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Chicken George*

Primers Backing Out

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Twice today with 2 different revolvers on the first shot the primer backed out and locked up the gun. The shots (38s) were normal and the primers weren't high when loaded in the guns. This is old brass so I was thinking that the primers may have been loose in the primer pockets. Is that the most likely cause or are there other possibilities?

 

If loose primer pockets is the cause, how loose does it have to be before this happens? I'm wondering if I could have checked for this. If I took my ammo and hit the base of it at an angle on something hard, would the primers have fallen out? Or when reloading if I deprimed my brass and stuck my primer pocket swager in, would it be pretty obvious that it is loose? 

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Usually caused by light powder, light bullet, light crimp or cold weather >> doesn't force case back against recoil shield hard enough to reset primer.

Edited by Yusta B.
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On ignition, the charge expands and pushs the prime out against the recoil shield.

The force of moving the bullet from the case causes the case to hit the recoil shield forcing the primer back in to the pocket before the bullets actuallymoves forward.

Loads that are too light do not have the recoil foce to reset the primer even though the bullet has gone.

 

If the pocket is worn and the primer is not tight in the pocket, any recoil from ingition will reset the primer.

 

If your primers are backing out and locking up your revolver, chances are I would look at the load.

Not enough powder, light bullets, poor crimping not holding the bullet long enough to build up pressure.

==========

To start with yuor loads, try adjusting the crimp stage to get a little more crimp.

It does not take much so, cases should not be bulging at all to get more crimp.

 

If that does not cure the problem, try upping your powder charge.

Again not much.

==========

If your still have an issue, time to try a heavier bullet.

Go up to the next weigh avalible.

 

Most of all, do not try doing all of these things at the same time.

If one does not work, back up and try the next.

 

 

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What they said.  Have you changed anything with your load lately?  Was the weather cold?  

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Magnum primer in cold weather will help a lot.   Then up powder load.  Trail Boss and Clays, and some others, can get weak in cold weather when loaded as light as Cowboys do.

Good luck, GJ.

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I just dug through my spent brass and found one of those that had backed out. I removed the primer and it didn't feel any easier to get out. I measured it and it wasn't any bigger of a pocket....

 

Thanks for the info!! I have used this load for a long time and this is the first time I've had this problem. I have noticed recently that some of my ammo wasn't crimped well. So that's got to be my problem. My crimp die must have come out of adjustment. Thanks again! 

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I reloaded for 18 years for just cas shooters.

I had to adjust the seating die, the sizing die and the crimp die as the weather changed from hot to cold and them again when the weather went from cold too hot.

It was just something I did when I checked the setup for each loading session.

It was a matter of turn a die in or out maybe 1/8 to 1/4 turn to correct for temperature changes.

=============

Though of another test you can do.

At the range if it is colder the usually, try putting your ammunition for hte next stage in a pants pocket.

Then load those when you get to the loading table.

This will give the ammunition time to warm up completely and may reduce the cold issue.

This may get you through a match.

 

Edited by Cliff Hanger #3720LR
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If it’s a cold day, you could toss one of those “shake and bake” hand warmer packets into your cart box where you keep your ammo.  They’re good for a few hours.

 

Cat Brules

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I've got a full 5 gallon bucket of used .38 brass.  When I load on our Dillon 650 I do it slowly enough to feel if there as at least some resistance when I'm seating the primer.  If I don't feel some, or any resistance, that piece of brass is "done".  I will knock the un-spent primer out of it before I toss it. 

 

Some of my brass is so old that I now have to drop spent brass into a chamber checker before I start the reloading process because it was expanding in the chamber and sticking in our 73s.  If it doesn't drop in and out without sticking, it goes into a separate box just for practice pistol rounds. 

 

A number of good shooters I compete with will only use brass for so many reloads and then sell it to the recycle center.  I guess I'm a little to frugal (cheap) to "chuck" brass that still has some life in it.

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I keep my loading strip inside my vest on cold days. It seems to keep velocities more stable. As stated, light loads, light crimp, are not your friends. Downloading is not going to help you shoot stages any faster. 

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Good to hear from you CG.  Hope everyone is doing well.  We start with new Starline brass and reload it 5 times; two in the rifle and three in the pistol.  It then goes in a bucket for monthly matches until it starts to split.   All other brass goes in a practice bucket.  We have not experienced primers backing out in big matches, accept one where one of the kids grabbed a practice box for a top ten shoot and a pistol locked.  It does happen occasionally in practice.  We have used Clays powder for almost eight of the nine years we have been shooting, cold or hot temperatures.  I am sure other shooters have experienced success with other brands of brass and powder.  This is just our method.  See you at Winter Range.    

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PS.  I never keep practice ammo in our carts during big matches!!!!!!!

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I think the "light" charge and resulting low pressure is the issue.

 

A squib or no powder load will back out the primer and lock up the cylinder. The primer compound is an explosive, it generates lots of pressure within the confines of the primer pocket. The only release for the pressure is the flash hole. The flash hole is a restriction for the pressure. It adds velocity to the gases as they travel from the primer pocket to the powder chamber of the case. 

 

It, in a way, acts as a bit of a telltale, if you have a primer back out, it locks up the cylinder, indicating something is not normal. In the case of no powder in the case, there may be a bullet in the barrel.

 

Back a few years ago I did some primer comparisons, and some very light load testing. I had the primers backing out on my mouse phart loads. The problem became common when I switched from a SP primer to a SPM primer. I was using CCI primers at the time.

 

I found that increasing the size of the flash hole to 0.101" reduced the pressure enough that primer backout was eliminated. I tested with no powder, no bullet. After testing, the cases were pinched with a pliers and trashed.

 

Although enlarging the flash holes would have cured my problem, I solved the issue another way. The flash hole also acts as a pressure restriction the other way as well. Combustion gases and chamber pressure have to pass through the flash hole to get to the primer. 

 

I have a handful of Speer 44  plastic training cases that only use a primer, no powder to fire a plastic bullet. The flash hole is 0.125". If the flash hole were smaller, the primer would probably back out, perhaps the pressure may even damage the plastic case, don't know, just speculating.

 

After a bunch of load testing I decided that I'd stick with more conventional ammunition. If I want to shoot light bullets, I load in 38 LC cases, mid weights in 38 Spl and wadcutters in 357 Mag brass. I like the seal that high(ish) pressure loads give me. Less soot on the case. YMMV.

 

BB

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

OP, how about details on this load you were using.

Does sound like it's to 'lite' on powder.

OLG 

Yep, sounds like ;)

 

22 hours ago, Yusta B. said:

Usually caused by light powder, light bullet, light crimp or cold weather >> doesn't force case back against recoil shield hard enough to reset primer.

 

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I had a set of guns that had to big of hole around the firing pin, and would

lock up if using Federal primers at less than a factory load pressure.   The Factory said the guns were fine and expected you to use factory loads with CCI primers 

Had to have them laser welded.  Never had a problem after having them welded.

 

My match ammo is a 38 colt

105 grain @ 700fps

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Had the same problem recently turn out to be the crimp.

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59 minutes ago, Hells Comin said:

Had the same problem recently turn out to be the crimp.

 

You ain't using enough powder.

The crimp is an 'aid'. Not a fix.

OLG 

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On 2/15/2020 at 2:22 PM, Chicken George* said:

I have noticed recently that some of my ammo wasn't crimped well. So that's got to be my problem.

I went through the ammo that we had and found several that the crimp was so loose that I could wiggle the bullet and even slide it up and down a bit. Even in our match ammo already loaded for Winter Range. I'm so glad we had that problem and figured that out now!! I adjusted my crimp die and we ran it all through again. We should be good now! 

 

Kirk James, thanks for all your support! We are all well and looking forward to seeing you and your family at WR. 

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3 minutes ago, Chicken George* said:

I went through the ammo that we had and found several that the crimp was so loose that I could wiggle the bullet and even slide it up and down a bit. Even in our match ammo already loaded for Winter Range. I'm so glad we had that problem and figured that out now!! I adjusted my crimp die and we ran it all through again. We should be good now! 

 

Kirk James, thanks for all your support! We are all well and looking forward to seeing you and your family at WR. 

 

Just depends on how cold it gets.

What's the powder? Trailboss is very temp sensitive at the low end of the charge range. 

OLG 

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25 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

What's the powder?

It is 700x which I know is a little temperature sensitive. But it was very warm on Saturday and we had it inside until right before. The load is not that light nor the bullet and we have shot this same load like crazy for years and never had this problem, even shooting in very cold temperatures. For us to have this all of a sudden happen twice in one day, something has to be different and the only variable I can find is the crimp. I am calling this case closed. If I'm wrong and it happens again, I'll let you know. We will be shooting again tomorrow. 

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9 hours ago, Chicken George* said:

It is 700x which I know is a little temperature sensitive. But it was very warm on Saturday and we had it inside until right before. The load is not that light nor the bullet and we have shot this same load like crazy for years and never had this problem, even shooting in very cold temperatures. For us to have this all of a sudden happen twice in one day, something has to be different and the only variable I can find is the crimp. I am calling this case closed. If I'm wrong and it happens again, I'll let you know. We will be shooting again tomorrow. 

 

How often do you calibrate your scale?

What is your e exact load?

I loaded 700X for many years back in my ATA Trap dayz.

It's not what I would use for handgun loading.

OLG 

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FWIW, I have brass that has been loaded at least a hundred times. I have never had a loose primer issue such as this. We don't load bottom end loads and use a firm crimp. I load it until it splits or shows a flaw. Kaya won't load ugly stained brass either.

I will say that Kaya and I both shoot Winchester 73's so we do donate quite a bit of our empties to the brass Gods that live in front of the props. We are now getting some turnover there.

To the OP: Your loading a good powder but maybe you want to add another tenth of a grain or two for a safety factor to go along with your crimping. You wont notice it.

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On 2/15/2020 at 11:58 AM, Chicken George* said:

Twice today with 2 different revolvers on the first shot the primer backed out and locked up the gun. The shots (38s) were normal and the primers weren't high when loaded in the guns. This is old brass so I was thinking that the primers may have been loose in the primer pockets. Is that the most likely cause or are there other possibilities?

 

If loose primer pockets is the cause, how loose does it have to be before this happens? I'm wondering if I could have checked for this. If I took my ammo and hit the base of it at an angle on something hard, would the primers have fallen out? Or when reloading if I deprimed my brass and stuck my primer pocket swager in, would it be pretty obvious that it is loose? 

Just a few questions:

Do you wet tumble?

Do you tumble with steel pins? 

Do you tumble after depriming? 

If yes to all three, it seems inevitable that repetitive tumbling with steel pins should enlarge primer pockets, since the stainless pins are much harder than the brass and they are obviously getting into the pockets, since they are scouring out the soot and other crud.  

  I have some . 38 brass that has been shot and tumbled dozens of times, without any sign of pocket enlargement or primer loosening, but based solely on intuition, about a year ago I went to tumbling with primers in.  I think the old cooked-on crud on the sides of the repetitively shot primer pockets might actually help to secure the new primers in those old cases.  At least they feel stiffer when being seated. 

It's just intuition.  I have zero hard test info to back all of this up.  

But if you answered yes to my three questions, you might give depriming after tumbling a try.  But do be sure you effectively separate the pins from all cases before depriming, to save an occasional bent deprime punch. 

Just thoughts.  

  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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On 2/15/2020 at 1:55 PM, TN Mongo, SASS #61450 said:

I will knock the un-spent primer out of it before I toss it. 

That sounds more than a bit scary.  I never figured a 1-1/2 cent primer was worth the risk of flashing one in the press.  Hope you wear your safety glasses doing that.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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I certainly do wear glasses when doing it.  I'm slow and gentle.  I've had the misfortune of a tube of primers going off in a Dillon 650 many years ago.  That was not a fun experience.  I learned a hard lesson on crimped primer military brass.

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I use to play around in the basement with my powder loads I think many of us did at some point. Then I realized in that when I was shooting much heavier loads in shootoff's in just a few runs you forget about the recoil and your timing would adjust quickly.

 

So IMO you get use to the tiny changes in recoil quickly and then you don't have to worry about keeping your ammo warm, backed out primers etc. I'd just put a little more powder in. 

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