JavaScript is disabled
Our website requires JavaScript to function properly. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser settings before proceeding.
Messages
1,534
Reactions
3,363
Last Sunday myself and two good friends made a trip to a local range. Rifles and pistols. I've loaded for rifles but not handguns. I have a S&W 9MM EZ that I've put 300/400 flawless rounds through.

After rifle shooting I shot the EZ. On the first mag the 5th round blew the pistol up, totally destroyed. Boogered up my hand, bruised my cheek bone and chipped the right lens of my safety glasses.

I was a very fortunate guy having those glasses on. I was not so bright shooting handloads that I now realize I don't know where they came from. I only had one mag load (8 rounds) of these. The

rest of the 9MM ammo with me was factory. After going over this with some folks at the range it has the appearance of firing when not completely chambered. I did pull the trigger. There were 3

rounds left in the magazine. Pulling the 115g JHP and measuring the powder showed it contained 5.7 g of a rather fine granular powder almost black in color. I'm interested if someone can

identify the powder based on this description. This could perhaps identify a too hot load. Another thought that I could use some advice on is that I'm aware that a deep seated 9MM can raise

pressure significantly, but I don't know by how much. Any experienced comments are very welcome. Thank you . . . . .
 
I never shoot another person's handloads!
I paid for this wisdom the hard way.

As far as I know there is no way to identify the powder short of lab analysis.

Improper neck tension can lead to setback during chambering, and this can have a catastrophic effect, causing extreme pressure spikes.
 
First glad to hear you were not badly hurt. As mentioned I doubt anyone can tell you what the powder is by looking at it.
2nd I also will not shoot loads I do not know. Back when we could not order ammo buddy used a mutual FFL to order a large lot of .45 reloads off an ad. I warned him not to. The stuff was crap. Then he did not want to just pull the slugs and take the loss so he was trying to "use it up". One round blew in his new Detonics. Took out the guts of a mag, both grips and sent him to the ER to have some scraps of brass pulled from his hand.
One of the Mods here lost a nice old rifle this way not long ago. So take it as a lesson learned. Don't shoot loaded ammo you do not know where it came from and can not fully trust.
 
Pulling the 115g JHP and measuring the powder showed it contained 5.7 g of a rather fine granular powder almost black in color. I'm interested if someone can

identify the powder based on this description. This could perhaps identify a too hot load.
Glad you hear you are okay given the possibilities. With just a cursory review of 9mm 115 gr data, 5.7 gr is going to be over max for many powders. For something like 700x it is a double charge (what you have is unlikely to be 700x as it is more of a flake powder). Were all three remaining at 5.7 gr or did they vary?
Another thought that I could use some advice on is that I'm aware that a deep seated 9MM can raise

pressure significantly, but I don't know by how much.
A lot. Especially with 9mm. If the bullets were not fitted tight and press in during loading this can cause increase pressure due to push back as well. Increased pressure depends on the load, bullet design and how much set back.

Thanks for sharing your story as a reminder to us all.
 
Yup, pull and measure all 3.

I am using Titegroup these days and have to be very careful since a double charge can easily be fit into 9mm cases.
And that is exactly why I never use Titegroup anymore.
I use powders that almost completely fill the case as a safety measure.
 
Glad you're ok.

Only handloads I've trusted from someone else are the ones my wife made. I know for a fact that they've got a +/- 0.2 max difference. They were made on an AP press, so you can't double charge it.

As for the powder, if it was over charged and blow the gun it is possible that it there was some powder leftover. If there was I'd guess it was a Magnum type powder like h110 and w296 but that's just a guess. As for ID-ing the powder, specifically more details would be needed to make a better more educated guess. As there are several powders that are the same type(ball, flake, extrud etc.) best you'll get it type by it does narrow down the options.
 
Only a guess what it could have been being they were unknown hand loads. Many things cause over pressure like over charge, double charge, 9mm major load, mix up on type of powder, hot load with set back bullet, bullet size too big, hot load with bullet jammed in lands. There is also mechanical things that can blow casees. Too light a spring can cause the barrel to unlock too soon and blow a case. Anything that can cause the cartridge to fire partially out of battery would also blow a case.

The pistol damage can indicate o few things. Double charges likely would split the chamber and can bulge the slide. Hot loads or other causes that would run you over pressure, but not Hiroshima over, will blow the case and can crack poly frames and blow mag bases.
 
Couple questions for the original poster. One, did you happen to notice a more violent kick when shooting the first four rounds, indicating hot loads? Two, are you sure the fourth bullet that you fired truly left the gun or was it possibly a light load, causing the fifth round issue? Glad to hear you're OK after that incident.
 
A startling example of what shooting actually consists of. That is, controlled explosions occuring right in your hand and face. Which is just one reason some people consider firearms inherently dangerous. I will skip the part about someone else's reloads, you've already heard it.

Of course table saws are also very dangerous and people keep using those.

Not many clues you can try to go back to on this one. It seems that the person who loaded it isn't known, they can't check their bench to see if powders got switched by mistake, what components might've been used, etc. Plus who knows how long ago it was assembled.

One thing you can never plan on and that is luck. Which appears to have been with you on this one. Very glad to hear you weren't more seriously injured.
 
OK guys, thank you. I'll do that, pull the remaining two and measure. And I'll post. You're comments are all important to me. I know I made a mistake with anothers handloads. And catching a bit of flack for it, well I deserve that. Lesson learned guys.
 
What's a powder hopper?
This, it's what I've always known them as.
reloading_powder-measure_feature.png
 
The round(s) you pulled had 5.7 gr of x (unkown) powder but only the jesus knows what was in the kerblewie round. It's pointless to speculate.
True, the powder was unknown. However I gave a bit of a description of the powder that an in-the-know pistol handloader
might have been able to make a somewhat logical guess. What I really want to know is why it went off. Gun or handload.
The gun is going back to S&W and perhaps they'll have the time to go over it and give me an answer. It truly has the
appearance of a round not being in battery.
 
Most commercial reloader try to use a fast burning powder as it's cheaper to use less powder but it also makes it a lot easier to double charge a case.
5.7gr of W-231 = good load, 5.7 grs of tite-group = blow up.
 
I have gone to using hs6 in all my 9mm,40S&W and 45acp loads
The only cartridge I use win231 (hp-38) in is 380acp. A pretty good plinking load for 9mm is 6.0 hs6 behind a 124g bullet
 

Upcoming Events

Redmond Gun Show
Redmond, OR
Centralia Gun Show
Centralia, WA
Klamath Falls gun show
Klamath Falls, OR

New Resource Reviews

New Classified Ads

Back Top