Identifying signs of excessive pressure


PDA






Timothy
January 9, 2003, 01:32 PM
I’m just gonna be honest here:
I hear so much about pressure signs and I’m not sure I ever saw any! Either I never had any or I didn’t recognize them. At the range guys are always trying to be nice and helpful but I’m not sure their observations are always factual. I’ll show a fired brass to one guy and he will say it looks to have been loaded a little hot. I’ll stick it in my pocket and later show it to someone else and they will say it looks normal to them. I really do appreciate their intentions, but can I count on their opinions? I always start at the bottom and work up my charges, but I’m not sure where to stop. I’m sure if I saw a split mouth I would back off but I don’t really want to be “closing the barn door after the horse is out”. The important words here are “signs of excessive pressure” . Sounds like a matter degree and I’m not really sure I could identify and interpret them correctly. For instance, flattened primers. I use Federal and they are always flattened. I’ve learned that this their nature so I’m not too concerned, but how flat is “too flat”? What conditions, and how severe, are telling me that I am entering the danger zone?

I appreciate anyone’s help to make me more correctly observant.

If you enjoyed reading about "Identifying signs of excessive pressure" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Dave P
January 9, 2003, 02:02 PM
Couple of brief thoughts:
If you have trouble extracting the brass, watch out.
If your primer starts cratering (flowing into the firing pin hole), watch out.

And of course read and heed the manuals! Many are online. Stick with "standard" loads until you gain more experience. Don't try to invent something new (reminder for self!), and don't rely on internet loads!:)

MoNsTeR
January 9, 2003, 02:17 PM
Primers flow slightly into the firing pin hole of my wife's Beretta 92 no matter what. Winchester white box, Fiocchi, PMP, full-power handloads, super-light handloads, doesn't matter.

I share Timothy's question, how do you tell?

colima
January 9, 2003, 04:20 PM
I don't want to hold myself up as one of the wise old timers on this list, but I have done a lot of reloading for .45 ACP and .357, along with a bit of dabbling in 45 Colt.

My opinion is that overpressure signs will vary from gun to gun. With my .45s (three Kimbers, a Norinco, and a Colt) I see the following signs when the pressure gets too high:

1. Flattened primers - yes, I know they all look flat and that some primer brands are softer than others. But a really high pressure load will REALLY flatten in my guns - including flowing into the curved edges of the primer hole. The size of the firing pin indent is sometimes reduced when the primer really flattens.

2. I tend to use brass until it either splits or won't fit the gauge anymore, so split brass is not always a sign of overpressure - its sometimes a sign of really old brass. But if you get splits on relatively new cases, that can be a overpressure sign.

3. For autos with barrels that do not completely support the brass (most unramped .45s), a good sign of overpressure is bulging in the case near the bottom where the case was not supported. I set up one of my Kimbers with a Schueman ramped barrel just to experiment with .45 Super - because of the better case support.

4. As noted by others, for revolvers brass that sticks in the chamber during removal is a possible sign of overpressure. I have had inconsistent experiences on this with my .45 Colt. I have had medium range loads stick while Paco-level loads popped right out. Sticking has however been a pretty reliable overpressure indication in my .357 loads.

KP95DAO
January 9, 2003, 06:58 PM
The "pressure ring" method is the best barring pressure equipment. I have been using this method for over 20 years and have never had a surprise. It is useful in dealing with any round that generates 20,000 or more. It, in cunjunction with a cronograph, will allow you to go where mere mortals fear to tread.

redneck2
January 9, 2003, 08:03 PM
there was an article in Handloader titled "Pressure Guessing"

this should be required reading for everybody that's a handloader/reloader

it was VERY detailed, but basically, what it said was there is no reliable way for the average person to test pressure other than velocity. The pressure ring method has been the holy grail for a number of years now, but it's only marginally accurate

there's a lot of conjecture about the "old" reloading manuals and why some of the info has dropped so much. What they found out was that some of their loads had way high pressures but weren't giving any typical signs.

Edward429451
January 9, 2003, 08:37 PM
Are you guys talking about the bright ring that shoes up after resizing near the base of the case? I think so but noone went into any depth on it so I want to be clear.

If so, thats what I mostly use on rifle rounds for my method. If its too bright I double check with a paperclip bent 90 deg on the tip and feel in the case to see if there is ANY ridge or bump felt in the area of the ring, if so I toss it. If its scored at all, I toss it. When in doubt I toss it. Brass is cheaper than rifles. (credit that idea to CRSam or Art, cant remember..)

If I'm out in left field on what you guys meant, by all means please expound on the subject a little. Thanks.

Timothy
January 9, 2003, 09:47 PM
Redneck2:

Sure would like to read that article on "Pressure Guessing"
Could you please guide me to it?...or... Would it be to much of a pain in the arse to scan and attach to an email? My address is in my profile.

Appreciate all your help, thanks.

Timothy

Big_R
January 10, 2003, 08:03 AM
Timothy:

The best advice I can give you is stop when you reach the maximum listed in the manual provided by the powder manufacturer. Any loads above maximum is not only asking for trouble, it is hard on your gun regardless of if you get pressure signs or not. I have seen guns that have had significan failures because someone was trying to turn a 30-06 into a 300 Win mag. Use your firearm for the load it was designed for. The extra couple hundred fps you achieve by overloading is never worth it. End of rant.

Pressure signs: The most common pressure signs vary for the type of weapon and are pretty much covered in the previous responses. Any weapon that works smoothly with factory loads and starts jamming, failure to extract, or difficult bolt opening can be a sign of excessive pressure. With a long gun, excessive recoil is an obvious sign, but it's probably too late.

Ryan

KP95DAO
January 10, 2003, 08:33 AM
Once again something is said/printed, "The pressure ring method has been the holy grail for a number of years now, but it's only marginally accurate.", which proves that you can hand a tool to a monkey and it will do him no good. The monkey must have the ability to think, analyze, and act on data presented to him.

The Handloader magazine is not what it was 25 years ago. Back then there was not the constraint of possible liability due to some ignoramous trying to deal with complicated subjects presented in it's pages. I haven't subcribed for over 15 years because of the dumbing down of it's topics and their content.

If there is enough interest I will write up the procedure and techniques of using the "pressure ring method." Let me know if you are interested.

Timothy
January 10, 2003, 09:30 AM
KP95DAO:

I, like a lot of other guys, would like very much to see the procedure and appreciate your effort.

Timothy

Pistolsmith
January 10, 2003, 11:37 AM
KP:
If you have 86 million dollars worth of liability insurance, go ahead and write it up because we'd all be interested. But, make no mistake: As the man said about monkeys with tools, somebody will misconstrue what is stated even if it is words of one syllable.
Handloader was never at the top of the game. Also, they hardly ever paid their writers. When it was first on the stands they had a brilliant series of articles on pressure amd how other elements resulted in different pressure levels. If you can find the series, don't believe it; most has been proven only marginally true even though Dr. B used his university's computer and had access to the physics department.
Almost NOBODY knows how to measure water capacity of a case, and even if this is done very carefully, and is fine for certain guns, harken to what the poster said about his wife's Beretta jacking up pressures on normal loads.
One outstanding problem is that if you are a real old timer in reloading, all of your hard earned data from the past is unreliable. Modern powders are made in different factories now and they seem to vary significantly from older data. So, if your old data approached the red line, re-test and re-record.
As for the Beretta cited above, if it is a recipient of the so called NATO chamber it MIGHT not show pressures in excess due to the long throat ahead of the chamber. Other barrels could show flattened primers. Or, if bullet seating depth changes, strange effects begin to show. Even harder or looser taper crimps will have their effect.
The worst pressure signs I have ever seen came from a pistol that never had a problem that way before, but suddenly the primers were almost blowing out. I discovered that the "pressure signs" came from ammunition that had been stored primer down in the back of my 4X4 that had bounced over logging roads for several weeks before the fodder was fired. The constant shaking had jarred some of the retardant coating loose from the granules and a very fine dust had settled into the primer, causing very high pressures. A return to normal ammo returned me to normal pressure indications.
Once, when testing a friend's .45 magnum pistol, we found that some very excessive loads used as a pressure test cycle on the pistol he had built in prototype, showed up absolutely the same as much lower pressure loads we had been firing.
In firing my 9X23 Win caliber pistols, I found that identical loads with virtually identical water capacities and uniformity of loading settings resulted on brass being scuffed off the case head on some days and was less noticeable on other days, perhaps due to ambient temperatures being different.
The only real identifier would be from Oehler's device that uses a strain gauge, but ammo that passes the test would still be subject to the "Beretta phenomenon" our poster mentioned.
If you need a tad more velocity, you might consider buying one of the computer programs that purport to give pressure readings. I bought a rather expensive one made in Germany and found that it was based on lots of obscure powders and some "just likes" that weren't.
Pressures in firearms falls under the category of physics, not handloading, so until somebody comes up with a method of measuring pressure in each individual handgun or rifle, it is by guess and by body english.
"You sure you used enough 3N37 there, Butch?"

mete
January 10, 2003, 11:40 AM
Some years back Norma had a great idea. They realized that the handloader had no instruments to measure pressure, so they made cases very precisely so that pressure signs would show up at the max pressure of the cartridge. These cases are marked Re on the headstamp. Unfortunately there are lots of dummies out there, one group thought that the " Re " meant that they had been reloaded , and the other group , used to loading to 70,00 or so rejected the cases as being far too soft. So norma scrapped the idea. There was an article about reloading the 7mmrem mag using the criteria I think of .0005 expansion of the head. He then sent the loads to a lab-- 70,000 psi. When you criticize gun companies for legal stuff ( do not use reloads etc ) remember that they do it because there are many shooters who don't know what they are doing or they are downright irresponsible. Reloading books are made with much time effort and cost and if you follow that advice you'll never have a problem.

Edward429451
January 10, 2003, 12:18 PM
If there is enough interest I will write up the procedure and techniques of using the "pressure ring method." Let me know if you are interested

I'd be interested. It sounds like a good read.




somebody will misconstrue what is stated even if it is words of one syllable.

Following in someone elses footsteps that did or made something is like trying to use someone elses recipe for soup. If a single aspect of it is deviated from like an ingrediant or cooking time The soup is not the same. It may be close, but it is not the same. You'd think it would be common sense that people would realize this. Even copying a reload from data from a published source with specific conponants is not to be regarded as the same in my mind. The conponants that they used even if the brands the same can not be reasonably construed to be the same, because the manufacturing run or lot will have variances in makeup and will yield different pressures. The data is general guidelines only. Don't they teach logical thinking anymore? God help us all.

MoNsTeR
January 10, 2003, 12:46 PM
Don't they teach logical thinking anymore?
No, in fact, "they" do not :fire:

I would also like to read of this "pressure ring" method.

JSR
January 10, 2003, 03:00 PM
Heres the link to Stan Watsons(OKshooter) site,about the most comprehensive regarding pressure signs that I'v seen.
Jeff
w.reloadingpro.com/http://www.reloadingpro.com/

Poodleshooter
January 10, 2003, 03:51 PM
Personally, when I develop a load I run it up until:
A. The primer flattens (I use hard CCI's so this is a useful measurement.)
B. I see any extractor mark wear on the case
C. The bolt handle feels sticky or extraction is otherwise difficult or altered

I see these signs appear in "A,B,C" order everytime I work up a load too high. I always quit increasing charges when I see B, but occasionally "C" crops up at the same time.
I'd use the micrometer/web measurement, but I don't have one yet.
It's not pressure guessing, it's pressure assumptions based on prior experience and testing :)

Pistolsmith
January 10, 2003, 05:01 PM
Poodocker:
You have left out so much vital information that what you have said is virtually meaningless.
You need to state what kind of rifle, the caliber and note whether the chamber falls within SAAMI specifications for this caliber and if the dimensions are on the low or high side of the tolerance given. Yup, you need a micrometer.
You need to give the diameter of the throat.
You need to give the groove diameter precisely.
You need to determine how much excess headspace your rifle has by closing the bolt on a cartridge and a small piece of steel shim stock. Remove the striker for safety reasons. This rearward expansion can be a factor in weakening the case at the web and giving false "stickiness" feel on extraction.
You need to state what cases you use and whether they are unfired or reloaded and how many times reloaded.
If reloaded, state what die set you use and if it full length or merely neck sizes the cases.
Then give the length of the throat and the proximity of the bullet ogive to the rifling, i.e., a slight gap of X thousandths, touching the lands, etc.
THEN give the bullet make, weight and powder charge.
Obviously, you don't need any of the above to "wing it" with your rifle, given your experience at handloading. But, there are first time reloaders on this forum that are going to take what you say as a guide. If they have a different rifle, caliber, different ammunition and loading dies, use different brands of case, primer, powder and bullets the observations you have made just might result in different results than those you have had for all of those years.
You could spend a day or so pondering your definition of primers flattening. Just beginning to lose the roundness at the edge of the primer pocket, totally flat, ironed out flat, picking up some kind of characteristic like ironed out primer indent, rudimentary flow into the firing pin hole, etc., etc.
One man's rifle may show these things out of sequence as the pressure spikes. Someone who crimps the case mouth may find yet another set of clues.
I've seen rifles that were carefully chambered by a gunsmith who was a member of the Pennsylvania Original 1500 yard shooters that fired rounds approaching proof pressures that would befuddle someone trying to use your criteria.
The best you can say is that you have not had any problems to date (or have you?)
What you are doing is only for very experienced handloaders who like to live on the edge. Frankly, I have never heard of a target or a game animal that could tell the difference of fifty to a hundred feet per second difference in velocity of the bullet.
If you are a first time handloader, do not deviate from the book, and compare the reloading book to the powder maker's data book.
If you decide to use the scrape marks on the case as an indicator, there are several things that could make your rifle's ballistics different from the person's rifle who gives the instructions.
He may have a bolt action and you have an autoloader.
You may use small base dies.
Your chamber may be slightly funnel mouthed for certainty of feed.
Etc.
Then, there are handguns that don't give up this "seat of the pants" data as easily as a rifle, and the consequences could be that somebody is hurt. Trust the loading book author, not the self-styled reloading guru at the range.
And, if you feel that you need more velocity than max loads, consider that you may be using an inferior bullet design. Some of the most expensive ones out there are ineffective under certain conditions.
I'm not trying to be difficult; I'm just worried whenever I sit down to a shooting bench to the right of somebody I don't know. I've been seriously hurt twice due to other people's handloads and I hate hospitals. Been in the E room twice in the past two weeks and I've seen enough of it. I don't think you'd enjoy going through what I've been through.
So, remember that when using some powders, the pressure curve spikes straight up with little to no forewarning signs.

RobW
January 10, 2003, 06:43 PM
Wow, after reading some posts:

Don't reload!Don't reload! :uhoh:

KP95DAO
January 10, 2003, 06:48 PM
Pistolsmith,

You are obviously unaware of some of the powders I use. The discussion of said powders were verboten on TFL and, since the same crowd is running this site, I would think said discussion would not be welcome here either. That being said, I pay attention to every detail of my reloading. Almost anal in that respect. Thank you, father and mother.

As far as things out of the blue, no pun intended, I experienced the reported pressure spikes with Blue Dot at under 32 degree temperatures. And then I turned right around and loaded some more rounds to make sure of the loads and then subjected them to the same conditions and got the same results. I don't know why it happened; but, it did.

As time allows I will put down what I know about this method. When it is ready I will post that it is available.

Pistolsmith
January 10, 2003, 07:13 PM
Nobody said don't reload. What was said is, stay under the maximum loads in the loading books and compare what the loading books say with the powder maker's literature. That should not discourage anybody. Use your head and don't believe everything you hear from the reloading gurus without verifying it or you may find your operation moved to that great reloading room in the sky.
The proof loads I mentioned above were loaded with blue dot powder. Try your experiment with some of the newer powders like those from Finland and report your findings. I know what I found.
In 55+ years of handloading (I began in '46 with a Lyman tong tool) I have known several people who always pushed the edge of the loading envelope. My knowledge of them did not show much advantage in going into the red, but what bothered me was having to investigate a death and two maimings that happened on the range and my own two encounters with hyper velocity loaders who had accidents that put me in the ER.
And, I don't want anybody to feel he has been slighted by anything I have said. I am in no way connected with this web site; I have my own.

Dan Johnson
January 10, 2003, 09:09 PM
Pistolsmith, Big R, and Redneck2 have offered some good advice and info here. Unfortunately, much of the rest falls under the heading of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".

Dan Johnson

colima
January 10, 2003, 09:41 PM
I fear that I am heading into territory where I'll get flamed, but I need to observe that much of the advice that is offered on this thread about reading the manuals and following their advice really does not apply in all settings. In particular, most of the official load data for .45 Colt is limited by the weaknesses of the Colt SAA and its clones.

Many people, including myself, have loaded Rugers in this caliber to much higher performance levels. Some Ruger data is beginning to appear in official manuals, with appropriate warnings about not firing in other guns. Still, most of the intelligent discussion on this caliber is on the web. My references include those that can be found at:
http://www.sixgunner.com/paco/Default.htm
and other pages on that site.

The usual advice applies - start low and work up a load that works for your gun and your situation.

My basic assertion remains - you can't give the same advice for .45 Colt as you do for 30-06 with regard to staying within factory manual load data.

Pistolsmith
January 10, 2003, 10:42 PM
What about the powder manufacturer's information?
The remarks are directed toward beginning handloaders, not those who have years of experience, as stated several times above.
If your loads would damage older guns, how do you label your ammunition to insure that none of it will find its way into guns that would pose a destinct hazard? If unmarked, you would buy the liability, should it be fired in an older gun and an accident happens. This is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. The 9X23 Win is another case inpoint, it would be lathal if fired in an old Spanish pistol chambered for largo. Is there a forumite who is a label printer? Perhaps we could give you some business and solve the problem.

Archie
January 11, 2003, 08:10 PM
Handgun calibers are usually loaded to a much lower pressure than rifle calibers. A slightly flattened primer in a .308 could indicate one should drop back 5 - 10 %. That same degree of flattening in a .38 Special means go to church this Sunday because its a miracle that revolver didn't come apart!

The ladie's Beretta that always craters the primers is likely the result of an oversized firing pin hole. Not a guarantee, but if it happens with all factory stuff, it's likely. Still, 9x19 is a pretty stoutly loaded round in the first place; it is not for hotrodding.

I have a .32-20 Savage rifle. I was trying some reloads in it, faithfully following the loading manual (I have several.) The starting load with 85 grain jacketed bullets made a *crack* noise instead of the usual -poof- sound. My chrono and pressure instruments indicated this was a maximal level loading.
Remember what they keep saying in the loading books; every gun is different, test from the beginning? They are.

On the other hand, I have an Improved .30-06. I worked up to a load I knew was on the top end... and shot it on a hot day. I won't give the exact load (I still have the data at home) but it threw a 200 grain Sierra SPBT at an average of 3271 f/s. Recoil was brisk, but not excessive and the bolt opened normally. No sticking, no nothing. Accuracy was real nice too.
An older shooter pointed out where the primers were leaking around the edge of the pocket. And they de-capped real, real easy. But thanks to a 1917 Eddystone action and the Grace of God, I'm here to be embarrassed over it.

Pressure instruments. Fabrique Scientific makes a fairly inexpensive pressure test meter. It will adapt onto most any firearm with a little finagling.
That doodad and a chrono are the absolute best BS extractors I ever had for shooting. (Except for paper targets. Paper targets will take a lot of BS out of group size stories...)

Pistolsmith. I have the series on "Firearm Pressure Factors" by Dr. Browning. You say that's not an accurate assessment of how interior ballistics works? Is there something better available? Do you know where I could read the opposing view or findings? Thanks.

Pistolsmith
January 11, 2003, 09:01 PM
Well, I thought I was buying it when I obtained the German program to put on the computer, but it isn't the answer because they use different powders in Germany.
I have Powley's computer and it is bogus also.
I'm still looking for a reliable program.
Meanwhile, the book "Pistols Revolvers and Ammunition by Jossrand and Stevenson is the only reliable reference to the THEORY that I know of. Even Julian Hatcher did not have a suitable definition and when you read Jossran's explanation you will realize why... He was doing a reverse trace, as near as I can figure it.
Meanwhile, put me on your eMail list and keep in touch with me, please.
Incidentally, the book is long out of print but can be found on Bibliofind.com. Grit your teeth and pay the price; it is worth every penny.
Meanwhile I will research the company you indicate. And Oehler. B;u;t, I fear that a "budget priced" strain gage is not the answer either. They make good ones for NASA, but they cost 20 G's.

uglymofo
January 12, 2003, 11:04 AM
Go to http://stevespages.com/table3.html and read the article

Case Information/Diagnosing problems

There are LOTS of pictures; the article deals with diagnosing the appearance of fired rifle cases, but all of it applies to reading pistol cases.

WESHOOT2
January 12, 2003, 12:20 PM
Mr. "Pistolsmith" is way experienced; please do NOT disregard his (actual) experience.

Pressure occurs at each firing in every gun, yet EACH firing is a unique non-repeatable experiment.
No one (except Clark) wants to blow up their gun.
Nor do providers of data want their customers to have 'interesting experiences'.

Handloaders seeking performance above published maximums MUST use every stinkin' tool available, because there is NO 'holy grail' for the pressure generated in their gun.

I observe case condition, (the ever-so-nebulous-and-personal) "feel", and my chrono data.

Bottom line: be careful, because there is no one else to blame.

Poodleshooter
January 12, 2003, 04:17 PM
Poodocker:You have left out so much vital information that what you have said is virtually meaningless.
I did give the most important information when I caveated the statement with the word "Personally", indicating that this is how I do it, not how the world at large does it. BTW, "Poodleshooter" is a Vietnam era slang for the M-16/AR-15 series of weapons.
Obviously, you don't need any of the above to "wing it" with your rifle, given your experience at handloading.

I realize from your website that you are much more experienced than I am (only reloading for 12 years or so), but if failing to take into account the entire list of variables that you gave.....
You need to state what kind of rifle, the caliber and note whether the chamber falls within SAAMI specifications for this caliber and if the dimensions are on the low or high side of the tolerance given. Yup, you need a micrometer.
You need to give the diameter of the throat.
You need to give the groove diameter precisely.
You need to determine how much excess headspace your rifle has by closing the bolt on a cartridge and a small piece of steel shim stock. Remove the striker for safety reasons. This rearward expansion can be a factor in weakening the case at the web and giving false "stickiness" feel on extraction.
You need to state what cases you use and whether they are unfired or reloaded and how many times reloaded.
If reloaded, state what die set you use and if it full length or merely neck sizes the cases.
Then give the length of the throat and the proximity of the bullet ogive to the rifling, i.e., a slight gap of X thousandths, touching the lands, etc. THEN give the bullet make, weight and powder charge
.....is "winging it", then every reloader that I know is "winging it" to some degree or another.


But, there are first time reloaders on this forum that are going to take what you say as a guide. If they have a different rifle, caliber, different ammunition and loading dies, use different brands of case, primer, powder and bullets the observations you have made just might result in different results than those you have had for all of those years. Yes, that is true. And yes, they may see different results. However, if we caveat every statement we make about reloading here with "These results will have no bearing on what you just asked", then what is the point of posting? We come here to give tidbits of information to one another. Anyone who announces themselves as a newbie gets a first recommendation to buy several manuals and take everything read here with a grain of salt.

You could spend a day or so pondering your definition of primers flattening. Just beginning to lose the roundness at the edge of the primer pocket, totally flat, ironed out flat, picking up some kind of characteristic like ironed out primer indent, rudimentary flow into the firing pin hole, etc., etc.
One man's rifle may show these things out of sequence as the pressure spikes. Someone who crimps the case mouth may find yet another set of clues.
I've seen rifles that were carefully chambered by a gunsmith who was a member of the Pennsylvania Original 1500 yard shooters that fired rounds approaching proof pressures that would befuddle someone trying to use your criteria.

Again, to my knowledge, most reloading manuals don't go beyond the pictures and descriptions of "flattened" and "cratered" primers. Do those pictures exactly duplicate the results that the reader will see in his rifle? Of course not. They are no different than my rather general suggestions.

The best you can say is that you have not had any problems to date (or have you?) I blew a primer once on a 100+ degree day in a .223 while developing match loads. I have never blown a casehead, and still haven't seen any cracked brass except in surplus factory ammo. Never in my reloads.

What you are doing is only for very experienced handloaders who like to live on the edge. Frankly, I have never heard of a target or a game animal that could tell the difference of fifty to a hundred feet per second difference in velocity of the bullet.
Whenever I develop a load, I run the load up until I see beginning pressure signs, at which point I quit and usually drop down to the last load below the pressure period. I do like to know where pressure develops for records purposes. In fact, I have to know this, as factory manuals occasionally list charges exceeding those posible in my weapons by a large margin.

If you are a first time handloader, do not deviate from the book, and compare the reloading book to the powder maker's data book. I agree, but with the strict criterion you have given for beginners, they would need to duplicate the rifle and all other test data used to develop every load in the book! Yes, beginners should follow the manual, drop 10%,etc, but exact duplication is never going to be possible due to lot variations, and a host of other variables.

If you decide to use the scrape marks on the case as an indicator, there are several things that could make your rifle's ballistics different from the person's rifle who gives the instructions.
He may have a bolt action and you have an autoloader.
You may use small base dies.
Your chamber may be slightly funnel mouthed for certainty of feed.
Etc.

Just for the thread author's benefit-my data for rifles is derived from loading for 5 different bolt actions in different calibers and models, one lever action and 2 semi-automatics. All using Lee and Redding dies. All with factory chambers, as I don't bother with cerrosafe. If that isn't enough, or if anything I say is found to contradict that in any manual, then ignore my statements.

Then, there are handguns that don't give up this "seat of the pants" data as easily as a rifle, and the consequences could be that somebody is hurt. Trust the loading book author, not the self-styled reloading guru at the range.
Very true. As Reagan said: "Trust, but verify".

And, if you feel that you need more velocity than max loads, consider that you may be using an inferior bullet design. Some of the most expensive ones out there are ineffective under certain conditions. I actually load light, as I shoot a lot of thin jacketed Remington and Winchester bullets.

I'm not trying to be difficult; I'm just worried whenever I sit down to a shooting bench to the right of somebody I don't know. I've been seriously hurt twice due to other people's handloads and I hate hospitals. Been in the E room twice in the past two weeks and I've seen enough of it. I don't think you'd enjoy going through what I've been through.
So, remember that when using some powders, the pressure curve spikes straight up with little to no forewarning signs.
I don't shoot other peoples handloads. I also avoid reloaders I haven't shot with before. From your history, I certainly understand your concern! :what:
However, I still feel that my statement about the appearance of pressure signs, while not as complete as it could be, is quite safe as what is said in it is echoed in many reloading manuals.
If we had to annotate every statement here with enough information to protect every fool out in the world, we'd never finish our posts.

Pistolsmith
January 12, 2003, 05:17 PM
Well, you might show concern for some who print out responses, save them for years and use the data after the circumstances surrounding the post are forgotten.
When you deal with some subjects like handloading that can result in serious injury or death, it pays to be concise. If you don't want to take the time, make certain that you list your answer as what it is. As an experienced handloader, the new followers of the forum are looking up to you and believe me, they will quote your statements as incontravertable gospel. Just be aware.
Believe it or not, a visitor this morning quoted an article I wrote in 1968 that was highly technical in nature and I had forgotten that I ever wrote it. Things have a habit of coming back to haunt you; more especially things written in haste.
And, no offense meant. During the 60's we raised mini poodles. My favorite collective name for our three was "poodockers." My current pal is a Silky terrier named "Waldo" and everyone who visits my shop has met him, since he is the official greeter.
And, I'm aware of the definition. During the Vietnam war I did lots of work for the SF people at the nearby army base. My smallest poodle was trained to growl and snarl whenever the term "poodleshooter" was used. She could also salute, and she greeted officers with several smart ones.

WESHOOT2
January 12, 2003, 07:18 PM
So yer sayin that ammo thingie yer workin on aint workin?

(Guilty here, too; I quoted Mr. Pistolsmith back something he wrote last century.)
(9x21 :D )

Archie
January 13, 2003, 02:31 AM
How so?

Clark
January 13, 2003, 01:28 PM
http://glocktalk.com/attachment.php?s=&postid=926833

I was shooting 308 brass in a 243 with 40 gr IMR and 100 gr, when changes in bullet pinch made big changes in pressure. The gun is ok, headspace did not change on the 1938 Turkish Mauser I rebarreled and trued the action.

Clark
January 13, 2003, 01:32 PM
I have cases saved that also have enlarged primer pockets and blackening from 32acp, 9x19mm, 9x23mm, .357 Sig, and 10mm.

Rimmed cartridges, like the 38 Special or 45/70 are stronger.

Semi auto pistols with feed ramp intrusion passed the case web are susceptible to case bulge and don't get far enough to loose the primer.

Pistolsmith
January 14, 2003, 09:24 AM
Those are excellent photos of near death experiences. Suvival was through the grace of a well designed Mauser action. Had it been a '95 or '93, your response would most likely have been in braille.
I'm unhappy to report that Fabrique Scientific no longer sells the strain gages for determining pressure levels. That leaves Oehler, and his system is OK for rifles and Contenders, but won't work with auto pistols of the most common design or with revolvers.
You gents realize that I'm grooming you to be the next generation of interesting, factual gun writers by stressing research and thorough discussion of a subject, don't you? Your next lesson will be not to expect the editors to understand a word you say.:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

Paul "Fitz" Jones
January 15, 2003, 11:47 PM
Hey guys, the size of the thread and the number and depth of information presented is imperessive. Building up loads to stretch the limits reminds me of boys jumping on the ice in a lake to see if it is thick enough to be safe or not. Most survived and some did not. Even though I have loaded about 3 million rounds I had customers for my products and I have never felt the need to test the limits. I compared loads in at least three different manuals and picked a load that was adaquate to do the job whether it was punching paper on a police range or to bring home some dinner I have always been conservative. Possibly why I have reached retirement with all my limbs, fingers and eyesight intact. None of my law enforcement friends are alive today. I have loaded some 2,000 fps .357 magnum loads that I painted black with a marking pen to only be fired in my converted 1892 Winchesters on the family ranch.

I had to shut down a rifle range and kick out several customers that were competing to see who first could have their rifle bullets vaporize without reaching the target.

True stories. A fellow in Los Angeles County California bought himself and his dad a pair of new .44 magnum revolvers with a reloading outfit. He prepared a batch of ammo and went into the hills to try them out. They both decided to fire at the targets at the same time and both tore most of their right hands off. A gun shop owner in Glendale Calif told me of selling a .357 magnum and a reloading outfit to a elderly fellow from the "Old Country". A week or so later the fellow came in and wanted his money back as the pistol "Shot Too Hard". Of course the shop owner refused and a lengthy conversation ensued as to how the brass were reloaded with every step being asked and described properly and nothing was heard that the customer had done anything wrong. Operating the powder measure properly at the right setting, seating the bullets etc. and the shop owner finally convinced the customer to go home and shoot some more. So the disappointed fellow was going out the door then turned back and said, "I need some more powder". The shopman said well I sold you enough for a lot more ammo than you fired?? Then the customer said, "well I spilled the rest of the can on the floor so not wanting to waste it I filled up the cases with the spilt powder". It has been 27 years since I was told the story so forgot the number of brass sold and number of rounds shot but the cases were poured completely full, the bullets seated and fired and The Colt Python MK2 model held and was not damaged.

The current recommended powder charges are based on good data probably from injuries occurring from higher published data in earlier manuals.

Live dangerously fellows but think of reaching retirement with all your systems intact.

WESHOOT2
January 16, 2003, 06:50 AM
We (me) don't need no steeenkeeeng limits (did I forget to mention "Screw SAAMI"?).


still echoing............

Pistolsmith
January 16, 2003, 07:51 AM
No, Fitz, it's more like pissing over a bank onto high tension lines. Sooner or later 8,000 volts will bite you on the whassis.

Clark
January 20, 2003, 12:36 AM
I have overloaded 33 different calibers to see what would happen.
Some calibers like 9mm, I have worked up to the limit with 3 different bullets and 12 different powders. That is 36 work ups to the limit for 9x19mm.

I certainly would not want my kids to take up this habbit, but I am not going to stop, as long as I can buy all those guns at the gun show for so cheap:)

I like to find out what the load books don't tell.
I like to find out which things the load books say are wrong.
I like to understand gun design.

Gewehr98
January 20, 2003, 12:54 AM
No one (except Clark) wants to blow up their gun.

Been there, did it on purpose. Late war Carcano, converted by the Italians to chamber 8x57 Mauser. Springfield Sporters had them on sale for all of about $39.95, so we bought one for the ultimate test. Fellow gunsmith and I had heard all sorts of horror stories about how the Carcano would send the striker back through the shooter's skull if things went overpressure.

One 8x57 Mauser case, 46 grains of WW231, one Hornady 170gr RN seated to the cannelure, light crimp, bullet painted blue.

8mm Carcano set inside pine box, with hole in front for muzzle, hole in back for trigger string, sandbags on bottom, then loaded Carcano placed inside, with more sandbags on top of rifle before the cover was fastened. More sandbags were added to the top of the closed pine box. The string was yanked from several yards behind, with the concrete firing range benches between the pine box and string puller.

The box kind of lifted off the ground momentarily. The rifle's stock was split wide open. The striker held just fine in the bolt. The bolt stayed just fine in the receiver. The forward receiver ring cracked, and sent the barrel downrange a few feet. The cartridge brass looked like it had been powdered, and impinged directly on all of the steel in the vicinity of the chamber.

That was the first, and only, destructive test I ever wanted to do. It gave me all sorts of respect for the pressures folks are dealing with when they handload, especially when they don't pay attention to details and handload the wrong way.
:what:

MoNsTeR
January 20, 2003, 01:19 AM
Forty-six grains of 231?! :what: :what: :what: :what: :what:

WESHOOT2
January 22, 2003, 06:44 AM
Rifles don't count :neener:

Paul "Fitz" Jones
January 22, 2003, 01:29 PM
WW231 in a rifle? Deliverate destruction!! During WW1 General Thompson tested the 45acp Colt 1911 pistol to see what it would take to damage it. It took 9 grains of bullseye to ruin the 1911.

Gewehr98
January 22, 2003, 04:16 PM
Rifles don't count :neener:
Truthfully, sandbagged rifles in pine boxes fired remotely don't count.

I was having trouble finding a volunteer to fire it from the shoulder that day. No takers at all, matter of fact. ;)


I did see a Cimarron Arms SAA clone disintegrate rather spectacularly after what appeared to be a double-charge of Unique. The shooter was unhurt, save for his pride, but the cylinder and topstrap took off in different directions. One wedge of the cylinder embedded itself into a nearby 4x4 upright, and required pliers to remove. :uhoh:

Clark
January 24, 2003, 07:26 PM
I have been overstressing guns to destruction for 40 years, but nearly full time for the past 4 years.

I have too many guns that are destroyed and I didn't work up to it slowly. There went an expensive gun for some low value single data point.

Much better is a guns that works pefectly, and then the work up goes until the gun falls appart, or the brass falls appart. That is some data worth the money, danger, and effort.

Most guns suffer no ill effects from working up till the brass flows, but not all.

If you don't know what you are doing, you can get hurt.

I have seen the pieces of revolver cylinders fly out to the sides and make so much desruction, I would rather be hit with the bullet.

Ryder
January 25, 2003, 04:34 AM
If you want to know how this is done I'd recommend obtaining a copy of Ken Waters Pet Loads. Mine is in two volumes (rifles/Pistols) and covers all standard calibers.

I don't build a load out of any manual until I've cofirmed it's safety and efficacy through Ken's writings. Only been handloading for about 25 years myself but those are so far without incident.

These writings are collection of articles he did for HANDLOADER magazine back in the "old days". There is much discussion of theory involving powder, brass, primers, bullet weights/styles, accuracy, and pressure reading using the ring measurements. He does this for every caliber and even compares them in various firearm styles.

I consider it the best manual I own. Here is a review I searched up: Pet Loads (http://www.hunting.about.com/library/weekly/aapr_pet_loads.htm)

Clark
January 28, 2003, 04:24 PM
Ryder,
There is contributor to Glock Talk 10 Ring named Mike Mcnett that uses the Waters stystem to develop loads. Reading his posts saved me hundreds of hours getting to the bottom of what are the most powerful 10mm loads.

Myself, OTOH, I don't stop when case heads expand, I keep right on going to see what else happens.

tex_n_cal
January 29, 2003, 02:09 AM
Ryder, ya took the words right out of my mouth:D

Pet Loads was just a fascinating read for me, and still is. I once wrote Handloader asking about the .32-40 & my question was answered by Ken Waters himself - a letter I will always treasure. I hope he's doing well, I know he's got to be getting along in years.

As for me? ummm...no, I never was shy about stuffing powder in brass cases. So far, no Kabooms in 19 different rifle calibers and 16 different pistol calibers. That includes loading for things like Krags, 99 Savages, British single shots, blowback operated pistols, and Colt SAA clones - things where one can't get stupid on powder charges. Then again, I have a couple Rugers #1's that both run at velocities above what is claimed for their calibers.

Most of this has been a result of following Waters' procedures, and using common sense. In a couple of cases, I loaded some that proved too warm, but I never hit the danger zone.

I may have missed it posted above, but get yourself a chrono. Some years ago I worked up .25-06 handloads by checking the pressure rings of my loads, and matching them to factory Winchester 120 grain loads. Years later I got a chrono and discovered the factory loads were only making 2750 fps:cuss: a good 300 fps slower than spec. Since then I have found a couple other cases where factory loads weren't up to snuff.

Have fun:D

Clark
March 1, 2003, 03:35 AM
Two dead CZ52's

Clark
March 1, 2003, 03:37 AM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=142948

tex_n_cal
March 1, 2003, 04:17 AM
ummm, Clark, does that mean the shooter blew up one CZ, then tried the ammo again to see if it would blow up the other one?

:what:

Clark
March 2, 2003, 02:31 AM
That was no ammo, those were my handloads.
My C96 and Tokarev do better with my handloads.

hubel458
March 2, 2003, 04:36 PM
You don't blow them up to test properly.I
am new here, but have been on Firing Line.
In developing my 458 Hubel Express
wildcat cartridge, I used all of the standard
signs to check pressures, and miked the belt
of the cases.Tested 4 bullet wts and 17 powders
through two barrel lengths over a 3 year period.
1900 rounds.Used Homer's pressure slide-rule
and chronograph.Picture shows two of 458HE
flanking 458Win.Cartridge on left has been fired
a hundred times with moderate loads behind 350
gr bullet.If you have good brass ,miking base
for expansion will give good sign of overpressure,
if it grows.We are also going to get a run of brass
made,so anyone interested in the most powerful
458 let me know.Ed.

http://www.gunownerstv.com/feb04-01.jpg

Clark
March 4, 2003, 11:56 PM
I just made a wildcat.
I have not had it to the range yet, but I hope to go tommorrow.
I have fireformed a case with 56 gr Re7 and 230 gr Montana Gold FMJ.
It is a 45/70 case that shoots a .452" bullet.
I used a 91/30 action and a Shilen 26" barrel blank.
I did not get a custom reamer, but used boring bar and a .469" straight fluted reamer for the last .1" of the neck.

Clark
March 4, 2003, 11:57 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=150578

Clark
April 29, 2003, 01:00 AM
This one died with 17% extra powder

Clark
June 18, 2004, 09:41 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Hodgdon max book load:
308 WINCHESTER, CASE: WINCHESTER, BBL: 24", PR: FEDERAL 210M, 168 GR. SIE HPBT COL: 2.800" H335, 42.0 gr., 2631 fps, 49,300 CUP

My test:
Pacific .308 Win reamer, VZ24 trued action, A&B fluted stainless 24" F54 barrel, H335, CCI200 primer, 2.9" OAL, Speer 168 gr. HPBT Gold Match, brass: Win308Win:

0) 42 gr. QL= 2565 fps & 46 kpsi, 0% overload, did not load 42 gr.
1) 43 gr. QL= 2618 fps & 49 kpsi, 2% overload, ok
2) 44 gr. QL= 2670 fps & 52 kpsi, 5% overload, cratered primer this and higher
3) 45 gr. QL= 2722 fps & 56 kpsi, 7% overload
4) 46 gr. QL= 2774 fps & 60 kpsi, 10% overload
5) 47 gr. QL= 2825 fps & 64 kpsi, 12% overload
6) 48 gr. QL= 2875 fps & 68 kpsi, 14% overload, mark on brass from bolt face extractor this and higher,
7) 49 gr. QL= 2925 fps & 73 kpsi, 17% overload
8) 50 gr. QL= 2974 fps & 78 kpsi, 19% overload, extractor cut on brass expands .0020"
9) 51 gr. QL= 3024 fps & 84 kpsi, 21% overload, extractor cut on brass expands .0020"
10) 52 gr. QL= 3073 fps & 90 kpsi, 24% overload, extractor cut on brass expands .0110", primer fell out,

CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=1069541

Black Snowman
June 24, 2004, 11:53 AM
Looks here for signs of excessive pressure: FAL ka-Boom! (http://home.kc.rr.com/bsmith1952/img/Guns/falboom/falboom.html)

Clark
June 24, 2004, 12:16 PM
Blacksnowman,
Thanks for posting that.

As incrmental overload work ups go.....

That FAL owner getting a primer fall out at 32 gr, and in the next shot going to 44 gr., took a big step.

Black Snowman
June 24, 2004, 06:55 PM
That FAL owner is me actually :) What happend is I misslabled a container and used WC820 when I though I was using WC846. WC820 is basicly a slightly more potent H-110 in the lot I have and the WC846 a slightly more potent BL-C(2). Bad powders to get mixed up. I made the incrimental loads after I blew up the FAL to figure out what happend. It wasn't until posting those results here tha someone pointed out I had switched powders.

It was just a simple mistake with a Sharpie on my part that resulted in frying the rifle and imbedding some shrapnel that's almost done working it's way out of my thumb and cheak now, months later. I got off easy.

Clark
June 24, 2004, 11:45 PM
Enforcer = AA#9 =H108 = WC820

I can only vouch for the first two idenities, that I have verified through sniffing, looking, and pressure testing. The last two powder idenities are just internet rumor.

lbmii
June 29, 2004, 03:13 AM
Is there some sort of pressure meter the can be hooked on to a barrel to measure pressure? Or would this strictly be something that would be hooked up to a special test barrel? Cost?

Clark
June 30, 2004, 04:15 PM
There are transducers and strain gages. There are ways these can be hooked up to a battery powered lap top at the range.

Handloaded seems like such a simple hobby, but the debate surrounding pressure can get very complex.

The problems are:
1) How are the measurements accurate? Can the system be calibrated in a way that is traceable to the national beurea of standards? Are the measurments repeatable by other handloaders?
2) What maximum pressure to use? If it is just SAMMI max pressures, why not just use the loads in a load book that were develped to that standard?

It is hard to sort out becuase of all the bias:
1) Those who make such devices just want to sell them to you.
2) Those that write about handloading are worried about liablitiy.
3) Once and individual invests the money, time, and effort into a system to measure his pressure, he may then just get into a flame war on the internet.

I would like to see a chart that shows load developing shcemes in a pros and cons format:

1) CHE method:
2) PRE method:
3) copper crusher method:
4) published piezo PSI method:
5) PressureTrace strain gage:
6) My own measure the extractor groove with dial calipers method

If you enjoyed reading about "Identifying signs of excessive pressure" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!