Man injured when rifle barrel explodes during target practice

Posted at 3:58 PM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-20 15:58:53-04

SANPETE COUNTY, Utah -- When the gun Jared Young was holding exploded in his hands, he automatically expected the worst.

"I took my shirt and covered it.  I didn't even want to look," Young told KSTU.

"I thought for sure I was going to have to pick up fingers," Young's friend, Courtney Crane added.

The two were target shooting in Sanpete County, Utah over the weekend.  Crane was recording video on a cell phone in one hand and holding a spotting scope in the other.

The video, posted to Facebook, has been viewed over 13 million times in 48 hours.

"I hear bang, and I'm like, 'dude, you're not even close,'" Crane said when he didn't see the target move 200 yards away. "When I look up, he's gone and the gun is backward and I'm like, 'oh no.'"

Young needed 27 stitches. A hand specialist planned to do surgery on his nerves on Wednesday morning, but he believes Young will regain full use of his hand.

In the aftermath, Young is still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.

"There was probably one last thing we didn't do," Young admits. "Even though this is clean, is there any debris in the barrel, anything blocking it?"

Young told KSTU he had the barrel cleaned by a gunsmith, but admits he should have been more careful before firing his first round of the season.

"We made assumptions," he told KSTU. "I won't make those assumptions again. I'll always double-check."