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I’ve had two scopes fail in hunts. An older Weaver Classic 4x fogged internally and was unusable. It never cleared and went in the garbage.

A Leupold VX-II 1-4 had a seal let go and formed a yellow haze. While still usable, it was hard to see through. Leupold fixed it and it has been fine since.

Both days were snow, freezing rain, rain back to snow

My brother had a Leupold ring break (front ring if that matters) on his 270 while shooting at an elk. Not sure if it was user error or a defect. Either way, a pisser

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Originally Posted by bwinters
I'll add the things I've seen. I've seen a wood stock rifle fail twice. One broke at the pistol grip after being dropped. The other had a sling stud pulled out. Neither of them mine. Not a fan of wood stocks for serious hunting rifles for this reason.

Trigger issues - 3. I had a M70 trigger sear fail to engage meaning the gun would not cock the firing pin. This was my gun and apparently the sear engagement screw moved. A 1/4" wrench and a couple of mins fixed the issue but had to go to the truck to retrieve my backup rifle - which is why I always carry a backup. I had a trigger freeze on a Ruger Super Bkackhawk after I dropped the warm gun in the snow. It spent half an hour under my coat to thaw out. I also had a buddy do the same with his M700 and the trigger froze.

Scope - I've had zero scope issues - in the field - but have had wandering zero at the range. A Leupold caused me to shoot about $30 in components before I finally sleuthed the scope issue. That was the beginning of the end for Leupold scopes for me. Won't turn this into a Leupold bashing thread but trying to zero a Leupold scope is an exercise in frustration.

I've seen handloads fail to fit in the mag box and/or chamber. Prolly 30 years ago, I loaded some 257 Robts for a guy using one of his shells as a guide. Seems he'd never actually tried the shell in his mag box. He had a single shot for the day...... I also know a guy whose "custom" handloads wouldn't chamber without alot of force. Claimed they were "crush fit" and custom to his chamber. No way in hades was he getting a second shot in under 10 secs.

I've had my share of Leupold failures, myself. For cheap scopes on short-range rifles, I usually like the Zeiss Conquest, but they are only second-hand and hard to come by. So Leupold it is. Unfortunately, not many alternatives in a cheap 3.5-10x scope that doesn't weight 20 oz+. I've had reticles break, lenses come unglued internally, and very expensive "mark" series scopes that wouldn't track or hold zero. I must be a glutton for punishment, but the last couple rifles I've purchased I put newer VX3i scopes on and they've done better for me so far. I'm more of a Bender fan.


"Full time night woman? I never could find no tracks on a woman's heart. I packed me a squaw for ten year, Pilgrim. Cheyenne, she were, and the meanest bitch that ever balled for beads."
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Had a new Weaver Marksmen 3-9 fog up in Maine. A B&L killed itself on my slug gun, took a couple years and 2 missed deer to figure it out. Have seen a Mauser with a broken firing pin and a Ruger bolt action broke its magazine spring (still worked as a single shot).

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Only thing I’ve had happen to me, so far, was a cracked windage screw on the rear scope mount of a Kimber 84M. The rifle zeroed fine. I took it deer hunting and had a coyote wander up to me. At 25 yards, I couldn’t resist and took a shot and missed. I missed a buck later that day on another easy shot. As I was looking the rifle over at camp, I noticed the screw had cracked on the mount and was no longer holding the scope in place.

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I have had several spectacular scope failures, a bolt handle come off, trigger fail to cock due to dust and had a stock break in half during a fall.


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Two scope malfunctions only


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Had an extractor that stopped extracting on a ruger 77 once and a springfield ejector that broke , but no other issues that where guns fault

Last edited by wyoming260; 11/27/22.
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Originally Posted by oldcuss
In nearly 70 years of hunting, the most common failure has been "operator failure".

^^^^ This^^^^^

Most people I have hunted with don't know what they are doing!

Cheers ~ KB


My LR scope is a Huskemaw Blue Diamond 5-20x50. It's awesome.

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Not a rifle per se, but I bought a Remington 11 that someone had silver soldered some Remington sights on the cut down barrel to make a slug gun. Third shot, the rear sight bounced off my forehead. Bubba-1, Old70-0. I used to like to attempt to rehab old by bubba’d milsurps that had been made into hunting rifles. Several notable failures there, mostly bolt handles coming off. Last but not least, I had a weaver scope mount come off a 41 Mag contender, sheared screws. Patched the lump on my head and sent the barrel off to SSK for a TSOB and never had another issue.

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Weaver 3-10x40 Grand Slam scope fogged on me. Sent it to Weaver for their "Lifetime Warranty". They said the warranty was void due to excessive use!

I've also had one primer fail to fire.

Had my Browning A-bolt coyote rifle get light primer strikes in extreme cold. A thorough cleaning resolved it.

My father took a bad fall and broke the stock on his Mk V at the wrist on a sheep hunt in Idaho's Big Horn Crags. He kept hunting and found a nice ram and took a shot with his pistol gripped 300. He missed.

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My 2 redfields failed. 1 new one crosshair wire broke on my first shot at a deer with it. One fogged up after using 25 years. Had both repaired. The 3 Leupolds I have on CF rifles have all at some point started shifting around and not reliable enough for ethical hunting. and one shifted way left and wouldn't adjust to the.right. 2 were repaired. One is 3 years old and I am sending it back soon. I don't drop or bang my rifles around. I have never had a rifle fail.
I have had a Browning A-5 Shotgun firing pin break on a hunt away from home and foolishly hadn't brought a backup gun. I had used it 35 years though.

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The first new rifle I ever bought was in the early 1990s and it was a total POS Savage 110 in .308 Win. I had all sorts of things go wrong with it at the range and I never should have taken it hunting, but I did, and literally couldn't hit a mule deer standing broadside at 25 yards. We got rid of that rifle. The only other serious failure that I've had in the field was with a Leupold 2.5-8x32 Handgun scope I had purchased brand spanking new and put on my MGM 18".260 Remington barrel that my wife bought me as an ordination gift when we moved to Minnesota and that's what I wanted to hunt deer with. It worked fine in load development and I sighted it in right where I wanted it. Had a good opportunity opening morning at 150 yards. Heard a rock solid hit. As in, like I hit a rock. Deer dropped like a stone. Got back on his feet, shaking his head. I loaded again. He's missing a tine. I line up perfect crosshair placement and trigger pull. Threw dirt behind the deer's head. I went to the impact point of the first shot. Found a broken tine. I threw in the towel and went straight to the range. Wasn't even on a large sheet of butcher paper at 100 yards. I adjust to where it should be on paper. Nope, now it's waaaaayyyy wide left and low - far more adjustment than I had made. And it's all over the place. I packed the scope up and sent it back to Leupold. They sent it back with a note saying "water damage". BS. I remount the scope, go to the range, bore site. I moved the windage to where I wanted it. Then went to unscrew the elevation cap. The whole adjustment turret comes off in my hand when I tried to unscrew the cap. WTF. I sent it back to Leupold, explaining what happened. They sent me an entirely new scope (I checked the serial numbers) of the same model and apologized for the complication, which cost me the deer hunting season that year. This scope has been absolutely perfect for 12 years now on two different Encore barrels. Not sure what that first scope was about, but I grew up shooting Tascos and they were more reliable than that Leupold handgun scope. I haven't worried about the new one for a dozen years, but I never assume that it's held zero and it gets checked every year.


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I had one happen to me this past Saturday morning. I have an original M1903 Springfield NRA Sporter, exactly as it left the Armory in 1929, which I elected to employ on our deer opener here in MD. At 0'-dark hundred I'm in position in the woods and loaded the rifle with a full magazine, which I had never done the whole time I owned it. (Yeah, I know.) The handloads are within spec for OAL, based on the ammo it was created for to shoot. Yet, 5 in the box caused the magazine follower to bind deep down in there somehow, and I could hear the cartridges rattling unsupported after closing the bolt. Yikes, not what you want a half hour before sunup. With flashlight in hand I sat there pissed-off trying to suss out the problem. I finally gave up after determining that 3 down and one up the spout let it work as it should. No chance yet to determine the cause. Didn't matter, as nothing presented itself to shoot at anyway.


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I've adjusted triggers too light. One wouldn't engage, the other went off when I cammed the bolt down into battery. Neither caused any damage thank goodness and both taught me that I didn't really need to lose that last few OZ of pull weight.

I watched dad get out of his vehicle on a day when it was spitting rain on top of melted then re-frozen snow/ice. He slipped and fell onto the heel of his stock (Wood M70 Fwt push-feed) and broke it right @ the rear screw.

Somehow ended up with a bent M-1 elevation turret on a Leupold. I hadn't fallen nor dropped it, still not quite sure how that happened.

I had the rear sling-stud strip out of a McMillan. I took the sling off and used the rifle-carrier thingy I'd bought for my pack for the rest of the trip. I JB'd the stud in place when I got home and it's worked fine for nearly a decade.

I arrived in WY, shot my rifle, everything is fine. Go to stuff ammo into the mag-box, nope, somehow the bullets are seated too long. I swapped to my backup and killed a decent Mule Deer buck.

Uncle pulled up his 760 6MM to shoot at a deer, started laughing and put the rifle down. Simmon's scope had a broken cross-hair.


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Scope fogging, and ammo jams on autoloaders using handloads.

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I can remember back in the 70's 80's of SE TX, "anyone" who had a Redfield Widefield 3x9 could expect it to fog up! I had traded for a rifle for my dad, a Ruger 77/243 with a 2x7 Redfield Widefield that was bent. I sent i to them to fix and it never fogged up.

Last edited by Jim_Knight; 11/28/22.
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Very embarrassing. I was being shown around by the farm owner, letting me know where his property ended and where I could hunt when a 8 point buck stepped out about 35 yards in front of us. I fired three shots as he stood broadside from my scoped SKS to no effect. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a box blind. While sitting there with the rifle on my lap I realized I could move the scope about an eighth of an inch side to side and some up and down. Cheap Chinese base screws had sheared.

Was on a late December muzzle loader hunt with a group of six other guys. I was taking quite a razzing from the guys having missed on five shots. I finally killed a buck at about 50 yards. When I got home and was cleaning the rifle I put it to my shoulder and looked through the scope just in time to see the cross hairs sink to the bottom of the scope.

Had a sporterized Mauser 98 all lined up on a buck. When I pulled the trigger........nothing. At least I had a backup rifle with me and could continue to hunt. Got a replacement Bold trigger.

Had a new to me TC Contender with a 45 Colt barrel on it. My buddy and I were the only ones at the pistol range. I was standing in front of the wooden bench, put a round in the chamber, closed the action and BANG! Put a 45 caliber hole in the bench. I got to learn a whole lot about how Contender triggers worked and how to set one up properly.


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I had a light firing pin strike on a Browning Auto 30/06. The second shot fired fine and the 8 point never knew the first shot failed. Still don't know exactly what caused it. I gave it a good cleaning and had my gunsmith go over it, but nothing was ever found that would have caused it. The cartridge fired when I tried it at the range later on.


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In the field only issue I have had has been Operator Error.

On the range: two bad Rem 700 triggers, two scopes (not Leupold), one broken firing pin. Grandson just had the top half of a Talley LW ring crack. Claims the rifle may have “fallen over…”


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Originally Posted by SLM
I was expecting 700 bolts falling off was going to be #1.
I nearly got shot when one of those 700's unintentionally fired.
We had stopped to help out a couple of our club members dragging a deer up to the road. On the climb up I was about 8 or 10 feet in front of Dwight. I still don't know how it happened but his Remington 700 30-06 accidentally discharged with the bullet hitting the ground about halfway between us. I dropped to my knees from the concussion and he was so upset he wouldn't hunt anymore that season.


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The men who wrote the Second Amendment didn't just finish a hunting trip, they just finished liberating a nation.
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