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first failure with ultramax rounds

Discussion in 'Ammunition' started by atilla, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. atilla

    atilla

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    sorry for the crappy pictures but it's quite clear what happened:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    this is the first failure of any kind that i've experienced with these rounds and i've shot close to 1,000 of them. this one is stamped lake city '06 where as most of the ones in the boxes i've bought were '08.

    at first i thought that the cartridge stovepiped until i was like "where's the other half?" i found it when i was picking up my brass and figured i'd snap some pictures now that it's at home.
     
  2. Steve_P

    Steve_P

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    Are you and the rifle OK?
     
  3. atilla

    atilla

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    yeah, after i cleared the top half of the cartridge i went right back to shooting after making sure the barrel was clear.

    freaked me out a little bit but other than than everything was GTG.

    i am not sure how the cartridge broke but the bottom half ended up underneath the bench i was shooting from and the top was stovepiping.
     
  4. Steve_P

    Steve_P

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    Probably iniitally fired in a chamber with excessively long headspace (quite possibly a us military machine gun). This causes alot of case stretch on firing.
    When ultramax resized the case back down, it probably overworked the brass, creating a weak spot around the case, just above the casehead.
    Fire the weak case again and boom...

    Glad you and the gun are OK.
    I've also fired hundreds of ultramax 223 with zero problems. However, I have had a bunch of cases that I was inspecting prior to reloading that looked like they were very close to seperating. Needless to say, those went into the scrap.

    Stay safe,

    Steve
     
  5. atilla

    atilla

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    i gave all my brass away to someone who was helping me with my aimpoint at the range so i am sure he'll be able to weed out any bad ones. the round in the magazine immediately after this one got gouged up pretty good thanks to the jam so that got tossed in the duds pile... didn't want to risk shooting it.

    wouldn't surprise me if some of these rounds were fired out of something like a SAW first and then reloaded. it's all the lake city brass with the NATO headstamps.
     
  6. MassMark

    MassMark

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    I was inspecting a bag of Ultramax and found much of it was Lake City brass with a mix of Winchester Q3131....Glad you made out okay Atilla...
     
  7. atilla

    atilla

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    aside from this issue i am very pleased with how the ultramax performs. i bought the last two 150 round boxes at the leominster DSG since the yellow UMC "value pack" really comes out to $0.60/round.

    after the failure i cleared the rifle, slapped the mag back in and went to town as if nothing happened. steve P's explanation is most likely the reason that this happened and it's sort of to be expected once in a while that you will run into a round that is a bit off when dealing with mass-produced reloads.

    do you have any 9mm at your store? you should see if you can get it sent up my way if you do! i had to settile with the WWB JHP .45 at $32/50 rd box. [laugh]
     
  8. center442

    center442 NES Member

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    Glad you are okay, atilla. That's a classic case head separation you had there.

    You were lucky twice: first, that you weren't hurt, and secondly, that the forward part of the case wasn't stuck tight in the chamber, which is what usually happens. Sometimes you can get the stuck case out with a removal tool, sometimes it means a trip to a gunsmith.

    That's why I reload my bottle-necked rifle cases in batches and keep track of how many times I've reloaded them. I'm especially careful with range brass, since I have no idea how many times it may have been reloaded. I've used Ultramax ammo from time to time and have never had a problem, but s$$t happens.

    If you ever have the misfortune to get a separated case stuck in the chamber, be very careful how you try to remove it. I've seen guys go after it with screwdrivers, etc. A great way to score the chamber in a good rifle. [sad]
     
  9. atilla

    atilla

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    definitely some scary stuff to see malfunctions like this. if i reloaded my own rounds i'd at least know that it was my fault that something got jacked up!

    the price is right for this stuff for now though but at that price comes me accepting the fact that i may very well run into another failure of this type or worse. is there anything i could look for on the rounds that would indicate weak spots or any other characteristics of a round that would most likely fail?
     
  10. center442

    center442 NES Member

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    Look for a "ring" around the body of the brass. Usually it appears as a brighter color then the rest of the brass, like a shiny circle. I've seen some that were dark jagged lines but didn't go all the way around the case. Either one is bad news. (See my next post, #11)

    On fired cases you can use a tool like a dental pick, run it up and down along the inside of the case wall. If you feel a catch it's usually an indication that the brass is getting thin there and it's time to retire it. I know this won't help you, since you're dealing with loaded ammo; just thought I'd mention it for future reference.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  11. center442

    center442 NES Member

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    atilla, here's some examples of things to watch for:

    View attachment 4159

    My lousy photography doesn't help much. [laugh] The case on the far left shows a separation line. It actually has gone all the way through on the other side of the case. That's a .44Mag that had probably been reloaded dozens of times. Those kinds of lines are what you want to be looking for.

    The next two are a .357Mag and a .38Sp case that have longitudinal stress cracks. This is usually caused by metal fatigue from being resized many, many times.

    The first three case failures were caused by simple wear and tear, not hot loads.

    The last case was caused by a very hot load. Again, a .44Mag case. Notice the hole in the primer. Its hard to tell in the picture, but the edges of the primer are almost squared off (instead of being rounded) from being pushed back against the frame surrounding the firing pin. This is when the pressure is high enough that the primer is being forced out of the primer pocket, causing the edges to flatten, followed by the case being pushed back so it reseats the primer. The hole in the primer is caused by the firing pin puncturing it as it is being shoved back. I took this as a sign from the "pressure Gods" that I was pushing the envelope a little. [wink]

    These were all pistol cases that I keep in a can in my reloading room. I thought I had a couple of rifle cases, but darned if I could find them.
     
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  12. atilla

    atilla

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    thanks for that info, i will definitely be taking a second look at these rounds before i load them into the magazine.
     

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