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Old July 28, 2014, 10:33 PM   #1
dwildemn
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Problem with loading .44 Special with Pyrodex

Is it possible to compress the BP (Pyrodex) too much in a brass case. Used 23g of FFF Pyrodex (by volume) with paper thin wax wafer from a paper cup to protect powder from 1/8" lubed felt wad. I topped that with a 205 g LFPRN - COL was 1.60. It was a tight fit but no bulging brass. Fired three of these from new OpenTop - first time shooting. Got a lot more recoil than I expected but wasn't sure what was normal - much less recoil than 1851 Navy but more powder too. Action jammed after 3 and upon inspection, a small piece of the barrel next to the cylinder was missing and the cylinder was jammed. I was able to get the 2 unfired rounds out but the fired ones were a real problem. Got them out when I got home but cylinder doesn't fit right - binds against bottom of the frame. Do I have scrap metal or is it salvagealble? 23 g of BP is a mild load supposedly - from reading I have done BP and Pyrodex measured by volume are roughly equivalent. Opinions?
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Old July 28, 2014, 11:33 PM   #2
Tommygunn
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Quote:
Do I have scrap metal or is it salvagealble?


Quote:
... small piece of the barrel next to the cylinder was missing
Quote:
.... cylinder doesn't fit right - binds against bottom of the frame.
I'd say it was pretty much scrap ..... maybe new cylinder, new barrel ....

It sounds like you're trying to turn a handgun into a hand grenade.
Ever think to use factory rounds?

What caliber Opentop were you using?
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Old July 28, 2014, 11:43 PM   #3
dprice3844444
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time for a new gun
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Old July 28, 2014, 11:44 PM   #4
WestKentucky
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What gun was it? Most likely yes it's scrap now but I have seen some really rough guns saved from the scrap pile.
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Old July 29, 2014, 09:03 AM   #5
J-Bar
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Specifically, which make and model of gun is this?

Was this a new out of the box revolver, or just "new" to you?

It sounds like the chamber was not lined up with the barrel, either because of a manufacturing defect or over rotation of the cylinder. If it is a brand new gun and you are the first owner, I would contact the dealer/manufacturer.

Otherwise, you have a conversation piece.
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Old July 29, 2014, 09:06 AM   #6
midland man
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was that a brass frame or steel? plus that cylinder should only be used in 58 Remington's with steel frame!
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Old July 29, 2014, 10:49 AM   #7
ivankerley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midland man View Post
was that a brass frame or steel? plus that cylinder should only be used in 58 Remington's with steel frame!
we need more info but the OP does say open top so prolly a colt clone, which you can get conversion models and conversion cylinders for…
definitely need more details from the OP
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Old July 29, 2014, 02:20 PM   #8
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44 Special? If he is talking about a Colt Richards Mason Conversion. Thought those were 44 Colt. Different cases aren't they or am I confusing something else here.
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Old July 29, 2014, 03:22 PM   #9
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23gns is a light load. But as suggested by the sort of damage you got I'm thinking that the chambers were not lining up with the bore axis correctly when the firing pin hit the primer.

For the rounds to actually fire things must be close. But even a few thou off will still fire but produce significant damage if the lockup doesn't line up the throats with the edges of the forcing cone. And at something like .010 to .015 off center the bullets would smack hard against the rear edge of the forcing cone. Such would generate a HUGE torque load in the frame and I would not be surprised that it could split out a piece of barrel and deform the cylinder.

If this was an aftermarket cylinder you should have checked the barrel to chamber throat alignment and checked for correct lockup. It's all got to come together right for the gun to shoot without damaging itself. Plus I suppose the same thing could apply to an out of the box gun. They really need serious checking out before the first time shooting. They are cheap for us to buy for a reason.

If I'm right and the cylinder wasn't indexing correctly or maybe wasn't locking up correctly then the impact of the bullets hitting the edge of the forcing cone would result in heavy felt shock to your hands. Which would be felt as excessive recoil by you.

Sadly I'm honestly thinking that the gun is toast. It'll cost a lot more to fix it, if it's even practical, than to replace it. Sorry.
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Old July 29, 2014, 03:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
23gns is a light load. But as suggested by the sort of damage you got I'm thinking that the chambers were not lining up with the bore axis correctly when the firing pin hit the primer.

For the rounds to actually fire things must be close. But even a few thou off will still fire but produce significant damage if the lockup doesn't line up the throats with the edges of the forcing cone. And at something like .010 to .015 off center the bullets would smack hard against the rear edge of the forcing cone. Such would generate a HUGE torque load in the frame and I would not be surprised that it could split out a piece of barrel and deform the cylinder.

If this was an aftermarket cylinder you should have checked the barrel to chamber throat alignment and checked for correct lockup. It's all got to come together right for the gun to shoot without damaging itself. Plus I suppose the same thing could apply to an out of the box gun. They really need serious checking out before the first time shooting. They are cheap for us to buy for a reason.

If I'm right and the cylinder wasn't indexing correctly or maybe wasn't locking up correctly then the impact of the bullets hitting the edge of the forcing cone would result in heavy felt shock to your hands. Which would be felt as excessive recoil by you.

Sadly I'm honestly thinking that the gun is toast. It'll cost a lot more to fix it, if it's even practical, than to replace it. Sorry.
With a lot of lead shrapnel flying everywhere. One would think one would notice that.
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Old July 29, 2014, 05:56 PM   #11
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As an aside I wonder if this is why the repro cap n ball's usually have undersized chambers. Don't have to be right on the money if there's wiggle room...
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Old July 29, 2014, 09:17 PM   #12
44 Dave
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I think BCRider has it
And you can be selling the c&b cylinder and other parts to make a "down payment" on another gun.
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Old Yesterday, 09:16 AM   #13
dwildemn
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Thanks for the input

Uberti 1872 Open Top .44 Special - new out of the box

I did not check for proper indexing – not sure I know how to other than sliding something down the barrel to see if it catches on anything when it reaches the cylinder. Would like to do that to the old cylinder but it no longer fits (suggestions?). Ordering new barrel and cylinder and will try with smokeless (I have more experience here) this time instead of BP. Did I turn it into a mini hand grenade (as my sarcastic friend suggested) by packing the wadding so tightly? There was no bulging on the 3 cases – the bullets weren’t seated very deeply – I added the felt wad for the lube. Seems like the easiest way out for the bullet was down the barrel. No Shrapnel was flying that I noticed. I do make stupid mistakes occasionally and maybe this was one of them. I can accept that but I sure like the indexing problem explanation. I will talk with Cimarron about possible warranty issue.
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Old Yesterday, 10:35 AM   #14
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robhof

If a new gun, then yes by all means contact the dealer, it most definitely sounds like an indexing problem. I had an unfired ASM 1849 pocket that would over travel when cocking, company is long defunct, so with the help of the good folks on this site, I was able to make a shooter out of it. I found my problem playing with the gun before any loading and firing thank goodness.
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Old Yesterday, 10:59 AM   #15
dwildemn
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I found out warranty is not even an option if hand loaded ammo was used. They are test fired so I am the one who screwed up.
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 AM   #16
Willie Sutton
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Man....

I've got one of those same exact open tops (in .45LC) and it's a beauty. These are all CNC produced and ought to be as lined up and reliable as any factory revolver built. And yes, there are occasional examples of other revolvers that aren't perfect, but still... it's damned rare. They are all proof fired and pass QC before being stamped and shipped, and it's VERY VERY unlikely that there was anything wrong with it to start with.


Now:

"Something" went wrong with the pressure, that's for sure. To do that damage, it was not just "high", it was off the scale. As in 200% or more of the normal SAAMI pressures it was designed to accept. Proof loads are FAR over normal spec and these shoot those without hesitation when being proofed. To reinterate: It was off the scale.


There's really only one way that happens: An overload of fast burning powder, or a detonation rather than controlled burn of a propellent due to some other variable as yet undetermined.

So:

Are you SURE that you loaded Pyrodex and not another smokeless that was on your bench? ABSOLUTELY sure? No Bullseye around? If you even own a can of another powder... well... you probably loaded it. Pull the other unfired cartridges and see what's in there. If not, where did the Pyrodex come from? New sealed can? An old one you've had for years or one gotten from a friend who had it laying around (and that's inadvertantly had a handful of 2400 dumped into it after another reloading session years ago?)

In my humble opinion as a reloader for 30+ years and as a shooter of these things, it's VERY VERY unlikely that Pyrodex would act like this. It's VERY likely that it was loaded with an overload of smokeless. But who knows...


Noting the following: There is *no reason* to load for these with Pyrodex. They are designed and specified for use with SAAMI standard pressure smokeless loads. My suggestion is to either LOAD THEM WITH STANDARD SMOKELESS using appropriate loadings, or if you want to load them "for smoke" to load them with BLACK POWDER. Pyrodex is a mule, neither horse nor donkey. I'd never load metallic cartridges for anything specified for smokeless with it. In fact, I'd never load cartridges with it for anything.


Still, Pyrodex ought not behave like this, and I suspect it didn't because it probably wasn't.



Willie

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Last edited by Willie Sutton; Yesterday at 11:47 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:37 PM   #17
BCRider
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Willie, from his description the damage was directed far more to the sides. And besides given the sort of blown cylinder damage seen from double charges, never mind a full CASING of powder if he'd loaded a full casing of smokeless I'd expect the whole front of the gun and the top of the cylinder to be blown away. Not the specific damage he encountered.

Back to dwildemn.... Before you spend money on a new barrel and cylinder I'd carefully check for any warping of the frame and arbor. It's more than likely that the damage will have bent the arbor out of alignment as well. Anything that can punch out a piece of the barrel and bend the cylinder suggests massive torqueing loads in the frame. Look for signs of the lower foot pins having been twisted or the holes they fit into having been peened to oval shapes. At the same time check the arbor for being square to the recoil shield face. If these things show some misalignment then you also bent the arbor to some extent. Check around the wedge slot as well for signs of stretching or bending.

With any new gun checking for lockup alignment would seem like a good idea. Especially in light of your unfortunate experience. And yes. simply running something with a close fit down the bore and seeing if it catches the edges of the chambers is how it's done. Ideally this is done using a light rubbing fit chamber checking rod. But if one isn't available then something straight and close to fitting can be shimmed out with some carefully applied tape. Obviously some care will be needed with a soft checking tool such as this. But it's better than nothing.

Another way is described by some as looking down the bore from the muzzle and shining a strong flashlight on the front face of the cylinder. You're looking for an even ring of light around the dark of the chamber mouth. If the ring isn't even enough or if the ring isn't complete it suggests a less than adequate lockup alignment. In particular if the ring is incomplete and looks more like a crescent then it could result in this sort of damage due to the bullet not feeding correctly into the forcing cone.
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Old Yesterday, 05:49 PM   #18
dwildemn
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The only smokeless in the same room was 7625 which is spherical - I removed the powder from the remaining rounds and it was Pyrodex not 7625. Pyrodex was purchased new from 3rd Generation about 2 months ago and I have been using it with my C&B with no problems (19 g w/ .36 ball). I have not loaded any 9mm rounds for several months - it is not a powder mixup. I received the cylinder today and it seems to fit as the old one did. New barrel will be here next week. I see no evidence of deformed metal and the foot pins appear normal - the old barrel slides into place smoothly without the cylinder in place but will double check to make sure the arbor is square. Wedge slot appears normal as well. From the test firing done at the factory, I don't think indexing is the problem. The forcing cone area where it meets the cylinderis deformed and the metal blown away about 1/3 of a small fingernail at the right base. Sounds like it could have been worse - hoping for the best. Will know more next week. Thanks for you help and concern. New at this but will try for a pic.


Checked arbor and it is square with frame
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg DSC_0272.jpg (54.1 KB, 19 views)

Last edited by dwildemn; Yesterday at 06:30 PM. Reason: ad pic
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Old Yesterday, 08:31 PM   #19
Willie Sutton
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Really.... Odd.

Thanks for the additional details. Might just have been a misindexed cylinder, but... <headscratch>..

BCRider, yeah... I agree with what you say.

A range rod is the tool used to look at indexing of cylinder to barrel, and as has been said a flashlight can do a very good job as well. Just reinforces that we are all our own final inspectors of what we buy. Here's to hoping that the frame is OK, which sounds like the case. And glad you weren't hurt.


For certain if it were me, that barrel would be being returned to the importer with a strong letter suggesting they trade free replacement parts for an understanding not to receive a stronger letter from a product liability attorney, published guarantee regarding handloads or not. Having seen the pics, and with your information, it's pretty obvious that your handloads were not the causal factor here.


Willie

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Old Yesterday, 10:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwildemn View Post
The only smokeless in the same room was 7625 which is spherical - I removed the powder from the remaining rounds and it was Pyrodex not 7625. Pyrodex was purchased new from 3rd Generation about 2 months ago and I have been using it with my C&B with no problems (19 g w/ .36 ball). I have not loaded any 9mm rounds for several months - it is not a powder mixup. I received the cylinder today and it seems to fit as the old one did. New barrel will be here next week. I see no evidence of deformed metal and the foot pins appear normal - the old barrel slides into place smoothly without the cylinder in place but will double check to make sure the arbor is square. Wedge slot appears normal as well. From the test firing done at the factory, I don't think indexing is the problem. The forcing cone area where it meets the cylinderis deformed and the metal blown away about 1/3 of a small fingernail at the right base. Sounds like it could have been worse - hoping for the best. Will know more next week. Thanks for you help and concern. New at this but will try for a pic.


Checked arbor and it is square with frame
I'd say the hand turned the cylinder past the bolt and the bullet hit to the right of the barrel.
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Old Today, 09:38 AM   #21
Crawdad1
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You see on a lot of web-sites that these revolvers are "Out of stock, back order okay" which seems to me that demand is overwhelming. Posssibly manufacturers are pumping these things out so fast to meet demand that quality assurance has slipped.

Still no excuse for a revolver that isn't indexed correctly.
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Old Today, 10:15 AM   #22
the Black Spot
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FYI: you dont need that felt lubed wad if your bullets are lubed. I shoot bp in my 44 special with no card or wad just 50/50 beeswax/olive oil lubed bullets.
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Old Today, 11:57 AM   #23
Willie Sutton
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I'd say the hand turned the cylinder past the bolt and the bullet hit to the right of the barrel.


Right On.

All of the parts including the frame should be returned to the importer so the manufacturer can look at it for identifying the QC problem that led to this. NATURALLY a new example shuld be provided the purchaser, rather than any excuses regarding use of handloaded ammunition. This is not just for the benefit of the buyer, it's for the benefit of us ALL. Only if the manufacturer can see the particular example to see what the error was, can QC be improved for everyone.

Box it up, send it it, and explain in no uncertain terms what you expect. You should not be fixing it yourself at your own expense.


Willie

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Old Today, 03:26 PM   #24
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I tend to agree with Willie on sending it back. But since you've already ordered the parts it's somewhat moot at this point.
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