Flattened Primers (Read 6146 times)

Cougar8045

Flattened Primers
« on: September 05, 2011, 10:31:07 PM »
So my buddy recently got set up to reload.  I went over and helped him get rolling, and we stayed well within the guidelines of the Hornady reloading manual.  (I don't remember off the top of my head what edition or anything; but I know he just ordered Hornady's most recent edition from Midway)  He's using Lee stuff across the board, including a Lee Autodisk thrower, and a Lee Classic Turret.  We loaded up a batch of .270, and a batch of .40.  Went to the range this weekend to try it out.  Pulled the first case out of the rifle, and the primer was flatter than hell.  We secured shooting until we could figure that one out.  I had to leave, but he went over to the pistol side to try out his .40's.  Same thing; primers flatter than my old junior high girlfriend.  If I can get it figured out, I'll post the pics I took, but it's not really necessary, suffice it to say that we've got too much pressure.  We were in the low to middle section of the load data for each caliber, and we were as careful as I know how to be.  His Autodisk wouldn't throw accurate charges with the powder he had for his rifle, so he actually measured each charge on the scale for .270. 

The only constant I can think of is maybe his scale is off.  Anybody else got any ideas?  The ammo wasn't out in the sun, and we checked every round for LOA; they were all in spec.  I know I'm committing a major faux pas by asking a reloading question without providing powder types.   :'(  Sorry.
I'm just a fluffy white bunny rabbit who lost his way. 

"If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. ..."  -Exodus 22:2

crazy cat

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 10:46:51 PM »
What kind of scale?  I had a balance beam type that became wildly inaccurate as it got a patina of rust.  If it's an electronic one, recalibrate with the check weights that should have come with it.

Cougar8045

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 11:09:23 PM »
He's got the crappy little Lee balance beam.  I strongly suspect that it's inaccurate; the damn thing is all plastic, and it looks like something that should be packaged with "Lil Shooter's First Reloading Kit"  -Comes with all the tools that Daddy uses! 

If it came in a kit like that, I'd say, wow, this thing is pretty decent for a toy. As a real reloading tool, it's near worthless, imho.  It's certainly possible that we screwed up somewhere along the line, but I think the odds are pretty remote that we made the same mistake twice with two different calibers.  His scale didn't come with any check weights, so I told him to weigh a bullet for his .270 and for his .40, and since he needed to go over to WGS for a bullet puller anyway, drop them in his pocket and see what they weigh on a better quality scale.  He was going to do that today, but I haven't heard from him about that yet.
I'm just a fluffy white bunny rabbit who lost his way. 

"If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. ..."  -Exodus 22:2

vooduchikn

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2011, 07:48:06 AM »
He's got the crappy little Lee balance beam.  I strongly suspect that it's inaccurate; the damn thing is all plastic, and it looks like something that should be packaged with "Lil Shooter's First Reloading Kit"  -Comes with all the tools that Daddy uses! 

If it came in a kit like that, I'd say, wow, this thing is pretty decent for a toy. As a real reloading tool, it's near worthless, imho.  It's certainly possible that we screwed up somewhere along the line, but I think the odds are pretty remote that we made the same mistake twice with two different calibers.  His scale didn't come with any check weights, so I told him to weigh a bullet for his .270 and for his .40, and since he needed to go over to WGS for a bullet puller anyway, drop them in his pocket and see what they weigh on a better quality scale.  He was going to do that today, but I haven't heard from him about that yet.

Flattened primes = high case pressure.

You could always bring it over to my place.
Relax, I've banned myself..

GZire

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2011, 11:52:44 AM »
He's got the crappy little Lee balance beam.  I strongly suspect that it's inaccurate; the damn thing is all plastic, and it looks like something that should be packaged with "Lil Shooter's First Reloading Kit"  -Comes with all the tools that Daddy uses! 

If it came in a kit like that, I'd say, wow, this thing is pretty decent for a toy. As a real reloading tool, it's near worthless, imho.  It's certainly possible that we screwed up somewhere along the line, but I think the odds are pretty remote that we made the same mistake twice with two different calibers.  His scale didn't come with any check weights, so I told him to weigh a bullet for his .270 and for his .40, and since he needed to go over to WGS for a bullet puller anyway, drop them in his pocket and see what they weigh on a better quality scale.  He was going to do that today, but I haven't heard from him about that yet.

Does that scale have reference weights so that you can check it?

Cougar8045

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2011, 12:08:19 PM »
Nope, no check weights.  That's why I told him to weigh a bullet on  his scale, then weight them again at WGS to see if they're the same.  I strongly suspect that the bullets are going to be "heavier" at WGS on a good scale.  I told him if that's the case, he ought to come home with a new scale.
I'm just a fluffy white bunny rabbit who lost his way. 

"If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. ..."  -Exodus 22:2

2aHawaii

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Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 02:05:44 PM »
That's pretty scary. I've read a lot of good things about the Lee scale. Yeah, it's cheap and basic but have only heard good things about it's accuracy.
I am not a lawyer.

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vooduchikn

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2011, 02:24:20 PM »
Nope, no check weights.  That's why I told him to weigh a bullet on  his scale, then weight them again at WGS to see if they're the same.  I strongly suspect that the bullets are going to be "heavier" at WGS on a good scale.  I told him if that's the case, he ought to come home with a new scale.

I recommend a new scale regardless.
Relax, I've banned myself..

ren

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2011, 02:50:42 PM »
From my experience, that scale is as accurate as my RCBS.  There are other factors besides powder weight.  OAL, case capacity etc.

mnpfamily

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2011, 04:31:40 PM »
Any chance of bullet setback?  Don't reload for rifle,  but had some setback issues early on reloading for pistol.

808shooter

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2011, 06:26:50 PM »
Any chance of bullet setback?  Don't reload for rifle,  but had some setback issues early on reloading for pistol.

that would cause higher pressures.

to rule that out, just load and shoot 1 round at a time.

Heavies

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2011, 03:22:47 AM »
Like ren said, the lee is pretty darn accurate enough to do hunting or pistol rounds, but it is a royal PITA to setup, zero, and move/read that weird slider.

One thing about a balance is that once you have it zeroed, you cannot move them around any.  If it is moved to a different area on the table the zero will be off. (unless you have a rock solid, perfectly flat and level, heavy, immovable slab of granite or the like)

Case trimmed?  Did you folks check if the fired case length falls below the max length allowed.  If the case is too long the brass will get squeezed in the throat, and be unable to release the bullet easily on firing, causing much overpressure.

Did you guys check if the bullet is contacting the rifling?  going by the book OAL's is fine but you still need to check the overall length of the round.  If the bullet is being jammed into the rifling the pressures will rise fast.

Neck tension and crimp?  The lee factory crimp die is sweet IMO, but it is very easy to put way too much crimp on the bullet.   That my cause the overpressure too.


I don't know about the auto disk throwing inaccurate.  I just got one and love it!  The powders I have been using throws SPOT ON most of the time, with the odd case being maybe .1 grains light or heavy.  I guess it depends on the powder.


Teichi

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2011, 06:29:53 AM »
What recipe are you using for your loads? I read .270 Win and ,40, but what bullet weights, cases, powder, primer, trim length, ect?

Wrong components may mean catastrophic failure.

Cougar8045

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 10:19:49 AM »
Let me try to address some of the questions one at a time, and keep in mind that this is my friend's setup, so I don't have his notes or anything; I must rely on my increasingly hazy memory.   :wacko:

Teichi: He's using once-fired factory brass, which he bought new and fired himself in his rifle and pistol.  As to bullet weights, primers, etc, I don't remember, other than that everything was good to go.  I.e., the bullets and primers and everything are the correct caliber/size.  All brass was checked and verified to be within spec for case length.  I don't think we've got wrong components, but it's a good idea to check.

Heavies: The scale is definitely a PITA, but I'm 99.X% certain I was reading it correctly; the fact that it's so darn difficult to use made me look at everything several times, re-verify zero, etc.  It definitely throws things off if you move the scale at all, I will have to ask him if he thinks that may have happened.  When I thought it was just the rifle rounds that were overpressured, one of the first things my Pops mentioned was OAL and the possibility that the bullet could be pushing up into the lands.  When I get back over to his place to so some reloading we'll make a simple chamber gauge like the old man had to make sure that our length isn't causing the problem.  I wouldn't think that should have happened with multiple rounds in two different calibers, but I suppose anything's possible!  I didn't realize that too much crimp could cause overpressure; how do you verify neck tension on a pistol cartridge?  I don't remember what number he told me for neck tension on the 270, but it was lower than we would have liked, I think around two thousandths or so.  I wasn't there for that part, so I don't know if that's a measurement error or if they were really that loose.  The bullets didn't set back into the case with hand pressure, so I figured they'd be all right so long as he didn't subject them to any craziness like dropping the box or something.  I suppose bullet set-back could have been an issue with the rifle rounds, but we loaded and fired them one at a time, and he said he was very delicate in handling them.  I don't know.  As for the autodisk, it did fine with the pistol powder; but the rifle stuff he's got (which I can't for the life of me remember the number, it was IMR powder that the Hornady manual recommended for .270) is about the size of rice grains, which is why I think his thrower didn't want to drop an accurate charge; too much cutting and whatnot. 

It could be that the rifle rounds set back, and the pistol rounds were crimped too tightly, I suppose, but I'm thinking that Occam's Razor dictates that there must be one thing common to both calibers that's screwed up.  Once he verifies the scale, I'll let you guys know what the result was, and we can go from there.  If it's not the scale, it must be something in our process, so we'll have to go through one step at a time and figure out where we went awry.  Thanks for all the suggestions!
I'm just a fluffy white bunny rabbit who lost his way. 

"If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. ..."  -Exodus 22:2

mnpfamily

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2011, 05:34:47 PM »
Hopefully it is the scale, as that would seem to be the easiest to correct.  I don't know anything about reloading rifle, but bullet setback can be fairly common in pistol cartridges.  Even factory rounds are subject to setback if chambered a few times.  What's definitely concerning is if setback occurs on the first or second chambering.  I check for setback by measuring OAL of the completed round, pushing the round against my reloading bench firmly and then measuring OAL again.   I've also hand cycled dummy rounds through my gun to check how much setback I'm actually getting.  That's actually how I found my rounds were setting back initially.  Loading 9mm to approx. 1.125 OAL and having a round setback to 1.10 or even a bit shorter was a bit worrisome.
I check crimp by measuring with digital calipers and by feeling the edge of the case.  Too much crimp can be found by pulling a completed dummy round and checking the jacket.  Too much crimp will usually leave a "cut" or line on the jacket. 
What I found interesting is that for 9mm anyway, too much crimp not only can cause overpressure, and keyholing, it can also decrease neck tension which in turn can lead to more setback.  I'm not quite sure how that works, but I do know that by decresing my crimp the bullet setback actually lessened.

Heavies

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2011, 02:45:36 AM »
On the topic of crimping, some bullet seater dies will roll crimp excessively if they are set up too close to the shell holder when the ram is at the top of the stroke. 

Cougar8045

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2011, 07:37:21 AM »
^&*#$%@!!!!!  Talked to my friend last night; there was only .3 grains difference between his scale and the one he verified it with at WGS.  Now I'm stumped.  I'm going to have to head over to his place sometime and start going through things one step at a time until we figure this thing out.  I was really hoping it would be the scale, easy fix.  Of course, in this life the level of difficulty only varies between "Hard" and "Brutal".  Meh.
I'm just a fluffy white bunny rabbit who lost his way. 

"If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. ..."  -Exodus 22:2

Pit808

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2011, 10:25:30 AM »
What brand of brass? 
I've noticed federal is really soft and primer pockets sometimes get loose even after just one firing.  Couple that with Federal (I think) primers which are slightly more loose fitting than say CCI's, and you will have loose fitting primers.  These will flatten much easier than normal even with moderate pressure.
Do you have a hand primer or just using the press? I like to hand prime some of the cases in a batch so I can "feel" how loose the pocket is.

Just throwing it out there that it may be his brass/loose fitting primers.

Personally, I would drop the charge to book starting load and hand weigh each charge (10 rds each), go to WGS or wherever and pick up a small number of unfired Winchester brass, seat to whatever the book says for OAL, factory crimp, and wear your eye protection ;D

I try (but don't always follow my own advice) to do load development with the least number of variables, new brass, using same brand of primers, ect.

Hope you find the problem.
Pit808
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 10:31:21 AM by Pit808 »
chitty chitty bang bang.......

Cougar8045

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2011, 12:08:48 PM »
What brand of brass? 
I've noticed federal is really soft and primer pockets sometimes get loose even after just one firing.  Couple that with Federal (I think) primers which are slightly more loose fitting than say CCI's, and you will have loose fitting primers.  These will flatten much easier than normal even with moderate pressure.
Do you have a hand primer or just using the press? I like to hand prime some of the cases in a batch so I can "feel" how loose the pocket is.

Just throwing it out there that it may be his brass/loose fitting primers.

Personally, I would drop the charge to book starting load and hand weigh each charge (10 rds each), go to WGS or wherever and pick up a small number of unfired Winchester brass, seat to whatever the book says for OAL, factory crimp, and wear your eye protection ;D

I try (but don't always follow my own advice) to do load development with the least number of variables, new brass, using same brand of primers, ect.

Hope you find the problem.
Pit808
That's a good question, Pit.  It was crap ammo, so I'll have to ask about that as well.  I like your style with trying to control variables, unfortunately, this was our first batch with an entirely new setup.  Everything is a variable!  :(
I'm just a fluffy white bunny rabbit who lost his way. 

"If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. ..."  -Exodus 22:2

GZire

Re: Flattened Primers
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2011, 02:57:30 PM »
^&*#$%@!!!!!  Talked to my friend last night; there was only .3 grains difference between his scale and the one he verified it with at WGS.  Now I'm stumped.  I'm going to have to head over to his place sometime and start going through things one step at a time until we figure this thing out.  I was really hoping it would be the scale, easy fix.  Of course, in this life the level of difficulty only varies between "Hard" and "Brutal".  Meh.

Do you have a headspace gauge?  Also, any pics of the primers?