How much of a risk did I just avoid (split brass)


PDA






MacTech
January 22, 2010, 11:31 PM
I was reloading a few .45ACP rounds for my Ruger New Blackhawk .45LC/ACP convertible, I had just loaded a cartridge with 5.1Gr of W231 under a Better Bullets 200Gr LSWC, 1.225 OAL

As I pulled the completed cartridge, I saw that the brass (Hornady scavenged range brass) had a hairline split that extended 3/4 of the way down the cartridge!:eek::what:

So, I took my impact hammer, deconstructed the round, and very carefully deprimed the live primer (safely), primed a known-good inspected case, verified the powder charge (still 5.1Gr) and reassembled the cartridge

So here's the question;

What would have potentially happened if I had fired that cartridge, if I didn't notice the split case?

How would my Kimber Custom II 5" 1911 have reacted to a split case?
How would my Ruger New Blackhawk have reacted to a split case?

I'm assuming the Blackhawk would be unaffected, due to the heavy cylinder walls, at the worst, it may be difficult to eject the split case, but I'm assuming the gun should hold together fine

The Kimber, I'm not sure about, the barrel and chamber are thinner than the Ruger, and the semiauto action relies on the recoil to load the next round, I'm thinking that there may be some gas escape from the breech, potentially creating a squib round, i'd also be concerned that the gun may suffer a potential "catastrophic self-disassembly", due to the moving parts in the slide and action

How much of a......must---resist---urge---to---make---bad---pun.....bullet did i dodge here?

If you enjoyed reading about "How much of a risk did I just avoid (split brass)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Sunray
January 22, 2010, 11:49 PM
"...scavenged range brass..." Yet another reason not to do that and a classic example of not knowing if the brass is any good or not. Chances are the crack was there and only got noticeable when you seated the bullet. .45 brass is neither expensive nor hard to find.
"...if I had fired that cartridge..." The case would have blown. Smoke and fire going everywhere out of either handgun. Your Blackhawk wouldn't be bothered, but the Kimber might, I say again, might have been far more exciting. Quit scrounging brass.

MacTech
January 23, 2010, 12:01 AM
Yep, this experience just taught me "no scavenged range brass", I have at least 500 cases I have fired myself, so I really don't *need* to scavenge, besides, when I'm at the range, and other shooters find out I reload, I get a lot of offers of brass, mainly from the shooters that use factory ammo exclusively, getting free once-fired .45ACP brass is fine though

Good to know the BH would most likely been unaffected

DWFan
January 23, 2010, 12:20 AM
I can't speak for the Kimber, but the worst case scenario in the Blackhawk? Possible injury, even blindness, to yourself or anyone close by as the hi-temp gas escapes from the rear of the cylinder at 15,000+ CUP because the bullet has moved forward enough to jam itself into the forcing cone and seal the only other exit. The chamber itself could wind up with a score mark that could result in permanent ejection problems.
Not saying that it would have happened, but it could have.

Sunray
January 23, 2010, 12:29 AM
"...no scavenged range brass..." It's amazing the number of guys you see on the assorted forums who use nothing else. And get away with it. Scares me.
"...getting free once-fired .45ACP brass is fine though...Good to know the BH..." Yep and yep. Ruger is well known for making very strong revolvers. Might have blown the grips off the Kimber.

ants
January 23, 2010, 12:45 AM
Never use scavenged range brass ?

That advice seems excessive to me.





Learn now to inspect your components before loading, and inspect finished rounds after loading.

That advice seems pretty sound to me.

SPW1
January 23, 2010, 12:58 AM
In a fully supported chamber it probably would have caused no damage as long as the area near the case head was not affected. The less support the chamber offers the more potential for a case blow out there would be. Years ago reduced loads in rifle rounds were sometimes loaded in old cases with split necks.

SPW1
January 23, 2010, 01:16 AM
A question for all you folks that are predicting great destruction if a case with a hairline crack running down the side is fired. Have you ever knowingly fired such a case? I have numerous times and all that ever happened was the hairline crack became a more obvious crack. It isn't a big deal if the case wall splits a little in a supported chamber, it just shows the case is at the end of its useful life. A hairline crack near the case head is a different story though since a case head separation is nothing to sneeze at. That is usually more a rifle issue than a handgun issue though.

wankerjake
January 23, 2010, 02:09 AM
Never use scavenged range brass ?

That advice seems excessive to me.

Learn now to inspect your components before loading, and inspect finished rounds after loading.

That advice seems pretty sound to me.

No, reloading is parallel to rocket science, and you should only use stuff that costs a lot of money. Range brass is free so obviously dangerous. Buy expensive new stuff because it's guaranteed to be perfect and you don't have to inspect your reloads. It's the only safe way:rolleyes:

Sarcasm aside, new brass gets old and cracks, you still have to watch it. There is not a thing wrong with using range brass. Yeah, generally you don't want to shoot cracked cases, but not shooting range brass doesn't prevent that; you do. You're the rocket scientist. +1 ants!
I have numerous times and all that ever happened was the hairline crack became a more obvious crack. It isn't a big deal if the case wall splits a little in a supported chamber, it just shows the case is at the end of its useful life.
Yeah, that's been my general experiance too. Fired in revolvers, not my semi-autos.

jcwit
January 23, 2010, 02:28 AM
I obviously have the Kimber of all Kimbers because I have fired slightly split brass many times with no problems, still have all 10 BTW. If you have a locked breech I doubt much is going to happen, but then I never load to max, load for accuracy, the paper never knows the difference.

I have at least 500 cases I have fired myself, so I really don't *need* to scavenge,

Wow, thats quite a stash you have there. Last count I've taken and that was last summer early was over 75,000 cases deprimed, sized, and polished ready for reloading, course I realize there are others here who have much more than that.

twofifty
January 23, 2010, 02:29 AM
hairline splits partway down the length of the case is not an unusual event from what I see on the ground at the range, esp. in pistol comps where some reload cases till they split. Nobody seems to get hurt. I've culled my share of those out of range brass - heck any defect beyond the usual dings and marks usually results in a cull. Why spend the time and bother to save pennies?

a circumferential crack running above the case web, on the other hand, is very bad news. Another shooter had a partial HP rifle case head separation...if the crack had run the whole way round I doubt the case would have prevented the gases from jetting out along the bolt raceways.

twofifty
January 23, 2010, 02:31 AM
I obviously have the Kimber of all Kimbers because I have fired slightly split brass many times with no problems, still have all 10 BTW. If you have a locked breech I doubt much is going to happen, but then I never load to max, load for accuracy, the paper never knows the difference.



Wow, thats quite a stash you have there. Last count I've taken and that was last summer early was over 75,000 cases deprimed, sized, and polished ready for reloading, course I realize there are others here who have much more than that.
Ouch.

wankerjake
January 23, 2010, 02:32 AM
Last count I've taken and that was last summer early was over 75,000 cases deprimed
Hmm, that is a bit above average-Zoolander:p

jcwit
January 23, 2010, 03:05 AM
Probably!

You should see the 9mm colection!

These have been collected since the 1960's.

Roccobro
January 23, 2010, 03:26 AM
And now that range pickups are not allowed in responsible reloading, you have to dispose of all that shiny processed brass. Here, let me do YOU a favor and take it off your hands... :D

Justin

jcwit
January 23, 2010, 03:53 AM
And now that range pickups are not allowed in responsible reloading,

Ya right, it must be true, I read it on the net. What a joke.

"...scavenged range brass..." Yet another reason not to do that and a classic example of not knowing if the brass is any good or not. Chances are the crack was there and only got noticeable when you seated the bullet. .45 brass is neither expensive nor hard to find.
"...if I had fired that cartridge..." The case would have blown. Smoke and fire going everywhere out of either handgun. Your Blackhawk wouldn't be bothered, but the Kimber might, I say again, might have been far more exciting. Quit scrounging brass.

And I bet he only reloads new Starline brass.

wankerjake
January 23, 2010, 04:04 AM
And I bet he only reloads new Starline brass.
Well starline will work in a pinch, if there's no Norma brass laying around. As long as it's brand new.

meadmkr
January 23, 2010, 08:00 AM
Please leave all of the brass you see on the floor for me to pick up!!!!!

I have no problem with free, er, scavaged brass. I tumble then sort it, deprime and toss it back into the tumbler. Then I either reckeck it or toss it in the bucket to later sort by headstamp and then recheck a final time before trimming and reloading it.

So more brass for me :)

EddieNFL
January 23, 2010, 08:19 AM
Most handloaders have experienced a cracked cases. I don't think I've ever noticed until the case was extracted.

If you pick up my brass, I recommend you not use it; I left it for a reason.

JimKirk
January 23, 2010, 08:57 AM
I can't speak for the Kimber, but the worst case scenario in the Blackhawk? Possible injury, even blindness, to yourself or anyone close by as the hi-temp gas escapes from the rear of the cylinder at 15,000+ CUP because the bullet has moved forward enough to jam itself into the forcing cone and seal the only other exit. The chamber itself could wind up with a score mark that could result in permanent ejection problems.
Not saying that it would have happened, but it could have

I guess you think that bullet is going to run up to forcing cone and stop? Really?
The very back end of the case(the head) is the main gas seal in a handgun like the Blackhawk. I guess that you never seen a case blacken with gas blow by using normal brass? You have the cylinder gap of .005 that releases lots of pressure too.
Like someone said if the case head stay in one piece, nothing to worry about, it is not a good idea to shoot those split cases on purpose. As far as a score mark in the cylinder, if that were so there would be a ditch just ahead of the brass where the hot powder gas tries to get around the bullet and case when it is fired. With the good steel they use in modern guns that just don't happen very often.

There are several large re-manufacturers of ammo that use scavenged range brass.

Jimmy K

1911Tuner
January 23, 2010, 09:29 AM
How much risk? Not much.

Speaking from experience with hot-rodding .44 Magnum ammunition in my reckless youth, I've pulled several cases from the cylinder of an abused Super Blackhawk that were split from the mouth to the web...and I never had a clue that the case had failed until I pulled it.

Countless split .45 ACP cases over the years...also without damage to me or the gun.

No implication that it's a good thing. Just that it's not a kaboom that was narrowly avoided.

ljnowell
January 23, 2010, 09:36 AM
I have reloaded cases that were split on purpose. When the split didnt go past the bullet in the case. Used them in matches where you cant pick up the brass.

Walkalong
January 23, 2010, 09:41 AM
No big deal really, although I wouldn't do it on purpose.

The others are right, better inspection process of the scavenged brass. Just be more observant. Actually look at it each time you handle it.

I like to tumble my brass first. Then I will run it through my LNL with only the sizer. That gives me a chance for another quick look at each brass as I put it in the press. It also will give me a great feel for each one since only sizing is going on. A split case will usually show up then, either by seeing it, or by feeling it in the sizer.

Then I hand prime it with my RCBS hand primer. This gives me another chance to catch flaws. Then I will load it in the LNL with no sizer. This gives me one more chance to see each case as I put it in the press. It also gives a better feel for the expanding, seating, & crimp operations without the heavy sizing going on. Split cases can show up here as well.

I have had a split case get caught as far into the process as getting ejected from the shell plate. I imagine over the years I may have even missed one, but if you really consciously look at the brass every time you handle it, and get a good feel for the loading operation, you should catch 99% or better of them.

Bottom line is an occasional split case will happen when firing a round with no split yet. No big deal, and it can't be much worse if the case is already split before firing.

I would not worry about one in a blue moon, only if it was happening a lot. :)

twofifty
January 23, 2010, 03:17 PM
The Bushmaster, while describing his reloading sequence in another thread, used the word "INSPECT" at the beginning or end of practically each task.

That's when it dawned on me that any step in the actual process of sizing, priming, seating and crimping can lead to the failure of a case that had passed my primary inspection. Cases fail due to repetitive stresses, and being reloaded -not just fired- is hard on a case. This is pretty evident now, but the thought hadn't occurred to me. doh.

Staying alert for outliers and change is very important.

RustyFN
January 23, 2010, 03:35 PM
"...no scavenged range brass..." It's amazing the number of guys you see on the assorted forums who use nothing else. And get away with it. Scares me.
"...getting free once-fired .45ACP brass is fine though...Good to know the BH..." Yep and yep. Ruger is well known for making very strong revolvers. Might have blown the grips off the Kimber.

If you know how to inspect the brass and know what to look for it's no big deal. That's all I reload is range pick-ups and have never had a problem. If you are happier buying brass then don't let me stop you. Please come shoot where I do and leave it on the ground, I will pick it up.

snuffy
January 23, 2010, 04:00 PM
"...scavenged range brass..." Yet another reason not to do that and a classic example of not knowing if the brass is any good or not. Chances are the crack was there and only got noticeable when you seated the bullet. .45 brass is neither expensive nor hard to find.
"...if I had fired that cartridge..." The case would have blown. Smoke and fire going everywhere out of either handgun. Your Blackhawk wouldn't be bothered, but the Kimber might, I say again, might have been far more exciting. Quit scrounging brass.

I figured I wouldn't be the first to {quote} that, happy to see I wasn't. There's being cautious/safety minded, then there's being paranoid.

One check I do is as soon as I'm removing cases from the tumbler. A case that has a hidden crack DOES NOT sound like an intact case. It's a dull clunk instead of the tinkling like little bells. Those will NOT show up until there's a bullet seated in them.

I have in the past, had shells sound different when they hit the ground from a 45 or other S. auto. Ya know, after they were fired? I never saw a bit of damage to a chamber from my very tired brass occasionally splitting while being fired.

RippinSVT
January 23, 2010, 04:10 PM
I split older .357 cases fairly regularly upon firing max loads in brass that's been reloaded numerous times. Just gotta inspect them. I also scavenge brass at the range, always have since poor-times in college when I started reloading. As long as you go through them all by hand, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

RDA 226sig
January 24, 2010, 01:15 PM
New reloaders should only use their own once fired brass or buy new brass. Leave anything you find at the range for the more experienced reloaders to work with. (With all the new reloaders it is getting hard to find 45 brass at the range.)

sigma40sw
January 24, 2010, 07:45 PM
The 45 acp is such a low pressure round,I don't see any issue with a cracked case. In fact, when I sort my loaded 45 rds, I have a can on my bench I call my one more time can. ;<) I have shot these up in many of my 1911's with out any problems. I mainly use them for iceburg hunting on the river where they just get lost in the snow.

evan price
January 24, 2010, 08:41 PM
You didn't dodge a bullet because- think with me here- your procedures worked. You caught the split case before you loaded it in the gun. Inspecting at multiple stages in the process catches failures.

I've had cases split on firing. Sometimes the report sounds louder. In all cases I got nothing more than another scrap case for the bucket.

I'm not as case-rich as jcwit, I've got only about 75,000 45 acp cases right now myself, I've been selling them off lately.

If you enjoyed reading about "How much of a risk did I just avoid (split brass)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!