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Anyone heard of this?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bob40caliber, Dec 11, 2017.

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  1. bob40caliber

    bob40caliber Member

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    I have been shooting and reloading for 32 years....never ran into this. Perhaps you have?
    I was shooting my Ruger Security Six. All going well. Then I have one round no bang???
    Keep barrel pointed down range for 30 sec. Nothing. Open cylinder, shows primer hit. OK.
    Reposition cylinder so that round would fire again. Once again, no bang. Keep pointed down range 30 sec. Nothing. First I thought, bad primer. They were Wolf primers. But I have shot thousands of them without any problems. Then I thought, I hope nothing is wrong with the firing pin or transfer bar. So I fired a few rounds from the same chamber in the cylinder that held the problem round. No problems. All went bang. Hmm.
    I pulled the bullet to see if there was anything visible that might explain it. What I found was bullet fine, powder fine. But at bottom of case, packed extremely tight against the primer were tiny rocks. It was not my corn cob media. They were a different color, size and texture.
    Is it possible that have these tiny stones packed tightly against the primer, prevented the primer from igniting? Or do we think it was just a bad primer?
     
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  2. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    sounds like the small stones probably absorbed/blocked the primers blast from reaching the powder
     
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  3. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...these tiny stones..." Sounds like cat litter. Unless it's range brass that had some mud in it. Corn cobs won't take that kind of thing out.
     
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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, always look for debris in cases, from dirt to spider webs. A powder charge that is too high can be a sure sign before seating a bullet.
     
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  5. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    Hm. That's a good lesson I just learned. Although I've never had that problem, sounds like I might have been lucky. Thanks for telling us about it, all you who have experienced crud in the case...
     
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  6. Skinnedknuckles

    Skinnedknuckles Member

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    Do you deprime before or after cleaning in the corn cob media? I deprime after and felt that by running the decapper through the flash hole while depriming I would remove any media or debris that might be in the hole. I hope you won't tell me I've been fooling myself.

    Also, did you push out the primer and find it had fired?
     
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  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm interested in this also.

    I've always deprimed my cases after cleaning just to insure that the flashholes were clear
     
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  8. stompah

    stompah Member

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    So I always resize with my decapping pin in. Even if the case has already deprimed. Helps with the media or random gunk blocking the flash hole.

    I had a similar situation. I dropped a small amount of new primers on the floor. Somehow I must have picked up a spent primer and loaded up a round with it. Not sure how it passed my inspection process as I glance at the head of every case I make just to make sure my primer is flush. I had the same multiple strikes with no ignition. Powder was 100% unburnt. I pushed out the primer and saw it was spent and still had the anvil. Doubt that I had a fizzle of a primer. So picking up a spent primer was my only probable cause of the situation.
     
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  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I also have the same questions.

    Do you decap before or after tumbling your brass?
    Did you inspect the primer to see if it was fired?

    I also deprime after cleaning the brass to insure an unobstructed flash hole.
     
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  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The decapping pin should though.

    I have to admit, I have found lots of weird stuff in cases though. Like rocks, spider webs, June bugs, you never know.

    A primer has quite a bit of energy though, enough to push a bullet into the bore even without any powder at all.
     
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  11. bob40caliber

    bob40caliber Member

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    To answer the questions.
    I deprime after cleaning the brass.
    And I did not inspect the primer by depriming the case.
    I tried to scrape out the "stones" without success.....it was like they were cemented in there.
    I thought about depriming the case but decided to just throw out the entire case.
     
  12. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Could have been a bunch of hardened polish and corn cob shaped like a stone or such that got stuck in the brass. I have had that happen if the polish is not evenly distributed in the media before the brass is put in. Mine was like cement blobs on the outside of a half dozen cases.
     
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  13. P51D

    P51D Member

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    This.

    Hi, Bob. Thanks for your post. Very interesting.

    Decapping pin should have cleared or at least loosened the grit enough to let the substantial energy and heat of the primer through. Even if the wad of tiny rocks did interfere with the primer flame front (seems reasonable), the primer will still generate quite a bit of pressure and havoc inside the case if it fired. Enough pressure to send the bullet forward at least a bit.

    I'm really curious now. When you pulled the bullet, was there any evidence that the primer fired? Like burnt residue, burnt smell, etc.?

    And, BTW, I've been through several thousand Wolf problems and all fired perfectly, and I am very happy with their performance.

    When you mention that the tiny rocks were packed extremely tightly against the primer, it makes me think the primer maybe never fired. Primers are ridiculously and unbelievably powerful for their size. And just refer to any reloading manual (e.g., I'm looking at a Speer manual), and it will tell you that primers "detonate", unlike powders (propellents), which provide a controlled (yet very fast) burn. If it fired, I think that primer would have either loosened the tightly packed tiny rocks, or left a lot of ugly evidence that it tried to do so. Also, I don't think the tiny rocks packed against the primer and flash hole could keep it from firing, since I think the primer compound has everything it needs to do its job regardless of anything blocking it. Unless things were wet inside. During primer manufacturing, the priming compound is a wet paste, which keeps it stable. Once dried, the compound is very sensitive to jarring shock, like that provided when the firing pin smashes it between the primer cup and anvil. IMHO, if not handled properly, primers are the most dangerous component of reloading.

    I know you don't have the case available now. But could you see a clear path to the flash hole through the packed tiny rocks?

    THANKS P51D :cool:
     
  14. bob40caliber

    bob40caliber Member

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    P51D-- I agree with everything you stated.

    When I pulled the bullet, it looked perfect. No residue or smell.
    I did already re-use the bullet.

    There was no clear path through the tiny rocks to the flash hole.

    Frogo207--I believe you have hit the nail squarely on the head. I now remember before tumbling that last batch of brass I did add a tiny amount of polish to the media. It might very well have hardened inside the case with some of the corn cob media to form the very hard cement like substance and even changed the look and texture of the media. I do think that is very plausible.
     
  15. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Could be those "small rocks" were partially burned powder that did not ignite....still the primer should have made a "bang" to do so. Too much of a coincidence of the primer not going off and those "small rocks" not for them to be related, but even residue like that inside the case should not have an effect on whether the primer goes off or not. My guess is a bad primer that went "fizz" and wasn't audible thru your muffs/plugs and the result of the misfire was partially burned powder closest to the flash hole.
     
  16. rdstrain49

    rdstrain49 Member

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    Bob40, I have seen precisely what you are describing, the tiny cement hard clump of rocks. I've found them in 9mm & 5.56 brass. Oddly not in 38/357, 45 etc., etc. I have not purchased any brass for a very long time, 15 - 20 years. Point is I know where my brass comes from. The only time I notice my rock collection growing is when I shoot on a range that has a limestone (gravel) firing line. Mind you, the rocks I find are roughly the size of the head of a pin. Finding these little deposits is a very rare occurrence, I just shoot a lot.

    As to why the little rocks clump together, no idea. I've never noticed them while at the range, only in one of the many inspection and cleaning steps that I go through. I'm aware that this is really not any help other than to confirm you did not eat any bad mushrooms etc., I too have seen the rocks.

    However in your case, I suspect some type of primer contamination, as others have said, had the blockage been there and the primer fired either the round would have done something, probably fired, or the primer would have either backed out or have been blown out of the pocket. Either way you would likely known there was a problem. Many years ago I had a case that did not have a flash hole, long before I started inspecting everything. When the primer went off I knew right away there was a problem, not by lack of recoil but by the sound. This was in a revolver, primer was backed way out but contained.

    Now that I think about it, I've not seen any rock clumps since switching to stainless tumbling media. Is there a connection, again, no idea.
     
  17. bob40caliber

    bob40caliber Member

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    Buck460--that is possible.
    I did not hear anything at all, but I was wearing my hearing protection.

    rdstrain--That brass was from a huge bag of once fired 38 Special brass I had bought
    I believe from someone on this forum, a long time ago. It was cleaned but not deprimed before I got them. I now inspect the cases after I have deprimed them, thanks to this incident.
     
  18. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Yep a mystery! Since sizing is done with the decapping any debris should be pushed out. After tumbling, perhaps a small chunk of media stuck there (if there was any dampness the piece could "cement" itself in place). My first thought was perhaps some dirt in along with the powder, it only takes one piece and not necessarily from "dirty contaminated powder". But you know the primer was seated, and there was good firing pin hits, so from our side it's all a WAG. One bad cartridge outta how many reloaded in 32 years ain't bad...:rofl:
     
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  19. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I am pretty annal about inspecting primer pockets and cleaning if necessary, I figure if the primer does seat fully because of excessive crud in the pocket this could cause a FTF.
    I tumble first and then resized and decap so I assume the tumbling media is cleared out by the decapping pin.
    I have not used Wolf primers but that would be my first suspect.
    I had a FTF with a F-150 primer that had no primer compound, with the anvil up I now inspect primers prior to seating and have found one CCI 300 primer with no anvil.
     
  20. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    Don't have anything to add to comments already made, but I will say that I had one primer from a dud round that, when I removed it, found that it had the anvil and sealer, but apparently had NO primer compound from the factory. The inside of the primer was completely clean.
     
  21. Englishmn
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    Englishmn Member

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    I have found if a primer isn't completely seated the first strike will dent it but not set it off, and no amount of strikes will set it off.

    I picked up a handful of dud 38 spl at a range pulled them down looked like they were reloaded with trailboss the powder looked good and burned fine when I lit it.
    All the primers were heavily dented.
    I removed a primer and set it on a stove burner and walked away, it went off after a few seconds loud as a normal one.
     
  22. rdstrain49

    rdstrain49 Member

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    If the primer is not seated approx. .002" below the surface of the case, the anvil will not be fully seated and the primer, for lack of a better term, won't be armed. Just sayin'.
     
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  23. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Even if those "rocks" were dried up media/polish, the primer should have still fired if it was seated properly. Hard for a experienced reloader to not seat a primer fully and when they do, most of the time it goes off on the second try. Again, the primer not going off and the pile of rubble at the charge hole are are too much of a coincidence not to be related. If the rubble was there prior to loading, it should have been cleared when the case was decapped or at least noticed. Odds are if it is as the OP states, it would have snapped/bent the decapping pin. The OP does not state what he used for powder, but from my experience, many slow burning revolver powders create hard debris when not completely burned. IMR4227 is a prime example. Sometimes the blowby of the cylinder gap can feel like a sandblaster. Sometimes I think I have torn my sandbags only to find it is unburnt powder residue on the bench. Of all the reports of bad primers I have seen/heard, Wolf is on the top of the list. I'll stick with my first guess.
     
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