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Old April 15, 2005, 05:45 PM   #26
Mal H
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
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Anything to help increase the general health of our membership;

Ok, your also a ...

Nah! I can't do that!
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Old April 15, 2005, 09:23 PM   #27
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
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Back in '92 I had a .45 ACP case burst in a 1911. In this case the overload occurred because a plastic bushing had fallen out of my automatic powder measure allowing it to tip enough to deposit extra powder on the rim of the home-made drop tube I'd put in it. Bad combination. The next round got a full charge plus the extra. Needless to say, I corrected the tube profile and found and replaced the missing bushing later.

Several things of interest about firing the overcharge in the 1911:

1. The 1911 vents burst cartridge gas and brass particles back through thel gaps in the fit of the slide and frame. This went into my face, of course. One small brass particle in my cheek caused a lot of bleeding, but no permanent damage. If I hadn't had my glasses on at the time, I'd now be blind.

2. The burst case severely indented the top cartridges in the magazine column. Smashing one into the next, none looked right afterward (besides, I obviously had to pull bullets on the whole lot). The wood grip panel cracked on one side, but did not break, despite what the magazine was subjected to. They responded to glue, later.

3. The pressure created enough friction in the locking lugs to prevent the slide from cycling. Indeed, the gun was stuck about 90% into battery with the burst case jammed all around.

4. After removing the magazine, I hammered the gun into counter-battery against a wood bench. All appeared well. Not wanting to be left with that explosion as my last impression of shooting the 1911, I put some commercial ball into another magazine and finished shooting my targets. Fortunately I was alone at the range, or the bloody face would have caused consternation or rude jokes. I'm not sure which.

5. Reloading and shooting the gun without inspection with measuring tools was ego-satisfying but stupid. At home, later, my micrometer showed the barrel had expanded 0.002" for the first inch beyond the chamber. That is less than the 2% usually defined as the "yield" in engineering terms, and probably would have survived a lot more firing, but I would rather have the extra margin of strength should another hot load ever find its way in. Besides, accuracy might have been impaired.

I drove from the range straight to the doctor's office and let him slice my cheek and dig the brass chip out and sew it up. No scar because his scalpel made such a clean cut. This leads me to the truly horrifying consequence:

6. You have to go home and somehow explain this to your wife without her thinking it was anything but a fluke that could never, ever happen again.

Soooo! Be careful out there. If anything has even a whiff of odd (in my case I thought the powder measure seemed to be tipping in operation a lot more than normal) set aside any rounds you've made for pulling until you have identified and corrected the problem.

ALWAYS wear glasses.

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Old April 17, 2005, 03:57 AM   #28
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I hade an overloaded shell go off in my face during a competition. Got it on video too. It's the third shot, you can see the difference to the recoil, followed by me touching my face where something hit me.
I finished the stage though... My face was bleeding down my left cheek, but the range officer was behind my right shoulder and didn't see it. Otherwise I'm sure he would have stopped me.

This was handed to me afterwards:
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Old April 17, 2005, 08:54 AM   #29
N.H. Yankee
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tjhands, most of us have had our moments when reloading and like anything else there is a learning curve. I have been lucky and have caught myself goofing up before I got to the stage of using the ammo. I always zero my scale, I actually bought a cheaper scale on e-bay and verify my loads. I should get some scale weights but instaed use 3 bullets of the same caliber and weight to check the accuracy of my scales. I also have had children and now grandchildren and I have learned to lockup my reloading dies, bullets and powder. Kids may play mix and match with componants, never happened to me but I eventually thought it would be good to secure things, as kids will be kids. I also like to check my dies every time before I reload to assure the settings are proper for crimp and use calipers for OAL. I have also been real careful about keeping records of all loads to include OAL, crimp and make notes of how the primers looked after firing in each gun fired, as a max load in one gun may be too much for another even of same model. I think at times we all get too lax and its posts like yours that are a wakeup call. Thankyou for your honesty as it was big of you, as some are unwilling to post their goofs out of embarrissment but it is needed as a reminder. Also good converstion in those years to come for rocking chair stories.
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Old April 18, 2005, 09:08 AM   #30
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As a happy ending to this story, my reloads this weekend were just fine, as were my guns. I would hate to have messed up my S&W.
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Old April 18, 2005, 11:09 AM   #31
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Didn't get to go shooting this weekend, so loaded a huge pile of 5.56's instead. Striving for match grade QC, I rejected to be pulled and redone a little over 50 rounds of them. (Sometimes the cannelures don't get put in the right place on the 223 slugs, and a few burrs on case heads)

Anyway, I pulled and averaged the powder weight of 50 rounds. It was BLC-2 powder and the target charge weight was 26.0 grains.

Avg weight for 50 rounds? 25.93 grains.

That speaks good of Dillons powder measure and personal QC. It pays to be picky. On the 550B if the case is slightly misaligned as it encounters the powder funnel, there's a ker-chunk as it centers. Those rounds came out .5 over consistently and were all rejected immediately without the bullet being seated. A good quality bullet puller (like RCBS) being set up right next to the loading press encourages good QC. Before getting the puller I was less picky. Oh it'll be alright I'd say. It's just range ammo. Stuff like that. No more!
I was right on 26.0 at first. But as a few started coming through at 25.9, I hesitated to make an adjustment, not wanting to throw off the consistency of the whole batch. The rest of the session, so many were 25.9 exactly that I stuck with it. Glad I did. I was checking every 10 to 20 rounds as I got the urge. Slowed things down a little but look what I got for my efforts.

Glad your guns & ammo are ok now and hope you had fun! I'm waiting on my replacement front mepro nite site to come in for my Colt is why I decided to wait until next weekend.
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