Kentucky Ballistics: My 50 Cal Exploded in My Face (VIDEO)

Kentucky Ballistics (Scott) recounts his freak accident with his Serbu single-shot .50 cal on April 9th, 2021.

A hot round literally blew up the rifle in his face; the exploding debris lacerated his jugular vein, punctured his right lung, broke his orbital bone, and severely mangled his index finger.

Watch the video to see how Scott managed to survive. It’s a truly harrowing story, and a testament to his belief in God.

In lieu of a straightforward donation, you can support Scott and his recovery by purchasing one of his new shirts for $25.

GunsAmerica wishes Scott all the best and looks forward to seeing what’s to come on his Youtube channel. Stay safe!

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Rich Catalani June 17, 2021, 3:58 pm

    God was definitely looking out for you. Just stick a thumb in it!

  • Michael Moore May 11, 2021, 1:14 pm

    Glad it all worked out! Hey, no link on your page for the new shirt, fyi

  • FirstStateMark May 6, 2021, 9:32 pm

    WOW! You’re lucky to be alive. Glad to see your OK now.

  • Tom Utech May 3, 2021, 10:35 pm

    In clicking on Kentucky Ballistics’ prompt to purchase a ‘Just Stick a Thumb In It’ T-shirt, I’m not able to, as nothing is displayed to order same!

  • Dan May 3, 2021, 11:39 am

    Hey Scott, I’m really glad you survived and are healing so well. Being young and healthy helps but your prayers were obviously a factor as well. Keep those wounds clean and be careful of infection. I don’t mean to sound like a doting parent or anything but I would avoid the range and shooting for a bit to make sure things stay clean and heal well. Sometimes people think they are out of the woods because they’re stitched and bandaged but infection is a very real threat. Great job explaining all the trauma in your video and I wish you a speedy and complete recovery! All the Best, Dan

  • J.R May 3, 2021, 9:32 am

    Scott thank god you are okay!
    I had a hang fire incident with some fifty year old .25 caliber ammo. I had few FTFs so I (stupidly) reloaded them in the magazine. The very last one FTF. Since the magazine release was at the heel of the grip I accidentally pointed the muzzle at my left hand. The round went off piercing the web between my ring and pinky finger. I too plugged my finger in the wound. I must have hit an artery as the blood was arcing pretty good. Luckily I was at a gun range when it happened. They took care of me before the ambulance arrived. I suffered numbness for awhile and some loss of mobility. I’m about 95 percent I still visit the range with better muzzle discipline and fresher ammo.

  • James Keith May 2, 2021, 10:59 am

    Sure that it wasn’t an exploding round? I remember Bo Gritz telling about it–designed to literally get the Barrett out enemy hands…

  • JP May 2, 2021, 10:17 am

    So glad you’re still with us.
    Prayers for a full recovery!

  • James Keith May 2, 2021, 9:24 am
  • Eddie May 1, 2021, 1:59 pm

    This type of explosion is common for rounds that have been loaded with an insufficient powder charge. The entire charge of powder is ignited at once causing the pressure to spike beyond safe limits almost immediately.

  • Guy Tuten May 1, 2021, 1:44 pm

    You are totally right in giving God the credit and it makes me feel good that you would do this and it goes to show you that Gods got more work for you to do here on earth before you are allowed to go home to him Praise God that protected you and is healing you

  • Jim Smith May 1, 2021, 12:03 pm

    There but by the grace of God…….
    If you don’t go back to the range with a developed flinch after that then you’re a far better man then me. Yikes!!!

  • Alan S April 30, 2021, 9:27 pm

    God bless you Scott. Glad to hear you are recovering quickly. Amazing story to hear. I pray God will continue to bless you and protect you.

  • Randy April 30, 2021, 9:26 pm


    You are in my prayers for a full recovery. Excellent video and appreciate the analysis. I’ve had one gun blow up on me and it is damned scary. A 50 Cal failure I can only imagine. Mine was a 45 ACP Taurus with factory Remington ammo. The barrel split muzzle-to-chamber, the polymer frame flew apart and bent around my hand, the slide luckly locked back against the casing and jammed in the frame, otherwise I think I’d have taken it in the face. The only effect I had from it was a good startling and a numb pinkey finger. A gun failure “survivor” is a small but not so glorious group to belong too. In your case you are truly a survivor. Again….prayers for yourl recovery.

  • Lew April 30, 2021, 8:53 pm

    Understand completely about your fractured orbital bone. Had the identical 3 places in my left one, seems I ate my buddy’s helmet when I hit him from behind. 30 MPH, and 15 days in the hospital. And only a TINY bit of what you suffered,thank the Big Guy. Glad you are okay now.

  • Micah Wells April 30, 2021, 3:59 pm

    Amazing! Glad you are still with use brother! Awesome attitude!

  • Johnny kempen April 30, 2021, 1:26 pm

    I believe you were sabotaged,,,,,somebody loaded that round with a fast pistol powder,,,,,,I shot lots of those,,,,,in a m2,,,,,hope you get better,,so sorry that happened,,,trace that round back if you can ,,,also see if you can find some un burnt powder, some where on gun.

  • Jacob Guevara April 30, 2021, 12:53 pm

    I watch your videos all the time, and I love seeing miracles happen. Glad you’re ok! I am going with my dad and twin brother to shoot our guns for the first time today, and hopefully, similar events will not occur. God is good!

  • Chris M April 30, 2021, 10:46 am

    You almost killed yourself out of stupidity. SLAP rounds are not meant to be fired from a standard chamber/barrel as you aptly demonstrated to us all. The m82 required a special barrel to shoot SLAP with redesigned chamber to prevent pressures from getting too high and damaging the rifle.

    • Chris m April 30, 2021, 2:22 pm

      Sorry that comment was too harsh. I am glad he is going to be ok. His muzzle break may have been part of the issue also. Some of them don’t play well with sabots.

      • Danno April 30, 2021, 9:21 pm

        Glad you toned it down. There is no need for comments like that, true or not after an accident that almost killed the man. Thanks for seeing the harshness of what you said.

  • JBird April 30, 2021, 10:32 am

    Glad you’re recovering with minimal lingering effects. At Gee, maybe God was teaching him a lesson about becoming complacent, but then again he’s still alive to tell the story to others. Maybe that was the “plan” all along. If you don’t believe in a greater entity you really shouldn’t knock someone that does believe in God. Scott wasn’t shoving his belief down anyone’s throat he was just speaking out of his own beliefs.
    Thank you for the heads up and for your law enforcement service.


  • John Anderson April 30, 2021, 10:23 am

    Years ago, a commercial round I purchased at Knob Creek blew the extractor out of my Barrett 82A1. The manufacturers of that can of ammunition were idiots. When I called them, their first comment was “Well, that lot WAS a little hot.” Obviously, they knew of the problem and knew nothing about product liability. They fixed my rifle and sent me 500 rounds of 50 BMG that is amazingly accurate. They are no longer in business. Be careful out there and use only quality ammunition that was not intended for 50 caliber machine guns.

  • Chuck Matson April 30, 2021, 9:27 am


  • JohnL April 30, 2021, 8:40 am

    OMG, That is a tough lesson for all of us. I forced myself to watch it. Jesus, Joseph and Mary and I’m Jewish! I’m glad your still here! Thx for sharing.

  • James Barnes April 30, 2021, 8:20 am

    buy a Barrett

  • Octave April 30, 2021, 8:18 am

    I had a savage 10 ML blow up on me. First shot, I did everything right. So I have first-hand experience like you. Not a fun experience.

  • KDS April 30, 2021, 8:14 am

    It also appears that Scott didn’t know these rounds were meant for something like a MA DUCE. They should not be fired in a rifle with a muzzle break do to the sabot getting stuck in the break and causing back pressure on the firearm. He should have checked out all information on this before using these slap rounds. It might have been prevented by removing the muzzle break before using these. I found this out from McMillian firearms when I purchased my Tac-50 and asked about shooting these.

    • RICKY April 30, 2021, 11:49 am

      The issue of firing SLAP rounds in a rifle with a muzzle break is well known. The “Fingers” of the sabot holding the actual bullet are forced open by the 200,000 RPMs as it exits the barrel, releasing the untouched bullet itself. I suppose the other SLAP projectiles exited and released the bullet far enough past the end of the muzzle break to be a problem. But, this one didn’t. Another possibility is that the previous shot was hot enough to actually punch the solid bullet OUT OF the sabot, leaving some or all the plastic sabot in the barrel creating an obstruction for the following round. I know it’s unlikely but possible I think.

  • Jim April 30, 2021, 8:12 am

    Glad you are recovering, that was literally a grenade that went off in your face.

    One point of correction, your jugular vein returns blood from the brain, the carotid artery brings oxygenated blood to the brain. Being a vein it’s at slightly lower pressure.

  • Rafael O'Sheaf April 30, 2021, 8:10 am

    WOW. Now I am a little hesitant to use my surplus ammo from Russia with my Mosin Nagant.

    • Jacob Guevara April 30, 2021, 12:48 pm

      I mean, if it’s old it’s old, so do be careful

  • Robert FitzGerald April 30, 2021, 7:56 am

    Scott did that round have any appearance of being Tumbled as to clean up the Brass? I have discovered that tumbled loaded ammunition breaks down the Grains of powder. This creats very small fines of powder. The result is very fast burning powder that now increases the speed of burning and pressures go sky high.
    Good luck, FITZ Bob Fitz Gerald

    • Joel IV April 30, 2021, 8:42 am

      This has been proven wrong many times. Commercial ammo is tumbled.

      I’m going with the stuck sabot theory previously mentioned.

  • Michael Winn April 30, 2021, 7:47 am

    Scott, awesome testimony. Praise GOD for a healing faith and a joyful life!

    I began the order for an XL; but stopped it; because the military discount won’t work.

    Prayers and best wishes for your recovery!

    • Peter Brown April 30, 2021, 1:03 pm

      Yes, thank God for returning him. Btw, have you noticed that atheists absolutely can not manage to be polite? They don’t believe; I do. I do not question their position but they are often quick to question mine; sad.

  • Gee April 30, 2021, 7:06 am

    If god saved him, why did he allow the accident to happen in the first place? Wouldn’t god send the bullet straight without a catastrophic failure if you are moral & just?

    • Jacob Guevara April 30, 2021, 12:51 pm

      If God protected people from every injury and hardship, then they wouldn’t build faith and testimony. Hard times create strong people, and God wants all of his children to be strong like him. These incidents also create sympathy for others going through hard times, which is necessary if you wish to do good. It is a common misconception, however, so don’t feel bad.

    • Mltrigger April 30, 2021, 12:53 pm

      The accident happened so others could learn from it. No accident no lesson.

    • Mltrigger April 30, 2021, 12:55 pm

      THink I’ll stick to .22’s

    • LL April 30, 2021, 2:53 pm

      You have no Idea how many times God has saved you from disaster throughout your life so far, morally just or not. He is most merciful at least. This is where believing in things beyond human comprehension(and logical science) serves us well. It’s called faith and be thankful.

  • Scott Kimble April 30, 2021, 6:55 am

    Scott, I am so glad you are alright now. Was hoping I could meet you in KY sometime. I may be moving down there.

  • Kirtis April 30, 2021, 5:17 am

    Wow! Scott, you are one lucky man to be alive.
    Just a comment on your jugular vein laceration – the jugular does not feed the brain, it comes from the brain to the heart and lungs…but it is a BIG vessel…and you can bleed out from it. But no possibility from stroke from this vessel, as it is going from the brain.
    Other than that…way to be still around. God’s definitely got your back.

  • madmax3.6 April 30, 2021, 4:52 am

    I wander how much money Serbu contributed to his medical bills???

    • Dr Motown April 30, 2021, 8:04 am

      Why? The failure had nothing to do with the rifle and everything to do with the SLAP round being over-juiced. Same thing could happen if you negligently use the wrong powders or volumes when reloading your own ammo and exceed the pressure limits of your chamber

      • Craig Verrilli April 30, 2021, 8:27 pm

        Most firearms are designed to “fail safely” this design does not.

  • Ian Rivlin April 30, 2021, 4:41 am

    Hot round or not, that cap should not have stripped the thread. The manufacturers should redesign and strengthen that part.

    • Todd May 1, 2021, 4:13 pm

      Agree that the design wasn’t not the true root cause, but obviously the design contributed to the near fatal injuries. As such, that design should be revised to support stronger pressures, or at a minimum, have more substantive “ears” that cannot be stripped like this model did.

  • Mark N. April 30, 2021, 1:16 am

    Ahem. The jugular drains blood from the brain back to the heart. The carotid feeds blood to the brain.

  • Jack coots April 29, 2021, 10:24 pm

    Thank God you are ok, love and watch all your videos here in leatherwood Ky.

  • True Pearce April 29, 2021, 7:35 pm
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