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Potential Reloading Disaster

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Shooting Coach, Feb 9, 2009.

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  1. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    Last week, I ordered some parts from Mec, including a #21 powder bushing for loading some unused Titegroup in one ounce loads. I wanted around 19 gr.

    Imagine my surprise (actually, shock) this morning when I put the new, in the wrapper bushing in the press, set it up, loaded 10 rounds to get the powder settled, and weighed the charge.

    THE BUSHING THREW TWENTY-NINE GRAINS OF TITEGROUP. This is a 57% overload.

    I don't know what would have happened on one shot. It could have not been anything good. The very dense Titegroup easily fit in the hull.

    This is another reason to buy a scale, and check your powder and shot drops. I am now very glad I am compulsive about strictly adhering to safe loading procedures. Another reason to use bulky flake powders that take bushings in the 30's.

    Once again, this was a new, in the wrapper, straight from Mec, bushing. I have not yet called Mec and let them know about this potentially disastrous snafu. The bushing and the bag were marked #21 with no overstamps. (gulp)
     
  2. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    People who reload without the benefit of a scale are asking for trouble.

    Never rely on bushing charts or "known" settings for adjustable charge bars.

    I use Titegroup in my handicap reloads, and I recall (not at home now, can't check) I'm using a 17 or 18 bushing to get 19.2 grains. 21 is a big bushing for Titegroup.

    Scott
     
  3. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    This should be a great lesson for all of the new, (and even experienced), shooters out there. I know so many people that just buy a bushing and assume it throws the listed charge. If you reload a scale is a MUST. Thanks for sharing this. Ed
     
  4. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Hey, coach, You should mike that bushing and compare it to some the same size or near to it.

    My immediate reaction is to think the stamping equipment may have had a failure that was not caught.

    Might need a recall if there are many of these out there.

    I measured, and #21 is .380 I. D. and #31 is .440 inches.

    I would definitely call MEC.

    HM
     
  5. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    What's the approximate diameter of the hole in that #21 bushing, SC?

    Neil
     
  6. capvan

    capvan Active Member

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    I'm confused. Didn't Scott say that he used a 17 or 18 bushing for an appropriate load for titegroup? Isn't this just a case of using the wrong bushing (21)?
    Bruce
     
  7. 320090T

    320090T Well-Known Member

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    My MEC 21 measures .365
     
  8. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

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    It's been a long time since I reloaded on my MEC JR. In fact Brian in Oregon has had the press on loan for several years now. My recollection is that I used to use a 29 bushing for a medium load of 700X, that Clays measures about the same as 700X, and Titegroup is much more dense. When I switch from Clays or International Clays to Titegroup on my Dillon SL-900 with it's adjustable powder bar, I must crank the cavity way down to get the proper load. All I'm saying is that the MEC 21 bushing seems quite stout to me for Titegroup - I'd expect something more on the order of a 15-16 to be about right. However, the advice given several times above, and the practice Shooting Coach used, is absolutely correct: Don't assume a bushing chart is correct without weighing the charge thrown on a good scale.
     
  9. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    I went through the same thing recently and even bounced my confusion off Tim99. Ended up using a considerably smaller bushing than the charts suggested. That is why we rely on balances not bushing charts. BTW, I did manage to produce a handicap load that is a dead ringer for the Nitro 27. Good chance this will be my new favorite.
     
  10. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    ID on the bushing is .440". (ouch) Although old and nearly blind, there is no doubt that the markings on bag and bushing are 21, not 31.

    With the way my press is set up, with PC baffle and such, my bushings typically throw about 1/2 grain light.

    Part of my range orientation is telling new shooters that anything made by man or machine can be defective. I am generally talking about firearms safeties and ammo. Was it Ronald Reagan who said, "Trust, but verify"? :^)
     
  11. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Bag it back up, jet it to Mayville, and perhaps save a life. Thanks for checking, SC.

    Neil
     
  12. BT-100dc

    BT-100dc Active Member

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    Good points; always check new bushings as Pres. Reagan once said "Trust, but verify". Also when you open a new keg of powder good idea to check it using your scale. I make it a point also to drop 5-10 samples into say a pill box container to assure my MEC loader is functioning properly. After that I'll load the shot container and then start. Powder tubes can get plugged with a spider web and maybe create an obstruction (could actually build up then finally drops the loads); that could be disasterious. Better safety first.

    Darrell
     
  13. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Well, there it is.

    A 31 marked 21. I am sort of concerned about how many got out like that. I do not believe they stamp these manually, and I would bet a box of shells they are made on a Browne and Sharp screw machine. Or a newer equivalent, I may be dating myself.

    At any rate, a call to Mec is immediately in order, If I were you.

    Let us know the results.

    HM
     
  14. slide action

    slide action Well-Known Member

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    Being a retired military guy, I am a FIRM beleiver in "Murphy's Law". If it CAN go wrong it WILL! It will also go wrong at the worst possible time!!!!
     
  15. Jim Porter

    Jim Porter Well-Known Member

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    Learned this lesson many years ago. Had a mentor that loaded 20 ga shells on a Mec (can happen with any company) and replaced 3 or 4 extractors a year in an 1100 used for dove hunting. I kept telling him to check the weights and finally took his bushing home and checked it---about 5gr over. I have never failed to check another one in 45 years of loading. Have given many siminars on loading and always stressed buying a good scale of some brand FIRST!!!! and then assemble other equipment.
    Sometimes I will check one scale against another and I always have about three loading (usually mealic stuff) manuals that I cross check as well.
    Remember, we turn loose a controlled bomb between our hands and about four inches in front of our eyes with every shot!!
     
  16. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Coach: Buy a Dillon and you won't need anymore bushings............
     
  17. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

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    "Had a mentor that loaded 20 ga shells on a Mec (can happen with any company) and replaced 3 or 4 extractors a year in an 1100 used for dove hunting."

    I have used my Browning A500 autoloader for hunting for 20 years. This past season I ran out of the 3" Kent Fasteel duck loads and bought a box of Federal 3" 1 1/4 oz Black Cloud loads and the very first shot broke the extractor on my gun. I don't know what they put in those shells but it was evidently hotter than the loads I have used for many years.
     
  18. dverna

    dverna Active Member

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    I doubt that only one bushing got mis-marked.

    MEC needs to know and they may issue a recall if they find the problem impacts the production run when these were made.

    Not very good QC on their part.

    Don
     
  19. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    shot410ga -

    I'm not familiar with Dillon loaders, how is it that the loader knows the amount of powder that you need such that it's not possible to have an incorrect powder drop?

    Scott
     
  20. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    A powder scale is worse than worthless if it isn't accurate. The only way to KNOW is by using test weights made for the purpose.

    My original shotshell loading equipment included an inexpensive CH (or maybe it's C&H) balance beam scale. Several years later (1990) I started loading a few metallic rounds.

    I weigh every powder charge used in center fire rounds. That is WAY tedious using a balance beam so I promptly bought a digital scale. I got a set of RCBS test weights at the same time.* The set includes:

    2 each, 20 grain weights and one each of the following:

    10 grain

    5 grain

    2 grain

    1 grain and

    0.5 grain

    Over several years of shotshell loading, I had knocked the old CH scale off my bench more times than I care to admit. Nevertheless, when checked with the test weights in 1990, it was spot on.

    Since then, I've tested my scales at least two or three times a year. I've never found them to be 'off' but it's valuable to know they are dead n*ts for accurate.


    sissy


    * A similar set of weights are available today from Dillon Precision for less than $25. That's cheap insurance.

    If someone is on a REALLY tight budget, it isn't difficult to make a set with improvised materials.

    A #2 paper clip from my desk weighs 22 grains. I took pair of side cutters and very carefully snipped it down to 20 grains. I took another clip and snipped it into two weights - one each 10.0 grains and one each 5.0 grains.

    Given a half hour and a nickel's worth of paper clips, I could make a full set accurate to + or - 0.1 grain each.
     
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