Gun maker’s exploding rifle leaves trail of injured hunters

Savage Arms muzzleloader
In this 2009 photo provided by Trent Procter, a Savage Arms stainless steel 10ML-II muzzleloader owned by Procter of Swan River, Manitoba, Canada, is displayed weeks after its barrel exploded and severely injured his left hand. (Gordon Harris/Trent Procter via AP)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One of the nation’s largest rifle makers is accused of marketing a muzzleloader that occasionally explodes and can severely injure hunters.

Savage Arms has faced several lawsuits over its 10ML-II stainless steel rifle, which was once favored by thousands of big game hunters in the U.S. and Canada.

The Westfield, Massachusetts company has received dozens of complaints from customers dating to 2004 reporting that the gun’s barrel exploded, burst, split or cracked after firing. Hunters say they have suffered serious hand, face and ear injuries.

Savage Arms has argued that the gun is safe and any explosions must have been caused by errors such as loading two bullets or the wrong gunpowder. But it’s also paid confidential settlements to resolve at least three recent lawsuits in Canada, Michigan and Indiana.