Here's a reminder and a warning to all those who reload their ammunition. (I used to do that in South Africa, but I've never had the time to get back to it in the USA. Maybe one day . . .)
A man almost lost the use of his right hand, and did suffer terrible injuries to his fingers. All because he picked the wrong bottle of powder off the shelf.
The shooter, Denny K., was assembling some rounds for his brand new 7mm-08 Savage hunting rifle. He thought he was loading with Hodgdon Varget. Instead he had filled his powder measure with Hodgdon TiteGroup, a fast-burning pistol powder. The labels are similar, so the mistake is understandable. But the results were devastating.
Posting on the Firing Line, in a thread entitled “Lucky to Be Alive”, Denny writes:
“This is the hardest post to post. I know if I had read it a week ago my comment would have been: ‘You have no business reloading’. I had everything perfect, except pouring the wrong powder in the powder measure. I type this slowly with my left hand, embarrassed but … possibly saving someone else a tragedy or, like me, a long drive to the Emergency Room and surgery to save my finger.”
. . .
Denny wrote: “The seven-hour period it took to go to ER, transport to Trauma Center and surgery made me think it was a Savage rifle issue. Brand new rifle, new brass, triple-checked loading data. The next day I was humbled when I realized the Varget powder was still sealed.”
There's more at the link, including a photograph of the victim's rather gruesomely injured hand. Not for the squeamish.
Reloading is fun, interesting, and a lot cheaper than buying factory ammunition . . . but it has its dangers. They can involve powder, like the tale above; or they can involve carelessness in other ways. My favorite is a friend of mine in South Africa who smoked a pipe. One day, while reloading, he happened to spill a box of primers on the floor. While picking them up and returning them to the box, he accidentally dropped one without noticing it. It fell into his open tobacco pouch on the table below his hands. Next time he filled his pipe, he stuffed the primer in along with the tobacco. A few minutes after lighting the pipe, there was a loud noise and it blew apart in his hands, sending fiery tobacco shards all over the living-room carpet. Fortunately, apart from stinging from the impact, his hand wasn't injured; but his better half was NOT amused . . .