powder or primer contamination? anyone see this before?

Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
lost 90+ points on my sitting rapids today due to misfires/duds, in a batch of ammo that's been flawless all year (loaded 1k, down to the last 140 rounds).

brass is mixed date 1x fired LakeCity, pockets uniformed via the sinclair tool, crimp removed, FL sized and trimmed on my giraud.
primers are Wolf SR Magnum
powder is Reloder 15 (25gr under a 69gr SMK).

i've had ONE misfire in the last 1500 rounds or so before today. i still have the round, and will probably pull it later to see if it was caused by the same issues. today, i had 5 (2 of which bumped the bullet enough to engage the rifling, and make clearing it a royal pain in the ass)

the primers DO appear a little deep, but they're within spec, and they've definately gone off.



the pulled bullet: yup...there is powder in there



dumped the powder out, you can see there's still some in there



2 big clumps of powder fell out when i started tapping the round on the bench. ok...wtf is this.



when you spread it around to break the clumps up, the powder feels a bit damp, and appears to be covered in a yellowish residue that stained my hands (and my bench)



the rest of the powder that fell out (pre-clumps) appeared fine.





what the hell is this? i've never seen that kind of contamination before! i prime my brass in batches (this particular one was 500 rounds), and toss them in a big plastic coffee can until i load them (usually within a week or two). loading them on a dillon 650 (already went through the press trying to find a source for the contamination).

i'm at a loss. i've never seen anything like this, and am now junking the rest of that batch of ammo (it'll be winter practice ammo, where time isnt a factor). i've got components to load more, but i dont want this to happen again! (i was in the middle of one of the best scores i shot this year!, 185x5OH, 191x5RP, 194x5SP...followed up by my glorious 108x1RS)

any ideas?
 

Rob Boudrie

NES Member
Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
38,032
Likes
16,372
Did the bullet budge at all? If the primer went off, chances are the bullet would not remain fully seated (with handguns, it will generally jam up where it engages the rifling). You next step should be to determine if this is primer ignition failure or powder failure. My guess is the former.

Wolf primers have a reputation for being more likely to suffer ignition problems than other brands (although I have been using Wolf SR in my 40 S&W loads and have not had this problem ... yet)
 
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
Wolf SRmag primers have a great reputation with most of hte guys i know who use em.

just dimantled one of the dud rounds. most (if not all) of the priming compound seems to be in there. it ISNT powdery as it usually is, but instead, almost a bit paper-y feeling


*edit. just finished taking the anvil/compound out of the dud primers. most of hte compound is GONE. what's left is a bit of yellow residue and a yellow piece of paper?
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
i thought i mentioned that in the OP.

2 jumped enough to engage the rifling and lock the bolt up tight (needed assistance from my scorer to yank the bolt back). looking closely at this, it alomst appears as if the primers were compromised, or partially compromised, and they sort-of went off (sending most of the priming compound into the powder).


still cant explain the moisture.
 
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
3,252
Likes
321
Location
INVISIBLE
Perhaps you had a handfull of brass that was contaminated with moisture or un evaporated case lube prior to loading.
Or it's possible you got a few defective primers?
Just a guess.
 

DukeInFlorida

NES Member
Rating - 100%
53   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,195
Likes
250
Location
South of you
Oh, all you guys with your Dillon spray lube (that I avoid like the plague) in the zip lock bags...........

Is that what you used to lube your cases??????? If you did, I'm guessing that you sprayed too much lube in, and it drizzled into those cases. They might have been near the top of the bag, and were the last ones out of the batch. First in, last out.

If you didn't lube your cases that way, what DID you use for lube, and how did you apply it?

I never lube the inside of the case mouth for fear of just this sort of thing. And, we had the Dillon spray lube (what happens when it burns inside the case with the powder, effecting the quality of the burn?) discussion about six months ago.

I'd rather do the lube pad routine, and avoid any and all of this sort of contamination.

So, when you lubed, how did you do that?
 
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
594
Likes
31
Location
Litchfield County, CT
I'd bet that those rounds either were loaded with moisture in them or you had them out in the rain and they took on water. My son was shooting a big match and had two duds. When he got home he started bitching about the lousy ammo I loaded. Yes, I did tell him he always could load them himself! Looking into it further, I tool the plastic box the duds and empties were in and took them out one by one. I noticed signs that there was water at the bottom of the box that had dried. I then pulled the two bullets and carefully dumped out the powder. Yep, there was powder sticking at the bottom of the case. I tapped it out and found that it had a different tint than usual. Them I was told that they shot in the pouring rain and he left the ammo exposed with the primers down which meant that the promers were sitting in a pool of water. Case closed! Thought about sealing them after that but as long as your careful...
 

PatMcD

NES Member
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
7,283
Likes
2,945
Location
Maine
Moisture-contaminated cases, most likely. I'm guessing lube, (but maybe water?). The clumped-up powder wouldn't happen with a bad primer.
I hope to God it's not a primer problem as I have a couple thousand rds loaded up with Wolf SRM's.
 
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
dont think it's primer related, but on a side note: Pat, do you notice your Wolf SRM primers seem to seat a bit deeper than, say, Rem 7 1/2's? (i loaded up more ammo last night to replace what i had to toss aside, and i happened to compare brass primed with Rem 7 1/2's vs Wolf SRM's....the Wolfs are recessed ~ .005-.007", vs Remington's @ .002-003". all brass done with the same primer pocket uniformer (Sinclair).

i'm going to do a test this weekend, and purposely contaminate a bit of RE15 with water in a case, and seat a junker bullet on it. i'll pull it in a week or two and see what's developed.
 
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
Oh, all you guys with your Dillon spray lube (that I avoid like the plague) in the zip lock bags...........

Is that what you used to lube your cases??????? If you did, I'm guessing that you sprayed too much lube in, and it drizzled into those cases. They might have been near the top of the bag, and were the last ones out of the batch. First in, last out.

If you didn't lube your cases that way, what DID you use for lube, and how did you apply it?

I never lube the inside of the case mouth for fear of just this sort of thing. And, we had the Dillon spray lube (what happens when it burns inside the case with the powder, effecting the quality of the burn?) discussion about six months ago.

I'd rather do the lube pad routine, and avoid any and all of this sort of contamination.

So, when you lubed, how did you do that?

I do use Dillon case lube, but not in a ziplock bag. i have a cardboard box cover i use as a tray. cases on their sides, spray a couple light mists back and forth, then shake the whole lid around to evenly disperse the lube. let em dry 5 min, and size em. afterwards, they're tumbled in dry media (no polish / etc / NOTHING added to it) for 30min or so.

i process entirely too many cases before the season to do em one at a time.

I'd bet that those rounds either were loaded with moisture in them or you had them out in the rain and they took on water. My son was shooting a big match and had two duds. When he got home he started bitching about the lousy ammo I loaded. Yes, I did tell him he always could load them himself! Looking into it further, I tool the plastic box the duds and empties were in and took them out one by one. I noticed signs that there was water at the bottom of the box that had dried. I then pulled the two bullets and carefully dumped out the powder. Yep, there was powder sticking at the bottom of the case. I tapped it out and found that it had a different tint than usual. Them I was told that they shot in the pouring rain and he left the ammo exposed with the primers down which meant that the promers were sitting in a pool of water. Case closed! Thought about sealing them after that but as long as your careful...

now that you mention that, we did get downpoured on a couple weeks ago, and this ammo probably was in the batch i had with me (i usually carry twice as much as i'll need to a match, in case of alibi's, etc)...and when i get home, i consolidate the boxes i have and take the empties downstairs (to refill em). one of the empties DID have a fair amount of water in it, but it's something i've never considered. 99.9% of the primers i seat go in so tight i always think i'm gonna set them off. never in a million years would i have thought water would have seeped through. that would explain the lack of ignition though.
 

PatMcD

NES Member
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
7,283
Likes
2,945
Location
Maine
dont think it's primer related, but on a side note: Pat, do you notice your Wolf SRM primers seem to seat a bit deeper than, say, Rem 7 1/2's? (i loaded up more ammo last night to replace what i had to toss aside, and i happened to compare brass primed with Rem 7 1/2's vs Wolf SRM's....the Wolfs are recessed ~ .005-.007", vs Remington's @ .002-003". all brass done with the same primer pocket uniformer (Sinclair).

I've never measured my primer depth, so I'm no help there. I seat them and if they pass the finger test, they're good (if it feels sub-flush with my finger). I do notice they slide in easier than the stupid Federal primers I had.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
4,175
Likes
187
Location
Augusta
Interesting thread. Sorry it killed your score. I had some water get into a case and it was a very low velocity round, not quite dead but it was an on paper miss at 300. Right out the bottom.

BTW, If you are going to do that test, could I ask you to do a WD40 kills primers test as well? My experience is that is does not render them completely inert.

B
 
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
594
Likes
31
Location
Litchfield County, CT
I do use Dillon case lube, but not in a ziplock bag. i have a cardboard box cover i use as a tray. cases on their sides, spray a couple light mists back and forth, then shake the whole lid around to evenly disperse the lube. let em dry 5 min, and size em. afterwards, they're tumbled in dry media (no polish / etc / NOTHING added to it) for 30min or so.

i process entirely too many cases before the season to do em one at a time.



now that you mention that, we did get downpoured on a couple weeks ago, and this ammo probably was in the batch i had with me (i usually carry twice as much as i'll need to a match, in case of alibi's, etc)...and when i get home, i consolidate the boxes i have and take the empties downstairs (to refill em). one of the empties DID have a fair amount of water in it, but it's something i've never considered. 99.9% of the primers i seat go in so tight i always think i'm gonna set them off. never in a million years would i have thought water would have seeped through. that would explain the lack of ignition though.

I use Hornady One-Shot much the same way as you use the Dillon. I've sprayed the stuff right down the indides of the necks a few times and never had a problem. Water....
 
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
Fingernail polish around the edges of the primers. I've seen brass on the ground that was reloaded with that done to it.

while a solid idea, it adds a rather time consuming step to the whole loading process (considering the volume i'm loading).

for now, my quick "fix" is to keep my shortline ammo in the boxes bullets down vs primers down. besides, now that i know this might be an issue, i'll be much for vigilant about keeping my ammo out of the rain.
 

DukeInFlorida

NES Member
Rating - 100%
53   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,195
Likes
250
Location
South of you
I always put my ammo bullets down, since it's easier to grab the bullets from a plastic case (where they're so tightly packed, close to each other). So, even if the bullet box half fills with water, my primers are high and dry.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
594
Likes
31
Location
Litchfield County, CT
I always put my ammo bullets down, since it's easier to grab the bullets from a plastic case (where they're so tightly packed, close to each other). So, even if the bullet box half fills with water, my primers are high and dry.

That's what I learned also but they can get wet with the primers up also. One of my local clubs shoots under cover (only 200 yards) but everywhere else, your out in the open. Drove home from Quantico Va once after shooting in a downpour. Talk about a long ride home! Smelled like a barn and it took a week to dry everything out. We had already learned about wet ammo and use a large baggie when it's raining. Harder to keep track of the loaded mag count but...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

NavelOfficer

NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Jan 10, 2010
Messages
2,340
Likes
1,191
Location
SE CT
You don't happen to have any potted plants above your loading bench?
Been there.... etc!
Leave some charged cases in a tray and then the wife comes along to water the plants....
 
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
1,918
Likes
161
Location
Saugus, MA
You don't happen to have any potted plants above your loading bench?
Been there.... etc!
Leave some charged cases in a tray and then the wife comes along to water the plants....

no wife

no plants

i THINK the source was a torrential downpour we got caught in a couple weeks ago. ammo box was open, water got in, wicked up past the primers and crapped out a handful of loaded rounds.
 
Top Bottom