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Breech Face Erosion from .45 auto leaking primers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by FullEffect1911, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member


    I noticed some breech face erosion on my 1911 that is in a circle where the primer would be. I checked the headspace on my gun and it checked out fine.

    The loads I was using that I noticed a scorch mark near the primer was:
    230 grain Rainer plated RN
    5.2 grains hp-38
    Federal nickle plated brass
    Winchester Large Pistol Primer.

    Other loads I was running recently from this gun were (working off memeory):
    230 grain lead RN
    5.5 grain of Unique
    Mixed brass
    Winchester Large Pistol primer

    These are not new cases and have probably been loaded 6 or so times.

    The Winchester brass cases don't seem to be leaking that I noticed, but I just started checking for this. The primer leaking isn't a consistent circle, just a small scorch on one point of the circumference of the primer.

    I don't think I've done severe damage to the breech face but it is something that I want to resolve.

    Any ideas on what the problem is. Is nickle plated Federal brass not up to multiple reloadings? Is this possible because of the WLP primers? Is all my brass tired, or should I just take more notice to the loose primers (something I should have been doing all along).

    Anything input would be helpful.
  2. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    You may be getting high pressure gas leakage from loose primer pockets.

    Are the primers easy to seat?

    If you do have enlarged primer pockets, using Wolf/Tula LP with slightly larger diameter primer cups will get more mileage out of loose primer pocket cases. ;)
  3. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    If your seeing this it leakage around the primer pockets. Your loads are on the upper end for lead so you should not have a sealing problem. I did not look at Unique data. Like bds suggested switch to a different brand primer. CCI are slightly larger than WW with Wolf/Tula being next inline. Nickle brass normally does not last as long as std but it does not fail at the primer pocket. They normally split the case. You should get more loads than you have though.

    Did you do any primer pocket prep to the brass prior to using it?
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Are you sure it isn't pinging instead? I had to have a new slide because factory loads pinged my breech face. I started finding crimped primers in factory stuff shortly after that. Tarus picked up the tab.
  5. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    No, the Unique loads were done on a progressive so I didn't clean. The hp-38 loads were done on a single stage but I still didn't clean the primer pocket.

    I am wondering now if I am not seating the primers quite enough?

    They don't seem to be anything out of the ordinary, but admittedly I don't seem to be paying as much attention to it as I know I should be.
  6. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    I am not familiar with what pinging is. If I had to guess you are talking when the primer backs out and slams back, reseating it?

    I don't think that's the problem. The damage to the breech face looks like erosion and isn't a perfect circle, just pockmarked.

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  7. clem

    clem Well-Known Member

    What is the make of your M1911 and how old is it?
  8. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    Springfield Range Officer, less then one year old, bought new by me and approximately 1000 or so rounds.
  9. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    If the pockets are leaking, there should be evidence of this on the fired brass. I would consider priming with your convention ‘single stage’ setup until you figure it out (progressive priming just doesn’t have the same feel for me).
  10. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    I use a lee hand priming tool now-a-days. So use the same components and just toss loose primer pocketed brass?

    Do you think I should try different components or just stick with what I have?

    Will cleaning the primer pockets give me a better seal?
  11. Hit_Factor

    Hit_Factor Well-Known Member

    I would send it in to Springfield and find out if it's normal wear. I don't think it is. I wouldn't be concerned that Springfield will ask about using reloads, and I have several guns that have never fired factory ammo, my SOCOM 16 for example, if and it wasn't an issue when it went back to the factory.

    Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk
  12. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    I would try to connect fired brass with evidence of leaking pockets (dark ring around the primer) with loose pockets. If the brass that shows leaking also has loose pockets, then you may have it solved. At that point, I would confirm my data and start loading and shooting new or ‘low rd count’ brass to see how many firings you get before the pockets get loose.

    IMHO, cleaning pistol primer pockets will make for more reliable primer/pocket seat, it should not affect pockets leaking (or not leaking).
  13. clem

    clem Well-Known Member

    Yes, do this. There should NOT be any problem like that with only a 1,000 rounds through it.
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    Defective prime cup is my first guess as the 45 acp is not working at high pressure like a 44mag. See photos in album links below.
  15. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Pinging is from a repeated strike until it chips pieces out from the stress.

    Do you use any factory loads?
  16. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Could it be that primer cups in loose primer pockets are sliding back on the breech face and slamming against it? But brass primer cups are softer metal than slide ...

    That wear mark sure looks like the outline of primer cups. I really think it is high pressure gas leakage around the primer cups and "gas cutting" with fouling/carbon matter against the breech face ... IMO.

  17. ghitch75

    ghitch75 Well-Known Member

    check for loose extractor rd not stayin' tight to breech face.....IMHO...
  18. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Mine had biger chunks out but looked like that. I never noticed mine until I went to detail it. I started to scrap & that isn't carbon.
  19. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    extractor is good.

    Of the last 30 rounds I fired here is one that had the primer leak. It was just just where the "ral" in Federal is and the whole circumference isn't blackened (the photo doesn't show that well).

    You can see the "ral" is blackened and there is a flame score on the brass at the "a".

  20. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    You're near the max for HP-38. Maybe try a different powder. With Unique, I usually load 6.25gr behind a 230gr jacketed bullet. With Rainier's, I back it down to 6. I'm going to keep an eye on my guns, because I just switched to WLP, and I noticed some of the primers slide in rather easy.

    I've shot the same load you're using, and I've found it rather weak in felt recoil. Combined with 45 being a low pressure round, perhaps that particular combo isn't enough to seal the primers, but a different powder/load might not have an issue. Or maybe check some other load books. I know Hodgdon says 5.3 max for HP-38. But maybe their data is too conservative.

    Or maybe you just have a bad batch of brass, bad primers, or a batch of undersized bullets?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012

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