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Case exploded today !!

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Unread 03-03-2009, 01:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,618
Re: Case exploded today !!

Excessive pressure or a flawed case - one or the other. That case is split right through the thickest (thus strongest) part of the case head. Headspace issues wouldn't result in the case separating at the strongest/thickest point at the case head. That round was either way over acceptable pressures, or the case head was defective. My 0.02 cents. I'm leaning toward excessive pressure. Pressures so high that the case head failed, in addition to the primer being vaporized.

This is the sort of deal where Hornady may never tell you what they really believe caused the case head to rupture. Because it could be the same as an admission of liability, and their attorney will provide them with sound legal advice.

Thanks for sharing your story and all the neat pics. Glad you weren't seriously injured too!
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Unread 03-03-2009, 03:13 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 753
Re: Case exploded today !!

Looking at your primers you are definitely seeing some pressure signs.

No they aren't flattened but they are cratering. I too doubt its a headspace issue because typically in those situations you see primers flattened pretty bad and the case web showing distension (stretching)

The striker drives the case forward, the case shoulders up and then fires, pressure builds and the case gets blown against the chamber walls. The primer begins to poop out the back of the case (path of least resistance) until it slams into the bolt face, the head of the case isn't far behind. Since the bulk of the case is against the chamber walls and locked solid the web area (unsupported case portion) has to stretch to allow for the case head to contact the bolt face.

This is what leads to case head splits and this is almost always a rupture that follows the circumference of the cartridge case.

Your failure doesn't really appear to follow this. It looks like a gross pressure issue or just a freak catastrophic case failure.
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Unread 03-03-2009, 08:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 806
Re: Case exploded today !!


I had a similar experience shooting some Winchester white-box .22-250 ammo from a Ruger M77MkII VT a few years ago... one round fine, next round ka-boom, and the mag floor plate blew out, my ears were ringing, and I ended up picking a fair amount of primer cup out of my face and thumb right where they sat on the stock behind the bolt - I was not impressed with the gas containment of the M77. Bolt had to be opened w/ a deadblow hammer, and the case pried out of the bolt face. The case head wasn't split lik yours, but otherwise the primer 'hole' (not much of a 'pocket' left) looked about the same.

Ruger's head of 'tech support' flat out accused me of blowing it up with hot handloads. They 'offered' me a new replacement rifle - at dealer cost. Nothing wrong with the one I sent in for inspection (no deformation of the bolt face like yours) - despite it being able to close on a Wilson NO-GO gauge (oh, but our 'factory-calibrated' head space gauges say its just fine) and damn near closed on a FIELD gauge. They said if I truly had used factory ammo, then call that factory about it. Like an idiot, I sent in the remainder of the box of ammo
. Of *course* Winchester said "Nope, nothing wrong w/ the ammo... here's a gift certificate for a new box of 20rds of ammo. Have a nice day". Basically one bigfinger pointing party, with me stuck in the middle with no recourse but to give 'em both the finger. I didn't document anything, no witnesses on the firing line, nothing...

I'm not normally the lawsuit-happy type... but I'll say it again...

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Unread 03-03-2009, 09:08 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sagauache County, Co...3170 sq miles, not a single stop light!
Posts: 684
Re: Case exploded today !!

thanks for posting this shooter65. it is a good reminder that we are in fact participating in a sport that has a danger element and we should all practice safe gun handling AND wear protection for when something like this happens. if those cases had been a handload i was loading, i would have backed off maybe half a grain on the next load, but otherwise they looked pretty normal, very consistent and not excessive. i think you have done everything you could by letting the mfg know there was a problem. i would advise you to mount that case on the wall as a reminder to wear your glasses and be thankful that your lucky stars were lined up that day. AJ
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Unread 03-03-2009, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 801
Re: Case exploded today !!

Same rifle, Federal GMM case and Black Hills match red box case.

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Unread 03-03-2009, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,845
Re: Case exploded today !!

Just one more reason not to buy RELOADED AMMUNITION!!
The Truth Is Not Always Good For Business!!
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Unread 03-03-2009, 10:12 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 248
Re: Case exploded today !!

Boss, i'm even skeptical on buying factory ammo, I've had toomany blown primers even with factory pills. It seems to me the strain on the small arms manufacturing industry has become so much that QC has taken a dive - maybe just one person's opinion, but thats only thing to describe it..
wear safety glasses period.
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