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

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MacTech, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    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?
  2. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...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.
  3. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    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
  4. DWFan

    DWFan Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...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.
  6. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. SPW1

    SPW1 Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. SPW1

    SPW1 Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. wankerjake

    wankerjake Well-Known Member

    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!
    Yeah, that's been my general experiance too. Fired in revolvers, not my semi-autos.
  10. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. twofifty

    twofifty Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. twofifty

    twofifty Well-Known Member

  13. wankerjake

    wankerjake Well-Known Member

    Hmm, that is a bit above average-Zoolander:p
  14. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member


    You should see the 9mm colection!

    These have been collected since the 1960's.
  15. Roccobro

    Roccobro Well-Known Member

    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

  16. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

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

    And I bet he only reloads new Starline brass.
  17. wankerjake

    wankerjake Well-Known Member

    Well starline will work in a pinch, if there's no Norma brass laying around. As long as it's brand new.
  18. meadmkr

    meadmkr Well-Known Member

    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 :)
  19. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    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.
  20. JimKirk

    JimKirk Well-Known Member

    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

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