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Old April 29, 2005, 04:12 PM   #1
cgpro856
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Stuck bullet question answered

I recently posted a question as to weather 3.8 grains of 231 was light enough to stick a 125 gr bullet in the bbl of my 3.5" mod. 66.

I got lots of responces about a light powder charge and light crimp and contaminated powder ect.

I just came from some testing at the range and found that it all has to do with the location of the powder in the case. at 3.8 grains, every shot that I tipped the gun up to settle the powder to the rear of the case went off fine, and every shot that I tipped the gun down to put the powder in the front of the case the bullet got stuck halfway down the barrel. This was exactly the same with 4.2 grains, stuck or shot at will by positioning the powder. Only when I got to 5 grains did the bullet make it out of the barrel every time with the powder at the front of the case, but I could sure tell the the power was greatly reduced from the same charge back against the primer.

I guess that a small pistol primer is not hot enough to ignite 231 at the far end of a 38 case. Mag primers might help, but I'm just gonna use a bulkier powder for the revolver and stick to 231 for the .45 and 9mm.

Chris P.
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Old April 29, 2005, 07:19 PM   #2
Russ5924
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Are you sure you didn't get a bad batch of W231.They say it is case sensitive but not that bad. Have been using 231 in all my .38s but have to say not used that light a bullet to much.I have used the 125 grain with 4.3 of 231 and had no problems.I load 148 HBWC using 3.4 to 3.7g and the 158 swc with 3.7g and have never seen this problem.By tipping the gun I can feel some difference in the recoil but not enough to make any different.You are getting your bullets in deep enough and what primers do you use all I have always used winchester.Didn't check the books but is 5.0 getting up there?? You can always go to TITEGROUP it should fire anywhere IS NOT case sensitive I use it in my .45colt and 6 grains the case looks empty
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Old April 30, 2005, 12:09 AM   #3
OfcrBill
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Titegroup

Russ, I hear nothing but good things about "Titegroup". Thanks for the input as I am curious to try it myself. Bill
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Old April 30, 2005, 05:24 AM   #4
Ruger4570
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I had responded to your first thread and appologize for not including info about positioning the powder in the case towards the primer. I knew it, just forgot to include it in the post. Generally I always use the bulkiest powder I have in shells with very small charges. You will probably never suffer this problem again if you go to bulkier powders as you say you will. I have never been a fan of fillers to hold the charge against the primer (even thought it works) I try to fill the case at least half full and have never had the problem. Sounds like you had some fun too trying to figure out what happened. Good Luck
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Old April 30, 2005, 08:54 AM   #5
Mal H
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To be honest, cgpro, I'm not convinced you answered the question. 3.8+ grains of W231 should be powerful enough to get almost any bullet out of the muzzle no matter where the powder is in the case. It's a light load for sure, but not so light as to stick a bullet at will.

Like Russ said, you might have a bad (contaminated, humid, whatever) batch of W231; you might have a bad batch of primers. Personally, I would look elsewhere other than powder position for the problem if you don't suspect the igniting/ignited materials themselves. I think the powder positioning is probably aggravating the real problem.

Sounds like you have eliminated the crimp - why?

Do the bullets you are using have a cannelure? What type of bullet is the 125 gr. you are experimenting with?

How large is the cylinder gap? What are the dimensions of the cylinders, especially at the mouth?

How does the firing pin strike look compared to rounds shot in another gun?

Can you try the same experiment in another gun?
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Old April 30, 2005, 10:29 AM   #6
cgpro856
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Mal H,

I guess I can't speak for anyone elses loads or guns, but in this particular gun (S&W 66-7) with these bullets (Rainier 125gr Plated HP) Winchester small pistol primers(maybe they're bad, but I've used 500+ from the same box of 1000 with no problems) and the bottle of 231 I have (maybe also bad, but fairly new,as in weeks, and works fine in my 9mm and .45ACP), The powder position makes ALL the difference.

The roll crimps were all the same (FIRM). I visually checked each case before shooting it.

I don't know or have the tools to measure all the dimensions you are looking for.

I don't see the signifigance of the primer strike. The primers were firing every time.

I shot over 100 rounds, and I was able to decide before I pulled the trigger if I wanted the bullet to get stuck or not by where I positioned the powder in the case. It was consistent and worked EVERY SINGLE time.


I'm tired of pounding bullets out of my barrel, and so in my mind: CASE CLOSED. IN MY GUN, I will not load less than 5 grains of 231 behind a 125gr Rainier Plated HP.
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Old April 30, 2005, 12:21 PM   #7
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Wish you wouldn't close the case I would just love to know WHY.I'm shooting the same powder in the same gun a 66-3 and 66-6 I have had that powder down to 3.2 and shoots ok.Try a different bullet????????
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Old April 30, 2005, 12:51 PM   #8
cgpro856
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Russ5924,

I'm sorry, but I just can't bear to pound anymore stuck bullets out of my barrel. I found out the hard way that if you don't take off the cylinder it will be knocked loose and fall on the cement floor and get all dinged up.

Have you ever tried pointing your gun at the floor and the raising it slowly so that the powder stays all the way foreward when you shoot it? I'd be interested to see if you get good ignition.

I'm certainly not arguing that a properly ignited load of 3+ grains will push a bullet out every time. I'm only saying that in my gun/bullet combination, less than 5 grains won't ignite properly if not positioned near the primer.

Chris P.
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Old April 30, 2005, 01:34 PM   #9
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CGPRO,

You're correct that powder position can play more of a roll than people often credit it for doing. The examples I have personal experience with both come from rifle shooting, but they still indicate the combination of ball powder and poor case position is a recipe for trouble.

Without laboratory measured proof, here is what I suspect happens in the two most extreme cases for your gun and load: shooting straight up and shooting straight down. When the gun is fired upward, the powder is at the back of the case and the primer flame blows through a collection of grains. This not only ignites the grains close to the flashhole, but puffs them out in a cloud that spreads the flame and, exposing their surfaces, makes the grains in the cloud ignite more easily and completely over their surfaces. The grains that didn't puff up into the cloud are still lying in the form of a crater rim around the flashhole. These are ignited on top and burn downward. What moves forward from the case mouth are the bullet and the cloud of hot gas.

When you shoot straight down, the powder lies in the form of a plug behind the bullet base. The flame from the primer never actually blows through any of the powder mass, so only the far end of the flame touches the powder and starts the "plug" burning from the rear forward. So the primer actually ignites a smaller portion of the powder initially. By the time the back of the bullet clears the barrel-to-cylinder gap, a good deal of un-ignited or partially ignited powder follows behind it. The opening created by the barrel-to-cylinder gap offers a pressure vent at a moment when a much higher percentage of remaining unburned powder is still trying to build pressure than was the case in the upward shot example. Because of its position, a bit of the powder may well be blown out through the barrel-to-cylinder gap, effectively reducing the total charge.

You could test that last notion by placing some white paper on the shooting bench under the gun and firing it held sideways like gang members do in the movies. The spray from the gap will show up on the paper. See if it is worse when you've tipped the gun forward before firing?

Here are the two rifle situations I've encountered: M72 30-06 match ammunition gives 80 fps difference in mean muzzle velocity depending on whether you tip the gun down or up just before firing. The standard 47.2 grain charge of 4895 only fills the case about 85%. I'd seen this reported in magazines and tried it myself with a Garand, measuring velocity on an Oehler P35. Sure enough I got just about exactly 80 fps variation in MV.

The situation gets worse with ball powder. Ball powders are championed for their lower burning temperatures and better metering consistency from powder measures. But the shape of the ball grains and the small spaces between them impede hot gas flow much more than stick powder grains do. The result is a much higher dependency on consistent ignition pattern to keep their pressure v. time curves consistent.

I proved this to myself with an M1A years ago. I'd seen some photos of primers fired against a black background in case heads cut from cartridges. These showed de-burred flashholes resulted in a much broader, more uniform flame ball. Cases with burrs sometimes shot flame to one side or the other of the case, and the flame shape varied. I found de-burring case flashholes would cut 100 yd group size from 1.5" to 0.75" when loading AA2520 ball powder, a recommended ball powder for .308 match loads. With any of several stick powders I tried I could see no improvement from de-burring flashholes. Apparently the bigger spaces between stick grains allow them to ignite pretty well regardless of the starting flame

Another approach is to use single-layer newspaper wads pushed down over powder charges to hold them back against the flashhole. For a straight case, you just sharpen an old case with your chamfering tool and use it as a paper cutter to make the wads. This is the kind of thing that delights bench rest shooters but makes pistol shooters groan. Just a matter of the volume difference in the number of rounds they fire. Too much work for handgunners.

You can also try de-burring flashholes to see what difference that makes? Meanwhile, it would be interesting to see if your load would get stuck in a barrel with no barrel-to-cylinder gap, like a Thompson Center barrel?

Nick
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Old April 30, 2005, 05:04 PM   #10
Russ5924
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I sent you an E-mail something isn't right???????????/
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Old May 1, 2005, 08:39 AM   #11
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Ahhhh.... I love it when I'm right ( it happens so seldom). I've never had problems with W231, and WSP or CCI 500 primers with lead bullets out of my 6" 586. That said, it might be the batch of primers, or the plated bullet might have too much resistance for that powder charge in your barrel. I know I won't be using that combination, and think your wise for not going there again. I cringe at the thought of having to pound a bullet out of barrel. If anything, your frustration proved the point about the problem wth light loads and how to maintain consistant ignition. I'll have to tell the bullseye shooter who gave me that tip how wise he was (or that he was a dumb guy who got lucky).
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