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Trouble With A 44 Mag Load???

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Seedtick, Apr 7, 2011.

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  1. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    Okay, help me out here Gentlemen.

    My son-in-law picked up a new Ruger Super Redhawk in 44 Mag a few weeks ago. We started working up some loads using PowerBond 240 grain Flat Points we got from Rocky Mountain Reloading and 240 grain LSWC, Elmer K's, BHN 18 from Missouri Bullet Company.

    For all loads we used new Starline brass that had been sized, trimmed, chamfered, deburred and then primed with Winchester large pistol primers. Alliant 2400 is my favorite powder for 357 mag and 45 Colt so that is what we are using for the 44 mag. With the lead bullets we started at 17.8 grains and worked up to 20.2 in 3 tenth grain steps and starting at 17.8 grains we are up to 19.6 with the plated bullets using the same 3 tenth grain steps. We loaded up 12 of each powder charge so we could both shoot a cylinder full of each load.

    Here's the problem. (Tried to take pictures but my cheap o camera ain't up to the task. :eek: )

    It looked like we were having a little gas leaking around the primer with just a little smut circling the primer. The 'leak' ain't happening on every round but at least one in each different load is doing it. When we got up to the 19.9 grain and the 20.2 grain lead bullet loads you could even feel a little crusty grit? in the gap between the primer and the brass with your fingernail. Well, when I got home and punched out the primer I found that it wasn't a leak but it was actually a tiny hole in the corner radius of the primer. It's tiny but it is a hole. It's about the size that you could probably stick the sharp end of a fine sewing needle in it. On the lighter loads I can't find a hole at all. They look normal except for the occasional smut.

    Later I found one with the smut ring in my 45 Colt OF Starline brass. It was loaded with a 250 grain LRNFP from MBC with 18 grains of 2400 and the same primers. We are fixin to load some with Remington and Federal primers and see what happens.

    Is this a problem with the primers or is it just too much pressure??? :uhoh: I've shot several of that 45 Colt load through my Blackhawk since I bought it new last October and it's been shooting good. It may have been 'leaking' but I never noticed it if it was.

    :confused: What's going on here guys? :confused:

    Seedtick

    :)
     
  2. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    Without pics, it's hard to guess on this. At this stage, I would try other primers, but back off a grain and work back up. If it does it again, then maybe the brass is at fault. Your loads appear to be within parameters.



    NCsmitty
     
  3. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Is the hole located within the firing pin strike? Or, are you saying that it is completely outside of the firing pin strike?
    If it is within the F.P. strike surface you are possibly experiencing some high pressures. But I reiterate possibly because, I noticed in your post you said your were using large pistol primers, and not magnum large pistol primers. I'm fairly certain magnum primers are a little bit thicker, and also deliver more or hotter flash. It's possible that your load is producing pressures that are high enough to require a magnum large pistol primer, rather than the standard large pistol.
    I've never incountered this circumstances, but have heard stories of simular experiences. I ruptured a few primers over the years with high powered rifle loads that were a tad too hot, but it was a risk I was clearly aware of, due to my style of hand loading.
     
  4. CraigC

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Lordy mercy, it ain't pressure and 2400 does not call for magnum primers. The requirement for magnum primers is mandated by the powder used, not pressures. Something else is going on here.
     
  5. Krogen

    Krogen Member

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    I'm curious about this too. I have recently had the same problem with .357 Mag. In all my 30 years of handloading it hasn't happened before.

    With two separates loads; one with cast lead bullets, the other with jacketed, I got small primer cracks at the outer radius - just enough to soot up the edge of the pocket and put some marks in the recoil shield of the gun. Both loads were a moderate charge of 2400, old Federal 200 primers and old cases. I pulled down the unfired rounds, reassembled them with a moderate load of Herco and had no further problems.

    The common elements are 2400, old primers and old cases with just a few firings on them. I'm going to try the 2400 loads in some brand new cases and depending on the outcome try some CCI primers. I've heard of brass getting brittle with age, so I'm wondering if either the aged cases or primers are the cause.

    So to the OP: Are your components fresh? or ancient?
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Sounds like you have a bad batch of primers. I have had some Remington 9 1/2 primers that blew with even light loads. DefectivePrimer.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    A ring of soot all the way around the edge of a primer is leaking gas.

    It comes from overpressure expanding primer pockets, or over sized primer pockets, or undersized primers.

    With new Starline brass I would not expect a problem. Nor would I with primers.

    The component manufacturers have been in such a hurry/bind trying to keep up with demand the last year plus the chance for a bad product getting out has increased somewhat.

    Very interesting for sure.
     
  8. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    Thanks for the head-scratching Guys!

    No, it isn't anywhere near the firing pin strike. It is on the edge radius of the primer.

    No, this is new stock Winchester purchased in the past couple of years.

    The lot number is CFL 448G
    .

    I have some more I gonna dig out today and see if it is from a different lot. It was purchased earlier this year so it oughta be different.


    243winxb - You win the Kewpie doll!

    They look exactly like the picture you posted only the hole was much much smaller. Literally, I doubt that a 1/64th (.015") diameter drill will fit into it. I guess I could go and check to see what size drill would fit it....that is, if I can find that set of number drills??


    Anthony, you could tell that the soot had a starting point where it kinda spewed out. It was heavier there and then thinned out as it spread out. You could even see that on the bolt face/recoil shield/firing pin plate/? whatever it's called that the firing pin sticks out of.

    Which leads to another question, could this do the same kind of damage to the revolver that a ruptured primer will do to the face of rifle bolt? i.e. cutting torch it? We looked it over before we reloaded it every time but all that was there was soot that easily wiped off with a finger.

    hhmm...I wonder if the other ones that 'leaked' had a hole in them but were just to small to notice...:confused:....thinking out loud. I need to look into that.

    Thank you Gentlemen. Keep thinking.

    Seedtick

    :)
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Since it looks like 243winxb's pic, it isn't leaking gas around the primer from a poor fit or excess pressure. The primer is failing.

    Why? Bad batch? Trying the older batch of primers should tell.
     
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    There's no way the pressure is high enough with 20gr 2400 under a 240gr bullet to cause this problem. Running Keith's charge of 22.0gr is common practice and yours is one of the strongest .44's on the market. The .45Colt is slightly thinner in the head area and it is routinely run 50-55,000psi. Has to be either defective primers, defective cases or maybe you mixed up your 2400 with Bullseye.
     
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I beg your pardon CriagC, but 2400 does clearly require a magnum primer as stated in my Speer manual for every bullet and application listed! And in addition to that, he didn't state whether or not he was using magnum primers.
    Did you take a good look at your priming tool to see if maybe there is a flaw causing the hole, or maybe something got on the priming tool surface and was punching the hole, or thinning it enough to blow through? Kind of a weird circumstance and really sounds an awful lot like some defective primer's.
    Although I wouldn't think it has anything to do with your primer problem, 2400 isn't listed for a lead bullet application in the data I've got. And minimum charge listed for a jacketed 240 grain is grains 20.2 with a magnum primer.
    I would think the sooting your seeing is resulting from an inefficient burn from the use of the standard primer v.s. magnum primer. I've been there and done that Sir. Drop a magnum primer in that charge, and I would bet the problem or problems magically disappear.
     
  12. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    Many loaders of 2400 in the 44 mag for many years would disagree. You can use them or not use them with 2400 and the 44 mag. it doesn't really matter a lot one way or the other as long as you have worked up to the load with the particular primer in question.

    Maybe not, but 2400 and a lead bullet was the first 44 mag load and it has served countless 44 mag loaders well with all weights and types of bullets.
     
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Win. & Rem., each only make 1 large pistol primer. WLP & 2 1/2
     
  14. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Indeed there are many worked combinations many of us have found to be safe functioning loads, but my purpose here is the same as everyone else, trying diagnose this mans problems. I've had experiences with standard pirmers being substituted for magnum primers that were very unsettleing, especially with slow burning powders which 2400 is. The most common being heavy sooting every where on the case because the charge was not burning efficiently enough. This is a problem that can go both ways with either pressures getting unpredictably high, too low or not peaking quick enough to seal around the case and primer pocket.
    If it were me, I would start by eliminating the variables and deffinitely drop in a primer from a different batch or brand to see if it is a faulty primer, it's rare, but not impossible. As Walkalong implied, with the industry struggling to keep up with demand it's possible, though not probable, a component may be your culprit, brass, powder, or primer.
     
  15. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    Yep, I'm wondering the same thing. That's why we were thinking 'leak' till I found the hole.

    :what: Woowee that last part would be scary! :what:


    Actually, we have been using 2 different Lee hand priming tools. I bought one of the new square one's a few weeks ago. I tried it out and it works okay but I'm use to the old one so if I was doing the priming I use it and the son-in-law was using the new square one. I'm sure that they aren't damaging the primer but I will isolate them and see if it will make a difference.

    As far as magnum or standard primers goes, I've been using Winchester large pistol primers mainly because it is suppose to work for both. He picked up a couple of boxes each of Remington and Federal primers yesterday so we are gonna load some with them this weekend and see what happens.

    When I started loading for 357 a while back I noticed that my Lyman 49th Edition calls for magnum primers for every powder and every load. They musta run across a killer sale on mag primers long about the time they were getting ready to do the testing for the manual. :rolleyes: Anyway, I asked the guys here and they said they weren't necessary for 2400 cause it ain't hard to get lit. I've worked up loads for both standard and mag primers and I couldn't tell a whole lot of difference. I still have some loaded up, in 357, to do a test with the chrony and see what that will tell me. I've heard that standard primers will likely be more consistent.

    I know I like it in 357 and 45 Colt. We are getting ready to do our yearly buy from Powder Valley and were trying to decide if we could get by with 1 eight pounder or if we needed 2. Well, our other buddy went yesterday and bought a sweeeet stainless Super Blackhawk in 44 mag. So now we have to figure out if we're gonna need 2 or 3....

    I appreciate all the help guys. Ya'll continue to talk amongst yourselves.

    Seedtick

    :)
     
  16. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    What about this ^^ Guru's? We don't want any of that going on.

    Seedtick

    :)
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    It will most assuredly damage the breech face if done enough.
     
  18. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    You'll find that in different manuals, some will use magnum primers and some will not, when using Alliant 2400.

    www.alliantpowder.com shows their 44 Mag data using standard primers with 2400.

    In my experience, it does not matter as long as you work up the load, as SPW1 alluded too.

    The key to this thread is solving what appears to be a primer issue. I have used CCI primers for decades, and have never seen an issue like that.



    NCsmitty
     
  19. CraigC

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    How old is your Speer manual? How much Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton, John Taffin, Brian Pearce, Dave Scovill and Ross Seyfried have you read? The experts agree, standard primers only for 2400.
     
  20. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    The hammer nose of my 357 mag. was eaten away from pierced primers over time. I would guess the lower pressure level of the 44 mag will not have the exact same effect of a rifles higher pressure. But any mark it may leaves is not good, no matter how small. High pressure can do funny things. The Ruger 357 Maximum/Blackhawk was discontinued because the top strap was being eaten away from gas cutting. Let us know what happens if you keep using the primers. The primers are defective, but not common. Your is only the 4th time i have seen or heard of it in over 40 years.
     
  21. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Member

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    I would suggest contacting Olin or whomever is making the primers and furnish them with the pics & info. See what they say; liability being what it is I would think they would evince interest... :scrutiny:
     
  22. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Your stated top load of 20.2/2400 with a lead 240 is about midway between a top .44 Special load and a full power .44 Magnum load - unless you're seating bullets unusually deep or have oversize bullets, pressure ought not be a problem. (You HAVE checked your scale for accuracy, right?)

    Check your primer seater - are there any burrs or other defects that might put a scratch or dimple in the edge of the primer?

    Check the flash holes in the brass - are they about the same diameter as the flash holes in other .44 Mag brass?

    Were the primers unusually difficult or unusually easy to seat, indicating an undersize or oversize primer pocket?

    Any known recall for your batch of 2400?

    Eliminate these factors, and the most likely culprit is a bad batch of primers.

    (BTW, I generally use magnum primers for .44 Mag, as recommended in my archived Speer, Sierra, Hornady, and Winchester data. At least for slow powders like 2400, 296, etc. But a regular primer ought to work just fine with your 2400 load. You're not getting unburned powder, are you?)

    Your SRH is a very strong revolver, and will hold up well to loads beyond those in most loading manuals . . . I've put loads through my Redhawk that are considerably in excess of yours with zero issues, so I strongly suspect defective components.
     
  23. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    Hi ya'll. Our daughter, son-in-law and the grandyoungins came over and me and the boy slipped off to the cave for a little while.

    Here's what we did.
    We started again at the point where we found the first tiny hole, 19.9 grains, and continued our workup with Alliant 2400.
    For each powder charge we loaded 6 with each of the following primers.
    Winchester large pistol primers (WLP) a different lot number for both standard and magnum loads
    Remington large pistol primers (2 1/2) for both standard and magnum loads
    Federal large pistol primers (150) for standard loads
    Again we used a 3 tenth grain step as we worked up to 22.0 grains.

    If we don't have a problem with these new primers that will be the next step.

    Yes, the scale, RCBS 505, checks out. I looked the hand primers over and they are in fine shape. We can't find anything out of whack with the brass, primers (except the afore mentioned trouble with tiny holes in those fired Winny's :banghead:) or anything. I'm not aware of a recall or anything with the powder and we are into the 4th pound of the same lot number and it's doing great.

    I agree the Ruger SRH is a strong revolver and it will do quite a bit more than what we will ever ask of it. But, I don't know about 'Ruger Only' loads. So I have another question.

    Is the Ruger Super Redhawk in the same category as the Blackhawk and the TC Contender? Can you safely shoot 'Ruger Only' loads in them?

    I have not seen it specifically listed in a reloading manual as safe for 'Ruger Only' loads. We have been researching and mulling that over ever since he brought that thing home. What say ye???

    Hey ya'll, once again, I am extremely thankful for the time and consideration you have given here. Continue to talk amongst yourselves. I'll update you as soon as we find out how this batch does.

    Seedtick

    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  24. CraigC

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    There are really no "Ruger only" loads for the .44Mag. That's a .45Colt term. However, The Redhawk and Super Redhawk are stronger than the Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk and Contender and Brian Pearce has provided loading data in the 50,000psi range for them. It was published in Handloader magazine in the last year or so.
     
  25. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    First, the 2400 w or w/o mag primer thing will go on for eternity. IME, it's a bit temperature related. In very cold weather, I've had 2400 give me fits with standard primers, but never with magnum ones. And so far, in my guns, the targets and chrony are plenty happy with magnums lighting the charge of 2400.

    As for the primer condition you're describing: Right at the corner of the primer cup, right? Right where the metal gets worked while forming the cup shape out of flat stock. I'd say it's either weak or brittle from a metallurgical standpoint, or just flat out too thin.
     
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