Bad 357 Case (Pics)


September 15, 2011, 06:44 PM
Loaded about 200 rounds of 357 + 180g cast lead recently and here is what one case looked like coming out of the Lee bullet seating die. This is Winchester brass that had been fired a couple times before. Anybody seen this type of case failure before? About 1/3 of the brass I loaded was from this Winchester lot; the rest was Starline and Fiocchi.

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September 15, 2011, 06:52 PM
That's exactly what straight walled pistol brass looks like when it wears out. Nothing abnormal about it at all, especially if it's subjected to heavy loads.

By the way, that should have been caught in your case inspection prior to sizing.....

Hope this helps.


September 15, 2011, 06:54 PM
We need more information, what powder and charge weight, primer used, and what firearm. Was it difficult to extract from the cylinder? Were the primer's punched or flowing to the very extreme edges of the pocket?
I've been loading .357 for several decades and have never had that kind of failure and I do load them stout, H110 and 296 exclisively. The worse I see is normal case life expiration that starts to show light signs of separation just above the head. But what you've got there has all the appearance of extreme pressure. Another less likely cause could be brass that is excessively long, but I doubt it.

CSA 357
September 15, 2011, 07:17 PM
i have had 38 brass do this, toss it and keep a eye on your brass as you size it, this is why you should have lots of brass so you know how manny times its been shot, then when a few do this you know to toss the whole lot.

September 15, 2011, 07:26 PM
Brittle from old age, work hardening or coming in contack with ammonia or vinegar. WRA 69 Brass > ( Walkalong had a 9mm snap in half while in the expander die if i remember correctly. Walkalongs photo>

September 15, 2011, 10:16 PM
It would be interesting to do an experiment with some new brass. FLS say 10 cases & minimum size 10 cases (neck size only) and fire them to failure with the same load. Probably a max load in one cylinder of a revolver to eliminate that variable. Maybe run the same in a Contender barrel also.
Mike in Peru

September 16, 2011, 12:19 AM
I tried to do that with some pistol brass. After over 50 reloads with both 45 ACP and 9MM without failures other than crushing a 9MM case by accident I gave it up. I used 8 cases each and reloaded them over and over at the range one sweet summer afternoon.:D So my 357 brass will not last as long compared to my 38 SPL most likely due to the increased crimp to keep the bullets in place under the heavy recoil.

September 16, 2011, 07:32 AM
Like Fred said, that split is normal. Try to catch them before they get loaded, and toss them. If a batch of brass starts having a lot of splits, it is near end of life and tossing (recycling) the whole batch may be a good idea.

September 16, 2011, 09:37 AM
I have found nickle plated brass cases split on the case mouth and the brass cases split on the body like the OP shows. This is not gospel though.

September 16, 2011, 02:01 PM
And the winner is:
What Fred said in post #2.


September 16, 2011, 04:58 PM
Nothing to stress about, normal end-of-life failure for pistol brass. No need to panic, just put it in the mistakes bucket and pull it down in the future.

For anybody who thinks that's cause for panic: that case ruptured like that the last time it was fired! Yep, the OP finished his shooting session with that case somewhere in his empties, never knowing anything was awry until he went to refill the offending cartridge. It should have been caught between tumbling and resizing, but it happens. I have some .223s around with split case necks that got loaded because the splits weren't visible until the bullet was seated. No biggie.

I've seen it in .44 Magnums, .38 Specials, .357 Magnums, .22LRs (imagine that, brand-new factory ammo splitting...), 45-70s and .45 ACPs. I haven't seen it with my 9mm cases, but I suspect that's because they get lost way before they reach the end of their life cycle.

September 16, 2011, 05:11 PM
Federal 9mm brass the first time it was reloaded and the second time it was shot.

Sometimes, stuff happens!


September 16, 2011, 07:06 PM
rcmodel - wow!

My 357 I think was older than I originally thought. This was from a bag a friend gave. Those had been shot maybe 10 times. And he loads hot with .358" diameter lead. The rest of the loaded cases look fine, but I'll toss them after the next firing.

September 16, 2011, 07:42 PM
Toss them when they look like the one you took the photo of when you inspect them after sizing, and again inspect them again after reloading them.

It is not a dangerous condition, and it will not hurt the gun.


Hondo 60
September 16, 2011, 08:13 PM
I've seen it dozens of time.

Perfectly normal wearout.

Just toss the one piece.

No need to toss all of them.
Heck, I've got some that are on their 14th loading, missing two from the box.
(they split on the 2nd firing)

September 20, 2011, 02:40 PM
What were those shot out of RC?

September 20, 2011, 02:44 PM
SIG P6 & S&W 39.


September 20, 2011, 09:36 PM
Someone said amonia or vinegar will degrade brass. What typically happens to the brass after exposure? Just curious.

What am I doing different with my H110/296 jacketed loads that they are going a dozen or so times and not failing in that fashion, always starts above the head at the resizing ring? Again, just curious.

September 21, 2011, 12:00 PM
I shot .380 ACP last year in several different little pocket pistols, in what I thought was first time reloaded brass (not too sure now). The LCP, Kahr, Keltec, and a full sized Husquvarna, ate the reloads fine. The Keltec shooting split nearly 70% of the brass, the Kahr - 20% and the LCP and Husquvarna about 5-10%. We shot 50 shells in each gun that day. This tells me that the barrels are different diameters though none split any of the new factory ammo, a box between all four of the pistols. Upon returning home and checking more of the reloads from that reloading session, saw that about 5% of the ammo had small 1/16-1/8" cracks at the case mouth. I guess the case belling was more than a tad too much. Next time I will be paying a lot more attention to the whole process. I have another 40 lbs or more of the same brass.

September 21, 2011, 12:59 PM
Like others have said, I've seen that with other calibers, as well, not even with hot loads. Just worn-out. Recycle bin that piece, and check the other pieces in the batch. If they look fine when they come out of their current loading, they are fine for at least one more loading, imho. I have tossed entire batches before, but usually only when a number of cases started splitting or separating. Just not worth the hassle at that point - .357 and .38 cases aren't rare.

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