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  • 4 Post By grandpamac
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Thread: Other Peoples Handloads. Prizes and Pitfalls.

  1. #1
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    Other Peoples Handloads. Prizes and Pitfalls.

    Greetings All,
    The other day I was given a box of .303 cartridges. This happens from time to time when people know you still have a .303 and actually fire it and take it into the bush from time to time. There were three boxes of new recent FMJ boxer primed cartridges. Joy. I can use these for our iron sight shoot and save my soft points for other purposes. In an ice cream container there was the usual collection of berdan primed military cartridges. These will be passed on to someone more interested in them than I.

    Also in the box were about 25 handloads and this is what this post is about. Now some would shoot of the handloads to reclaim the cases but I don't shoot anyone else's handloads unless I know what is in them. There was no data with them and regrettably I can't ask the person who loaded them. Some had cast lead projectiles. One load had a cracked neck so I pulled the projectile and found a small charge of flake powder with a tuft of Dacron or something tamped down on top. We used to do this before we got Trail Boss. I had to use a long screw to pull the Dacron before I could get the powder out. There were also some soft point handloads Most of these were in DI 1941 and 1943 cases. These cases are boxer primed and were made in Canada. For no particular reason other than I want to I use DI cases in my Canadian made Longbranch scoped .303. Some of the soft point loads had new primers and what looked like AR2206H. Some appeared to have had the original projectile pulled and a new projectile seated over the original charge. Some of the powder had clumped and needed to be dug out with a screwdriver. It had clearly deteriorated. I don't know if these would have gone off at all or developed very high pressure and don't intend to find out. The primers will also be corrosive so they won't be snapped in my shiny scoped rifle barrel but in my ex target iron sight barrel which has seen plenty of corrosive primers already. The barrel will get the boiling water treatment after firing to halt any corrosion.

    So the point of this post is to think hard before you fire someone else's reloads. Instead pull the projectile, dump the powder and snap the caps. You will be able to reuse the cases, after inspection. The handloads may have been OK or perhaps not and less and less people seem to know about corrosive primers these days.
    Regards Grandpamac.

  2. #2
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    Yes. Agree totally. I have little collections of pulled bullets, brass etc from others handloads. That dacron filler scares the crap out of me. You have no idea what the outcome will be not knowing how it was out together. I've also found when I've dismantled old unknown 303 and 308 loads, powder that is damp or clagged into lumps, brass that looked reasonable but slightly tarnished on the outside then turned out to be rotting on the inside, projectiles with corroded bases. I suspect being carried in ammo loops through the wet, or taking a wade in a river as the culprit. I used to try shooting everything off when I started out. The first broad hints were fail to fire. Then there were the semi squids. What stopped me was broken off necks left in the chamber. Slow learner eh. Fortunately nothing blew up and everything was on the range. Imagine losing a prime animal to dodgy ammo.
    grandpamac likes this.

  3. #3
    Full of shit Ryan_Songhurst's Avatar
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    Bought a sportered m96 a few years back that came with a collection of hand loads, never shot any of them but then one day had a bull break. Its leg and didn't have another rifle at home at the time so took the rifle to euthanise the poor bugger, pulled the trigger and it made an all mighty bang much louder than any centrefire I've fired before and carbon and crap blew out of the action, case was ruptured right down the neck and into the shoulder. Served its purpose that day but made me a bit hesitant to ever fire unknown reloads again
    #375GANG....

  4. #4
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    I pulled 80 loads the other day as were too hot for my liking...plurry accurate but sticky bolt lift on one made my mind up.... dumped powder in garden and started again....
    grandpamac likes this.

  5. #5
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    Excellent post GMP. Its probably right up there as one of the greatest hazards to new users of firearms imo.

  6. #6
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    well I just got caught....and its probably cost me my main rifle that Ive had for 30 years.....
    got handed container with about 8lb of powder and told it was H1000 by trusted mate.....who is in health decline

    wasnt silly with reload......good brass and no way a hot load...manual says 64grn max so I went 61...in rifle that NORMALLY runs at or just over max with no sign of pressure,due to loose bore and long freebore.....
    Im thankful I was wearing glasses as upon fireing got facefull of grit...and stuck bolt.

    came home and tapped bolt handle open with rubber mallet,then tapped old cleaning rod down bore to extract case from chamber,heard rattle...that would be the extractor claw of bolt sitting in chamber...the case is stuck firmly in end of bolt,looks to have expanded majorly.... so at best I will be looking at new bolt,if action is still ok...at worst,the old girl is poked.
    8lb of fertilizer going into garden,along with any other stuff not in sealed container......
    Im a bit pissed off but no body to blame but myself as shouldve known better......

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    well I just got caught....and its probably cost me my main rifle that Ive had for 30 years.....
    got handed container with about 8lb of powder and told it was H1000 by trusted mate.....who is in health decline

    wasnt silly with reload......good brass and no way a hot load...manual says 64grn max so I went 61...in rifle that NORMALLY runs at or just over max with no sign of pressure,due to loose bore and long freebore.....
    Im thankful I was wearing glasses as upon fireing got facefull of grit...and stuck bolt.

    came home and tapped bolt handle open with rubber mallet,then tapped old cleaning rod down bore to extract case from chamber,heard rattle...that would be the extractor claw of bolt sitting in chamber...the case is stuck firmly in end of bolt,looks to have expanded majorly.... so at best I will be looking at new bolt,if action is still ok...at worst,the old girl is poked.
    8lb of fertilizer going into garden,along with any other stuff not in sealed container......
    Im a bit pissed off but no body to blame but myself as shouldve known better......
    Greetings Micky,
    Commiserations on the damage to your rifle. Hopefully it can be restored to health. I wouldn't blame your mate too much as it could have been H1000 but had deteriorated in storage. I learned a bit more breaking down some of the cast lead loads. After pulling the projectiles and dumping the powder I snapped the caps and knocked them out with my punch and base set. While cleaning out the pockets the flash holes looked a lot bigger. They had been drilled out for some reason so into the recycling bucket they went. A lot of busy work on the 20 plus handloads has only yielded 10 usable cases, 8 of them The DI cases I use in my scoped .303. No one is going to be able to fire them in their rifle so at least that is worth the effort. I assume that the rifle was your .270, hopefully it can be fixed. Do they still make those?
    Regards Grandpamac.
    Micky Duck likes this.

  8. #8
    Not even Banned ow dannyb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    well I just got caught....and its probably cost me my main rifle that Ive had for 30 years.....
    got handed container with about 8lb of powder and told it was H1000 by trusted mate.....who is in health decline

    wasnt silly with reload......good brass and no way a hot load...manual says 64grn max so I went 61...in rifle that NORMALLY runs at or just over max with no sign of pressure,due to loose bore and long freebore.....
    Im thankful I was wearing glasses as upon fireing got facefull of grit...and stuck bolt.

    came home and tapped bolt handle open with rubber mallet,then tapped old cleaning rod down bore to extract case from chamber,heard rattle...that would be the extractor claw of bolt sitting in chamber...the case is stuck firmly in end of bolt,looks to have expanded majorly.... so at best I will be looking at new bolt,if action is still ok...at worst,the old girl is poked.
    8lb of fertilizer going into garden,along with any other stuff not in sealed container......
    Im a bit pissed off but no body to blame but myself as shouldve known better......
    Glad your ok mate, sorry bout the dodgy phone line dunno what's up with that
    Micky Duck likes this.
    #DANNYCENT

  9. #9
    Member zimmer's Avatar
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    Sad ending to the old girl, maybe. Lots of memories associated with her I bet.
    Commiserations mate.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    well I just got caught....and its probably cost me my main rifle that Ive had for 30 years.....
    got handed container with about 8lb of powder and told it was H1000 by trusted mate.....who is in health decline

    wasnt silly with reload......good brass and no way a hot load...manual says 64grn max so I went 61...in rifle that NORMALLY runs at or just over max with no sign of pressure,due to loose bore and long freebore.....
    Im thankful I was wearing glasses as upon fireing got facefull of grit...and stuck bolt.

    came home and tapped bolt handle open with rubber mallet,then tapped old cleaning rod down bore to extract case from chamber,heard rattle...that would be the extractor claw of bolt sitting in chamber...the case is stuck firmly in end of bolt,looks to have expanded majorly.... so at best I will be looking at new bolt,if action is still ok...at worst,the old girl is poked.
    8lb of fertilizer going into garden,along with any other stuff not in sealed container......
    Im a bit pissed off but no body to blame but myself as shouldve known better......
    Don’t be too hard on yourself mate, could happen to to any one of us, your experience will be a salutary lesson to us all.
    Just glad you’re in one piece.

    And who knows, the 270 may yet again arise from the carnage.
    Micky Duck likes this.
    ‘Many of my bullets have died in vain’

  11. #11
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    Yes, truly a sad day for my mate @Micky Duck. Glad you're OK mate and a lesson for all of us when receiving "free" stuff. Hopefully the mighty pooseventy will live again.
    Micky Duck likes this.

  12. #12
    Member jim160's Avatar
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    I never use anyone elses reloads. Had one where i had to use a hammer to open the bolt, and another shotgun round where i was lucky it was the bottom barrel or else it would have breached. Had to use all my weight over a fence post to get the u/o to break open.

    So now unless i know the load, then they get pulled, powder wasted and usually resize and new primer. i usually buy or get others reloads just for the brass and projectiles, Everything else is wasted.

    Would rather waste it than lose an eye or something worse trying to save a few dollars.

    But thats just me. Ive even pulled apart my own reloads if i dont know what i loaded.
    Moa Hunter likes this.

  13. #13
    Member 300CALMAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan_Songhurst View Post
    Bought a sportered m96 a few years back that came with a collection of hand loads, never shot any of them but then one day had a bull break. Its leg and didn't have another rifle at home at the time so took the rifle to euthanise the poor bugger, pulled the trigger and it made an all mighty bang much louder than any centrefire I've fired before and carbon and crap blew out of the action, case was ruptured right down the neck and into the shoulder. Served its purpose that day but made me a bit hesitant to ever fire unknown reloads again
    Faaaa lucky you didn't euthanize yourself.
    Moa Hunter likes this.

  14. #14
    Not even Banned ow dannyb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan_Songhurst View Post
    Bought a sportered m96 a few years back that came with a collection of hand loads, never shot any of them but then one day had a bull break. Its leg and didn't have another rifle at home at the time so took the rifle to euthanise the poor bugger, pulled the trigger and it made an all mighty bang much louder than any centrefire I've fired before and carbon and crap blew out of the action, case was ruptured right down the neck and into the shoulder. Served its purpose that day but made me a bit hesitant to ever fire unknown reloads again
    Should've done a seating depth ladder


    In all seriousness there are many sage lessons in this thread, I have recently thrown about a lb of unlabeled powder onto the garden as I had 2 bottles and couldn't remember which was 2213sc and which was rl26.....certainly not valuable enough to get it wrong. Kick my own ass for not labeling it at the time
    Micky Duck likes this.
    #DANNYCENT

  15. #15
    Member 300CALMAN's Avatar
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    Other traps are head space, case length and seating depth of someone eases hand loads. You never know if the cases have been sized correctly and if the bullet has been seated at sufficient depth for your rifle. All of these could cause all sorts of nasty consequences.

    I purchased my Tikka 595 of someone who gave me a heap of reloads supposedly suitable for the rifle. Most went fine but one jammed so tight I couldn't close the bolt. It failed to extract and then the full case had to be bashed out of the chamber with a cleaning rod. I tried to chamber all of the remaining 20 or so and 2 more were just as bad. So I pulled them and found the cases were way way way over length and needed serious trimming. Should have been suspicious as said hand loader Muppet had spray painted the rifle camo...
    Moa Hunter and Cordite like this.

 

 

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