Range Catches Fire - Hi-Caliber

Discussion in 'Ranges, Dealers & Smiths' started by NullMatrix, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. NullMatrix

    NullMatrix Member

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    I was at Hi-Caliber in Holly Springs this afternoon, testing out my new Hi-Point 9mm carbine.

    I was on lane 10, which is against the far left wall. There was a large pile of brass against the wall, forward of the firing line. I shot about 90 rounds out of the carbine, and had stopped shooting to reload the last ten rounds.

    All of a sudden the pile of brass burst into flame. It was shooting up a good 3-4 feet. One of the employees, possibly the owner, came and hit it with a fire extinguisher, which succeeded in putting it out. Then they cleared the range.

    Supposedly someone had been shooting shotguns earlier (against range rules) which built up enough unburned powder on the range to cause a fire hazard. I suspect that part of the problem was leaving so much brass piled up.

    Luckily no one was injured and there didn't appear to be any damage to the range.
     
  2. The Math Teacher

    The Math Teacher New Member

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  3. livesounder

    livesounder New Member

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    Errrr....

    What?
     
  4. NullMatrix

    NullMatrix Member

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    That is what the range employee said. :?
     
  5. mathar1

    mathar1 New Member

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    It is NOT just shotguns. There is unburned powder all over our range and we don't allow rifles or shotguns. The key is to clean it constantly and get the brass and "dirt/powder/brass residue" OUT of the range quickly and cleanly and OFTEN.Good job of the range boss to catch it before it got out of hand. :righton:

    I will do a video demo one day of the average day's unburned powder...what it looks like and how flammable it is, you know, as a public service. (Not to mention it is cool when it goes up) :wink:
     
  6. livesounder

    livesounder New Member

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    Okay.

    I'm not a range boss, so please bear with me while I work through some basic logic.

    - On a given range, whatever unburned powder may exist is bound to be dispersed over a relatively large area (simply because of the nature in which it's placed), precluding the likelihood of sufficient quantity being in close enough proximity to afford a self-sustaining combustion. In other words, a given particle that is ignited is not physically close enough to an adjacent particle to create a self-sustaining chain-reaction.

    - Even if a sufficiently large enough quantity of gunpowder were present (given the above) to sustain an initial conflagration, gunpowder burns very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that normally combustible materials in the vicinity will not have sufficient time to reach ignition temperature and be able to self-sustain ignition (see your typical shotgun shell).

    - Logically, I see no way an ongoing "fire" could erupt on an otherwise typical firing range.
     
  7. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    I've seen it happen twice at indoor ranges so far. Aside from the annoyance factor and smoke, it wasn't that big of a problem as there isn't much that's flammable on most ranges. Still... one should never just let something like that burn out; you never know what could happen.
     
  8. NTA

    NTA Well-Known Member

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    Friend of mine, a cop, had a key to a range so he could practice when they were closed.
    He burned it down with a few minutes and his 1911
    I never understood how this could happen.
     
  9. TAP

    TAP New Member

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    This is more common than you may think. It happened at Georgia Range & Guns when I was there about a year and a half ago. Brass piled up has a lot of unburned powder with it. I was teaching someone to shoot using a .22 and the spark from the powder started a fairly large flame in the range.

    The thing that pissed me off the most is that an off duty police officer was in the lane next to me with his girlfriend. As soon as we saw the flames the officer and his gf left the range instead of going for the fire extinguisher on the wall. :screwy: I grabbed the extinguisher and had the fire out in a few minutes. I always look for the fire extinguisher location when I enter an indoor range.
     
  10. RickN

    RickN New Member

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    I had never heard of the excess-powder-flareup phenomena before, so this is a good idea.

    Now I'll be paranoid the next time I go shooting. :)
     
  11. Swamper

    Swamper Member

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    I also had not heard of the excess powder flareup. Knowledge is power
    and therefore we all should verify the location of a fire extinguisher at all
    indoor ranges.




    :-o
     
  12. redefined

    redefined Member

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    I have been shooting at Hi-Caliber once and I'm going to say that this does not surprise me. When I was there the ventilation was not up to par at all. The ground was dusty, not to the point of being slippery but to the point it left foot prints for sure.

    I like the setup of their shop a lot, however their range is not very desirable in my opinion. I have not been back since.
     
  13. smokin357

    smokin357 New Member

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    Very unlikely. Factory rounds get the powder calculations right.
     
  14. Dirty J

    Dirty J BANNED (not really)

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    I would have the agree with this. Shop is awesome. Range looks great, but I always find myself hackin up a lung when I come outta there. Something is not quite right with the ventilation system there...
     
  15. Match10

    Match10 Active Member

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    Oh, do not think it is not happening with factory rounds/loads. I have many handguns that spew flame out the barrel, and all revolvers have a gap between the cylinder and forcing cone where they spew fire, flame, unburned powder, and sometimes a bit of bullet material. You should see my Ruger SBH 44 in the dark with factory 250 grain Black Talons! :shattered: FOOM! :sly: Looks like a howitzer going off with a big ball of flame eight feet from the barrel end... And the cylinder gap "star" is spectacular! :righton:

    Besides, most loads are not optimized for snubbies. Most loads are not optimized for guns with short barrels like my LCP. My 12 guage magnum duck loads are not much "better"!

    None the least of which are my max loads of my Delta Elite Match 10! :wink:
     
  16. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    Factory rounds are able to sense the barrel length before firing and dump powder or adjust the burn rate to compensate?
     
  17. smokin357

    smokin357 New Member

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    Barrel length has little impact on total powder burn, and we're talking about shotgun ammo, anyway. I shoot a lot of shotgun ammo, and I have never seen unburnt powder in any factory load, in any barrel length.
     
  18. Match10

    Match10 Active Member

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    That's just not true.
     
  19. EmTea

    EmTea New Member

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    When I brought my 870 over there once, they told me Shotguns were OK as long as you were the only one on the range. It was July at the time and he said their ventilation system couldn't keep the amount of smoke produced by a scattergun out of the range without making the ambient temperature inside the range 100F.

    But they may of changed that since I've gone over there.

    Glad no one was hurt.