.223 blew up
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Old 06-26-2008, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default .223 blew up

Yesterday at the range a buddy of mine was shooting some reloaded ammo he bought. Well the shell exploded in the gun. The casing ripped apart completely about 3CM above rim.

What do you suppose caused that? Incorrect mixture?

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Old 06-26-2008, 06:00 PM   #2
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First off - Is your buddy alright? Any damage to his fleshy parts?

Lots of possibilities - It's hard to tell from what you have posted. Since he was shooting handloads the immediate thought runs to something that was caused by human error. Having said that though I have seen one occassion where a bought lot of factory ammo had a bad series of primers. The primers in question were "overpowered" for lack of a better term and the resulting ignition pressure caused a sporter model barreled .270 to split open like a banana. Everyone at first thought it was hand loads that did it, but since the guy still had the box of ammo and the receipt from Sportco, we did some investigating and found it ( F.f.F. ) FUBAR from Factory.

You said he "bought" handloads? Was it from a reliable company, or did he buy some off of a guy at the range or something?

With the casing ripping, it's possible it was the wrong powder. It's also possible that it had a double shot of powder. It's late, your reloading, you hit the powder, then forget, or get interrupted, and you hit it again, then seat the bullet without thinking. I personally had it happen a couple of times but luckily the grain count was high enough that the second shot wouldn't completely fit in the shell.

It's possible he had a thin walled case. Rare, but possible. Just too many variables I am afraid notdku from the information.

Got any pictures?

JD

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Old 06-26-2008, 06:16 PM   #3
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Its not like the 223 is a large case using fast powder such as 45 colt etc..It would be hard to do a double charge with the available recommended powders as they gererally almost fill the case. Could it be that he cooked off a round after firing a long string. The Ruger manual says its possible with their mini 14. Need more info. CD

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Old 06-26-2008, 06:51 PM   #4
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Could be stressed brass ie: reloaded two many times. I agree its really hard to double charge a .223 cartridge, but you could over load it a bit.

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Old 06-26-2008, 07:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anm2_man View Post
Could be stressed brass ie: reloaded two many times. I agree its really hard to double charge a .223 cartridge, but you could over load it a bit.
You are right - I was typing faster than I was thinking and should have caught that....

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Old 06-26-2008, 08:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
You said he "bought" handloads? Was it from a reliable company, or did he buy some off of a guy at the range or something?
Ultramax is a commercial brand of reloaded Remington .223 but I'm pretty sure they're reloaded with a machine, not by hand. I've put several thousand rounds of Ultramax through my AR with exactly one ftf. But I expect it only takes one round exploding to put you in a bad mood.
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:21 PM   #7
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If it separated just above the rim it sounds like case head separation which can be caused by a variety of things, the least of which would be magnum primer or overcharging, since the average powder charge for .223 is roughly 25 gr. which is almost a full case, even with spherical powder. Sounds more like brass that's been reloaded too many times, or a headspace problem. It could also be due to what we have discussed in the other thread regarding using 5.56 ammo in a rifle chambered for .223. Need more information for a better guess! What type and how old of a firearm, what type and brand of ammo.

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Old 06-27-2008, 12:38 AM   #8
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I am leaning to human error or a bad chunk of brass.

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Old 06-27-2008, 03:09 AM   #9
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Yeah, probably, case head separation; but, here's some more questions: First, did you mean to say 5.56mm? What rifle was he using? Was he in the middle of a rapid fire shot string when it happened? Did he notice any change in the sound of the rifle's report while he was firing?

I've got to know the reloader very very well before I'll use his ammunition. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I've purchased reloads from in the past 20 years. (And, I'd have 1 or 2 fingers left over when I was done counting, too!)
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Old 06-27-2008, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Yesterday at the range a buddy of mine was shooting some reloaded ammo he bought. Well the shell exploded in the gun. The casing ripped apart completely about 3CM above rim.

Case head separation. No telling how many times that case had been re-loaded. Re-load any center fire rifle case enough times and you will get a head separation due to case stretching.

Take any case that has been re-loaded a number of times. Get a paper clip and bend a one-eighth inch hook on it. Insert the clip in the case and you can feel a groove on the inside of the case about three eights of an inch from the primer end of the case. Quite often one can identify a case that is about to separate by a bright ring around the outside of the case.
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