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WARNING! WARNING!


Grapeshot 8553

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For those of you out there who store your ammo in plastic, zip lock bags. Stop and desist. I had a bag of .45 Colt loaded with Goex Pinacle and 250 grain LRN bullets. I Dropped the bag on my linoleum floor and one of the rounds detonated. Wether the primer was hit by one of the rims of the other cartridges or by the sloghtly pointed nose of the bullets, (Lyman 454190) but the round went BOOM.

 

I am usually very careful when handling ammo, but I tried to carry one thing to many and I scared the living daylights out of my wife, the cats, and myself. My ears were ringing for 30 minutes and the hallway was filled with smoke. I hope that this confession prevents someone else from having a similar experience. No one was hurt, thank the LORD for that.

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Pard, glad you're not hurt. Thanks for the advice. And if you've got time after peeling the cats off the ceiling, I've got a few dumb questions:

 

What brand of primer? What did the primer of the offending round look like? Any indentations? Would it have been any different if your rounds were in a coffee can or cardboard box?

 

And here I thought I was being anal-retentive by putting all the loads into those Berry boxes.

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Pard, glad you're not hurt. Thanks for the advice. And if you've got time after peeling the cats off the ceiling, I've got a few dumb questions:

 

What brand of primer? What did the primer of the offending round look like? Any indentations? Would it have been any different if your rounds were in a coffee can or cardboard box?

 

And here I thought I was being anal-retentive by putting all the loads into those Berry boxes.

 

Load was X.X cc's of Pinacle, Winchester Large Pistol Primer, Lyman 454190, 250 gr. RN.

 

Case blew into three separate pieces, the head and about .25 inch of case and two pieces of split case found on the floor. Primer departed case and when found I did not find any anvil or indentation in primer body/face. I did find an impression in the floor that matches the size of the primer.

 

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Holy Moly! sure glad nobody was injured.

 

A friend was just giving me a hard time the other day about using ziploc bags, I guess I'll go get some of those fancy boxes now.

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This is why I've always used plastic cases or reused cardboard ones. Weird things happen, I like having some packaging and space between the primers and anything that could impact them. I tend to buy a case of the boxes when they go on sale at Cabelas or one of the online places. You can sometimes get the 50 round pistol sized ones for as little as $1.50 each. The MTM brand has worked for me. If you don't constantly bend them ALLLLL the way back they last a fair while. Not forever, even if you spend the extra for the fancier ones. If you want real longevity find some old wooden boxes with clasps and use the plastic or foam spacers from factory ammo inside them. I have a bunch left to me by my grandfather who used them for medical vials, ammunition, and pre-measured powder charges (in medical vials, he was a doc and they were just the right size for charges in most of his bench rest rifles).

 

What worries me are the bulk 22LR boxes. I DO have a fair number of those and often put one in my range bag as is. It would not be hard to drop it on removal from the bag, an edge catching on the zipper or just fumble fingers... I do try to be a little extra careful, but the potential for some injury or property damage is there. Unfortunately, short of ONLY buying rimfire in packaging that uses the plastic dividers I don't see an easy solution. Maybe a small satchel for the box with a piece of foam in the bottom. That way I'm picking up something with a distinct handle my fingers go through and the most likely impact point if I drop it is padded. Just a thought, I'm interested in any other ideas folks have for bulk rimfire.

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I'm glad everybody was just scared and not hurt, including the cats! I keep ammo in baggies when I run out of boxes. It goes from bench to storage shelf and then back to bench to be put into boxes as I use up the supply during shooting season. I will be VERY VERY careful from now on when moving the baggies.

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A friend was at an indoor pistol range, shooting a XD .45acp. He had a plastic flip top box of reloads open on the bench. A piece of brass landed on an exposed primer as it left the gun and caused a detonation. I had a hard time believing him, until I saw the plastic box with a blasted out hole in the middle of those pretty reloads. He got his composure and exited the range. I've heard of detonations of shot shells by dropping them in a bucket as they are loaded.

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Glad no one was hurt and I'm with Stump about the odds of this happening. Loose packed in anything and jostled around there is a chance of impact detonation. I have routinely dropped pistol rounds loaded on the single stage press into a collection box, say 12-18 inches, for later parceling out into other containers. Bulk GP ammo is stored loose in boxes or coffee cans. I dont plan to change either method but I will exercise more caution in moving the containers around, especially the 223 with them real pointy bullets.

 

PS I have set off a primer by stepping on it with a leather sole boot on a linoleum floor while turning so "finding bigfoot in the bathroom" does happen. And once again Murphy raises his head.

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I did not find any anvil or indentation in primer body/face. I did find an impression in the floor that matches the size of the primer.

 

Pretty well says that the round that fired landed case-head down, primer was perhaps able to slide a little in the pocket at impact and get enough impact with the floor to cause it to detonate. Several other cases in the bag may well have added to the firing round's impact force onto the floor. A single loose round falling would not be weighed down by other rounds and would probably be much harder to detonate - in other words, it would have some bounce off the floor which would absorb some of the energy of the fall.

 

Had the primer made contact with a rim or a bullet tip, it should show some marks on it, as the primer is ejected by the pressure of the round firing, and would have printed "witness marks" on itself from the point of contact with a rim or bullet (like the recoil shield machining marks seen on found on fired revolver rounds).

 

Good luck, GJ

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Pretty well says that the round that fired landed case-head down, primer was perhaps able to slide a little in the pocket at impact and get enough impact with the floor to cause it to detonate. Several other cases in the bag may well have added to the firing round's impact force onto the floor. A single loose round falling would not be weighed down by other rounds and would probably be much harder to detonate - in other words, it would have some bounce off the floor which would absorb some of the energy of the fall.

 

Had the primer made contact with a rim or a bullet tip, it should show some marks on it, as the primer is ejected by the pressure of the round firing, and would have printed "witness marks" on itself from the point of contact with a rim or bullet (like the recoil shield machining marks seen on found on fired revolver rounds).

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Negatory Ghost Rider. The primer had to be struck, but lacking a proper chamber, and no firing pin with a hammer behind it to hold the dent int the primer during ignition, the dent that caused ignition simply irons out as the primer is coming out of the pocket.

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A friend was at an indoor pistol range, shooting a XD .45acp. He had a plastic flip top box of reloads open on the bench. A piece of brass landed on an exposed primer as it left the gun and caused a detonation. I had a hard time believing him, until I saw the plastic box with a blasted out hole in the middle of those pretty reloads. He got his composure and exited the range. I've heard of detonations of shot shells by dropping them in a bucket as they are loaded.

 

Ok, now THAT is freaky. I wouldn't have thought that light a strike could set off standard primers. Hmmm, makes me consider switching to harder primers and sucking it up on stiffer hammer springs.

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I bought the loaded Black Hills .45 Colt 250gr cowboy ammo to get my brass for CAS and after the boxes it came in got too worn or tattered I used these

http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,1178.html

I got started using them in my .45-90-520PP for my BPCR as I liked the way they looked and when I had a need for .45 Colt boxes I went with the same company

http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,1182.html

 

I recall some drop testing of ammo in one of the buff magazines back in the late 50s or early60s and I think they got ammo (do not recall the type) to go off dropping it in way that it fell flat on the case head on a steel plate that was flat from about a 5 or 6 foot hight but It was a very rare thing like once out of hundreds of drops and if I remember rightly it was old Mercury Fulminate primers that was cause they went with (all ammo was old (WW I or older) surplus).

 

I recall at a Clay pigeon shoot in the 70s a fellow shooting an (old Browning I think or other common auto shotgun) auto that had a slam fire when the action cycled after his first shot but I do not recall the cause being established other than that there was no pin mark on the primer.

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The primer had to be struck, but lacking a proper chamber, and no firing pin with a hammer behind it to hold the dent int the primer during ignition, the dent that caused ignition simply irons out as the primer is coming out of the pocket.

Ummm, you propose that the dent, which caused the primer to fire after it contacted some external metal part, ironed out perfectly flat again without blowing the primer face out into a convex (bowed out) shape (remember, there was no bolt face or recoil shield there to cause the primer cup to retain a flat surface in your scenario!)? How do you propose that to have happened? Remember the OPs report that he found a primer sized circular dent in the linoleum flooring. Pretty low coincidence that the primer could have fired a half inch or so from the floor, ejected from the pocket, rotated to present it's cup "face" to the floor, then smacked the floor leaving a dent.

 

(It is also possible for the "strike" to have come from the inside - the anvil impacting into the priming compound hard enough to ignite it.)

 

If a primer "has to be struck" to ignite, then tell me why I have had several primers pop over the years while using an impact puller? No firing pin or external metal impacted the primer in those cases. Just the inertial movement of the primer caused them to detonate. At which point the primer flew out of the open end of my impact puller at 100 FPS or more (from having broken a florescent lamp that was overhead before).

 

Good luck, GJ

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Ummm, you propose that the dent, which caused the primer to fire after it contacted some external metal part, ironed out perfectly flat again without blowing the primer face out into a convex (bowed out) shape (remember, there was no bolt face or recoil shield there to cause the primer cup to retain a flat surface in your scenario!)? How do you propose that to have happened? Remember the OPs report that he found a primer sized circular dent in the linoleum flooring. Pretty low coincidence that the primer could have fired a half inch or so from the floor, ejected from the pocket, rotated to present it's cup "face" to the floor, then smacked the floor leaving a dent.

 

(It is also possible for the "strike" to have come from the inside - the anvil impacting into the priming compound hard enough to ignite it.)

 

If a primer "has to be struck" to ignite, then tell me why I have had several primers pop over the years while using an impact puller? No firing pin or external metal impacted the primer in those cases. Just the inertial movement of the primer caused them to detonate. At which point the primer flew out of the open end of my impact puller at 100 FPS or more (from having broken a florescent lamp that was overhead before).

 

Good luck, GJ

 

I think you have it there Joe, that makes perfect sense a slightly loose anvil in the primer could have enough momentum to cause it. fits all the facts as they are presented.

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