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Old December 2, 2009, 12:04 PM   #1
Bill Calley
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Primer backed out of an EMPTY case…

Hi All,

I pulled a .38CAL +P Federal HydroShok bullet from its factory primed and loaded cartridge case. I then emptied the powder, placed the primed case in my handgun and pulled the trigger. It went "bang". I then tried to rotate the cylinder, but it was binding up, so I took out the fired case, and found that the primer had backed out of the primer hole by a few thousandths! How could a factory cartridge, with no back pressure from powder and bullet, have a primer that starts to back out of its case? This has me a bit concerned about the HydroShoks, or is this completely normal? It seems to me (a person with ultra limited knowledge of anything to do with reloading) as somewhat impossible.

Thanks,

-Bill
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Old December 2, 2009, 12:19 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Absolutely 100% completely normal for this to happen with a primed, but otherwise unloaded case.

During the normal firing process, the primer backs out just as you describe. The primer compound provides its own back pressure, quite a substantial amount in such a confined area, and more than enough to cause the primer to pop entirely out of the case if you don't contain it in any way.

However, the pressure from the burning powder then shoves the case back against the revolver's recoil shield, which effectively reseats the primer.

If you ever shoot wax or rubber bullets (using primers only) out of brass cases, you first have to modify the case by drilling the flash hole larger to prevent the primer from backing out and locking up the gun.

Once you do that to a case, it's best not to load them with normal charges again.
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Old December 2, 2009, 02:54 PM   #3
Bill Calley
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Thanks so much Mike, you have put my mind at rest! (These are my CCW rounds, so it had me worried).

Thanks again!

-Bill
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Old December 2, 2009, 03:26 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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Gotta ask...

Given the price of hydrashok ammo, why did you pull one apart when you could have picked a much cheaper cartridge of the same caliber?
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Old December 2, 2009, 04:30 PM   #5
SwampYankee
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Quote:
Given the price of hydrashok ammo, why did you pull one apart when you could have picked a much cheaper cartridge of the same caliber?
That is a very good question!

When test firing .38 Special to make sure I've got the primers seated properly, I don't generally experience the primers backing out of cases. The problem is so common with my .45 Colt loads however, that I don't bother firing empty cartridges anymore (it completely binds up the whole cylinder).
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Old December 2, 2009, 05:17 PM   #6
Bill Calley
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Hi Mike and SwampYankee,

Very good questions indeed! I didn't want to pull apart any live ammo, since I don't have a bullet puller, only pliers (and safety glasses)! But I had to test two issues that where concerning me:

1. When I "fired" my plastic snap caps, I noticed that the cylinder would bind-up in my airweight S&W .38 snubby when the gun was pointed and "fired" upward. I suspected that this was not a real issue, but was more related to the sharp (non-beveled) soft plastic shoulder at the base of the rim of the snapcap binding against the recoil shield of the Smith; and 2. I was also slightly concerned that the recoil of the +P rounds may back the bullet out of the case mouth and bind up the cylinder, like some older non-jacketed +P lead rounds sometimes did in very light-weight revolvers due to the brutal recoil.

This "test" that I just performed, however, proved to me that real ammo will not bind the cylinder when the gun is "fired" in a raised position (due to the shell's nice rim bevel), and that with the unbelievable difficulty I had with pulling the $%@# bullet from the case of the HydraShok, it would take an act of Congress for that heavily crimped bullet to move anywhere, much less far enough to bind the cylinder!!!

-Bill
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Old December 2, 2009, 06:14 PM   #7
Caboclo
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Hey Bill, check this out. Apparently the Hydrashocks haven't lived up to their expectations. Surprised me too.

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De....38spl/.357mag
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Old December 2, 2009, 07:24 PM   #8
Bill Calley
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Wow, good info on that Website, Caboclo. Looks like I'm going to have to change my ammo selection; that is, if I can find any specific ammo brand nowadays. I gave up searching a while back, but maybe ammo and/or components have become more readily available lately. (I know I tried buying some simple primers a few months ago, and I came up empty).

-Bill
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Old December 2, 2009, 07:37 PM   #9
Pbearperry
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That's why you must make the primer hole a bit larger if you want to make practice wax bullets without powder.In fact years ago someone made cases just for that function.

Last edited by Pbearperry; December 2, 2009 at 07:38 PM. Reason: typo
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Old December 3, 2009, 09:27 AM   #10
Mike Irwin
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Hydrashok's design technology is now what, close to 50 years old?

It was one of the first attempts (and, given the time, a successful one) to provide a bullet that would expand consistently at handgun velocities.

New designs have largely outstripped the Hydrashok in effectiveness, however.
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