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Thread: Oversize Flash Holes

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    alamogunr's Avatar
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    Oversize Flash Holes

    I've been processing some .45 ACP brass that I've accumulated. Some of it has been in the shop for years. I've been doing this single stage and semi-inspecting it at the same time. I don't look closely at every one, maybe every 8-10. Today I ran across some cases that seemed "off". I don't know why I took notice of them and there were only 3 and they occurred while I was sizing/decapping several dozen.

    In inspecting these 3, the flash holes looked oversize. I hadn't been looking at flash holes so I picked up a couple out of the already sized bucket. As best I can determine the flash holes in the 3 were 1/8" diameter. A number 30(.1285" would not enter) A "normal" flash hole was 5/64". This is as close as I could come with various size drills. I may be a little off since I don't have full sets of fractional, number or letter drills, just what I have needed in the past.

    All 3 cases were Winchester(one was W-W). The head stamp was no different than all others of the same head stamp with normal flash holes. I have several .45 Colt cases that have much oversize flash holes but these are head stamped BLANK. I don't remember how I found these but I've had them on a shelf above my loading bench for several years.

    I did not throw these back in the bucket but I am worried that there are more. Are these dangerous in less than max loads?
    John
    W.TN

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
    RedlegEd's Avatar
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    Hi John,
    The short answer is no.Larry Gibson did a pretty extensive review and experiment on oversized flash holes and found no evidence that they cause higher pressure or unsafe conditions.
    Ed
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'd shoot 'em.
    But I don't start at the max load and work up either.

    Somebody might have drilled them out to better shoot rubber or wax bullets.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I think I'm going to throw these three in the scrap brass bucket and move on. There may be more in the buckets that I've processed but, since I don't load to max, if there are a few in the mix, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Thanks for the quick responses. Since I'm confined to home, like a lot of others, I plan to do some loading until I run out of boolits and then cast some more.
    John
    W.TN

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Do those 3 cases look like recent manufacture? If so they may have been primed with a lead free primer.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30calflash View Post
    Do those 3 cases look like recent manufacture? If so they may have been primed with a lead free primer.
    I would guess that, based on appearance, that they were not recently manufactured. By that I mean in the last 5 years.

    On a slightly different note, I found one case that the head stamp was WIN NT and the flash hole was 5/64", same as standard flash hole sizes, regardless of manufacture. I have been led to believe that "NT" stood for non-toxic.
    John
    W.TN

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    There was a small coterie of indoor shooters using wax bullets. They drilled the flash holes significantly oversize to maximize impact of flash on the wax projectile. At the time they cautioned not to mix these with cases for live rounds as primers could back out due to the greater flash hole. I haven’t seen Larry’s research on the matter but would trust his testing if it included the very oversized holes mentioned.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Winchester made those almost 20 years ago. I believe they called the ammo WinClean. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. I've reloaded thousands of them, they work just fine.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dar View Post
    Winchester made those almost 20 years ago. I believe they called the ammo WinClean. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. I've reloaded thousands of them, they work just fine.
    Exactly! I have several of them in my supply and they work just like any other. My speculation on the reason Winchester did this was to get more of the primer flame to the powder for cleaner burn. They load and shoot just fine.
    Good Luck,
    Rick

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Read somewhere that while there is a SAAMI spec for brass dimensions there is not onefor flash hole size. Have seen a lot of variation over the years between makers and sometimes even in the same make.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master


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    From page 5 of the above mentioned thread. Two handgun cartridges tested as original test and topic of thread was with the .308W. Drilled Flash Hole Test; 44 Magnum and 45 Colt

    Completed the test yesterday 29 April, 2019. Test firearm was a Contender with a 8.4” barrel in 44 Magnum and a 10” barrel in 45 Colt. A 2.5X scope is on the Contender. All measured data except group size (ctc widest shots) was obtained via the Oehler M43 PBL. I had prepared 10 cases, as previously posted, for each test string; 10 with standard flash holes and 10 with the flash holes drilled out with a #28 drill. Winchester WLPs were used in all cases for both cartridges.

    Testing was conducted from the bench with a Hoppe’s Pistol Rest with the target at 50 yards.
    Temperature was 80 degrees.
    Humidity was 30%
    Barometric Pressure was 29.63

    44 Magnum;
    Bullet was a 429360 cast of COWW +2% tin, AC’d and aged 10+ days before sizing .430 and lubed with BAC.
    Cases were Remington R-Ps sized and loaded in RCBS dies.
    Powder charge; 22 gr of Alliant 2400
    OAL; 1.638

    With Standard flash holes;
    Velocity; 1622 fps (muzzle)
    SD/ES; 13/41 fps
    Pressure; 35,800 psi(M43)
    Pressure SD/ES; 500/1,700 psi
    Group; 3.1”

    With flash holes drilled;
    Velocity; 1599 fps (muzzle)
    SD/ES; 17/47 fps
    Pressure; 34,500 psi(M43)
    Pressure SD/ES; 1,400/3.900 psi
    Group; 3.2”

    45 Colt:
    Bullet was a 452-230-TC cast of COWW +2% tin, AC’d and aged 10+ days before sizing .454 and lubed with BAC.
    Cases were CBC 45 Colt sized in RCBS steel FL sizer and loaded in Hornady dies.
    Powder charge; 7.3 gr 700X
    OAL; 1.598”

    With Standard flash holes;
    Velocity; 1060 fps (muzzle)
    SD/ES; 7/23 fps
    Pressure; 16,300 psi(M43)
    Pressure SD/ES; 400/1,500 psi
    Group; 2.9”

    With flash holes drilled;
    Velocity; 1059 fps (muzzle)
    SD/ES; 4/15 fps
    Pressure; 16,000 psi(M43)
    Pressure SD/ES; 400/1,100 psi
    Group; 3.15”

    From the measured data we see there is essentially no difference in pressure between standard flash holes and drilled flash holes. Actually the pressure with drilled flash holes was less in both cartridges. Again the sky did not fall, California did not slide off into the Pacific and still no Trump collusion with Russians……

    Here’s the fired primers…..no difference in “flattening”…….

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Essentially, after thorough testing, there appears to be no detectable "danger" based on the size of the flash hole when using LP or LR primers at low pressures associated with handgun cartridges or high pressures associated with rifle cartridges.
    Larry Gibson

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

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    That is good to know Larry will save me some cases in the future I am a,if in doubt pitch it out kinda reloader.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I gave up sorting and/or selecting 45 ACP brass a long time ago. If I was still shooting in matches as well as I used to I would but for what I use the 45 ACP for [2 revolvers, 3 semi-autos, Contender and Rhineland M98] the unsorted brass is just cleaned then loaded on a Dillon SDB. I do "look" at each case as I put it in the shell plate for defects is all. I'm just not steady enough shooting a handgun off hand as I used to be so I can't make use of any "match" accurate loads anyways. Of course the once fired milsurp case with crimped in primers have the primer pocket swaged before loading but that's just a one time thing......they then go in the pile with the rest.
    Larry Gibson

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

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I hope it is OK to sort of hijack my thread. In going thru one bucket, I found about 3 dozen or so Federal +P brass. Is there any real difference between these and regular .45 ACP brass? My first thought was that the head stamp was only to identify the loaded rounds. This +P brass was nickel plated as was some other Federal brass w/o the +P designation.
    John
    W.TN

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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