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Reloading: Don't shoot unknown loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by cpy911, Oct 10, 2012.

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  1. cpy911

    cpy911 Member

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    Hi all,

    A number of years ago, my Dad had a guy reload ammo for him. I was kid then and did not even know what reloading was!

    Anyhow, a number of years later I find a couple boxes of .357 Magnum labeled "17.6 grains 2400 not for pistol for rifle only, 1800fps" My dad (now me) had a Winchester 94 Trapper in .357 Magnum, so I assumed the guy was trying to load them hot for a rifle? Anyhow, not trusting something old and unknown, I get the following pop out (several times btw)

    [​IMG]

    I could swear the larger flakes look like Unique intermingled with 2400? This can't be a good thing??!!!?? Anyhow, I am throwing the powder away and keeping the primed brass and projectiles.

    Thoughts????
     
  2. Mike 27

    Mike 27 Member

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    I would say good call.
     
  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Definitely looks like two different powders.
    It's surely not a good habit to shoot other people's handloads. There are a couple of people I do, like when we're at the range together and we're shooting each others stuff, but I know these people very well and have loaded many rounds with them. They are just as meticulous as I am. Anyone else, no way.
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Wow, I agree that powder doesn't look good and looks like a blend. Yep, dump the powder and reuse the other components...
     
  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I shoot my uncles handloads and he shoots mine when we are at the range together. Other than that, no WAY! Of course, he taught me a lot of what I know about handguns and a lot about reloading also.
     
  6. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    This powder looks like good lawn fertilizer. I would pull the bullets, dump ther powder on the lawn, and salvage the components.
     
  7. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    burn it

    I would say to burn it or chuck it in the woods good call on not using it
     
  8. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Well, I dunno. I bought a rifle from a stranger, and the guy threw in reloading dies, components, some powders, and some loaded rounds.

    Chambering them showed they'd been neck-sized. He said they were his competition loads for long range silhouette at 500 yards. I shot some of 'em without fear, and I have some saved to compare against, once I work up my own long range accuracy loads. It sure didn't hurt my confidence that the loads were labeled with bullet brand/style/weight, OAL, brass length, powder charge, velocity, average group size, and the number of windage clicks to dial in. :) Oh, and the powder is H380, which is pretty close to impossible to bridge.

    I also used the half jugs of powder he threw in, after verifying they looked like what they were supposed to.

    As for the OP, I wouldn't a shot them just for the fact that they were labeled "rifle only." It sure does look like Unique flakes. Did they all look like that? Maybe that was the first round he made after switching powders in his measure?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  9. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    Like everyone else. Dump powder, reuse the compoents with fresh powder.
     
  10. beefyz

    beefyz Member

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    GOOD ADVICE, and very appropriate for me now. I’m facing a similar situation. Read a good story. This story is true, names changed to protect the innocent hahahaha.
    A buddy of mine owns nothing but pistols. Reloads for all of them. I’m a rifleman; like Quigley, I have no use for a pistol(doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use one). He’s been trying to convince me to buy a pitol, I, a rifle for him. I finally won out. He gets a Sig/Sauer AR 15 from the local wallymart. Now if you listen to him, he knows EVERYTHING about reloading, has all the specs, knows all the issues, and you can’t tell him anything. He knows it ALL; He’s the only one who knows what he’s doing these last 3 years of reloading experience. He has never reloaded for a rifle, forget the AR for a second. He’s THAT bad. I learn something new about this hobby every day. Anyways, as a payback for something for me, he “gives” me 100 rds of a 357 M load he’s done. He’s comes over yesterday informing me of the load he intends to use in his new AR15. He’s got plenty of Unique laying around , so that’s his powder. He going to use Rem 6 1/2s as his primer, despite Rems disclaimer. He also wants to neck size only and he doesn’t believe trimming the cases is necessary. The twist in this AR is 1:7 and while I informed him that it may shoot better with bullets in the 60-70 gr range, he’s adamant that the best bullet for HIS gun is the 55 grainer. He has fired 3 factory rds of 55 through the rifle, they worked, and is now ready to reload for 500 of them. Talking to him is like talking to a wall. Can’t get a word in edgewise with him, and he leeds me to believe that I’m in denial because I don’t want to listen to him. This guy votes and has pro-created.
    Can you see my dilemma ?
    I’d have to be crazy to pull the trigger on anything this guy has reloaded; if he reloaded for this .357M load like he intends to load for a AR 15. Now what do I do with the new brass he gave me. He loaded a 148gr wadcutter almost flush to the brand new case with 3 grs of Bullseye (so he says). The load is marginal at best for a .357 lever gun with 24’’ tube, taken from a manual from the ‘60s, and I’m concerned about stickin the bullet, aside from the point that I shouldn’t trust anything this guy did. What’s easier, removing a stuck bullet, or pulling these bullets? I’ve never pulled lead before, with very little showing to boot, under what looks to be a decent crimp. Can this bullet as described be pulled? Otherwise its 100 new cases down the drain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  11. James2

    James2 Member

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    beefyz, yes, get an impact bullet puller. They can be pulled.

    cpy911, As suggested, use the powder for fertilizer and reload them to your specs. I hate to even think about using powder you can't positively identify. There is no way to positively identify powder that is not in its original container. Even opened and partially used cans of powder can be suspect if from a source other than your own bench.

    My rule for handling powder is: Only one can of powder on the bench at a time, and always empty the powder measure back into the can at the end of the session, and put the can away.

    Be safe!
     
  12. cpy911

    cpy911 Member

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    I wonder what happens when you mix powders like that?
    Fortunately the few that I have pulled have been easy.
     
  13. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    cpy911 - there's no way to know what will happen when you mix powders like that. Which is why you aren't supposed to do it. :)

    E.g. no guarantee you'd even get a consistent, uniform blend (in fact, the chances of obtaining a uniform blend are zero).
     
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Yup, it's sound wisdom. I re-learned this myself after getting a gun show box of what *appeared* to be some kind of commercial black powder .45 Colt loads. First three split down the middle, and further inspection revealed what seemed to be smokeless mixed with black and green corrosion inside the brass. How they managed to both screw up the load and cause the inside of the case to corrode this is beyond me, but they did. So those rounds are in the to-be-pulled crate now.
     
  15. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    If I had 50+ rounds worth, I probably would have run the powder through a couple layers of window screening just to see if I could separate them. But then, I have some window screen laying around, specifically for filtering such things, and I'm a bit of a pack rat. I have a light proof box where I keep the dregs from my discontinued powders, anywhere from a few oz to under a single load worth, double bagged and labeled with lot numbers. If nothing else, good for ID'ing powder in the future. If I had some known 2400 to verify it against under a magnifying glass, I would probably load it if/when the need arose. At any rate, it wouldn't take up much space in the box, and it would be labeled with a big question mark.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  16. mbopp

    mbopp Member

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    I seem to remember Elmer Keith experimenting with duplex loads but it was for 50BMG. A few grains of faster powder next to the primer, then topped off with the slower powder. He also experimented with a tube soldered to the flash hole inside the case so the powder would ignite from the front, not the base. It was too expensive to make the cases though.
    And when I was on the Savage 110 muzzleloader forum (the 110 could use smokeless powder) there were guys experimenting with duplex loads a la Keith.

    But for the OP - lawn fertilizer.
     
  17. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    No way I'd shoot either of those loads. Pull the bullets, dump the powder, reuse the brass, and go forward.

    Here's my story. I shoot reloads from only one good friend whom I trust completely. I had another friend, deceased recently, and I was asked to help sell off his reloading stuff, including loaded ammo. No kidding, thig guy was a PhD chemist and an NRA instructor. He had about 2,000 rounds of .45 ACP match ammo (he was a match shooter) all nicely labeled as to load, powder, bullet, velocity etc. I decided to shoot the ammo rather than scrap it.

    Well, first box of 50, I have 2 duds. Pulled the bullets, one had no powder, the other had powder that was yellowed and the primer fired. Fortunately it didn't push the bullet out of the case. Second box of 50, one more complete dud. Needless to say, the remaining ammo went to components, the powder was scrapped, and the brass completely deprimed and cleaned.

    This just goes to show me, at least, that anyone can load bad ammo, no matter how experienced they might be. I don't load for anyone else, and I don't shoot anyone's ammo that I didn't watch get loaded.
     
  18. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I have all the respect and awe for Elmer Keith as anyone, but lets not use him as a guide for how we load and shoot.
    I've often wondered how many kabooms he experienced.
     
  19. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    I definitely would not have shot them either, simply based on the "for rifle only" on the box. That's never a good sign IMO.

    My father and I picked up some various shooting gear from an estate a while ago. We were amazed to find no two boxes of ammo loaded the same (here's 50 .357s with 140gr bullets and Power Pistol, look, here are 50 with 158gr XTPs and 2400...) and a few of the recipes we couldn't verify independently. I knocked apart one box where about a dozen of the cases had buckled, probably from seating and crimping. It was mostly labeled with chronograph information too! The scary thing is there may be more of this stuff in circulation somewhere... :uhoh:
     
  20. abq87120

    abq87120 Member

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    I don't even buy opened powder at garage sales. Nothing but new-new-new. I want to know what's really in the bottle.
     
  21. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Yeah I value my hands/eyes/etc too much to use someone else's reloads.

    Before I started reloading in my early 20's I bought reloads once from a guy. He had a Dillon 550 and cranked out a bunch of 45's for me. About 5% were squibs. Must have kept pulling the handle for a long time with an empty powder hopper and not cared. Or he was just wanting to mess with me.

    That was right about the time I bought my kinetic puller and first single stage press. :)

    I used to have customers ask (when trading in guns at the gun shop) if I'd take reloads in trade with it. I said "sure, at component cost minus powder". I got a batch of several hundred 308 loaded up this way one time.. pulled them all, dumped the powder, and reloaded them. :)

    That was about the time I got my first collet puller....
     
  22. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    For the right price, I'd buy it. Half opened cans at garage sales might be the last good deal in powders. Surplus military powder sure isn't worth it, right now.

    If it looks it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and comes in a factory bottle labeled "duck," I will take my chances. :) I know there are psychos out there that have put cyanide in Tylenol bottles. But I just can't imagine the kind of sicko that would intentionally try to hurt a firearm. :) And it would pretty much have to be an intentional swapping of identical looking powders for it to not to have been noticed on close inspection by you and/or the guy selling it and/or the guy's firearms.
     
  23. cpy911

    cpy911 Member

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    Update to the pulling process

    Ok, I have everything pulled down.

    One thing I did notice was that some of the bullets were loaded with what looks like a Lead Round Nose semi-wad cutter of some kind. The powder that came out looked like 2400 and NO Unique was mixed in these. However, the box said 1800FPS. I forgot to weigh the powder, but if these were used at that velocity, I would suspect you would lead the barell?

    I also found a bunch of 30-30 rounds. I am going to pull everything as they mostly look like reloads. None of the 30-30 rounds have a crimp for tubular magazines, that is bad. I have a Lee FCD that I can crimp bullets even without a crimp groove. So far, the 30-30 stuff seems to not have a mix of powders, but the powder is still going on the lawn, I just don't trust it.

    The projectiles are 150 gr jacketed round nose soft point. Can I use any 150gr jacketed bullet data? I only have data for 150 gr jacketed flat point.

    Anyhow, thanks!
     
  24. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Like almost everyone above, I say pull 'em.

    A friend gave me some reloads that he got from a third party.
    They looked AWFUL.
    Cases were buckled, some primers weren't seated deep enough,
    OAL was inconsistent, when I pulled 'em there were several squibs, etc..

    Months later he told me who he got them from.
    I know the maker & was shocked.
    I would have sworn the maker would be MUCH more conscientious.

    Please folks, if you didn't make 'em, don't trust 'em!
     
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