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Thread: Chasing The Blown Up Taurus Mystery. Here Is What I Have Found So Far

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Chasing The Blown Up Taurus Mystery. Here Is What I Have Found So Far

    Check the other thread to see pictures. On the theory which seems most plausible right now, I'm pulling ammo to see if I double charged a round causing the cylinder to blow up.

    First was re-calibrating my GemPro 250 and checking the weights against a different scale. All good
    I weighed all of the rounds and came up with a variation of 373.4gr-379.75gr. A double charge would have been 8.8gr which is about 2.5gr over this variation. That is 373.4gr + 9gr = 382.4gr
    Checking random Starline brass yielded a difference of 2.3gr from the same supply I used to load these. The brass is part of a 1,000 rd order from Starline.
    I then pulled the lightest and heaviest to test.
    Boolits variation was 4.0gr lightest to heaviest weight.
    Powder variation: .05gr Weight from 8.75gr-8.80gr

    I checked the powder as suggested. I pulled out the last fast powder I used which is ETR7. I shook up the Unique then poured a healthy amount on a piece of white paper next to an amount of ETR7. Both powders appear very close in looks but the ETR7 is gray and the Unique black. There is enough difference to be easily apparent under light. The unique from the pulled rounds and the bottle are uniform black so no mixing.

    OAL are all uniform. All primers well seated. I also tried 18grs Unique in a case allowing for a variation in the powder charge to 9gr and a double charge. The case is almost full as in a compressed charge would be needed to seat the boolit. It is so readily noticeable that you can see it under room light easily. Could I have still missed it? Maybe but unlikely since I was using a
    Lee Single Stage requiring each charged brass to be lifted from the holder then the boolit to be seated by hand then loaded and crimped by hand one at a time. Several steps from inspecting under a light to loaded to catch a double charge.

    So...where does this leave me? If you take a worst case scenario and use the lightest boolit, brass/primer you still come out 35% or so under a double charge. Could a boolit with a worst case scenario double charge using the lightest brass/boolit combination be picked at random from a case of 100 and blow up the gun? I guess but that seems far fetched as so far nothing indicates a double charge was in the rounds loaded and that random string of bad luck, a 1 in 100 bad boolit choice using worst case brass/boolits still being under the heaviest loaded round in weight is next to impossible to fathom.

    Next step is to pick 12 at random from the remaining and get out my trusty Blackhawk and shoot them over a chronograph to see if there are any velocity spikes or strange readings.
    Last edited by jonp; 03-24-2018 at 09:52 AM.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I've been following your threads with a great deal of interest. It seems to me that you are a handloader of lengthy experience, and I'd be more inclined to bet on a defect in the handgun. Unfortunately, as these things go, once the round is fired that does the deed the components are gone down range (or wherever they went!) and reconstruction is difficult. I did not see where the brass was recovered (?), and that could tell us a lot.
    Also, something which hasn't received much comment, is the photos posted by others showing destroyed handguns of this type. That fact, that yours hasn't been the only one, makes me wonder about the soundness of the design. So much more weight in that lengthy cylinder to be turned and reliably locked up by the hand and bolt. Much more chance, I would think, of the cylinder chamber being not quite lined up with the forcing cone at the time of firing, or not being locked in place and moving with the fall of the hammer. Interesting that the barrel has broken away from the frame in some photos. Anyway, I think you should be commended for coming forward with this situation, and whether or not the problem is isolated and solved, users and prospective buyers can beware. Thanks.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    The brass looks fine except for the lengthwise dent from banging off the cylinder. No cracks, splits, dents or holes. Looks like i could run it through a sizer and load it right back up. That is one of the reasons im doubting a double charge as the brass should be destroyed in that case id think
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    Boolit Master
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    Jonb - I missed that in the original post with photos. You're saying the brass from the cylinder that blew apart still looks good? That is interesting.

    I don't know anything about the Judge - but do the cylinder walls look any thinner than a normal pistol of that type? It almost seems like they designed the walls a tad too thin in trying to save weight?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    One of the first things I did was look at the brass and primers. Yes, even the one from the blown up cylinder looks fine with no signs of over pressure.
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    I just went to local G.S.
    Could not see any reason for that to happen now you say brass good still only thing could be obstruction in cylinder but said bullet hit target. you got a real head scratcher. That cylinder so long be like obstruction in barrel.

    There is a definate bulge when I went back to main post cylinders are thin still think obstruction like I shotgun barrel only thing could have caused that to rupture as it did
    Last edited by Preacher Jim; 03-24-2018 at 01:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    It's very odd that the brass is OK but the cylinder is torn apart. Is it possible a bullet was stuck in the cylinder throat when you fired off the round?

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    According to the OP, not all target holes were confirmed after each shot so I don't think we can rule out barrel obstruction yet. I'm also glad know one was injured.

  9. #9
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    I look to that long cylinder and think obstruction in it would make the most since not barrel

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    I also have a Judge that I carry for a snake gun when I'm out with a metal detector. It's a great piece for quick close shots when needed.
    This discussion made me look it over close to see if it has any noticeable bulges because I shoot it quite a bit but the main use is for the shot shell.
    One thing that has not come up in this discussion is flashover detonation that will raise a pressure spike in a hurry. A light load is just as dangerous as a heavy load, sometimes more so. In the .45 colt case the load of unique used is small enough that the powder can lay level below the primer flash hole and this can cause a detonation instead of a progressive burn especially if by chance a mag primer got mixed by mistake this will cause a dangerous pressure spike. This is more common with reduced rifle loads then hand guns. But one can guess all they want what happened in this case and never find the answer. The only way to get a good analysis is send the parts to a lab for tests to find out if there is a flaw in the metal.

  11. #11
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    Just conjecture, but if the brass looked fine "after" this catastrophe, and it has been confirmed that the boolit/bullet impacted the intended target, then it is very likely it was a defect in the cylinder.

    Hate to say it, but you will likely not find out anything more by yourself, since you apparently have "covered the bases" with checking the other ammo used, both by weight, checking charge possibilities liked mixed powder & firing in another firearm. Seems to me what is pretty much left is a failure in the cylinder either by composition, or a "stress fracture" that was unnoticed, or something else going back to the firearm itself.

    I am very happy, as I am sure you are, that it was something that happened without injury the way you have described it, and I hope it never happens to ya again.

    I have owned & still own Taurus firearms & have no issues with getting a good response from them when I called about something I needed to know. I am aware that the use of cast boolits & reloads voids their warranty, but I still do what I do because I do not hold them responsible for things that are not under their control, like the possibility that I, or someone else, does something wrong. Those who do not like them, so be it. I happen to like mine, along with the other makers of the firearms I own, I understand that there can be a "lemon" occasionally. by "any" maker of a product. ( Lymans recall of muzzleloaders recently, comes to mind) Which, BTW, is why I will not buy or fire a firearm without inspecting it myself, "in hand". I do not care to handle, or have, a "pig in a poke"...

    So, IMO, YMMV with any product ya buy & when I see folks posting immediately that it is the maker of the firearm that is the cause of an issue, simply because they do not think highly of that maker, I take such comments with a grain of salt. Sometimes it is not the maker, but something else that caused the issue. I guess it depends on if one is one of those "Chevy vs Ford/whatever" types of people, when others are, " I just want it to be affordable & get me there while I enjoy the ride" type folks. Takes all kinds, I guess...

    Anyway...

    G'Luck! if ya investigate further! If ya do decide to send it in to Taurus, even if they will not do anything to replace it, perhaps they will at least provide an answer about the condition of the firearm & the likely cause.

    Please share if ya do send it in & they give ya some sort of an answer. That would be nice to see how it works out & if the mystery gets a solution.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    If the brass didint explode from a double charge forcing the cylinder to blow apart it must be bad heat treat or metal in the cylinder. If the brass is still all together I do not see how it could be over loaded. The cylinder walls in the photo lookvVery thin I guess to save on waight. My be the brass would never show signs of over pressure if the cylinder was that thin. Don’t know

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I have a Taurus 1911 that is a fine gun so I have no bias against Taurus in that respect. I'm trying to cover the "bases" and after running some of the rounds through my Blackhawk I pretty much have covered everything I can think of.

    Just because the other rounds are fine does not mean one was overcharged or defective. It could have happened. After the inspection of the gun and brass not to mention everything else I've looked at I'm increasingly suspect of the cylinder of the Judge having a manu defect of some sort.
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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jniedbalski View Post
    If the brass didint explode from a double charge forcing the cylinder to blow apart it must be bad heat treat or metal in the cylinder. If the brass is still all together I do not see how it could be over loaded. The cylinder walls in the photo lookvVery thin I guess to save on waight. My be the brass would never show signs of over pressure if the cylinder was that thin. Don’t know
    If you recovered ALL of the brass, and none of it was burst, I personally would rule out an overcharge. I cant say I have EVER seen a blown cylinder where the round that caused the failure was intact. Cases are WEAK, and don't require much to let go if unsupported. If ALL the brass is intact and in good shape, you had a metallurgical failure of the cylinder. I would guess overly hard, and lacking the elasticity required. EVEN if your load produced 17K Psi, which I doubt with the tolerances and huge free bore, that's not a lot of pressure. My S&W snubs are probably as thin or thinner, and have digested a lot of rounds in excess of that figure. If the brass survived, the gun failed in my opinion.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Stainless steel cylinder was not heat treated correctly.

    If you were firing 410 shot shells at the same outing, the plastic has been know to separate and stay in the cylinder.

    If you had a tube of plastic ahead of the 45 colt chamber, it may raise pressures a lot.

    But you did say all brass was normal, with no pressure signs??

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    seems to me that if you are that close to max on your charge weight
    that you need to worry about components weight you are most likely
    treading very close to dangerous pressures already now if it has nothing to do with
    you,your loads or components that only leaves one thing, the gun itself
    Hit em'hard
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I thought I read in the first post that the case left a perfect "45 LC" imprint of the roll stamp on the frame? If it left an imprint on the frame it had to have had some pressure behind it. Maybe a combination of issues added up rather than a single cause.

  18. #18
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    Interesting. I will side with others on if the brass was still that makes the double charge less likely. I still love my Taurus fire arms but investigation of the judge fire arms may be in order to see if there is trend.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Sure looks like taurus has a problem. Wife has the TCP .380 but I wont buy any of their revolvers. Way back when they started selling in the US they had problems. Saw quite a few in the range, no LEOs I knew would buy one. Heard their QC improved but this is not the only taurus incident Ive heard of lately. Pretty sad as their revolvers look pretty good.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by arlon View Post
    I thought I read in the first post that the case left a perfect "45 LC" imprint of the roll stamp on the frame? If it left an imprint on the frame it had to have had some pressure behind it. Maybe a combination of issues added up rather than a single cause.
    You read that correct. You can read "45LC" perfectly on the frame with the rim clearly marked. Perfect casehead.
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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
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check