Swelled, or "bulged" cases

General Reloading Discussion.

Moderator: MudBug

Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby dogsniper » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:10 am

Okay, so I have been reloading for various revolver and rifle loads for many years, and have heard of getting bulged cases if pressures are high, or the brass is weak. I had never had this happen, until....

I deer hunt with a Ruger Blackhawk in a 45LC. I have loaded this relatively hot with load data from Hodgdon using Hornady's 250grain bullet. I have NEVER had any issues with this load in this revolver. However, I added to my collection several years ago an H&R Buffalo Classic in 45LC. This rifle shoots my 255grain Lead RNFP great. But when I feed it my hunting loads...well, the cases just do not want to come out of the barrel! They swell to the point that the extractor actually scratches the brass as I have to PULL the case out of the barrel.

My question is...since I have no other signs of pressure (i.e. no damage to primer or head stamp) and my revolver shoots these loads with no problem, do we think the pressure is high? Or do we think the chamber dimensions may be off??

Any help would be great. Thanks!
It's not the size of the Dog in the Fight that matters....It's the amount of Fight in the Dog!
dogsniper
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Central Indiana

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby Hoot » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:20 pm

When you resize the rifle brass for reloading, how does the resistance to the sizing die compare to when resizing for the revolver? Otherwise, break out the cerrosafe.

Hoot
In Theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In Practice, there is.
User avatar
Hoot
 
Posts: 4148
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:34 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby dogsniper » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:22 pm

Hoot,

I have not resized any of the casings fired from the rifle. I wasn't sure if the bulge would cause a weak spot, so I just left those pieces alone. From looking at them I can only "assume" that they will be more resistant thru the sizing die, as the bulge is visually very noticeable.

I have never used cerrosafe, so I must ask...if my chamber is machined improperly, will the cerrosafe become stuck in the chamber because of the "bulge". Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question, but I have no experience with that product or any thing like it.
It's not the size of the Dog in the Fight that matters....It's the amount of Fight in the Dog!
dogsniper
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Central Indiana

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby Hoot » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:18 am

dogsniper wrote:Hoot,

I have not resized any of the casings fired from the rifle. I wasn't sure if the bulge would cause a weak spot, so I just left those pieces alone. From looking at them I can only "assume" that they will be more resistant thru the sizing die, as the bulge is visually very noticeable.

I have never used cerrosafe, so I must ask...if my chamber is machined improperly, will the cerrosafe become stuck in the chamber because of the "bulge". Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question, but I have no experience with that product or any thing like it.


OK, so the bulging of the cases are not a subjective observation. You are correct then, there is nothing to be gained by resizing a couple of them. If a chamber is over-sized, it is probably over-sized its entire length since it is bored. Cerrosafe has a cool property in that it shrinks a little soon after setting,allowing safe removal. Then is actually grows back to the correct size for measuring. The instructions that come with it are easy to follow. However, if the cases do not bulge with factory loads, perhaps there is a message there. I have never loaded a caliber that I share between a pistol and a rifle, so perhaps an experienced reloader who has will chime in. How about a quality picture of an example case from each weapon side by side for folks to see. There are no doubt forums wholly dedicated to the 45 LC or folks who shoot same caliber pistols and rifles, such as Cowboy Shooting, where you could get more actual advice about shared loads. It just occurred to me. Have you tried different brands or lots of brass to make sure you don't have some soft stuff?

Hoot

Hang on a few days and see if anyone else jumps in. Lastly, there are forums for specific makes and models of rifles. Have you Googled your problem and seen any similar reports for your rifle?

Hoot
In Theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In Practice, there is.
User avatar
Hoot
 
Posts: 4148
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:34 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby pitted bore » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:42 pm

dogsniper-

From your description I am having a problem getting a clear mental image of the type of bulge you're experiencing,

Is the bulge such as might occur with a ringed chamber? If you're not the first owner of the rifle, it's possible that a previous owner damaged the chamber.

Is the bulge longitudinal, running lengthwise on the case? Does it extend to the mouth of the case from the head?

Is the bulge located only near the head of the case?

Does the bulge occur in the same location with each case relative to the orientation of the case in the chamber? That is, does the bulge always form in the part of the case that is at the top of the chamber? Bottom of the chamber? Left side? Etc.

Another possibility --- Hodgdon has loads for the strong Ruger revolvers listed separately from most other revolvers. Is there a possibility that your rifle is intended only for use with the weaker loads? I'm not acquainted with the H&R Buffalo classic rifle, but I do know that 40-50 years ago H&R built some of their CF rifles with the same actions used for their shotguns. Generally these were chambered for cartridges with mild pressures like the 22 Hornet, 45-70 (factory) and 45 Colt. This took place before they started building rifles intended for use with higher pressure cartridges. It may be that you are simply exceeding the design strength of the action with your heavy loads. in which case all sorts of odd things might happen. Your observation that the difficulties do not occur with lower pressure loads suggests this might be the case. Contact H&R to find what pressures your rifle is designed to handle.

Good luck.
--Bob
User avatar
pitted bore
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:05 pm
Location: The U.P.'s U.P.

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby dogsniper » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:52 pm

Pitted bore,

I will try to answer all your questions

I purchased this rifle new

The bulge is around the case just in front of the web.
The bulge is always in the same location, which would be the bottom of the chamber, and that is why it "hangs" up on the extractor when trying to remove the case

These are loads designed for the ruger/Thompson center firearms. However this rifle is built on H&R's SB2 frame which is the frame they use for all their high powered calibers.

From the research I have done, it appears that what I may have is a chamber that is on the "high end" of the standards, so it will handle standard loads, but these higher pressure loads are too much... Or at least that appears to be what the information I have gathered seems to be pointing to.
It's not the size of the Dog in the Fight that matters....It's the amount of Fight in the Dog!
dogsniper
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Central Indiana

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby Jim in Houston » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:04 pm

I have had a similar problem with shooting steel case 223 in my Bushmaster XM15, while my son and daughter had none at all with their SP1 and DPMS AR's. The gunsmith who removed the stuck case told me that with a tighter spec on the chamber, the steel case expanded and did not relax enough after firing as a brass case would in my XM. Sounds like the "bulge" is just enough on your case to lock the casing in the chamber.
Life Member, Texas State Rifle Association; Patron LIfe Member, NRA
User avatar
Jim in Houston
 
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:55 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby dogsniper » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:53 am

Jim,
My case isn't stuck, just difficult to remove. The extractor on that single shot leaves two good scratches in the case as I pull it past the bulge. I guess I will just have to accept the fact that this particular barrel does not like my "hot" loads and just continue to shoot my standard pressure loads thru it. It is actually very accurate for what it is. At 50 yards it will hold about 3/4-1" group with either load. So for my wife deer hunting in the hardwoods where shots are rarely more than 75 yards, it will get the job done just fine.

Thanks guys for all the input!
It's not the size of the Dog in the Fight that matters....It's the amount of Fight in the Dog!
dogsniper
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Central Indiana

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby pitted bore » Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:00 pm

dogsniper-
Thanks for the clarifications. Long-distance diagnosis of problems like this is a pretty chancy undertaking.

Interesting aspects of your problem mentioned in your latest posts are the circumferential bulge in front of the web, the location of the bulge on part of the shell on the bottom of the chamber, and the hanging-up on the extractor and the associated scratches. This leads to more guesses about what might be happening, but I suspect you've already thought of them an crossed them off your list of possibilities.

The formation of bulges only on the part of the case contacting the bottom of the chamber is odd. Cases usually have a thinner side which will bulge more, regardless of the orientation of the case in the chamber. Just curious.

Would there be any problem with relieving the extractor a bit so it doesn't rub on the case? At least enough to prevent the scratching and gouging you now observe? As I said in my post above, I'm not really familiar with the H&R rifles, although I've got a Topper shotgun which is mechanically similar.

If you decide to do a test of incremental velocities/pressures to find where it starts to bulge, let us know how it turns out. Otherwise, your decision to use the lower pressure loads is a wise one.

Best of luck.
--Bob
User avatar
pitted bore
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:05 pm
Location: The U.P.'s U.P.

Re: Swelled, or "bulged" cases

Postby dogsniper » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:29 am

I am going to try some "reduced" loads. To clarify, I mean reduced from the "Ruger/Thompson Center" only loads, but still slightly higher than the very low pressure factory 45LC loads. My loads that are 255gr Cast lead are "middle of the road" Ruger only loads, and they do not generate the velocities or the pressure of my hunting loads, but they are above what would be considered a factory 45LC load. These loads do not cause the difficult extraction, and I am sure it is because these loads are charged with Alliant Unique powder, and not the Hodgdon Lil' Gun that my hunting loads are. The only problem with trying to find a safe load in the middle of the factory loads, and the Ruger only loads, is these too do not share powders(not with the Hornady XTP Bullets). Factory loads are very low pressure and use powders such as Unique, and Titegroup, where the Ruger only loads use powders such as Lil' Gun, H110/W296, IMR4227, 2400 (more like magnum pistol powders).

Here is my concern with reducing my Hunting loads (250grain Hornady XTP). The Hodgdon data I used to make the loads listed Lil' Gun at a minimum of 22.0gr, and a Maximum of 25.0gr if memory serves me correctly. I am using the minimum load listed for Lil' Gun at 22.0gr. I know with most pistol data, reducing the charge of H110/W296 is recommended NOT to do. I have always loaded within the powder charges listed for a caliber based on what my manuals say is recommended. I have never loaded more or less powder than a manual states is safe. I guess my question would be, Should I also consider Lil' Gun to be a powder that SHOULD NOT BE REDUCED? And if I should not reduce that powder, could anyone give me a suggestion of a pistol powder that is similar to Lil' Gun or H110 (velocity), but does not generate as much pressure? I know there are people with a far better understanding of Burn Rates, and what works well in relation to other powders than I have. To be honest, I have never played with this, mainly because I don't really feel like having a grenade in my hand when it goes off.

I would really like to find the right combination that would allow this rifle to have good velocity, but not be unsafe as far as pressure is concerned. And, I also can't completely rule out weak brass?? Just really strange, that these loads were fired on exactly the same day, within ten minutes or so of each other, some thru my revolver, some thru my rifle, and the rifle was the only brass that showed pressure signs...
It's not the size of the Dog in the Fight that matters....It's the amount of Fight in the Dog!
dogsniper
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Central Indiana

Next

Return to Reloading

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests