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Old September 24, 2012, 07:24 PM   #1
testuser
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Blown primers in .44 mag? Breach face cutting?

Ok, I took my new Henry Big Boy in .44 magnum to the range this weekend. Very nice rifle.

I tried three loads, but one in particular is causing me a little concern...

240 grain Remington JSP, 1.60 OAL 19.0 grains 2400, Winchester Large Pistol Primer in Remington Nickel Plated Brass. I fried 26 of these cartridges.

I've shot a lot of .44 mag in the last few years, but always with Blue Dot. This was the first time I tried 2400. Excellent accuracy in my rifle, no undo recoil. According to Alliant, I'm a full 2.0 grains under maximum.

I noticed a ring of dark soot around the primer pockets when I was sizing the brass, yesterday. I reloaded as usual and didn't notice anything different about the primer pockets. The primers went in without much effort, but aren't falling out.

Anyway, you guys probably already know the story. The primers were blown out of the pockets a little and hot gas was leak past them onto the bolt face, which pitted it slightly. I fished the spent primers out of the trash. Sure enough, some have a black ring around the primer and a few have a hair line crack on the edge of the primer cup. There are no other pressure signs.

This has me worried, so I checked every other gun I own. All are fine, except for a Glock 20, which also has some pitting around the breach face.

I've been using a Winchester Large Pistol Primer in this gun, with 10.2 grains of Blue Dot behind a 180 grain plated bullet. I can't remember how many I've sent down range, but easily 1,000 rounds plus. The pitting isn't too bad, but it's there.

So, I guess first thing is first. I'm going to need to disassemble the rounds I've produced, scavenge the brass and throw it in the trash.

I have bigger questions:

How do I prevent this from happening again?

I can obviously look for soot around the primer, sure, but once I see the soot, the damage has already been done.

When should I throw out my .44 magnum brass?

I've been discarding brass when the pocket is too loose to hold a primer or if it develops a crack. How loose is loose?

Or maybe I'm over reacting? Will the occassional pitting of the breach eventually destroy my rifle?
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Old September 24, 2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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I've had some trouble with Remington brass as well. Not sure why. I've also had some WLP primers crack - again not sure why. You've got a problem with the brass having loose primer pockets - and I wish I could tell you how it happens, but I can't. All I know is that I've more primer pocket issues with Remington than any other brand. Maybe somebody can weigh in with more experience.
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Old September 24, 2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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I agree it`s the brass ,only trouble I`ve had with leaky primers was with nickeled brass.
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Old September 24, 2012, 08:35 PM   #4
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Dump the nickel plated brass and switch to CCI 300 primers.
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Old September 24, 2012, 08:49 PM   #5
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Pretty much agree with Otto. Nickel plating can weaken brass, so I avoid it for warmer than target-to-medium loads, other than for the first firing, which can be full pressure as a rule. Its main advantage is corrosion resistance in a leather belt loop. Save loading nickel for safari or duty carry and other applications where you need weather resistance but are unlikely to recover the brass.

Winchester primer cups are not the hardest, IME. Usually OK, but since you are having trouble switch to the CCI magnum primer or to a Russian made Wolf or TulAmmo magnum primer to get a harder cup.

Increasing complaints about Remington and Winchester brass of recent manufacture being too soft are surfacing in various calibers. Outsourcing is being blamed. Bite the bullet an buy some new Starline brass. It has about half the weight variance of the big brands and is not too soft in the head. Currently on back order until October 17th, but I think you'll find it worth the wait.
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Old September 25, 2012, 12:32 AM   #6
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Bite the bullet an buy some new Starline brass. It has about half the weight variance of the big brands and is not too soft in the head. Currently on back order until October 17th, but I think you'll find it worth the wait.
But, order it through a retailer, not Starline.
You should be able to get a better deal, and have two avenues to explore... should something be wrong with the order.
(Been there. Done that. Won't deal with Starline directly, again.)



And, next time you're out shooting a new load....
Inspect the brass while you're testing. It helps prevent things like excessive gas cutting and erosion, if something is wrong with the load.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:07 AM   #7
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But, order it through a retailer, not Starline.
That is a matter of opinion. I've ordered all my brass directly with nary a problem.

Your load should not be a problem, so as above suspect the brass.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:13 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Starline 44 Mag brass, in stock:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/941...mington-magnum
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:27 AM   #9
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Gotta agree with those above who blame the brass. I've always viewed nickel plated brass as one time use only - from the factory.
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Old September 25, 2012, 05:09 PM   #10
testuser
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I've fired a lot of nickel plated brass without any issues, except for pre-mature splitting at the case mouth.

Agreed, though, there has to be someting wrong with the brass. I'll definitely replace it.

The other issue are the primers cups cracking. I think that's contributing to the problem, but we'll see. I'll load a few up with new brass and the same primers and see what happens.

If the primer cups crack again, then I'll go back to using my mid-range Blue Dot load for these primers (had no issue with these) and get some new primers for my 2400 reloads.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:08 PM   #11
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Brian buying from Starline is cheaper than Midway USA.
This is not to bad mouth Midway, I buy a lot of stuff from them but STARLINE has 44 mag for 160$ for 1000 compared to Midway for 209$ for 1000.
I know it’s on back order from Starline till 10/17/12 but I ordered a thousand from Starline about a month ago and the back order was for 2 weeks and I got them in about 3.
I agree with every one that Starline is great brass.
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Old September 28, 2012, 06:07 PM   #12
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I got away from Win primers due to differances inseating pressures,(one primer would almost fall out, replace it with another that would feel normal) seemed to always be at that point of feeling to easy for a good fit.After switching to CCI's that went away. < But> At that time it was Remington brass and most of the issues (I think)was the brass,some was the primers being a little smaller diameter than CCI's. I now don't bother with Rem brass unless no choice. I don't think Win primers are bad either, I just have been staying with mostly CCI with a couple bricks of Federals mixed in.
It is possible to use a sealer(like many factory loads) to help prevent leaking and get some more uses out of the brass, but I don't have much experiance with the stuff to garantee it.
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Old September 28, 2012, 08:17 PM   #13
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Cut the loads to 17.5 grains 2400 with a 240. This was Elmer Keith's load in the 44 Spl, I have shot this in 44 Magnum cases in pistols, it shoots well.

If the pockets in the brass have expanded, toss those cases. If the pockets are tight, I don't see a need to toss the cases right now.

Now I don't understand why you are having troubles with 20.0 grains 2400 as I have shot, without any pressure problems, 22.0 grains 2400 in my lever action.

But you are having pressure problems, so cut the loads and chronograph them. Shoot factory over the screens and try to figure out what is going on.


Code:
M1894 Marlin Ballard Barrel
			
			
240 Speer JHP 22.0 grs 2400 CCI 300		
21-Dec-01	T = 54  °F		
			
Ave Vel =	1747		
Std Dev =	21		
ES =	68		
Low =	1717		
High =	1785		
N =	7		
			
250 LSWC 21.8 grs 2400 little dandy rotor 26 Fed 150	
21-Dec-01	T = 54  °F		
			
Ave Vel =	1785		
Std Dev =	20		
ES =	79		
Low =	1729		
High =	1808		
N =	15	
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:07 AM   #14
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1+ Slamfire..you beat me to it...What surprises me though is the amount of time it took for anyone to come up with your answer!..every one was blaming plated cases, or primer defects.
It seems most people take what is printed in reloading manuals as something handed down by the hand of GOD...Instead of paying attention to what their firearm is trying to tell them!
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:44 AM   #15
Brian Pfleuger
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It's highly unlikely that load is over pressure and much more likely that the cases are to blame.

That load is no where near max published loads ANYWHERE. It would be one thing if one manual showed a higher load than others and you couldn't reach it without trouble but EVERY source I find says the max is well higher than 19.0gr

Lyman 49th says 20.5gr

Alliant says 21.0gr

QuickLoad says 20.7gr

Failures and "pressure signs" can be indicators of more than one thing. Just like I can blow Federal primers with any load I choose using Power Pistol in my 357sig when loads that are higher, lower and equal show no signs whatsoever with CCI primer.

I also have about 1 out 3 Speer nickle plated factory loaded cases crack at the neck on the FIRST firing. That's certainly not a pressure issue.

As a point of information, with default settings QuickLoad thinks 19.0gr 2400 under a 240gr Speer JSP would generate 28,581psi and 1,639fps from a 20" barrel, with friction calculations on.
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:51 AM   #16
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... not to mention that Slamfire apparently read the OP incorrectly since he said, "Now I don't understand why you are having troubles with 20.0 grains 2400 ...". Testuser said he was loading his rounds with 19.0 grains of 2400. Therefore, I don't see how he can say with any certainty, "But you are having pressure problems ...".
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Old September 29, 2012, 10:18 AM   #17
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A good test would be to load up 10 or more using regular brass,Like Winchester ect... but change nothing else, and see if the leak is still there.
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Old September 29, 2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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Could be a case of a tight chamber and the looseness of the lever action causing "dropped" primers and not blown. If the cases felt normal when being decapped, I'd suspect dropped primers as blown primers will almost fall out due to the pocket expansion. Lever actions because of their nature will often display excessive headspace issues. This is why many manuals recommend the use of virgin or once fired cases for max or near max loads only because of case stretch due to loose lockup.
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:25 PM   #19
243winxb
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WLP

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=586184 Gas leaking between the primer & brass may put a hole in the primer, same as a defective primer @ low pressure.
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:57 PM   #20
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The other common thing I see in both of these case(243winxb link+ this thread) is using 2400. Is it only happening with the 2400 and not say H110 or 4227 ? Something with the pressure curve or temp of 2400 that is overcoming these "weaker?" primers.
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Old September 29, 2012, 01:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
... not to mention that Slamfire apparently read the OP incorrectly since he said, "Now I don't understand why you are having troubles with 20.0 grains 2400 ...". Testuser said he was loading his rounds with 19.0 grains of 2400. Therefore, I don't see how he can say with any certainty, "But you are having pressure problems ...".
Quote:
Anyway, you guys probably already know the story. The primers were blown out of the pockets a little and hot gas was leak past them onto the bolt face, which pitted it slightly
I consider leaking primers a pressure problem, until proven otherwise. Leaking primers, blown primers, sticky extraction are positive indications of excessive pressures.

And the first thing anyone who experiences leaking primers, blown primers, or sticky extraction should do is to cut their loads.

AMU 600 yard brass



USMC 600 yard brass

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Old September 29, 2012, 03:23 PM   #22
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That was my instinct, too, but I'm already 10% under max listed on Alliant's website.

The load is a 240 grain JSP using 19.0 grains of 2400 at 1.60 OAL. The max charge is 21.0 grains. I've checked my uniflow over and over and it's throwing the correct charge. All the rounds I pulled were between 18.6 and 18.8 grains.

I had some new brass delivered the other day and primed that, these have a much more appropriate resistance when seating the primer.
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Old September 29, 2012, 03:39 PM   #23
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Slamfire, are those cases in your pics leaking AROUND the primers or poping a pinhole in them. That could very well be a indicator of a difference between high pressure and a bad primer. I do see leaking primers as a sign of too high pressures, but also that other things can(though less likely,yes) that may cause the same indicator, but not be above spec.
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Old September 29, 2012, 04:05 PM   #24
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Slamfire, are those cases in your pics leaking AROUND the primers or poping a pinhole in them.
Yes, and I culled the pierced primer rounds. A number of these rounds the pocket had enlarged to the point the primer fell out.

Quote:
I do see leaking primers as a sign of too high pressures, but also that other things can(though less likely,yes) that may cause the same indicator, but not be above spec
The probablity of a defective cup or case is much smaller than the probability of a leak caused by excessive pressure.

But, no pictures of this guy's cases, so my best guess is high pressure.
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