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Hidalgo

my brass is splitting

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anyone have a comment on what may be causing my 38-40 brass splitting? Loaded with 1cc Pyrodex, 1cc cream of wheat. New brass. See photo.

C10ED03A-3C71-462B-AFEA-8019CF560983.jpeg

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Pyrodex is very corrosive.  Not sure if it will corrode brass in a loaded  case but for sure once fired it is corroding your guns and cases while you watch. If I were you I would throw it away. If you can't do that them limit its use to your shotgun. and clean your shotgun IMMEDIATELY after the match.

 

If you are going to use a sub use APP or Black MZ.

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Those sure look like more than just splitting. Ya gotta love Pyrodex!

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Others have reported that Black MZ was discontinued.   I load both APP and Triple Seven in cartridges without the damage pictured.  When I used to shoot Pyrodex in a shotgun I had to clean immediately upon returning home.   I never reloaded spent SG shells.  They would rust my reloading equipment.

 

How long did you store the 38-40 rounds before firing them?  There are reports of cereal forming a hard plug in bottleneck cartridges during storage.  I only use cream of wheat as a filler in cap and ball revolvers that will shot the same day loaded.  There are inert fillers that are well-behaved in long term storage.

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Based on your comments, I am going to stop using Pyrodex and cream of wheat. Converting to triple Seven and that ballistic filler, can't remeber the name right now.

I checked with the manufacturer of Black MZ and yes it is discontinued.

 

Thanks for the helpful comments.

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I have used Pyrodex in .38, .357, and .45 for years and never seen cases look like that.  And I still use it.

 

If you eliminate the problem by changing powders then good for you. I suspect the thinner brass in the .38-40 has some bearing on the issue.  One cc of Pyrodex (or any other sub) is a pretty weak load and I would not expect it to split a healthy case in a properly sized chamber.

 

 I hope you will post a follow- up report with your findings.

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What you are showing is .38-40 brass that has no bottleneck after firing! Did those cases lose part of the ends?  If not, there is something wrong with the chamber, oversized at the front of the chamber.  Are those cases reloaded after firing once?  If so, the brass may have become workharded.  If this is the first time the brass was fired, then the brass may not have been annealed sufficiently at the forward part of the case, at the factory.  I haven't used Pyrodex in years, as I shoot mostly smokeless powder in cartridges, including .44-40, but when I did shoot Pyrodex, when it first came out, I never had problems with corrosion.  Maybe they changed the formula after Dan Pawlek was killed in the explosion.

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A wild guess - were the rounds were fired in a .45 Colt gun, not a .38-40 by any chance?

 

 

If this really was first time firing these cases, and .38-40 gun is in good shape, then either

 

1.  You got a really BAD LOT OF BRASS from the manufacturer.   Contact them, they WILL want to know, and may replace it for you.  (I think this is a very slim possibility of being the the cause of the problem.)

 

2.  The cream of wheat filler made a solid plug and RIPPED the front half of the case off during firing.   If the loads were made more than a month ago, the filler could have hardened (as ERS Canby noted above) to make a hard plug that is inside the bottleneck of the 38-40 case.   Such a plug is not a big deal with a straight wall case.  It is a BIG deal in a bottleneck case.    My money would be on the hard-plug-of-filler.   Because the case shows signs of both high pressure (the splits) and a tension failure (extreme stretching to metal failure) of the ragged mouth of what is left of the case.

 

The filler I use in Black Powder loads is granulated activated charcoal.  It cannot form a hard plug (unless you add cement to it).

 

PLEASE pull the bullets of the rest of the loads you made in this brass.   Examine the filler - see if it turned hard.  Do that NOW!  Do not continue to shoot these mini-bombs.  They will lead to damage to the gun and maybe even you.

 

If you find the filler is hard, PLEASE let the Wire know.   We have folks using this very type of filler currently who need to know about what might have happened to your loads.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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How many time you reloaded the brass, how do you clean them and when.

Just to begin with the long list.

I'm not an expert reloader.

 

czhen

FL

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Evidence of reloaded brass that was not immediately cleaned with HOT WATER... with potassium chloride residue that has eaten into the metal of the cases

 

 

Quote

 

In laboratory testing, sprinkling crystals of potassium chloride onto an unprotected steel plate will result in pitting of the surface of the steel in less than an hour if the humidity is high enough to cause wetting of the crystals’ surfaces. Pyrodex residue will act in the same manner.

 

Pyrodex contains potassium perchlorate. During powder combustion the potassium perchlorate releases oxygen to support additional combustion. The potassium perchlorate then becomes potassium chloride. With potassium nitrate, the combustion process converts the potassium nitrate to potassium carbonate and potassium sulfate.

With Pyrodex combustion, the minute crystals of potassium chloride are widely scattered over the surfaces of the bore. Given high humidity, the crystals become wet and rapid metal corrosion may occur.

 

 

Edited by John Boy
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1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

 

The filler I use in Black Powder loads is granulated activated charcoal.  It cannot form a hard plug (unless you add cement to it).

 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

GJ---Where do source your granulated charcoal? Is there a specific granulation? I've been using Grits with no ill effect so far and don't want one! Apologies for going a bit off topic.

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

1.  You got a really BAD LOT OF BRASS from the manufacturer.   Contact them, they WILL want to know, and may replace it for you.  (I think this is a very slim possibility of being the the cause of the problem.)

 

2.  The cream of wheat filler made a solid plug and RIPPED the front half of the case off during firing.   If the loads were made more than a month ago, the filler could have hardened (as ERS Canby noted above) to make a hard plug that is inside the bottleneck of the 38-40 case.   Such a plug is not a big deal with a straight wall case.  It is a BIG deal in a bottleneck case.    My money would be on the hard-plug-of-filler.   Because the case shows signs of both high pressure (the splits) and a tension failure (extreme stretching to metal failure) of the ragged mouth of what is left of the case.

 

 

If the forward end of the brass went down the barrel with the bullet, something had to be pushing it, so I'd give the hard-plug-of-filler a nod.

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5 hours ago, Hidalgo said:

 

I checked with the manufacturer of Black MZ and yes it is discontinued.

 

It still shows it on the Alliant website and doesnt say it is discontinued.  ??????

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On 11/9/2019 at 11:30 AM, Eyesa Horg said:

Where do source your granulated charcoal? Is there a specific granulation? I've been using Grits with no ill effect so far and don't want one! Apologies for going a bit off topic.

 

Last batch I bought from

 

buyactivatedcharcoal.com

 

Product name: GRANULAR Activated Charcoal (Coconut) 20x50 mesh GAC-2050

The 20x50 mesh coconut was the cheaper type of activated charcoal at the time I bought last, and it meters through a Lee disk measure really nicely.  Sized just about like FFg powder.

 

There are many other suppliers.  It's commonly used for water filters, vet supplies, farm supplies.   Just search for bulk granular activated charcoal.

Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

PS -

 

After someone suggested that some activated charcoal products might contain Calcium Chloride, I did some checking.  The product recommended above is prepared just with high temperature "activation".   No chemicals added.

 

Even chemically activated charcoal is washed carefully after "chemical activation", thus removing all but minute traces of the chemical used (usually either acids or salts). 

 

And, I use this in .45 Colt cases only.   Not in my .44-40s.   Those I load with only FFg or Cowboy size Black Powder.

 

GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I emailed Alliant just yesterday, and they confirmed it has been discontinued for over a year, and it won't be coming back. It's still on the shelf at Sportsman's Warehouse. About a year or so back, I contacted them and the answer was production had been stopped, due to a large warehouse inventory, but the product itself wasn't discontinued. It appears that has changed.

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

A wild guess - were the rounds were fired in a .45 Colt gun, not a .38-40 by any chance?

 

 

If this really was first time firing these cases, and .38-40 gun is in good shape, then either

 

1.  You got a really BAD LOT OF BRASS from the manufacturer.   Contact them, they WILL want to know, and may replace it for you.  (I think this is a very slim possibility of being the the cause of the problem.)

 

2.  The cream of wheat filler made a solid plug and RIPPED the front half of the case off during firing.   If the loads were made more than a month ago, the filler could have hardened (as ERS Canby noted above) to make a hard plug that is inside the bottleneck of the 38-40 case.   Such a plug is not a big deal with a straight wall case.  It is a BIG deal in a bottleneck case.    My money would be on the hard-plug-of-filler.   Because the case shows signs of both high pressure (the splits) and a tension failure (extreme stretching to metal failure) of the ragged mouth of what is left of the case.

 

The filler I use in Black Powder loads is granulated activated charcoal.  It cannot form a hard plug (unless you add cement to it).

 

PLEASE pull the bullets of the rest of the loads you made in this brass.   Examine the filler - see if it turned hard.  Do that NOW!  Do not continue to shoot these mini-bombs.  They will lead to damage to the gun and maybe even you.

 

If you find the filler is hard, PLEASE let the Wire know.   We have folks using this very type of filler currently who need to know about what might have happened to your loads.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

I have experienced this very same thing, fortunately with light loads in a very strong rifle that was not damaged when the front half of the case was torn off.  The filler had hardened into a plug.  I no longer use cereal fillers in anything! 

 

Pull the bullets from your cases, dig the filler out and find some other way to accomplish your goal.  

 

Duffield

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These were new 38-40 brass loaded about two months ago with 1 cc each Pyrodex and cream of wheat. The neck portion of the shell was lodged in the bore. I had to ram it out with a rod.

I plan to try some Triple 7 with PUFF-LON as my filler. 

I will find the source of my problem and post the results. I sent an email to Starline today but I will call them on Monday.

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9 minutes ago, Duffield, SASS #23454 said:

I have experienced this very same thing, fortunately with light loads in a very strong rifle that was not damaged when the front half of the case was torn off.  The filler had hardened into a plug.  I no longer use cereal fillers in anything! 

 

Pull the bullets from your cases, dig the filler out and find some other way to accomplish your goal.  

 

Duffield

Good advice!

I will pull the bullets and dispose of the Pyrodex and filler. Then reload them with Triple 7 and PUFF-LON. I'll let you know the results.

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You can find activated charcoal at any store that sells supplies for fish aquariums (I found some at WalMart).  I'm sure you can find it cheaper in bulk if you look.

 

Charcoal works very well, but in my experience, it produced even more smoke which made it even harder to see the targets.  I know this will make many laugh, but I've had good luck using new kitty litter as a filler.

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"...but I've had good luck using new kitty litter as a filler. "

I'm glad you specified new. Some folks don't like the smell of black powder when it is fired. Imagine what they would thing if you loaded USED cat litter as a filter. :D

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3 minutes ago, Muley Gil SASS # 57795 said:

"...but I've had good luck using new kitty litter as a filler. "

I'm glad you specified new. Some folks don't like the smell of black powder when it is fired. Imagine what they would thing if you loaded USED cat litter as a filter. :D

Thank you Muley Gil, I may try the NEW kitty litter also. I'm sure it's cheaper than the PUFF-LON.

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6 hours ago, Hidalgo said:

Good advice!

I will pull the bullets and dispose of the Pyrodex and filler. Then reload them with Triple 7 and PUFF-LON. I'll let you know the results.

PLEASE DON'T use fillers with 777!!! Please read up on your powders. http://ns.hodgdon.com/loading.html

 

"Triple Seven In Cartridges: Use data specifically developed for Triple Seven FFG only. Cartridge loads should be used exactly as listed in this pamphlet. You may safely use a card or polyethylene wad up to .030" in thickness to protect the base of the bullet. Loading density should be 100% with light compression not to exceed .100". Testing has shown that Triple Seven will perform best when the bullet just touches the powder. Allow no airspace between the base of the bullet and the powder. Do not reduce loads by means of filler wads or inert filler material such as Grits, Dacron or Grex. Do not heavily compress powder charges. The use of filler wads, inert fillers or heavy compression may cause a dangerous situation, which could cause injury and/or death to the shooter, bystanders or damage property. Do not create loads for cartridges not listed. Contact Hodgdon Powder Company for recommendations concerning other loads. *See WARNINGS below.

 

 

 

 

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Sorry if this is a repeat but, have you done a chamber casting?

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3 hours ago, Joke 'um said:

Sorry if this is a repeat but, have you done a chamber casting?

No I haven't. Why should I do that?

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On 11/9/2019 at 9:42 AM, Trailrider #896 said:

What you are showing is .38-40 brass that has no bottleneck after firing! Did those cases lose part of the ends?  If not, there is something wrong with the chamber, oversized at the front of the chamber.  Are those cases reloaded after firing once?  If so, the brass may have become workharded.  If this is the first time the brass was fired, then the brass may not have been annealed sufficiently at the forward part of the case, at the factory.  I haven't used Pyrodex in years, as I shoot mostly smokeless powder in cartridges, including .44-40, but when I did shoot Pyrodex, when it first came out, I never had problems with corrosion.  Maybe they changed the formula after Dan Pawlek was killed in the explosion.

Yeah the front end of the shell has blown off and gets lodged in the bore. They are being fired in the same 38-40 Rugers that I have used for years, not in a 45 as someone suggested. I have to ram the shell piece out with a rod. The brass is new, fired first time. I pulled 100 bullets and found no corrosion, no plugging by the filler as some have suggested. I will call both Pyrodex and Starline tomorrow. I'll post their answers and what I find to be the cause.

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On 11/9/2019 at 11:24 AM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

A wild guess - were the rounds were fired in a .45 Colt gun, not a .38-40 by any chance?

 

 

If this really was first time firing these cases, and .38-40 gun is in good shape, then either

 

1.  You got a really BAD LOT OF BRASS from the manufacturer.   Contact them, they WILL want to know, and may replace it for you.  (I think this is a very slim possibility of being the the cause of the problem.)

 

2.  The cream of wheat filler made a solid plug and RIPPED the front half of the case off during firing.   If the loads were made more than a month ago, the filler could have hardened (as ERS Canby noted above) to make a hard plug that is inside the bottleneck of the 38-40 case.   Such a plug is not a big deal with a straight wall case.  It is a BIG deal in a bottleneck case.    My money would be on the hard-plug-of-filler.   Because the case shows signs of both high pressure (the splits) and a tension failure (extreme stretching to metal failure) of the ragged mouth of what is left of the case.

 

The filler I use in Black Powder loads is granulated activated charcoal.  It cannot form a hard plug (unless you add cement to it).

 

PLEASE pull the bullets of the rest of the loads you made in this brass.   Examine the filler - see if it turned hard.  Do that NOW!  Do not continue to shoot these mini-bombs.  They will lead to damage to the gun and maybe even you.

 

If you find the filler is hard, PLEASE let the Wire know.   We have folks using this very type of filler currently who need to know about what might have happened to your loads.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

thanks GJ, I pulled 100 bullets. New brass. No corrosion inside, no hard plugs. All of the filler was just as dry and grainy as it was when it went in. I plan to call both Pyrodex and Starline tomorrow. I do not plan to shoot anymore of these loads until I get to the bottom of the cause. I will post the responses from the manufacturers and the cause of the problem, when I find it.

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Were the two pictured cases fired in the same cylinder chamber ? Were these  two the only rounds that split ?

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Could this happen if there is any air space?

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My personal observations.

 

Your loads allow the filler to get below the neck shoulder.

On firing the powder is pushing the filler which pushs the brass and the brass fails breaking the neck and spliting the case.

 

The filler you are using is hydroscopic.

It attracks mositure then hardens in to a solid.

 

When I was loading commercially for cas, the filler I used was Instant gritts.

It did not attract mositure.

It did not harden in to a solid.

 

And most of all, when down loading bottle neck cases, DO NOT have your filler go below the top of the neck.

Do  Not go in to or below the shoulder.

 

If you do, your down loaded rounds will be come high preesure rounds when they try to move the solid filler in to the neck.

The case will fail.

 

And again my opinion.

Why down load BP or BP substitues?

They have a push recoil and not a hit.

 

And do not let your fired brass sit before cleaning it.

2 or 3 days is long enough and in some cases too long.

Also, make sure it drys quickly,.

Put in the sun or some where that is warm and mositure free.

 

 

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Just a forecast, but I'll bet Hodgdon AND Starline will say, "we don't recommend using any filler with a Pyrodex load in BOTTLENECK metallic cartridges."  The only filler Hodgdon recommends is fiber or poly wads, and those only in straight wall cases.

 

From:

Hodgdon's Loading notes for Granular Pyrodex

http://ns.hodgdon.com/loading.html

 

Quote

WARNING: Never allow an air space in any cartridge loaded with Pyrodex. The loading density must be 100% by light compression. 100% loading density may be accomplished in two ways:

 

The case is filled with powder to a level that will provide light compression of the powder (1/16" to 1/8") when the bullet is seated. Bottle necked cases must be loaded in this manner.

 

In straight walled cases, filler wads may be used to reduce the powder charge. This is done by inserting card or Polyethylene wads between the base of the bullet and the powder. Wads should be sized to the internal diameter of the cartridge case. The loader must be careful to insure that there are no void spaces in the assembled cartridge. NEVER use any other type of filler material. Be careful as loads are reduced. At some point, the bullet will fail to exit the bore.

 

 

That's been their line as far as I know, for several years now.  With smokeless powder, with Pyrodex, with 777. 

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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2 hours ago, Hidalgo said:

No I haven't. Why should I do that?

I usually like to find out what is not wrong before trying to change one or some of the possible causes of a problem.  If your rifle has been in use a long time, some wizard may have modified or damaged the chamber.  "Wildcat" experimentation comes to mind.

I cringe before asking but, you're not using modern .38 cal bullets (0.357), right?

 

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3 minutes ago, Joke 'um said:

I cringe before asking but, you're not using modern .38 cal bullets (0.357), right?

 

?? A .357" bullet would fall right through the neck of a 38-40 case.

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