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Ammunition Failure - 22-250

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by DieselScout, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    First off, I want to state, I bought the rifle I am shooting from a person on this board. I am still super happy with it, and am not bashing the gun, just trying to figure out what went wrong. I think it is cleanliness related, and yes I cleaned it before I shot it.:D

    I was out shooting my new to me 22-250. I had shot 25 rounds of Hornady V-MAX 55 gr through it and after shooting round #26 the bolt was extremely hard to pull back. Once I got the bolt back, and realized no casing was coming with it, I saw the extractor had been blow sideways and the detent ball had dropped out. I got it all back together and got the case out and this is what I found.

    The casing and primer were separated, the casing looked like this

    casing1.jpg

    And the primer looked liked this. I've never seen a "flattened" primer before, but this was the flattest I've ever seen. No ridges around the indentation from the firing pin striking it.

    primerb.jpg

    I stopped shooting and tried to figure out what happened. The ammunition was new, not reloads and after a few minutes with a set of calipers it all appeared to be uniform. I had a few instances were the bolt was hard to close, but I chalked that up to a new gun and me not being use to it. This casing what NOT one of those instances. I got my flash light and checked the chamber and found something crushed on the side wall.

    chamberdirt.jpg

    I didn't clean it yesterday it was past my bed time, so when I got home form work I looked at it again. Sure enough something in the chamber. I scraped at it today and got it to come lose, in pieces and it appears to be dirt, like dirt from the ground. I don't know where it came from or how it got in there, but would that be enough to cause the failure seen above? I guess it could have been something more substantial and the pressure in the chamber just destroyed it.

    The casing show no sign of denting, neither do any of the others fired immediately before it. Should I be buying a "Go" gauge to check just to make sure this isn't a head space issue? I just want to figure it out, I've never had a failure like this.
     
  2. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Gunsmith should be able to check the headspacing for a nominal fee (should be much less than buying a guage--and chances are you'll never need the guage again). I would NOT fire this gun again until such is done.

    This is just a guess, but I would suspect the previous round as the one defective. I'm speculating the previous round had no powder (or minimal), and the bullet lodged in the bore creating a efficiently dangerous plug, awaiting your unsuspecting ignition of this following round.

    My theory could be discounted if you were shooting on paper, and witnessed a definitive impact to the target from that previous round. My theory gains some integrity if the scenario was plinking (or rapid fire) where your attention may have not been entirely devoted to bullet impact from each shot.

    I base my speculation on the probability that a "double charge" in this factory loaded cartridge would be almost impossible: factory .22-250's are loaded with powder that will very nearly fill the case. A malfunction in the factory machine that would dump more powder in the case is much less likely (or impossible) than a malfunction that would dump none and escape inspection.

    I would also bring this to Hornady's attention immediately. You should find them intensely interested in this failure. I cannot speak for them, but they may well step up and pay your gunsmithing bill. Your pictures are phenomenal.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Many guys would not bring this to the forefront, and we would all be poorer having not heard of it. I am eager to hear input from others (speculative as mine or otherwise) as to their analysis.
     
  3. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    Take that gun to a GOOD gunsmith and have it checked out.As said above,be sure and post any results you find out.
     
  4. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    The squib load like you suggested is out. I had made an adjustment to the scope, had a new target up and had my buddy spotting me, calling the shots out. First round hit dead on and the second round was about an 1/2" high. The second round is when I got the malfunction.

    Purchasing a "Go" gauge is something I am going to have to do eventually, as I am planning on upgrading the barrel to a heavier barrel, so I'll need one when I do that. What baffles me is if it was a chamber issue, why did it show up 26 shots into the day? No other signs of problems. The previous owner put about 80 rounds through it as well with 0 reported problems, so why this one round?

    I hadn't thought about contacting Hornady, but I will go ahead and do that. I've been very happy with their products and will continue to use them.

    Thanks for the input, I'll definitely let you know what I find.
     
  5. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    Interesting that you found residue of something in the chamber.
    There may also have been residue of some type from the previous round in the throat/leade when that latest round was fired, causing the pressure spike that ruined that last primer/case.

    Will the case shown still hold a primer? Or does it have such a loose pocket that it won't hold a primer now?
    Something definitely caused a spike, and Hornady may well need to know there was a problem.
     
  6. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    The case will still hold the primer. The pocket is enlarged, but not enough that there isn't enough tension to hold the spent primer. I email Hornady this morning, but don't figure they will get it until after the holiday weekend.
     
  7. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Upon suggestions from a few other informed people I tried a few things. If this was a chamber problem, it would be with the chamber being too small. Since I had 0 problems with the other 25 rounds fired that day it does seem unlikely. With a cartridge in the chamber the bolt handle closes easily on the cartridge, with the same force as closing on an empty chamber. I added a piece of scotch tape to the case head of the cartridge and tried it again. This time as the bolt closes you can feel resistance. When you extract the cartridge, the one without the tape is clean, so it had no contact with bolt face. The one with the tape is dirty, so it contacted the bolt. Chambers are cut within a few thousandths, which the tape simulates. If it was really out of spec you'd expect to see contact on the non-taped cartridge as well as tape damage on the second.

    It still could be that I've got a shallow chamber, but to me that is seeming less and less likely. I still haven't heard from Hornady, which is expected because of the long holiday weekend. And I've got a chamber gauge coming from Midway, which should be here by the end of the week. I'll let you all know more when I do.
     
  8. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Well, I just heard from Hornady and I'll be sending the case and remaining ammunition back to them for testing. I am interested to see what they come back with.
     
  9. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    I received the Go gauge via UPS today. It dropped right into the chamber the the bolt closed like it was suppose to. I think we can rule out a chamber problem now, the go gauge shows it is cut within minimum specification.

    And BTW, the I got a PTG Go gauge, mainly because they are an Oregon company. Now that I have it in hand, it's a really nicely make piece.

    The ammunition should get to Hornady tomorrow and when I hear from them I'll let you know. I am convinced it was an ammunition issue, either something in the chamber or barrel, or something wrong with the charging. We'll see.
     
  10. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Hornady gave me a call today, and let me know what they found out.

    The tech I talked to fired the remaining 14 rounds in the box I sent them. All of them were below the Hornady pressure spec, which is lower the SAMMI pressure spec. The casing head space was within spec on the remainder of the rounds, and the spent casing show my rifle head spacing is within spec as well. The spent casing did determine that I've got a tight chamber. It isn't out of spec or near being out of spec, just tight.

    So, the conclusion they came to was nothing definite. Either there was a soft case head, there was an overcharge or the dirt in the chamber combined with the already tight chamber cause an over pressure. Either way, they are sending me some new ammunition.

    Overall, this process has been easy and Hornady has been great to deal with. If I have problems with the next set, they told me to call them back and we'll work from there. I was a Hornady fan at the beginning of this, and I am still a Hornady fan at the end. They kept me informed through the process, and we easy to deal with. I'd recommend them highly.
     
  11. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    Good to hear DS. Sorry you haven't reached a definitive conclusion as to the cause though. :(
    Keep us posted!
     
  12. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    I had a .270 round do nearly that exact same thing when I was sighting it in in 1997. It was factory Federal 130gr ammo, blew the primer out, was difficult to extract and broke my ejector pin. I kept all the empty cases I ever fired from my .270 and am now reloading them. Nearly all the Federal cases from that timeframe have loose (still usable) primer pockets. There are a few I've had to throw out even though they'd only been fired one time. To this day, I won't buy Federal ammunition, and have never seen nor heard of this happening to anyone else I know.
     
  13. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    This was either a defective round, or a defective case. I am guessing this rifle is based on a savage 10 action. (which is why the extractor is held in by a ball detent)

    I shoot one in .308, and was doing some testing a while ago with 220gr matchkings. I was using IMR4350, which was kinda've a stretch for this cartridge. And using federal gold match casings, I was getting high pressures and blown primers. It didn't happen every time, but after it happened twice I abandoned the load.

    There are two things which will cause this problem, the first is an excessive load, which is the simplest and most common cause, the second would be a case with a soft head, which usually happens by the batch, so a single bad one is incredibly unlikely.

    In the case of a squib, it will almost always result in a bulged barrel, and typically a very dramatic case failure. The case head will liquify and the brass will begin to flow out through gaps between the bolt and the reciever (which is why there are those holes on the sides of the reciever). Typically, this situation will ruin the gun.

    As far as dirt in the chamber goes, it could have been rust (it doesn't look like you have a chrome lined bore/chamber) but again, dirt is the most likely culprit, as it sticks to oil and grease. However, neither rust, nor dirt would contribute to your problem. However, if you have grease or an excessive amount of a thick lubricant in your chamber that can cause problems as it will prevent the brass from expanding into the chamber and sealing it, but it will also allow the casing to push against bolt face, dramatically increasing the force. If you are interested in this topic, there are some rather long articles on it in "Hatcher's Notebook" in the chapter talking about miltary national match ammunition.

    I hope this information helps. Frankly, this doesn't sound like an issue with the gun but the ammunition. Coming from a background as a commercial loader, we do everything we can to make sure every single round that we load is exactly what we say it is, but when you load millions of rounds a year there is always the potential that one cartridge will do something you don't expect in a dramatic fashion.
     
  14. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to update the thread. Hornady said at the end of this process, they were out of stock at the factory of the 22-250 ammunition, and would send me some as soon as they refilling their stock. I knew it was going to be some time, so I kinda forgot about it. Well about a week ago I received an email from Hornady telling me my ammunition was on the way.

    Yesterday I received a package from them, complete with 2 boxes of ammo!! So, I am a happy customer. I haven't had a problem with the rifle since and am loving it every time I shoot it. A friend from work shot it too, and after never picking the gun up, shot a nice 3" group at 200 yards. Looking forward to many year to service out of this gun.
     
  15. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As I speculated, Hornady WAS "intensely" interested.

    We that deal frequently with firearm/ammunition/accessory companies frankly are spoiled: There are few (if any) industries nowdays that treat customers as they should be treated: as many or most companies treated customers in days gone by.

    Hence, when we make an honest purchase of a product or service (outside the firearm trade), and that product does not live up to its representation, and then when we attempt to recover satisfaction and are denied, we suffer a form of "culture shock". (Or at least I do!)

    Stories of firearm/accessory companies not stepping up to the plate are in my experience very few. Conversely, in my experience, distasteful experiences with other companies are becoming ever more frequent, if not the norm.

    Sales persons and representatives of non-firearm related companies/businesses look at me like I'm from another planet when I point out to them a failure of a product or obligation and expect them to make it right. Maybe they have a point: "I AM CUS-TO-MER , FROM THE PLANET MO-NEY PAID!" I usually end up convincing them the hard way that resistance is futile.
     
  16. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    You really need to slide a NO go gauge into that chamber! Your headspace may be right at the top end of being in spec, or .0005 into the NO go zone. Slight variations in brass and a slightly out of spec chamber will give the same results.

    A shallow chamber will not cause the primer to blow, but a shallow chamber will cause the bolt to close tight.




    Also what did the sides of the empty case look like?
     
  17. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    The sides of the case look just fine, and I haven't had any other problems with the ammunition. Hornady measure my spent casing I sent back and they are withing SAAMI spec. I also placed a piece of scotch tape on the case head and the bolt would not close without being forced. The bolt closes smoothly over all the ammunition I've shot before and since. I will be getting a No-Go gauge when I do my barrel swap, so I'll drop it in just to see what happens.

    Personally I think it had to do with the gun having a tight chamber and the chamber being dirty. There may have been some minor defect with the ammunition which added to the previous, but neither I, nor Hornady can pin it down. Either way I have complete confidence in both the gun and Hornady.
     
  18. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    I'm with you on the debris for extraction, but, not the blown primer. That's an overpressure sign, and could result if the bullet contacted the lands prior to firing.

    These things are tough to diagnose.