Monday, June 23, 2014

The Dread Kaboom

*** This is a guest post written in Defiance by our own Toothy.  Wisdom lies within.***


Son of a...!!!

That's probably mild compared to what I said at the time.

I don't quite recall.

In these pictures, one of these things is not like the others.
















One of these things just doesn't belong...



















If'n you're gun folk, you will have already noticed the primer in the middle has a discernible lack of "dent" if you will, from the firing pin. You may also have noticed that it looks like at one time it did have approximately the same depth and diameter firing pin mark.

You may also surmise, that this primer was originally like the others but was then flattened by an extreme amount of pressure while the case was still in the firearm (that being my 80 Series Colt Gold Cup in 45 ACP bullseye gun). You surmise correctly.

This is from having a double­charge of powder (approximately 8.8 grains of Winchester 231, instead of 4.4 grains) in the case, caused by an ignorant, inattentive progressive reloading press operator (that would be me). This was my first progressive press; I've always used a single­stage before (both are Hornadys).

EVERYONE on the range heard it go off.  MAN was it loud!  I always have to have an audience to witness my screw­ups. While perhaps amusing after the fact, this situation is very NOT funny for a couple of reasons:

One ­Overpressure event in a firearm can damage or destroy the weapon (and not an inexpensive one in this case).

Two ­Overpressure events in a firearm can damage or destroy the operator of the weapon, or those nearby, for that matter. While it is unlikely that death could result, it is not impossible as an errant piece of shrapnel could indeed cause a fatality if it hit a person in the right place (brain, heart, artery, etc). Fortunately, at our indoor range, we have cement block walls between each lane/shooter. Even more fortunate, they were not needed (this time).

I was lucky: I didn't bulge the barrel (or completely explode the weapon, for that matter), and no one was hurt. But luck runs out.

I know what happened, too. I ran the press ram up (it's a 5 station job) and it went up almost all the way (dropping in a charge of powder into the aforementioned case). I lowered the ram slightly, to inspect/clear the problem, and the re­stroked it all the way up when I was done (dropping a second charge into the case). STOOPID! STOOPID!! STOOPID!!!

That's bad, m'kay?

I've never had a double charge using my single stage (one station/one operation at a time) press.
Of course, now that I know, I know. I'm just glad nothing happened.

I have considered moving stuff around and putting a Powder Cop on it, but ultimately I ended up deciding not to be a dumbass again.

BTW, my Lee manual says 5.8 grains is max for a 200gr lead bullet, and my Hornady manual says 6.2 is max.  Oops.

Reloading is a great, relaxing hobby, can save you money, and lets you customize/tune a particular load for a particular gun.  It is not something to be taken lightly, however.  Be careful out there...

(This happened in 2007 and has not been repeated.  Fool me once...)

19 comments:

Susan said...

Good post toothy. Very good advice for those who load their own ammo.

PAY ATTENTION BOYS!!

Do not let toothy's experience happen to you. I am very glad nothing bad happened to you toothy. Then we might have had to start calling you "not so toothy" instead.

Giraffe said...

I've done some dumb things too. Nothing hurt but my pride.

cheddarman said...

toothy,

glad you are ok

sincerely

cheddarman

Athor Pel said...

Is the gun ok?

Anonymous said...

"Is the gun ok?" AP

Still shooting it to this day...

Toothy

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity, Nate.
And thanks all for the good wishes, folks.

Yours in Defiance,

toothy

Nate said...

weigh your rounds when you're done boys.

Every one of them.

Res Ipsa said...

I've always been a single stage reloader, mostly because I couldn't justify the progressive. Properly set up and operated there is a tremendous production advantage with a progressive.

The 45 is an easy case to overload just because it has larger capacity than needed.

Anonymous said...

Properly set up and operated there is a tremendous production advantage with a progressive.

I bought the progressive after I was shooting bullseye competition for a while. I went from roughly an hour for a box (50 rds) of 45ACP w/prep and all, to literally 8 minutes, if everything was properly set up.

I still reload my rifle cartridges on the single-stage (although I occasionally do 223 on the progressive for plinking ammo).

Toothy

Nate said...

i will humbly confess to still using a Lee Loader hand press.

one meticulous round at a time.

ajw308 said...

Reloading doesn't save you money, it just lets you shoot more.

Athor Pel said...

Ok, the gun is doing fine.

Anonymous said...

The gun is fine.

Michael Falk

Allabaster said...

This post is a great education, having only loaded rifle rounds, double loading the powder isn't really possible like with pistol loading.
I have found that the greatest danger, although i have not experienced it, is for a round to have no powder at all. This can cause the projectile to pop out of the case and into the rifling a short distance yet give the superficial look that it has been fired properly. Just from the power of the primer.
If the projectile is left in the barrel and another round is fired behind it, the whole rifle could explode. For this reason in my single stage lee press I run a flashlight over the top of the cases to inspect that a normal looking powder charge has been thrown at the end of the stage, but that is not really possible in a progressive press.

patrick kelly said...

Never had a double, did do a couple of squibs(primer, no powder) in 9mm using a Lee Loader, but fortunately I noticed the lack of usual kaboom and round in the chamber and did not blindly clear and chamber the next round, heh....that has its own problems...

First time I loaded .45 made a mental note about how it sure looked like you could double the powder. My carbine needs a good 5.3g of 231 with those 200g SWC rounds for consistent cycling, I think twice that would run over the top, haven't tried it to see.

Still got some Lee Loaders and the hand press, don't use them much now that I have a couple good bench mounted single presses. I've loaded a bunch of 9mm, .223, and even .303 with that hand press.....that's a workout, heh...


ajw308 said...

Nate, can you e-mail me the names of the excessive taxes and pending taxes that caused the South to attempt to seceed?

Thanks,
AJW308, it a yahoo.com account...

P.S. I'd appreciate help from anyone who knows the answer.

Anonymous said...

This was Nate's answer in the Love of Liberty post:

Was called the "American System". It was a heavy tariff system on exports... and since the South exported all kinds of raw material.. and the North didn't export a damned thing... it ended up just being on a tax on the south. - Nate

ajw308 said...

Thank you Anonomous

Giraffe said...

I have found that the greatest danger, although i have not experienced it, is for a round to have no powder at all. This can cause the projectile to pop out of the case and into the rifling a short distance yet give the superficial look that it has been fired properly. Just from the power of the primer.


My brother has done that. With a 300 Remington Ultra Mag. Of course you are expecting a big boom and a big kick. So when it doesn't happen you notice. I was right next to him and all I heard was a click. It pushed the bullet out of the case and it was stuck in the barrel. I'm not sure it was down the pipe far enough to allow chambering the next round but his hunting was over.

My uncle one time hunted with a guy that got so excited when they were shooting at a coyote he forgot to pull the trigger. My uncle asked him how come he never shot and he said he did. Turns out he just ejected all his unfired rounds out on the ground. So a squib with that kind of excitement would ruin your day.