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Thread: 454 Casull Load Issue

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    Default 454 Casull Load Issue

    Wondering if anyone could help me try and diagnose a problem I had with some test loads in 454. I am using new Starline brass, Penn 340 gr hard cast lead bullet, Win small rifle primer, and H110 powder. Got load data as close as possible for weight bullet out of Hodgdons 2015 load magazine. Loaded some test loads starting at 22.5gr and up to 25gr. When shooting first group of 22.5gr, fired two rounds then third round nothing, like a bad primer? Did not hear a pop or feel anything other than hammer dropping. When tried to re-cock hammer, I'm locked up and trying to open cylinder is a no go.

    So I figure I have a squib stuck in barrel/forcing cone. Easy fix with small dowel rod at home to clear revolver. When I inspected bad round, firing pin is indented but not as much as other two rounds I shot. I pulled bullet to make sure there was a powder charge which there was? All powder unburned except for a little clump stuck together? My question is, what would cause it? Obviously powder is suspect though it is been stored properly, cool, dry, ect? Could a primer be under powered enough to not give proper ignition? Have yet to get back to range to fire other test loads. Only thing I noticed unusual about the bad round was the primer seemed seated fairly deep, but again it came from a 500 lot of new Starline brass. Thanks in advance for any insight.

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    What make/model revolver? Do your loads have good neck tension and a good firm crimp? Do any of the remaining three rounds exhibit bullet pull from recoil? What was the ambient temperature; was the ammunition cold?
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    Ruger Toklat. Using Hornady dies, heavy crimp as separate step after bullet seating. Only doing 5 round groups for testing, but other two rounds in cylinder still seated firmly with crimp holding.

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    I guess what has me puzzled is I always thought if a primer goes off, it is all or nothing. Is there such a thing as a bad primer/under powered primer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    I guess what has me puzzled is I always thought if a primer goes off, it is all or nothing. Is there such a thing as a bad primer/under powered primer?
    It's possible, tho doesn't seem likely in this case. It appears the primer ignited with enough energy to drive the bullet forward and lock up the gun, but not enough to ignite the H110. H110 can be difficult to ignite, especially when it's cold. From what you've described, it doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong. I assume you keep your primers cool/dry, and free from contaminates, don't handle them with bare fingers? Not impossible to have gotten a primer pocket out of spec and too deep, tho Starline brass has always been very consistent for me. Easy enough to confirm or deny that by depriming that round and measuring the pocket.
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    I will try that and see if that pocket is deeper than others. Just wondering if I should be thinking of switching to small magnum rifle primers? Really need some more range time with my other loads, but confidence for me greatly reduced when third shot of bear loads locks up revolver! Ugh! Thanks for your insight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    I will try that and see if that pocket is deeper than others. Just wondering if I should be thinking of switching to small magnum rifle primers? Really need some more range time with my other loads, but confidence for me greatly reduced when third shot of bear loads locks up revolver! Ugh! Thanks for your insight.
    I note that my old Hodgdon manual number 26 calls for Remington 7 1/2 primers. Undoubtedly you'll find varied opinions reference standard vs magnum... An interesting read: http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech...h_notes.htm/29
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    Good write up. Appreciate the link. I guess more testing is in order. Maybe it was a fluke? It was a minimum charge as best as I could figure from Hodgdon data. Their start load for 335gr cast is 23 grains and I was 22.5gr with 340gr bullet. Hopefully my other hotter loads will pan out better.

    I was actually looking for another powder option that would get me to about 1200fps, accurate and with less recoil. Maybe someone will chime in who has more experience with 454. I have some HS6, Longshot, and Unique on hand.

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    "All powder unburned except for a little clump stuck together?"
    How old is that powder?
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    Powder is definately under 10 years old. Probably more like 6-7? I have several more pounds of H110 bought within the last few years. I know it has been stored dry and cool. The clump was about the size of a BB and crumbled when I touched it. The remainder of powder was scorched/discolored?

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    What does the inside of the primer look like?


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    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    Powder is definately under 10 years old. Probably more like 6-7? I have several more pounds of H110 bought within the last few years. I know it has been stored dry and cool. The clump was about the size of a BB and crumbled when I touched it. The remainder of powder was scorched/discolored?
    I'm shooting powder and primers that are mostly older than 20 years. No problems. All stored in a closet in my den. (I guess I did my hoarding well ahead of the price hikes and limited supplies) I suspect the primer being seated too deep is the problem. Also, I always load the .454 with magnum primers, as I do with the .44 and .45 Colt.
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    I doubt you can seat a primer too deep. I think moving to magnum primers will probably fix things. As has been mentioned, H110 can be difficult to light. If you don't want absolute max loads 2400 is a very good powder that will give you almost max loads or can be safely loaded down quite a bit. The three powders you list will probably get you in the 1200 fps area safely although I haven't worked with them in the 454.

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    Thanks all for the insight. I think I'll make a switch to magnum primers and see where that gets me. I also may take a look at finding some 2400 on the shelf somewhere around town. I'm just speculating, but the primer indentation on the round that did not ignite powder would be less indented because there was no ignition of powder with resulting push back of the case head into the firing pin. The primer definitely fired and had enough force to drive a 340gr lead slug past a heavy crimp and almost all the way into the barrel (there was probably only 1/8 inch of the bullet left in the cylinder)

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    Quote Originally Posted by HUNTERKJL View Post
    ..........................
    I was actually looking for another powder option that would get me to about 1200fps, accurate and with less recoil. Maybe someone will chime in who has more experience with 454. I have some HS6, Longshot, and Unique on hand.
    If you can find it, I use VV N-110. 22gr. with a 340 lead bullet gives me 1219fps out of a 4 1/4" barrel.....

    Or another favorite of mine, IMR 4227, softer recoil than H-110........About 24gr will get you where you want to be...

    I've had a few of the no go H-110 as you describe.......lost confidence in it.

    Longshot powder in 45 Colt I like, and Unique for mid to light loads.... Have not tried HS6.....

    2400 and AA #9 works also..

    As a side note, I'd guess the throats in the Ruger are .455, most are that I have measured. I have 3 currently.
    Point being get yourself some .454 diameter or so bullets, if you haven't already. It will help to reduce leading................
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    If you can find it, I use VV N-110. 22gr. with a 340 lead bullet gives me 1219fps out of a 4 1/4" barrel.....
    VV-N110 is my pet load powder in Ruger Only .45 Colt loads, as well as .500 Linebaugh. (I do NOT use a magnum primer with it!)
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    Don't understand these new books. All my books show 28gr of 296/h110 as min load and we always loaded 31 to 32.5 for hunting. Pressure down the tube a 340hc is about equal to 300 jacketed. Light loads with 296/h110 can be worse the heavy loads for building pressure. My lighter 45colt loads with that bullet is 22.5 gr

    http://www.realguns.com/loads/454casull.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Don't understand these new books. All my books show 28gr of 296/h110 as min load and we always loaded 31 to 32.5 for hunting. Pressure down the tube a 340hc is about equal to 300 jacketed. Light loads with 296/h110 can be worse the heavy loads for building pressure. My lighter 45colt loads with that bullet is 22.5 gr

    http://www.realguns.com/loads/454casull.htm
    I agree, most likely not enough H-110. I also switch to 45 Colt brass for light loads in 454 handguns.
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    Yea, I agree with the load manuals. I have about as many as them as I care to buy! Hornady, Speer, Nosler, Barnes, Lyman, and Hodgedon, all newer editions as well as a few older. Most do not even list heavy lead bullets (other than Hodgedon and Lyman.) I guess one mistake I made was following the manual when they said use a Win Small Rifle primer as I have always used magnum primers with 110/296 in my 357, 44, and 45 heavy Colt loads. I was thinking for some crazy reason to use what they recommend and that the small rifle primer was hotter than small pistol? From what I have read, I guess a small rifle primer has a thicker cup, but might not necessarily be hotter than the small pistol variety.


    I loaded up some more test loads from 23-25 grains of H110 and used CCI 550 primers. Also found a pound of 2400 I didn't know I had on the shelf and tried some loads up to 22 grains. Seems pretty hard to find data for the heavy cast bullets, but at any rate from what I am hearing I am on the lite side of things with my loads? Hopefully will get to the range soon and see if I get better results. Thanks again for all the input, have not reloaded for the 454 before.

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    You need more H110 and mag primers.

    Did you mean to type CCI 450's? CCI 550's are small pistol mag. I use Fed 205's for 454 loads in my 454 Redhawk conversion. I can get light primer strikes on the 450's shooting DA. 205's are a little softer and go bang every time. No prob lighting up a case full of H110 or LilGun. I save the 450's for 5.56 and 454 loads in my lever gun.

    Get a dowel or something and use it to figure out how much H110 it takes to fill the case to the base of that 340gr boolit. Weigh it and figure that would be a max load. Back of some and shoot em over a crony and see where you end up. 355gr at 1300fps from my 4" Redhawk is plenty. It takes 26gr of LilGun to get there. More H110.
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