**Reloading Safety Reminder**

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Ian M, May 10, 2003.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,410
    Joined:
    May 3, 2001
    Brian,
    Your story could probably be repeated by others on this site (I hate to admit this but I been there a couple of times...). Seems that at one point in our reloading life we just have to get as much velocity as possible. I believe that your rifle told you that enough is enough, before things really let go. Did you get a 0.210" black circle burned into the face of your bolt around the firing pin hole? That is a permanent reminder that we went too far.

    Sometimes a person has to give his head a shake and ask what it is that he really wants. Accuracy should be the most important objective but getting accuracy and the full velocity potential of the case is also nice. Hot-rodding that accuracy limit is always a tantalizing notion - "if the book says 3000 is max and I am getting 3150, then I'm getting free performance!" That might be a fact but brass can only hold so much, and we will probably pay the price when our cases only last one or two loadings.

    Your story also indicates that some other "reliable" pressure signs can't be counted on - such as increased pressure required to lift the bolt and circle marks on the case-head from the ejector plunger hole. If a person feels the need for more velocity then we should bite the bullet and go to a different cartridge.

    Your little error was an all too common one, welcome to the club. Blown primers happen. That is one level of boo-boo. There is another level where people get hurt and that is what we really have to stay away from.
     
  2. Boyd Heaton

    Boyd Heaton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,071
    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Glad you are o.k.....I never blew a primer with too much powder.Blew one with not enough powder once.Notice I said ONCE....
     
  3. jcpython357

    jcpython357 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2003
    Brian, I've always gone by the statements put in the reloading manuals that accuracy is more important then blockbusting energy, although I've always thought, sure'd be nice to have another 100fps, but then came to my senses and thought, deer won't give a rats ass if he's getting hit by a 150gr bullet going 2600 or 2500fps, dead either way, and as Ian mentioned, case life is shot in the ass and what about that time I had my bolt stick after dispatching a deer for someone because I ignored an occasional flat primer from my 708 Savage(Tight chamber/throat)that incident could have cost me a deer had another deer been coming my way, I've since sold said rifle to bro-in-law, he shot like 6 deer with that rifle, and when he gave me some brass to reload I notice some flat primers, so I went down another grain, according to the last chrono I ran the rifle through, that load should run about 2500fps, 140gr Sierra. Still killing deer with it at 100+yds. Let's be careful out there. [​IMG] Jay.
     
  4. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    What a temptation, been there too. I still have never had a blown primer though, knock on wood.

    Like Ian indicated, the pressure signs "very often" don't mean squat, most my tests have revealed they usually start showing at quite high pressure, around 70-75k psi.

    Without pressure testing equipment, you never know how much to reduce the load by to get back down to reasonable pressure, as psi can ramp up slowly or real fast and you just never know. Velocity is your best indicator, and throttling back by 50-75 fps usually does the trick quite well.

    I've went to bigger cartridges for the added velocity at lower psi now.

    Glad it was just a "pop" for you this time, when my M14 blew up on me it freaked me out pretty damn bad. Don't load the wrong powder, mislable powder cans, barrow powder, or set more than one can by your powder dispensor or you could be in bad shape too.

    My big mistake was barrowing a can of H380 my brother had poured a faster unknown powder into... not lableing it either. From now on, I remove the seal on a can of powder I load with.... nobody else. [​IMG]
     
  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    guys,
    first, thanks for the concern. everything is fine, minus one case that wont hold a primer, and a slight ring on the you-know-what (good call Ian). obviously that wasnt my intention. normally when working a new head, i'll keep bumping up until i detect over-pressure sign, then know what the top end is. i wont even use that load, thats just so i know what my powder range is. although going by books is the safe way, it seems any more the newer the book, the lower the loads are. my guess is lawsuits. grab a book from years ago and see what it says about your current load. i agree, accuracy is top priority, but sometimes i get that by going above published weight. i know in my .357, i'm over 2 full grains on max for the current nosler book, however, its shooting tighter groups than anything the book has. no pressure signs exist, and the side note is, its actually half a grain less than max load in my uncles book- where i got the load from- but its dated 1970 something.

    again, i agree with everything you guys said, i was just testing the range i could work in, and failed to get the signs i was looking for, thus paying the price. sometimes i can get a little more accuracy out of it, sometimes not, but thats just something i do when starting on a new load. first time i've blown a primer though, and although i'd just assume keep it to myself, too many on here were saying they wanted to start reloading. i wanted to throw this out to show you have to watch yourself, and having a few years experience under your belt means nothing. the fact a few of you threw in some small stories just proves my point, and helps the cause of helping others seeking advice. thats what this place is all about, right?

    gotta go, its time to reload some more. dont worry, i'm backing it off. in fact, what'd i do with that book?...

    -brian
     
  6. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    just got back frome the range, where i had a small incident. normally around a bunch of experienced handloaders i wouldnt say anything because, one, they proabably already know, and two, the same reason you dont go around talking about your misses- but i've seen a lot of guys on here say they want to start reloading so i thought i'd post this. we all make mistakes, and hopefully someone learns from mine instead of doing it on their own.

    i've been working on some new deer hunting loads for my 270. i was already at the max load listed for the nosler book i have, but from the past knew nosler keeps their loads low, for safety reasons, and most of my working loads already are either their max, or above it. no pressure signs existed, so i started stepping half a grain at a time to see how high i could accurately get for a for few extra fps. after shooting loads, i checked cases, and although noticed each load flattened primers a little bit more, no signs of cratering showed and cases never stuck in the chamber. i should have known once the primers hit a certain flatness- a hint i decided to ignore on the quest for speed- that i hit my limit, but since everything else looked ok, threw a couple more kernels in the next batch. the last load i did was too much. the first two rounds shot fine, but the third had that distinct 'pop' sound and a tit bit of smoke coming from the action. sure enough, the primer blew out. i got the hint THAT time. the first two cases still looked fine, but handled the extreme pressure well i guess. needless to say i'll be tearing the remaining 7 rounds apart tonite, and my working load will be reduced at least a full grain less.

    reloading can be fun and rewarding, but for the new shooters starting out, be careful when you hit max load levels, and pay attention to cases. theres a reason the guys on here say reduce whatever load they give you and work up to it. remember, safety never takes a holiday.


    other than that, hammer down.
    -brian
     
  7. Tailgunner

    Tailgunner Active Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Glad your OK
    Just a personal note (IMHO) The reduction in book loads is more from improvments in pressure measurment (IE: crystal transducers vs copper crusher slug), than it is from lawyer proofing.
    Also, a lot of the older manuals used only "pressure signs" NOT instrumentation of any kind, and had to be backed down a lot once they started using instrumented barrels.
    Not even going to mention that powders have been re-formulated, the lot # to lot # variations etc.
     
  8. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,410
    Joined:
    May 3, 2001
    Tailgunner has a good point. I have a bunch of old reloading manuals and found as much as a four grain reduction from one manual to the next from the same manufacturer. We are really on our own when we work up loads since there are so many variables. Sometimes changing the brand of your cartridge case can be enough to significantly bump-up pressures.

    Here is a neat tip for anyone who sticks a case at the range and doesn't have a cleaning rod to drive it out with. Find a nail or any object that will slide easily down your barrel. Hold the rifle by the muzzle and drop the nail or whatever down the barrel and then simply move the rifle up and down so that the nail smacks the cartridge case. Amazing how much force can be focused on the head of that nail - works like an impact wrench. I have helped guys at the range several times with this trick and it worked everytime.
     
  9. rjf3

    rjf3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    49
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Go to the range without a cleaning rod, NEVER.

    I would advise newbie reloaders to stick to the book, for awhile.

    Russ
     
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    *sits tearing apart rounds with 2 pliers, while bolt waits patiently at the side to be cleaned*

    "me too!!"
     
  11. NUN

    NUN Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    As the saying goes, "Been there, done that". I don't want to repeat the catechism because no one listens and it never seems to sink in until you do it at least once.

    But...here is something to think real hard about:

    A 5% reduction in velocity is a 10% reduction is pressure or another way to think about it is loose 50-75fps and you lose 2500psi which is enough to save your ass if you need to walk on the wild side all the time.

    I'm talking about a 3000fps load at 50,000psi, a pretty normal load for many medium capacity cases. 50-75fps/2500psi is only 2.5% but it is enough to take you through August in the desert without sticking a bolt once. Never had one bit of trouble following this advice in the last 30 odd years. We won't discuss the first 30.

    Come to think of it, I don't remember any animals hit with one of those loads ever coming over and bracing me for not packing it in till the primers lost their ring and the brass flowed.
     
  12. Tim Behle

    Tim Behle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    367
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2002
    Just a simple reminder, that even the "Book Max" may be too much for your rifle. I've had a few rifles with the vent holes drilled into the bolts. I don't much care for doing much load work on guns that don't have them any more.

    I need to find a new photo hosting site to post some pictures of them.

    The first time I blew a primer, it was on a bolt with out such vents. The burn covered 3/4 of my right cheek. From a half an inch under my eye and down, from a half inch from my nose, almost to my ear, the pain and mark lasted for a week.

    This afternoon, I was working up a load, ( Same action as my first one, only now it has a vent hole. ) moving up .2" at a time. I got to "book max" and took four shells out to the bench. On the third shot, the jacket blew apart about 80 yards out. On the fourth shot, the primer blew. This time I only felt a slight tingle on my cheek under my safety glasses.

    Those vent holes are well worth the price of having them cut in.

    Tim
     
  13. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Tim,
    Glad to see ya still got your eyeballs!!

    I'm dieing to see a picture of the vent holes drilled in one, email me a pic if you can and I'll post it for you. I just can't picture where they're placed and such.

    I agree, the book max is often too high for some guns, so always start low and work up carefully.

    BOONYTOO,
    you got me thinking, I wondered how that ratio of velocity to pressure played out in the tests I've done on the Oehler 43.

    I looked over a bunch of test data for several guns and loads, just looking to see how much pressure jumped when a 50-75 fps gain in velocity was achieved.

    I found only a couple that only jumped 2500 psi, a couple that were only 3000 psi and by far, 90 percent of them were between 3500-4000 psi, a couple that were over 5000 psi.

    Most loads looked like they were about 3000-3500 psi higher at 50 fps faster.

    At 75 fps faster, they were almost always at about 4000 psi higher.

    Very interesting, it was real consistant across the board too, that's what I found pretty cool. [​IMG]
     
  14. Darryl Cassel

    Darryl Cassel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,757
    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    I hope your "ALL" wearing safety/shooting glasses when you test loads or for shooting period?

    Had primers blow from time to time and almost got pieces in the eye "once". Have wore shooting glasses ever since without fail. Even while LR hunting.

    I think wearing safety glasses should be a rule in compitition shooting also. To lose an eye is bad enough, not to mention eating a bolt or pieces of your action.

    When the primers flatten, look out. The next step is possible bolt lock-up. I saw two Sako,s locked up because the guys who owned them wanted to drive the 162 gr bullet in a 7/300 Weatherby at 3500 FPS.

    Be careful everyone and glad the original poster is OK.

    DC