How do you tell a rifle case is unsafe?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by WEATHERBY460, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. WEATHERBY460

    WEATHERBY460 Well-Known Member

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    I am reloading for large calibers and would like to know how do I tell if a rifle case is unsafe to reload for again?

    Thanks I would love pics.
     
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I don't have pictures but there are several things I would require before I loaded dangerous
    game ammo.

    Number of firings, No pressure signs on brass,General condition of brass should be good.

    Belted cases thin just in front of the belt and if you look close you can see a bright ring
    in this location. This is where you will get case head separation if you keep reloading it.

    On large dangerous game cartriges you normally full length size to make sure they will chamber
    under the worst conditions and this works the brass a lot so you should not re load over
    2 or 3 times under the best of conditions.

    If you are loading for other people you should be very conservative for there protection,
    and for your self you have to answer to your self if a mishap occurs.

    If Hunting deer and elk a case head separation or stuck case can ruin a hunt but on
    dangerous game it could ruin your life of someone Else's.

    No mater how many times brass has been fired if I find one piece with signs of potential
    failure I cull all of that batch because there will be more that are bad and can't be seen
    easily.

    You can't be two cautious !!!!

    J E CUSTOM
     

  3. carl irvin

    carl irvin Member

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    lots of your reload manuals show you pictures of pressure signs in the how to sections. Also may show you how to check for case stretching by visual signs and with paper clip checking the inside, look for extracter marks on brass. Signs of overloads and loose primer pocket and so on. Using your fired brass or and not some that someone else has loaded is always good.

    I bought some reloads real cheap once, 30-30 rounds 100’s of them. Had lots of fun with them until I had one head separate leaving the body and neck in the chamber of a lever action, no one was hurt it just wouldn’t take the next round.

    I also have had some win 454 brass split in a strange way in a Zig Zag but down the brass ½ inch but did not notice it until after I re sized so I don’t really know when it cracked. I guess the moral to that is I should have cleaned it better and inspected it better before sizing. Like the gent said before you cant look close enough or be to cautious.

    I do all those checks and still take a side cutter and split a piece or two from a batch to check for any sings of stretching.

    On top of that I still have the same questions with the higher pressure rounds like the 454 and 7 RUM.

    If anyone out there has any further info it would be appreciated. Especially on those 2 rounds I mentioned.
     
  4. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "Belted cases thin just in front of the belt and if you look close you can see a bright ring in this location. This is where you will get case head separation if you keep reloading it."

    Ditto with non-belted cases. And, with the fact that many of us tumble polish our cases between uses, looking for a visible web stretch ring is sorta meaningless, it won't be there.

    Splits are usually safe enough, head sperations may not be. Only useable test is the bent paper clip feeler thing, very carefully done, will tell us anything.
     
  5. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I measure how much thinning there is at the bottom of the case wall. I have learned that with my 270WSM that @ .010 of thinning I have one shot left, when I resize for the next loading a definite crack will show. It has proven to be very reliable for my casings, both the Norma and the Win brass showed the signs of eminent failure at the same thickness, Rem brass only shows .002 thinning in more than 2x the firings so no failures there.
     
  6. justgoto

    justgoto Well-Known Member

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    The lower case had too much of a charge in it.

    [​IMG]

    Notice the lighter color? That is where it stretched.
    I will not be using that one again.

    Here are the same two cases from the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    The case on the right has a protrusion where the extractor was; which is also from too much pressure.

    I have only been hand-loading for about 6 months or so and have had cases I thought were good go bad. I don't think you can tell just by looking.

    Every time I shoot my rifle, when I extract the case I take note if the bolt is sticky, then I clean it with my fingers feeling for cracks or whatnot while inspecting it. If I find anything remotely questionable, I get rid of it and review my procedure to determine if I am doing something wrong.
     
  7. carl irvin

    carl irvin Member

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    Are you measuring these before you clean and size?
    Are you measuring at a certain spot or just lookin for a smaller dimension above the head?

    Interesting, I will have to look at my cases like that. I have been inspecting my 7 M RUM cases one at a time. Looking for the line and using the paper clip method. Not finding anything after 2x use. I have split some brass into with a side cutter to inspect inside. Cant see anything with a mag class. Going to reload again.

    Will try the measurement and see if I can see the difference.

    Thanks
     
  8. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    How did you do that?
     
  9. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I use the RCBS Cace Master Gauge, I zero the indicator on the pin then put the case on and slide it down to the cup then come back up to the neck watching what is indicated. I have been doing this before I prep cases for the next reloading, I do a few just to monitor that group of cases. It is real interesting to see what is going on as the case moves, mine are moving too much and I need to address the situation.
    I'm novice to presision reloading so there is probly a better way but this seems to work.
     
  10. carl irvin

    carl irvin Member

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    you did say you loaded your brass 4 or 5 times so thats experiance if you ask me novice or not. One would have to define novice. I have been loading several rounds for years but only loaded this one for close to a couple hundred shots over the years and it is a round I am concerned with and consider myself novice but smart enough to read allot and ask questions. There just isnt that much on it and its not like all I have to do is just go to the range and reload. I have to get a little at a time over the year and years. I bought this gun when it came out and am just now where I am. Thanks for your inputs. I feel safe going on my 3rd round with the brass I have after looking at it all real close. I will have to get the gage you speak of as I understand you to say thats when you reject yours when you get a large difference.

    Thanks for the info
     
  11. HoytemanPA

    HoytemanPA Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the Casemaster. Once you can feel it with the paper clip it is probably very near the end. The fast way to tell if your cases are going to last is to pick out a single case and keep loading it with any other loadings you are doing at the time.

    For example since I buy in to the shoot clean method of barrel break in, I shoot and reload the same case for the process. Shoot 1 clean reload 5x, shoot 3 clean reload 5x. Usually by this point I see signs that all is well with cleanup/copper fouling and the starting case has 10 shots on it. To keep track of the rounds fired I put a new hash mark on the side of the case with a Sharpie, then document neck growth, thinning, extraction feel and ease of priming.

    I also do this again once I find the load or loads I intend to use. Each outing comes with the first shot fouler being the same case. So If I have 100 cases of which I do minor load changes to and load 10 shots to a time, the single case will have 10 shots on it while the other 99 are one time fired. It just gives me an idea of when to expect loose primers/hard extraction/case neck growth/doughnuts/seperation so you can either change something to fix it, or in my case rechamber the rifle.

    I HAD a 300 weatherby that no matter if I full length or neck sized the case, it developed .002 of "thinning" with each shot. And as bigngreen said at .010 "thin" the case was done. At 0.012 "thin" the crack is there. With most all of my other loadings the case master dial continues to rise until the inside pointer reaches the case head. The thinning measurement starts when the measurement no longer rises, falls and then rises again. And it was always just infront of the belt. On my 30-378 I get a very small thinning effect and lose those cases to loose primer pockets.

    I suspect that since both cases were Norma, the difference was due to the strength of the 700 vs the Weatherby Action but I doubt I will ever actually know. There are now alternative cartridges to those with belts and I do not forsee myself having any more belted cartridges chambered for 700 actions. Just a personal mind made up ain't gonna do it thing.

    HPA
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  12. carl irvin

    carl irvin Member

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    Thanks BigNgreen and HoytemanPA and anyone else that threw in on this subject.

    I will be geting me a case master as son as I can find it. Also I will be loading a single case and watching it as I go along. Never thought of that!

    Its good to take everyones info and go away from here good to go.

    Thanks for all the help.

    Carl