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Thread: Scare on Savage 99

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    May 2006
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    Fort Worth, TX
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    Scare on Savage 99

    Took my Savage 99 in 300 Savage to the range today and had the first (and only) round split the case in several places. I had not shot it in some time. Please help me determine what went wrong and what to do next.

    Load:
    300 Savage
    150 Gr Hornady Interlock Bullet
    CCI LR Primer
    Rem UMC Case
    2.6000 COAL
    Loaded 2x -- I had written a question mark on here as I wasn't sure how many times it had been loaded. Most all of the brass I have from factory loads. I think I may have bought some unfired factory brass. It's possible I have some brass I have traded for, but I'm pretty sure this is not it.

    Loaded 15 May 2012

    The shot -- I felt gas blow back in my face (eye and ear pro on) and got real concerned. Rifle appears to be fine, case ejected fine and had multiple lengthwise splits. Case head doesn't appear to have overly flattened primer or other signs of pressure. See pictures.

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    Shot impacted exactly where it should have on the 100 yard target (this is my pet load for this rifle) and chrono registered 2168 FPS. I have no historical data on velocity for this load (chrono is relatively new), but my Hornady manual says that load should be moving between 2400 and 2500 FPS, at least in their test rifle.

    Segregated the rifle and ammo and went on with my range day.

    Once home, I pulled the bullets on three cartridges from the same box. Charges were 36.5, 36.4 and 36.6 gr and all bullets 150 Gr. Measured the cases without bullets -- all within min / max length (1.863, 1.8625, 1.861, min is 1.861). I can't guarantee its IMR 3031, but it looks like it.

    I can't feel any incipient case head separation when I scrape a dental pick on the inside of the case head.

    The fact that it impacted on the target as expected and wasn't screaming at something in excess of 3000 FPS makes me think it was not an overcharge or a powder mistake. I think it's easy to blame something or someone other than me, but what makes sense is a case defect or one that has been shot too many times.

    Three questions:

    1) What other relevant information might I provide to help the diagnosis?
    2) What might have happened here?
    3) What should I do next?

    All help is greatly appreciated.

    Josh

  2. #2
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    If it is 3031, you are well within the normal limits. My Lyman 49th shows 35-39 grains with a 150 gr jacketed bullet. I suspect a bad case, but I think I would still pull the remainder down and start with new brass...that's what I would probably do anyway. Incidents like that are a bit scary.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    That case is probably 50+ years old. I suspect a chemical reaction between the powder and the brass. I have some old Win. 348 brass that is doing the same thing. Mine is mostly split necks but on occasion I get the same thing you are getting. I too have taken apart a few rounds and can find no defect in the case, until fired. I think, and I may well be wrong, that Rem. stopped using the Rem-UMC headstamp on rifle cases in the 60s. Like ShooterAZ, I would find some new cases and discard , at least the UMC cases. Someone can correct me on the dates for Rem-UMC rifle cases.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master starnbar's Avatar
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    That is a bad piece of brass had the same thing happen to me but like was said in an earlier post pull the rest and check the weight of the charge and be sure the powder you used was correct never have more than one powder on your bench when reloading.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I think the factory ammunition I bought in 2005 when I got the rifle was marked Rem UMC, but I could be wrong.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Any idea how many times that case has been loaded and sized? Its an older case so several things may be contributing. loaded and fired to the point of being "tired", Age hardening, and maybe just a bad piece of brass. Some separations are hard to feel at times, I would section the failed case head from base up 3/4" or so with a saw. This will allow you to see what it was on the inside easily. A bore scope is great for inspecting the cases insides for separations and burrs around flash holes.
    With the looks of the primer I don't think there was a over pressure issue going on with the load. Or a problem with necks gripping to tightly, Pressure bonding or corrosion bond.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    My records say this was the second time it had been fired. I have a note on the label that might be more than that, but not many more.


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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I'm 60 and that brass is older than me probably. Pull it down and deprime it, polish the cases and look inside for pitting. If there's none, anneal the necks and reload them with mild loads. Or buy new brass, or reform 7.62/.308 to .300 Savage.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    I recently had a Winchester 30-30 factory load give me a case split right behind the shoulder. I had to use a brush to push out the piece left in the chamber. Not all brass is made the same.

    DEP

  10. #10
    Boolit Master redhawk0's Avatar
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    How do you store your ammo? Is it laying on its side...or upright (base down) Maybe there was some contaminate inside the case that reacted with the powder over the last 7 years that caused some internal corrosion or structural weakness.

    redhawk

    The only stupid question...is the unasked one.
    Be Alert....we need more lerts.
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    If more government is the answer, then it was a really stupid question. - Ronald Reagan

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Markopolo's Avatar
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    This right here may be a clue....

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I see that often in old brass cases. I do Not shoot them. Itís probably just me, but makes me feel that there are weaknesses in the case and the case is Past itís Prime. Lots of folks do shoot them, just not me.

    For me itís like culling boolits. I have learned to be very critical to get results. Itís the same for me in all my reloading, if I even wonder it something is ok, I pitch it. If I ask the question, get rid of it. Itís just My rule for Me. Many others may not feel that way, thatís their rule for them.

    Have a blessed day
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    In military ammunition that is termed an K split and a critical defect. Pull the bullets and toss the brass. While corrosion may be a contributing factor age hardening is also an issue and cannot be determined by visual inspection.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Are you sure about the age of the brass? I have had brass that was formerly fired with mercuric primer crack like that. If it is a mercury contamination, you are lucky as that kind of failure can be dramatic and catastrophic.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Rick Hodges's Avatar
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    I once owned an old military surplus 95 Mauser in 7mm Mauser. I bought some old surplus ammo for it. About every third case would do that....one or more small vertical splits above the web. I was young and stupid and fired them anyway. It was before I reloaded so I tossed the cases. Neither the rifle or me were any worse for wear. I was lucky.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    "That case is probably 50+ years old."

    That's the problem, it's just old and has gotten brittle. Nothing wrong with the load. You need to use some newer cases. I've had the same happen to numerous old Rem-UMC 308W, 30-30 and 7x57 cases.
    Larry Gibson

    ďDeficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.Ē
    ― Nikola Tesla

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    rockrat's Avatar
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    If you need new cases, I think my LGS has some new in the bag (ww)

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Sig556r's Avatar
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    toss the batch...if you have to second guess, not worth it

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I once had a similar occurrence with a handload. I felt it was a kind of corrosion that sort of ate its way through the case; even though my case wasn't that old. Though maybe I shouldn't have, I shot the siblings to the failed case and had no more problems. This was .308 Win. in a Win. Model 88.

  19. #19
    Banned
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    Lucky it was not an open breech Winchester or Marlin ! IMO if you are running warm loads in a 300 99, like my 130 TSX, 4198 one that clocks 3000 fps, I avoid "banging the shell holder" FL sizing. ALL my hunting loads get NEW brass and reloads are limited to 3 reloads with full power loads. Then they become cast boolit light loads. $ to a dime that brass has internal issues and was sized to min and shot in max chamber.

    BRASS IS CHEAP !

    If you want really strong cases, get LCNM 7.62x51, form them to 300s and modify your charges accordingly.

  20. #20
    Banned
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    " I can't guarantee its IMR 3031, but it looks like it. "

    "Loaded 2x -- I had written a question mark on here as I wasn't sure how many times it had been loaded. Most all of the brass I have from factory loads. I think I may have bought some unfired factory brass. It's possible I have some brass I have traded for, but I'm pretty sure this is not it."

    LOADDATA says:
    150 Speer SP IMR IMR-3031 38.5 2,575

    Remington brass has been marked "R-P" for a very long time. "REM-UMC" is collectors brass.

    IMHO O.P. needs to improve record keeping and avoid shooting ammo he has incomplete records for.

    Glad he was not injured !

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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