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Old April 9, 2005, 11:27 PM   #1
Kayser
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Yikes! Huge flash hole after reloading!

I finally got around to examining my first set of 50 reloaded rounds, post firing. As I was running them through the resizer, I noticed one round that I picked up had some pretty good scorching on it. Upon further examination I found that it had a hugely enlarged flash hole. Shown here next to a normal round for comparison





Only one round was like this, but I did some more inspection of the remaining rounds and found a bunch that had what looked to be "cupping" on the inside of the flash hole. Sticking a pencil in there, I could definitely feel that these little "craters" seemed to be metal. As if the primer had caused some of the brass in the hole to melt upwards a bit.



Now, this can't be good. Thing is, none of these rounds felt odd at all when firing. The load itself (5.4 gr Unique) felt quite light compared to standard WWB. I'm using WLP primers as specified in the Hornady manual.

What the heck is going on here? Is that huge flash hole just a fluke (keep in mind, this was the first reload on those rounds)? What about the other slightly cupped ones?
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Old April 9, 2005, 11:36 PM   #2
novus collectus
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I can't really tell from the pictures. Which way is up when you said it appeared to melt upwards? Up towards the base, or the mouth?
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Old April 9, 2005, 11:39 PM   #3
Kayser
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Up from the primer towards the mouth of the bullet. As in the direction of the primer blast.
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Old April 9, 2005, 11:43 PM   #4
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hmmmm. A mystery to me. I can't wait to hear what the experienced reloaders have to say.
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Old April 10, 2005, 12:10 AM   #5
Mal H
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I wouldn't worry a lot about the enlarged hole. I'd bet real good money that it was like that before you loaded the round, you just didn't notice it at that time. The hole was probably caused by a defective punch at the factory. At first I thought you might have had an NT (non-toxic) brass case in the lot which does have an enlarged hole by design, but it doesn't appear that is the case. It will change the ballistics of that particular round slightly, so you can discard it if you wish. I wouldn't.

The 'cratering' you noticed on the inside of some cases is normal for mass produced brass. It is the small flaps of brass (for lack of a better term) left when the punch makes the hole. Some reloaders remove it with a flash hole uniformer which simply grinds down the metal surrounding the flash hole inside the case. For general use brass, that isn't necessary.
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Old April 10, 2005, 02:18 AM   #6
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Throw that one round away as the enlarged primer hole can change the burn rate of the powder which will cause pressure problems and blown primers. As for the rest I see no problems.
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Old April 10, 2005, 06:39 AM   #7
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We used to open up the flash hole to shoot rubber bullets. No powder,just to let as much primer gas through as possible to push the rubber ones out. Pretty accurate indeed. DO NOT use them to reload with lead or copper jacketed bullets. If you find them,squeeze the case mouth shut and discard them.
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Old April 10, 2005, 07:21 AM   #8
Kayser
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Mal: I'm 99.99% sure it wasn't like that when I first reloaded it. I was ultra meticulous doing my first rounds and I'm positive I wouldn't have missed that.

That case with the big hole definitely had an extra large amount of scorching on the outside, which tells me it definitely fired differently. What might have happened - lower pressure round the mouth to not expand properly? I would have thought the larger flash hole (caused during this firing or not) would cause higher pressure.

But, as usual, thanks for the advice fellas!
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Old April 10, 2005, 08:06 AM   #9
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It had to have been larger to begin with. Look at the hole. It's perfectly round. That was machined.
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Old April 10, 2005, 08:18 AM   #10
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That's the basis of my opinion also, Dogjaw. I don't see how in the world a primer or any load is going to produce such a perfect flash hole. Why don't we see it more often?

Kayser - A point on the scorching you noticed. In general when you see scorching around a case after firing, it usually means the pressure was lower than it should have been, not higher. The case fails to expand enough to create a seal in the chamber and gases leak around it causing the burn marks. You'll see it all the time with "cowboy loads" in .45 Colt.
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Old April 10, 2005, 08:24 AM   #11
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Because screw ups or puposely altered brass is rare?????? Where did the brass come from originally? New ammo, remanufactured ammo, reloaded ammo, picked up at the range?
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Old April 10, 2005, 09:51 AM   #12
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Was this virgin brass, "once fired" or range pickup?

I think Mal was right the first time and don't know why he changed his mind.
The large flashhole is characteristic of first generation Winchester NT ("unleaded") ammo. Very common in mixed fired brass, maybe an uh-oh at the factory. They have since gone to a small primer mutation.

Winchester says they are good for reloading with normal ACP data.
But you now have to be careful to sort out the small primer NTs.

5.4 grains of Unique (230 grain bullet?) is a very mild .45 ACP load and could lead to "smoking" the brass as Mal says.
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Old April 10, 2005, 10:39 AM   #13
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I bet I know what happened there, as I've had this exact same condition happen to me, with lots of shells, all because of something I was doing back in my "experimental" days of reloading.

The crater you speak of and show in your pics looks like somebody trimmed the flash holes with a flash hole trimming tool. Nothing wrong with doing that, except it really ain't gonna' help with handgun cartridges - rifle: yes, handgun: no.

Well, lemme' tell ya what those thin flash holes look like after blasting a white-hot primer through there - they look just like your pic with that man-hole sized flash hole. It just burns away what's left of that thin area of brass. This was probably due to trimming the flash holes a little too much, but regardless, trimming the holes will most certainly accelerate the condition.

Although shooting brass like this likely won't create any issues, I decided to garbage the few I had just to be safe, and chalk it all up to experience.

P.S. - Are those Winchester white-box rounds? If so, they're known to be one of the cheapest, thinest brass rounds out there for reloading, and people tend to shy away from them because of problems like premature brass splitting and the like...
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Old April 10, 2005, 11:00 AM   #14
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I have another theory. The factory stamping (or forming?) machine had a hiccup and the brass around that punch (or shape-former?) snagged on on the punch (shape former?) and following the punch down, and then back up when it is retracted, weakenning the brass in a larger circle but leaving the crumpled brass in a circular pile. The primer just blew out the weakend protion of the circle. This may be why you saw it to be normal when you reloaded. Also, it may explain the increased scorching in the primer pocket. The crumpled (creased) circle of brass may also have not been level, thereby keeping the primer up a fraction more than a properly seated primer. That is why you do not see the "shadow" of the anvil because there was too much room between the rest of the anvil and the remaining base of the pocket. It is possible (?) that the crumpled brass circle was touching the center of the anvil because it was crumpled up at that point and this is how the anvil had something to be pushed againnst. Too bad you don't have pictures of the used primer as well.

The fact that your other cases have rough tool marks, cratering and bending, on the other cases leads me to beleive that this theory is a possibility

Just a wild guess.
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Old April 10, 2005, 01:27 PM   #15
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Jim - I didn't change my mind. My second post was only a confirmation that a primer or load couldn't cause the enlarged hole phenomenon. I still think it was like that before he reloaded it.
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Old April 10, 2005, 04:34 PM   #16
Kayser
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Yep, this is all WWB. These rounds are after firing the first reloads. I was pretty careful to make sure I picked up only my own ammo, but I suppose I could have picked up an errant one. As for not noticing the flash hole - yeah, I just can't imagine missing it.

Nonetheless, I've got 200 or so more reloads ready to roll using the same source brass, so I'll keep an eye out.

Thanks for the tip on WWB being slightly thin. I'll keep that in mind.
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Old April 11, 2005, 08:46 AM   #17
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Perfect picture of NT brass......
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Old April 11, 2005, 10:44 AM   #18
Robert M Boren Sr
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I agree with hal, no matter how carefull I am in my reloading, I still find myself saying how did I let that one get by. But in this case you wouldn't know until you reloaded it. I have a chrony, so what I would do is set it aside and load it up and shoot it through a chrony to see if the velocities are around the same. If so put it back in the bunch and enjoy.
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Old April 11, 2005, 10:58 AM   #19
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Wait till you try to decap a Berdan with a Boxer die...

That is a WinClean or whatever the trademark is. Larger flash hole. Need to inspect brass and toss out the ones that are different. HTH
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Old April 11, 2005, 10:58 AM   #20
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Looks like a piece of Winclean brass. I wonder if it got mixed up with WWB brass at the factory...

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Old April 11, 2005, 07:28 PM   #21
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I agree with mtnbkr, I got some of this stuff mixed in with my brass while policeing my brass. The win clean had a cold primer so to counter this they enlarged the flash hole. The NT brass mentioned earlier is easy to stot as it has a small primer pocket.

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Old April 14, 2005, 12:12 AM   #22
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Both winclean and win NT both have non-standard primer flash holes.
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Old April 15, 2005, 06:10 PM   #23
Paul B.
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I've got a whole bunch of brass with those larger flash holes. Winchester says you can use them with standard loading data for the .45 ACP, no problem. However, Winchester also advises that the ones stamped WIN NT 45ACP should not be reloaded. It is not that the brass is deficient in any manner, but the primer pocker made for the small pistol primer, rather than the standard large pistol primer. Should one of those cases get mixed up wityh regular 45 cases and you try to put that large primer in that small pocket, well it won't be pleasant. However, you can reload them using a small pistol primer should you so desifre. I have a Colt combat Commander that won't shoot worth a tinker's damn with anything. Yet, when I loaded up the few small primer pocketed 45 cases I had on hand with my normal target load of 5.0 gr. of W-231 and a 200 gr. SWC, that gun shot the tightest groups it has ever given me. No pressure problems and they worked just fine.
I would say that if one has a couple of hundred or so of them, go ahead and load them being careful to keep them separated. If you have only a few, crush them with a pliers and toss them.
If the larger flash holes bother you, go ahead and toss them, but IMHO they're OK to load and shoot.
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