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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: Interesting incident with 44-40 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Good Troy
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« on: October 30, 2017, 12:16:24 pm »


Just to share information...as this is a first for me, and first I've heard of in my (limited) experiences. 

Yesterday, I had 44-40 cartridge separate upon firing.  The cartridge broke cleanly at the start of the bottle-neck.  This section of the cartridge went down the barrel, and made it to within about 3 or 4" from the muzzle.  This was a BP cartridge with a typical load of this cartridge - ~32 grains of 2F Goex.

I noticed nothing unusual about the shot fired from this cartridge.  I was at the range and shooting at 50 yards, so I didn't realize (at the time of the shot) that it didn't even come close to the target. 

Though nothing serious may have occurred with a shot following this event, I wouldn't want to find out for sure.  Several coincidences kept me from taking another shot.   It was the last shot in a string of 10, and I was cleaning the barrel between shooting strings.  I didn't eject the cartridge to the ground, but grabbed it before it hit the ground. (Typically, I eject, let the cartridge fall to the ground and pick up my brass at some point later.)  So, I realized that the cartridge had broken....but I expect the neck to be in the chamber not the barrel!  I was able to force the broken section out with a cleaning rod and jag. 

A few things I learned.....

Inspect cartridges thoroughly before reloading!  As a general rule, I normally reload my 44-40 cases until it shows a split at the mouth on the expansion step.  Obviously, in retrospect, this cartridge should not have been reloaded.  It appear very tarnished and brittle!
Check neck sizing die...

I discussed this with a few other reloaders, and one pointed out the I could be "oversizing" the neck leaving a gap in the chamber...that is, I'm moving the profile of the bottleneck further down from the top of the case.
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Good Troy
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2017, 12:47:38 pm »

  Troy I've had this happen on several occasions. Always it seems with my black powder 38-40 and .44-40 brass that has been reloaded several times. In most instances the 'separated' cartridge neck stays in the chamber mouth and will not allow the next cartridge to fully chamber. Watching at all steps during reloading for even the smallest signs of an annular crack at the base of the neck is the best visual indicator.
  Should a separated neck remain in the chamber mouth I have been successful removing the broken case neck by forcing a soft lead, oversized to the bore, C&B round ball down the bore with a brass squib rod. The ball takes on the bore's lands and grooves and will pick up the broken case mouth pushing it out of the chamber. I have known of an instance where this trick didn't work and required the dismounting of the barrel from receiver to extract the broken case mouth lodged in the chamber. Eye ball your brass closely.             
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2017, 04:35:14 pm »

Gee Troy, I'm glad you've been living right and it was your lucky day! I've been shooting similar blackpowder loads in 38-40 and 44-40 for years and haven't run into this yet(did I just jinx myself?) If you have several guns in the same caliber you may not have any choice about setting the shoulder back on the fired case. In particular I can mention Ubertis chambered in 38-40. My experience seems to indicate their rifles have a slightly bigger chamber than their pistols in this caliber. Reloaded rounds that fit the pistols will always chamber in the rifles but not vice-versa. Anyway, this sounds like a good reason to thoroughly clean brass cases so any potential problems may be more apparent during the reloading process and hopefully avoided.
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2017, 04:45:12 pm »

Thanks for the input gentlemen!  I will certainly be scrutinizing my brass better!
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 04:56:39 am »

Thanks for the input gentlemen!  I will certainly be scrutinizing my brass better!

Lucky!!! that proly woulda ringbulged a nice barrel
For what its worth (proly not a heckuva lot!) I dont neck size my brass for blackpowder until n unless it wont go back in the chamber - most dies I have seen way overwork the neck - take it down tooooooo small then expand it back out to tight /right - they are planned around neck tension for copper jacket bullets I bet .....I got lucky one day and stumbled onto a die that just takes the body of these cases down a few thou widout touching the neck - so I use that body die and then filler up and crimp.   

Isnt it interesting what ya find out hangin round these forums !!! I just measured my body die it sizes to .465 and it dont touch the neck at all - (for the curious onlooker its a crimp/bullet seating die from a Super Simplex 5/8"die set for 44magnum - yeah I often fiddle around in the loading room lookin for who knows what)  my LEE 38-40 FL die does the same - body sized to .465 but it squishes the neck down -- ok my RCBS FL die in 44/40 brings the body down to .459 - pretty close to specs but un neccessarily small for my rifles (any of em) ---- soooooo ifn ya could get a 44/40 die from Mr LEE and he cut the corner a little and set it up to neck size for .430 (a la 44mag) rather than the proper .427 of the original WW specs you proly got the best of all worlds in a 44/40 die.Huh??   
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 11:10:57 am »

My LEE 44-40 die does a good job but sizes the neck for a .427 bullet. I use a .428 bullet. I size with the die as it came, except I had to grind a bit off the base so the case will seat fully in one of my OMVs.

I then swap out the neck expanding die & insert the one from my .44RM die (.430). It now acts like a Lyman "M" die leaving just enough of a funnelmouth for me to hand insert my RCBS .44-200-RNFP sized .427. Slower, but no crushed cases, anymore.

I am a great fan of mix & match with dies to Getterdun. I lose count of the nature and number of dies used to make 7.62 Nagant revolver ammo.
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