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Thread: Cartridge case has lead on the neck.

  1. #1

    Cartridge case has lead on the neck.

    I was experiencing some oddities when testing some cast loads in my 308 Win.

    When I inspected the cases I noticed some lead sticking to the necks of the cases. I'm at a loss, I can't think of what conditions would cause lead to blow back and adhere to the outside of the neck. I didn't notice it a first, but the necks had a little bit of discoloration so I looked at them with my eye loop. Tiny balls and streaks of lead, one case even had a bit of lead on the shoulder.

    I'll not load that combo again, but I'd like to know what conditions can cause this? Has anyone else ever experienced this?

    Other observations:

    • inconsistent report, some louder than others
    • some rounds a bit harder to chamber
    • some sticky extraction (probably the lead on the case neck?)

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    44man's Avatar
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    Did you flare brass? Are boolits hard enough?
    Powder and charge? Need all info.

  3. #3
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    runfiverun's Avatar
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    definitely need more information.
    it could be a combination of things too.
    the anneal on the brass, too much sizing, oversized noses on some of the boolits....
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Yep, more info please. Could be blow by from a too light load (case not sealing chamber) and case mouths not flared/chamfered...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  5. #5
    I was trying to use up a bunch of my slip on gas checks. I seated the boolits deep enough to cover all the lube, which may have left the gas check a little low. If the gas check came loose, making the boolit a plain base one, I can see the gases blowing by the boolit, pushing bits of lead that could be pushed into the gap between the case and the chamber.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    With very limited information, it sounds like you're not using an 'M' die...

  7. #7
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    it would blow the lube out first, unless your using an uber hard wax only type.
    you could be scraping lead away on a sharp edge of the case.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  8. #8
    I didn't want to cloud the issue with too much information.

    I do use an "M" die. They seem to work nicely, allow the bullet to be guided into the case without any shaving of the lead.

    This project has been an uphill battle since inception.

    I traded my B92 in 44 for a 1895 Savage, the 75th anniversary edition. It was in G to VG condition, with the addition of a globe front sight and a Williams peep the only changes. There was a bit of pitting on the bolt, but other than that it was pretty much un-abused.

    When I went to sight it in with some ammo loaded for an AR 10 project that was still born. Pretty nearly half of the cases came out with incipient head separation or had cracks.

    I have a FL die that sets the shoulder back a good 0.010" or a bit more. I borrowed a Lyman case length gauge, and 2 of my FL dies are now in the use for parts pile and a new LEE FL gauge has been pressed into service. Unfortunately my source of brass was tainted, over-re-sized to snot.

    My brother came to the rescue and donated some of his used brass. It consisted of some Nosler brass from Match ammo, and some Lapua that did not meet his weight sort criteria. That is it was in small batches. Lapua brass is pretty nice stuff, and once you consider the prep you don't have to do, the lack of rejects, and the longevity, it's pretty cheap to buy as well. I have a few more things to sort out, then I'll buy a box or 2.

    When I went to trim my FL sized brass with my LEE case length gauge / holder, I discovered that FL die #2 was good for making crooked necks. that's the reason for the second die in the for parts bucket. It came in handy to correct the off center decapping rod in my neck sizing die. So far the list of casualties is getting up there.

    My first reloads, jacketed, with a mid load of Varget, led to some more discarded brass. It was too soft, expanded like an overload in one brand of brass, but was OK in another.

    Round 2 was more productive, one 3 shot group @ just over 5/8 of an inch @ 100 yards. I was using the most accurate load for IMR 4166 from Nosler 8, 41 gr of powder with a 155 A-Max. I also had one shell loaded with 44 gr, a bit over starting load from Hodgdons. I only fired one shell, and after checking stretch (Savage 99 action is not without some stretch issues), I pulled the bullets and lowered the charge to 41.

    So, I had a good load to start from with jacketed, and I was curious if it would like cast bullets.

    I have 2 molds for 30 cal. a LEE C309-150-F and a Lyman 311041. Both are gas check designs, and I had a handful of each that I'd cast up a few months ago. I couldn't remember the alloy, but they are in the BHN 15 region. There were some already sized and lubed for my 30-30 project, that is on hold, and I have a few pounds of SR 4759 that needs to be burnt off, and I had a nice matched set of 20 Nosler brass. i was golden, or so I thought.

    I started off with the C309-150-F, picked a load of 20 gr of SR4759, and a F210M primer. This was just supposed to be a proof of concept experiment, it turned out to be a bit more complicated. Actually I decided to try another "concept" I was toying with. I had tried some mouse fart loads in my 7mm Mauser and to limit shoulder setback I drilled out the flash holes a tad, actually went from the standard 2.0mm to 2.5mm.

    Initial tests, offhand shots at the gong, were encouraging and discouraging. I had to get real close before I could hit anything. I completely miss guessed the trajectory. My cast loads shot a lot lower than my 155 A-Max load. Once I got that sorted out, I tried some of the 311041's and took a few case measurements to confirm pressures and stretch. It took a bit to sort out which dies to use, LEE FL, Lyman M and a RCBS seating die seemed to be a good fit.

    The 311041 load looked OK, so I upped the charge to 21 gr for the C309-150-F. I sent my son out to try them out. He's been my test pilot since he's old enough to shoot. I can't get him to reload, but he's good at test firing.

    His report back was: some of the shells are hard to extract, and they don't seem to hit that accurately. Of course he had fired all the ammo, so I had to reload a bunch more. but before I could do that I had to set up the 450 and gas check, size and lube some more bullets.

    On the next test, with me as the test pilot, sure enough, report wasn't consistent, seemed like erratic ignition or ??? Examination of cases revealed the dusting of lead on the mouth of the case. Pressure seemed OK, perhaps I'd outsmarted myself with the 2.5mm flash holes, did I need magnum primers, I was running out of ideas.

    I loaded up the same load, 21 gr SR4759, F210M and a C309-150-F. I went 5 for 5 on the gong, consistent report and no funnies at all.

    Fast forward a bit. Careful examination of the Nosler brass revealed a possible problem, at least it would explain the slight difficulty chambering the odd round. the Nosler brass had been outside neck turned, and over time and repeated firing, the end of reaming mark had worked it's way forward. With a bullet seated it was thick enough to make the last little bit of chambering difficult. So: crack out the old Forester neck turning tools and correct the problem. That little bit could help dislodge the gas check.

    After triple checking every pressure sign I could think of, I reloaded another 5 shells, Nosler brass, 21 gr of SR4759, a F210M primer and the same C309-150-F bullet, only this time seated out a bit more. One lube groove exposed, gas check fully supported by the neck.

    Test firing was uneventful, 5 for 5, no issues.

    In another post in this forum, that bullet C312-155-2R is a decent fit for the 308 win. I put that on the shopping list.

    Bore leading has been well within the acceptable region, easy to remove with a couple of cloth patches soaked in Butches Bore Shine. I am using Lyman Magic Orange and don't see any reason to change, unless I decide to try and only lube 1 groove.

    Hopefully gnostic can expound on the intricacies and pitfalls of the "M" die, I have a flaring tool, but prefer using the "M".

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I try to keep gas checks in the neck of the case and use a factory crimp die in my 308

  10. #10
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    nitro-ex: I had an issue with a large, V shaped lead streak on my 9mm cases. I wasn't expanding the case sufficiently and a small half moon sliver of lead was being shaved off when the bullet was being seated in the case. That sliver of lead accumulated at the case mouth. I would wipe each round off to remove this lead deposit when I boxed up the ammo. This all was happening before the internet, so it took me awhile to figure out the cause of the problem. When I began expanding the case sufficiently, the problem went away.

    I had a similar issue with lead shaving when loading 30-30's without the use of an 'M' die. I stopped seating bullets when I realized lead shaving was occurring and I bought an 'M' die.

  11. #11
    Thanks all, Nitro

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I did the same thing with .300 blackout. I need a flaring die for it.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    This needs a good shot of perspective. If it shoots well over a long string of shots, the lead on the neck doesn't matter that much. If it doesn't shoot well, the lead on the neck…..still doesn't matter that much. If you're not planning to use the combination again, the only reason I can think of not to do so is if it doesn't shoot well.

    In a practical sense, problem solved. Figure out if alternative loads do this, and if not, what you did differently. Problems such as this are difficult to diagnose, but giving us all that information was doing the best you could. You never did say whether the "uneventful" last shoot was satisfactory or had lead dust or particles on the neck. The "no issues" comment doesn't clarify….does "no issues" mean there wasn't a problem with the leading or accuracy? Both? If there were "no issues" pertaining to accuracy or lead dust, you may have got it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    lead on the neck ---

    High pressure, fast powder, go to 4895

    Neck turned brass, not sealing .

    Alloy to soft for the pressure.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I am by no means an expert but this has been an interesting read. The only bottle neck I load at the present are 30-30 and 8 X 57. But there are a couple of things that struck me.

    Your sizing dies were off. What I'm wondering is if whatever you are sizing the neck with is sizing the casings in a true round concentric dimension? May sound odd, but if the dies were off and it was just a smidgen out of round, and the expander didn't true it up, would you not have a micro area along the inside of the neck and the bullet that would allow gas to get by more than in other areas and thus possibly cause a little melt? Or maybe I'm all wet and overthinking it.

    How about the chamber in the rifle? You say you had some that were hard to eject, tight to get in, etc. - have you visually inspected it to see if it is all kosher? Again, I may be all wet but it may pay to have it inspected to make sure it is what it is supposed to be.

    All that said, and with no real expertise . . . if there was an issue with the neck being a little out of round or possibly even your cast boolet? . . . . I would try a Lee factory crimp die if you could borrow one and try it on some loads and see what happens. I thought I could get by without one for what limited shooting I do with bottle but some on here put me on to them and they make a world of difference. . . . an good even and consistent crimp completely around the neck. I also use the M dies and they work great. If you are flaring though, and not shaving when you seat and have good neck tension, I really don't see what will be gained with the M die but then again, it could possibly help?

    At any rate, I hope you'll keep posting your experiences and are able to figure it out.

  16. #16
    With the boolit seated so none of the gas check is below the inner neck, or unsupported, there are no issues with lead on the neck.

    I am using a slip on gas check, I have the crimp on as well, but I want to use these up. I read somewhere that the slip on type should never be seated below the neck, and I believe I know why, now. Expanding gases can find their way behind the cup and if there is any part below the neck, it just makes it easier for those gases to pop it off. Without the gas check, the boolit will be a plain base and the alloy will be too soft for the pressure created by the fast burning powder.

    I ran out of C309-150-F and so I started using some 311041. They get a bit tricky, in order to keep the GC in the neck, they stick out of the case. I didn't lube the top most groove on the boolit, hopefully that still leaves enough to get the job done. I also had to push them thru a LEE 309, to get the front band small enough so it wouldn't stick in the neck.

    It was a lot easier setting up the 30-40, now that's a long neck.

  17. #17
    My curiosity was too strong, just had to try something. I located app 20 cast, C309-170-F, so I sized them and greased them up. I used crimp on gas checks this time. I seated them deep, so all the grooves were covered. They lead, just like the slip on, a bit less because they were a bit harder.

    Productive day, I have a few more clues on my slight resistance felt on chambering, so all in all promising.

    I think that the short neck of the 308 win makes it a good candidate for PC'd boolits, unless I get these to work with just one groove greased.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check