What causes this?


Devil Dog
April 2, 2010, 08:20 PM
I was given some reloaded .30-06 ball ammunition a while ago. The person who loaded it was getting on in years and his QC was poor. For the most part the brass was worn out with erratic lengths, split necks, etc... I decided to scrap the cases, salvage the powder, primers and projectiles. I loaded up the reclaimed componants on new brass, using an average weight of the powder charges originally thrown. The powder looked like W-748 or similar. The ammunition fired fine, maybe on the slow side, but no chrono available, was resonably accurate and showed no signs of excessive pressure. The odd thing was that the brass as coming out of my M-1 covered with tiny dimples. After looking at a few of these, I checked out the barrel and chamber and found unburned powder or incompletely burned powder everywhere. Apparently when a round was fired, the residue left behind was trapped between the chamber walls and the incoming cartridge case. When the next cartridge fired, the trapped residue left the dimples in the case as it expanded. The rifle functioned just fine, no jamming or extraction problems. The powder looked and smelled OK. No evidence of it being damp or clumping or anything unusual. What the heck?

The guy that loaded this ammunition was a compitition shooter back in the day, and only loaded for his M-1 as far as I know. I could have made an error in assuming that he was using the correct powder, but he shot a lot of these same loads in his M-1...

Any ideas?

Devil Dog

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April 2, 2010, 08:31 PM
I'm not touching this one!

April 2, 2010, 09:43 PM
Scrap everything but the bullets and start over again while you still have all ten fingers and a functional rifle.

April 2, 2010, 10:10 PM
It appears that your powder is not completely igniting...either the powder or the loaded ammo's been poorly stored. You can't trust it, and you really don't want to fire ammo that gunks up your treasured rifle.:eek:

If it were mine, I'd keep only the bullets, tumbling them if necessary, and sort them by type and weight for eventual reloading.

Tim the student
April 2, 2010, 10:20 PM
No idea, but it doesn't sound safe to me. I wouldn't feel warm and fuzzy shooting it.

Maj Dad
April 2, 2010, 11:56 PM
The dimples are as you say, from unburned powder sticks/granules. I used to get it with 3031 & 4064 in my Garands & Springfields; there was no pressure or other problems, just unburned powder. I switched to 4895 and ball powders and haven't experienced it since. And you shouldn't have unburned granules with 748 - it burns completely in my rifles (5.56, 30-06 & 308). But using someone else's powder to load rounds as you describe is rollin' them bones and they're your bones - in a word, don't. Just bail on this and use the bullets and don't tempt the fates - it ain't worth it...

The Bushmaster
April 3, 2010, 10:06 AM
I recommend you purchase a reloading manual (Lyman's 49th Edition) and read it. It will tell you what your problem is and help you to keep all your fingers and face parts.


With that said...Unburned powder usually indicates low pressure. The probable results would be a stuck bullet in the barrel. Fire another round and ...KA-BOOM

April 3, 2010, 11:02 AM
The powder used in those rounds probably needed Magnum primers to insure a complete
burn. At least they had enough pep to seal the chamber and give you those powder dimples.

FWIW, I NEVER shoot any reloads that are not mine, ever. I don't care if the clouds open up and
John Moses Browning's hand comes down from Heaven and he gives me his Reloads. Nope!

April 3, 2010, 11:42 AM
The person who loaded it was getting on in years and his QC was poor.
SO, now you are using an "average" charge weight of an "unknown charge" weight, of an unknown powder?

And you have a problem with poor ignition blowing powder back between the chamber & the case before the case expands and seals?

Pull it down and put the powder on your tomato plant.
And then start over with a known powder using published data.


April 3, 2010, 12:35 PM
Yep, go fertilize the garden and start over. The bullets you should be able to re-use. The brass should be carefully inspected or go with new and use a powder that you have load info for. Not re-using an unknown powder. Good luck and load safe.

Arkansas Paul
April 3, 2010, 01:13 PM
What causes this?

Shooting other people's handloads. That's what causes that.
Sorry about sounding like a jerk, but it's never a good idea, especially if you have doubts to begin with, which it sounds like you did.

April 3, 2010, 09:27 PM
i got some reloads from my uncle, in his day he was on top of the game could tell you what powder went were and how much it took right off the top of his head
, i pulled and checked most and didn't find anything out by much .
all looked good. so i shot some 243 (that i did not check) and daing near blew the gun up, primer blew out brass stuck and broke the extractor,

i will be pulling all the reloads down i got from him now.

cant take the chance

April 4, 2010, 09:27 AM
The reason you should not shoot handloads created by others is because it was most likely tailor made to work properly in one specific firearm. Except for unlikely random chance it will not function properly in other firearms.

Store bought ammunition is less accurate than handloaded ammunition because it is made to function in every gun. It is not the goal of a handloader to make generic ammunition. Handloaders custom build ammo to the specifications of a particular gun. Reloaders assemble components to match factory specs and sell to the public. Reloaders and handloaders are two different things.

I have handloaded ammunition for others a few times but only if they are willing to leave their gun with me for use in designing the load. When I return the gun and the loads to them it is with explicit instructions not to share the ammo or attempt to shoot it in other guns.

April 4, 2010, 10:42 AM
it was the only 243 i new he ever had

i just think when we get to a certain age we tend to forget so it falls back on the user. do as we always do ,
don't trust it unless you reloaded it

Arkansas Paul
April 4, 2010, 01:36 PM
The reason you should not shoot handloads created by others is because it was most likely tailor made to work properly in one specific firearm.

That has nothing to do with the reason I don't shoot others' reloads. I don't do it because I don't trust anyone I don't know well. They could be great, I don't know. But I'm not taking a chance. There are people I do trust to shoot their loads, but they are very few and I know them well. That's just me.

The Bushmaster
April 4, 2010, 04:50 PM
Arkansas Paul is absolutely correct.

Oscar 14
April 4, 2010, 06:43 PM
It's a scary world.

April 4, 2010, 07:09 PM
The powder looked like W-748 or similar

My advice is to throw that sh*t away and go buy some safe, dependable ammo before you get hurt or wreck your gun. You cannot identify powder by the way it looks. I have tried.

You can save the bullets and thats all. Be safe. You only have one life and one set of body parts.

Stop applying for a 2010 Darwin award.

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