Author Topic: Rust shooting ???  (Read 999 times)

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Offline Gimlis Ghost

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Rust shooting ???
« on: December 06, 2021, 12:31:45 am »
The death of a woman by a live round fired from a prop revolver raises many questions.
One I'd like to address is several youtube videos where people claim that it is no possible for a single action Colt or its clones to fire without pulling the trigger. Anyone making that claim has never seen the lockwork of a badly worn or overly "gunsmithed" single action.
I've repaired several of the 1851 nd 1860 Colt replicas and several 1873 replicas as well as other single action revolvers. Poor heat treatment of hammers and triggers are commonplace, along with owners who play movie gunslinger and damaged good guns by fanning.

The four click action of the revolver in question if not badly worn is fairly safe only so long as the lockwork is reasonably free of fouling and hardened grease, which few revolvers fired extensively with BP loaded blanks and not properly detailed stripped afterwards are likely to be.
When badly worn ,especially by fanning, the quarter cock and half cock are often chipped or completely broken away. Colts used for fanning are supposed to be modified for the purpose, a procedure I haven't done so I can't speak on that in any detail. Even fast draw revolvers are often modified for the purpose to reduce breakages.

Personally I despise Baldwin and his public displays against his own family suggest he is at least a malignant narcissist and possibly a psychpathic personality. I suspect he arranged this "accident" himself and did not kill at random or by accident.
But claims of it being impossible for any much used and poorly maintained prop handgun to go off as described are spurious.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this aspect of the case.

Offline Pat B

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2021, 10:40:03 am »
Alec Baldwin said on an interview that he didn't pull the trigger but he also said that he pulled the hammer back and get it go. That alone could fire this pistols. To many questions to be asked like...why wasn't the prop/blank gun used. It looked just like the one that was used but could not hold or fire a live round. Why were live rounds even on the set. That alone was against the rules and maybe the law. Why were even blanks used when with technology the same effects can be achieved after the fact.
 I won't make personal comments about Baldwin but I will say I don't believe in accidental gun firings. Someone or something is always responsible.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline White Falcon

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2021, 11:48:53 am »
I tested my gun yesterday, EMPTY. As most know if you pull the triger back MOST of the way and release it, it WILL FIRE.

Offline Gimlis Ghost

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2021, 01:35:44 pm »
I tested my gun yesterday, EMPTY. As most know if you pull the triger back MOST of the way and release it, it WILL FIRE.

You should detail strip your revolver and carefully clean every part. If not heavily fouled or badly worn the quarter cock or half cock notches should have prevented the hammer from droping all the way under such conditions.

A common problem is a trigger honed to give a too light trigger pull. In such cases the half cock and quarter cock notches become worn or the half cock notch can be broken away.

The half cock position was not designed as a safety mechanism, its there for reloading. Neither the configuration nor the heat treatment are up to the task.

I've run across half cock notches broken out simply by someone pulling the trigger while at half cock. More often the sear will break off the trigger.

When a too light trugger allows a discharge without significant back pressure on the trigger the quarter cock can become rounded and the sear surface also becomes battered and rounded.

Quarter cock notches, more like a shelf than a notch, were developed to prevent doubling in autoloadings pistols. They weren't designed to be a safe carry position for revolvers. The edges become rounded in normal wear and tear, a tiny bit every time the hammer is cocked.

Some smiths used to weld or braze pieces onto worn hammers and triggers and recut the surfaces. I always replace both hammer and trigger.
Worn or bent action screws can also lead to poor sear engagement, as can weak or broken trigger springs.

A revolver that has been fanned will often show serious wear to any or all these parts. Even fanning a revolver once can produce unsafe engagements.
Remember that if guns never became worn there would be no need to stock replacement parts.

Offline White Falcon

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2021, 03:19:56 pm »
I should have said Ruger single six. Not an Old Colt.

Offline mmattockx

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2021, 03:38:56 pm »
Alec Baldwin said on an interview that he didn't pull the trigger but he also said that he pulled the hammer back and get it go.

<snip>

I won't make personal comments about Baldwin but I will say I don't believe in accidental gun firings. Someone or something is always responsible.

Baldwin is rabidly anti-gun and I do question if he even has enough gun handling experience and skills to know if he pulled the trigger or not.

I would generally agree on no such thing as an accidental discharge, but I have experienced one with a mechanical failure in an AR. Aside from mechanical failures (which are exceedingly rare), everything else should be properly labelled as a negligent discharge.


Mark

Offline Gimlis Ghost

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2021, 04:52:57 pm »
Quote
I would generally agree on no such thing as an accidental discharge, but I have experienced one with a mechanical failure in an AR. Aside from mechanical failures (which are exceedingly rare), everything else should be properly labelled as a negligent discharge.


Mark


Unfortunately mechanical failures and simply poorly designed firing mechanisms are far from non existent.

I once rebuilt a very rusty and abused Savage .32 ACP, 1910 model IIRC. A pistol with very unusual construction.
This particular pistol was subject to front of frame spreading and in this case the resulting looseness of frame to slide fit introduced a very dangerous situation.
The safety was frame mounted but the entire firing mechanism including sear is housed in the slide.

Pocket pistols carried in a back pocket are subjected to unequal pressure on the forwards portion of the slide anytime the carrier sits down, especially when driving for hours.
If you loaded the pistol then engaged the safety and pulled the trigger it would not fire, but when you later disengaged the safety it fired without your touching the trigger.

The repair was simple. I just found a piece of aluminum a hair smaller than the width between the forwars frame rails and putting the frame in a table vice carefully squeezed it back into spec. Problem solved.

Some versions of the SKS rifle can double or even go full auto due to bits of primer plating or sealant being pushed back into the firing pin channel when fired.
They can also slamfire on loading if common commercial primers which are softer than milspec primers are used in the ammunition.
There is no firing pin retractor or even a firing pin return spring. The original design called for a return spring but they found it reduced reliability in sub zero weather.
I learned of this when loading my SKS with muzzle pointed at the ground. Even the primer of the milspec ammo I was using showed a fairly deep dent. It didn't discharge but if it had been a Remington made 7.62X39 it almost certainly would have. Loading with muzzle straight up did not produce a dented primer, though in at least one accidental shooting the muzzle was pointed upwards. the bullet passing through the ceiling and killing a man on the second floor.

Offline JW_Halverson

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2021, 12:57:05 pm »
There is a very long line of responsibility for weapons on a set, but ultimately it all comes down to two parties that are pretty much equal in power, the director and the armorer. Of the two, the director has a nominal bit more power because the armorer is supposed to be able to tell the director NO if something unnecessarily dangerous is asked for, but the director can fire (usually, depends on contracts, studio policy, etc) the armorer.

The armorer is supposed to rule over the use and handling of all weapons and generally does so with a gleeful tyrannical overbearing manner. Movie making is all about power and throwing your weight around constantly and in my limited experience it is absolutely ugly. Apparently, this director had an uncanny ability to throw his weight around in such a manner that he could not get (or would not get) a qualified armorer to work on the project and the woman he hired was not up to the task of throwing HER weight around and enforcing normal rules regarding weapons, the first of which was adopted unanimously by the Union immediately after Brandon Lee was killed on set with a live bullet. And that is THERE WILL NEVER BE A LIVE BULLET OF ANY CALIBER OR SIZE ON A MOVIE SET. This person had never been an armorer on a movie set before, though from what I understand had worked in props and perhaps under an armorer on at least one occasion. She was unqualified. The director should have known that and insisted on a qualified party be hired.

"Well, it's only my lucky .22 shell from when I was a kid hunting squirrels in Tennessee and we are filming a Civil War scene with muskets", says some lowly production assistant. "Nope. Walkout! ATTENTION ALL IATSE MEMBERS....WE WALK!", says the Union armorer and the entire union membership performs a walk-out and filming stops until such time as proper safety measures are taken. And not just the Armorer and their assistants, but lighting, costumes, camera, electrical, building trades, properties, and even the persons that feed everyone on the set, the craft services.

You will note that early in the breaking of this story that it was reported union members walked. They walked because of repeated safety violations AND this director has a history of safety violations and putting people in danger (now THAT is a real power play, he is literally saying he is a god and can put your life in danger at his will). Unfortunately, this tiny production company was independent, not one of the major studios that work with the union.  There were not enough union members to stop production until such time as demands for safety measures were reinstated. Turns out they were right, huh?

Yes, I get that whole thing about the only person really responsible is the person with the gun in their hand. But the reality is that on movie sets they do not hire properly trained gun handlers as actors. It is the responsibility of the armorer to train that actor (and everyone that handles the gun) in basic gun safety and see to it that the actor (and everyone else in between the armorer and the actor) strictly adheres to those gun safety protocols. There are different rules on a movie set, the rules you were taught about safe gun handling  do  not  apply. The first rule you should have had had hammered into your head or else beaten into your butt is that you never point a gun at anyone unless you mean to kill them, right? Well, under your rule there will be some very major changes to movies. No more Dirty Harry asking a guy if he counted the shots, was it five or was it six, and did he feel lucky? How good would that scene have been if Harry was pointing the weapon AWAY FROM THE BAD GUY and not right at the spot between his eyes?

In my opinion the responsibility lies 80% on the director and 20% on the armorer. The young woman working as armorer should have known she was out of her depth and was not capable of standing toe to toe with the director, demanding safety measures be followed to the letter. But everything that happens on a movie set ultimately is the responsibility of the director. Guns with live ammunition were fired on the set in the preceding days. The director did not shut down filming and investigate the situation. He should have shut down things and called the armorer on the carpet, demanding to know who brought live ammo on set and who fired the gun(s) and who knew about it. The persons bringing live ammo should have been fired, the persons shooting the guns possibly fired as well if not demoted and seriously reprimanded, and those that knew about it and did not report this should have their butts chewed such that sitting would be an agony for a week or more. And lastly, the director should have fired the armorer and hired someone properly qualified.

I have been discussing this at length with a friend that is a qualified armorer in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. He started his career when he was hired to work on the Dances With Wolves production and just recently finished his 5th project with Kevin Costner, a prequel to the series Yellowstone. He educated me on the details of Union rules for armorers, and I was hired by him to be his assistant to help him with a German documentary (more like a b.s. fantasy) that wanted Native American archery shots.

I get it that a lot of people always want to hang it on the loose nut on the trigger. And it is true that the loose nut on the trigger is the weakest link, but look at it this way: you and your whole family are gathered in the living room with one person that you really do not know well.....would you allow one of your kids to hand the new acquaintance a weapon that you do not know whether or not is loaded? And what if someone in that room were to be shot unintentionally? How do you look the rest of the family in the eye after that? There's your answer to the question about responsibility.

Guns have triggers. Bicycles have wheels. Trees and bows have wooden limbs.

Offline Gimlis Ghost

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Re: Rust shooting ???
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2021, 02:26:22 pm »
Brandon Lee was not killed by a live round. He was killed by a bullet dislodged from the neck of a poorly constructed dummy round that had been stuck in the chamber throat. The blast from a blank cartridge propelled the stuck bullet at lethal velocity.

A side note. London thugs found that a number of European blank pistols could be modified to fire bullets propelled by common theatrical blanks.
Even the Brocock air guns, which use a realistic cartridge combining a compressed air chamber , exhaust valve and pellet chamber could be fired with lethal force if the air cartridge were bored out to take a 8mm theatrical blank and the pellet replaced by a solid lead slug.

These finely made and ingeniously designed airguns were quickly banned.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 02:35:48 pm by Gimlis Ghost »