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Reloading Techniques For Reloading


Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

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Old 10-05-2013, 05:00 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sublimity. OR
Posts: 62
Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

I need some help please.

I have not been reloading that long, but I have reloaded for several different calibers and have a good grasp on things I think. This has never happened before!

The rifle in question is my Mark V .30-378. It is unmodified, except for a trigger job and a B&C stock. It gets cleaned regularly. It came with about 40 brass, some of which were never fired factory rounds, and some that had been loaded once or twice. The rifle has not had much use, and should have a pretty low round count..

The brass:
I have never annealed them.
I do not have a tumbler, I just use compressed air to clean the insides.
Yes, I lube the cases, and brush the insides of the neck.
They have never been neck turned as I do not have one.
I just use basic full length RCBS dies.

These were loaded with 117.5 Gr. of US869 behind a 200 Gr. Barnes LRX. CCI 250 primers.
Length is slightly longer than factory spec, but they are still 0.4" off the lands.
Factory 26" barrel, and velocities are around 3165

These have only been fired 2 or 3 times (different load with 175 gr. barnes.)

At the moment every single case with this new load is coming out of the chamber with a crack at the shoulder/neck. I have already ruined about 15 brass because the bolt opens easy still and I didn't notice it right away..

I would like your opinions on what you guys think is causing this. I am a little confused, because there are no other pressure signs, the bolt opens just fine, it is not even the least bit sticky. These spent brass go into the chamber fine still, and are not tight. The primers look ok (to me.) All measurements I have taken on the cases (loaded and fired) seem to be within spec.

I am currently in the process of pulling all my bullets apart, and I plan to anneal them all and start over, possibly with a different powder.

I know these loads are hot, but according to Hodgdons I am 1/2 Gr. off max still.

Are these just too hot? Or, is there maybe some other factors at work here?

I crushed the necks on some of these with pliers and they were really brittle.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by fishwater; 10-05-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:12 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 440
Re: Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

Brass is work hardened.

Buy new brass. If some are like this visibly, the remainder of the brass is not far behind.

Why chance yourself to some brittle brass making a bad day for you??

It is interesting that the vertical split is at or very near the same location on all of them.

Might consider putting a bore scope in this chamber.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:29 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sublimity. OR
Posts: 62
Re: Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

Yeah, this brass is definitely not getting used again.
It just came out of the chamber like this and is immediately going in the garbage.

I have never annealed brass before so this is a real eye opener.

I recently discovered the "plier test."

I pinched the necks on a few of these with a pair of pliers and they were mega brittle. They cracked almost immediately.

A few even developed cracks just going through the bullet puller!

All this brass looked fine before being loaded, it just freaked me out that it all started failing at once and I started to question my reloading job. I realize now it was definitely old/brittle brass.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:46 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: S.E. Michigan
Posts: 3,460
Re: Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

Don't throw it in the garbage, start a scrap case box and when it gets full, scrap it. A coffee can full will get you and the missus a nice steak dinner. Old scarred pills or pills with deformed meplats are good scrap candidates too.

You are a lucky guy. One more time and that stuff would have blown up in your face....

I use needle nose vicegrips myself. Set them to deform a new case mouth so it deforms and springs back, then try a suspect case.

Not going to get into annealing, I have a bench source and there are too many ways (most chancy at best) on You Tube. Lets just say, not enough is as bad as none and too much is a bad day too.
'It's not about me, it's about we'..........
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:59 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sublimity. OR
Posts: 62
Re: Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

Thanks for the tip on the vice grip technique, sounds like a great way to test them.

I am researching the annealing stuff right now and I agree 100%, it does sound like a pretty touchy process.

I will try a few once I do some more research and get some practice on all of these junk cases, and do the vice grip test and see where that gets me.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:23 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 297
Re: Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

Yes, that brass is way brittle. Annealing may not even help if it's too brittle. When you anneal you don't want to go beyond the top 1" of that big case.
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:23 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: New germany, NS
Posts: 291
Re: Brass splitting at neck/shoulder. Lots of pics.

it has gone beyond annealing. Pull bullets, deprime and deform that stuff and set aside for scrap. You will be suprised how fast you can fill a can of scrap brass and brass has a very good price at the salvagers, here it is $3.75 a pound.
For an earsplittnloudnbanger like that it is well worth your time to learn annealing.
I used to anneal useing a torch but, at the gunclub a member aquired a fancy machine and he charges 3 cents a piece, now I bring my brass to him and when I get it back it is in great shape all consistantly annealed.
And get yourself a trimmer , now they pay off first time around. I have a lyman that I got in the early 80's it is still going strong.
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