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Thread: Does anybody know how to load blank cartridges?

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Default Does anybody know how to load blank cartridges?

    I want to load some blank cartridges and my experience with blanks is limited and my reloading manuals do not mention them.

    Assuming I want to use revolver and straight-sided rifle brass, are there any pressure issues with reduced loads? How are the ends sealed so that the sealing material does not become a projectile? Fast burning or slow burning powder? The powder must be easily ignitable as it could end up being far from the primer in a rifle cartridge.

    Any hints, suggestions, or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

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    Even commercially loaded blank cartridges produce a projectile(s). A lot lighter, less destructive and with far less range than a bullet, but within 10-20 feet capable of causing injury.

    The military blanks I used during training had the case mouths crimped shut and sealed with some kind of sealer, but produced very little, if any projectile.

    I read a thread on another forum a couple of years ago that mentioned a crimping die (similar to a bullet seating/crimping die for regular ammunition) designed for making blanks, so you might try contacting Redding, Lee, RCBS, Lyman, etc. They might also have loading data.

    Have you tried loading up a primer-only cartridge? They are loud enough to make your ears ring all by themselves.

    Black powder underneath a paper wad might be good enough if primer-only is not enough sound (though the smoke and cleanup might be daunting), or black powder substitute (i.e. pyrodex, et al) might work. But proceed with minimal charges and work up like you would with any wildcat cartridge.

    Smokeless powder requires a minimum amount of pressure to burn reliably, so a cardboard wad sealed on the mouth of a regular cartridge (without the special blank crimp, which would ruin the case for re-use) might not be enough and would result in the cardboard and sealant becoming a projectile.

    Good luck. I am not much help, if I had two cents worth, you would have had that, but you now have my half-penny's worth.

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    Blanks typically use a fairly fast pistol type powder or even a flash powder type derivative. They Army used to have a special blank powder produced and I've read the new spec is 700x... go find that spec on your own though as I've slept since then.

    Load data is pretty limited due to concerns with someone sticking a projectile on top of it and the ensuing disaster. Hornady makes crimp dies for making blanks if DIY is your thing.

    I'd think blanks should be pretty easy to find commercially due to use in Cowboy Mounted Action shooting.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    "Primer Only" loads can lock up your volver. They did mine.

    I think I'd incorporate some BP. Maybe, a card wad and wax to hold it in place.

    Dunno if it would work, but can't see why it wouldn't.

    Smitty of the North
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    The revolver lock up thing is caused by the primer backing out and having no bullet to push against , the case does not push back over the primer. This leaves the primer sticking out a bit and will lock up a wheel gun. The solution is to drill out the flash hole leaving enough to keep the primer from going inside the case. But now you have created a case that is dangerous to load with a bullet so they must be kept separate and never reloaded with a bullet. Load with black powder for some smoke and fuss and cap with a thin cardboard wad. Remember they are still dangerous at close range.

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    Drilling the primer is a dangerous practice. If you do drill them they must be kept separate and never put powder in any form in any amount in those with drilled flash holes. The flash holes work fine as they are with the black powder and a crimped case is just fine. If you want to shoot balloons and such you can fill the case with corn meal place a card stock weight cover over the corn meal crimp like a a standard cartridge (roll crimp) and if you wish you can seal the end using a q-tip dipped in hot wax and swirled around the inside edge of the case. Follow all gun safety rules.

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Thank you to all who have replied. I now have some good information to start. I have had a house full of guests this week and no opportunities to get on the computer to continue the dialog.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    The revolver lock up thing is caused by the primer backing out and having no bullet to push against , the case does not push back over the primer. This leaves the primer sticking out a bit and will lock up a wheel gun. The solution is to drill out the flash hole leaving enough to keep the primer from going inside the case. But now you have created a case that is dangerous to load with a bullet so they must be kept separate and never reloaded with a bullet. Load with black powder for some smoke and fuss and cap with a thin cardboard wad. Remember they are still dangerous at close range.
    OK, Mista BUCK:

    I tried my idea. I tried 357 with primer and 5, then 10 grains of BP, held in place by a cleaning patch.

    I did NOT enlarge the Primer Holes.

    Both made fine boom and smoke. Very exciting for 4th of July. And both LOCKED up my volver.

    WATTA BUMMER

    I think I better clean that volver right away.

    SOTN
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    Quote Originally Posted by redale View Post
    Drilling the primer is a dangerous practice. If you do drill them they must be kept separate and never put powder in any form in any amount in those with drilled flash holes. The flash holes work fine as they are with the black powder and a crimped case is just fine. If you want to shoot balloons and such you can fill the case with corn meal place a card stock weight cover over the corn meal crimp like a a standard cartridge (roll crimp) and if you wish you can seal the end using a q-tip dipped in hot wax and swirled around the inside edge of the case. Follow all gun safety rules.
    Yeah, dangerous to the extent, it certainly would require some precautions.

    This calls attention to how important Ignition is to safety. It's a good thing that primer holes, and primer sizes have been standardized, or handloading would be more experimental than it is already. What if FLs from the different manufacturers all had their own primer hole sizes?

    I was reading something by Elmer Keith recently, He seemed to think that the cause of, "SEE", (secondary explosive effect) was simply a matter of HOW the powder was IGNITED. As in ALL AT ONCE.

    He didn't theorize about powder blocking the barrel, or any of the various explanations we hear about.

    SOTN
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    Yep Smitty. You either have to enlarge the flash hole enough to keep pressure from building between the primer and the case or put enough corn meal or such over the powder to create enough pressure in the case to push it back over the primer after it pops out some. I haven't tried the corn meal so I only think it will work. The problem is, even corn meal could be dangerous at several feet. Drilling flash holes is dangerous IF THOSE CASES EVER GET LOADED WITH BULLETS. Like if you pass on and someone else gets ahold of those cases. I think I'll try a few with corn meal just to try it and maybe test at 5 and 10 feet on cardboard. It's not like I haven't done dummer things than that.

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    You might look into what the mounted SASS shooters or doing. The ones that shoot at helium balloons from moving horses. I know I have seen a couple different loads, but the basic premise is a few grains of black powder in an ordinary case with some basic wad to hold it in place- over an enlarged primer hole.

    They adjust the charge to get a pattern of burning BP embers about 3-5 feet wide 20 feet from the muzzle. They are actually burning holes into the helium balloons.

    Sorry I don't have a link. "Mounted SASS reloading" ought to google right up for you and its getting late for me.

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