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9mm Case Failure

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Dr_B, Dec 27, 2012.

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  1. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    Experienced my first case failure during last weekend's steel challenge. Thought I would share in case anyone can learn from this. It happened like this, and it was my fault:

    My M&P 9 malfunctioned on my last string of the day. I did a tap-rack-assess to clear the gun and keep moving... only the slide wouldn't move rearward. Keeping it pointed downrange, I told the range officer (RO) I had a problem. I pulled the slide back and sitting in the chamber was a live 9mm round, with no evidence of a firing pin strike on the primer.

    RO said,"Your extractor's broken." I looked, nope not the problem. I closed the slide and tried again to eject the round. No luck. Extractor still there. Side of the casing not chewed up. Huh...

    I removed the magazine and the RO called for a squib rod. A second RO shows up with a brass rod. We tried to bump the round out of the chamber. No luck. The second RO asks to take my gun over to an area where he can work on it and put more pressure on the squib rod. Here is where I made my mistake, and why I say this is my fault. Think about it: What happens when you hammer a squib rod into the front of a cartridge?

    The round still wouldn't budge. I was experienced enough to know better but, when the first RO told me to shoot the round out of the pistol, I did it (but I should have said no).

    I fired the round into the berm. The recoil was noticeably more than usual. I felt a stinging sensation on my left palm where some skin was exposed near the bottom of the magazine well. My left thumb had a black line where powder had escaped between the slide and frame. The slide was locked back and there in the chamber was the empty casing. The primer hole was empty and was oval in shape. You can see for yourself below.

    The bullet had been set back into the case by the squib rod and the increased pressure pushed the casing backward. The unsupported portion blew out down the feed ramp and out the magazine well (i.e., the stinging palm sensation).

    The gun is fine. But next time the RO tells me to do something like this I will speak up. Who was responsible for the gun? I was. I should not have followed instructions in this case. We could have disassembled the gun and removed the round. That's my take anyway.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  2. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    That RO shold be fired for suggesting you fire the round.
     
  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    were you using handloads?
     
  4. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

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    So, why was it stuck and not firing in the first place?

    Was it over-crimped causing the case to jam into the bore?
     
  5. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    I suspect it was a seating problem and the bullet stuck into the rifling. I am going to check my remaining hand loads to be sure they are chambering properly.
     
  6. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

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    You mean the bullet was not seated deep enough to begin with, and this caused it to jam into the rifling and get stuck?

    If so, how would pushing on the bullet with a rod force the bullet deeper in the case? Because in that instance the bullet is stuck, and the case is just along for the ride, versus the case being the thing that is stuck, which could allow jamming the bullet farther into it. If that makes sense.

    I don't know, I am just thinking out loud, I am new to reloading. Started with .45 and just reloaded first batch of 9mm the other day. You know what they say, try to learn from others, etc.
     
  7. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    What OAL were you using for what type of bullet?
     
  8. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    1.169 for OAL if I recall correctly. Plated 115gr 9mm's.

    holdencm9: I think the bullet stuck, but its only a guess. Something made the cartridge stick in the chamber.
     
  9. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Really depends on the bullet profile and sizing, the dies you're using and your loading technique. Might also give the chamber a good cleaning.
     
  10. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Really, if you NEED to get an action open that's stuck, the best solution is simply to get a wood block and hammer, or a rubber mallet, and whack the front of the slide. That's the safest and most surefire way to get it open.
     
  11. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    I load for multiple pistols and 1.135" OAL works well with 115/124/125 gr RN jacketed/plated bullets.

    If you do a barrel drop test using 1.169" OAL, do any stick in the rifling?
     
  12. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    I drop-tested my remaining 200 reloads and found three that needed to be seated deeper.
     
  13. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

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    This still confuses me. If the bullet was stuck in the rifling, then how does the rod force the bullet deeper into the case?

    Any movement of the bullet should have translated to movement of the case as well, not bullet setback. Or am I missing something.
     
  14. exavid

    exavid Member

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    Yeah, I don't quite understand either. When you first couldn't move the slide and then got it to move back after talking to the RO what changed? I wonder if the cartridge wasn't a bit over long, the bullet jamming in the breech but the action not completely going into battery. That would explain the FTF and the stuck round. What did you do to get the cartridge to fire after the first attempt to clear the barrel? It seems to me that if you had an over long cartridge that jammed a bullet into the rifling then you couldn't pull the slide back because the extractor had a grip on the shell that maybe when you did get the action open and closed it again to fire the round the closing of the breech may have pushed the shell further up on the bullet.
    How well supported is the shell in this pistol? Glocks and several others expose a bit of the base in the area of the loading ramp and have been known to have ruptured cases in that area.
     
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I see a bright ring around the case ahead of the blown out area. That looks to me like the case was not sized properly so it was the oversize case, not the bullet, that caused the round to stick in the chamber in the first place. Further the case was not fully into the chamber, keeping the slide from closing.

    So the gun did not malfunction; it failed to fire because the slide was out of battery, just as it should. Then the squib rod was used to try to drive the round out. That would probably have worked OK (that the bullet might have been driven down on the powder is not important) if the slide were held open. But I suspect that at some point the slide was keeping the round in the chamber while the squib rod was being used, so the rod did not drive out the case.

    Now the RO gave up on the rod and decided to let you try to shoot the round. The slide was still out of battery, but this time the gun fired, and the unsupported case blew out at the bottom.

    That the bullet may have been driven into the case likely had no effect one way or another; the culprit was an improperly resized or unresized case.

    Jim
     
  16. hentown

    hentown Member

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    A bullet driven into a case will dramatically increase pressures...SEE??:

    Port.jpg
     
  17. ChopMeat

    ChopMeat Member

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    Wow, sorry to hear that...
    I hate going to ranges, I enjoy having enough land to shoot on.
    That way I have my own rules and can take my time on correcting problems.
     
  18. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

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    Not sure who you were responding to, but my question was just what caused the cartridge to get stuck in the first place, and how in the world the bullet could be forced farther into the case. The first theory was that the bullets were too long and stuck in the rifling. But if the bullet is the thing hanging up, then tapping on the bullet will not force it farther in.

    Just like if you hold a cartridge by the bullet, and then apply force to the bullet, the bullet will never go farther into the case. You will let go first. Therefore it seems to me that the case itself must have been the culprit.
     
  19. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    If what JimK said was right, you might want to do a plunk test with the rest of your rounds, it doesn't take much time and would easily catch a problem.
     
  20. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    As I said in a previous post, "I suspect it was a seating problem and the bullet stuck into the rifling." I suspect it was a seating problem. Emphasis on suspect, just so we're clear.

    The only two certain pieces of information about the malfunction are that 1. The gun was in battery and 2. The round was stuck in the chamber for some reason.

    Usually if the bullet is stuck racking the slide would pull the casing out. But this one stayed in the chamber. And it stayed in there fully seated until I fired it out.

    Perhaps a deformed or not fully resized casing bulging near the rear just enough to wedge it in the chamber.
     
  21. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    Take some measurements of your loads. How much powder (volume) you are dropping and how deep are you seating the bullet? Is there the possibility of you compressing the charge and bulging the bottom of the case as you are seating the bullet?
    As you said there is also the possibility of bullet getting caught in the rifling, but there is also the possibility of it getting jammed in the throat. Did you seat some more bullets t 1.169" and "magic marker" them to ensure no contact? 1.169" is usually the max length and many bullets can't be loaded that far out.

    Just some more guessing while trying to help...
     
  22. Roach79

    Roach79 Member

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    I agree I have had the same issue with my 9mm shells. The sizer die isn't going down all the way on the brass there for leaving a bulg towards the bottom causing the brass to jam in the barrel opening. When I pulled the trigger nothing but a click and no ignition and then couldn't get the slide to open.
    After measuring the brass there was a obvious bulg. I now pull my barrel and make sure all my loads fit before trying to shoot them time consuming yes but worth the effort

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I717 using Tapatalk 2
     
  23. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    That pretty much describes how it happened with my gun. I fired one shot at the first steel target, the slide cycled as usual, and then nothing.

    At this point, I am suspecting (through help from posts above) that the culprit was probably a bulged case that didn't get fully resized. I'll have to make sure I check each round in the barrel after reloading each batch.
     
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