Equipment & Gear > Guns and Ammo

Tragedy Averted (everyone please read)

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  I hope this little story drives home a lesson for everyone that reads it, and hope those that do read it share it with others, its important!!!

 Knowing my 10 year old daughter would not be content simply hiking with dad while out hunting much longer, and passing her hunter education class, I wanted to get her a small caliber rifle, maybe a .17 HMR or a .22LR, to get her used to shooting and better prepared for having her own license. I had been checking out several .22's on GunBrokers when a .17HMR came up for sale that looked nice and had the thumbhole stock I was looking for. I wanted the thumbhole stock so I could file it down a little more to allow my daughters small hand better access to the trigger.

  Well this one was the right price and had what I was looking for so I contacted the seller, asked a few questions, used PayPal and made arrangements to pick it up. A few days later my daughter and I drove to Cabelas to meet the seller and pick up her new rifle, she had just completed her field day course and passed hunters education and was very excited to have her own rifle to go shooting with dad.

  We met the seller in the parking lot, made quick introductions and he pulled out the .17. My daughters face lit up with a huge grin as we looked it over and I handed it to her. Still practicing her muzzle control, she held onto it and looked it over. The seller ran through it with us and also included a nice new padded case and a couple new boxes of ammo for her, which was not part of the deal :tup:

  We thanked the seller, said goodbye, and went inside to get a scope. We looked at several and finally decided on the Cabelas Pine Ridge 6-18X40 designed for the .17HMR with windage and elevation adjustments. After a quick bore site job and a couple hundred bucks we were heading home and talking about when we could next get out and do some shooting to try it out.

  For a whole week, anyone that came over to the house had to have the rifle shown to them by my daughter, and hear about her hunter education class, she was excited to say the least.

  Earlier this week we made plans to hit the range on Saturday so I had my brother, WF70, come over and we would go through and clean up the .17 as well as a couple other guns we would be shooting, he enjoys working on guns. He got here and we got to work, I worked on a .22 and he started in on the .17.

  He popped the bolt out, grabbed the rod with a brush and dropped it down the barrel. After a couple runs he looked at me with a confused and concerned look on his face. "Who dod you buy this from" he asked. I told him and asked him why. He looked down the barrel with a bore light in the other side and said "because the barrel is plugged" :yike:

  I grabbed it and tried the rod myself, sure enough there was something hard in there and it wasn't moving. :bash: We pulled the brush off the rod and again inserted it down to the obstruction, took a couple taps on it but it was not budging. Not wanting to cause any damage to the barrel I decided to leave it and contact the seller.

  My brother left and I just couldn't get the "what ifs" out of my head. What if we hadn't cleaned it first? What if my daughter had shot it? Obviously there were several other questions I was wrestling with as well. How could someone sell me a rifle that a child would be using knowing there was a clogged barrel? etc. The seller seemed like a very nice guy, not at all like the kind of person that was only interested in money.

  Well after I calmed down and again started thinking with a level head it was clear this seller had no idea and was not that type of person and I was sure would be as upset as I was. I am going to include the email replies I received from this seller, and I can assure you they are heart felt and not just words.

--- Quote ---I am so sorry that this happened. I got the gun from a guy and never fired it. I can't believe I never looked down the barrel but that must be the case. I have a gunsmith I use here in Lacey and I would be more than happy to get it looked at. I am so happy that you all took time to look first and avert an accident. That would have been tragic. If there is unrepairable damage I will be happy to refund the money to you. I will have a serious conversation with this person as to the condition and question why he traded it to me in that condition.

I will get back to you.. I am glad the man upstairs was guiding your brother in his quest to do a safety check.

--- End quote ---

  It wasn't an hour later and I had another email from the seller

--- Quote ---I can't quite get over this..I am lost for words... obviously I am very happy that no one was harmed in any way especially your daughter. I will do whatever is necessary to resolve the issue and make the gun right. If I need to meet up with you and pick it up, I can and will do that. My gunsmith can fix it even if I have to buy a new barrel.

I cc'd you on my message to the guy asking him to own up to what he knew about the gun before he traded it to me. I have a feeling he won't own up to anything in which case I will still make things right. I have never intentionally cheated or misrepresented anything and don't intend to start.

Call me @
--- End quote ---

  Clearly this person has a good heart and I'm 100% convinced had no idea there was any kind of problem.

  Well yesterday I met the seller at Cabelas, we hopped in his truck and went to his friends house, he has a awesome gunsmith shop attached. A quick intro and he was fast at work, with his son helping out, also a smith. After they confirmed the obstruction they decided the best aproach was a brazing rod. They stuck it in and gave it a few pops with a rubber malet and out it popped. We flipped the gun over and out it came. They picked up the piece and took a good close look at it, went and grabbed a caliper and measured it. Its their professional opinion that someone shot a non jacketted .22 lead bullet through it that didn't quite make it completely into the barrel.

  After the removal they ran a brush through it and checked it out, they came to the conclusion that there was no damage to the barrel or the rest of the gun and it would be fine, so off we went back to Cabelas.

  I suppose I should just be thankful nothing tragic happened but I thought this whole experience would prove to be a good reminder to all of you that it is very important that you check each and every firearm for any problems before you shoot them, especially since so many guns on this site are exchanging hands. This very easily could have not ended in a good way and although the lesson would still have been learned, it would have come at a high price.

  Attached is a pic of the .22 caliber bullet pulled from the barrel, you can see it didn't quite make it completely into the barrel.


Holy crap!

A great reminder to visually inspect al barrels before buying and shooting. Thanks.

Nice write up of the situation Rob.   

 :yike: Good thing you guys tryed to clean it before you shot it.



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