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44 Magnum case life

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by leadchucker, Nov 26, 2011.

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  1. leadchucker

    leadchucker Member

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    I just traded me up a S&W model 29. Yesterday, I shot half a box of Winchester white box 44 Mag 240gr JSP through it just to try it out. I saved the brass, because I'm planning to start reloading the round, as soon as I can get the dies.

    Sooo, I looked the cases over, and I found that one of the cases is cracked, practically from one end to the other. All the others look fine. I don't think it's the gun's fault. I miked the chambers on the cylinder, and everything looks normal there.

    I realize that magnum cases take a far greater beating than standard or special load cases, but I wouldn't expect a brand new case to fail like this on first use. Is this common?
     
  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I would say that a case cracking the first time out of the gate is not common.
     
  3. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    If you are 100% certain those are factory rounds, I would not shoot that wheel gun again until it has been inspected by S&W.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You got some bad brass.
    Simple as that.

    It happens.

    I got hold of a couple hundered once-fired Federal 9mm a couple of years ago and about 25% of them split on the first sizing/expanding.
    Probably another 25% split when I shot them.

    Split9mmCases.jpg

    rc
     
  5. ArtP

    ArtP Member

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    I reload for 44 mag and haven't found it to be extra punishing on brass, and I load at book max.

    I'd suspect the ammo and not the gun. If you have any of that ammo left, I'd put it aside and shoot 100 rounds, or so, of store bought ammo.

    This sounds like a dumb question, but, you describe the ammo box as "Winchester white box", but what is the brass labeled on the case head?
     
  6. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    RC, according to the OP, he hasn't resized these yet. Although I'm sure bad brass does exist, I've never come accross a factory round that failed in that manner. Mis-fires, deformed bullets and dinged up brass, but never had one split from the head to mouth, guess I've been lucky?
     
  7. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    Sounds like bad brass. I have .44 mag brass that I have been shooting and reloading for years.
     
  8. DesertFox

    DesertFox Member

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    H110 user here and I've reloaded 6 times or more and haven't seen any signs of excessive stress. As long as you aren't firing out of a Desert Eagle or something, you should have good brass longevity.
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, it happens. The rest might take 10 loadings, never can tell.
     
  10. leadchucker

    leadchucker Member

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    I bought this box of ammo at a gun show, and it was represented and priced as new ammo. It is in the ubiquitous Winchester white box, and is appropriately labeled Q4240. The cases are all shiny and new in appearance. They are all headstamped "W-W Super 44 Rem Mag".

    I have little reason to doubt that this ammo is factory Winchester.
     
  11. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    My moderately loaded (23gr of H110 with 240 gr Hornady) brass starts to split at around 13 reloads, I have one box on it's 15'th. Mostly fire in a Redhawk, though put them through a Desert Eagle on occasion which doesn't seem to abuse them too badly.

    P.S. I have had bad brass I loaded that split in the box without ever being fired.
     
  12. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Gun show, huh? Was it from a local brick and mortar dealer that you can go back to? Did they have cases of this ammo stacked up?

    I've seen some crazy, grossly misrepresented stuff at gun shows.
     
  13. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    Bad brass. It happens. I'd guess the rest of the box may start splitting after a few reloadings. Probably just over-hard/brittle brass.

    gamestalker,

    I'd say you've been lucky if you haven't found a bad piece of brass! I've seen .45-70s split length-wise, .38s, .44s, .357s, .22LRs, .223 neck splits, and that's just the ones that stick out to me right now. :cuss: Luckily it rarely causes anything more serious than scrapping the brass when you get back to the loading bench. In the .22s it can require a bit of work to get the case back out though.

    Edited: leadchucker, that headstamp is exactly what I've ever seen on a box of WWB .44 Magnums. Have quite a few of them in my .44 Mag brass rotation. It's usually pretty good brass. As for .44 Magnum brass life, it seems almost indesctructible if loaded at less than max loads. I like to run 240gr SWCs at 1000-fps and don't keep track of how many times the brass I use for that ammo has been loaded. Some of it quite a few times.
     
  14. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    Pay it no mind and throw it out, it happens. The vast majority of 44 Mag brass you will be able to reload many, many times.
     
  15. critter

    critter Member

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    I had that happen (ONE round from a NEW box in a NEW gun). I sent the offending round to the manufacturer and they admitted bad brass. Sent me a couple of boxes of new stuff.
     
  16. leadchucker

    leadchucker Member

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    Maybe I should be paying more attention.

    I just looked the empty cases over again. The primers in them are quite heavily flattened. If these were 38 or 44 special rounds, I would be concerned that there was too much pressure.

    Is it normal for the primers to be flattened in factory magnum rounds? Sorry, I really don't know.
     
  17. ArtP

    ArtP Member

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    It's hard to say without a picture. Can you get a picture posted? Some flattening is normal.

    Have a look here:

    http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=3&f=16&t=342175

    http://rugerforum.net/reloading/28305-flat-primers-winchester-357-magnum.html

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/fredj338/imagesCA9HPCLM.jpg

    The last picture shows some pretty badly flattened primers.

    Something else, you keep alluding to "magnum" and possibly your expectations are that you expect more pressure issues. I would change that frame of mind and have similar expectations whether the caliber is "magnum" or not.

    9mm maximum allowable pressure as specified by SAAMI 35,000
    44 mag maximum allowable pressure as specified by SAAMI 36,000
    308 maximum allowable pressure as specified by SAAMI 62,000


    http://www.lasc.us/SAAMIMaxPressure.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  18. leadchucker

    leadchucker Member

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  19. coop923

    coop923 Member

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    I generally don't count my reloadings of my .44 brass for my lead and plated bullet loads. I just inspect them carefully. I get double digit uses out of them. Seems like you just got a bad one.
     
  20. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Primer looks fine to me, about what I see with most of my moderate level magnum reloads. Whats interesting is what looks more like chemical or corrosion etching on the case than just a powder stain, or perhaps the macro zoom of the lens is just highlighting the intimate details that I don't usually notice.
     
  21. leadchucker

    leadchucker Member

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    I'm not a veteran reloader, in fact I'm probably a little too paranoid about pressure. When I see a primer flattened, I get a little concerned. The primers are noticeably flattened on these empties, more so than I've seen before. But then I haven't looked closely at spent magnum rounds before. IDK. Just trying to learn.

    I hadn't noticed the surface of the metal on that round either until I looked at this photo. It does look corroded or something. I don't see anything similar on any of the other rounds.

    So, I guess no one sees any reason not to shoot up the rest of this box. And if no cracks show up in any more of the empties, reload them.
     
  22. Drail

    Drail Member

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    I have been loading hundreds .41 and .44 Mag. cases since the 1980s and none have ever cracked. The only times I have had brass crack like that was with nickel plated cases (in .357) which I never use any more. Something happened to your brass which has caused it to become brittle. Probably a solution that was used to "clean" or polish them. While those primers do look a little flattened you really can't make any accurate judgements of pressure based on just the appearance of primers. (although most people do) Pressure can get over max way before the primers physically show flattening. Some primers are thinner and softer than others and will flatten before dangerous pressures are reached.
     
  23. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Thats how 99% of my 357 cases die. Usually the RP goes first followed by S&B and PMCs. The win is usually next follow then last is the starline. i always get more loads from my starline cases.
     
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