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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cleaning my brass from last night's testing. Discovered one case in my box that gave me pause. I was shooting 115gr Everglades FMJ RN over 4.0gr HP-38. COL 1.125" WIN cases and Remington 1 1/2 SPP. Everything about this case seems to fit my loads, except I don't remember having anything odd happen. So I'm wondering if I would have noticed this when firing, and what would I have expected to have happen.

I don't plan on reloading this case.
 

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I dont reload. Maybe, this is God's way of protecting me from myself. I probably wouldn't have caught that after 3 or 4 cold ones.
 

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The only way you would have noticed was if it didn’t eject normally or if you caught a little more glimpse of a fireball. Your load seems reasonable enough from memory, so it’s not a big deal to worry about.

If this is is your first split you need to hang onto it. Next time you process brass you need to toss case after case into the container as you check them. Listen to the “clink clink clink” then toss your split into the mix. It’s a thud.
 

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The gross majority of the pressure is contained in the chamber, so no, unless it tore into the base (highly unlikely - they're thick).

I had a bunch of corroded .357 Magnum brass that I wet tumbled until clean but some of the cases had spots on them that had turned a coppery color...I got maybe two firings out of some and only a single firing out of others before that discolored area cracked. Knew it was going to happen so I kept the loads light and wore them out :)
 
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Yeah, probably shouldn't reload that................


It looks a bit corroded also, like it's been outside a while. Any chance you picked it up at the range or elsewhere scrounging for brass?
I did that all the time and I'd get a lot of really weird looking casings that made me wonder how in the heck did someone actually fire it.
 
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I have missed split cases like that and run them into the resizing/decapping die on my Lee Turret. Should you get that far they feel way differently than a normal case in good shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, probably shouldn't reload that................


It looks a bit corroded also, like it's been outside a while. Any chance you picked it up at the range or elsewhere scrounging for brass?
I did that all the time and I'd get a lot of really weird looking casings that made me wonder how in the heck did someone actually fire it.
I know it looks corroded, but it's not when viewed close...just lighting I guess. I shoot indoors and pick up my casings. The range is swept constantly by attendant, so not chance of this sitting around more than an hour. In any event, it was what I was shooting in my lane, but I didn't notice anything until I started decapping. Pulled it out of my ammo box. In any event, it seems that cases split, and I may not have noticed. I'm looking at everything a lot closer now. I'm definitely keeping this...as a reminder to double check all cases when decapping, after wet tumbling, when resizing, and prior to putting the finished round in its storage box.
 

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I keep some split 40 casings on my bench for the same reason. Now, after I tumble my cases, i handle each one before I put it into the sizer/decapper and again in the same action, when I clean out the primer pocket. I definitely should notice something like that before I put it into the sizer but you never know.
 
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Mark, pays to be vigilant, good catch.

After every range visit I sort brass by caliber. I always take an old range bag with and all fired brass gets swept up and dumped into the bottom of the bag. When I get home I have an old pie tin that I dump into and shake it like a primer flip tray. Most of the shells then stand up and that makes it easier to sort the short from tall and the fat from skinny. This is also my first step in visual inspection of my brass. Makes it easy to find crushed and damaged, Berdan primers and those pesky cheap 9mm brass with the step in the wall. I also have found the ones that the case rim is starting to split. Also the small primer and large primer 45acp brass. Yes I get extras as the range I go to isn't always swept up very well from the previous users.

From there it gets washed, dried and then polished in cob with and additive which allows the second quick inspection and then stored away.

After it's size sorted and washed it goes into large jars or ice cream buckets for those rainy days when there is nothing else to do but sort by headstamp and here it gets it's 3rd inspection which allows a much closer look in which again I have found small splits that were missed before or the odd 380 that was missed. Many I tell this to think it's a lot of extra work but it gives me peace of mind.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Kevin, I handle my cases far too many times, and I'll keep doing that. My first cleaning efforts were with media tumbling on brass that had been captive in my laundry/utility room (moistest environment in the house) for 2.3 decades...kicked around, knocked down into drains...on reflection, mistreated. I'm not surprised that some of my visibly blemished cases may be, in fact, weakened from their mistreatment. I'll have to be thankful that I got at least one good reload out of it, but I'll be culling flock for anything that remains blemished after wet tumbling. I also seem to be crushing a fair number of cases at the bottom of the powder chamber. So I'm removing any brass that doesn't "look right". Fired_Decapped_9s.jpg Folded-over_after-sizing.jpg Examples of rounds I threw away (but missed the trashcan). Seems Blazer and PPU give me the most trouble. My split case was a WIN. Notice the ring around the bottom...that wasn't there prior to resizing. I can feel it in the press when that happens. I should probably start a separate thread on these.
 

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I can tell you that there is a good bit of difference between Blazer and PPU cases. Blazer can be on the thin side and PPU on the thick side. I visually inspect cases as I handload. At one time, 9mm cases were close enough that things like case-wall thickness weren't much of an issue. That is different today.

Everything .011" and smaller goes into the thin case bin. Over .011" into the thick case bin. Segregating seems like a PIA, but it doesn't take long to figure out which brand is likely to go into which bin. Your calipers at least have mm marked on the beam. Measure case-wall thickness within 1mm of the case-mouth. If you go much deeper than that with fired cases, you may get false readings because of the slight curvature on the case-mouth after firing.

Varying case-wall thicknesses will have an effect on OACL variation if that matters to you. If you chrono rounds that are in the upper velocity range for the bullet and powder, for say defense loads, or practice loads that generate the same level of recoil as your factory loads, it's the details like this, uniformity of powder charges, etc, that will have an effect on the Standard Deviation of your loads. It really isn't difficult at all to make handloads that are more uniform than factory loads, including the premium defense stuff.;)
 

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The "rings" in that pic look to me like the affect of your sizing die bottoming out on your shell holder. I would use a pick and run it down into the shell at that point and feel for the ring. If you don't feel a spot where the pick catches I would say it is the point of the die making contact with the shell holder.
As for me, like you said I inspect my brass every time I handle it. I've read on other forums some who have said once they start reloading they trust their judgement and go for broke. This is why I still use a single stage press. I not only inspect while they're being cleaned, but also at each step in the reloading process. I've only found a couple pistol cases like that in my time reloading but they were range brass that was already split when I picked them up, I sell my scrap for just that locally so I keep them in the scrap bin. I have had a few bottle neck cases that had seen their limit on loadings and the neck split when I fired them for the last time. If I see any questionable signs during inspection the case gets scrapped.
All in all I agree with you, it's not worth getting injured or worse, when in doubt, throw it out.
 

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When I go to the range I take a quart or half gallon ice cream container for each caliber I shoot that day and an extra for range brass I pick up that day.
I keep threatening to sort the grass by name but maybe some day
 

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I pay a lot of attention to the feel of the process when reloading, every cracked/slpit case that I have ever had get through the inspection process was easily identified during rezsizing.
 

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I run into this occasionally, although mainly with revolver cases. I have a tendency to load them to the max. Get into the habit of doing a cursory inspection of cases when you take them out of the case cleaner. I don't keep any semi auto cases that look like that.
 

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I have a whole bucket of brass that looks similar, keep them and wait for the price of scrap brass to go up.
 

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Of the things I reload, I've found .357 and .45 Colt most split. After numerous reloadings. On the .45 cases, they are quite obvious when it happens. .357 nickel more often than .357 brass.
 
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I pay a lot of attention to the feel of the process when reloading, every cracked/slpit case that I have ever had get through the inspection process was easily identified during rezsizing.

The advantage of not treating handloading like going out for fast food. Yeah, Taco Bell is okay, but in Texas, with a little more patience you can eat seriously worthwhile Tex-Mex in a sit down establishment!

Same with handloading, and I may be guilty of loading with a single-stage, proportionally, than most in my claimed 32 years of handloading. I'd like to be able to kick out 650 rounds per hour if time is short. but I'd rather not wait for reloading time because of something on TV, or whatever.

I try to make every single load better than anything that can be mass produced, so olfarhors and I are definitely on the same page here. And that's in loading semi-progressively. My most logical opinion for this is that while you can increase productivity, maybe as much as 5X, you're still only working with one cartridge at a time.

The big problem is that no one but LEE seems to be concerned about addressing this market. But, then again, 10 years ago the differences betwen 9mm cases of different brands just didn't pose the same problems as today. So, in that perfect world where I could crank-out 650 rds/hour, my cases would need to be a damn sight closer to the same, which they are not.

It's like the axiom: "there is no free lunch." Only you can decide what is satisfactory to your needs. Hey, this comes from a guy that thinks outside the box, sometimes in conflict with conventional wisdom. Any of you that have gone to read my more recent articles at the Western Powder's blog can probably understand my own personal belief that high velocity 147 gr. JHPs in 9 x 19mm are at the pinnacle of being the best of everything in defensive ammo. That's considering things like dependability, accuracy,and recovery time between shots. Bullets, regardless of caliber that have the highest sectional density, combined with ine of the most overlooked aspects for defense ammo. That being momentum where the ratings are in values of Pound/Seconds.

And I do digress on occasion. I don't overlook anything. When handloading, the truer you are to that practice, the more you'll find that sometimes you'll catch mistakes, even subconsciously. The more you load, the more things will become second nature. If you're comfortable with your progressive set-up, then cheers to ya! I've learned that over the years, the best judge you have is your chrono, so little things like minimizing OACL & powder charge variations will be provable through chronographing your loads. Then you can get even more specific with things like which primer does best with this particular bullet/powder combination.

If only the other tool-makers would give us a quality auto-indexing turret press. I'm not trying to throw dirt on LEE, but you have to understand that in all of their tools where plastic or zinc is used in favor of forged aluminum or even steel, those parts will have a short lifespan that will show up with problems in your reloading regimen, or even your ammo. Some time ago I ditched the auto-indexing parts fro my Classic Turret and have found that I can load even faster by manually indexing. I don't use a LEE powder measure, but a 20 year-old RCBS Uniflow with their case-activates powder charging system.

My most recent problem after using the Classic Turret for about 5 years now, is that the Safety Prime will eventually fail. I'm on my 2nd for small primers. Having 2 of them, I disected the 1st and found that the failure is caused by a very thin, and no doubt very cheap, U-shaped spring within the triggering mechanism. Not only do you have to push to trigger primer loading, the triggering mechanism has to completely reset in order to load the next primer. I'll be talking to LEE in the next day or so, but the safety prime tools that I've been using have been changed.

Again though, these are all things we know from learning the characteristics of every stage in the reloading process.;)
 
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