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Are Bad Crimps Safe to Shoot?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Clayshooter25, Apr 18, 2011.

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  1. Clayshooter25

    Clayshooter25 Member

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    I reloaded some 20ga shells and a few of the crimps are poor. Is it generally safe to shoot these shells when this occurs? If not, is it ok to salvage the shot, wad and powder? I assume there is no safe way to remove an unfired primer.
     
  2. GW22

    GW22 Active Member

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    If they slide into the chamber smoothly, I'd shoot them. If it's significantly deformed, I'd pitch the hull.

    -Gary
     
  3. Clayshooter25

    Clayshooter25 Member

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    I'm floored - - only 1 opinion so far. Is this a case where no one wants to stick their neck out or does eveyone agree with the lone response?
     
  4. skeet_man

    skeet_man Well-Known Member

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    A poor crimp, by itself, will not turn a safe reload into an unsafe reload. My personal rule is that if it fits in the gun, it gets shot. Consequently I end up with less than a dozen shells over the course of 10K that end up going in the trash.

    If you really feel the need, you can cut the shell open and salvage everything but the hull. The primers can be knocked out, just don't go slamming the press around when you go to punch the primer out, but its almost universally done, and I've yet to hear of a primer going off from going off while being removed from a hull (and even in the VERY WORST case scenario, it does go off (which I'm not certain it could, because based on the construction of the primer, they only really go one way), you'd get a loud pop and that'd be it. Your far bigger danger is cutting yourself while your in the process of cutting the shell open, if you use a box cutter like I do (don't ask about the scars on the ends of both index fingers, and the one w/ 8 or so stitches in my left palm LOL, I'm MUCH more careful now).
     
  5. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Pictures would help.
     
  6. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    As I reload, the finished rounds go into a large tub. I then inspect each reload to make sure the primer is flush, the sides of the hull are not split, the crimp is correct and that crimp end is not "belled out". I discard any reloads with a problem and either shoot these in practice or cut them open and reclaim the components.

    A bad crimp in itself is IMO safe to shoot. However, a dished in crimp may mean a light powder drop and a protruding crimp may mean an excess of powder, shot or an improper wad.

    Last year, I started finding shells with alternating dished in crimps and protruding crimps. I cut open the offending shells and discovered that the powder drop was erratic and that some shells had very little powder while others had too much powder, which could be dangerous to shoot. I checked out everything on the MEC 9000G and found that a primer had somehow found its way into the powder drop tube. Depending on vibration, sometimes the powder would drop properly and other times the primer would cause some of the powder to remain in the drop tube. this was causing the variation in powder drop.

    I removed the primer from the drop tube and everything returned to normal. I then asked myself how a primer could make its way into the drop tube.

    Since the primer was unfired, I found out that if the primer feed malfunctioned and I dropped powder into a hull without a primer, I got a jam and a mess on the 9000G. If I then somehow brought down the primer seating ram with a correct primer drop but no hull in the primer station, the primer (Nobel Sport) would be pushed into the drop tube and hang there out of sight.

    I now, whenever have an interruption in the loading cycle, I check the end of the primer drop tube with the small end of an Allen Wrench to make sure that there is no obstruction.

    Earlier this year, I started getting "belled out" crimps when I switched from 1 1/8 oz. reloads to 1 oz. reloads. Due to error on my part, I was using a 1 1/8 oz. bar with a 1 oz. wad. The larger wad was causing the crimp to "bell out". As the resulting reload was still within safe limits and I had loaded 250 or so shells, I shot these in practice. I had to push them into the chamber of my 870 TC.

    I carefully check my reloads and discard any problems to shoot in practice. When I shoot registered, I do not want the distraction of an improper crimp or other problem. All I want to do is load and shoot.

    Ed Ward
     
  7. fritzi93

    fritzi93 TS Member

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    If it's just fugly and chambers, it gets shot at 16s practice. If the crimp is radically bad, i.e. won't chamber or the shot's dribbling out, it gets dismantled with my D-Loader. Then the primer gets punched out on my MEC 600 and re-used.

    Some guys save the cut down shell with primer still in as a wad pusher-outer. Since my PW never fails to drop powder, I never get hung wads, so I salvage the primers. Never had one go off while punching it out.

    I'm kinda surprised nobody has mentioned yet that crimp depth affects chamber pressure. [True, but if your reloads normally have correct crimp depth I doubt an ugly one is going to radically alter pressures and pose much danger], certainly less than an overcharge of powder. (Which can happen if there's a slight bridging, causing one light load, then the excess clears on the next along with a normal charge). Just one more reason I like to keep my reloads below 10,000 psi.

    [EDIT] Corrected text in brackets above
     
  8. dcb_wvu

    dcb_wvu Member

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    I have had an issue lately with some really old hulls, probably reloaded over ten times, coming out of the machine looking great; then over the course of a week or so, the crimps become what I call pregnant. They start to bulge outward. This results in a weak sounding shell and lots of powder residue in the barrel. On occasion the powder will ignite in the barrel, after the weak sound, and a fire show can be seen coming out the port holes. I am culling the hulls as I find them and have basically isolated the culprits.

    So, to answer the question, yes they get shot. If they do not go into the chamber then no. and if I have some really ugly looking crimps, the ones that fold every which way, I will typically cut them open to harvest the shot and perhaps the powder.
     
  9. Unknown1

    Unknown1 Well-Known Member

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    Saying the crimps are "bad" covers a lot of territory so you gotta narrow it down.

    The only things that would stop me from shooting one of my own shells with a non-standard crimp would be if the crimp was too deep... maybe twice as deep as normal or if the crimp was bulged.

    It's the depth of the crimp that controls chamber pressure. The data for my loads puts them at between 9400 and 10,600 PSI with normal crimps so I don't have a lot of leeway to go higher safely.

    All my loads fit into the hull comfortably so if a crimp is bulged there's more in the hull than there should be; check that one out.

    Dished crimps usually mean a slightly longer hull; no problem.

    I use a smooth cone crimp starter so I regularly get crimps where one petal folds over top of another, especially on older shells...not a problem.

    Sometimes a hole forms in the middle of the crimp on a short hull; if the shot stays in I shoot it.

    Pictures would help everyone help you!

    MK
     
  10. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    Iam with skeetman, if it fits it fires. Now if you want to unload them, buy an unloader from gary bulley. As far as the primers go, knock them out with a flat punch or run them through the loader
     
  11. shooterIII

    shooterIII Member

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    I've been shooting periodic bad crimped shells for 40 years and I'm still alive and have never had a problem. If the shot stays in the shell, shoot em.
     
  12. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    Clayshooter25:

    skeet_man's observation is correct, "A poor crimp, by itself, will not turn a safe reload into an unsafe reload". To be more specific, if the content of your reloads are the correct components in the amounts specified in published data, you can shoot them.

    The exception is excessively deep crimps whether or not they are poor. (text deleted) Pressure testing has been conducted on reloads where crimp depth was the only variable. Simply stated, deep crimps result in higher chamber pressures. In some cases tested pressures varied by as much as 2000 psi solely on the basis of crimp depth.

    If the recipe you're using generates pressures on the upper end of acceptable, any extra pressure is best avoided. 2000 psi is a definate problem.

    sissy

    PS: When loading manuals comment on the subject, they universally caution against knocking live primers out of salvaged shells. Many of us routinely ignore that particular warning. I'm among those that have never heard of a primer going off in the process. However, I do it gently and always wear eye protection when loading. : )
     
  13. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    I suggest you send all bad crimp loads to me for extensive testing. I will send you back an official report on whether the loads were safe or not. Of course the testing will be performed on a Trap line with all safety measures taken into consideration. Thank you. :)
     
  14. Clayshooter25

    Clayshooter25 Member

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    Some very helpful and funny relies too - thank-you!

    By bad crimps I meant that the folds themsleves did not look good. The crimp istself is neither bulging nor concave, so I am not doubting the powder or shot drop.
     
  15. Jim Bradbury

    Jim Bradbury Member

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    Unless the shot is spilling out of the end of the shell, I have shot some beyond fugly crimped shells. I am lucky and have a machine set up in my back yard. I save the real ugly cripmed shells and when I am shooting at home I will use them then. I do not shot them at the gun club. I save myself the embarassment and discharge them at home. If the crimp is opened a little and shot falls out I throw them away without dismantling them. I know of aa person who had shot come out of one of his reloads and somehow got in a spot in his browning that he had to take the gun apart and clean the shot out of it so he could shoot hhis gun again.
     
  16. Gun Dog

    Gun Dog TS Member

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    All My reloads with minor defects go in box for crow hunting. That way they are all together and not scattered throughout my clay target ammo cache. When I go to the range I want A box of my best. I can't hit crows anyway , so I have something to blame it on.
     
  17. Clayshooter25

    Clayshooter25 Member

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    Sounds like I have my answer. The shot isn't spilling out, they are just not good looking crimps. I guess I was concerned that there might be an affect on pressure if the ugly crimp is harder to open. Sounds like crow hunting with these ugly ducklings is the way to go. I don't need any other variables to consider when shooting trap (although it would give me something else to blame if - - I mean when I miss - - but I guess that would still come back to haunt me - - LOL!)

    Thanks everyone!
     
  18. Remington STS

    Remington STS TS Member

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    Most people over analysis when they reload, we know the factories can't inspect as well as we can but we can. I will have a crimp once in a great while mess up, I just put a big X on the brass and toss it because generally once they are messed up they will mess up every time. STS
     
  19. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

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    Reminds of the old days of reloading waterfowl loads (making 3" shells from a 2-3/4" hull).

    We used to use the Blue Magic hulls, TG12 wad, 34 grs. (or more) of 4756, 1-1/2 oz. of copper coated # 4's. We did not crimp at all, to keep the shot from spilling out we poured melted bee's wax on top.

    Never had a problem and the birds fell at long ranges.

    Curt
     
  20. shelly

    shelly TS Member

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    If your gun blows up, you now have plenty of advisers to sue- LOL.
     
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