease. And now... to the dump! Where bottles and cans, rats and crows were just waiting for this ol' cowboy to do 'em in!

I replayed Mr. Shattuck's instructions in my head as I laid out all my gear on the smothed-out, brown paper bag at my feet. The first thing I realized was that I didn't have anything to measure the powder with... UNTIL I remembered my knife! I carried one of those folding stag handled camper's knives- you know, the ones with a fork on one side and a spoon on the other? The spoon was perfect for what I needed! Very carefully (thank heaven there wasn't any wind blowing) I poured a spoonful of powder from the can into the spoon, then tipped the spoon up and tapped the powder into the cylinder. Sure, I spilled a bunch over because the spoon held so much more, but what the heck! Powder was cheap, back then... and I had plenty to spare...

Being a methodical kind of kid, I filled all six chambers with the powder, managing to spill as much around my feet, I suppose, as I was getting into the cylinder. I can laugh now, but when I bent over to get the bullets all the powder fell out of the cylinders onto my boots... so I had to fill them all over again! I managed to get all the chambers filled with powder and then stuck a bullet into the first cylinder... I had to really tap it in with my knife to get it started... then shoved it in as far as it would go with the rammer thing. I lost a little powder in the process, but eventually I had all six chambers loaded and ready to go. Then I put percussion caps over the things sticking out the ends of the cylinders... Oops! I forgot a couple of things!

Now, I'll admit my ignorance about a lot of things... but why I was supposed to smear Crisco on my balls is still a mystery to me. But I figured Old Man Shattuck knew what he was about, so I looked around to make sure I was alone, then dropped my pants to my knees, opened the can of Crisco and began to smear it over Lefty and Righty. Standing there in the hot summer sun, slowly massaging soft, silky grease into my scrotum... gee WHIZ! I guess the old man knew what he was talking about after all ! Welcome to the joys of shooting!

I had to force myself out of my reverie...

One last thing and then I'd be ready to shoot... I took my baseball cap off and stuffed it inside my shirt over my left nipple. Okay... I guessed I was ready (except, of course, that in my haste I'd forgotten to pull up my pants...)

Well sir, I crooked my left am out in front of my face, rested the trigger guard of the pistol in my right hand on it, drew a tight bead on an old Four Roses bottle, and squeezed the trigger. I remember a bright flash, a burning sensation on my arm and face, then something hit me square in the forehead and the lights went out.

It must have been quite sometime later when I awoke. I was laid out across the back seat of Sheriff Miller's car (I knew this from the plexi-glass partition and a previous ride when I'd been sixteen), the rider's side door was open and my feet and lower legs were hanging out. As I raised my head to look for the source of the voices I heard I felt like someone had hit me in the head with a sledgehammer. I could see two men in the dim, evening light, just outside the door and within my range of vision. At least, I thought they were two men... I could hear two speaking but they were sorta spinning around and they looked like six. From the voices I knew they were Sheriff Miller and my Dad... "... busy on another call so the volunteer fire department was the first out here," I heard the Sheriff explaining to my dad. "Mabel Krutchner called it in... said she saw smoke comin' from the dump and had heard an awful explosion over this way."

"Near as I can tell from what the firemen say, when they got here they found your boy lying over there. At first they thought he was dead. The dump was on fire all around him, his left arm and face were all black, his boots were scorched pretty badly, he had a HUGE knot on his forehead where somebody'd cold-cocked him... And... well, we think the boy's been... well, taken advantage of."

"What do you mean 'Taken advantage of?'" I heard my dad ask.

"Well, Al, it's like this," the Sheriff said. "The first men to get to your boy said he was unconscious; they found part of a gun by his body; his pants were down around his ankles, his crotch was smeared with KY Jelly and he was sportin' a big boner..."

Then I heard Mr. Shattuck's voice. "I always knew there was something wrong with that boy...This will probably keep him out of the army..."

And THAT'S why I don't shoot black powder...

Every time I see this it gives my a Chuckle, and I think of visits with the writer here and on the phone ...  I sure do miss him and laughs and sometime tears he brought .

 

Jabez Cowboy

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So the bottom line to this story is that you wasted a half-a-can of powder!  Not that big of a deal 40 years ago but these days it would be a toss up - save the finger or save the powder?

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59 minutes ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

So the bottom line to this story is that you wasted a half-a-can of powder!  Not that big of a deal 40 years ago but these days it would be a toss up - save the finger or save the powder?

 

At least it wasn’t primers

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3 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

At least it wasn’t primers

 

I know.  I was thinking about primers but could not think how he could get his finger stuck in a primer box.  If he did it would be no contest - primers.

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There's that word, "whilst" again.  I've been doing a lot of work with the Royal Air Force and British Army lately, and realized they still use that word.  It fell into disuse here in the U.S. around 200 years ago, in favor of "while."  I have to say, I'm a little shocked that it remains in use in Australia.

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1 hour ago, Cyrus Cassidy #45437 said:

There's that word, "whilst" again.  I've been doing a lot of work with the Royal Air Force and British Army lately, and realized they still use that word.  It fell into disuse here in the U.S. around 200 years ago, in favor of "while."  I have to say, I'm a little shocked that it remains in use in Australia.

 

Interesting CC, its still in use down here. I didn't realise it was old school in the US.

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19 minutes ago, Buckshot Bear said:

 

Pray do tell....is this a story that needs airing :) ?

 

Hardpans stories from his fraternity days are legendary. Below is a small sample of his exploits.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

Hardpans stories from his fraternity days are legendary. Below is a small sample of his exploits.

 

 

 

Cheers SD, I'm going to enjoy reading these later.....thanks mate :) 

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3 minutes ago, Buckshot Bear said:

 

Cheers SD, I'm going to enjoy reading these later.....thanks mate :) 

 

Someday Hardpan is going to put all his stories in a book. We keep telling him that it'll be a best seller and make him rich.

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7 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

Hardpans stories from his fraternity days are legendary. Below is a small sample of his exploits.

 

 

Dang, Dave... I'm humbled.   :blush:  

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image.png.dc4dda97b9ccb36894280c21d54c05bb.png  Apparently, this is not always the best advice... but if you do you may have a good story to tell at the end of it...

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This sort of reminds of something that happened back when I was in college.  A number of us were hanging out at a friend's house playing cards and consuming alcohol.  It was past midnight and most of them were more than a little drunk.  I don't remember how we got onto the subject, but one of the people there worked at a company in CT that manufactures explosives and such and he had "acquired" something from work and they were arguing over whether it would explode or not. 

 

The guy pulled the aluminum? container apart and dumped some of the powder on to a piece of paper and told another guy to use his cigarette (or lighter). I was pretty much sober by this point in the evening and I had moved to another room and watching around a wall from about 15 feet away. 

 

Whatever the powder was flashed off when lit.  Once the smoke and flash cleared, the guy who had lit the powder was wide eyed and his face was blue from the powder.  The rest of us were hysterical in laughter at the look on the guy's face and that his face was blue.

 

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6 hours ago, Chantry said:

This sort of reminds of something that happened back when I was in college.  A number of us were hanging out at a friend's house playing cards and consuming alcohol.  It was past midnight and most of them were more than a little drunk.  I don't remember how we got onto the subject, but one of the people there worked at a company in CT that manufactures explosives and such and he had "acquired" something from work and they were arguing over whether it would explode or not. 

 

The guy pulled the aluminum? container apart and dumped some of the powder on to a piece of paper and told another guy to use his cigarette (or lighter). I was pretty much sober by this point in the evening and I had moved to another room and watching around a wall from about 15 feet away. 

 

Whatever the powder was flashed off when lit.  Once the smoke and flash cleared, the guy who had lit the powder was wide eyed and his face was blue from the powder.  The rest of us were hysterical in laughter at the look on the guy's face and that his face was blue.

 

 

That was smart that your sixth sense got you to move away and watch from behind a wall 15ft away.

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19 minutes ago, Buckshot Bear said:

 

That was smart that your sixth sense got you to move away and watch from behind a wall 15ft away.

 

No sixth sense, just common sense:  drunks + the ability to make fire + a potential explosive = Chantry backing the hell up!

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