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What if? Double-charge powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Scott-NC, Jun 22, 2012.

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  1. Scott-NC

    Scott-NC Member

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    I'm new to reloading and I'm reloading 230 gr fmj winchester 45 ACP bullets with 3.8 gr bullseye powder, in accordance with my Lyman manual. I'm working with a Dillon 550b, and paying attention - especially when going from stage 2 to 3- even when having issues with stage 1- priming the case. So I think I have it all together.

    But- I'd like to know the range of possibilities.... As I said I'm paying attention- and I think there is little chance of double charging a case. BUT WHAT IF I DID? The max suggested load is 5.3 gr of bullseye. Since I'm going with the starting load of 3.8 gr if I were to somehow load double- 7.6 gr- what would be the likely outcome if it were actually fired? Is this an automatic hand amputation? Would it typically just destroy the gun?

    Again- I am being very careful, but I'm mindful of the severity of making a mistake. I'd like to hear from those that have made a mistake- and what the results were.
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I have never made that mistake in 50+ years of reloading.
    But I have repaired 1911's whos owners have.

    A double charge (7.6) of Bullseye behind a 230 grain bullet will at the least, blow a case head at the feed ramp.

    In a gun with plastic or rubber grips, it will blow the magazine apart or out, and eject all the shrapnel and hot gas out the bottom of the mag well.

    With wood grips, you will be picking splinters and brass frags out of your stinging hand.

    Wearing shooting glasses, you run very little risk of getting hurt really seriously.

    But still:
    A double charge of Bullseye is Bad!
    MmmmKay?

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  3. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    I quit using Bullseye for several years because it is such an energy-dense powder. WAY to easy to overcharge a case and not notice. Made me nervous for no really good reason. As long as you put control mechanisms in place to prevent AND detect.

    Example. Load in batches of 50. Put the charged cartridges in a loading block and when all are charged, take a strong light and scan all the open-mouthed cartriges. If any have lots more or less powder than its brothers it will be easily seen.

    Then finish completing that batch of 50 before starting the next batch of 50.

    (edit)I know you are using a progressive press, but if you wanted to, you could split the process. Decap/size/prime/charge in one progressive pass. Check charges, then seat and crimp in a second progressive pass.

    Slow, but it works to keep you safe.

    When anyone asks me what a novice loader should start with, my go-to powder is Trail Boss. If is voluminous, and generally fills a case about 70% full. A double charge will overflow the case and you will find it difficult to overlook that. (Unfortunately, if you overcharge just enough to make a compressed charge, Trail Boss does not behave well - I don't know how, but they warn against it.)

    TB may even be too voluminous for 45 ACP, though.

    A double charge of Bullseye (or any powder) will do what rcmodel said. Blow the primer, separate the case head, expand the brass so much that it will not extract from the chamber. On a typical 1911 platform, the gun is designed to vent down the magazine well (better schrapnel or even splinters in your hand than in your face). If you are less than ideally lucky, you can blow the slide up, and then all bets are off. Repeated high loads will tend to damage the frame, developing stress cracks and such.

    Good luck. Be safe. Always, all ways.

    Lost Sheep
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  4. Otto

    Otto Member

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    It would be something like this...more or less. Plastic guns don't fare as well.

    1911blownupwithanoverload.jpg
     
  5. Whiskey_Sour

    Whiskey_Sour Member

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    Yeah, but on a brighter note, there isn't much recoil. :what:
     
  6. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    That's something that has always worried me on the 550 since the shell plate has to be turned by hand. I always look at the powder level when I drop the bullet in the case just to make sure. I've never double charged anything, but the powder level should be obvious if you do. And I would expect just about any double charge to destroy a gun.
     
  7. YankeeFlyr

    YankeeFlyr Member

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    The OP is definitely asking the right questions...good on ya!

    I reload only for 30-06, for the M1...in my powder, any double charge will spill over the top of the case and be very, very evident (I use a funnel after hand-weighing each charge).

    Even, so, I am so anal that I shake the case tray after charging the cases and hold a flashlight at an angle to check for any non-uniformity of loads....just an idiot-check.

    Once the bullet is seated I can't check it again...:uhoh:
     
  8. theCan

    theCan member

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    Its not likely that you'll get much more than a ruptured case or a slight bulge in the barrel. The gun should remain operable. Even the high points hold together like tanks.
     
  9. CmdrSlander

    CmdrSlander Member

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    How is this statement compatible with...

    ...this visual evidence:

    1911blownupwithanoverload.jpg
     
  10. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Because every incident is different thats why. Do you really think that all overcharges will blow up all models of guns in the exact same way? Not gonna happen. Lots of guys that blow out with an overcharge and dont have any repairs.

    Its common on the glock to have the mag blow out and break the mag release at the same time, for example.
     
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Why not just use an RCBS Lockout die, Hornady Powder-Cop die or a similar safeguard?
     
  12. cheeze

    cheeze Member

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    Whether it is a double charge of max load or a double charge of the 3.8 grain load being used could mean the difference between what rc model described and what you see in the pic above. If you have a good gun, fully supported chamber, and The Good Lord looking out for you, you might get away un-scathed from a 7.6 gr. load, but don't count on it.

    I do as YankeeFlyr suggested, and check my powder levels in the cases with a light before setting the bullets in the cases. Really easy to see the powder in .45acp cases, being as short and wide as they are. I'd recommend making this a part of your routine. I also suggest making it habit to do every step of the reloading process the same way, as in have all the components on the left, and every one that goes through the press should immediately be placed on the right, or visa versa, before picking up the next one. Once you do this long enough, it becomes habit and if your mind strays from what you're doing, habit helps keep from making a mistake. My left hand feeds the press, my right hand pulls it out and puts it in the tray on the other side after pulling down the handle. I also keep a rhythm, so that if anything breaks that rhythm, it becomes more obvious and I can review what happened. Nothing is fail-safe, as we're only human, but I prefer to have a few reasonable precautions.
     
  13. theCan

    theCan member

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    Of the many cases I've read of double charges, this is the first I've heard of a catastrophic failure. So I maintain that my original qualifier of "likely" remains valid.
     
  14. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Trust, but verify. I've conditioned myself to always stop with the ram raised; no question about where I am.
     
  15. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    My Lee turret auto-advances minimizing the possibility of a double throw, but I still check the powder level visually as I am placing the bullet on every case. Within reason you can't be too safe.
     
  16. lturford

    lturford Member

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    Good advise EddieNFL - as I just received a progressive I'll keep this in mind - Thanks -
     
  17. Snag

    Snag Member

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    Powder checks, lockout dies, auto index and all that stuff is great. The more redundant checks the better. Just don't rely on them to save your ass. Above all train yourself to look in every case, every time, no exceptions.
     
  18. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    If your 550B is a newer model (with the fail-safe powder feature) it would be pretty hard to double charge a case but not impossible.

    You would have to fail to rotate the shell plate AND work the ram fully through the upstroke. I never interrupt my loading sequence, IF you have a primer problem...simply chunk that case. Remember, after the priming stroke...you must rotate!

    The easiest way to establish that cadence is to remember this simple moniker "CB it" then rotate.

    After you have rotated your first two cases you will have a case at station # 3.

    From this point forward, you are only adding a case (at station one) and a bullet (at station three). Always add your case first "C" and then your bullet "B"......(CB it), work the ram...and after the priming stroke ROTATE.

    You can not double charge if do it this way.

    What kind of priming problems are you having, we might be able to offer a suggestion?



    The outcome could be very bad (depending upon your pistol). A double charge of Bullseye will definitely "fit" in the case (if using 3.8 grs) and (7.6 grs.) would increase pressure approximately 14,500 psi OVER....SAAMI specs.
     
  19. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    If you really want to be anal. You can separate your brass and bullets by weight in the beginning. Weigh one completed round for reference. And then weigh all completed rounds at the end. With an electronic scale this is quick and easy work an you should be able to pick up any double charges.


    Brought to you by TapaTalk.
     
  20. Scott-NC

    Scott-NC Member

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    Well- I picked up this unit used. The manual says 2010 so I don't know if it has the failsafe powder feature. Also - it came with a lot of other stuff- dies, tool heads, etc. Maybe this particular set of 45 ACP is older than the machine. I also got the Dillon DVD a couple days ago- after I got the machine and set it up. After spending a few minutes with the DVD- it's clear that I need to really go through it and learn more- it is very detailed and looks very informative.

    The issue with priming is that about 1 in every 8 or 10 times it wasn't always picking up a primer, and sometimes wouldn't always seat it correctly even when it did. Sometimes they seemed to be cut in half or just in there crooked. I have adjusted the shell plate, the little paper-clip looking wire at stage 1, and cleaned up the bar that moves to pick up the primer. The bar was covered in gunk, oil and dirt. The plastic thing on the bottom of the tube that holds the primers looks damaged. So I'm going to go through the DVD in detail and disassemble and clean everything. I bet the issues will go away.
     
  21. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have an 80's Dillion 550B.

    You are more likely to double charge a case with loading blocks than with a progressive. At least in my opinion. I found it was easy to get distracted charging cases with an RCBS little dandy, miss a case, get out of sequence.

    These progressives, it becomes more obviously when you are out of sequence. Yes, you can and will be distracted, but you will feel as though something is wrong, that the process is off. At that point, stop and take the rounds off the press and see if you double charged something.

    When you have a jam, primer out of wack, bullet turned sideways in the seater, clear the machine of all inprocess rounds. Dump the powder out of the charged case, set everything aside and fix the problem. Then, start one case at a time in getting the process going.
     
  22. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    but you are also MUCH more likely to catch the mistake with loading blocks.

    So, 1% chance of a charge mistake with blocks with a near certain likelihood of detecting it

    vs

    0.1% chance of a charge mistake with the 550 with a near certain likelihood of missing it.

    (example statistics grossly oversimplified)

    You are not wrong. Each loader must evaluate his own risks and determine how mitigating those risks fits his or her style.

    Lost Sheep
     
  23. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    You will not find a dubble charge buy weighing the finished rounds. There is to much inconsistancy in everything else.
     
  24. Double_J

    Double_J Member

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    I have personally seen what an overcharge looks like. That round blew the mag out of the mag well, and expanded the chamber of the barrel, and sent shards of brass EVERYWHERE. This was at an informal pistol match so we had LOTS of witnesses who all saw the same thing, KABOOM.

    When we got home we pulled the bullets on about 20 random rounds of that batch. We found that the powder thrower had been drifting up during the run. That caused us to change the method of loading we were using. We went to 50 round batches, looking at them before seating the bullets, checking the weight on 15% of the batch at random, and changing powder.

    We had been using HP-38 powder, but it is a very energy dense powder and as such was easy to overcharge. We went with Accurate No. 5 and did a test on a double charge using the max. charge weight. The powder poured out of the case, so we felt better about that. However we STILL never let our guard down as it only takes ONCE to screw up.
     
  25. Wahoo95

    Wahoo95 Member

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    I like powders that are more voluminous like Unique.
    Very hard to miss a double charge.


    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2
     
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