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Old December 26, 2008, 08:04 PM   #1
devilfrog
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Dirty primers

I fired off some test loads for my Savage 110FP in .30-06 today using IMR 4895 powder (45.5, 46.5 & 47.5 GR - 10 of each, the max is 49.0GR), Hornady 150 GR FMJ BT, LC brass, CCI 200 primers. I had 1-2 rounds of each load come out of the rifle with the base having black rings around the primer (see picture). There was no primer protrusion and the rounds shot fine, I've just never seen this before on any other loads I've done (been reloading a little over a year now).
Is this something normal or a warning sign?
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:10 PM   #2
oryx
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It can sometimes be a sign that a full size die is adjusted too far. The primers can actually back out releasing gases and when the case expands it then reseats the primer
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Old December 26, 2008, 09:17 PM   #3
rn22723
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Headspace issue? I think not, more like loose primer pockets with gas escaping around the primer.
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Old December 26, 2008, 10:16 PM   #4
dardascastbullets
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The head stamp of the cases in your photo are those of military manufacture. Did you by chance acquire these brass from someone else? And did they in some way prep the primer pockets? Did you notice when seating the primers that they went in with little force or a lot of force? It is my opinion that you have primer pockets that are or are not prepared properly. Check all the pockets and analyze them carefully. Is the crimp ring still present and maybe the primers were forced in? Or on the other hand, are the pockets too large and the primers are seating with little force as mentioned above?
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Old December 26, 2008, 10:57 PM   #5
Unclenick
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You must be using the Lee manual. That 49 grain maximum load appears there, but no place else I can think of. Lee collects its load data from other sources. QuickLOAD put the maximum for a military case and dead-nuts minimum chamber at closet to 53 grains. I went the Hodgdon site (they now distribute IMR) and, sure enough, their only 150 grain load, a Nosler BT, is has a listed maximum of 53 grains. The older Lyman data put 51.5 grains as a maximum, but shows a pressure below maximum for it (49KCUP), so I don't know why they give it as a maximum? In any event, I'm not trying to encourage you to up your loads, but rather am just verifying there is pretty much no way you are getting excess pressure even with your top load.

This is almost certainly a primer pocket problem, as Dardascastbullets described. If they were fired at excess pressure in a loose chamber originally, they could be loose. The headspace explanation is possible if the Savage had a previous owner who removed the barrel and didn't get it back on correctly (Savages have adjustable headspace by the way the barrel locking nut system works). A local gunsmith would be very likely to have the go-no go gauges to check that, or you could buy an RCBS Precision Mic or a Hornady Overall Length Gage with case headspace inserts to check the shoulder location on the fired, but not yet resized case as compared to a new, never fired or reloaded round of ammunition. They should be within 0.015" of each other, absolute worst case.
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Old December 27, 2008, 12:34 PM   #6
devilfrog
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I am the original owner of the Savage, the brass is Lake City 1969 I shot once and reloaded once. After measuring the primer pocket it seems they are slightly larger than the other casings in the same batch. Probably my fault, may have reamed them a little too hard.
Thanks for all the input!
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Old December 28, 2008, 12:36 PM   #7
steve4102
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It may be possible that a Large or loose primer pocket may do this. I personally have never seen a loose primer pocket load do this. I have, on many occasions seen under charged loads give similar results. You are well below Hodgdons "start" load. Bring the load up to what Hodgdon considers safe or switch to a different powder. What ever you decide to do refrain from loading below Min. It can be more dangerous than loading above max.

Last edited by steve4102; December 29, 2008 at 12:56 PM.
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Old December 28, 2008, 01:09 PM   #8
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I think you meant to say refrain from loading below MIN? I would add the caveat that this applies mainly to slow rifle powders. I've shot lots of plinkers that were way below manual pressures. They only disaster I am aware of was a detonation incident, but that was with a way, way low load, like under 3 grains of pistol powder in a .308 case. 8 or 9 grains of Unique with a 100 grain half-jacket plinker bullet, though, is great in the .308 or in the '06.

Devilfrog,

It sounds like you've found your answer. Steve is correct that a normal loose primer pocket, as from case head expansion, won't generally vent gas, but it sounds to me like you may have wobbled your reaming so the sides of your primer pockets are a conical taper, and not straight. That could render them OK to hold the primer in when it is all the way into the pocket, but fall-out loose when it backs up a little in firing. Wobbling the pocket into an oval profile could also encourage gas venting.

I don't know what case trimmer you use, but take a look at the L.E. Wilson (Sinclair, Bruno, Midway). They have a primer pocket profiling cutter for the tool that does a beautiful job, and because the tool keeps the case coaxial with the cutter, no conical taper can result. A swaging tool is another option, but while I like those for pistol, I'm not such a fan for rifle cartridges that need to be accurate. The swager raises the brass around the primer pocket slightly which can make boltface thrust uneven on the first shot after swaging. It also often has to be done a second time because that first shot pushes some of that raised brass back where it came from. So you end up with two loading cycles you can't count of for peak accuracy. It's too expensive to waste loading cycles these days.
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Last edited by Unclenick; December 28, 2008 at 01:15 PM.
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Old December 29, 2008, 01:03 PM   #9
steve4102
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Quote:
I think you meant to say refrain from loading below MIN?
Thanks Nick, I fixed that.

Sounds like you may have the answer there Nick. If the pockets are truly deformed then the best way to find out is bring those loads up to Hodgdon's levels and see if the problem still exists. If so, then the brass is junk and should be tossed. If not, it could be the low pressure load.
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