Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reloading tip: Get friendly with your rifle cases

'Reloading tips'
is going to be a regular series here on Carteach0. Not one to set your calendar by, but every time something worth sharing pops up it will get written up as a tip, along with photos.

Eventually, as enough tips pile up, I'll build a post referencing them all (and updated with each new one) and link it on the sidebar. As a tip is added, I'll note it by date on the sidebar link. Sound like a plan?

In this first tip, an explanation of something unusual I noticed today. While prepping some vintage 8x57mm cases for match loading, I was cleaning
primer pockets. Only this activity allowed me to find a problem in two of the cases.

As I turned the pocket cleaner into the primer pockets, I noticed the tool would not fully enter one of the cases. Looking closely with
a magnifying glass, I found one side of the base of the pocket was bulged backwards about .015". The primer pocket uniforming tool was hanging up on this bump.

In the 110 cases I prepped, I found two with this issue and set them aside. Considering the cases were made in 1944 and I have reloaded them perhaps eight times, I'm am not upset with the loss of 2% of my cases. They owe me nothing at this point, and as long as there are no indications of incipient separation or cr
acks I will continue to load them. The bulge into the primer pocket.... that just became another problem I will watch for, and discard the case when I find it.

Cutting apart one of the cases on a diamond saw, it appears the flash hole has been flame cut from the inside. It may have been a poor hit with a de-capping pin, but the brass is not peened around the hole. It's a clean cut, and has thinned the base of the case at that spot while also making the flash hole oval shaped. The thinness of the base is what allowed it to bulge into the primer pocket.

Lesson learned? Getting up close and friendly with every single high pressure rifle case is a good idea. Hand cleaning primer pockets, closely examining necks and bases, watching for anything out of the ordinary... all are good practice. Had I chosen not to clean the primer pockets this cycle I would have missed the weak base and risked a blow out when I fired the next match.


ZerCool said...

Interesting. The vast majority of my reloading thus far has been straight-wall pistol, with a couple boxes of rifle that I have yet to use up. I'll keep this in mind.

AKA Angrywhiteman said...

I have found this not as uncommon as one might think, I have also found off center flash holes.

I don't know that there is any correlation, but I always run a flash hole uniformer into my cases before the first reloading and make sure the burrs are gone. I'll have to recheck my brass.

How Cartridge Brass is Made

Carteach0 said...

AKA, I also use a uniformer. My first thought was I had cut off center, but I realized that just could not happen the way the cutter is designed.

Everett said...

Another question if not out of line. Are those mauser 98's that occasionally turn up in magazines worth buying? And can they still be "originals" discovered in a warehouse in Austria? I'd like to order one but don't need another pig in a poke! Thanks.

Carteach0 said...

Everett, if by chance you are talking about the 'Mitchell Mausers', then no, they are almost never worth the companies asking price. There are numerous issues with them as to authenticity and such, or just downright exorbitant pricing backed by hype.

It happens I own a Mitchell Mauser, of the Yugo M48b variety. It's hands down the nicest Mauser I own, but certainly not worth what the company originally asked for it. I paid $200, and thought it a good price. They would have asked over $400. The stock was renumbered to appear matching, although I can't say if Mitchell did that or the Yugoslavs.

Buy one you can hold in hand first, and avoid paying for hype. If they are buying full page ads, then their product is probably overpriced.