Excessive pressure on Speer 25-06 low charge

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by lever-hed, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. lever-hed

    lever-hed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    I am quite baffled on something and would welcome any input anyone might have…I got a major warning sign at the range on my first shot of this load:

    Speer 120-gr BTSP (.257)
    48.5-gr H4831sc
    CCI BR2
    R-P case, trim 2.488” (1st reload)
    Savage 111

    I aquired the bullets some time ago and had called Speer to get starting and finishing charges so I could play (start 48.0-gr H4831sc, quit 52.0-gr H4831sc, 2958fps).

    Anyway, blown primer and stuck bolt !, took some good muscle to get open to see the extractor had torn off part of the rim due to the case was stuck. Bolt face was lightly marred around the ejector hole . Nevertheless, I wont be using anymore of these bullets in the near future and may replace bolt head.
    Very pissed to say the least, and I want to call that guy at Speer and tell him to go pound salt ! does anyone have the Speer book that could verify for me what the actual min/max charges are for this load? Any similar experiences? thanks for any help..
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    I don't have access to the speer manual, but according to Quickload, your 48.5 load should be just fine. I'd pull a few of the bullets and Weigh them and measure the diameter. I'd also weight the powder for each one.

    AJ
     

  3. lever-hed

    lever-hed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Measured 14 of the bullets from the box, diameter at mid-shank was .2575 and with a little thumb pressure I got .257” measured 3 times spinning shank 1/3 turn, on all 14. (Frankford Arsenal digital calipers).

    ..pulled the remaining 3 bullets for this charge, dia measured same as above. Then set Redding scale back up , rebalanced to exactly zero, and all charges re-weighed 1/10th grain high (48.6-gr, no major issue).
    But, noticed at bottom of cases there appeared to be gray marks where powder might have seen condensation from going from warm car to 28 deg.F weather. I don’t think this could be a factor for blown primer..however, I shot from a clean barrel and noticed after removing the stuck case there appeared to be powder in the barrel to what looked like unfired powder residue, maybe from unfired powder flakes due to water from condensation, leaving a low charge (which I’ve heard can be just as dangerous as a hot charge), but this is just me thinking….

    All primers seated with Lee hand prime tool and seated with good resistance.
    Still baffled.. (wtf).. this is killlllllliiiiiiinnnnnggg me !!
     
  4. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    764
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Are you seating the bullets to, or into the lands? If they are hard into the lands that might be the problem.
    If not just back back off 6 grains and try again, then work up SLOWLY.
    Remington brass should not be the problem, but you never know, weigh a few and see if they are consistent.
    Dave
     
  5. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    I only have 3 ideas for you.

    1) Grabbed the wrong powder. ?? A visual comparison and measuring the grains length and diameter with your calipers can help you verify that the correct powder was used.
    2) Did you do anything with the primer/flash hole? A too large flash hole can cause blown primer, but not stuck case as far as I know.
    3) How hard where the bullets to pull from the case? If the cartridges got wet, maybe the bullet was 'fused' to the case with corrosion.

    I know the above are really wild ass ideas, but I'm just throwing them out for you.

    Let us know what you figure out.

    AJ
     
  6. lever-hed

    lever-hed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Ok out of a dozen or so possible explanations, I’ve come to think that there could be 2 possible scenarios (however unlikely) in my mind.. (other than it was just hot load):

    a) I have over-deburred the flasholes in the R-P cases; I’ve noticed that R-P cases tend to be ‘stickier’ then other cases when deburring, such as Federal or Winchester cases, they seem to have softer brass and less burrs in them. When deburring flasholes on R-P cases, the brass is harder and more times then not, I come across a large ‘chunk’ that needs extra twists to smooth it out, Its possible I could have over-done this – (primer pockets were uniformed also).

    b) My tube is constricted due to copper fouling, although I don’t really feel this could be part of it, as I religiously clean my barrel after every session, 20-40 shots, using Butches, typically 25-30 patches. I have over 500 rounds down this factory barrel and notice no matter how many patches I send down, there will always be some copper fouling.. also I cleaned it real good just prior to going to range with Butches and then sent a couple patches of degreaser down the barrel to finalize. Don’t know if this had anything to do with it..

    anyway these may be the answer, maybe not, still figuring itout...bullet seating was .010” off the lands, same as what I use for Sierra and Nosler, in fact I used Nosler 115-gr BT’s a week ago with 48.8-gr of H4831sc and shot fine.
    Neck tension was ok, bullets were seated only recently. Maybe I’ll post some pics..
    Thanks for your input,. I appreciate it.
     
  7. jmason

    jmason Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,527
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Did you weight the bullets just to make sure bullets didn't get in the wrong box?
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,309
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    All good suggestions by the members.

    I would look at seating depth. .010 may be to close for these bullets.

    Back off to .050 and start with the starting load (50 thousandths seems like a lot )
    but some bullets need a lot.

    After working up a good load (Low SDs and good groups) I start closing
    the seating depth .005 at a time to find the most accurate load.

    Let us know what you find and BE "CAREFULL"
    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. lever-hed

    lever-hed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    JE,
    Good point, I’ll make sure my extractor is gtg, then I’ll pull the rest of these bullets, get brave and reload.

    In checkinbg the Sierra manual, for comparison, 117-gr(.257) SBT’s and 120-gr HPBT’s start at 43.6-gr of H4831sc rated at 2700 fps, and, 45.7-gr rated at 2800 fps,( Probly shouldve questioned this,even so, 48.0 grains still seems like a good starting point). If you take the max load Speer gave me (of 52.0) -10%, you get 46.8. With what happened to the loaded Speer @48.5,( pancaked primer, cratered dimple flowing into firing pin hole, etc.), I think I’ll start around 44-45 and push the bullet in a little further.
    If I get a chance to go out this weekend, I’ll let you know how it goes.. thanks
     
  10. lever-hed

    lever-hed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
  11. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,896
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Not a pretty sight. Did it etch your bolt face? Never had this experience yet and hope not to.
     
  12. 41mag

    41mag Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    I can only offer my own experiences with the Speer bullet.

    Back in 87, I purchased my first 25-06 in a Rem BDL. My initial goal was to work up a load in bullet weights ranging from 100 - 120grs, which shot somewhere close to the same POI at 200yds. I figured that way I would always have something to cover the conditions I would be hunting in or the game I was hunting.

    When looking over the various 120's I settled on the Speer to start with as it just had a look about it that did something for me. In initial testing I found similar to you that it spiked pressure extremely quick in my rifle. Along the same time I was also shooting the 115gr "X" and the Partition. I found that I could easily hit the velocity I was looking for with both of these bullets, and accuracy was totally awesome. After that hunting season, I went back to the 120's and finially did end up working a load up I think using either IMR-4350 or RL-19, that shot groups which raised a BR shooters eyebrow who was a regular at the range. During follow up testing I set up the chrono and found that the load which was for the most part maxed out in my rifle was only hitting around 2780'ish fps. My issue was even with the groups consistantly cutting somewhat one hole at 200yds, the 115's were hitting mid to upper 3100's, and shooting right at 1/2" at the same range. In my mind then as now, I took the added velocity over the slightly smaller group, and haven't looked back.

    My take on the Speer was that with the extra bit of bearing surface it was causing pressure to build quicker. This however didn't seem to bother the longer Barnes bullet however even with the solid construction, but the 5grs less weight might have made the difference too. I will say this however about the Speer, I took two deer with it and a friend took one, one at around 180 yds, one about 220yds, and the other at around 250yds. In all cases, the impacts were the hardest hitting I have ever witnessed. One deer was almost folded head to tail, before slamming to the ground, another was completly flipped over, and landed on the side it was shot, the last appeared like it was hit by a truck and slammed sideways several feet before hitting the dirt. These deer weren't the largest in the country but all weighed around 100 - 120 dressed. The damage was not what I expected after witnissing the hits, but substantial non the less.

    I settled on the 115gr weight for my rifle mainly due to the Partition. It did everything I needed, at a velocity and accuracy I liked, no matter what the range out to over 400yds.

    With a few of the powders that have come out since then, you should be able to work up something which shoots great with that bullet in your rifle. I have since given mine to my daughter and the only thing we have changed since way back when is dropping down to the 110gr Accubond instead of the Partition. The rest of the load is exactly the same. That rifle continues to shoot those tiny groups with the new bullet and the daughter uses it to it's fullest.

    Good Luck
     
  13. Freebore

    Freebore Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    611
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2002
    Are you sure you have your dies set correctly to just bump the shoulder back? I saw a similar situation with slit case head/blown primer because the shoulder was bumped back too far allow for too much head space when chambered. Too deep into the FL sizing die. This was in .270 Win. the guy was leaving for Africa the next day. Don't know how he made out but we did figure this issue out at the range since someone had gauges and calipers with them.
    Just a thought.
     
  14. lever-hed

    lever-hed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Ok, I appreciate the feedback on this thread.. here’s update for what its worth.. bear with me..
    I went back several weeks ago to retest. I had loaded some various Speer bullets and thought I’d start with 45.0 grains and back way off the lands (2.660” oal ogive). Long story short, it failed miserably. Stuck case froze bolt. I cannot believe its still excessive pressure.
    Nonetheless, I sent it back to Savage and received back last week. Bolt head was not replaced but the invoice said they repaired redrilled the ejector and fixed extractor which was not really damaged but could tell they replaced parts.
    Anyway, I decided to (retest again)scrap the Speer bullets and go with what worked in past. Sierra 117-gr SBT, and started low (44.0-gr H4831sc), note this is almost the starting load in the manual; and since I had success with 48.8 grains in the past, I would test in 1 grain increments to see if I could work back up to it.. Well, the three 44.0 grains shot good, then I got the 45.0 gr. ..and blown primer/stuck case again. I could get bolt open, however the extractor and detent ball were blown out and the ejector was blown in. At this point I’m totally at odds with this gun, I cant get proper bolt operation with any constency and I cant believe I’m getting over-pressures/stuck cases now with only 45 grains. This may just be the rifles max but I’m finding that very hard to believe.
    Has anyone had similar experiences ? I’m brainstorming every possible culprit but can only think the powder is bad or it just doesn’t like H4831. RE-22 has worked well .. however I’ve only been using H4831sc recently, and maybe it cant stand this powder which is hard to believe. I’m thinking switching back to RE22 or getting some Retumbo. I’m even thinking there is some sort of head clearance problem or ejector is just problematic, as I’ve had past issues come up when the ejector is functioning. I may just switch powders and see what happens.. thanks for any further thoughts.

    Signed,

    Truckin along.. in full reverse