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  #1  
Old 12-30-2011, 05:58 PM
Hoke Hoke is offline
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.45 case rupture




I had a case rupture at the base in a .45, set off the other rounds and ruined the magazine. Didn't help the gun much, either. I've been reloading for 30 years and never had this happen before, so I was wondering if using the same .45 brass over and over would weaken it enough to blow out that way? I usually load 200gr SWC fairly light, 800-850 fps, and I've never worried that much about .45 ACP brass the way I do with 10mm, for example, since .45 is so low pressure.

I suppose it's possible I double-charged a round; if that's the case I just need to be more careful. But has anyone ever had a .45 case rupture just from overuse? I don't count how many times I reload my ,45 brass, the way I do with 10mm and .44 mag, so some have probably been loaded 10-20 times or more. I'll have to get rid of all my .45 brass if it can't be reloaded indefinitely, the way I'd always assumed.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:38 PM
iGun iGun is offline
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Glad you are ok! I have never seen a .45 kaboom that couldn't be explained by a reloading error.

Set off the other rounds? That sounds like more than a weak case web. Can you explain what happened further?

Want to send pictures?
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  #3  
Old 12-30-2011, 06:53 PM
Hoke Hoke is offline
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The case blew out at the bottom rear, and blew into the mag. It set off the rounds in the chamber, two or three of them, and blew the bottom of the mag well off and warped it up, and it melted/warped the follower, and left that and a single lead bullet in the magazine. I couldn't find the mag spring or the brass from the rounds in the mag. The mag body is a little bent, probably not worth trying to replace the parts on it and use it again.

The gun is at the gunsmith right now; there was no external damage; didn't blow up like some guns I've seen pictures of. The concussion was pretty impressive when it detonated, almost like a SMAW or AT4 going off, left some powder on my face and hands like Wile E Coyote, got my fingers tingling, scared some of the other folks at the range, but other than that, nothing too serious.

I'm not keen on repeating the experience any time soon, though.
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:25 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Quote:
...some have probably been loaded 10-20 times or more. I'll have to get rid of all my .45 brass if it can't be reloaded indefinitely, the way I'd always assumed.
Not a good assumption, in my own opinion.
It's only brass. It cannot last indefinitely.
Part of reloading is inspection of components,
and awareness of usage.
(Given your confession of overusing components,
and recognition of possible overcharge,
one would not be inclined to blame a defective case web.)


It blew downward because the cutout in the barrel at the feed ramp
is the weak "unsupported" portion of the chamber.
So that's where it blew when the brass just couldn't hold that much pressure.


In addition to weak case, one might suspect an overcharge at the same time.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:31 PM
iGun iGun is offline
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I agree with Nick that this sounds like a double charge was partly or entirely responsible for this problem. It might not be the brass at all, but I would recommend:

-New(er) brass
-Powder check station if you are loading on a progressive press.
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:42 PM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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Case rupture

.45 acp brass will split with over use not "blow out" as in your description. Most shooters I know reload their target ammo until their brass splits without regard to how many times it's reloaded. High pressure loading requires a different protocol such as pin shooting .45's.

What is the head stamp on the round that ruptured? "Ballon head" cartriges are not designed to be reloaded as was found from some foriegn manufactured ammo. This was common in .40 S&W cartriges.

Most common cause is overcharging or double charging, not to worry happens to everybody.

(I had a "no charge" just today that's why I carry a "squib rod" so a double charge is just as likely going to happen some day)

Cheers,

John
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  #7  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:46 PM
lowflash lowflash is offline
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The cartridge case is not a pressure containment vessel. Functionality is that of a seal and component housing. Usually the 45 cartridge case may be fired multiple times. I’ve witnessed usage to the point of the head stamp being smeared from extended usage with no problem. The cartridge case base is the thickest section of the case. It is unusual for the case to rupture unless there is an overcharge. The over charge maybe the classic double charge or the more nettlesome aspect is the powder measure bridging thus dispensing and over charge.

Last edited by lowflash; 12-31-2011 at 08:21 AM. Reason: powder
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  #8  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:19 PM
Orochimaru Orochimaru is offline
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That's the "gotcha" with events like this. The evidence usually destroys itself leaving us with less direct evidence and more conjecture based on related circumstances.

Double charge is certainly a possibility. You didn't describe your loading setup or process, so I don't know how likely this possibility is.

Bullet Set-back hasn't been mentioned, but it could reduce volume enough that pressures went sky-high. Couple that with a weak spot in the web/base area and pressure could do the rest.

I might be inclined to go through my brass and sort by condition and headstamp -- especially focused on ones that have the same stamp as the failed load. Anything that looks too worn, or weighs in too light, pitch.


Either way -- the most important thing is that you're okay with all parts intact and functioning!
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:23 PM
iGun iGun is offline
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Orochi makes a good point about setback. You were using lead SWC, right? Can you take some of your reloads, measure them, and then push really hard and see if you can get them to shorten?

What powder and charge were you using? What COL?
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  #10  
Old 12-30-2011, 11:27 PM
medalguy medalguy is offline
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My money is on an overcharged case. I had a case split the other day, and I wouldn't have known it except I always inspect my brass after a range session. Splits happen, and usually they are no big deal. This one had some dark discoloration on the inside of the case right at the split that I missed last time. Yours sounds more ominous to me.
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  #11  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:24 AM
WalterGC WalterGC is offline
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I've reloaded tens of thousands of rounds of .45ACP, almost all of which have been shot through Glocks with their infamous "loose and unsupported" chambers. Never even had a bulged piece of brass. I load .45ACP until the necks split.

Something besides overuse caused the problem. Might have been the pistol's firing slightly out of battery; might have been an overcharge. I suspect that a full doublecharge would have caused more damage.
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  #12  
Old 01-01-2012, 04:33 PM
Hoke Hoke is offline
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Don't think I've ever seen a Glock smile on .45 brass, but .45 is a pretty low pressure round. Used to see bulges on the Glock 10mm and sometimes 9mm and .40, but they might have changed their designs up some with the newer generations.

The load was 7.0gr of WAP, (the suggested max load in the Lee manual is 7.6 for 200gr lead) and OAL is 1.240. I haven't had any trouble with set-back, but I checked rounds from the same day and none of them can be pushed in. I checked the primers to see if any are seated a little high, but they are all below flush.

The balloon head case is something I hadn't thought of; I used to check carefully when I was picking up my fired brass at the public range back in the 80's and 90's, but kind of forgot about that the past 10 years, haven't seen any in a very long time. I suppose it only takes one old-timer to go down the range and fire some old ammo and leave the brass.

Normally my 10mm brass will split when it starts to fail, usually easy to tell because it will make a different noise when you are picking it up, more of a clink instead of a ring, like good brass. I'll usually scrap the whole box of 10mm when one splits.

I haven't had a .45 split loading target loads; had it happened once or twice with +P loads that I'd loaded a couple times. I'm not positive, but I would expect even a double charge not to rupture the brass, although 15 gr of WAP in a case that was loaded quite a few times might just do the trick.

I use a Dillon 550 to load, haven't had trouble with double charges before, and I've been using it 25 years. Not to say it's impossible, and it was even the first thought I had when it happened. If that's definitely what it was, I'd be happy, since I'd at least know what caused it and how to prevent it again; I'm mostly worried about it being something else with the brass or some other cause that I can't address if I can't figure it out.
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2012, 06:46 PM
totaldla totaldla is offline
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WAP is slow enough that you don't blow a gun to pieces with a double-charge. I'll have to check, but I don't know whether or not you can seat a bullet with 14grs of WAP in the case.

As others have said and in my experience, I can load a 45acp case until you can't read the head stamp - easily 15+ times. The cases always split at the case mouth from old age. None of my resizing dies will work the head of the case, so I doubt that the brass is fatigued by resizing.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:57 PM
WalterGC WalterGC is offline
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Don't know about WAP, but you can certainly seat a bullet over 16 gr. of AA#5. The result isn't pretty.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:03 PM
lowflash lowflash is offline
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The Dillon 550 in my opinion is susceptible or has the potential for a classic double charge. The 550 manually indexes as opposed to auto indexing. A lapse in operating procedure/attention to detail thus a probability of over charging a case.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:10 PM
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i'd also put my money on a double charge.i have loaded over 100k of 45acp,using various loaders and have never seen a case blow out.suppose it could happen but it is defiantly a one in a million deal.
pete
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:40 AM
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i'd also put my money on a double charge.i have loaded over 100k of 45acp,using various loaders and have never seen a case blow out.suppose it could happen but it is defiantly a one in a million deal.pete
About 15 yrs ago, within the space of about a year, I blew out a case on 45acp and 9mm. In both instances, the blowout was caused by a double charge of Clays. The blown out cases sit on a shelf above my reloading bench as a reminder to "keep my head in the game" and pay attention to what I am doing.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:42 AM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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Please explain....

Quote:
The case blew out at the bottom rear, and blew into the mag. It set off the rounds in the chamber, two or three of them, and blew the bottom of the mag well off and warped it up,
Please explain what is meant by "it set off the rounds in the chamber, two or three of them......

What kind of magazine fed pistol has two or three rounds in the chamber? I don't understand how two or three rounds could be "set off?"

You said it blew off the magwell....do you mean the magazine floor plate? If not, what kind of magwell got blown off?
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:51 AM
Blaster3094 Blaster3094 is offline
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One of the reasons I like loading with Unique is that it is darn near impossible to miss seeing a double charge.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:13 PM
Hoke Hoke is offline
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Didn't notice I wrote "chamber" instead of mag, but yes, it set off the rounds in the mag. I'm not positive how many were still left in the mag, two or three, all I found was a solitary lead bullet, wedged sideways in the mag. It blew off the mag base(not magwell), which was plastic, and warped it up, along with the follower, which was also plastic. I couldn't find the mag spring or the brass from any of the rounds in the mag.

I was using WAP rather than Bulls because I figured a double charge would be noticeable; I tested it out and it looks as if it might be possible if the charge was slightly compressed. I didn't actually seat a bullet, though.

I'd like to think a double charge of WAP wouldn't blow out the brass, and it might not if it is new brass. When the brass is 10-15 years old and already loaded 15-20 times or more, it probably would. The gun was only a few months old, had around 3k rounds through it with no problems at all, so I don't think it fired out of battery.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:11 AM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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45 case rupture

Thanks for explaining the problem better. I still don't understand how several rounds in a magazine were "set off" or fired from escaping gas pressure from a ruptured case.
I have been shooting and reloading for over 40 years, and this is the first I have ever heard of this.

The only way I can imagine a live round going off is to somehow strike the primer on something, or "cook off" such as when a round gets so hot, the round will go off. An extreme flash pressure provides a lot of short duration heat but I have never heard of this cooking off a round. There is always a first time, but it seems very unusual. Fortunately any round that goes off outside the barrel has very little force, since the pressure is not contained as when a bullet travels down a barrel.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:16 AM
iGun iGun is offline
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Originally Posted by richpetrone View Post
...I still don't understand how several rounds in a magazine were "set off" or fired from escaping gas pressure from a ruptured case.
I have been shooting and reloading for over 40 years, and this is the first I have ever heard of this...
Same here. I've seen bullets set back after a kB, but never heard of this happening. That must have been scary.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpetrone View Post
Thanks for explaining the problem better. I still don't understand how several rounds in a magazine were "set off" or fired from escaping gas pressure from a ruptured case.
I have been shooting and reloading for over 40 years, and this is the first I have ever heard of this.

The only way I can imagine a live round going off is to somehow strike the primer on something, or "cook off" such as when a round gets so hot, the round will go off. An extreme flash pressure provides a lot of short duration heat but I have never heard of this cooking off a round. There is always a first time, but it seems very unusual. Fortunately any round that goes off outside the barrel has very little force, since the pressure is not contained as when a bullet travels down a barrel.
It isn't that unusual for the top one or two rounds in the mag to cook off when you rupture a case. Those hot gases can erode steel over time, so it isn't much of a stretch for them to instantaneously cook the top few rounds to the point of ignition.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:24 PM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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Rounds going off in magazine from a ruptured case

The amount of heat released has such a short duration, I am surprised it could cook off two-three rounds in the magazine. I have been witness to many case ruptures and rounds fired after a squib, and for the most part, the pressure produced blew the mags out of the guns with the rounds intact. I have never seen the rounds actually set off, which for me, is something I have never seen or even heard about.

I also witnessed a new shooter blow up his new .270 rifle. He was new to reloading, and didn't understand how to set the resizing die properly, so he unwittingly set the shoulder back too far, which created excessive headspace. The first round he fired blew the gun apart due to a case rupture. The magazine with three rounds was blown out (the rounds were not set off), the stock was completely split into two pieces, and pieces of brass from the case wedged into the bolt so tightly, we had to place the receiver in a vise, and pound the bolt open with a large rubber mallet. Fortunately, the shooter wasn't injured, but I think he needed to change his underwear after it happened!
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:55 PM
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A friend of mine had a kaboom in a Sig 220 from a double charge and it blew the grips off and the extractor spring was missing,my Son had a kaboom with a Ruger 45[not the 1911] and it blew the mag out and the extractor spring was sprung the wrong way we repaired that and went on shooting that firearm.The Sig required a new spring and grips.I believe in both instances it was a double charge of 231.My son did have a peace of brass in the skin on his chest,that was scary to see blood coming through his tee shirt.In neither case did rounds go off in the mag.I believe you had a double charge from your explanation.Glad you are alright.COLD.
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