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A Reason For Records...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by RainDodger, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    Ok, here's a lesson learned, albeit belatedly.

    I've been hand loading since before a lot of you guys were born - and it's not too late for me to realize I should have been doing something a different way. So, maybe this thing that just bit me won't bite any of you guys after you read this!

    I keep pretty good reloading records and have done so since the late 1960s. I keep track of all the stuff most of you guys do, of course. The ONE thing I have never tracked is the lot number of my primers. I have just never bothered. Up until now, I've never had a problem with any primer.

    Fast forward to now. I had what appeared to be maybe 4 primer failures in one range trip, Tiny little pinholes in the "gap" between the primer cup and the side of the primer pocket, with some burned powder residue evident. Looking at the bolt face of my Sako .243, I had a nice erosion ring in a circle pattern the same diameter as the primer pocket. Serious erosion, but likely not dangerous.

    I punched the primers out (kept them) cut open the cases so I could look at the primer pockets, and also ran all the components through an ultrasonic cleaner to get a better look. The primer cups had small pinholes along the outer edge where the sides round over to the primer's face. I sent a note to Winchester and they asked to see them, despite the fact that I had no lot number to give them. Winchester verified that the primer cups had failed. They offered to send me new primers for the ones I had to punch out, but I'd need to send them the ones I punched... kind of a hassle and not really worth the time. They didn't have to offer though, and it's good of them to do so.

    Bottom line: I have probably 2,000 large rifle cartridges with Winchester primers in them and no lot numbers recorded. I have a ruined bolt in a very nice Sako .243 and a replacement bolt just cost me $394. I had to have a gunsmith adjust my headspace. (it's an old Sako... not easy to find a bolt, but I did) I have to disassemble all of the Winchester primed cartridges I have loaded and then test the open bricks that I have on hand, to see if there are any bad lots. Then I'll be reloading the pulled bullets, which is not what any of us like to do.

    This is not a fun thing. If I had known the lot number, I'd know exactly which primers to punch out, and Winchester could have recalled them, and then replaced them... saving me, and maybe you from future problems.

    Have fun out there... and keep all the records you can.
     
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  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Yep, the labels I make for my boxes contain the bullet, powder, case and primer lot number. My record book contains the bullet, case, powder (weight & lot number), primer (brand & lot number), cases and OAL, plus the number of rounds loaded in each batch. There are places for notes in the book, and it makes it easy to check back for data, accuracy, etc. Good record keeping reaps dividends down the road.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred

    PS: Roger, I probably have seniority on you, since I started reloading in 1963......
     
  3. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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    Powder and primer lot numbers...never did that. It seems like it would be a good idea.

    I've been reloading for decades, but I never did keep a log of production runs with such data. I basically just put stickers on the boxes with load specifics and a date.

    Thanks. Yet another process improvement to implement moving forward.
     
  4. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    Yep, in the past, I've done as RugerOldArmy, above. Now I'm keeping track of all the lot numbers. The hassle is going to be separating them all, going forward. I keep my loaded ammo in ammo cans, kind of bulk-packed. It's going to take some reorganization! I'm definitely going to do it though.

    Fyi, the guy from Winchester that called me back said he's going to see if it's possible for them to "help me out" with what I had to pay for a new bolt for the Sako. They also didn't need to offer that possibility, so some of my confidence in companies standing behind their product is restored. Hopefully I'll hear back from them/him. I'll tell you.... I just don't know if can confidently use Winchester LR primers though, even though it's just a mental thing now.

    Ah, Fred.. I think you got me... just barely by a couple years. Depends on how old you were when you started loading! I started loading by myself when my dad died, when I was 14. The stamped date on my original RCBS Jr. press is '69.
     
  5. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Ran in to the same problem over a decade ago. Winchester replaced the primers at a 2 for 1 and paid for the repair. These were large pistol primers. In my case it was a brand new BE gun, <200 rounds through it. I had the lot# and had several 1000's setting on the shelf that got shipped back. Were fortunate that the gun industries has the best CS of any industry.
     
  6. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    That's good that Winchester is at least making an effort to help you out, even without the lot number. I'm sure your approach to them in a gentlemanly manner also helped. If I remember correctly, they did have a problem with some primer cup material that was supplied to them several years ago, so they may be aware of the problem and the offending lot numbers.

    I was 19 when I started reloading in 1963, on a used Hollywood press that I bought from one of my college professors. I've still got the press and Hollywood .30-06 dies that came with it, and still use it occasionally. My other presses do most of the heavy lifting these days, but the Hollywood is still good to go.

    Hope this helps..

    Fred
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I am guilty of not recording primer lot numbers. I date the primer boxes, but that's it. I don't log all powder lots either. Some I do.
     
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  8. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Well I do not do either one at this point. The thing is that I only load what I need for the next range trip ahead preferring to keep my supplies liquid and not load up a lot of one thing ahead that I may never shoot for decades. This strategy worked well during the "O" years and subsequent lack of supplies FWIW.
     
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  9. scott511

    scott511 Member

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    I have not been reloading near as many years as some of you guys. Only about 5 years to be exact. After reading this thread, I believe recording primer and powder lot #'s is definately something I'm going to start doing.
    On a side note, it wasn't very reassuring to read this since I just bought 5000 Winchester primers on recommendation of a friend. I have only used CCI and some Tula primers before now.
     
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I have loaded conservatively at least 70K Win primers over the past 30+ years and never have had one bad. A couple that had missing anvils or whatever in there but as far as loaded ammo, never a bad one. I have loaded 5X as many CCI and about the same in Remmington, they all were good. I would not worry about past old problems with new primers. If you are worried then call or email them (Winchester) and ask if your primer lot numbers are subject to recall. Heck I have about 5 cartons of Win primers here at the moment.
     
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  11. Kaldor

    Kaldor Member

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    Same here, about 50k in the last 4 years between Winchester and CCI. Have not had a bad primer yet. Not even a dud.
     
  12. Fire_Moose

    Fire_Moose Member

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    I've been reloading only since ~2010. After the first couple years I could not tell any difference between primers, all SPP seemed the same all LRP seemed the same. Because of this, and the fact that I preprime my brass, not only do I not record primer lot# but I don't record the primer brand or model#.

    I know its bad, but my bin of 3k once fired wolf .223 all ready to load is quite satisfying. Hindsight and all, I guess seperating them into bags woulda been good but oh well.

    I shall report back if there is ever a problem.
     
  13. Navy_Chief

    Navy_Chief Member

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    Anybody care to share the format for their record keeping for those of us who should be doing a much better job at it than we are?
     
  14. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    I do all my record keeping in an Excel spreadsheet that has grown over the years. It only lists the loads however, not specifics of each separate loading event. It's basically a listing of "recipes". I print sticky labels that go on each container of loaded cartridges - one sticks on the outside, and another (printed on plain paper) is loose inside the container. I have modified that label to record lot numbers now. :)
     
  15. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    I'm old fashioned and do mine in 3-ring binders, one for rifle and two for handgun. I'm probably going to have to add another one pretty soon, as these are getting pretty full. I use the Lyman data sheets, which is 4 entries per page. I copy the pages on my copy machine, two sided, and separate by caliber (32 calibers at the present time).

    I print Avery labels for each box of ammunition, and I can tell at a glance what the data is for each box, most of which are Berry's Manufacturing boxes.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  16. vaalpens

    vaalpens Member

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    Thanks for the heads-up.

    I already keep track of the cost of the components I buy, but will also add the lot number to it. Since I label all my ammunition with a load number, from now on I will just add the load number range to each lot number, which will then tie each load to a lot number.
     
  17. Doublehelix
    • Contributing Member

    Doublehelix Contributing Member

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    Such a great idea, and something I need to start doing. I track everything else, and I do date my primer and powder containers. I will add a couple of more columns to my spreadsheet for the primer and powder lot numbers. Thanks for tip.
     
  18. sbwaters
    • Contributing Member

    sbwaters Contributing Member

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    Spreadsheet LoadData Log
    #/Cal/Cart. /Date/Src/Mfg/Type/ Coef./Weight/Mfg/Type/ P Wt. /Prmr/Prmr Type/ COL /OGIVE/Trim/Crimp/Qty/Speed/ SD / Group /Notes

    60/9MM/Starline/5-14-17/Hornady/Hornady/XTP/.129/115/Alliant/Bullseye/ 4.4 /CCI/500 Sm Pistol/ 1.120 / / /.379/10/1180/ 14.30 / 1.12 /50'CZ1flyer

    Spreadsheet Chrono Load Log
    Created: 05/24/17 04:51 PM
    Description: HDY 115 XTP Bullseye 4.4
    Notes 1: 1.120 COL 1 flyer
    Notes 2:
    Distance to Chrono(FT): 10.00
    Ballistic Coefficient: 0.129
    Bullet Weight(gr): 115.00
    Temp: 75 °F
    BP: 29.70 inHg
    Altitude: 0.00
    # FPS FT-LBS PF
    7 1164 346.03 133.86
    6 1162 344.85 133.63
    5 1166 347.22 134.09
    4 1196 365.32 137.54
    3 1171 350.21 134.66
    2 1189 361.06 136.74
    1 1159 343.07 133.29
    Average: 1172.4 FPS
    SD: 14.3 FPS
    Min: 1159 FPS
    Max: 1196 FPS
    Spread: 37 FPS
    Shot/sec: 0.1
    True MV: 1180 FPS
    Group Size (in): 1.12
    Set: 65

    I also spreadsheet component costs but I don’t look at the results because I’d probably be better off buying 124 gr 9MM Blazer for all the time and money invested. [Joking]
     
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Where those the new "brass colored" WSR? I guess you missed the product change. Just at 1999 Winchester changed their primers from the nickel (or zinc) coated to a brass finish. They did some other things too. They made their brass colored primers more sensitive. As Customer Service told me they made them more sensitive "to combat off center firing pin hits".

    I told them what a huge mistake they made. Making primers more sensitive would only increase slamfires in AR15 rifles. The phone sort of went silent after this comment. I have been right on that account, it is not hard to find slamfires with these brass colored WSR. And there is something else. The things pierced at loads that never bothered my good old nickel coated WSR primers. Darn brass finish WSR ate up a handful of firing pins. I really had to cut my loads to prevent primer piercing. The solution was, CCI #41 primers. Thicker cup and of mil spec sensitivity so the things are less likely to slamfire.

    EEK! $394 for a replacement bolt, ouch!

    Did your bolt look like this? This is my Sako Finnbear in 30-06

    KBwf8NK.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  20. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    That's me as well. I probably should log the lot numbers.

    I do date my primer boxes and powder bottles so that I use first in/first out.
     
  21. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    Yes, my bolt face is similar... but without the hair gel! Here's what mine looked like. It's not dangerous at this point, but it's not good.

    breech%20face.jpg
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have a couple K left, but when they are gone, they are gone.

    I can remember people posting primer leaks and bolt faces looking like that and being all OK with it.
     
  23. CLP

    CLP Member

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    Thanks for sharing this- I plan on recording the lot #s from now on after hearing this.
     
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