Newbie and Mistake

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by CBirnley, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    Well by the title, you know how this is going to go...on the plus side, I can still type, which means this mistake could have been MUCH worse...

    I am looking for feedback on what went wrong with a reload.

    I am new to reloading, watched Hornady's videos (having purchased their AP LnL, watched YouTube vids with Hornady footage, went to the Hodgdon site, measured the powder (tared with the pan), verified several times I was throwing the correct amt of powder (measured and Powder Copped) measured the C.O.L (multiple times), spoke with a friend who has several years of experience (verified that I was doing everything correctly), and was VERY VERY LUCKY! I am NOT a fan of relying on luck...

    .40 XDm
    CCI small primer
    .40 Winchester case (either was new or only once fired)
    155 Gr JHP Remington
    Hodgdon Titegroup (5.4 grs - starting load)

    Pics are attached...this mistake was way too close to be tragic...

    What happened? and how do I ensure to NEVER do this again?

    Attached Files:

  2. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    Is it posibal that you put the primer in the wrong way?
  3. rcairflr

    rcairflr Active Member

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    If everything you said is true, than this should not have happened. The powder charge is within the safe limits.

    Are you absolutely sure, you did not throw a double charge of powder into that case.
  4. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 New Member

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    Ouch............I am glad you aren't hurt. That is my reloading nightmare.
  5. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

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    Was this the first round that you fired? If not, approx how many rds fired before this one? Did any sound "funny" or feel differently? Reg or mag primers (can't imagine making that much of difference). Any chance there was something in the bbl? Did you physically look in the cases after powder charging for any that looked strange?
  6. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    Gun-nut: I didn't think I could do that with an AP. My assumption is that the Loader would only load in the correct orientation.

    Rcairflyer: I would have thought the Powder Cop would have caught it. As nervous as I was about this being my first batch of rounds...anything is possible, but man, I even recall weighing the finished round and they were fairly close.

    Jlloyd73: yeah, well hopefully I'm done with this experience. I will say that firing the next round of reloads will be uhmmmm, well the pucker factor will be high.

    Frog top: I had fired about 28 rounds prior to this event and felt no issues. Regular primers...as for the barrel, there was nothing in it afterword. In the one pic, you can see the case inside the barrel and in another pic (with the toothpick) you can see the base of the case (sorry for not knowing the technical term). It appears as though the case base separated from the case, causing all the pressure to build up and take the path of least resistance. Mi did not look I the cases, but probably weighed every other round...,again, being new and nervous.

    I need to find out what I did wrong and get back on the bike, horse, motorcycle, whatever mode of transportation you choose.

    Thank you for your thoughs...keep'em coming. Oh and btw, had I not had my shooting glasses on...this could have gone REALLY bad, I felt the blast.
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    Rapid fire or slow fire? Was the previous round a squib that caused an obstruction in the barrel???
  8. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    Gdmoody: it was under a rapid fire situation. If a squib was the issue, would it and the next bullet remain in the barrel? As I'm new, a squib is a result of an underpowered load, correct?
  9. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    .
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  10. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    76Highboy: no to the manipulation or moving the case back a step. Regarding the Titegroup, I will try a double load and see if it spills over or not, if not, I would have thought the Powder Cop would have shown the larger load? I did not check the headspace, however I did ensure the COL was correct on about every other load.

    Thank you for the feedback and keep it coming!
  11. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    If is were a squib load, the squib bullet would have left the brass and lodged in the barrel (could have gone half an inch or it could have gone three inches). The next cartridge, being of full power, the bullet would have hit the obstruction and blow the barrel. After looking at the pictures closer, that really doesn't look like the results of a squib load, it looks like a catastrophic failure of the brass itself!!

    I have had squib loads myself, but I never fire in such a rapid fire that I don't hear every round going off and have always caught it before sending a second bullet down the barrel.

    Was the bullet still in the barrel or in the piece of brass after this happened?
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  12. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    Gdmoody: There was no bullet in either the barrel or brass. It does appear that the base of the brass gave away. I am fairly certain that the brass left the barrels on both rounds.

    Weird deal...
  13. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Look at the brass that you have shot that was in that batch. Does it appear that the primers appear to be flat and partially extruded from the head of the case? Any that appear flat and extruded, or just dont look right, take a pic of them and post them. A flat primer is a sign of head space issues.

    C.O.L. and head spacing are two different issues. From what I understand, and someone correct me if I am wrong, you can have C.O.L. and still have head space issues. Head space issues can cause dangerous situations like this.
  14. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member

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    How about a weak crimp allowing the bullet to be pushed back in the case raising pressures?
  15. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Great question. Measure the C.O.L. of the ones you have not shot. Are they shorter than they should be?
  16. JasonS

    JasonS New Member

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    glad your hand is ok bud.
  17. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    76highboy and todd51: I will measure the remaining rounds and check the primers (post pics). As for the crimp..I think I have it adjusted as per the video as well as manuals...obviously something went wrong and I greatly appreciate your input. I will post pics in the AM.
  18. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    JasonS: ya, I cannot believe how fortunate I was. If my mistake can help prevent this issue for someone else, then some good will come out of this event. Again..I was so lucky.
  19. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member

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    I set my crimp dies per instructions and also measure the completed crimped round to see what the crimp measures. But I also randomly check by placing the nose of the bullet against the edge of my bench and pushing on the case to see if the bullet can easily be set back into the case. I have had this happen at times and it requires more adjustment on the crimp die to increase the crimp but you still have to measure as you can over due the crimp too. You will develop a feel when crimping and occasionally a different case thickness will make things seem easier than normal and when that happens it gets checked to make sure it got the needed crimp. With a weak crimp the bullet could be pushed deeper in the case when it goes through the cambering process. Check some of the left over unfired rounds to see if they have a good crimp.
  20. CBirnley

    CBirnley Member

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    Todd51: thank you for the suggestions...I will give them a try tomorrow evening. So much to learn...
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