Ruptured Ammo Problem

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by mesinge2, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    I had a case rupture in the chamber of my S&W model 638-3.

    These were not reloads but factory Remington Express 38 Spl 110 gr. SJHP ammo.

    Even though the gun is +P rated I have been using light loads because of the recoil in this airweight.
    This is standard pressure ammo and only 110 grain. I can't understand why it failed. The gun seems fine.
    I had the gunsmith at the range look at the weapon and it looked fine. I fired another 30 rounds
    of Magtech 125gr FMJ after scraping out the chamber and it worked well. Should I contact S&W or
    Remington? Are the chambers overly wide?

    This is the ammo and the ruptured brass with a bore light in the case:
    Remington Express Ammunition 38 Special 110 Grain Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point Box of 50 - MidwayUSA
    View attachment 17491
    View attachment 17492
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  2. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    well that sucks. If there is damage to the weapon they should cover it. I'd get in touch with them.
     

  3. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    A few more questions:

    Was this the result of a overcharged load or a weak case?

    Could the weapon have damage that I did not notice?
     
  4. RetiredLEO

    RetiredLEO New Member

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    I would at least write Remi and see if they will send you a refund for the ammo.
     
  5. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    As far as over pressure, you tell us. Did you notice this as it happened, or when you ejected the brass?

    Check the cylinder closely for cracks.

    Check the brass length compared to a good cartridge. If the cylinder is OK, this is the only way the crack could propagate.
     
  6. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    I didn't even know it happened until after I tried to eject the spent case.

    But after looking at the other brass about half of the Remmington rounds were bulging but not overly long.
     
  7. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    The cases could be faulty, I would get with Remington first (this is factory ammo, right?)
    Improper tempering at the factory could be the fault.
    When the powder burns in the case, the case is suppose to expand, effectively sealing the immediate area, then contract after the round is down range. If the temper is not correct for the pressure, you may see the cracks.
    Reloading "works" the case and this will affect the temper also. That is why some cases can be reloaded many times, and others only once.

    How old is the S&W? If chambers are too big (you can't tell by the eye alone), the cases still may not seal correctly. I've seen one guy who would use stones to smooth the chambers, then complain about his ammo splitting.

    Either way, Good luck.
     
  8. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    Yup, Its factory ammo.



    The gun is only 5 months old. I only have about 100 rounds through it because the airweight kicks and my hand gets sore after a while. This was only my second time shooting it.

    View attachment 17496
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  9. patret

    patret New Member

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    I have observed numerous split cases because I might reload a 38 special up to ten times. My loads are 3.0 grns of bullseye with a cast 158 gr SWC. This is light with only about 600 FPS. My goal is to punch a hole in a target. You might have purchased a pistol when the factory was using a new chamber reamer which would cause the individual cylinders of your pistol to be slightly large yet meet factory specifications. It could be defective ammo or a pistol that has problems. I would save my brass by lot and send the pistol back to the factory if the split case problem persist along with the split brass.

    patret
     
  10. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    During cleaning at home, I noticed a burn or cut that I could not get to come off from the inside of the chamber (I marked the chamber at the range when the case failed). This was not there before, I throughly cleaned the gun upon purchase and I would have noticed this. I contacted Remington this morning.

    ...and...

    Remington contacted me back. They are sending an address label and want me to send the remaining brass and empty cases along with the box. They said if they will refund the money and if the weapon is damaged they will conver the repair costs from Smith.
     
  11. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Sounds like you are on a good start to get this resolved. Congrats.
     
  12. willfully armed

    willfully armed New Member

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    Print all correspondence from Remington. Sometimes ammo/powder companies will try to welch. Send a copy of this to Rem with the split cases and to S&W with the gun. COVER YOUR ASS.
     
  13. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I would take lots of pictures and keep copies of all correspondence with both companies. Remington is a good company that should stand behind their product. WTS, Reminton brass is generally considered to be thinner and softer than some others. A longitudinal split like that does happen, but normally after a few reloadings.

    Definately send the revolver to S&W to be checked out. There could be a hairline crack in the cylinder. They will test it (X-ray, Magnuflux, etc) to insure it is OK. They will likely replace the cylinder to be on the safe side. They keep good records of who supplied the material that became that particular cylinder. They ned to know if there is a problem with that batch. In an extreme case, they might issue a recall to prevent an injury.
     
  14. RetiredLEO

    RetiredLEO New Member

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    I've used this ammo in my S&W pre-36. Could it have damaged it?

    Its not a J frame, its a "baby" J frame the 5-screw model.
     
  15. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Not necessarily. But if you do have concern, let a smith check it out.

    Ammo lot numbers are what Remington will be looking for. Different batches (lots) may have small variations. If a specific lot number is out of spec, then a recall could be in put effect, but only for that lot number.

    If the revolver is out of spec, S&W will look at the cylinder and find out what serial numbers used the same lot number of cylinders.
     
  16. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

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    You gotta keep us updated on this one. I know most folks dig Remington, but I recently had an unpleasant experience with them on the firearms side and will try to avoid their products as much as possible.

    Interesting.
     
  17. Bob Wright

    Bob Wright Member

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    For what its worth, I had a similiar experience years ago when the .32 Magnum first came out. At the time I bought factory ammunition for the brass, as Federal did not sell empty brass. The first box had several split cases as you depict.

    I contacted Federal and they had me ship the brass back to them. They, in turn sent me two boxes to replace mine. After some analysis, they determined that the ammunition had been in the presence of some caustic or corrosive atomosphere, probably in shipping.

    As you have pointed out already, no harm was caused to the gun. I have had many cases fail, reloads due to brass fatigue, with no harm coming to the gun or me. Any gas that escapes is trapped by the standing breech of the revolver. Can't say how this would affect an auto pistol, may be failure to extract would be the problem, but only guessing. I have had one case head blow off of a .38 Super round, again with no harmful effect.

    Bob Wright