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Video: .50 caliber rifle explodes in YouTuber’s face, nearly killing him

Gun YouTuber Scott Allen DeShields Jr. is injured when an exploding .50 cal rifle. (Kentucky Ballistics, YouTube screenshot).
May 07, 2021

A popular gun YouTuber was nearly killed April 9, 2021 after a faulty round he loaded into a .50 cal sniper rifle exploded, destroying the gun and sending metal shrapnel cutting into his jugular and right lung.

Scott Allen DeShields Jr., who goes by the social media name Kentucky Ballistics, described his near-deadly accident nearly three weeks later in an April 29, 2021 YouTube video. DeShields said he was shooting a fire hydrant with saboted light armor penetrator (SLAP) rounds out of a Serbu RN-50 rifle.

“Everything was going pretty smooth, we shot the fire hydrant several times but the SLAP rounds were acting a little funny” DeShields said.

As he was firing the final SLAP round, DeShields said he didn’t realize he was loading faulty ammunition.

“What I didn’t know is that the SLAP round I was loading was extra extra hot,” he said.

As he fired the round, the gun exploded and the cap used to secure the round into the rifle blew off, striking DeShields in the face and breaking his orbital in three spots as well as his nose. He said he went blind in his right eye, but his vision has since recovered.

Another pair of metal pieces on the gun, used to secure the cap to the rifle when it is closed, was sheared off. One piece tore through DeShields’ hat while the other cut across his throat.

“It proceeded to lacerate my jugular vein and then punctured a hole in my right lung,” he said.

As the rifle was destroyed, the stock came down and injured his left hand.

In the moments after the gun exploded, DeShields said his father, Scott DeShields Sr., assessed his injuries.

“My dad shoved his thumb into my neck and said ‘put your thumb there'” the younger DeShields said. “Now that I’m aware what’s going on, I took my left thumb, I took my shirt, wrapped it in my shirt, and I shoved it into my neck as far as possible.”

DeShields said he then applied as much pressure as possible to the wound by pinching his head down into his hand. DeShields said in under a minute he and his father were in his nearby truck, driving as quickly as possible to a hospital.

DeShields said “The Trauma Team saved my life. They cut open my rib cage completely to remove the shrapnel, repair my lung and repair my jugular vein.”

Scott DeShields lays in a hospital bed after a .50 Cal rifle exploded in his hands. (Kentuckyballistics, Instagram screenshot)

DeShields said the doctors credited the placement of his thumb in his neck with saving his life. “They said my thumb in my neck saved me. I would have died otherwise.”

In a May 7 Instagram post, DeShields wrote, “It’s hard to believe that only four weeks ago I almost bit the dust. Never to see my family again. It’s easy to take your life for granted, but you aren’t promised your next breath. Life has a new flavor now. I’m so excited to get back to living again, but now as Scott 2.0. It’s a waiting game for now. My rib cage is going to take some time to fully seal back together, I’m low on hydraulic fluid and my index finger has pins in it. I’m not complaining though lol! I’m healing fast! My eye has no structural damage, sight has almost completely returned, my lung works great and most importantly my jugular was repaired with no issues. God is so good! What do you think about the scars? I’m starting to like them lol.”

Scott DeShields shows off the scar from where a metal gun part lacerated his neck and punctured his right lung. (Kentuckyballistics, Instagram screenshot)

Following his injury, DeShields started selling shirts that say “Just Put A Thumb In It” in reference to the technique that saved his life.