Powder didn’t burn?

Helidriver

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I went to the range today to break in a new 6CM barrel. After about 25 rounds I had a round go “click”. My first thought was a hang fire, I’ve had one before. After 1 minute I opened the bolt just far enough to see if the bullet was still seated and it was. Gave it another wack and nothing. Repeated again and nothing. I ejected the round and it had a nice clean strike. It looked no different then the other fired primers. So I finished my day without additional problems and got the barrel broke in and shooting nicely. I figured it was a bad primer. That would be a first for me after 20 years of reloading. I know it can happen but the plot thickens.

Once at home I pulled the bullet and noticed the powder was clumping like it was contaminated with a fluid and had dried. I also noticed a bronze color on about 20% of the powder. I inspected the powder keg and the remaining powder looked completely normal in both color and no clumping. The load was 37gn of H4350 over a BR-4. Once I dug out the clumping powder I noticed the primer had gone off. It was clear from the bottom of a new case. I removed the primer and confirmed it had ignited. Strange.

Here are my deductions. With 49 rounds of trouble free shots from the same powder and the primer didn’t have enough power to push the bullet out of the case it must have been a weak primer. I’ve never heard of that before but I guess it’s possible. The neck tension was .001 ish and the bullet pulled easily. My powders and primers are kept in the house at room temperature in Phoenix (low humidity).

Anyone have any insight on this? Like I said, 20 years and this is a first.
 

hafejd30

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    Likely that round got contaminated. Whether something left in there during a tumble process or after being loaded
     

    Helidriver

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    Likely that round got contaminated. Whether something left in there during a tumble process or after being loaded
    Could be I guess. The rounds were not tumbled or sized though. They were in the sealed Lapua box for the last six months or so before loading them on Sunday and shooting them on Monday. They were never really near any fluid that I can figure. The only thing I do to new brass before the first firing is run a Wilson mandrel down the neck with dry lube to open them up a little and make sure they are round.

    It did look contaminated though. I just can’t figure out how it was possible.
     

    KZP

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    Hmm, one other thing that comes to mind is if you had a drink with condensation dripping that passed over one of the cases. Or there was some kind of lubricant left over from the factory in that one case.
     

    hafejd30

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    Only other thing that comes to mind would be a round being in a cool place then tossed in a chamber on a hot/humid day. Possibly on a suppressed rifle. Allowed to sit in the chamber for an extended length of time and soak up moisture

    But you dripping sweat into the case while loading likely has a higher probability than that scenario
     

    Helidriver

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    Hmm, one other thing that comes to mind is if you had a drink with condensation dripping that passed over one of the cases. Or there was some kind of lubricant left over from the factory in that one case.
    No drinks on the loading bench. However, I never inspected the inside of the cases for anything that could have been left over from the manufacturing process so that is a definite possibility.
     

    Helidriver

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    Only other thing that comes to mind would be a round being in a cool place then tossed in a chamber on a hot/humid day. Possibly on a suppressed rifle. Allowed to sit in the chamber for an extended length of time and soak up moisture

    But you dripping sweat into the case while loading likely has a higher probability than that scenario
    Yep, possible. I’ve just never seen this before.
     

    impactaddict

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    I had this happen recently with CCI 450 primers and H4350 in a 22CM case. No wet tumbling.. Virgin Alpha OCD Brass.. NO drinking on the bench. powder was clumpy like you said, primer was "spent", and there was some charring? on the bullet.. All others in that string of fire were fine. I chalked it up to a bad primer.
     
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    Jefe's Dope

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    EXACT same thing happened go me except I was shooting 6GT with CCI 450s and H4350. I found the EXACT same results as you.

    I took a picture of the powder that came out of the case.

    IMG_0401.jpeg
     

    Helidriver

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    I had this happen recently with CCI 450 primers and H4350 in a 22CM case. No wet tumbling.. Virgin Alpha OCD Brass.. NO drinking on the bench. powder was clumpy like you said, primer was "spent", and there was some charring? on the bullet.. All others in that string of fire were fine. I chalked it up to a bad primer.
    I think it’s a bad or “weak” primer as well. Strange though that 4350 was used for you, jefe and myself. All with the same issue.
     

    Jefe's Dope

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    I think it’s a bad or “weak” primer as well. Strange though that 4350 was used for you, jefe and myself. All with the same issue.
    The 4350 I was using was old stock I've had for four years. I think it's just that many of us use 4350. I believe it's more likely primer related. Would love some old timer who's got years on the reloading bench chime in.
     

    Jefe's Dope

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    I’m guessing a weak primer or a partially clogged primer pocket hole.
    I blow all my cases out with compressed air after tumbling. And then they get loaded at that point. I'm fairly certain my primer holes are clear. But, I could be wrong.
     

    impactaddict

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    I have used SRPs for years and had never run into this before - usually close to max charge... I guess its good that the final charge weight will be close to max charge. First time for everything, thanks for the info.
     

    spife7980

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    I have used SRPs for years and had never run into this before - usually close to max charge... I guess its good that the final charge weight will be close to max charge. First time for everything, thanks for the info.
    Yep, thats why @DTubb was pushing the large primers so hard in the 6xc, when conditions get adverse in the cold with all the space for 30+ grains of slower powder in the chamber the ignition gets iffy with a small primer.
    He eventually broke down just due to market demand and offers the small primer but I bet he will still stand by his claim that the large primer is more reliable choice


    One thing is I would be certain that they are seated all the way down to the bottom of the pocket.
    Since I got the cps and have played with consistent ignition I noticed that one newer lot of cci primers (cant remember if its the 450s or 200s) is .005 shallower than another lot of primers Ive had a couple years. If youre seating to a machines hard stop instead of to the bottom you could be leaving them suspended in air and not really to the case ehad material or with any crush which robs ignition energy and can leave them with not enough anvil gap left for a good crunch and bang.
     
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    impactaddict

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    I do have a CPS and its funny that you mention that.. I believe this could have contributed as I made an adjustment during the next round of testing.. added a thou deeper..
    oddly it was the only one that did this…
     
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    Average guy

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    I had a very similar experience experience with a 6.5 creedmoor. RL16 and cci 200’s. All I could deduce is a weak primer. No contamination source found. It must just happen occasionally.
     

    savagemann

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    Weird stuff. In all my years of reloading, I can't ever recall a single primer not setting off. 10s of thousands of rounds since the early 1990s.
    Something to keep an eye on.
    I would have suspected contamination of some type for sure.
     

    Average guy

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    It was the second time it’s happened to me. On other time in a 454. Weird stuff.
     

    Helidriver

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    Yep, thats why @DTubb was pushing the large primers so hard in the 6xc, when conditions get adverse in the cold with all the space for 30+ grains of slower powder in the chamber the ignition gets iffy with a small primer.
    He eventually broke down just due to market demand and offers the small primer but I bet he will still stand by his claim that the large primer is more reliable choice


    One thing is I would be certain that they are seated all the way down to the bottom of the pocket.
    Since I got the cps and have played with consistent ignition I noticed that one newer lot of cci primers (cant remember if its the 450s or 200s) is .005 shallower than another lot of primers Ive had a couple years. If youre seating to a machines hard stop instead of to the bottom you could be leaving them suspended in air and not really to the case ehad material or with any crush which robs ignition energy and can leave them with not enough anvil gap left for a good crunch and bang.
    I did use a CPS to load that batch. I must admit I’m not 100% proficient with setting it. I’ve hand primed for the majority of my reloading years.