I was reloading .380 ACP rounds the other night. Everything was going well. Then, I seated a bullet (95gr Ranier copper plated). It fit tight and when I looked at it the brass was bulged out where the bullet seated. I noted the brass brand (Federal) and set it aside. About 15 rounds later, it happened again. Again it was Federal Brass. It happened a third time and yes, it was on piece of Federal brass. So I started culling the Federal brass as I came across it. The other three brands of brass load fine (PMC, Sellier&Belliot, and Winchester). This is my first experience with Federal brass in handgun or rifle. I shot and picked up the PMC and Sellier&Belliot brass. I scrounged the Federal and Winchester.
I am not going to shoot these bulged rounds. But I am curious. Has anyone run into this kind of problem before? Is this due to the brass or the bullets?
I reload and shoot Fedral brass all the time in 9mm. It could be that the brass you had was all from the same lot and or it was Federal brass that had been reloaded a few times and left behind because it was used enough.
I cant say just what I think I don't do .380 I do 9mm
1. If the seated bullet bulged the case, was the bulge below the bullet, as if the case had been crumpled as the bullet was pushed down into it?
2. Or was the case bulged only around the bullet itself, as if the case had been too small in diameter, and the bullet had expanded the case as the bullet was pushed down?
• In both cases, the first thing I'd look at would be the bulged case's headstamp: Is the case really a .380 ACP case, or is it something else (maybe even a .32 ACP?) that had been mixed into your .380 brass by mistake?
• If it is indeed a .380 case, and the bulge is below the bullet (see #1, above), then the brass in this case is weak. Dismantle the round and discard the case.
• If it is indeed a .380 case, and the bulge is only around the bullet (see #2, above), then the case had been fired from a chamber that was at the small end of the allowed diameter range, it never got resized because it was too small to be affected by the resizing die, and the entry of the bullet sized it outward to a more appropriate diameter. Such a "resized" case is safe to fire.
If the case length varies significantly between the Federal and other cases you may simply need to back off a bit on your crimp.
I am operating on the premise you are cleaning and resizing the cases which should remove any issues regarding chamber size of the gun they were fired in previously.
Since pistol resizing dies do not include an expander button, an undersize case would not be resized or otherwise affected by passing it through a pistol-case resizer.
Originally Posted by TOF
Later, the case mouth would probably be slightly expanded to ease bullet entry, but still the rest of the case body would remain undersize.
Thanks for bringing up case-length and crimping issues. I wish I'd thought of that.
Thanks for all the replies. I have ascertained, since my last post, that the bulge is not occuring when seating the bullet but rather when I am flaring the case mouth slightly to hold the round for seating. I flare it just enough to hold the bullet.
Steve M1911A1: They are .380 cases. A .32 interloper was my first thought also.
TOF: I am cleaning and resizing the cases before this happens.
I measured the the ID of the Federal and PMC cases and the Federal was .001 smaller than the PMC. My notes are at home and I don't remember the exact dimensions. I am suspecting that this may be the issue. I will mic the different brands of cases ID and OD and length and get back to you.
Sorry it took me a while to respond. My plant has been in an outage and I been putting in a lot of overtime. Thanks for the help.
If your brass gets its bulge when you flare the case mouth, in preparation for seating the bullet, then either the die that flares the case mouth is improperly adjusted, or your cases are grossly too long.
Since your cases are most likely not too long, I suggest that your case-mouth-flaring die needs to be carefully readjusted.
Case mouths need very little flare: just enough to ease insertion of the bullet, so it won't wobble as you slip it into the seater die.
This. It sounds like WAAAY too much on the expander die. It needs to be where you can just barely feel it with you fingernail. If it is your brass, you may have to start sorting and making separate batches. I wouldn't go through the hassle of trimming it either.
Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1
Same here, although I had a similar issue. I followed TOF's advice when I began reloading. I decap resize and re-prime about 500 rds one night. Then the next night I'll reload with powder and bullet. I started having issues with fail to extract with my M&P 9 Pro. Not consistently, but 5 or 6 rds out of 100. I started using a case gauge after the priming sequence and then again after the reload sequence. I found that while the case check was good on all the cases after priming, after loading, I consistently had the CBC cases swelled (below the bullet) to where they wouldn't go into the gauge. Only the CBC cases, all others were good. Figured the QC wasn;t so good on these cases so I culled all CBC case out of my mix. Problem solved. Have not had a FTE since. I used to, every now and then, try a CBC case and have the same results. I don't even mess with them anymore. Funny thing, I was shooting an IDPA match with a guy that normally shoots IPSC. He had a fail to eject during a match. I asked him if he was using reloads, Yep he says. I asked him if he still had the case, guess what, a CBC case. Just FYI.
Originally Posted by recoilguy
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