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Old May 5, 2007, 12:42 PM   #1
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9 contaminated 5.56 rounds

In loading for my Bushy and searching for a more accurate load, I of course came here for pointers. I was advised to try not crimping them. Ok, I loaded 40 rounds not crimped. I wanted to test them beside some otherwise identical but lightly crimped rounds. I didn't want to mix them up with crimped rounds so loaded them into 2 20 rnd mags, one of which went into the rifle, one of which went into a mag pouch on the case. A shoulder injury on news years eve put off my rifle shooting so the mag sat in the gun for 4 months until last weekend.

I get to the range and go to test them and I get bang click bang click click bang bang click. A total of 9 rounds out of the 20 in the mag were duds. I retried all of them thinking possible high primers and no go with any of them. Now I'm thinkin dud primers, possibly overseated them and cracked the priming pellet. No other rounds that day failed to fire. Consulting my reloading notes, I see that I loaded 3 different lots of 5.56 that day with that powder, primers, & brass The batch that went into the mags and dudded were lot #2 that day. The powder was from the same bottle, the primers were from the same lot, and the brass. No other rounds that day failed, even the mag full of identical loads.

The only difference was the fact that the rounds in the mag in the gun were uncrimped and sitting in the mag in the gun for ~4 months.

I get home and pull all 9 bad rounds, and carefully deprime the cases to find the powder sticky and clumpy, and none of the primers had ignited. No cracked priming pellets either. It had to be oil migration to cause the failures. The powder was discolored (& clumpy) and the purple anvils on the Fed primers was mostly not purple anymore.

I'm not asking what happened, I'm convinced it was oil contamination from leaving uncrimped rounds in the mag in the rifle. I'm just posting this as a tale of woe so others who do not crimp their 5.56 ammo will be aware of this possibility, and to hear any comments or similar experiances that you guys may have had along the same lines.

For reference, the load was...

69 gr Sierra HPBTM
23.4 gr BLC-2
LC 92 1F 1t
Fed 205 sr primers
2.255 OAL uncrimped

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Old May 5, 2007, 12:58 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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Sorta difficult to believe there was that much oil in the mags...

Aw, well. I've known guys who went the the barber shop just for an oil change...

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Old May 5, 2007, 01:07 PM   #3
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There wasn't oil in the mag. The rounds were dry. I popped the mag out before shooting it and inspected it. When I clean the AR and reoil it, it'll drain for a few days out the cracks etc. Then I wipe it down and case it (this is when the mag went in and then it sat horizontally until the range trip.)

And if I had some brass with polish or size lube in them, then the duds wouldn't have all been from the same mag.
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Old May 5, 2007, 02:05 PM   #4
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First, switch to a dry lube, like Remoil, and even them use only a little of it.

I've had guns loaded with a full mag, and a chambered round for several years, and not had a problem. EEzox is also great. It dries fast.

The only "oil" that I will put in my bore and chamber is Tetra. When used properly, Tetra leaves the bore and chamber perfectly dry, but electrostatically bonds to the metal..
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Old May 5, 2007, 02:40 PM   #5
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Lesse, uncrimped rounds, sitting in a case with an over-oiled gun (oil leaks out of mating surfaces) for four months. If the case was subjected to warm temperatures the vapors from the oil might have found their way into the cartridges, but I wouldn't expect the powder to be "clumpy".

Something is amiss here. Whether it's your reloading environment (humid?), brass cleaning procedure, or how you stored the ammo (in a case with an oily rifle), you need to identify the root cause of the problem and eliminate it.

I'd suggest loading up another 20 rounds, uncrimped, and storing them differently for a month or two. Disassemble and inspect to compare. Two rounds in the case with the rifle, two in magazines not with the rifle, two in your safe, two left on your reloading bench (open air) and two in sealed container (control).
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Old May 5, 2007, 02:49 PM   #6
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I'd say don't be so quick to rule out primers. I handloaded for nearly 50 years and had only one bad primer ever. Recently, the 50th year came up and by way of celebration I had 5 bad primers out of 300 small pistol primers I had to buy, because my regular Federal gold medals were not available (the primer shortage) at my local shop.

I'm not the only one to have had this experience with CCI primers lately--possibly they are running the assembly shifts overtime to make them faster. Whatever the reason, I'm waiting for my regular brand before I load anymore small pistol rounds.
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Old May 5, 2007, 05:22 PM   #7
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I don't think the gun was over oiled nor to imply that it was dripping wet. I oil it like I always do when done cleaning it and do get some seepage so stand it up for a day or so before giving it a another wipe down before slipping a mag into it. Of course I always dry patch the bore & barrel. I leave either factory or reloads in it always and this has never happened before.

There was another mag of identical loads in the pouch of the case and they all fired fine.

The brass was all LC 92, same lot, lube free, clean & dry. If they wasn't then the duds would be spread out over different loads in different packaging and not all of them magically in the same mag. Stored in a ziplock freezer bag and I reach in and grab randomly.

Ditto on the primers. They were all from the same box of 1000 that I'm working on. I store them in tupperware. Not one other dud.

I get humidity but if that was the case then it stands to reason that the 2nd mag of uncrimped rounds in the pouch should've been affected. I wouldn't think that crimping rounds actually is a seal, but maybe so. Maybe I'll back off a little on the break free and continue to lightly crimp my roundstoo.

Maybe a controlled test is in order. 3 glass jars 4 rounds each and a water cap full of oil, test 2 rounds every 2 months and 12 more rounds open to the air uncrimped.

The powder was clumpy.
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Old May 5, 2007, 06:02 PM   #8
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Did you save the clumpy powder? "Clumpy" doesn't tell you whether it's oil contamination or water. Spreading the contaminated powder out on some absorbent paper, maybe betwen 2 sheets with a weight on top, and letting it sit for a day or two should give you an idea whether it was oil or humidity that did them in.
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Old May 5, 2007, 06:47 PM   #9
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No I didn't think to. I flushed it pretty quick. My shootin buddy said the same thing about 30 sec after the flush...
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