Weirdest thing today


April 21, 2013, 10:25 PM
I have never seen this before. I was workin up a load in my savage 110 30-06 and was shooting a 150g hornady sst. I started at 55g of IMR 4350. My manual shows a max charge of 59g and a start load of 55g.

Anyways, one of the 55g loads shot really weird. The first two sounded good, big boom, bullets hit close to POA, and all was looking good. The third shot sounded week, almost squibish but not quiet. the bullet hit about 6 inches to the right and about a foot low. I was concerned so I pulled the bolt and looked down the barrel to find the bore full of unburnt powder.

All of the other loads shot fine, I had an assortment working up to 59g. For the record 57g flat shot the best group for me.

Wonder what caused all the unburnt powder on the 55g load?

edit: I was using federal match primers.

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April 22, 2013, 02:08 AM
Sounds like a low pressure scenario of sort. Maybe the powder charge got contaminated some how, perhaps some lube or other debris got in the case? Or maybe the flash hole was obstructed?

Or it simply could have been a light powder charge that slipped by you? Most of those slow burning powders will burn terrible when they are inadvertently reduced below recommended starting charges. My son bought some loads at a yard sale I think, anyway, they were loaded with IMR-4350 and the charge was well below the published starting charge. They produced tons of unburned powder and sooty blow back all over the case shoulders and bodies.

Did the case have black sooty carbon blown back over the shoulders and case body? If so, this is indicative of low pressures for what ever reason.


April 22, 2013, 07:32 AM
I bet a partial charge slipped by you.

41 Mag
April 22, 2013, 07:40 AM
I have on occaision had a similar experience. After the fact it is hard to decide WHAT the actual cause was since the round has been fired.

My best guess has been one of two things or possibly a combination of both no matter how high the odd are that it could have been.

Goin along the same lines as mentioned above, it almost has to do with the lighting of the charge. I cannot say with all absolute certainty that I inspect each and every flash hole as I hand prime my cases. I try very hard to do so, but all it takes is one slipping by with a piece of corn cob or walnut stuck in it to disrupt the flame. How much or to what extent it would deter the powder, I dunno, and I'm not going to set out to see.

The other thing is it could have possibly been the one primer I didn't seat to the bottom of the pocket. THis will not get the full pressure of the firing pin as some of the energy is used up driving the primer in the rest of the way. Once it DOES make it to the bottom, and goes off, or possibly goers off before it reaches the bottom the end result MIGHT be somewhat of a squib load.

Like I mention at this stage, all that can be applied is that it didn't go of as it should have, and the exact cause will probably never be noted.

April 22, 2013, 07:56 AM
these were developement rounds, so the odds of it being a low charge are basically nil being as I measure each and everyone to the tenth of a grain. The flash hole being clogged or narrower than others is a real possibility, although odd that it woud not be punched out during resize being as I tumble with old primers in the brass.

April 22, 2013, 10:15 AM
If the full powder charge was in the case, look at low neck tension, as can be produced by the Lee collet die. Another cause may be trying to reach the rifling with a long COL . Both may allow/produce bullet movement on primer firing.

April 22, 2013, 10:27 AM
Years ago I had a like experience but in .223 in a Mini 14.

First couple of rounds, good....then squib.

It was a muffled little pop and a piece of something came out of the barrel and impacted downrange.

The next round tried to chamber but would not.

I dropped the clip, extracted the round and cleared the chamber.

Looking down the barrel I noticed an obstruction which I cleared out with a cleaning rod.

It was the FMJ bullet with the tip blown open. The lead core was long gone. That was what impacted down range. This is the only failure I had in my reloading career. And to this day 20 years later it is a mystery.

I attributed it to a bad bullet or bad load. As I recall, these were loaded on an old Piggy Back press I used to use. I just cannot see how it would have been a short charge, but that cannot be ruled out in my situation.
Being that you were meticulous in your powder throw, I think you can rule that out.

In the life of a semi auto, I came out lucky that I did not jam this sucker down the barrel beyond the throat and touch off another round.

The rest of the lot I had loaded were fine in all regards and that number was in the 800 round range.

April 22, 2013, 11:45 AM
Is it possible you had an oddball bullet that was undersized a tad?

April 22, 2013, 11:48 AM
Is it possible you had an oddball bullet that was undersized a tad?
maybe, I didn't measure the diameter of the bullets. I used RCBS dies too, being as this was for a bolt gun, I had little to no crimp on them, could have been a neck tension issue, or a bullet jacket failure as mentioned above. Who knows... chalk this one up to Murphy i guess.

April 22, 2013, 02:43 PM
Got a picture of the primers of it & the others of the same charge?

April 22, 2013, 03:20 PM
I know contaminated powder was mentioned, but do not forget contaminated cases. If you wash your cases and fail to completely drain and dry them you can get this. Also I have been known to forget to wash out a case when I soaked a primer in oil to deactivate it before de-priming a case with a live primer. Oil, water, or case lube can all make powder clump and fail to ignite.

April 23, 2013, 03:32 PM
OP, what did you use for case lube?

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