Overpressure Question and stuck cases

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by NorthernHunter, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. NorthernHunter

    NorthernHunter New Member

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    I keep reading about people who end up with cases stuck in rifles when they go on a hunt in high temperatures. Can someone tell me if this has happened to them and if so, what other signs were showing on that case? Were the primers flattened or pierced? I do quite a bit of reloading and run up to the max or overmax loads at times when testing out loads. I cannot recall any time when I've had a case stick in my rifle. I've had primers flatten out and the bolt have a heavy lift, but never a case that sticks. I would think if my cases ended up being stuck from overpressure, then there would be some other serious signs as well. Please excuse me if this has been discussed before, I have not tried searching the forums for the topic.
     

  2. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I myself develop my loads in hot weather. You would think there would be other pressure signs. I had my 375 Ruger stick but it was with a factory load when it first came out and the rifle was new. It may not of been a pressure problem. The case showed no signs of it.
     

  3. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    The only case I have had stick was in my 375 H&H. I don’t believe it was from the heat, but because I reloaded the case too many times and it ruptured at the web lodging the case without the belt which extracted fine. I had to use CeraSafe to get it out. My fault. Just tested loads using it to many times. No danger involved.
    FYI my hunting loads are top brass (Norma) reloaded no more than 2x. After that, they go into the test brass box.
     

  4. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    In the past, maybe 2 or 3 three times, I’ve had sticky cases that required a heavy blow on the bolt with a wood block to pop the case out of the chamber. I think some cart designs are more susceptible, like long parallel body with little taper. Cases that have been work hardened by many resizings tend to get sticky. Certain chamber conditions/dimensions may tend to be a contributor. And last but not least, of course, high pressure may cause stuck or sticky case. High temps increase pressure - simple as that. Even failure to trim to correct length for chamber can spike pressure thus causing stuck/sticky cases. In each of the two or three times I’ve done it, it was my mistake by pushing up against the max load threshold. Little wisdom to be found in the inexperience of youth.:)

    That was a long time ago and I’ve long since learned there is little sense to it. For years now I’ve approached reloading and using reloaded ammo for hunting like this: carefully pick and/or test bullet, use good brass, set a conservative objective velocity, use a chronograph, approach the objective vel from below, use temperature INSENSITIVE powders, pay little attention to ballistics marketing hype, spend range time to test ammo and rifle function. Go hunting, no matter the temperature, with little worry of jams or sticky bolts, whether plains game or dangerous game.
     
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  5. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I was concerned about this when I went to SA in 2016. I live in Alaska, do most of my hand loading in the winter. I was really curious if there would be any notable changes going from one extreme temp to the other. There wasn't, and I had no problems and no signs of increased pressures. That said, I also didn't get really crazy and kept my loads close to the manufactures maximum.
     
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  6. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Not while hunting and not completely stuck, but temperature can and does make a difference. I know one of my loads for my 7mm magnum will result in a sticky case when the temperatures are running around 100 degrees, quite common in Phoenix. It happened to me a couple of times when I was new to hand loading. That load is very accurate, so I just don't shoot it when it's hot out.

    The other option however would be to load a different powder. IMR4350 is the powder for that load and it is temp sensitive to be sure. Newer powders available now are not so sensitive.
     
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  7. NorthernHunter

    NorthernHunter New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback folks, good information. I am pretty nerdy when it comes to reloading and get as scientific as possible with the data and recording everything I do as well as the chronograph data. I keep my loads at a safe level that provides good accuracy and have never had any problems. I try to use the temperature stable (Hodgdon Extreme) type powders as often as I can for my loads and haven't noticed much in the way of velocity or pressure changes. I'll predator hunt down to -40ºF in the winters with spring time temps up near the 50's. I try to do my range and load testing in the middle of that temperature range, just to try and minimize any potential differences.

    Mekaniks,
    Were your loads using a temperature stable powder when you hunted Africa?
     

  8. JimP

    JimP AH Elite

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    I also build my loads during the summer when it is warmer than when I am hunting. I will also find a velocity and accuracy that I am happy with and if it is near the max I'll look and see if there is a powder that will get me there with room to spare, and then I'll try that powder.

    Having a sticking case is not what you want if you need a quick follow up shot.
     

  9. NorthernHunter

    NorthernHunter New Member

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    The only stuck case I've seen up here was on a friends rifle, when he put a warm, possibly damp round into a frozen chamber. It took having to thaw that thing out to get it loosened up and drop out. Definitely not an African type situation.
     

  10. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    yes I was using Varget in my .338 Federal
     

  11. shootist~

    shootist~ AH Veteran

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    A young guy at the range last week was getting stuck cases with PPU brass. The same load with Lapua brass was working OK.

    He came over and asked me to look. Said he had recently shot a 5x5 Bull Elk and was trying to find out why his bolt locked up after the first shot, using the load with PPU brass. Fortanatly from 30 yards, the 308W with a 180 NP did the trick.

    There were bright ejector marks on the PUP brass indicating excessive pressure. The Lapua brass looked fine. (No way for me to know if the Lapua load and the PUP load were really the same or not. I assume they were. )

    The CCI primers he was using were not flattened and had no cratering that I could see. (I normally use Federal primers that are softer and flatten/crater more easily, btw.)

    He stated he was under book max by half a grain. I gathered he initially loaded with Lapua brass and then switched to PPU brass for hunting.

    I asked how he determined his COL and it quickly became apparent (or highly probable) that he was jamming the bullets into the lands.

    I advised him to A) trash the PPU brass and B) spend a few dollars and get the Hornady Cartridge Overall Length tool. And C), work up from a little lower than a half grain below max. (Pretty sure he wont scrimp on brass next hunt either.) ;)

    Ambient temperature changes were not required to see a pressure spike in this case.
     

  12. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    a friend stuck his 22-250 tighter than a drum with a near max load in july at a ground hog that ran acrossed the road in front of him, he grabbed a couple rounds that were in a green ammo box on the dash all day and got a shot and he could not open the bolt. he used a ax handle at home to beat it open. it was the heat that caused it I,m sure.
     

  13. NorthernHunter

    NorthernHunter New Member

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    shootist,
    It would be interesting to weigh the PPU brass vs the Lapua and see what the difference is. I've had to tune down loads based on brass wall thickness'. Did you notice if he was using a small primer Lapua case? Just curious.
     

  14. shootist~

    shootist~ AH Veteran

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    They were both large primer. My SWAG is the Lapua, being premium, was made out of a harder/better form of brass. I could be wrong.

    I would not have thought PPU would be heavier, but it is. I have Lapua (Lg Primer) .308 on hand and a few pieces of PPU 7.62x51 that someone gave me. (I don't recall if his PPU was marked 7.62 or not.)
    Decapped, the Lapua runs around 175 grains. My PPU 7.62 weighs ~183.8 gr. About 5% more.

    But lighter brass won't always act like you might think:
    My lapua 308 brass was used to work up a load with 165 grain A-Frames using F210s and RL17. Near max, good accuracy and no pressure issues noted.
    I tried this load in Norma brass, which only weigh about 164 grains - andhe load in the Norma brass had some light, but noticeable primer cratering.
    (The Norma had been fire formed in my rifle, btw. The Lapua was brand new.)

    Now once upon a time, years ago, with commercial (Graff ") .308" (made by PPU, I think) and much heavier Surplus Aussie 7.62x51 I had to reduce the charge (of Varget) by about 1.5 grains when using the thicker Aussie 7.62.
     

  15. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    This indeed happened to a client of mine fifty years ago . The report can be read I the article " A day after the Indian crocodile " on these forums in the article section.
     

  16. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner AH Enthusiast

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    Most, if not all, of us have read, heard or experienced, chambers even in the same manufacturer's brand can vary.

    I had 3- 30-06's, 1 Mossberg, 1 T/C Encore Pro Hunter, and 1 Remington model 7400.
    Each fired and ejected factory rounds without any problems.

    Reloaded the fired factory brass still no problems. Ordered some new hornady brass, trimmed to case length per manual, checked primer seating to ensure flush with base, topped with: Hornady SST 165 grain, and 150 SP interlocks (to empty the box), to C.O.A.L. per Hornady manual.

    Used IMR 4350 powder, grain weights were moderate loads for target practice and local deer, (80-120 pounds).

    The Mossberg had no problem with the loads and were very accurate.

    The rounds went into the T/C some took a little more effort to close and some of these cases took a little effort to pull out a couple required a rod down the barrel to push out. Accuracy was reasonably ok.

    The Remington bolt wouldn't close all the way. Nothing was noticably wrong so I reloaded the magazine and tried again. The bolt locked and I fired the round. I had to open the bolt using a rod down the barrel and with a firm tap.

    This resulted in trimming cases to 3 different lengths, and 3 different C.O.A.L.'s.

    No more stuck cases, three accurate rifles. Using the same primer, powder charge and bullet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
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  17. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    I keep my .338 WM rifle and rounds in the truck cab while at camp. Condensation WILL occur if you put the rifle/ammo in anything heated like a tent with a would stove, camper, etc. Bad things can happen when condensation occurs. Not the very least is rusting inside the chamber. I loaned my rifle to a buddy once and this occurred. He hunted in snow with no tape or condom over the barrel and the moisture went into the chamber. Wouldn’t have been an issue, except he put the frozen, wet rifle into his warm motor home and the chamber rusted a little. Unnecessary and avoidable! Don’t place your frozen, wet rifle into your heated lodge while in Africa! And stay away from the frozen swimming pool! You might fall through the ice! Ha! Ha! Ha!
     

  18. JimP

    JimP AH Elite

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    In a lot of these post you can see why they recommend that if you change anything in a load, be it the primer, or case to work the load back up.

    This is also why I won't reload rounds for others when I don't have their rifle to check the loads out in.

    What is safe in my rifle may stick every case, split the cases or worse in your rifle.
     

  19. Opposite Pole

    Opposite Pole AH Fanatic

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    Different head stamp brass (even from the same manufacturer) usually has different capacity. Different capacity means different pressure. It is unsafe, particularly with loads which are close to the maximum to swap brass without working up to max pressure.

    Case in point, I have two lots of Norma 9.3x74R brass, there is a 1 grain H2O capacity difference between them. According to QL this equals approximately 100bars more pressure in the smaller case. With mild loads it’s no biggie, however with loads in the max pressure proximity it might be the difference between smooth and stuck. I’m also quite sure there are larger capacity differences than 1 grain too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019

  20. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    i will not reload for any one as you will be may be lible if things go south, even if the owner causes it. plus you may be charged by the ATF for making ammo with out a license. I have done it years ago, but stopped.
     
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