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Post by mustachio 11/6/2020, 8:01 am

I shoot my Ruger MkII frame with a Volquartsen LLV-6 barrel. It is very accurate. To keep me on target I use a Volquartsen
muzzle weight and Volquartsen compensator. I know, the 22 has very little recoil as it is, however it has noticeably less 
muzzle rise with the combination of weight and compensator. 

Before a match, I shoot 5 rounds to dirty my barrel and yesterday was no different. I took 4 shots and looked at my target
and lo and behold not a single round on the paper...What the heck was going on?  I took shot number 5 and my muzzle 
break/compensator BLEW off the gun, hit the ceiling and landed at my feet.  See picture below.
https://i.imgur.com/ggn1p8O.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/Zt7dSsL.jpg

Here is a picture of how the muzzle break attaches. While this is a different break, it is a multiport vs uniport which
came apart. 
https://i.imgur.com/j2D5NRR.jpg

The compensator was secured as tightly as possible and part was still on the end of the barrel and the other part on the 
floor. Upon examination there was a bulge in the front. I have no idea what happened. There was, obviously a muzzle 
strike causing the bulge, but all 5 rounds?  I doubt a double charged 22LR cartridge would do that, or would it? The 
strikes must have started from shot one because there was nothing on target. I did shoot this same gun 2 days earlier
and there were no issues and accuracy was right on par...what could have happened in those 2 days is beyond me.

The ammo I shoot is good quality ammo, GECO semi-auto. I have been shooting it for years and never an issue.
I contacted Volquartsen and they said that this has happened in the past, all though not too often. They are sending 
me another break. I am now a bit hesitant to use the break on this barrel. 

$64,000.00 Question---what do you all think happened.
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Post by WesG 11/6/2020, 8:48 am

It's aluminum. Fatigue crack. Might have started opening up causing a strike, and then let go.

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Post by messenger 11/6/2020, 8:57 am

Your break was probably leaded up. How many rounds were through your break? How often do you clean it? I had a similar issue with a Marvel compensator. Accuracy all of a sudden went south. A friend shooting next to me said he saw sparks coming out of my barrel. Upon inspection my compensator was really leaded up. I had to use a propane torch to melt the lead out of it. A lot of lead. I would estimate that I had a couple of bricks through the gun.

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Post by mustachio 11/6/2020, 9:04 am

I clean my gun each time I shoot it, regardless of how few rounds. My break was squeaky  clean, no lead, no powder build up at all.  I spray with break cleaner and then use a thin, flat lab spatula to scrap the inside. When I am done I coat it with a very thin layer of anti-seize grease. This captures any lead vapor and powder making clean up even easier.  I will go with a fatigue crack and then opening up more. Needless to say, it scared the crap out of me.
Thanks for your input...
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Post by messenger 11/6/2020, 10:09 am

Yup that is definitely scarey. I have an aluminium compensator on one of my Rugers. Your experience has made me aware that I will have to inspect mine on a regular basis. Stay safe.

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Post by Wobbley 11/6/2020, 10:41 am

If it is made from aluminum, I doubt it was fatigue.  While the fatigue life of aluminum is less than steel, it’s a lot longer than what even an avid pistol shooter will shoot.  My guess is that the part was dropped at some point and the bore was knocked out of alignment with the pistol bore.  The 4 shots not hitting the target were a clue of a muzzle strike.  The last bullet broke the part away from the impact.
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Post by mustachio 11/6/2020, 11:33 am

Wobbley wrote:If it is made from aluminum, I doubt it was fatigue.  While the fatigue life of aluminum is less than steel, it’s a lot longer than what even an avid pistol shooter will shoot.  My guess is that the part was dropped at some point and the bore was knocked out of alignment with the pistol bore.  The 4 shots not hitting the target were a clue of a muzzle strike.  The last bullet broke the part away from the impact.
My gun or muzzle break has never fallen on the muzzle end. Misalignment  cannot be an issue. I use the spanner wrench that came with it to tighten the nut that fits on the barrel threads. It aligns with the cuts and curves at the end of the Volquartsen barrel to insure alignment as you can see from the photo of the whole gun and break.  

"The 4 shots not hitting the target were a clue of a muzzle strike.  The last bullet broke the part away from the impact."
I agree with this assessment, but not because of misalignment.  Why there were strikes is what baffles me, no joke intended.


I believe at this point it was a bad casting or forging with an inherent flaw that caused the issue only b/c Volquartsen has said this has happened before.
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Post by WesG 11/6/2020, 12:44 pm

What does the 'corner' of the slot look like? Sharp, or a bit of a radius?

And the darker area of the surface adjacent to the inside face is evidence, IMO, of a crack propagating across the face. Maybe normal, or 'wet' from brake cleaner? Which might not be a good thing to use on aluminum. I don't know what chemicals in there may be bad, or whether chlorinated or non- is better or worse.

Oddly, maybe, the face on the 'departed' itself doesn't appear to match.

It's likely machined from barstock, but remotely possible (I'd doubt) they have a custom extrusion of the outer profile. It's possible, either way, there's a material defect involved.

I think it's chlorinated solvents that do some strange things with aluminum. I've run into an issue with retapping holes in anodized (or alodined maybe) parts where you get a nasty black residue foaming up out of the hole. I think the normal oxide layer on an undisturbed piece is enough to protect it, but the tap exposes raw metal. Possibly the crack is similar.

I think Wobbley is an ME. I'm just a hack that's worked with a bunch of them. So ...

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Post by mustachio 11/6/2020, 1:46 pm

visually I see a dark line on the very bottom of the bridge, maybe filled with burnt powder. It sure does look like there was a crack there. I guess as it fatigued the force of the expelled gas gradually pushed the from of the break upward until a bullet had no clearance and hit it. I agree, structural defect.
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Post by WesG 11/6/2020, 1:56 pm

One more dumb little detail:

There's a gouge mark on the forward portion of the brake, about 8:00 in relation to the installed position. Maybe from hitting the ceiling/floor, or maybe some chance the spanner was cocked a bit last time you put it back on? Or taking it off from the location and angle of it.

Maybe opened up the crack in the process, throwing bore alignment off. All guesses of course.

Again, just my dumb opinion, but it should have a bridge top and bottom, like an M-14 sight base. It'd be tougher to service though.

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Post by mikemyers 11/6/2020, 4:07 pm

mustachio wrote:.........I took 4 shots and looked at my target and lo and behold not a single round on the paper..........
Am I correct in thinking that the barrel must have been either fully blocked, or compromised?  Did the gun "feel" different as you took those shots?

Hindsight is always 20:20, but that might have been a good time to inspect the gun.

From what you wrote, it sounds plausible that the first four rounds forced their way past the blockage, but on the fifth hit, the gun broke?
Can you take better close-up photos of the damage? 
A recent iPhone will make this easy.

I don't know much about this gun.  What holds the muzzle-break/compensator onto the gun?  Could it have come loose, blocking the barrel?


Also:
        https://volquartsen.com/retail_mailers/2016-05-11-loaded-compensator
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Post by mustachio 11/6/2020, 4:51 pm

I had cleaned the barrel before shooting it. There were no obstructions. Even after the first four shots, I put a cleaning rod down the barrel and it went straight through. I will add 3 more pictures of various positions. It is held on the barrel by a knurled nut that is held to the break by 3 pins. you can see  by the 3rd picture that there is NO lead inside, as I clean it regularly. the 4th pic is what it should look like, minus the knurled nut. There is NO bulge in the barrel...all of the problem happened after the bullet left the barrel.
https://i.imgur.com/yuNnrAr.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/lG1LCYZ.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/R7erjoO.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/qaEKvNS.jpg
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Post by mikemyers 11/6/2020, 5:56 pm

If you ran a cleaning rod through the barrel, it just means there was an opening the size of the cleaning rod, for it to pass through. As you were shooting those first four shots, the blockage might have gotten worse, to the point where round #5 couldn't get through, so it broke the gun.

As to the first four rounds, if they struck something going through the barrel, they might have been deflected, so they didn't hit your target.

Maybe.

If those rounds were hitting something as they went through, they might have left evidence on the gun as to where they were hitting?
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Post by WesG 11/6/2020, 6:03 pm

The front face looks bulged. I'm kind of assuming that isn't normal? Or it's an illusion?

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Post by mikemyers 11/6/2020, 6:11 pm

WesG wrote:The front face looks bulged. I'm kind of assuming that isn't normal? Or it's an illusion?
That could be because all five rounds hit it, and the last round broke it.  
Wouldn't that diameter be larger than the barrel ID though?
It's either the lighting, or a bulge. As a photographer, I think it's "real" .
But if so, there should be a sign if this where the bullet(s) were making contact, maybe a chunk of lead.

What is this part made of?  If it's not steel, the "bulge" makes even more sense.
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Post by Wobbley 11/6/2020, 6:18 pm

From an engineering design perspective, the design could be better.  Way better.  The brake is cantilevered off the barrel.  Every shot puts a large moment (torque) on that little rectangular element.  It also changes direction, forward from the gas hitting the back face of the”baffle” then down as the gas vents upward.  So every shot you get a load reversal.  Bad juju.  

All that said, you really have to abuse the hell out of aluminum to get a  low cycle fatigue (which this may be).  And by abuse I mean almost literally bending it back and forth a LOT in order to get it to break.  This should have been noticeable when you last cleaned it.
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Post by mikemyers 11/6/2020, 6:24 pm

mustachio wrote:......The compensator was secured as tightly as possible and part was still on the end of the barrel and the other part on the 
floor. Upon examination there was a bulge in the front. I have no idea what happened. There was, obviously a muzzle 
strike causing the bulge
, but all 5 rounds?  I doubt a double charged 22LR cartridge would do that, or would it? The 
strikes must have started from shot one because there was nothing on target. I did shoot this same gun 2 days earlier
and there were no issues and accuracy was right on par...what could have happened in those 2 days is beyond me.......
Did you remove the device and reinstall it during those two days, perhaps for cleaning?
If so, how did you clean it?
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Post by mustachio 11/6/2020, 6:45 pm

Mike, I can say emphatically, there was no bore obstruction. Problem was with the muzzle break.
I took it off, scrapped the deposits out and re installed. Nothing was different at all just like the dozens
of times before.
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Post by Jack H 11/6/2020, 7:45 pm

From the pictures, I would call that a p-poor design with the two sections connected by a thin lower strap
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Post by mikemyers 11/6/2020, 10:35 pm

mustachio wrote:Mike, I can say emphatically, there was no bore obstruction. Problem was with the muzzle break.
I took it off, scrapped the deposits out and re installed. Nothing was different at all just like the dozens
of times before.
I didn't really literally mean a "bore obstruction"; I was thinking something got in the way of the bullet, which hit it, perhaps all 5 times, until it broke off.

Speculating - maybe because of what seems to be a poor design, it got bumped somehow, and maybe it was already cracking for some other reason - but it changed shape, so bullets started hitting it.  Eventually it broke off.

If you look at the break, very closely, maybe you'll find a difference in color or texture, and you can see where it had already fractured, and then the bullet just broke it off all the way?

Hopefully the manufacturer realizes there is no way this part should have been able to do this, and they give you another one at no charge, and if anything was damaged on the gun when it came off, they should take care of that too.  


Maybe I'm way off on this, but there is no way that the part should have been able to "move" to get in the way of the bullets.  Since it seems to have done that, it must have already been damaged previously - maybe it was just manufactured with a crack that nobody noticed?

Curious, how do you take it off the gun for cleaning?  You turn the "nut" inside of it, that pulls it into position?  What "locates" this thing on the barrel?  Also, the specific location that the bullets might have been hitting, can you take a close-up photo of that area?  Does it show any signs on the inside, of impact damage?

You're so careful, and you take such good care of your guns, that the most likely culprit was some kind of defect in the part.  IMHO.
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Post by DA/SA 11/7/2020, 6:09 am

mikemyers wrote:You're so careful, and you take such good care of your guns, that the most likely culprit was some kind of defect in the part.  IMHO.
The defect in the part was it's design.
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Post by mustachio 11/7/2020, 10:12 am

mikemyers wrote:
mustachio wrote:Mike, I can say emphatically, there was no bore obstruction. Problem was with the muzzle break.
I took it off, scrapped the deposits out and re installed. Nothing was different at all just like the dozens
of times before.
I didn't really literally mean a "bore obstruction"; I was thinking something got in the way of the bullet, which hit it, perhaps all 5 times, until it broke off.

Speculating - maybe because of what seems to be a poor design, it got bumped somehow, and maybe it was already cracking for some other reason - but it changed shape, so bullets started hitting it.  Eventually it broke off.

If you look at the break, very closely, maybe you'll find a difference in color or texture, and you can see where it had already fractured, and then the bullet just broke it off all the way?

Hopefully the manufacturer realizes there is no way this part should have been able to do this, and they give you another one at no charge, and if anything was damaged on the gun when it came off, they should take care of that too.  


Maybe I'm way off on this, but there is no way that the part should have been able to "move" to get in the way of the bullets.  Since it seems to have done that, it must have already been damaged previously - maybe it was just manufactured with a crack that nobody noticed?

Curious, how do you take it off the gun for cleaning?  You turn the "nut" inside of it, that pulls it into position?  What "locates" this thing on the barrel?  Also, the specific location that the bullets might have been hitting, can you take a close-up photo of that area?  Does it show any signs on the inside, of impact damage?

You're so careful, and you take such good care of your guns, that the most likely culprit was some kind of defect in the part.  IMHO.

I totally agree with everything you say, Mike.  They are sending me another free of charge. This time I will inspect it with a magnifying glass each time. I also agree with DA/SA,  that the "fault is in the design."  I will try to take a video of how it goes on and off and post so you can see the procedure...may take a day or so.
Thanks to everyone who has responded and given their expert opinion...I truly appreciate it.
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Post by mustachio 11/7/2020, 12:58 pm

Volquartsen is fast...just received in the mail my new single port muzzle break and new spanner wrench. you can see from the pictures that the wrench does not touch anything except the knurled nut.

https://i.imgur.com/xVHovNK.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/REKmobw.jpg
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Post by WesG 11/7/2020, 1:30 pm

Looks like pretty sharp corners in there. But I gotta say, it's all high class stuff. They even have their name put in the wrench.

But, it doesn't appear to include a bottle opener like Geissele puts in his handguard tool ;-)

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Post by mustachio 11/7/2020, 1:32 pm

WesG wrote:Looks like pretty sharp corners in there. But I gotta say, it's all high class stuff. They even have their name put in the wrench.

But, it doesn't appear to include a bottle opener like Geissele puts in his handguard tool ;-)
I keep a bottle opener in my range bag...never know when a cold beer will appear.
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