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Bullet in the barrel?

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You aim, press the trigger, and a weak puff informs you that it is only the percussion cap or a very small blast that ignited. The lock withdraws an empty cartridge but as you look into the dark barrel you see the bullet stuck inside.

Dang! Something went wrong with the reloading and now your rifle is out of action, with no available tools,

Here are a couple of ways to get the bullet out. Just remember that the rifle barrel, espe- cially the front must not be damaged. Rather use softer materials like wood, fibre glass or brass to remove the bullet. You must work extremely carefully if you must use hard metal. Also take note where the bullet is stuck – that will determine if you are going to take it out from the front or the back. The shortest way is usually easier

If you have a cleaning rod at hand that is of course the easiest solution. Take a piece of wood, wrap a or piece of cloth around it, and use it as a hammer to flip the bullet out

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The aerial of a vehicle can sometimes be used successfully to get out the bullet. This metal is hard, so put enough adhesive tape or other protection around the aerial. Wind thicker covering around the point so that it can stay in the middle of the barrel and then a thinner layer further. It is very important that you work carefully and not damage the barrel

Sometimes a bullet can be removed by using pneumatic pressure. I have been able to blow an old 0.54 bore bullet out of a gunpowder rifle with one of these new soda tube bicycle pumps - but be careful, the bullet comes out at a speed! Rather try using the spare wheel for spare air

A hydraulic hammer can also be used. Pour water carefully in the longer open side of the barrel . Then take a stick and cut it nice and round so that about 5cm of it -with a thin piece of rag around it - fits snugly in the barrel. This now is your piston. Place it on top of the water and hit on it with something heavy. The bullet ought to move a bit. Withdraw the piston and fill the barrel up with water again. Repeat this process until the bullet is out. Remember to dry the barrel before you shoot again and also to oil it afterwards.

Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.

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