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Checking for Incipient Case Head Separation?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Josh Smith, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Worst case scenario is a major KB. Think about this; you've got a cartridge rated at 55,000 psi and the case head seperates; guess how much pressure you've just released into your chamber and very close to your face. There is never any way to tell exactly what will happen; granted, most times the action will hold up, but sometimes not.
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    99% of the time the action will safely contain a casehead separation. most modern boltactions have vents either in the bolt or on the forward reciever ring to vent gas away from the shooter. But you will still likely get a face full of hot gas and maybe some singed eyebrows.

    Usually mechanical failure thats load related is resulted from a gross overcharged case or a barrel obstruction, and in some cases could be from shooting the wrong ammo in the weapon. Those are the cases that cause those horrendous burst barrel stories or the bolt blowing out of the reciever and killing the shooter.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  3. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    The only separations I have ever had have been on belted magnums being pushed way past where they were designed to go. I was doing load development for wildcats and a tiny bit of powder caused a huge difference in pressure. Wicked things happen when you are shooting stuff that is WAAAAAAAYYYYY overbore. I separated a .264 Win mag one time, but I blame that one on factory defective brass. A guy I shoot with has them all the time. He duplexes powder. I am not even brave enough to try to learn that stupid art.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  4. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    Case head failure is more common in belted magnums and is a really good reason to examine your brass. Most of the problem with the belted magnums is because you are not able to fl size all the way to the belt. Recently I started using a tool designed to eliminate that problem and hope to see better case life with my magnums. That said; I've reloaded some of my .300 win mag brass at least 8 times with absolutely NO signs of failure. It's all Nosler brass, and the pressures are within spec, but I do better with that rifle than I do with my two 7 mm rem mags. I have a Ruger No. 1 that I fear has some issues with headspace based on the number of failures.

    I had a case fail in that rifle several years ago. I was crosshairing a big hog at the time and the round did it's job, but my rifle was immediately rendered useless until I could get the case out of the chamber. a .30 caliber brush carefully inserted into the breech withdrew the brass without any problem.

    In the case of the belted magnums; the belt is there to contain pressure in the event of a failure. It's an artifact of the times. Brass was not as well made back then as it is now. Most rifles are designed to vent gases away from the shooter in the event of a case failure.
  5. whymememe

    whymememe Former Guest

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    When my unit at Benning was doing some 16 requalification, One of my friends had a 16 blow up in his face. He was O.K. but that 16 was obliterated. Here's my theory of what happened.

    I had noticed some of the boys taking the rounds apart and pouring out the powder. I thought they were just taking a souviner. I think one of these rounds got put in the magazine by accident. I think the primer pushed the ball part way into the barrel and when the next round went off the pressure blew up the side of the 16.

    Is this feasible?
  6. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    The belt is there for a reliable way of headspacing. It is designed to give absolute reliability in dangerous hunting applications. It is not obsolete by any means. I prefer belted cases for tactical type application. They are not as accurate as standard rimless when the conditions are perfect, but they are much more reliable across the spectrum of the enviornmental elements.
  7. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    Only if he cleared a "jam" on the round prior to the explosion.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Yes very possible, another good possibility would be that someone thought it would be funny to fill a round with powder plum to the casemouth and stuff a bullet back in there and put it back in the box so they could laugh at whoever got that round on re-qual day. Problem is I doint think they expected it to go kaboom the way it did.
  9. whymememe

    whymememe Former Guest

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    They were lucky, that the guy was right handed. It could have been very serious. It could been a manslaughter case.
  10. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    I found out by complete accident a way to tell where the solid part of the case head meets the hollow ...If you take a bit of 400 grit paper and burnish the outside case side about 1/4 to 3/8" from the head, the 'ring' will appear...This will work even on highly polished cases...

    I found this out by trying a piece of grit to see if a 'spot' on a case was a bit of corrosion or a small dent...rubbed the area and noticed the abrasion had brought out the ring...Tried on a number of other cases and it works....From the "For What its Worth Department".;)
  11. the wolf

    the wolf Member

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    from that pics you showing.. the one upside down.. I noticed on the bottom got a slight ring.. the other spent case.. got a ring ( the middle).. tell me I am right or wrong.... this something I am watching for but never knew what to look for.. I always track the amount time the brass case get reloaded.. after 5 or 6 times.. it goes to the brass recylce bin.
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