Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Son of A...!!!

Son of a...!!!
That's probably mild compared to what I said at the time.

I don't quite recall.

In these pictures, one of these things is not like the others.

One of these things just doesn't belong...

If'n you're gun folk, you will have already noticed the primer in the middle has a discernible lack of "dent" if you will, from the firing pin. You may also have noticed that it looks like at one time it did have approximately the same depth and diameter firing pin mark.

You may also surmise, that this primer was originally like the others but was then flattened by an extreme amount of pressure while the case was still in the firearm (that being my 80 Series Colt Gold Cup in 45 ACP bullseye gun). You surmise correctly.

This is from having a double-charge of powder (approximately 8.8 grains of Winchester 231, instead of 4.4 grains) in the case, caused by an ignorant, inattentive progressive reloading press operator (that would be me). This was my first progressive press; I've always used a single-stage before (both are Hornadys).

EVERYONE on the range heard it go off.  MAN was it loud!  I always have to have an audience to witness my screw-ups. While perhaps amusing after the fact, this situation is very NOT funny for a couple of reasons:

One - Overpressure in a firearm can damage or destroy the weapon (and not an inexpensive one in this case).

Two - Overpressure in a firearm can damage or destroy the operator of the weapon, or those nearby, for that matter. While it is unlikely that death could result, it is not impossible as an errant piece of shrapnel could indeed cause a fatality if it hit a person in the right place (brain, heart, artery, etc). Fortunately, at our indoor range, we have cement block walls between each lane/shooter. Even more fortunate, they were not needed (this time).

I was lucky: I didn't bulge the barrel (or completely explode the weapon, for that matter), and no one was hurt. But luck runs out.

I know what happened, too. I ran the press ram up (it's a 5 station job) and it went up almost all the way (dropping in a charge of powder into the aforementioned case). I lowered the ram slightly, to inspect/clear the problem, and the re-stroked it all the way up when I was done (dropping a second charge into the case). STOOPID! STOOPID!! STOOPID!!!

That's bad, m'kay?

I've never had a double charge using my single stage (one station/one operation at a time) press.
Of course, now that I know, I know. I'm just glad nothing happened.

I have considered moving stuff around and putting a Powder Cop on it, but ultimately I ended up deciding not to be a dumbass again.

BTW, my Lee manual says 5.8 grains is max for a 200gr lead bullet, and my Hornady manual says 6.2 is max.  Oops.

Reloading is a great, relaxing hobby, can save you money, and lets you customize/tune a particular load for a particular gun.  It is not something to be taken lightly, however.  Be careful out there...

(This happened in 2007 and has not been repeated.  Fool me once...)