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This medical post came in over the transom - a cautionary tale about certain handguns:
A St. Louis Missouri guy had a bad accident with his S&W 460XVR Magnum. He was shooting with a two handed hold and got his left thumb up near the lower front of the cylinder. The normal (powerful) gasses blowing out at the barrel/cylinder gap ripped the top of his left thumb off. I've added some of his posts & some pics.
460XVR blew my thumb off today! No joke, about 1/2 of my left thumb is gone what's left is a friggin mess. It's pretty hard to type, and I'm only posting because you never know, it might save somebody else a thumb. I was using a 2-handed grip, fired off a Cor-Bon DPX .460 and the blast came violently out the side of the gun. This is an example of how he was holding his revolver. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
At first my thumb was so covered in blood that I couldn't see how bad it was ... and I was full of adrenaline and felt no pain. And honestly it looked really bad, my whole hand was covered in blood and it was kinda gushing.
The blown-off thumb was on my support hand. I'll re-create the grip tomorrow to see where my thumb was, but it's not like I didn't already know not to get any body part near the cylinder gap. And even if I totally screwed up and did, taking my thumb clean off seems a bit excessive?
Just be careful with those 460's. That case operates at such high pressure, it's just asking for trouble. BTW, I bought my 460 new and had exactly 12 rounds through it. Info about the gun, it's a full-size 460 with the 8 3/4' barrel and factory installed compensator.. It's one of the Whitetails Unlimited models. Ammo was 200gr Cor-Bon DPX.
The gun only had 12 or 13 rounds of the Cor-Bon through it, and 10 45 Long Colt rounds through it. So it was essentially still brand new.
Saw a hand specialist while there today. Lots of ways to try and save what's left, but first I just have to hope it doesn't get infected in the next few days then surgery early next week.
The hand specialist I spent a few hours with last night said that in gunshot wounds there is always a lot more damage than is first visible ... same with things like fireworks going off in your hand. A lot more flesh around the wound is dead, and will rot and fall off over the next couple days. That's why it's so important to keep clean, and that's also why they can't do surgery now. If they wrapped new skin over dead skin it would just flake out, possibly turn gangrenous, and they'd have to start all over again.
If you aren't squeamish, what's left of the guy's thumb is on continuation page:
Have seen lots of men missing parts of digits from carpentry. Saw and router type accidents. Guess those are cleaner cuts than a gunshot wound. Think losing that part of the thumb is really bad news. Must be hard to rehab ones grip.
I can slightly relate to this. My interest in firearms is rather pedestrian. I did not own one until recently as I have inherited a few very old pieces my father had (which I have no intention of firing). Several years ago a friend who likes to shoot offered to take me to a range and fire 3 handguns he owned. I was familiar with revolvers and the occasional .22 rifle. He had a .22, .357, and a .45. Many (many) years ago, I had taken a firearms safety class. I have always been very careful and respectful of them. While I had not fired a .45 before, I was quite aware of how the recoil works, but since it was the largest weapon I had fired at the time, my attention was focused too much on the business end of the weapon and being careful about expecting the recoil. I knew better, but on the third round I repositioned my grip and let my left hand get a bit too high up and the lower knuckle of my left thumb was in the recoil range. Needless to say, the recoil just nicked my knuckle. It was only a nick, but it hurt like a SOB about 30 seconds later. I felt stupid as hell since I was aware that such a thing could happen. As I said, the firearms course I took was many years before, but as I recall at the time there was not much discussion (if any) on the bad things that can happen on the "good" end of a weapon. Don't know what those courses are like today but it seems like something that deserves more emphasis than what I had experienced.
Absolutely. Something like that position is, or should be, pretty much universal. I believe that just before the Civil War, Colt made a revolving rifle (Model 1855). It was prone to accidents, some caused by flaws in the design but others occurring when men gripped the fore-end of the rifle too close to the revolving cylinder.
Anything that keeps the hands away from the cylinder and the off hand atop the hand that is on the grip, is the way to go.