Got Lucky...

Woodcarver

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Broke one of the cardinal rules. Shot an unknown reload. Grabbed a couple reloads that came with a new toy when I went out to check a newly mounted scope. BAD IDEA! But, it happened. First round just felt like a stout load. Second looked like this when I opened the action-
20210415_162732.jpg

Complete case head separation. Gun held it.
That was incentive to do what I should have to begin with. Spent a couple hours pulling 140 rounds apart. What I found is powder charges that varied by as much as 9/10th of a grain. The lightest charge measured exceeded the book max for the powder I am 99.9% sure was used by a minimum of 3/10ths. Btw, the powder, even though I am very sure of what it is, will NOT be reused as that would break another rule of reloading-NEVER USE AN UNKNOWN POWDER!
This was the 2nd time in my life I broke that rule-NEVER fire a reload that is not properly labeled from a handloader you know and trust! The 1st time I shot an unknown was back in the 90s. Fortunately, it did not have a bad outcome; but it was still stupid!
I put this out there to help those who might not know any better, and as a reminder to those who do. DON'T SHOOT AN UNKNOWN RELOAD!
Bullets pulled, brass necks resized, time to go load some SAFE rounds.
 

Woodcarver

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And I rarely shoot factory. 95% of what I shoot is handloaded-by me. Never had any issue with one of my loads. Or my Dad's. Or my Grandpa's. Actually hunted last year carrying a rifle my Grandpa made for my Dad in the 50s, loaded with ammo Dad loaded in the early 70s. I have, and have shot, some 30-30 rounds Grandpa loaded before I was born.
Key-all this was loaded by a handloader(s) I trust, and well labeled as to what the recipe is.
 
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Broke one of the cardinal rules. Shot an unknown reload. Grabbed a couple reloads that came with a new toy when I went out to check a newly mounted scope. BAD IDEA! But, it happened. First round just felt like a stout load. Second looked like this when I opened the action-
View attachment 397802
Complete case head separation. Gun held it.
That was incentive to do what I should have to begin with. Spent a couple hours pulling 140 rounds apart. What I found is powder charges that varied by as much as 9/10th of a grain. The lightest charge measured exceeded the book max for the powder I am 99.9% sure was used by a minimum of 3/10ths. Btw, the powder, even though I am very sure of what it is, will NOT be reused as that would break another rule of reloading-NEVER USE AN UNKNOWN POWDER!
This was the 2nd time in my life I broke that rule-NEVER fire a reload that is not properly labeled from a handloader you know and trust! The 1st time I shot an unknown was back in the 90s. Fortunately, it did not have a bad outcome; but it was still stupid!
I put this out there to help those who might not know any better, and as a reminder to those who do. DON'T SHOOT AN UNKNOWN RELOAD!
Bullets pulled, brass necks resized, time to go load some SAFE rounds.
@Woodcarver
9/10s of a grain in a cartridge that size wouldn't make any difference. I looks like the case was already suffering an incipient head separation. The only reloads I fire are my own or ones by a well trusted friend that I taught to reload and NO OTHERS
Bob
 

krish

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@Woodcarver
9/10s of a grain in a cartridge that size wouldn't make any difference. I looks like the case was already suffering an incipient head separation. The only reloads I fire are my own or ones by a well trusted friend that I taught to reload and NO OTHERS
Bob
I agree. May be he meant 9 or 10 grains. 1/10 th of a grain could even be the breath causing it.
Krish
 

Woodcarver

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@Woodcarver
9/10s of a grain in a cartridge that size wouldn't make any difference. I looks like the case was already suffering an incipient head separation. The only reloads I fire are my own or ones by a well trusted friend that I taught to reload and NO OTHERS
Bob
That would be 9/10s from a load that was over by 3/10s already. Over max by 1.2 gr in a 58 gr load. Absolutely makes a difference. How much of a difference is dependent on the burn rate of the powder in use. How dangerous it gets depends on the individual firearm.
The other case shows the seam of an eminent separation. I found 4 other cases in the bunch that looked to be reloaded a 2nd time. All 4 have the same shine. Fortunately, the rest of the brass appears to be factory once fired.
The point of this was to reaffirm why you only use your own or a trusted friends reloads. If these loads had been just a little hotter, my new toy might be just a wall hanger now. As it is, I just got a reminder to follow the guidelines-they exist for a reason.
 

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You say no damage, but check down the chamber anyway. One of the people at our range had this happen, all looked well on the outside, but there was a deform ring inside. It is written up somewhere.
 

Hunter4752001

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Rule # 1 Never trust unknown reloads. However I concur with Bob. The case head separation generally isn't caused by the load per se, rather case fatigue and thinning from being sized then stretched by firing too often. Possible causes either resizing the case too short or having too long a chamber. The only way to check the health of the case is too examine it for the faint ring that appears before separation (see the intact case is showing one at around the same place as the separated case) or to feel inside the case with an appropriately shaped piece of wire. You were lucky. Most case head separations are much closer to the case head. Yours was half way up the case which meant that the rear end had enough left to act as a gasket reducing gas blow back into your face.
 

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Woodcarver your cautions are well deserved. That being said, I too am of the belief that you have a case or head space problem. UNLESS someone used a much faster burning powder than what he / she intended. I've not seen or heard of an instance where 9/10ths of a grain of powder above a recommended maximum caused this type of problem. Like others have said, I'm glad no one was hurt and that the rifle is undamaged.
 

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I would check the headspace and chamber first...difficult to have case seperate from being a little over pressure...
That is a straight wall case so chamber size is more critical as it headspaces on the rim......

I dont like to be the devils advocate but cause one here in my book would be chamber or headspace issues....
 
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7x57Joe

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Usually with over pressure loads, the primer will blow because of the case head expanding. That is really not a case head separation but, a case body separation which, has been said, is lucky for you. I would be suspicious of those cases and not reload them rather opt for new.
 

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Rule #1: Never Trust or Use unknown reloaded ammunition!!!

Rule #2: Always Only Use Your own Reloads!! And always check your scale(s) throughout your reloading!!!

Rule #3: No Matter who your "Trusted" reloading friend is or former student you trained is: Always follow Rule #1!!!

I have taught quite a number of people to reload over my many years. And have gave them my opion or advised them on the does and don'ts thoughout their process of becoming better at reloaders.

Yet, there is always that one, that one who forgets to follow the many rules of reloading: especially about checking primers by placing reprimed cases primer up to ensure none of the primers flipped during repriming, scales are level, solid, zeroed, check powder weights every 10 rounds, bullet seating depths (COAL) every 5-10 rounds: with exceptions, etc.

Case in point: I helped a friend get into and trained him in reloading over several weeks, watched and followed his progress on reloading ammunition for several more weeks, etc.

Long story short I got lazy. I had a 1000 + rounds of ammo of various calibers to reload. He wanted to help me reload and to gain more experience. So I let him reload some ammunition for me, for my 45 Colt caliber revolver. I gave him my components, recipe, all the information.

When I went to shoot the ammunition he reloaded for me the rounds varied from poof, to pop, to Boom.

After a thorough interrogation, followed by an intense verbal assault, he learned to strictly follow all the rules of reloading.

The lesson I learned: before I put another person's reloads through my firearms, they put their reloads through their own firearms in my presence. Only then will I consider to use their reloads in my firearms.

If/when I get stupid I only have myself to blame.
 

Inline6

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I had that happen to me at a match. I had over annealed the brass ie I got it to hot. I had no problem with my brass for 3 reloads. On my fourth reloading, it was 2 to 3 every 10. That was a long match, over 200rds.

I understand your concerns about book max realize that they have to cya. I have many safe loads that exceed book. With no sign of over pressure. Anyone who reloads must learn how to read brass, no exception. While I say I have loads of max book, I can also say I have pressure well under book max. It could be a chamber, different lot of powder, brass, primers, bullets.

I do agree with your PSA, I guess with some of the things you said. I would want other to know this could happen a lot of different ways.

On a side note, the 9/10, I have measured that difference in 22LR ammo. I shoot a fair amount of 22 competition. First time out with a jam up lot I hit the X at 100 yards, very next round was over the score target (2"). I could not believe it. When I got home I started weighing 22 ammo. Put round one on the scale wrote down the weight put number two on. It was exactly 1gr more. Light went off in my head. That was my flyer. Pulling factory 308 it's not uncommon to see the same results.
 
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Rule #1: Never Trust or Use unknown reloaded ammunition!!!

Rule #2: Always Only Use Your own Reloads!! And always check your scale(s) throughout your reloading!!!

Rule #3: No Matter who your "Trusted" reloading friend is or former student you trained is: Always follow Rule #1!!!

I have taught quite a number of people to reload over my many years. And have gave them my opion or advised them on the does and don'ts thoughout their process of becoming better at reloaders.

Yet, there is always that one, that one who forgets to follow the many rules of reloading: especially about checking primers by placing reprimed cases primer up to ensure none of the primers flipped during repriming, scales are level, solid, zeroed, check powder weights every 10 rounds, bullet seating depths (COAL) every 5-10 rounds: with exceptions, etc.

Case in point: I helped a friend get into and trained him in reloading over several weeks, watched and followed his progress on reloading ammunition for several more weeks, etc.

Long story short I got lazy. I had a 1000 + rounds of ammo of various calibers to reload. He wanted to help me reload and to gain more experience. So I let him reload some ammunition for me, for my 45 Colt caliber revolver. I gave him my components, recipe, all the information.

When I went to shoot the ammunition he reloaded for me the rounds varied from poof, to pop, to Boom.

After a thorough interrogation, followed by an intense verbal assault, he learned to strictly follow all the rules of reloading.

The lesson I learned: before I put another person's reloads through my firearms, they put their reloads through their own firearms in my presence. Only then will I consider to use their reloads in my firearms.

If/when I get stupid I only have myself to blame.
@Ridge Runner
I taught my mate to reload over a period of a few months. When he became competent I let him loose on his own.
He has exactly the samegear as me press, dies powder ect but his reloads are not as accurate as the ones he did on my gear.
The problem turned out to be a simple fix. He had a different powder thrower than mine and wasn't operating it properly.
Solution throw the charge and weight each one to get it right.
Problem solved.
Just goes to show even LITTLE things matter.
Bob
 

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That is why I switched to a single stage. I had a progressive and used it for some time with no problem. I loaded a batch of 7RM for a safari. I took them to SAAM for a class. Some of them worked fine but I got one round that was exceptionally loud and had more recoil. Locked up that rifle so tight we couldn't open the bolt with a hammer. Tim sent it to a gunsmith who got it open but it had ruined the receiver.

When I got home I broke down some of the loads and they were over max by half and some were double charge. I had loaded them at 52gr of 4064 which is 2gr below max and checked some at intervals. Out of 100 rds over half were way overloaded. That press was throwing all kinds of bad loads. The next day it came off my bench and back in the box. I contacted the company and got no satisfaction except, "That's a really heavy load." So much for lifetime guarantees and no questions asked.
 

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I would check the headspace and chamber first...difficult to have case seperate from being a little over pressure...
That is a straight wall case so chamber size is more critical as it headspaces on the rim......

I dont like to be the devils advocate but cause one here in my book would be chamber or headspace issues....
Not sure what the round is but it does not appear to be a straight wall case, I see shoulder. Its odd in that it came apart some distance from the web of the case. One would have to know how many times it was loaded, but to me it looks like old brass or fatigue and not necessarily a headspace issue.

Was this in a single shot or double?
 

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@Ridge Runner
I taught my mate to reload over a period of a few months. When he became competent I let him loose on his own.
He has exactly the samegear as me press, dies powder ect but his reloads are not as accurate as the ones he did on my gear.
The problem turned out to be a simple fix. He had a different powder thrower than mine and wasn't operating it properly.
Solution throw the charge and weight each one to get it right.
Problem solved.
Just goes to show even LITTLE things matter.
Bob
Short- long version.

I worked with/ instructed my former brother-in-law, on his wife's side, on how to reload and continued helping until I moved from Winston-Salem, NC, after I left he eventually quit reloading.

I don't know how often I had to tell him to check his scales before and during his reloading sessions.

One day he started reloading some 9mm ammo on his own, this was after the fiasco with my 45 Revoler, he called me to ask why his powder charge was more than the case could hold. After a few minutes on the phone with him, I went over to his place.

I checked the reloading data from the manual he was using and the powder charge weight he was using was a medium charge. I then asked him if he checked his scales, his response (I went ballistic, and rightfully raked him bad): '...well I checked them (the scales) when I set them up and haven't moved them...(that was 2 months ago)...' Well, Aaah, no they should still be set...'.

I checked his scales and then checked his powder thrower. (Again I went ballistic on him).

Then I watched him weigh a charge, too emphasis my point on being safe and reloading safely.

After the scales were recalibrated and checked, and the powder thrower was properly adjusted, checked all components: brass, powder, bullets, primers were correct and we could actually begin reloading.

I went to reload a round as he watched. The powder charge exceeded case capacity. Rechecked the scales, all other prep, and tried again x 3. Same powder charge exceeded case capacity. Rechecked the reload data in the manual.

We didn't do any reloading that night. I went home pulled out my other reloading manuals to compare load data to the manual in his 1 manual. (This is a very good reason to have multiple load data manuals).

Conclusion: the load data in the reloading manual (we both had) was incorrect. When comparing the load data in the other 3 manuals I use for reloading. The powder charge for that particular powder was somewhere around 2 grains more than recommended maximum charge for 9mm.

Problem solved: Changed powder and used reloading data from another manual.
 

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