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.308 duds

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Poper, Dec 20, 2015.

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  1. Poper

    Poper Member

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    First of all, I have been handloading for more than 25 years. A recent round of .308 test loads had 13 out of 50 failures to fire. The first couple had me thinking I had been stupid and seated bullets without dropping powder onto the cases. However, looking at the cases leads me to believe something else is awry. Look at the two cases in the picture. The case on the right fired. The case on the left did not - dud.

    I weighed all 13 of the 'dud' rounds and 10 of the fired cases. I then averaged the weight of the fired cases (161.55 gr.) and then averaged the weight of the 'dud' cases after deducting nominal bullet weight and the charge weights (162.33 gr.). The cases obviously have powder.

    Primers are rem 9-1/2, so they are not harder cups like the CCI-200 is supposed to have.

    Case length from base to datum line vary 0.006" between all cases measured. (13 'duds' and 10 fired). Longest fired = 1.631" and shortest 'dud' = 1.625".

    What is going on here? Broken firing pin? Hammer spring?
     

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  2. 300Whspr

    300Whspr Member

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    Back in the 90's I bought a bunch of Remington 9 1/2's at a gun show for... well let's say it was a pretty good deal. I think I bought 4000 of them...

    Anyway... I had numerous instances of "dischargus interruptus" with those primers.

    Perhaps you have a bad lot of primers... it happens. Remington is the only primer brand I've ever had a misfire with in 25 years of handloading.:scrutiny:
     
  3. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    If you have been reloading 25 years, I would question the firearm before the ammo. Did you retry your dud rounds? Could be that primers weren't fully seated but I would first look for for a broken or severely gunned up firing pin as both those primer strikes look very light.
     
  4. PCCUSNRET

    PCCUSNRET Member

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    It's hard to tell from the photo but it looks like your firing pin struck the primers hard enough so my guess would be defective primers. The only other guess I would have is the primers weren't seated deep enough. Did you try firing them twice? If yes and they still didn't fire then back to defective primers.
     
  5. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    Primers seating is my gut instinct but have a look at your firing pin is also something to consider. LGB
     
  6. joneb

    joneb Member

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    How old is the gun? Old weak springs will do that.
     
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    What powder, charge weight, and bullet weight were you using?

    The first thing I would do, is attempt to fire them a second time. Even as an apparent experienced reloader, things can happen that would result in a shallow seated primer. A crimped pocket could cause a primer to feel like it got seated all the way, thus creating a shallow seated primers due to the increased resistance caused by a crimped pocket. I prime with an RCBS priming die, and if I'm not careful, the die can and has backed it's self out while priming a large quantity of cartridges, resulting some that didn't get completely seated. But my extreme OCD results in me inspecting them prior to moving onto charging.

    Also as an experienced reloader, in which I'm referring to the OP, I would pull all the bullets in the offending cartridges to verify without question, that they have charges, and an opportunity to inspect the condition of the charges. A lot can be learned by performing this step. You may find the charges are clumped together, thus suggesting contamination, things happen. As an example, my 2-1/2 yr. old granddaughter was watching me load some handgun not too long ago, something she likes doing with gramps. Anyway, I just happened to catch a glimpse of her little nose dripping while she was leaning over the loading tray, I couldn't tell if it got into one of the pieces of brass or not, so I had to inspect each one with a bright light and discovered one got nailed, so I strongly recommend you pull those bullets and take a look.

    I would also decap those suspect cartridges, you might find debris prevented the primer from completely bottoming out in the pocket, or possibly interfering with proper function. And if this is new brass, blocked flash holes, though that is kind of unlikely, it's still a possibility that needs looking into also. I've come across a number of new brass that had incomplete flash holes that happened during manufacturing, especially with Winchester brass lately.

    Also, we are all capable of mistakes, wrong powder for the application could cause a dud.

    All things considered, my first guess would be a problem with the firing mechanism. I've had a couple firing pins break over the years, and it resulted in an identical situation, some fired, some didn't.

    As far as primers are concerned, and although it's not impossible, I would really doubt it's bad primers. They may have inadvertently got contaminated in shipping, by the retailer, or while in your possession. All I can say is, that in more than 30 yrs. of reloading, I've yet to come across a bad one. Not that it can't and hasn't ever happened, but it's a rare occurrence.

    GS
     
  8. joneb

    joneb Member

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  9. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I would break down the bolt and check out the firing pin and spring. And give it a good cleaning. Then I would pull the bullets and look at the powder. Moisture may have formed in the case. Deprime them and look at the primer and at the primer pocket and flash hole. I suspect they were not fully seated, maybe because of something like carbon or polishing media in the primer pocket. I expect that they would fire on a second attempt, but that won't tell you what the problem is. Thats a pretty high % of failure, so something is very wrong and worth checking out.
     
  10. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Well, I know the brass is ok because it is once-fired, in this gun, and was new. As we all do, it was prepped by sizing and trimming then, deburring, chamfering, flashole deburring, and primer pocket uniforming on an RCBS case prep station. Primers were seated using a RCBS Universal Hand Priming Tool. My procedure includes using a little force with my off hand as the primer hits bottom to give a little 'extra' pressure to insure a solid seat.

    Last night, just as I was calling it a night, I noticed a case that had the primer strike off center a tad. Would a broken firing pin cause that?

    The primers used were a fresh 100 count pad out of a brick of which this was pad #3. No previous misfires. Yes, I did attempt to fire a couple of them with second strikes, but again, no go bang.

    After all of these years, this is a first.
     
  11. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    Pull bullets and remove powder & primers from a few of the duds. Decap a few fired cases and prime with dud primers. Load and hit the primers. Not sure what it'll tell you, but sounds interesting. :)
     
  12. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    A broken firing pin usually means no bang with any cartridge. More likely a bit of crud in the bolt. Possibly a bit of crud in the flash hole.
     
  13. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    A broke FP spring will cause some problem just like a broken FP. I would tear down a couple to confirm the anvils were in place. Then I would take a close look at the bolt.
     
  14. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Did you attempt to fire these rounds a second or even a third time?

    If not do it if you can, If so, did they fire?

    Nine(9) times out of Nine(9) and "dud" is caused by an improperly seated primer.

    Seating high/proud will not allow the anvil to make contact with the primer pocket base.

    A second or third firing will usually cause a high primer to fire as the firing pin actually seats the primer to the required depth.
     
  15. Reloadron

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    The primer on the left looks to have an inboard going bevel to it, almost as if when seated the seating did not bottom out the primer and the firing pin caused a bevel when it struck the primer. Maybe it's just me overlooking this. You are sure without a doubt when seated the primers were bottomed out in the cases?

    Ron
     
  16. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Ron,
    I was looking at the cases just before bedtime last night and I noticed a couple of the primer strikes were a little off center. I'm going to disassemble the bolt when I get a chance and take a look-see.

    Yes. There I have no doubt about the seating of the primers. A slip up on one? Possible. Two? Mayyybe. But Thirteen? No way.

    I started loading shotshells, 10 ga. 3-1/2" magnums for my H&R single shot in 1978. I started loading metallic cartridges in 1988. I still have the receipt from the first set of dies I bought at Phoenix Shooters Supply. It's dated Sept. '88.

    Like I said. After all these years, this is a first.
     
  17. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Dupe.

    DOH!
     
  18. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    Had a problem like that earlier this year. It was a CZ 455 .22 instead of a .308 but still...the firing pin spring was the culprit. Or, rather the grease that had turned to thick gooey varnish on it was the culprit. Slowed that firing pin down enough to not fire, but still put a pretty good dent in the rim or the round. Turning the round in the chamber and re-firing only helped about a third of the time. Once I tore down the bolt to put my new spring in ( which shipping costs as much as) I saw the gunk. Cleaned it up and still have the original spring in there and it shoots like a house a fire.
     
  19. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I removed the firing pin assembly from the bolt. There was more oil than necessary in the bolt and firing pin ass'y so I sprayed it gown with brake parts cleaner, gave it a couple drops of Kroil and put it back together. Some black crud came out with the BPC, so maybe that will do the trick?

    I'm going to run some test loads this weekend: 10 rounds each of 40.5 gr. IMR 4064, 150gr. Horn. SP, Win. brass, and CCI-200, RP 9-1/2, WLR, and Magtech Large Rifle 9-1/2 primers to compare failure rates. With a little luck, the firing pin ass'y cleaning and light oil will do the trick and there will be no failures to fire... :)
     
  20. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I would strongly recommend that before loading any more up, pull some of those that failed, you need to inspect them to rule out contamination and any other possible internal issue, the primers also need inspecting. Why load more up, only to end up right back where you started?

    And yes, a broken firing pin can produce sporadic function, I've experienced this a couple times over the many years if shooting / owning guns.

    GS
     
  21. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    I had the spring in one of my rifles get gunked up like that one year. It really was frustrating tying to figure out what the heck was going on. I had loaded up 50 rounds for hog hunting using some LC cases that I had acquired and the crimp thing was my main thought. Then ran some mixed Rem and Win cases through it and same thing, bang, snap, bang, bang, snap. I knew for a fact everything was good on those cases so the bolt came apart.

    To be honest it didn't look to me like it had enough gunk in there to cause an issue but cleaning light oil and reassembly and it's been going strong since.

    I hope this fixed your issue as well and your back on track to load development.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours....
     
  22. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Wouldn't a weak spring or broken pin result in a light primer strike?

    I don't keep receipts. It's evidence and I don't want to leave a paper trail for her to find
     
  23. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    Forgot to say that my first thought was also "bad ammo". Then I tried several different premium brands of ammo and got dented primers and snaps on over half the rounds I tried. That's what led me to eliminating causes in the rifle itself.
     
  24. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Thank you for your reply, GS.

    I have not disassembled any of the failed-to-fire rounds yet for a specific reason:
    I have more than one .308 rifle. I will be going to the range this weekend and time is not really an issue. I'll take the test loads I load up with the various primer as described above to see if there are any failures by this gun. Also, I will be taking another .308 and will take the failed-to-fire rounds with me and will see if they will fire in it. I am particularly interested in the ones that I struck twice with the first rifle. If they fire in .308 rifle #2, then it is reasonable to assume a mechanical problem with .308 rifle #1, and it will be back to the manufacturer.

    BTW, Merry Christmas to all! :)
     
  25. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Ok, so I have done some extensive searching via the internet. This is the information age, after all, and I probably should have done that work first. :eek:

    This particular make and model have a history of complaints for misfires and light firing pin strikes on the primers. :scrutiny: I found several forums with threads discussing the same exact issue and same exact symptoms with the same make and model. The solution appears to be replacing the firing pin spring. I have, therefore, ordered a new spring from Wolff Gun Springs. With a little luck, this will be a simple and inexpensive ($12.28, incl. shipping) fix. :cool:

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide comment and input. It was helpful, indeed.

    Merry Christmas everyone!!!
     
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