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catnthehat 01-08-2012 09:11 PM

Reloading BOO BOOs and incidents
Okay, Rocky 7 suggested it , so here goes!

Quite a few years ago I did something I shall NEVER do again- I had two lots of powder going at once in two different measures.
After charging 100 cases of .308 with Varget ( what else?:sHa_shakeshout:)
I went and dumped the powder into the 8lb. caddy that I had taken out
for it -I THOUGHT!:sign0161:
I proceeded to grab up a bunch of 300 mag cases I was loading for a buddy, set the scale, and dumped a bunch of H1000 in the measure.
I took a look at the caddy ( 8pounder as well), and freaked out, looked at the measure, yup sure looks like Varget ! Only thing was, the danged caddy says H1000!! CRAP!!!:sign0068::1041:
See, the problem was, had both caddies out, and refilled them with some new powder I had bought- 4 lbs. each in 1 lb. bags.
H1000 looks very much like Varget, and I could not for the life of me discern which was which.

I ended up dumping BOTH caddies, and pulling the bullets on the 308's as well, a pile of time and money , but a VERY big lesson learned!!.
Now I label the measure with the powder that is in it, I only use one at a time, and NEVER break out two different types of powder !!

Whiskey Wish 01-08-2012 09:30 PM

If Cat is willing to put one up then so am I.

A number of years ago I made a classic mistake that was warned about many times. I unknowingly substituted IMR 4831 for H 4831 powder. Didn't blow anything up but got some impressive over pressured cases and a 270 with huge recoil. And same as Cat I could not for the life of me remember at what point I had switched powders so I ended up pulling a bunch of bullets and dumping some powder. All my data showed all the pertinent info EXCEPT when I switched powder cans.

ishootbambi 01-08-2012 09:41 PM

ive had two silly ones. the first was tossing empty cases from 5 different guns into one box (all same cartridge--270win). then proceeded to load up a few hundred rounds for everyone, but the problem was that one gun had a very sloppy chamber. when the full length sizer went to the bottom, it left a bit of a bulge near the rim where the case didnt enter the die right where it contacts the shell holder. some of those shells wouldnt fit in a couple of the guns. not a safety concern, but it taught us something.

another was just a year ago. i loaded some nickel plated brass that my son had shot in his gun. i had never used nickel cases before, but reloaded them with the same load i have used in that gun for 23 years. the first shot, the bolt was slightly stiff lifting, so they were pulled and discarded.

the gun i saw explode at the range was similar to a story told here recently. a guy new to reloading used a load he read in a manual, but didnt realize the powder mattered. he also heard from a buddy that 10% safety margin was built into published loads, so added that 10% just because he wanted it shooting a little faster. the barrel split open with a bulge right in front of the chamber. it didnt hurt him, but scared the manure right out of him. i got there about 10 minutes after it happened, but i was told he was so scared he fell in shock and darn near passed out.

Rocky7 01-08-2012 09:43 PM

Damn, you do type fast Cat. I killed my thread and moved over here.

Here's mine:

Years ago when I was poor, I only had one rifle - a .270. I reloaded everything for it and that included 90 gr. hollow points for varmints. My buddy and I spent many pleasant summer afternoons exchanging b.s. and banging away at gophers as far away as we could see 'em. It was good practice.

I was reloading a batch of those hollow points one afternoon and kind of expecting a phone call later on. Let's say it was a phone call from a tall, blonde amazon with full lips and big blue eyes who could look you right in the eye and have her way with you. It wasn't, but let's say it was.

I'm in the middle of 50 rounds and looking forward to outshooting my buddy. Phone rings. Now, I KNOW that I don't answer the phone when I'm reloading. I know that because I close the door behind me and it is one my rules. Cue the blonde.

I leave and pick up the phone. Blah, blah, blah. Back to reloading. When I'm done, I make a thermos of coffee and arrange to meet my buddy on a ranch we have access to and which is polluted with gophers.

At some point in the afternoon, I line up on one about 350 yds away. It's windy so it's going to be a Hail Mary shot but I've got a bipod and lots of ammo and what the heck. I line it up, adjust, concentrate and slowly squeeze it off.


My buddy snickers. WTF. I forgot to chamber a new load. I tell him to bugger off and slam another one home. Gopher's still there.


I'm stunned. I wait and pull the bolt back, slowly...thinking I've got a hangfire. I see the brass and then see the end of a 90 gr. hollow point poking out the end of the brass. Cue Twilight Zone music. What the.....

I look down the barrel. It's dark.

Now I start to break out in a cold sweat. This no longer funny.

Thankfully, I had a cleaning rod in the truck to knock out the 90 gr. hollow point that was just stuck into the lands by the first dud primer ignition. That's the bullet that pushed back the one I saw poking out of the brass. When I pulled the first dud out, I had seen exactly what you'd expect to see - a spent brass with a fired primer.

I loaded exactly two - and only two - rounds with no powder. It happens I put them in consecutively. God looks after fools and drunks.

Since then, I never, but never, put a round into a box until I shake it beside my ear. I can stand too little powder. I can even stand too much powder. But no powder at all is really bad. That's the way I'm training my daughter to do it.

That's not in any reloading manuals I've ever seen, but it's a good last step IMO.

I carried that 90 gr. hollow point around for years. I always intended to get it gold-plated and make a necklace out of it, but somewhere along the line I lost it.

Hope that helps someone.


edit: And I don't take calls anymore, either. Big blonde or not.

catnthehat 01-08-2012 09:45 PM

[QUOTE=Rocky7;1247385]Damn, you do type fast Cat.
I have the fastest "hunt and peck system" around!!:sHa_sarcasticlol:

chain2 01-08-2012 09:48 PM

well, now that you mention it cat, its a wonder we survived our teenage years. My dad had all the stuff, except guidance and a case trimmer. we had a heck of a time getting bolts to close. Grinders files sand paper... He work away lots and zero support from anyone we knew. We likely wouldnt have listen at that age anyway. Things like two different powder in the trickler ,look at the fastest load listed and just load it. once we reduced loads way way down cause the 300 kicked too much...I left a buddy alone while I did chores come back he pushed 50 primers in backwards with the press...H instead IMR ,ahh heck no business touchin the stuff. we where just plain lucky...chain

Rocky7 01-08-2012 09:50 PM

Yeah, I've had that two tins of powder out thing, too. Not as much as you lost, tho, not even close. No incident, but some perfectly good powder went into the garbage. Now, if I'd read this first,....:)

catnthehat 01-08-2012 09:56 PM


Originally Posted by Rocky7 (Post 1247406)
Yeah, I've had that two tins of powder out thing, too. Not as much as you lost, tho, not even close. No incident, but some perfectly good powder went into the garbage. Now, if I'd read this first,....:)

It was hard thing to do , but had to be done, and I still kick myself every time I think about it.
That was more money in powder than some guys spend on a single rifle, but the alternative is a very sobering thought!

elkhunter11 01-08-2012 10:09 PM

I haven't had a major incident, but I have dented some shoulders from using too much lube. I have also pulled a hundred bullets because I changed powder lot#s without checking for pressure first. The new lot of R-22 resulted in sticky bolt lift, and an extra 120fps with the same charge. Now I load a few rounds and chronograph when I change lot numbers.

Rocky7 01-08-2012 10:14 PM

Now, there's something I didn't know. I THOUGHT I was getting some funny results with R22 earlier this year. Never thought to check the lots or that it would/should matter much. I'm going to do that in the am., just for giggles.

elkhunter11 01-08-2012 10:23 PM


Now, there's something I didn't know. I THOUGHT I was getting some funny results with R22 earlier this year. Never thought to check the lots or that it would/should matter much. I'm going to do that in the am., just for giggles.
I had the opposite results when I switched from H-1000 to the new H-1000 Extreme years ago. I lost about 100fps with the same powder charge. What really annoyed me is that the accuracy of the load went for a dump, even after increasing the powder charge to obtain the same velocity as before.

KegRiver 01-08-2012 11:19 PM

I've been lucky I guess, no mistakes yet.
Then too I don't shoot a lot. Maybe 40 or 50 centerfire a year.

I do shoot two or three bricks of 22 and a box or two of 22 mag, but of course I don't reload them.

The worst I've had happen is, I've had a few .303 cases separate on firing.
I loose track of how many times some cases have been reloaded and then I get one that leaves half the case in the chamber.
So far not a big deal to remove, but it makes me uncomfortable thinking about what could happen.

HunterDave 01-08-2012 11:40 PM

I'll take one for the team. :o

When I started reloading I loaded a batch of 22-500 test loads starting at the minimum up to the maximum. My third group in at the range my bolt seized and I had to step on the bolt to get it to the rear. Out came the casing, the primer and the extractor parts. Long story short.........I had used the data for 22-250 ACKLEY IMPROVED! Max load for my cartridge was 34 gr and the damage was caused at 38 gr. People will say that there must have been signs of over pressure leading up to the failure but I didn't see any. Except for having to buy a new bolt head I felt very lucky.

I would highly recommend that anyone just starting to reload seriously consider getting a mentor either in person or on a forum like this to guide you through the procedures and double check things for you. Simply confirming my data with members on AO or a reloading forum would have allowed me to avoid a potentially very dangerous incident.

32-40win 01-08-2012 11:42 PM

I've got a bit of powder that is 15-25 yrs old, dumped some 4831 into the scoop cup, got about 5 rds chg'd and noticed red dust in the clear glass cup, looked at the powder again and decided not to use it. Went thru the rest of the powder and found another pound, 4895, that was the same, red dust. Chucked those two.
I had a pound out of a hot batch of 4320 that was recalled, it got my attention on a load that was 10% under max. Had to knock the bolt open. Glad I was just starting on that load and running the string of ladder charges.
Most of my reloading booboo's are crushed cases in seating a bullet, forget to crank the die up and the seater down to start with. I've bent a couple of decap rods when the pin missed the whple also.
I also have some 30-06 cases I did for my BIL that were full length sized and seated short that would not let him close the bolt without a struggle. Could've been max die and min chamber, never got to check it out as he sold the gun.
Had hangfires a few times,bad primers, split cases and necks, and no powder once.

Lefty-Canuck 01-09-2012 12:20 AM

WOW total coincidence this gets brought up....I got a call from my buddy last night. He started by telling me to toss out my inertia bullet puller because he was using his to pull a bullet and the primer went off.....he didn't get hurt but he was lucky. The primer popped but did not full ignite the powder....I guess I get to buy a collet puller now! He is as experienced as the most experienced folks I know in reloading and it was likely a 1 in a million occurance.


super7mag 01-09-2012 01:01 AM

I let my 1 buddy, and my Bil use my reloading gear, they get there own supplies and the equipment is there. So I get a call at work my buddy wanted to come out and reload for his 15 year olds 270. I tell to go ahead, so he shows up at my place with the boy and supplies and they get started . He has loaded with me there several times and I have like 5 manuals right beside the bench, and he was using the new Nosler manual, sizing went fine, they chamffered and deburred, had them all primed everything going well. It is about this time I get home from work so I head out to see how he is making out. He is messing with the powder measurer trying to get it just right, he throws a load and weighs it I'm like whoa aren't you using H4350, his reply well ya I am on the starting load right here and he holds up the book........ 270wsm page was open. I razzed him pretty hard about that for awhile after, we caught it right at the critical time and I hate to think if I got home late or never questioned that load when I seen it on the scale. Always double reference any load data from any source on line or in a manual..

HunterDave 01-09-2012 01:19 AM


Originally Posted by super7mag (Post 1247631)
I am on the starting load right here and he holds up the book........ 270wsm page was open.

That sounds eerily similar to what I did except with 22-250 Ackley Improved.

nekred 01-09-2012 08:41 AM

Thanks for posting the boo-boos....

I really have not had one, had a few close ones such as reading a scale wrong (subr=tracted instead of adding) but caught my mistake which was within min max anyways...

However I cannot imagine how many i would have made if I did not have a mentor... i reloaded for my 270 years ago and the bolt would close tight always... then a buddy showed me how to ensure shoulder is bumped back and how important it is ti chamber the case to see how they fit... and it all worked very well....

When it comes to relaoding i am very finicky and careful to ensure I get consistency. i was taught to weigh every charge, after charging all cases with pwder to use a flashlight and verify powder in every case...

I was taught by some great mentors and as a result I have had excellent success in re-loading...

BTW all the things I was taught my mentors all had a story about the boo-boos... kind of like here...

TheRealMcCoy 01-09-2012 09:01 AM

Don't mix beer with target shooting!
One beautiful spring day I was out target shooting and drinking
lots of beer. I was shooting two different guns, a 243 and a 7mm mag.
Now how does someone chamber a 243 in a 7mm mag? But I did it and
it went off. I got blow back of smoke in my face the bullet went "whir"
off to who knows where. I had to use a cleaning rod to get the spent
243 case out of the chamber. It was split and bulged and the primer
was completely gone. No harm to the 7mm mag. It still shot good.
Beer and shooting don't mix and loading bullets and beer don't mix either.

Mike_W 01-09-2012 09:23 AM

Wow .... Now you guys have me worried lol.
I have been reloading for about 10 years and (knock on wood) haven't had an issue.
I think about the stupid ways I use to reload and I have Elle's a few shoulders seating bullets and crushed a few shoulders using too much lube.
I think it's important to enjoy reloading but to never be too confident or comfortable in what your doing cause that's where steps are missed and the double checks are sluffed off.


Chukar Hunter 01-09-2012 10:30 AM

I once confused the grains with 10th of a grain for a hot load and I was using 4895 which usualy hits pressure much sooner. In effect, I was loading 59.1 grains in lieu of 51.9! Thankfully,I noticed it at the end of the session and pulled all the bullets out. From then, I have posted a note in front of my bench saying :"Grains" to remind myself.

The other advise I have for some of the more inexperienced reloaders out there is to be very carefull with fast burning powders and heavy bullets in ALL calibers.

Yours in good hunt'n,


ShawnM 01-09-2012 10:42 AM

I just did almost the same thing recently. Had too many notebooks open at the same time and loaded up some .375H&H with WAY too much powder. (Varget funny enough). Managed to fill about 25 rounds before I realized what I was loading was for a 260gr Nosler instead of the 300gr solid banded I was actually loading.... Of course they were crimped too.... grrr......

saskbooknut 01-09-2012 11:23 AM

disposing of degraded old powder with rust colour stuff all through it and acrid smell (4831 I think) - in my backyard
I dumped it in a pile, almost 1 lb
I made a small trail of powder to it ( note to self : not nearly long enough trail)
I ignited the powder
I swear the flare went 25 or 30 feet in the air
Had lesser eyebrows and a bit of beard singe too.

I spread the powder out more if I am going to burn off degraded powder now.

32-40win 01-09-2012 11:48 AM

need to put powder in a bowl of some form to make a good flame like that, just about singed a couple of phone lines in the back alley doing that, a pound in a tobacco can lid. Did it with the two pounds I had to toss in Oct, no bowl, Boooo.
Still fairly impressive, but not as good as that first one.

lone wolf 01-09-2012 12:38 PM

reloading boo boos
I have crushed cases seating bullets, crushed shoulders using too much lube and once managed to get a .280 brass really, really well stuck by forgetting to use any lube.

Oh yeah, and one I found out about the hard way recently with my RCBS charge master........ when you are done calibrating the scale, change the units back to grains (from grams) BEFORE dispensing the first load ...... :sign0161:

260 Rem 01-09-2012 01:24 PM

Started reloading close to nine years ago, and was always looking for brass at the Range for a .308 Win. Often, I would get once fired stuff left by police Tac squad. Had some necks split after about 15 re-loads with yellow brass, and after 13 times with the nickel, discarded everything I had fired more than 10 times in the Range brass bucket. Several months later, a guy offered me a bunch of "once fired" nickel plated that he said he had picked up after police..and when I went to reload some, I recognized some felt marker indexes I had used to keep track of on the brass I previously discarded. Since that time, I only re-use brass that I can confirm is "once fired",,,and, before discarding, I now crush the necks with pliers to insure nobody else can make the same mistake.

Jamie Black R/T 01-09-2012 01:28 PM

somebody sticky this thread!!

im one of the few who is lucky enough to have avoided a boo boo so far....but a ton of great lessons shared so far...keep them coming.

IR_mike 01-09-2012 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by Jamie Black R/T (Post 1248085)
somebody sticky this thread!!

im one of the few who is lucky enough to have avoided a boo boo so far....but a ton of great lessons shared so far...keep them coming.

Excellent Idea Jamie.

gitrdun 01-09-2012 03:36 PM

I owe this save to my Chargemaster. Was loading reduced loads for the triple 4 using 10gr of Unique. I had 20 rounds in the loading block but Chargemaster showed 21. Using the digital scale, I easily found the double load. I've since avoided this mistake by not being distracted and switching to Trailboss for all reduced loads.

wwbirds 01-09-2012 04:07 PM

small rifle primer set a bit lopsided from handprimer
didn't look good in the pocket as if one side up and one side down. couldn't get it to press in any more so decided to try to pry it out with my pocket knife. Retrievers heard the shot and came running in the house looking to the sky for falling birds. I guess from a distance a small rifle primer sounds like small gauge shotgun in the house!

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