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Old June 23, 2013, 04:43 PM   #1
shurshot
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Blown primer??

So I'm sighting in my Remington 700 BDL .270 / Nikon 3X9 BDC today, and I decided to rotate old stock ammo. In this case, brand new (20 years ago), 130 grain ammo by a well known US ammunition Company. I bought several boxes of this brand, same lot, back in the early 90's after I discovered how wonderful they worked on woodchucks.
So I'm firing my 2nd round... WHAM! My mild .270 rifle bellows and whacks me in the glasses, odd I thought, as my .270's never kick like that.
The bolt won't open. I mean it is JAMMED. So after 5 min of banging on the bolt with my hand (HARD),it opens Ok, now the bolt draws back hard and the brass feels like its WELDED to the bolt face. I had to use a leatherman tool to pry it out. Rim was damaged, blackened, primer floating around, etc. Bolt appeared ok (Thank the Good Lord for Remington's 3 rings of steel protecting me!), and after switching ammo and using newer stock, the rifle functioned and sighted in 100% perfect. Scared the hell out of me though! This was factory ammo too, not reloads.
I am going to call the Company Monday and see if I can send the brass and remaining ammo back and swap it in, as it's all from the same lot, case, etc.
Anyone else ever have this happen?
If it had ruined my rifle, I would have been mad, but this Remington is one strong gun.

Last edited by shurshot; June 25, 2013 at 03:58 AM.
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Old June 23, 2013, 05:38 PM   #2
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Did the first bullet leave the barrel?
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Old June 23, 2013, 05:43 PM   #3
shurshot
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Yes, it left the barrel. I was shooting one bullet at a time, and checking the target in between shots, as I was adjusting my scope.
I'm guessing there was extra powder in that case. Just a hunch. Any other guesses???
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Old June 23, 2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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Improper storage conditions or just plain old age. Read about one guy who kept a box of 270 in the glove box of his truck. After about five years of being there he had the same experience as you when he touched off a round of his "factory" ammo.

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Old June 23, 2013, 10:14 PM   #5
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That much difficulty with extract and removing the case from the bolt indicates that something greatly in excess of a blown primer took place.

What you describe is indicative of a significant over-pressure event - just not quite enough to disassemble the rifle.
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Old June 25, 2013, 03:46 AM   #6
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Ok, so I called Remington (ammo was early 90's vintage 130 grain Rem bronze point). They only back their ammo for 10 years (expected shelf life according to Remington). Note* I kept this ammo in a cool, dry place, sealed in a US Military ammo can for the past 2 decades. I have ammo from the 50's and 60's that still shoots fine. I guess with gunpowder, it's like rolling dice.
So, I'm glad the rifle is a Remington, as it was strong enough to take the hit without any damage, otherwise it would be my dime (and hide). I had our armorer (LEO), check it out as well. The bolt face appears ok, and I pulled the firing pin, ok as well. Damn strong rifle.
That brass was warped near the rim, I hate to guess what the PSI was, I'm betting well over 80,000 PSI, given how stiff that bolt was to open. If I can get a photo posted, I will.
Now I have several boxes of old .270 ammo to dispose of, as I'm not going to shoot it through my cherished 700 BDL anymore. At least the brass is still good and my right hand is still attached to my arm!
Time to go out and stock up on .270's!!!

Last edited by shurshot; June 25, 2013 at 03:56 AM.
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Old June 25, 2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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My question is: Did you check the bore before firing to make sure it was clean and smooth, not fouled or rusty? A bit of rust in the bore can cause high pressures.

Many moons ago, I left my .22-250 Rem in a closet with a dirty bore. We did that often to assure consistent POI during varmint season. I forgot, and didn't inspect it until winter, when I almost couldn't see through it, much less get a rod through it.

After much oil-soaking, I managed to get a rod through it and finished cleaning it, but it was seriously pitted. Fortunately, it didn't affect accuracy, but I worried about fouling, so got rid of it.
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Old June 25, 2013, 10:34 AM   #8
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I have not had that happen with factory ammo, but had leaking primers with 30 year old hand loads in a 300 WM. I pulled a bullet to see if the charge was OK, and it was.
However, I had much difficulty pulling the bullet, and found that the bullet and case were almost welded together due the carbon residue in the case mouth.

I set my seater die so that it would just move the bullet. When it did there was a pop, an indication of the "seal" being broken. End of problem.

Now when I use old handloads I always do the same and sometimes old ammo will pop.
If case necks are very clean the problem does not occur.

I doubt that is the problem with the old factory rounds, but have had high pressure, demonstrated by very difficult bolt lift, when firing OLD GI 30-06 ammo

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Old June 25, 2013, 10:46 AM   #9
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Please post pictures if you can. It will help in discussions about the shelf life of ammunition.

Gunpowder is deteriorating from the day it leaves the factory. It is a high energy compound that is breaking down to a low energy compound. The rate of deterioration is directly related to heat, temperatures above 100 F will reduce the lifetime of powder by decades. Old gunpowder is tested by the military for stability (one test) by sticking it in a 150 F oven and if the powder fumes red nitric acid gas in 30 days, it is scrapped.

What I have been told is that the "rule of thumb" for powder kept around 70F is 20 years for double based and 45 years for single based. Of course there are people firing much older ammunition, some almost 100 years, but occasionally the deteriorated gunpowder in these old rounds creates burn rate instability problems and that blows up the fire arm.

Given that the gunpowder in your rifle was decades old, maybe poor quality control when it was made, aged faster than expected, you had a weird erratic pressure curve during combustion, causing an overpressure event.
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Old June 25, 2013, 06:12 PM   #10
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Picher; Yes, bore was / is like a mirror. The rifle is a MINT early 80's BDL 700. No rust or pitting. She is one sexy rifle, it was love at first sight... The high gloss wood and rich, deep blue steel.... MMmmmmm!!!!
I'll get pictures loaded if I can figure it out.
It was close to 90 on Sunday in Maine, and humid. The ammo has been stored correctly, but, after all, it HAS been 20 years or so. I know my knees are not the same as they were 2 decades ago, so I guess I can't expect the ammo to fair any better. It just caught me off guard, as I stock up on (and shoot), old ammo, and NEVER had any issue. I guess I need to rotate my supply more often...
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Old June 28, 2013, 01:51 PM   #11
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That ammo should still be good in another 30 years if it's store like you said.

I'm betting it was an overcharged round or the brass was cut too long. Make millions of rounds and see if you don't get a bad one now and then....
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Old June 29, 2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Remington called me back 2 days later and offered to replace the ammo, so I'm happy with that. I'll send them the "old" stuff (all from the same lot), and bulged brass case, so they can test the rest, or pull the bullets, etc.

Inspector3711; Yes, I agree. I have tons of old ammo that works fine, and I shot an awful lot of old vintage shells growing up... and never had any issues. Remington cranks out a high volume of ammo, and it's pretty high quality stuff. It happens. Hey, no one was hurt and my rifle is fine (another testimony to what a strong action the model 700 has), and I'm still a huge fan of "made in the USA" Remington products. I would still trust 20-40 year old Remington ammo (aside from this lot), before I would some of the fresh imported crap I have seen for sale at gun shows recently.

Last edited by shurshot; June 29, 2013 at 12:11 PM.
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Old June 29, 2013, 05:15 PM   #13
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I have an 80's Rem 700 and they were probably the best ever made. Mine shot super well as a .22-250 and almost as well now as a .243 Win. Prior models had stamped checkering and newer models, though matted for reduced reflection, don't look as good to me.

If the bore was/is clean, it had to be the ammo, especially if it spent a lot of time in temps over 80*, like in a hot vehicle.

You're a fellow Maine-iac, but it can't be the shooter. LOL
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Old June 29, 2013, 05:24 PM   #14
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Jerry M:
Quote:
I set my seater die so that it would just move the bullet. When it did there was a pop, an indication of the "seal" being broken.
I have observed the same situation and found that the ammo in question didn't group well, because there were different degrees of adhesion among rounds. After turning the seater stem in a few thousands and freeing bullets, the ammo went back to it's former accuracy level.

Now, I'm more careful to clean the insides of case necks on fired brass to avoid the problem with ammo I don't intend to shoot for an extended period.
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Old June 30, 2013, 02:27 PM   #15
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Hi Picher,

It made me more careful also. I really had rather use new cases when I load my hunting ammunition, but that is not always possible.
Groups will not be good with that situation. Thanks.
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Old July 6, 2013, 12:21 PM   #16
shurshot
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Photos...

Ok, lets see if these pics load...

The brass was slightly expanded near the rim. I had to use a Leatherman tool to pull it out from the bolt face, it was jammed in there so tight. Bolt had bits of brass in it, but cleaned good, appears & functions fine.

Anyhow, fired shell and remaining ammo is in route back to AK / Remington for examination.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 002.jpg (226.3 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg 003.jpg (220.4 KB, 58 views)
File Type: jpg 008.jpg (221.3 KB, 57 views)

Last edited by shurshot; July 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM.
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Old July 6, 2013, 01:06 PM   #17
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Most of blown primers is generally a BOXER primers issue. Boxer primers are weaker than the Berdan primers. Boxers are lesser of the value (although easy to reload but only 10% of us reload). Berdan primed rounds are crimped unlike the Boxer primers. Given a choice, I always use Berdan primers for my PTRs and G3 rifles. I never use steel case ammo either.
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Old July 6, 2013, 01:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Most of blown primers is generally a BOXER primers issue. Boxer primers are weaker than the Berdan primers. Boxers are lesser of the value (although easy to reload but only 10% of us reload). Berdan primed rounds are crimped unlike the Boxer primers. Given a choice, I always use Berdan primers for my PTRs and G3 rifles. I never use steel case ammo either.
Your opinion is appreciated, but a bit off the mark.
Boxer primers can also be crimped, and the cups use metal of nearly identical thickness for the same applications.

Regardless of your preferences....


Those photos show a case that saw a significant overpress event, not a primer issue. Case heads don't flow like that until you're pushing in excess of 75k-80k psi.

Although it is possible for something like that to occur with factory loads, my money would be on a barrel obstruction (like a cleaning patch or small piece of a broken plastic jag).
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Old July 6, 2013, 01:51 PM   #19
shurshot
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True, perhaps I should have re-titled this thread "Over Pressure Load", instead of Blown Primer (although this primer was blown out, as you can see).
It figures, I find a great woodchuck round (I'm talking EXPLOSIVE! ), stock up on ammo, hoard it away in an ammo can, and 2 decades later, it goes bad. Well, one round did anyhow.
I am going to stock up on some fresh Remington ammo this summer and tuck that away. I'll just start cycling my old ammo a bit sooner, perhaps every 10 years.
No barrel obstruction, as I had already fired a few rounds PRIOR to this high pressure one, as I was sighting in my new Nikon Buckmaster scope. I keep my weapons clean and am very careful, so I'm positive there was nothing in the bbl.

Last edited by shurshot; July 6, 2013 at 02:15 PM.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:40 PM   #20
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Another picture. Primer appears flanged out slightly. Base of cart. is COOKED.
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Old July 6, 2013, 03:33 PM   #21
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The fact that Remington called back and agreed to replace the ammo tells me something. Just out of curiosity, did you give them the lot number for that batch of ammo? Could it have been a lot that was recalled because of pressure problems. Many times, they say, "Pressure in some of the cartridges have been shown to be excessive." or something similar. Looking at the belt on that cartridge I'd guess whoever said pressure was probably 90,000 PSI was close to being spot on although I'm inclined to think it might be higher.
It sure is a graphic testimony to the strength of the M700 Remington though.
Dunno if you can do a google search for recalled ammo in the period 1989 to 1999 but it might be interestig to see if your ammo is listed, should you find such a listing.
If you can find a copy of "Principles and Practice of Loading Ammunition" by Earl C. Naramore, about the ffirst hald dof he book covers how factory ammo is loaded and the rest on loading ammo yourself. It is a bit dated but other than the process of cartridges being charged by an automated method, it would surpise me if it was all that much different. A lot of the reloading info is also dated but quite handy. I once said anyone who wanted to handload ammo should read that book. I haven't changed my mind. problem is finding a copy.
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Old July 6, 2013, 06:46 PM   #22
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The bullet probably fuzed (bonded) to the case, and caused much higher pressures. That's why you see that black goo on military ammo, it is not just for lubrication. It is even more prevalent with reloads than factory ammo, be careful of that stuff you loaded 10 years ago...
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Old July 9, 2013, 06:55 AM   #23
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This can not happen to anyone else, I was testing a rifle and ammo from an inheritance, I pulled the trigger, nothing but the ‘click’, about 10 seconds later, ‘BAM’, somewhere else it could have sounded like bang.

That would seem irresponsible to some but, I shook the case and could feel powder moving in the case before chambering. I then shook all of the cases and found some cases had loose powder and others didn’t.

I put all of that project away and started on other projects. When I returned home I pulled the ammo down, some of the powder was caked in the case head end, other cases had powder caked in the opposite end. The powder had to be chiseled out, again this could not have happened to the OP, but, had I chambered one of the cases with the powder caked behind the bullet and fired it, the rifle would have been rendered scrap.

I was told he owner of the rifle had his ammo loaded by a custom type reloader, I do not know what that had to do with the caked powder, I can only guess the primer was not sealed in the case head and the bullet did not seal the opposite end.

I can not see powder getting better as it gets older and begins to come apart.

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Old July 23, 2013, 07:22 PM   #24
shurshot
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Remington sent me a letter and is replacing the ammunition, even though it is 2x as old as they guarantee (10 years on ammo, & this is 1990 vintage ammo, according to code on box). I'm pretty happy with Big Green! A Stand up Company!
I was just shooting my BDL yesterday (with newer ammo). Wow! What a tack driver!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing like squeezing off perfect shot after perfect shot! Remington 700 BDL .270 and a Nikon Buckmaster 3X9X40 BDC... what a Sweet combination!
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Old July 23, 2013, 07:47 PM   #25
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You're really lucky there wasn't any damage to the rifle... I agree with others that this was probably a recalled lot or they wouldn't replace it. Could be wrong but it sure sounds likely...

I had an acquaintance that bought a box of Rem .270 about that time and one of the rounds had the brass pushed back almost to the shoulder on one side. Like it caught on the case mouth on the way into the crimp die. I was with him when we took them back to the store and we insisted that the only reason we were returning them was so that the box would be shipped back to Remington. I don't know if they did or not but they did give him a new box of ammo even though he had shot 4 or 5 rounds from that box.

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