357 high pressure event - UPDATED AUGUST 2009

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Jayhawkhuntclub

Buckeye
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I think I have found the problem: a bad batch of RP brass. I pulled the rest of the 180 gr bullets after I had the problem with the sticky extraction and the cracked cases. I went to reload them today and found three cracked cases! These were cases that had never been fired. I wondered why I would have what appeared to be a high pressure event with a load that was below book values. This would explain it. The cases were cracked prior to firing. FYI: this brass is about 10 years old.

I was shooting yesterday and took out some 180 gr Hornady XTP loaded that I loaded about 5 years ago. The gun was my SW 686-1 I shot 5 loaded with 12.5 gr of H110. It gave me a nice sub 2" group at 20 yards off a rest. But when I went to eject they were pretty tight. The gun was pretty dirty so I assumed that's what caused it. I didn't see any real flat primers either. Well then I go to shoot the 13.0 gr H110 load (with a bit of hesitation). I shot 1 round and opened it up to check. It too was tougher than usual to eject. When I got it out, I found a 1/2" crack in the side of the (new) RP case. I took the gun home and cleaned the cylinder and found no damage. The max load in the Hornady manual is 13.1 gr of H110 and Hodgdon says it's 13.5 gr of H110. Obviously, I'm going to disassemble the rest of the 13.0 loads. But what about the 12.5 gr loads? Should I back off these too? I really think these cases had nothing to do with the gun being dirty. Thoughts?
 

Aqualung

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Not sure on the characteristics of H110, but I had a batch of 2400 that was bad on me.

I didn't know it when I loaded the rounds, but I used the powder in my .41mag and .357mag loads. And my loads are not max loads.

In the .41, recoil and flash were excessive, brass extraction was sticky (had to knock them out with a rod) on the two I fired and the primers were flattened. I figured I'd mis-weighed or something.

Tried the .357 and the recoil was WORSE. Had to knock the casing out with a rod and mallet. Primer had flattened and actually was pierced.

I pulled the .41s and the .357s and dumped the powder together. It was not black and shiny like it should have been. It was brownish and dull. I pitched it all (actually did the fertilizer thing with it and Mrs. Aqualung's flowers died...so that powder about got me killed *twice*!).

The more I read on the subject, the more support I've seen that bad powder can *raise* pressures instead of getting weaker as one might expect.

I'd pull the loads and check the powder.

Aqualung

Edited: changed "went bad" to "was bad" to clarify.
 

Rick Courtright

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Aqualung":3077ietm said:
The more I read on the subject, the more support I've seen that bad powder can *raise* pressures instead of getting weaker as one might expect.

Hi,

My one experience w/ such powder was w/ an old, old canister of Green Dot...

The powder looked and smelled fine. However, when loaded by weight, it was way too hot. Comparing volume vs weight measurements (using the volume charts in Lee's "Modern Reloading"), I figured the powder had somehow "dried" out and become more volatile. Loading by a calculated volume produced about 20% reduction in weight w/ that lot, where normally I experience weights within minus 5%-10% from the "book" figures...

That 'splained a lot!

Rick C
 

GP100man

Buckeye
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Sep 13, 2006
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Tabor City, NC.
Welllllll---
i lok at published data as a guide line to "start" a load.
the manuals seem to always use a different barrel length or even a "vented" pressure barrel .
i understand that these were reloaded 5 yrs ago also, but for the same revolver??
& if they were how were they stored??& how old you think the powder was??
very intersting situation because i have ammo older with 2400 & now i think i`m gonna pull one before shooting!!!

GP100man
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

Buckeye
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While the loads were loaded for this gun, it's somewhat irrelevant as this was the initial firing which is why I started below the max.
The powder is 10 yeards old. And the ammo has been stored in a dry basement which stays about 70 degrees year round.
 

revhigh

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I've heard this several times and I don't buy it at all. If this were the case, with today's liability laws, there would be a 'born on' or 'use before' date on every can of powder produced. You can be sure that powder companies test this type of stuff very carefully. I'm not saying what happened, but my guess would be a powder mixup or maybe some other powder got poured into a different container. Again ... I'm not saying that happened with these posters.

It would be interesting to see what powder/ammo companies have to say about this. THere's a whole lot of old ammo out there in the world, and if the powder broke down and became dangerous ... we'd know it.

REV
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

Buckeye
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I'd be very surprised if it was a powder mix up. I only let one can on the bench at a time. That's one thing I'm pretty careful about.
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
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I'm sure you do Jay, I was thinking more of something on the order of kids mixing it together or playing with it, and I'm certainly not saying that's what happened in your case !! There's just so many other variables that could cause this, other than unconfirmed chemical breakdown (which results in HIGHER pressures) of powder that's been stored properly.

I have to believe that if there was ANY chance of this, the powder/ammo companies would be trumpeting it from the highest mountain, just to avoid ANY liability.

REV
 

Rick Courtright

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revhigh":jg0yoia9 said:
There's just so many other variables that could cause this, other than unconfirmed chemical breakdown (which results in HIGHER pressures) of powder that's been stored properly.

Hi, Rev

In the case of the Green Dot I mentioned, the storage condition WAS suspect... it came from a "retiring" trapshooter I knew and was packaged in one of the old Hercules cardboard kegs that weren't as air tight as today's jugs. Not the best for long term storage IMHO.

I've never had any degradation of powders I had control over from purchase to use. (Knock on wood? Some of 'em have been here quite some time!)

Rick C
 

Aqualung

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revhigh":15o7esy5 said:
I'm sure you do Jay, I was thinking more of something on the order of kids mixing it together or playing with it, and I'm certainly not saying that's what happened in your case !! There's just so many other variables that could cause this, other than unconfirmed chemical breakdown (which results in HIGHER pressures) of powder that's been stored properly.

I have to believe that if there was ANY chance of this, the powder/ammo companies would be trumpeting it from the highest mountain, just to avoid ANY liability.

REV

Not being argumentative here, but here's how mine played out.

I received all that gear from my boss (see my 3 Karma's posting) and included was this unopened square metal can of 2400. I'd been told not to trust opened cans of powder, but figured this was OK since the tab was still on it.

I was new at the reloading game, so didn't know exactly what good 2400 looked like and figured it was normal to have a slightly brown tint. It did *not* smell like rotten eggs, but smelled just like the other powders that were included...all my advisers told me to go by the smell.

pix80430406.jpg


I loaded those rounds, weighing each charge because I didn't have the hang of the UniFlow yet to get it to throw consistently, so each charge was weighed meticulously (my scale is a Mettler-Toledo Lab Balance, so it was accurate and calibrated).

Other loads I'd made prior to those with another can of powder didn't give me the pressure problems.

When I finally bought a new jug of 2400, I could tell right away by the look of the new stuff, that the other had something wrong with it. But they still smelled the same, strangely enough.

And I have no kids or other factors that would have mixed them.

Again, not being argumentive about it, but I can only figure that the can was subjected to bad storage conditions somewhere along the line and the chemical composition was altered somehow (degraded).

Aqualung
 

revhigh

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I hear ya Aqualung, not arguing, just discussing. Note that I said 'properly' stored powder. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

I, like RIck, have been reloading for 25+ years and have never experienced anything close to these descriptions.

By the way, I LOVE 2400 !!! But the oldest container I've ever used was the round cardboard container with the metal top and bottom with the spout that you 'pulled up' and 'then unscrewed'.

I now buy 2400 in 8 pound plastic jugs that looks like a larger 'gallon' motor oil jug. Costs me about $13/pound, and I use it in 357, 44 mag, 45LC, 454, and 480. It goes pretty quick with full house loads LOL :D

REV
 

Aqualung

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revhigh":3tck7c4p said:
I hear ya Aqualung, not arguing, just discussing. Note that I said 'properly' stored powder. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

I, like RIck, have been reloading for 25+ years and have never experienced anything close to these descriptions.

By the way, I LOVE 2400 !!! But the oldest container I've ever used was the round cardboard container with the metal top and bottom with the spout that you 'pulled up' and 'then unscrewed'.

I now buy 2400 in 8 pound plastic jugs that looks like a larger 'gallon' motor oil jug. Costs me about $13/pound, and I use it in 357, 44 mag, 45LC, 454, and 480. It goes pretty quick with full house loads LOL :D

REV

I get mine a pound at a time. Unfortunately, I don't get to shoot too much, and therefore don't use it often...even though it is the powder I use most...got 3 magnums to feed, you know. ;)

Aqualung
 

LightningMan

Bearcat
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midwest
Hello, I don't know how true it is but, I was told by a sales clerk, whom seemed pretty knowledgable say; powder can break down if it gets too hot. Like leaving loaded ammo in the sun on a hot day or likewise in your car on a hot day with the windows rolled up. LM
 

Aqualung

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LightningMan":ilgw1see said:
Hello, I don't know how true it is but, I was told by a sales clerk, whom seemed pretty knowledgable say; powder can break down if it gets too hot. Like leaving loaded ammo in the sun on a hot day or likewise in your car on a hot day with the windows rolled up. LM

A day in the sun won't break it down like that. It's sustained conditions that will break the powder down. The 2400 I used was probably stored OK by Clyde, then in my boss' shed for a few years. I was foolish to use it, but I was "young and stupid" at the time.

So, if you're in Arizona and leave an ammo can in the trunk of your car for a couple summer days, I wouldn't think there'd be any ill effects. However, left in your steel toolshed for 2-3 years, there might be an issue.

Aqualung
 

Aqualung

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Jayhawkhuntclub":3sykyhbm said:
FWIW: I pulled all the 13.0 gr loads last night. I weighed about a third of them. None exceeded 13 grains.

Combine the powder. Does it smell and look like good powder? Or, does it look "turned"?

Aqualung
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
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I load 15.5 grains of H110 behind a 180 grain Cast Performance WFNGC so I doubt you are over pressure. These eject fine out of my GP100. My Chronograph notes show this producing 1185-1235 FPS.

H110 is a very bad powder to use reduced loads in. It specifically says to only reduce by 3% instead of the normal 10%.

I use a bit of H110, but I prefer 2400 for magnum loads.
 

btefft

Bearcat
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Jun 2, 2008
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Never had any powder to go bad in 35 yrs (knock on wood)

However, I only buy 1 lb containers and go through 'em relatively quickly.

Like another said, I only have one kind of powder on my bench at a time and I even use a yellow Post-It that I put on the powder measure to remind me on what kind of powder is in the thing.

That keeps me straight.

Hack
 
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