Man whose rifle exploded files lawsuit
Attorney expresses concern for others using same model
PROVO A Duchesne man whose rifle exploded on a hunting trip and sent shrapnel into his face is suing the gun company for negligence.
Jesse Tatman is suing the company that makes the rifle, Savage Arms, as well as The Sports Authority formerly Gart Sports for liability, breach of warranties and negligence.
Tatman bought the rifle in January 2003 and hunted in the 2003 season during which the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum worked flawlessly, according to a lawsuit filed in 4th District Court on Oct. 20.
However, during a deer hunting trip in Daggett County on Oct. 22, 2004, when he aimed at a deer and pulled the trigger, "the gun exploded and disintegrated into dozens of pieces, sending debris as far as fifty feet away, and into (Tatman's) face," according to the lawsuit.
Tatman's nose was bleeding and he had several pieces of "gun stock lodged in his face," according to the suit.
"Our primary concern is the safety of others using the same gun," said Derek Coulter, Tatman's Salt Lake-based attorney.
The amount of money Tatman wants from the companies is undisclosed.
The gun company said a claim like this is rare.
"All of our rifles are tested in the factory before they are shipped to ensure that this sort of thing does not happen," said Steve Alger, marketing services manager for Massachusetts-based Savage Arms.
The company sells more than 100,000 guns annually that are tested before going to stores.
"Whatever has happened, I'm sure that something (happened) between the time it left the factory and the accident ... and I'm sure those facts will come out as the case goes forward," Alger said.
Managers at The Sports Authority in Orem couldn't comment on specifics, but department manager Bryan Hart said he saw the rifle when the man brought it back in pieces.
"I've never seen a gun blow up like that," Hart said. "It blew me away."
Bob Lee works in the gun department for The Sports Authority and said if a gun explodes it could be because the shooter used incorrect ammunition.
However, Coulter said his client was using factory ammunition, not "reloaded" ammunition.If an individual "reloads" or makes their own bullets, they often stuff in too much powder, making the bullet too hot and too pressurized. Then, when the bullet is shot out of the gun, it can cause an explosion.
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