Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Herter's .308 steel cased ammo failure (ruined my rifle)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 1KPerDay, May 30, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12,471
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
    You know all those guys who said not to buy or shoot this crap? The guys I ignored? They were right.:banghead:

    First few shots through my Ishy Enfield. Some of the cases look fine, but (afterward) examining about half of them have primers backing out, and one, the last one in the magazine (luckily) ruptured. The shooter (my friend) got a face full of gas/particles but he was wearing eye protection and is fine. The rifle extracted normally (with noticeable more smoke throughout the action/magazine) and we examined the casing:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The bolt will not close now. It seems to ME that the bolt head has been damaged in some way. The bolt rotates into position fine without the bolt head installed.

    Anyone with an Ishy enfield, could you please take a close up pic of the gas relief port on the left rear of the barrel and post it up? Mine kinda looks like a figure 8 and I'm not sure if it did before or not.

    I'm going to try to get my money back (or at least store credit) from Cabela's, as there's no WAY I'm running any more of this through my rifles. At least in .308. I've run several hundred TulAmmo .223 through my AR and Mini with zero issues. I wonder if they just didn't get the recipe right for .308.:confused:

    IIRC it was about .50/rd or more when I bought it... I was desperate for some .308 and now it appears I've paid the price.:rolleyes:

    More pics fyi... click for larger.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,853
    Have you ever had the headspace checked?
     
  3. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    18,302
    Location:
    Ft. Worth
    Yep, that would be my first question as well before deciding it was just the ammo.

    Ishapore Enfields especially are found with excessive headspace quite often. I would never fire an Ishy without knowing what the headspace was.

    This ammo may have simply shown you something that was already there.
     
  4. jungle

    jungle Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Miami
    Just another opinion saying your rifle has all the signs of very excess headspace. The clues are the backed out primers and what appears to be stretch rings near the base of all the fired cases.

    In the interest of your safety you should have the rifle checked for headspace prior to firing any other ammo of any kind.

    Not to knock your rifle, but older Enfields have a long history of problems when chambered in 7.62 NATO. The Brits have said by official edict this can be a dangerous combination.
    The Ishapores are newly built and not old Enfields, but the design is roughly the same.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  5. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12,471
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
    Thanks, I will. I suppose I'll have to have it repaired first, or the bolt head replaced (assuming that's the issue). Question: would headspace issues cause the case failure where pictured? I know that it can cause case head separation but I thought that occurred where the 'stretch rings' happen on the side of the case, not in the base.
     
  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12,471
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
  7. jungle

    jungle Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Miami
    Normally you don't see a fracture like that, but it still points to a headspace problem, you may want to consider both rifle and ammunition suspect just to be on the safe side.

    The bolt head can be perfect, but a long chamber will still lead to excess headspace. The only way to know is to measure it with a headspace gauge.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Indians were not the first to consider the Lee Enfield action (No. 1 Action) for use with the 7.62 NATO cartridge. In the 1950’s, both Britain and Australia produced experimental models in 7.62 NATO. However, they used standard steel, No 1 .303 actions to build the test rifles. The test rifles were not successful. Problems with bolt setback, fracturing and swift development of excessive tolerances spelled doom for these projects.



    Source: The Lee-Enfield Story, Ian Skennerton, 1993, Greenhill Books
     
  8. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12,471
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
    Thanks. Mine is a 2A1 but as you know they are known for having generous headspace. They are also known for being very strong and made of good steel, but that doesn't help if headspace is bad.:banghead:
     
  9. jungle

    jungle Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Miami
  10. avs11054

    avs11054 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    649
    Location:
    AZ
    Just an FYI...I have shot about 200 rounds of Herters from cabela's through my PTR 91. Not one problem yet. I don't know the first thing about enfields though.
     
  11. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12,471
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
    Yeah, jungle, I've read it. I've also read quite a bit of very passionate stuff here and elsewhere saying that .308 and 7.62 are identical for all intents and purposes.

    And I imagine herter's is nowhere close to "hot" ammo. But I've been wrong before, as noted above. :)
     
  12. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    18,302
    Location:
    Ft. Worth
    They have basically identical pressures but there are very big differences, especially noticed in rifles with headspace at or beyond the limits.

    Nice thick NATO brass in your rifle might not show any problems simply because the brass is thick enough to hold up.

    Where your cases are ruptured is exactly where NATO brass is thicker.
     
  13. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    11,257
    Location:
    28078
    Note 6 is incorrect. There is virtually no difference in either pressure or external case dimensions (though NATO rounds do tend to have slightly less volume due to thicker brass) between 7.62NATO and .308Win. The difference is mostly due to the two different forms of measurement, not the measured values...unlike the .223Rem. & 5.56NATO. That said TR may be correct about the difference in brass thickness lessening the severity of the problem with NATO cartridges.

    I concur that excessive headspace is the likely cuprit. The round that let go was probably just the weakest constructed and/or stoutest loaded of the bunch.

    :)
     
  14. Hizzie

    Hizzie Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Check headspace for sure to see if rifle caused ammo failure and not other way around. Thoroughly inspect action. See if a small piece of steel case is what is preventing action from closing.
     
  15. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    18,302
    Location:
    Ft. Worth
    Personally I think this is why many people believe .308 is higher pressure, because they shoot the thin walled commercial ammo in their rifle and it ruptures when NATO ammo doesn't. People want to blame the ammo in that case, but it's probably the rifle.
     
  16. jungle

    jungle Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Miami
    While there may be very little difference in the actual pressures of the two types of ammunition, the real difference, much like the 5.56 in tight .223 chambers, is in both the size of the chamber and in the blueprint allowable headspace.
    There is a very real difference, whether this is going to effect your particular weapon depends on the exact chamber, headspace and ammunition. My preference is to play it safe and I use reloaded or factory ammo tailored to my weapons, I like my eyes and fingers and weapons in one piece. You can hardly ever go wrong running 40k psi in a weapon rated for 50K. :D

    A better explanation of the REAL differences: http://www.303british.com/id36.html and http://www.303british.com/id69.html

    Do a lot of weapons handle both rounds? Sure, but in this case, we have a good example of tolerance stack in the wrong direction.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  17. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    11,257
    Location:
    28078
    The dimensions of the chamber is the same. Sure a 7.62NATO MG chamber has more clearance than your average .308Win. hunting rifle, but a 7.62NATO sniper rifle is tighter than the average hunting rifle. The same is true of commercial .308Win. chambers...some are tighter than others, it just depends upon the application and precision (a precision rifle will average a much tighter chamber than, say, a SA M1A).

    :)
     
  18. jungle

    jungle Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Miami
    The dimensions MAY be the same, but they are not in the blueprints. The allowable headspace is quite different. NATO and SAAMI headspace guages are indeed different. A handbuilt sniper rifle may be different than NATO spec or SAAMI.

    Manufacturers of reamers and headspace guages are well versed in the real differences, this is not an internet myth: http://www.forsterproducts.com/store.asp?pid=27204

    The other interesting tidbit is that NATO does not use any steel cased smallarms ammunition, there is a good reason for this and it has a lot to do with case stretching in generous chambers. Brass is far more malleable and a better choice when using the same ammo in rifles and belt feds.

    I find it very easy to distinguish rifle brass fired in true Nato chambers and SAAMI chambers when full length resizing. YMMV and some settlement may occur during shipping.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  19. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2,317
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    1K, check to see if there was any damage to your extractor.
     
  20. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    7,514
    Location:
    Alabama
    I don't see a headspace issue at all.

    I see a flaw in the case head. The case head ruptured.

    So what do people see that makes this a headspace issue?
     
  21. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    11,257
    Location:
    28078
    You are still comparing a .308Win. commercial bolt rifle to a MG...I sure hope there is a difference. :rolleyes: Compare a M14-EBR DMR to a commercial M1A and I'd be willing to bet they come real close.

    C&R rifle + backed out primers = likely headspace problems (at the very least cause to check).

    :)
     
  22. jungle

    jungle Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Miami
    There are going to be many variants, and for all we know the Indians may have their own non-NATO standard. The fact remains there are two different standards-SAAMI and NATO. We'll exclude European standards for the moment. Different rifles and manufacturers may stick to either standard or ream a compromise between the two based on the expected use of the weapon and anticipated ammunition. Blanket statements are difficult to prove true in any case. A commercial M1A is likely different than an issue M14, with good reason.
     
  23. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    18,302
    Location:
    Ft. Worth
    Case head separation or rupture is exactly what you get with excessive headspace, it's the classic sign.

    When a cartridge is fired, the thinner parts of the case expand, gripping the chamber walls. At the back, where the case is thicker, it can't expand easily so it stretches to the rear. Normally the bolt face limits that rearward movement. If the headspace is too long that rear movement will go beyond the limits of the case's ability to stretch, and it will rupture. And, since the base of the case is not in contact with the bolt, you get the primer pushed out then flattened since there is nothing back there to stop it initially, if at all.

    Both of those signs are present in the OP's photographs so headspace would be something to check. And the fact that it's an Ishapore rifle, which are known to have headspace on the long end to begin with... I'd check headspace before anything else.

    Now, all that said, the rifle may still have headspace that is within limits. Steel cased ammo doesn't stretch as well as brass, it tends to give out sooner. So, you take a rifle that has long headspace but right at the acceptable limits, add steel cased ammo that doesn't stretch and well, and you can get this here.
     
  24. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    12,471
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
    Thanks again for all the great info guys... I can't tell you if headspace is indeed bad until I get the bolt issue figured out. I can't see anything around the bolt head nor in the rear of the barrel area that would prevent it but it's definitely a hard stop as the bolt head is trying to complete its final movement. It's weird, because it extracted fine. I'll try to take some pics and video tomorrow if I remember.

    Not that I expect any of you to armchair-smith this thing, but I've learned a lot from you all in the past.
     
  25. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    5,020
    Location:
    Northern Orygun
    This.

    Most rifles chambered in 7.62 NATO are head spaced to except both 7.62 and .308 (M1A, AR10). As parts wear and head spacing increases you can have a safe 7.62 but exceed head space for .308. having a field gauge for both 7.62 and .308 is a good investment.

    1KPerDay, your rifle has a replaceable bolt head. These are made in different lengths to set the head space. That a look at the extractor to see if it's damaged, that may be the bolt closing issue.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page