Bullet: To pull or not to pull?


Guy de Loimbard
April 19, 2007, 06:11 PM
I recently got into handloading, driven by the cost of 45-70 ammo. I found that it's not as hard as I thought and almost as fun as shooting. So I decided to also try making ammo for my CZ-82 (9x18 cal.).

I made up a batch of 50 rounds, and had no trouble except for one bullet. the HP looks like it tried to cave in. The bullet appears to have seated correctly, and appears to be concentric with the case.
The deformed one is the one on the right. Is it safe to shoot, or should I just go ahead and buy a bullet puller (probably should already have one anyways I think) and replace the bullet? How can I keep this from happening again? I used the RCBS Carbide die set to make these, and I used the roundnose seater plug in the seater die.

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April 19, 2007, 06:38 PM
Just shoot the round, if it's not seated deeper than the rest. The shape of the hollow cavity has nothing to do with the pressure generated by the charge of the powder. It's only affected by the amount and type of powder, and the volume of the case. Of course this is simplified, as the friction from the bullet also factors in the equation, as does the primer. The bottom line is, if everything is the same as the rest of the rounds you loaded, and they're safe to shoot, then this one will be safe also.

Hope this helps.


April 19, 2007, 07:57 PM
totally agree its ok to shoot. if now it was deformed to where the metal was sticking way out to the left or right to obstruct the barrel. then i would say pull it. Same time if it was seated to far in then pull it. As seating it too far will raise the case pressure.

April 19, 2007, 08:11 PM
GdL: Fred makes some good points, so I'm going to quote him on one of them:

"It's only affected by the amount and type of powder, and the volume of the case."

I don't know what powder you used, but if you loaded these rounds with a dense ball powder, I'd think about pulling the bullet. IF 49 of your rounds look like the one on the left, you have to consider what caused the distortion of the bullet nose with the load on the right. The ring left by the seating stem on the distorted bullet suggests that it took more force than necessary to seat it. Causes could be several, including that the bullet might have been out of spec to begin with. Poor alignment during seating could be another.

BUT, if you accidently double-charged this case with a fast burning dense ball powder, or had an overcharge with a slower one, a distorted nose could very well be the result. A quick check would be to weigh several of the 49 loads that turned out fine, to get an average, because weights will differ slightly. Then weigh the cartridge with the distorted nose. If it weighs the same as the other cartridges within a few tenths of a grain, you probably don't have an overcharge, but if it varies as much as what might look like the powder chargeweight, or enough difference to give you doubt about it. PULL IT.;)

By now, you've probably already concluded that a bullet puller is a necessity, and it is not unusual to get bullets occasionally, that are out of spec.;)

April 19, 2007, 11:27 PM
Without knowing if case volume is the same, you can't say if the round is safe or not. I'll be the wussy of the bunch and say pull it. How much did that round cost to make? $0.25, maybe less? Is it worth your safety and the safety of your firearm?

April 19, 2007, 11:56 PM
When in doubt, pull it out.

Sometimes I find myself asking the same question, then realize its not worth the possible injury & damage to an expensive gun.

April 20, 2007, 01:01 AM
Guy DE Lombard,

What what powder are you using and what is the charge weight? I seriously doubt that a double charge is the culprit, because if the case was that full you should have noticed it when you set the bullet on the case to be seated. More likely either you are barely bellying your cases and this one particular case had a little more retention or you didn't get the bullet set squarely on the case or it shifted as it went up into your die and was at an angle when it came in contact with seater plug. Either of these two scenarios could cause the bullet to be deformed providing it wasn't before you set it on the case. However, if you even suspect you might have over charged it then do what has already been stated, pull it. However, if you know you didn't overcharge it then it is perfectly safe to shoot.

Guy de Loimbard
April 20, 2007, 09:01 AM
I was using 3.6gr. of VihtaVouri N320 and 90 gr. Speer Gold-dot bullets. 3.6gr is what the Speer #13 manual reccomends for a starting charge.

Upon weighing I don't think I want to use it. All my other cartridges come out to 154 to 154.3gr. The deformed one, oddly, is 147.5gr. I'm not sure what happened. If I didn't charge that case, I would expect it to be around 150.5gr.

April 20, 2007, 09:45 AM
Shoot it. :)

Welcome to THR

April 20, 2007, 11:21 AM
Guy de Loimbard,

That is one of those low volume loads that you do have to be extremely careful loading because double charges are hard to detect. I am not saying that you do or don't have a double load in that case that would be irresponsible on my part. However, with some certainty I can tell you that I don't think the powder was the cause of the bullet deformation. Most likely it was one of the possibilities I stated in my previous post but those are just my best guess.

Unless you really love that load or just want to keep your loading cost down I would recommend finding a powder with a higher case capacity. If you find a powder and a load that fills the case over 50% you'll never have to worry about a double charge because it would be overfilling the case. See I load on progressive and it would easy to miss a double charge so that is why I subscribe to the over 50% case capacity rule. Some times you have give up a little velocity but I have always found a load that was accurate, well so far.

Most likely that load is okay and like everyone said shoot it, but if you have any doubt do yourself favor and pull the bullet and check it never second guess yourself. If it is okay can reload the bullet and unless you are 1/2" MOA shooter you may never notice the difference. I know I have dropped rifle bullets and damaged the tip and for recreational shooting and varmint hunting they have been fine but I am sure their accuracy was compromised.

April 20, 2007, 11:24 AM
I don't think you caved in the cavity. I think it's a manufacturing defect.

April 20, 2007, 11:27 AM
I think it's a manufacturing defect.

I agree, but if you are the least bit worried, just pull it or destroy it and no harm done. I have destroyed a couple of uncertain rounds in the past. I don't have a puller. :)

Guy de Loimbard
April 20, 2007, 02:53 PM
Thanks, all. I think I'll just get a bullet puller and have a look/see. That way I can figure out exactly what the problem is.

April 20, 2007, 03:30 PM
I'd say if it was only one bullet out of 50 and we're not talking about some exotic brass that costs $5 each and it bothered me as to what to do, I'd throw it away.

April 20, 2007, 09:27 PM
Griz, I agree, I wouldn't shoot it, but I would keep it as a reminder.

There is considerable difference between the various ball powders as far as chargeweight and bulk density, meaning that you can get varying levels of case fill. Some have the potential for double charge. Some of the slower ones are dense enough to deform a bullet even at the recommended powder charge if a bullet is too deeply seated. 320 is a pretty fast burning powder alright, and because of the operating pressure of the 9 X 18mm you can look at slightly slower burners than what is typically recommended for the .380 ACP. Maybe a bit slow, but I believe Accurate even shows data with #7. HS-6 might be a good way to go here. Both have been used in .380, anyway.

I agree with some of you guys that a defect existed with this particular bullet, but not as it appears after GdL loaded it. The seating stem in RCBS dies is fairly shallow and something forced some additional force to be required to deform the nose well beyond a factory defect. Also, to my 50 year old eye's, anyway, the case on the right appears to be thicker at the casemouth.

The overall weight of the cartridge is different enough to warrant pulling the bullet, if you decide not to just set it aside as a reminder.

Glad you took the time to weigh. Something to keep in mind for the future.;)

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