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Old April 14, 2005, 09:04 AM   #1
tjhands
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SERIOUS MISTAKE! Check this out....

Hi, fellas.

I've been reloading for only a couple months, and I want to thank all of you for helping me in EVERY aspect of the hobby. I've learned a lot, but I messed up a batch of rounds. I went out to the range to shoot some .357's and some .45ACP's that I loaded with mid-range powder weights. Was testing my new guns: a S&W 1911 and a Taurus 605 snubby. I was told to expect harsh recoil with the snubnose but was SHOCKED at the painful bite. When I went to cock the hammer for the next round, I found a locked cylinder, which later opened for me. I thought Taurus had let me down and decided to try the loads in my Dan Wesson, which I was SURE could handle them. Another huge BOOM! and another locked cylinder. I was positively positive that I had checked and rechecked the powder weights, so I was certain that I hadn't made a mistake.
I set the .357's aside and loaded up the .45ACP. I shot 3 rounds and stopped. The recoil was tremendous and I had a FTF. I picked up the empty brass, took one look at it and skeedaddled the hell outta there. (Take a look at the attached pic of the spent brass......I was scared poopless when I saw it). I checked my scale and powder measure when I got home. All was consistent and weighed perfectly.
I was DEJECTED! I couldn't figure out what had gone wrong. It HAD to be the scale. Then it dawned on me. My nephews had been over last week. All my guns were put away, but the reloading room was open and they were fascinated with it. I called my sis and asked her to ask the kids if they had played with the scale. They admitted that yes, they were weighing things on it.
They had turned the adjuster dial on my Lee Safety Scale forward enough so that it was waaaaaay off. It was weighing waaaay too light. I started a thread on here yesterday asking people to weigh a dime for me so I could check the weight on my own scale. The average weight for the posters on that thread was 35.2 grain. My scale read 30 grains! I was weighing my powder at about 2 full grains heavier than it should have been!!! I am so friggin lucky I didn't blow up my guns or my face. I have learned a HUGE lesson here to get a set of check weights and use them every time I reload. I messed up big time.
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Old April 14, 2005, 09:10 AM   #2
Edward429451
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Don't you rezero your scale before you begin? (betcha will now!)

I rezero mine if I just get up and walk away to go to the bathroom and return. Heck the dog could've bumped it etc. Some think I'm anal about it but I don't. Glad you're ok.
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Old April 14, 2005, 09:28 AM   #3
tjhands
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Nope, I didn't.

I know I deserve some tongue-lashings here. I took things too lightly and am lucky I didn't have to pay a greater price. Lesson LEARNED!
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Old April 14, 2005, 09:41 AM   #4
capnrik
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Tongue-lashing? Hell, no. Thanks for reminding all of us to be more careful, and thank goodness it was such a cheap lesson.
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Old April 14, 2005, 09:57 AM   #5
redhawk41
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you have illustrated the reasons that i:

1) rezero my scale constantly - as Edward429451 has said

2) check brass after every shot, particularly the first, when testing a new load

glad you are ok. lessons for all. why i love this forum. not afraid to admit our mistakes.
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Old April 14, 2005, 10:08 AM   #6
Jeeper
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Bullets make a pretty cheap check weight. True they arent exact but they are close enough to tell if your scale is way off like that.
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Old April 14, 2005, 11:28 AM   #7
Russ5924
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Also shut and lock the door if you can when young kids are around.I think one of my grandkids got my elec.scale and changed it from grains to grams.It would have made them lite.I knew something was wrong but didn't figure it out untill I loaded about 100 that I had to take them apart.Now I make sure the door is closed.Small fingers and reloading don't mix
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Old April 14, 2005, 11:42 AM   #8
VonFatman
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Thanks for sharing! I am very happy (as I am sure you are too) that you were not hurt and that your guns are still ok as well.

Bob
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Old April 14, 2005, 11:55 AM   #9
mandark
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Wow!

I looked at the picture before I read the text, thought to myself wow he must be reloading with C4.
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Old April 14, 2005, 12:09 PM   #10
cuate
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Serious Mistake check this out

I am very glad that you were not physically injured. I am also glad that we have this forum to share our experiences with others.

When I was Cowboy Actioning and reloading mucho .45 Long Colt cartridges I checked the weight of powder maybe three times in a run. I didn't have any problems.

Now loading 30-06 and 30-40 Krag I am after accuracy and I weigh every charge, you know, powder measure adjusted to drop in a little short and finish off with powder trickler and weigh. Good luck and load safe.
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Old April 14, 2005, 12:52 PM   #11
tjhands
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The case on the right is bulged out so much, I'm surprised it didn't burst. And the one on the left has a huge cut in it.

Forgot to mention: another sign that something was "amiss" was after the second shot with the .357 loads........a chunk of ceiling plaster fell and landed at my feet. No lie. I said, "hmmmmm....me thinks something ain't quite right here." Course, like an idiot, I then went on to shoot 3 rounds of the .45 without even checking the brass. I oughtta have my ever lovin head examined. *sigh*
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Old April 14, 2005, 01:10 PM   #12
Zekewolf
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It's great that you got lessonified before you got defingerfied.
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Old April 14, 2005, 02:38 PM   #13
Jim Watson
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I was wondering why you stuck around to fire five of those things.
One obvious overload is reason to stop shooting and start checking. There have been guns wrecked that stood up to one overload but the shooter just had to try again.

My check weight was a .224 bullet that weighed 49.9 grains on two different freshly zeroed scales. I lost or loaded it and now need to calibrate another.
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Old April 14, 2005, 03:54 PM   #14
Tim R
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I'm glad you and your pistols are OK. Like many others I zero my scale before loading.
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Old April 14, 2005, 04:41 PM   #15
Mal H
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That photo is scary!

Truly glad you and both firearms made it out of the war zone ok.

I've been doing this reloading thing going on 40 years and, like most others have already stated, I rezero the scale (beam or electronic, it doesn't matter) before each and every session. You've learned a valuable and free lesson. Well not entirely free I guess since you have to throw away several cases.


[Added]
Jim - I think I have your check weight!
I also use a .224 bullet that, oddly enough, also weighs 49.90 grains. (I checked it on a Mettler lab scale). I don't recall which brand it is, but it's a "50 gr." SP and is either Speer or Sierra
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Old April 14, 2005, 09:08 PM   #16
smokin54
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always check your scales !!

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Old April 14, 2005, 10:09 PM   #17
xmastree
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I always zero my scale. It's the beam type and my bench is uneven so the zero moves depending where I place it. Once I've dialled inthe correct load, I recheck the zero, just in case I moved it.
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Old April 14, 2005, 10:42 PM   #18
cdoc42
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Adverse experiences are part of the learning process as long as you're not injured enough to stop participating or killed.

After 20 years of reloading experience, I fired a Freedom Arms .454 Casull, loaded with a hefty charge of H-110, primed with a small rifle primer in a case that originally held a large pistol primer. FA had sent me bushings to effect the change. I pulled the trigger and heard "ppffft" then stood in wonder as to why the charge did not ignite. I KNEW I did not have a case empty of powder, but, mesmerized, I rotated the cyliner and fired another round. Another "pffttt" made me wonder where the hell the bullets were going. Both rounds were stuck in the barrel. The primers had apparently been damaged enough, trying to seat them into the bushings. They did not ignite the powder but had enough force to send the bullet into the barrel. Had the second round gone off, I would probably not be writing this tonite.

So, as an Italian friend of mine is fond of saying, "**** happens." In the reloading hobby, it'll happen even though you're wide awake. Some days you need to be more awake than others.
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Old April 14, 2005, 11:22 PM   #19
G56
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EVERY TIME I pull the scale out, I check the ZERO, every single time, no exceptions!

You are very lucky, it could have been much worse.
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Old April 14, 2005, 11:39 PM   #20
Frenchwrench
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After shooting in our weekly practice for IPSC, I picked up three cases that looked about like your pictures.I don't know who they belonged to,but they are headed for a world of hurt. And,yes, I did ask who they might belong to,no takers.
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Old April 15, 2005, 10:53 AM   #21
tjhands
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Are the nickel colored .357 magnum cases stronger than regular brass? The two reloads I shot in .357 look fine, other than slightly flattened primers. The blast was big enough to lock up both the Taurus and the Dan Wesson cylinders, however. They are both fine now, but I had to rap the ejector rods on a table top to get the spent brass out.
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Old April 15, 2005, 02:53 PM   #22
G56
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Nickel plated brass is weaker than standard brass, it splits more easily than regular brass, it is weakened by the plating process which includes acid etching to get the nickel to stick to the brass. Nickel plated brass tends to have a short life when reloaded, it's strong enough for the original loading but tends to be brittle.

The primary reason Brass is nickel plated is for use in leather belt loops, brass cartridges tend to accumulate a lot of verdigris (green stuff) when in contact with leather, the nickel plate eliminates that problem.
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Old April 15, 2005, 03:24 PM   #23
Mal H
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tjhands - Please pardon my curiosity (it's a curse), but what's with the date on the photo (6.5.2000)? Is the photo that old or have you not set the time/date on your camera? If the latter, why not turn off the date display?
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Old April 15, 2005, 04:46 PM   #24
tjhands
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G56, thank you. I wonder why there wasn't any damage to those cases then. *shrugs**

Mal, LOL......yeah the camera was left battery-less for too long and lost the date. I've been left motivation-less for too long and haven't reset it.
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Old April 15, 2005, 04:51 PM   #25
tjhands
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Just reset it! Thanks for the inspiration! Now call me a fat slob and maybe I'll get a workout in, too.
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