Don’t inflate your pistol – consistent powder charges

As the current shortage of ammunition creates challenges for many shooters, some turn to reloading or reloading. While recharging can be beneficial and fun, you need to be very careful and follow proper procedures.

I recently filmed the shooter on video for training purposes, when his fired charge had a much louder message and a large amount of smoke. A puff of smoke hit him in the face and he automatically flinched. We looked at each other and we both said almost unanimously, “That wasn’t good.” (See image sequences below)

I asked him if he was okay and he said yes. In several areas of his hands, he had only soot stains that matched the holes in the Springfield XD-M handle, such as the area around the magazine release button. The XD image was jammed about halfway back and the remnants of the charge were still in the chamber. Subsequent examination showed that the extractor was severely bent and blocked the movement of the slide. There was no obstacle in the borehole.

The Instant the Round Fires


Cartridge rupture

Eventually, he disassembled the pistol, except for the puller, everything was intact. The barrel showed no bulging or cracked frame. The only damage to the frame was one place where the rails had a small groove.

Gouge in Rail

We used FreeBore to remove the cartridge from the chamber. It was clear that when the bullet fired, the pressure completely tore the holster and nearly erased the head stamp. This amount of overpressure could have been caused by two circumstances, either the bore was clogged or there was too much powder in the hub (ie overcharging).

Blown case

I think it was an overcharged charge and not the result of an obstacle in the borehole. The video showed that the previous charge fired and the cartridge ejected normally (see below). I also consider that the incident in question was not the result of a weakening of the cartridge case. I saw cartridges fired in unsupported chambers that led to cartridge case failure; however, the cartridge is not damaged in these cases cassettes complete destruction.

Previous shooting round

Recharging can be a safe and cost-effective way to expand our ammunition supply; however, incorrect or inconsistent powder fillings can cause serious problems. For example, if you fire a charge without powder or with too little powder in the holster, you usually get a bullet jammed in the barrel. If you hear a slight “burst” instead of banging during the shot, stop, clean the weapon properly and make sure that the bullet flew out of the bore.

For pistols and rifles, be careful not to automatically “tap / stand” during a match or training and try to fire another round. If the bullet fails, firing another bullet will create dangerous pressure, which at best can cause the barrel to bulge and can destroy the weapon and cause injury if the barrel bursts. I saw the gunners destroy four barrels (and two pistols) due to reloaded ammunition with no or too little dust in the holster, and the shooter automatically made a “knock / stand”.

The other side of this coin is overpriced. Overcharging can also destroy your firearm and cause serious injury. If you think you’ve beaten the holster and got to you, you must not fire any rounds in this batch of recharged ammunition.

How do we prevent this? Consistency in the reload process is critical. The ideal procedure when using a single-stage press is to confirm that the powder scoop drops the correct dose and is stable. Then visually verify that the powder level is consistent when loading. However, this is not always practical with a progressive or automated transfer machine.

When using progressive or automatic transfer machines, I will consider the powder filling when starting the transfer process for the first time. I weigh as many powder cartridges as I need to make sure the powder scoop is stable and drop the correct powder cartridge before they start charging again. Then I stop and repeat the weighing procedure for every 100 laps the machine loads. I don’t mix this particular dose of 100 rounds with other rounds until I confirm that the powder charge is still correct. Although slightly tedious, it prevents me from loading hundreds of suspicious charges when vibrations or other factors have caused a slight shift in the powder rate setting.

You must also be careful if the case stops or jams in progressive or automatic transfer machines. When removing jammed paper, you may inadvertently cause the powder scoop to drop another cartridge into the case. If it goes unnoticed, you may end up with a beaten wheel. My solution is to completely erase all cases before restarting the machine.

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David Berry

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