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Use Caution When Reloading


Charlie T Waite

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Caution should always be observed when reloading to insure you do not overload or double charge the cartridge. We had this happen to a shooter at a match on sunday. He was not injured as these were Rugers and not another brand, nut notice I said "lucky"! He also destroyed the internal workings of his 76 73 rifle. These were 45 colt cartridgies. Be careful out there and always double check before you seat the bullet. When in doubt, weigh the powder throw & check it against reliable loading data.  By the way a bunch of us looked but could not find the rest of the parts.

 

Charlie

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76 rifle                           .45 Colt cartridges

 

I suppose you mean either a 73 rifle or a 66 rifle.   Those are chambered in .45 Colt

 

 

PLEASE ask the shooter next time you run into him what powder he was loading.  I would like to know, and if you want to PM me, I'd really like to know what load weight he thought he was loading to and bullet weight, also.  

 

I've become interested in the learning about the recent occurrences  of some high-nitroglycerin pistol powders  possibly causing severe pressure excursions at low load weights.   Such as either trying to make really light loads, or due to a light powder drop due to measure throw problems.

 

Thanks, GJ

 

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It was a 73, I fat fingered the keyboard and will correct it.  He said he was using trailboss when we ask.  Since I have never used it I don't know, but from what I have heard it couldn't be that.  Some were thinking it was toght group.

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Well, almost certainly not TB - it would be hard to double charge and not see case overflowing.

 

Does that shooter load or even have on his loading bench a jug of Bullseye, by any chance?   Although TiteGroup is also a very high nitroglycerin content double base powder, so it has almost the same type of concern as Bullseye.

 

Good luck, and glad the shooter survived with all his digits.  Praise the Lord for that.  GJ

 

 

Yes, reloading is just about the same as rocket science.  You have to pay attention, or you will pay the piper.

 

 

 

 

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You can ask the shooter if he remember having any issue pushing his ammo into his cylinder for this stage.

Its possible that he had 2 bullets crammed down inside the case.   

 

Often times, a double bullet situation will bulge a .45 case and sometimes prevent loading it into the cylinder.   But not always.

And when that particular round is ignited, its h3!! to pay for the shooter and the pistol.

 

Just a thought.

 

..........Widder

 

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Widder -

 

I reported on a test of that concept about a month ago, using a Starline case and 2, 200 grain bullets in a dummy .45 Colt round.  The bulge was hardly noticeable and the dummy fit both Vaquero revolver and Uberti 73 rifle with no difficulty chambering it at all.  It will not be proof of double-bullet or not if the rounds were as easy to chamber as normal.

 

And, yes indeed, a double bullet-ed round is a mighty hot load if fired. 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

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We had a shooter a few months back, that was shooting HOT loads out of 45. when asked, he said he was loading 4.5 of a popular fast pistol powder. (Something a male bovine might look out of!)  That load should have been fine. After a couple of stages, he had a case separation in rifle, locked it up. It became obvious that something was wrong, we asked him to stop shooting his loads. I supplied him with guns and bullets to finish the match. after the match, one of our guys pulled 3 of his loads down. he had 14.5 grains of powder! Apparently did not know how to read his balance scale, had the poise set incorrectly. How in the word he did not blow his Uberti pistols apart is a miracle.

 

Moral to the story, if you think something is wrong, don't be afraid to speak up! Yes, its may cause hard feelings, or embarrassment, but that's better than spending an afternoon picking up fingers and eyeballs at the range! we since bought a club Chronograph, so we can check loads as needed.

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There's really NO excuse for not getting the reading right on a balance scale. For example, if the charge is 5 grains, throw that and weigh. Then throw 2 charges and weigh, should be double. Then throw 3 charges and weigh, should be triple. If you do this and STILL mess up then you shouldn't be loading your own ammo.

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I've stopped a shooter or two with suspicions of hot loads.  Showed 'em how to examine primers - they were completely flattened and flush with head - hardly even a seam between head and primer cup.  

 

Some folks do not have enough experience or confidence in their loading to know when they are getting into the danger zone.  That's when it's time to help them out.

 

Good luck, GJ

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29 minutes ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

There's really NO excuse for not getting the reading right on a balance scale. For example, if the charge is 5 grains, throw that and weigh. Then throw 2 charges and weigh, should be double. Then throw 3 charges and weigh, should be triple. If you do this and STILL mess up then you shouldn't be loading your own ammo.

I like my balance scale. very reliable. I also have a electronic scale. not as accurate, but I use it to double check my loads, especially when using a new powder or load. Cant be too careful. Reloading is "rocket science"!

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Wow, I really doubt that was TB....maybe he had his powder throw set for TB but used something else like TG.....or read the recipe wrong. Doubt if it was double bullets cause there were two close together, the pistol and the rifle. Plenty of tools to help prevent double charge, lockout die, alarm, and  I like the powder cop. I also use both beam and electronic scales to start a reload session to make sure both are reading the same. Glad no one got hurt.....

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Use a powder-check & look at it on every pull, in addition to listening for the alarm. We had a shooter awhile back who was doing some "fixing" on bullets on his 550 & loaded 2 or 3 charges into a bullet. It made his almost new Uberti 45 look like the pic above, & also blew out the cylinder where the hot load was.

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2 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Well, almost certainly not TB - it would be hard to double charge and not see case overflowing.

 

Does that shooter load or even have on his loading bench a jug of Bullseye, by any chance?   Although TiteGroup is also a very high nitroglycerin content double base powder, so it has almost the same type of concern as Bullseye.

 

Good luck, and glad the shooter survived with all his digits.  Praise the Lord for that.  GJ

 

 

Yes, reloading is just about the same as rocket science.  You have to pay attention, or you will pay the piper.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a possibility that he had a very light load of Trail Boss. Even though it contains no nitroglycerin if the powder charge was all below the flash hole it may have ignited too many flakes at once and caused it to combust improperly.

 

From my own experience with Trail Boss when you have too much case volume it becomes erratic. That is why I always tell shooters to calculate their minimum load using the formula from the IMR website. I also tell them to never load to the minimum if they want consistency.

 

It would be interesting to know what charge weight of powder he was using, the bullet weight and profile, as well as OAL.

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We didn't have a Chrono with but his loads were extremely hot.  There were no squbbed bullets.  We found 2 pieces of the brass case, 1 long brass sliver and a perfectly round base containing the primer.  Also what appeared to be part of a shaved bullet.  There was some nice demples in the steel as well.  His rifle broke after 2 rounds on the 1st stage so he spotted and picked up brass.  The MD had told him his rounds were to hot.  He fired 1 test round after the match and that was when his rugar blew the cylinder.so that was the only loaded round in the gun when this happened.  We told him not to fire anything in his other pistol until he had it checked to see if he had damaged it during the 1st stage as well.  My whole point was that care needs to be taken when reloading, check, double check triple check even ask for help.  this is our game and as much as we love it, it is not we all know that safety comes 1st.

 

Charlie

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At the first stage on which I hear more than one hot load fired, I usually talk with the shooter.  Especially a new reloader,  or a pard who might seem a little careless, or a pard who might be getting up in years or has some vision problems.  I'll have them try some moderate cowboy loads from another shooter.  If those known good loads are much more "comfortable and sane", we'll ask the shooter to stop using their own loads for rest of day.   If he won't cooperate, we will usually go ahead and MDQ them and SEND them home to check loads, weigh powder, let some other reloader come look over their operation, etc.  We've even suspended a shooter for not being careful enough with reloads.

 

A MD who has thought the loads are too hot, should take action.  Always better to be safe than blown up.  We don't get to look over most reloaders' shoulders when they are loading, but we DO when they are shooting.  Range Officers - Pay attention during those times.

 

Charlie - you got to the point of doing the right things in the face of severe problems.   Congrats for keeping safety at the forefront!

 

Good luck, GJ 

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Actually, credit goes to the MD on this one as he handled it right.  But I agree, the TO's also need to be vigilant regarding hot loads.  It is not worth someones health or even life.  I just want everyone to have fun but above all be safe.

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3 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Widder -

 

I reported on a test of that concept about a month ago, using a Starline case and 2, 200 grain bullets in a dummy .45 Colt round.  The bulge was hardly noticeable and the dummy fit both Vaquero revolver and Uberti 73 rifle with no difficulty chambering it at all.  It will not be proof of double-bullet or not if the rounds were as easy to chamber as normal.

 

And, yes indeed, a double bullet-ed round is a mighty hot load if fired. 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Howdy GJ.

I normally try to read all your post but I may have missed that one.

I agree that a double bullet round can chamber and there may not be a tale-tale sign of 'extra lead' stuffed down inside a case.

 

But I accidentally stuffed two 200 grainers down inside a case once and when I noticed a slight bulge, I also tried to drop it into a cylinder's chamber.   And it wouldn't fit.

Needless to say, I pulled the bullet and discovered the extra round down inside.

I was using a progressive press where one of my bullets stuck up inside the seater die and unstuck itself on the following round.

 

That was my first hand experience with this type situation.

 

..........Widder

 

 

 

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Yep, I can understand differences of dimensions in your test and mine, between bullet diameters, case inside diameters, bullet lengths  (moving the base of the lower bullet down into a thicker section of the .45 case0, and tighter chambers on the guns used for testing. 

 

I tested the same scenario because I had the same cause you did - a lubed up seater die  on a Dillon progressive press holding onto one slug (instead of seating it) and then releasing it into the next case while also seating a newly-positioned bullet.  

 

Sounds like between su we've found that, even though some guns might refuse to chamber a double-bullet load, other guns will accept it.   At great peril.  

 

Safety over everything else!  Press on!  (bad pun, sorry)    GJ

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GJ,

 

I had a knowledgeable shooter and experienced reloader tell me that he also experienced the 'double bullet' situation while reloading on his progressive press.

 

He tells me that now, he ONLY reloads @ 50 rounds at a time and then dumps his 'finished cartridge tray'.   If he sees an empty case and some loose powder, he starts checking those 50 rounds.

He says that its a lot easier to check 50 rounds than 500 rounds and thats why he only loads in 50 round groups.

 

P.S. - he didn't tell me if that particular round would chamber or not.

 

..........Widder

 

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I remember the first match I went too.  I was using factory loaded "Cowboy" loads.  The RO said "Those are too hot."  I was gonna do it anyway, but I started reloading that much more quickly.   If memory serves, I dumped the poweder out of those loads and redid them myself.

 

Ever since then, I have kind of expected that a good RO always pays close attention to what is going on.

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I suspect it's a case mis-identified powder and therefor, incorrect charge weight.  As for the pistol used, the New Vaquero is only arguably stronger than other "Colt" sized six-guns.  Whether those rounds would have destroyed a Vaquero (a Blackhawk sized frame & cylinder) is another question.

 

Poor attention to details in the reloading process is a danger to everyone in the vicinity when those rounds are fired;  not just the shooter.   

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All, 

 

This is from the MD at the match -"What happened in this case, was that the shooter had been using TrailBoss but then switched over to TiteGroup. 
However, he did not adjust his powder bar.   We measured and found 16.2 grains in one case. Far, far exceeding any maximum load"  Again, the MD handled everything correctly,  The shooter was offered other guns and ammo to use but declined.  

 

Hope this ends some of the speculation about double bullets.

 

Charlie

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17 hours ago, Jefro, SASS#69420 said:

Wow, I really doubt that was TB....maybe he had his powder throw set for TB but used something else like TG...

 

31 minutes ago, Charlie T Waite said:

All, This is from the MD at the match -"What happened in this case, was that the shooter had been using TrailBoss but then switched over to TiteGroup. 
However, he did not adjust his powder bar.   We measured and found 16.2 grains in one case.

Wow!! I can't imagine starting a loading session without using a scale to check powder drop first. I guess I could go start loading some shotshells with Red Dot without checking.....course last thing I was loading on that machine was BP:o:wacko: Very lucky no one got hurt:ph34r:

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36 minutes ago, Charlie T Waite said:

All, 

 

This is from the MD at the match -"What happened in this case, was that the shooter had been using TrailBoss but then switched over to TiteGroup. 
However, he did not adjust his powder bar.   We measured and found 16.2 grains in one case. Far, far exceeding any maximum load"  Again, the MD handled everything correctly,  The shooter was offered other guns and ammo to use but declined.  

 

Hope this ends some of the speculation about double bullets.

 

Charlie

 

Thanks for the update Charlie.

Indeed, its good to know the real cause when anything like this happens.

 

It tends to make all of us more conscientious of being extra careful in our reloading process.

 

(I will admit that I had not thought about not changing out a charging bar and switching powders.   But I had thought that maybe he had grabbed a wrong can of powder and used it in his powder hopper and set his scale wrong).

 

..........Widder

 

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I know what happened was discussed, but I was not a party to it.  I am glad that the shooter or anyone else wasn't hurt and Dakota Drifter did a great job as the TO.

 

CHarlie

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I was going to mention the possibility of "pre-mature shotstart", due to too little bullet "pull" and light or no crimp.  That can cause the bullet to be kicked into the forcing cone with the powder barely ignited due to the low pressure.  When the bullet stops, the pressure and burning rate of smokeless powders can increase exponentially and cause a pressure excursion that wrecks the gun.  But, in this instance, the powder overcharge is apparently the cause.  Nonetheless, ladies and gents, don't over expand the case mouth and roll CRIMP! CRIMP! CRIMP!

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thats the exact reason i use a single stage and lee dipper, there is almost no way i can screw up... i deprime/resize all my cases, then i change the die and prime/flair all of my cases then change dies and pour one scoop of powder into the case and seat the bullet, then off to the next one, one round at a time... yes it takes a bit longer but i dont blow up my guns...

 

on another note, i have  blown up a walker with pyrodex...

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this is why i never shoot others reloads , if i screw up my own its on me , im very careful and check often for just this reason , it is not a thing i want to have happen , 

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53 minutes ago, watab kid said:

this is why i never shoot others reloads , if i screw up my own its on me , im very careful and check often for just this reason , it is not a thing i want to have happen , 

 

AND, that is why anyone who uses my guns have to use MY ammo.   Its just better that way.

 

..........Widder

 

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The only problem cartridges I ever had were done on a single stage press. My FIL was visiting and kept talking to me and asking questions while I was reloading some pocket pistol ammo. And then I loaned out the pistol with the ammo at a shoot and the person managed to stick 3 bullets in the barrel. It is not the presses fault when things go wrong. It is not following procedures and/or not paying attention. I load for 4 people in my family, no way could I do that on a single stage and expect to shoot more than once a month. My Dillon 550 has  worked great for the last 19 years,  as long as I do my part.

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At least this has brought the safety issue during reloading to the front of everyones mind.  Sometimes I think we just get so use to presuming everyone does it right that we forget to discuss it as often as we should.  I was using my turrent presses without primer blast shields until until I had a primer chainfire.  based on the damage it did to things near it I felt very lucky to come away with only a few facial cuts, if not for the glasses (which are safety) I could have lost my sight.  I have since installed the shields on every progressive press.  It only takes 1 pinched or improperly seated primer to ruin your day, week......., it could have been worse had it happened during a powder throw into the case.  Lesson learned.

 

Charlie

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