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catastrophic failure at livermore

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by BBowen, May 23, 2010.

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  1. BBowen

    BBowen Member

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    since the livermore thread is so long and since my name has come up several times in it (often with related misinformation credited to me) i am going to start a new thread to try to clear up a few things based on my experience.

    1. it was stated that i felt catastrophic shotgun failures could be related to "microscopic imperfections in the metal." i have not stated that except as it relates to the case against a major manufacturer of pump and automatic shotguns many years ago.

    2. it often comes up that my trusty h & r isn't relative because the chamber wall is much thicker and presumably stronger than most o/u shotguns. for the record the wall thickness is .194 just in front of the rim seat. a perazzi tm-1 that i have here measures .244 and an mx-3 special measures .182. btw, the h & r is still shooting.

    3. it was stated that we did not have a pressure measuring device on the h & r when we were shooting the overloaded, reloaded shells and the proof loads in it. there was a strain gauge attached 1 inch forward from the breech and every shot was measured for pressure. many overloaded reloads and proof loads were also pressure tested in industry standard equipment despite what was posted a while back by an employee of a major powder company on ts.com who has no way of knowing what equipment we were using. the pressues we measured with the strain gauge equipment were consistent with the industry standard equipment--shell for shell. this individual also stated that pressures likely to cause catastrophic failures are EASY to produce and it is EASY to happen to the common reloader. information on how to do so however, is not forthcoming. i feel that any mistake on a shotshell reloader is unlikely to go unnoticed and i have not found a way to consistently produce pressures that will cause a catastrophic failure. it is interesting that this individual would put the blame for these terrible, injurious events squarely on the shoulders of the very people who use the products of his employer.

    as is usually the case, overloaded reloads and detonation are the consensus causes of the catastrophic failure posted on ts.com. if there is a recorded case proven to be caused by detonation, please post it for us to see. i think it is wrong to compare what happens in a dramatically underloaded case to detonation. two ballisticians that work for major powder companys (not the one referred to above)have stated to me that the conditions in a shotshell are not present to allow detonation to occur. as for overloaded reloads, the revered testing facility reports that i have in my files all say it was not a manufacturing defect in the shotgun and say catastrophic failure is "likely" caused by an overloaded reload. however none of these experts will tell me how they can reproduce pressures that will reliably and consistently produce catastrophic failures in a shotgun using components that are available to the reloader. it is important to keep in mind that these testing facilities are usually paid by the firearms manufacturing compnay and that would make them nonobjective. i received a report recently from one of these facilities concerning a famous ts.com thread on a shotgun failure. they shot ten rounds of overloaded ammo in each barrel of new gun similar to the one that failed at pressures of 30,000 psi in the first gun with no catastrophic failure. then they fired 5 rounds, one each at 20,25,30,35 and 40,000 psi in each barrel the second gun. the report says that at 35,000 the top barrel trigger was damaged and at 40 the gun would no longer close but there was NOT a catastrophic failure.

    the report states that the components were as follows: primer cci 209. case: federal. shot: 1 1/2 oz. number 7 wad: claybuster. propellant: bullseye

    it is important to note that the amount of bullseye is not stated. it is also important to note that the type of claybuster wad was not stated. that said, the burn rate of bullseye is not that much different from standard shotgun powders such as red dot. i am going to see how much bullseye i can get in a 2 2/4 federal case with the highest capacity claybuster wad and l 1/2 oz of shot and see what pressure develops and will report here. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS!! inquiries as to how those pressures were developed are always unanswered. THE REALLY IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE ABOUT THIS TEST IS THAT EVEN AT 40,000 LBS, THERE WAS NOT A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE and this is after all the other high pressure rounds were fired in the shotgun.

    as i have stated before, i don't beleive that overloaded reloads or detonation have been proven to be the cause of any catastrophic shotgun failure that i have information pertaining to in my file of over many, many failures. i also think either is unlikely. if anyone has such info please send it to me or post it here. i do not propose in any way to have proof as to the cause of catastrophic failures in shotguns. i do however, have serious doubts about the outcome in most cases and i feel very badly that our sport is continually tarnished by shooters being seriously injured unnecessarily and i think it is a mistake for many of you to sit by and accept what is reported without question.

    bruce bowen www.bbguns.net
     
  2. Don Rackley

    Don Rackley Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    Bruce,

    Thanks for recapping the knowledge and testing methods you used. Sometimes on hte internet the truth gets spun way out of proportion, but NEVER here on TS.com.

    (irony intended)

    Don
     
  3. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    Bruce, can you explain this a little more?

    <i> i received a report recently from one of these facilities concerning a famous ts.com thread on a shotgun failure. they shot ten rounds of overloaded ammo in each barrel of new gun similar to the one that failed at pressures of 30,000 psi in the first gun with no catastrophic failure. then they fired 5 rounds, one each at 20,25,30,35 and 40,000 psi in each barrel the second gun. the report says that at 35,000 the top barrel trigger was damaged and at 40 the gun would no longer close but there was NOT a catastrophic failure.

    the report states that the components were as follows: primer cci 209. case: federal. shot: 1 1/2 oz. number 7 wad: claybuster. propellant: bullseye </i>

    May we assume this was White?

    I'm sure the *real proof-houses have the giggles if that was the case.

    For info: Mike (Perazzi Big Bore) has an MT-6 chamber that he changed from 12ga to abt an oh, 10 or 9ga? with a 40gn load of Bullseye, but there was no breakage.

    If you're going to blow up a gun, Bullseye is the stuff to use - it gets pressury real quick.

    I just did a 'test fit' of a WinRED wad (1-3/8 to 1-7/8oz), made by CB as their p/n 1138-12, 1½oz of #7½ and 40gn of Bullseye. It fits just fine and crimps nicely.

    I'll send you a handful of the WinRED wads if you don't have any to hand.


    Bob
     
  4. Rastoff

    Rastoff Active Member

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    Thanks for that post Bruce.

    I'm still confused though. You said that detonation wasn't possible and that you've never seen a case where a double charge would cause catastrophic failure. What's left? Blockage? Defect in the metal?

    I'm not asking in reference to any particular accident. I'm just curious as to how it's even possible at all.
     
  5. 682LINY

    682LINY Member

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    Just Do Us All A Favor! be real careful out there,,hope to see you again soon,Bill from New York,, that Win model 70 triger you did for me works GREAT
     
  6. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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  7. BBowen

    BBowen Member

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    bob

    thanks for the offer on the wads, however i have some on the way. i don't care to identify the testing facility. bullseye is number 10 on the powder burn rate chart. titewad is number 7 and red dot is 17. i'm sure that 40 grains will be a powerhouse load but the mt-6 and the gun in the test (unknown amount of bullseye) i referred to both held it-damaged but not a catastrophic failure which still begs the question: how do you make a overload that will reliably cause it to happen.

    rastoff

    it is important to point out that i did not say that detonation was not possible in a shotshell. i said that two ballsiticians told me that the conditions in a shot shell are not there for detonation to occur. they are the experts--i am not. i'm not trying to be a wise xxx. it is important to keep the facts straight.

    thanks for the civil comments from everyone. good to hear from you bill.

    bruce bowen www.bbguns.net
     
  8. Rastoff

    Rastoff Active Member

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    Sorry Bruce, I wasn't trying to misquote you. I'm just curious as to what it requires to have something like this happen. If a ballistician says the conditions don't exist, I believe it.
     
  9. TC

    TC TS Member

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    Thanks Bruce, we need someone to provide some real answers to this rather than the never ending speculation. Tony
     
  10. 221

    221 Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    <EM>"conditions in a shot shell are not there for detonation to occur"</EM>

    Those experts should clarify just what "IS" necessary for detonation, and what makes a shotshell so immune. That's really a lame attempt at passing the buck.....No powder company employee nor their testing facility would dare mention that it's possible.....they don't know either.....But one things for sure we know that detonation exists, AND the experts put no size limitation on detonation.....one atom can detonate, yet a "SHOTSHELL" cannot......that's absurd

    It's next to impossible to recreate it in a lab, yet "THEY" know for sure it can't happen in a shotshell.......RIGHT....

    The only thing we know for sure is....blowing the chamber up in a shotgun ain't easily done.

    NO ONE WANTS THIS ONE SOLVED......you can bank on it.
     
  11. pheasantmaster

    pheasantmaster Well-Known Member

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    Beuce, what powder company was the employee represenative of in respect to your notation of above?
     
  12. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    It was Ron Reiber, of Hodgdon, and Tom Armbrust was also referenced, albeit as a 3rd party indirect commenter.

    I saw nothing wrong with the thrust of their comments: that Bruce's H&R gun was not as reliable & accurate as a dedicated pressure barrel, because a gun does not fully enclose & support the head, and some pressure is absorbed/skewed in the headspace & plasticity dance in a gun.

    That said, as Bruce indicated: he tested loads and they correlated pretty well with what he got from his strain-gauge.

    European proof-houses say the same thing. Technically, they (and Ron Reiber)are correct, but ... does a 1000psi (±) really matter if a waaaaaaaaaay overpressured bullet doesn't produce shrapnel?


    Bob
     
  13. EE

    EE Banned User Banned

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    Thanks for the info, Bruce. Apparently I misquoted you as well, with respect to "microscopic imperfections." I apologize for that. But didn't you propose a theory at one point that very small fractures, allowing for pressure leaks, degraded the barrel over time until it finally ruptured? This was the imperfection that I was referring to, not a manufacturing defect. Please comment.

    And thanks again for the post.

    EE
     
  14. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Certain smokeless powders with high nitro glycerine content can be induced to detonate. One of the things that will induce detonation if the powder charge is being confined in a small container. Sound like a shotgun shell?

    If you would like more info on detonation of smokeless powder check the article in Forensic Science Communications, April 2002, volume 4, number 2.

    P.S. 221 I like the way you think. HMB
     
  15. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    What happens if you add repetitive stress from moderately overloaded shells over a period of time? Lets say thousands of shells producing enough pressure to put undue stress on the assembly, but no individual shell high enough to "noticably" change or distort the gun. Then add a few shells that are way over the top and see what happens. I've heard of a lot of new guns being tested for strength, but I'd like to see more about some that have been used and abused over a longer period of time, after being modified, backbored, and used for the "back fence" games.

    I've spent a lot of time in the automotive industry and many engine components have a life expectancy of so many cycles at their rated stress loads. Putting significantly more stress on these components usually results in premature failures. Same thing for other drivetrain and suspension components. I'd believe some of the same principles would apply to firearms.

    I'm not that concerned about what shell was fired in the gun when it came apart. I'd be more interested in the thousands that preceeded it.
     
  16. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Quack Shot- You and I are thinking along the same lines. I would also be interested in small dings/dents that the barrel may have has during the past several years. A very small imperfection can become major over time. I once had a small split in a bamboo fly rod. It worked well for three more years until I made the last cast I ever made with that rod. I did not blame the last cast for the failure.

    Pat Ireland
     
  17. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Some may say that detonations are impossible, unlikely, unproven and never happen. I beg to differ. Although I've witnessed numerous failures over the years one in particular stands out.

    The individual, an experienced loader. although very economical, was producing the following reload for his BT-99- 18grs. Red Dot, Fiochi hull, Federal 209A Primers and PICKUP WADS. Shooter was experiencing numerous off sounding and bloopy shells over several months. I warned him that his use of pickup wads was the problem because they were probably not seating properly on top of the powder but was ignored. Of course, I also witnessed the destruction of that BT-99. Further examination revealed the failure occured in the breech area. All reloads were examined and nothing was amiss although the primers were tending to protrude from the pockets-Federal 209's tend to be a poor substitute for the oversize Fiochi 209's.

    Since smokeless powder works best in shotshells with some seating pressure, I concluded that detonation was a likely possibility, given the set of circumstances. I doubt anyone tested anything resembling this combination!!
     
  18. eightbore

    eightbore Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Bowen, how do you explain that Hodgdon knows more about the burn rate of Alliant powders than Alliant does? For about fifty years, I have known that Bullseye is faster than Red Dot. Now you and the Hodgdon Powder Company have rewritten history. Give us a shot and tell us what is going on. It isn't your fault, you are just reading the charts. Do you think the people at White are reading charts to obtain results? I doubt it. I think they really shoot the guns and read the dials on the testing instruments.
     
  19. EE

    EE Banned User Banned

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    HMB, thanks for the reference. I don't presently have access to a copy of "Forensic Science Communications, April 2002, volume 4, number 2." Could you post the article you mentioned? But before you do, does this article show definitive proof of detonation in a shotgun?

    EE
     
  20. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    Quack Shot,good post. Metals subjected to over stressed cycles eventually fail. That's why some planes are grounded due to vibrational stress fractures in the frame structures. What we don't know is how many excessive cycles it takes in any application to fail.

    Hap
     
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