Primer investigation – Part 4, Hopefully the end.

Links to part 1, part 2, and part 3.

I wanted to try one more thing in the “backing out primers” investigation: going back to the Barnes bullets.

I went with the Winchester 55 grain FMJ BT’s in the previous test because I have a lot of them on hand and they’re cheaper than the Barnes bullets. My thinking was if the backing out was due to pressures well, basically the same pressure should be created by the Winchesters as the Barnes, so if I could reproduce it that way well, there we go and I’d have a cheaper reproducible case. But as we saw in part 3 the primers aren’t backing out. So what to do? Go back to the Barnes bullets.

Last night I loaded 35 rounds. All with CCI #41 primers. All are using Remington once-fired brass that has been cleaned, sized, trimmed to 1.750″, flash hole deburred, primer pocket uniformed, primer pocket was cleaned out. All are using TAC powder, but in different amounts. All were given a light Lee Factory Crimp.

5 rounds are using the Winchester 55 grain FMJ BT with 26.0 grains of TAC and a OAL of 2.215″. I loaded these as a “control” for what I did in part 3.

15 rounds were loaded with the Barnes TSX 53 grain and a OAL of 2.200″. 5 have 25.0 grains of TAC. 5 have 25.5 grains of TAC. 5 have 26.0 grains of TAC.

15 rounds were loaded with the Barnes TSX 62 grain and an OAL of 2.250″. 5 have 23.5 grains of TAC. 5 have 24.0 grains of TAC. 5 have 24.5 grains of TAC.

The Barnes loads are taken directly from the Barnes #4 data book. The heaviest charge weight of each round of loads I did is the listed max charge.

My goal was to shoot these and watch what happens to the primers. My hope is there will be no more primer issues and I’ll just have to chalk up the previous problem to “beginners luck” or some other mysterious thing.

The Results

So I just returned from the range.

Once again, it was grandly unspectacular. There was no backing out of any primers.

Well, check that. When I say “no backing out” I mean no primers are protruding. Whereas before shooting the round the primer would be below flush, after shooting they would be flush. The first round? Some primers were certainly sticking out above flush. I figure going flush is NOT a problem because shooting various non-primer-crimped factory rounds exhibit the same behavior.

So everything seemed just dandy.

I wish I could know what it was that caused the original problem. But I no longer suspect new brass, used brass, the primers themselves, brass prep, crimping, the bullets, the powder… nothing in terms of components or the reloading process itself. Could it be that something was just that ugly in the rifle prior to cleaning it that it could have made just enough space that the chamber wasn’t perfectly sealed and thus some backing out could happen? I don’t know, but it’s the only other thing I changed and since then no problems.

As well, even shooting the max loads, I saw no signs of pressure problems.

I’m putting this to bed. Sure I’ll keep an eye out for issues in the future, but at least now my brain seems satisfied to put this to rest and move forward. From here I’m going to start making the actual hunting load. My intent there is to start with Remington new brass, CCI #41 primer, Barnes TSX 62 grain, OAL 2.250″, and Varget for the powder. Now I’ll start to care about accuracy and velocity. I’ll start at the minimum load listed in the Barnes #4 book and work up in small increments, probably 0.2 grains at a time. Load 5 rounds of each. Look for the accuracy sweet spot.

.38 Reloads

I figured as long as I was going to the range I would take the .38 Special reloads I did on my Hornady Lock-n-Load.

They shot wonderfully. I must admit, I didn’t realize how much snap was actually in this load but after shooting 50 rounds of factory (to obtain a little more brass) and about 30 rounds of this reload, I could feel it; in fact, I would say it was a hair snappier than the Magtech (.38 Special 158 grain LRN). It’s a little more snap than I care for, but I’m not sure how much I can do about it. I may try to experiment with some slower burning powders (Titegroup is pretty fast). But I do like that it burns very well, little muzzle flash, and accuracy out to 15 yards (it was a snub, it’s as far as I tried) was just fine. And really, the snap isn’t too bad as it keeps me honest compared to the carry load.

I’m just ticked about shooting the first rounds off the Lock-n-Load. Plus recovering some brass means I can figure out the issue about the shell plate indexing.

7 thoughts on “Primer investigation – Part 4, Hopefully the end.

  1. Pingback: Primer Investigation – Part 3, Results « Stuff From Hsoi

  2. Pingback: Primer Investigation – Part 2, 43 Loaded « Stuff From Hsoi

  3. Pingback: Primer investigation – Part 1 « Stuff From Hsoi

  4. Now that the brass has been fired, and sized again, it is harder than it was on the first try.

    I’m still going with it being to due to new and/or cheap brass, not that you give a flip now. :)-~

    • Ah, but in the previous trials I had 9 brass left over from the previous-to-that trial. Those 9 were brand new and “nothing” done with them (no primer pocket uniforming, etc.). They showed no signs of backing out. So I don’t think it’s an issue of new or cheap brass. Well, I’ll say this. Is it possible it’s still that? Yes it could well be. 100% of the rounds we shot that day didn’t have the problem, so who knows… maybe the ones we observed it on were bad brass… a few out of the batch were bad.

      It’s also possible it’s other factors, like the state of the rifle, or maybe there was something different in my reloading technique. Or maybe it’s the phase of the moon. Who knows.

      The unfortunate thing is no matter how we try we can’t make a 100% identical reproducible case: there’s still factors that are either out of our control or very difficult to control. For instance, we can’t re-shoot that same piece of brass to see if in fact it was that particular piece that perhaps was just bad.

      Anyway, I don’t feel bad about going through all of this. It taught me a lot. I got to load a decent number of rounds and just improve my reloading techniques. All in all it was time and effort well-spent.

      Now I’m going to move foward and actually make the hunting load.

  5. Pingback: Of course « Stuff From Hsoi

  6. Pingback: My .223 Remington hunting loads – the ladder test « Stuff From Hsoi

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