One of my steel challenge buddies shoots a 320. He has experienced two ruptured cases. The first one destroyed most of the gun and the second did moderate damage. Having never had a failure in a center fire pistol in over 45 years, my knowledge is limited. My opinion is that the problem is brass related, as he loads range brass primarily, something I do not do. His belief is that the gun/barrel is to blame. I found this a bit hard to swallow with a fairly new Sig that he bought new.
Any input would be appreciated.
All the best, fuzzy
|Hoping for better pharmaceuticals|
Most likely he over charged his powder load. Main reason reloaders have explosive results.
If the barrel had a round stuck in it and then sent a second round down it could bulge the barrel. That first round would have to have been a squib round, or an underpressurized round. The primer strikes and a slight pressure increase in the chamber causes the bullet to move into the barrel and sits there.
The above is why I never shoot another man's reloads.
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|Knows too little |
about too much
Why was there a second round? The first didn't tell him that something went wrong? Separate occasions?
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|I Deal In Lead|
I'll go with an overcharge or using the wrong powder. Both rounds were probably reloaded in the same session.
One of the guys I shoot with had 2 of these in about a 2 month period. He blamed range brass also.
However, the other 14 of us in the group also reload nothing but range brass taken from the same range as his and none of us has had a single problem.
thanks for the input guys. More detail. I was not there for first occurrence several months ago. Gun blew apart. as I recall he found the empty which had a blown out case head.
Second time was this past weekend. I was SO. During the string, all reports sounded the same and sounded normal. He stopped firing after 4 shots. I thought he had a normal malfunction. However, the gun was jammed and the extractor was damaged. Once again brass with exploded head came out. I asked him if barrel was replaced after first incident and he said no.
I don't think wrong powder is the issue as all rounds that day came from the same batch and were fine. However, overcharge on one round is always possible. Press is a dillon 750.
thanks for any additional input
If I was picking up "range brass" at a training event where I knew it was all fresh ammo of uniform manufacture, I'd look elsewhere for the problem. If the "range brass" was collected from a public range or shooting area that was a mix of all kinds, where you don't know how many times it was reloaded or what loads, or how long it had been laying around half-full of water or snow, you're rolling the dice.... Unless you're willing to spend more time to inspect pistol cases before loading them. (I'm not.)
I'm guilty of the second example. The one case head separation/rupture I've experienced was in the 1980's with my first SIG, an P226. Ammo for 9mmP was far less common in olden times, so I scavenged all I could from questionable sources for reloading. I didn't know I had a problem until I had a FTF and couldn't figure out why the round wouldn't chamber, until I noticed the "brass ring" in the chamber. Pistol was fine, but I had to do some extractor tweaking before the empties stopped hitting me in the head. I truly believe it was a weak case, as a double charge (I was using Unique, IIRC) would have either caused bullet seating difficulties when the round was reloaded, or more of a "significant emotional event" when the failure occurred.
I could not agree more. I don't mean to cast shade on my brother reloaders, but I only load three types of brass:
1) Brass that is 1x fired from factory ammo I shot.
2) Brass that only I have shot and I keep records of the the number of times fired and the loads.
3) Brass that I bought new.
His brass is picked up from the range we shoot at. It's origins are only a mystery.
Since I have never had a catastrophic failure in a center fire handgun round in over 45 years of shooting, I have little experience. I was confident that y'all had experiences I could share.
Thanks and God bless,
My FIL shoots a 38Super comp. So do several of his shooting USPSA buddies. They do not pick up brass. When I first saw it, I asked “why not” and he told me that to make major they were using rifle powder in pistol ammo and the brass wasn’t deemed safe .
There’s no telling what brass is being picked up at a public range. Frankly if I pick up brass after or during a match, I just toss it all into the scrap brass bucket at home and when it gets full, I’ll buy a bottle of whisky.
If I haven’t shot the brass, I don’t reload it.
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I suppose I have been lucky,loaded thousands of pickup brass for decades and I suspect someone has a squib and kept shooting.
Reloading is serious business ,one must pay careful attention to it and not be distracted by anything or anyone.
I load many different ammo's .I put a stickie note on powder lid of powder type.Over decades I have tried dozens of powders to find ones that I liked and once tested they were culled and stowed away.
Later in life I stuck with what proved to my liking for certain guns
|Caught in a loop|
My incident with my CZ was a squib, judging by how the slide locked up, and I think that's what happened here. That was with virgin brass, too.
I too have used range brass many times without any problem, but I also don't load pistol anywhere near the upper limits of the load range and when brass starts cracking or otherwise gets damaged I toss it.
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I won’t use range brass, with one exception. I will take home any .45acp that looks like it was a factory loaded cartridge before it’s one and only firing. The .45acp is a low pressure cartridge and I don’t push it with my .45 handloads. Any other brass, I will place in the scrap bin.
Any time ‘reloads’ are mentioned, that becomes a prime suspect. Next it would be nice to know the load & powder charge.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
This. I've loaded thousands of rounds with range pickup brass for handgun and never had a problem, but I'm not loading for major power factor and stay well below max for my standard loads. If I'm cooking up something really hot for hunting or woods carry, I use new brass.
I'd say your buddy is either loading them pretty hot, or he stumbled into a pile of some really abused brass.
|I Deal In Lead|
I've used range brass almost exclusively for all the handgun loads I do and also most of the rifle loads and all the shotgun loads.
I've done so for over 65 years and never had a problem and the same is true of a large number of reloaders I know, so I suspect that those who do are blaming the range brass for something they did.
|Down the Rabbit Hole|
I've been reloading since the late 1980's and in that time, I've had 2 case ruptures. In both cases, it was A-Merc brass. I always check every 9mm and put any A-Merc in the trash where it belongs.
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My best guess is a double charge. Any stoppage in using a manually advanced shell plate progressive (refilling the primer tube, picking up a dropped bullet or case, wife shows up with a new honey-do item etc.) is cause for additional attention.
Two pulls on the handle, without manually advancing the shell plate will do it...double charge...hot loads will or may bulge brass (the .38 Super/major wannabees), but a complete blow out is a double charge of fast powder...if your buddy continues to shoot without changing his methods, I'd suggest that he switch to a slower powder which will over flow the case if double charged.
I do not use range pickups...I don't trust my fellow reloaders at all...I don't ever use any reloads loaded by somebody else. I have two sons which shoot with me and we don't share reloads...ever.
If your buddy has had two blow outs, I'd personally find another shooting lane to stay as far from him as possible...he's a danger to himself and others.
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Agreed. I looked long and hard at the 550 when I was shopping for a progressive, but decided against it for that very reason. It's a very nice well-made press but the workflow on it leaves plenty of room for user error. Extrapolate it out over 100,000+ cycles, and I figured the odds would eventually catch up with me. It only takes one.
9mm is the only caliber I load on a progressive, and I use HS-6, which will overflow the case if I double-charge it. My LNL has an inline fabrication light kit installed as well, which makes it really easy to see down inside the cases as you seat the bullet. Knowing me, I'll probably still find a way to screw it up someday, but to date I've had more dangerous malfunctions with factory ammo than I have with my reloads.
Just something to look into that I just learned recently. Check for stepped brass cases mixed in with the range brass. I posted a question about this not long ago. I’m not sure what other brands, but freedom munitions used this stepped case for a while and that’s the ones I had and sorted out. The brass sometimes separates where this step is and it will leave the brass ring in the chamber. I don’t know a lot about it but after reading about it I now check for these and throw them away.
|I Deal In Lead|
If you're talking about the ones that are stepped internally, they also have smaller internal powder capacities which leads to higher pressures.
Yes, those are the ones I am talking about. I used fairly mild target loads on the few that I reloaded before finding out about them so luckily I didn’t have any issues. What a pain to have to go through all of my reloads and brass to sort them out though.
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