ColdIron and I fought this problem some this winter. To actually come out and say if it was powder, primers, wads, don’t forget the gun you really can’t. Successfully lighting a shot shell in cold weather is a lot more complicated than I had first thought. I could get shells to fire fine in my gun and would bloop in ColdIron’s gun. Here is what we concluded. You need pressure to make the burn happen correctly. Pick a powder that pressures high, put it in a shell that pressures high (generally this mean’s not a straight wall) and light it with something that works. I could give you all the permutations that we managed to change to make the shells go bang if you would like me too. The only true thing we found out is shells will pressure in different guns differently and yes powder; primer and wad do have an effect. I can also tell you that to get a blooper you have to have more than one of the things listed be a problem. A good general rule is the lighter the payload the harder it is to get pressure. Pressure rules in this game and the more pressure you have the better off you are. Before anyone jumps me on that statement, yes there is an upper end to the pressure you would like. I personally like to see 10,000 – 12,000 but that is hard to do with 1 oz and pretty near impossible to do with 7/8.
In 15 years of reloading, I've never had bloopers and we shoot in 0 degrees sometimes. When I've had problems, it's always been the charge bar on the reloader not dropping enough powder due to either a bushing getting stuck or static in the powder bottle ( w/ Nitro), or some mechanical problem w/ the loader. I've always caught it early, cause I weigh before I start. Some people have problems if they leave their shells in their trunk all week, but thats just asking for condensation and other problems. When in doubt, weigh em out!
I couldn’t agree more about you having no problems. We switched to a different powder and switched wads and then went to 7/8 ounce shot and well all the changes a cold weather round it didn’t make. We started running into problems at about 20 degrees and when the temp gets sub zero and we are stupid enough to go shooting it just gets worse. Now we ran into problems by seeing how cheap we could reload and discovered that going cheap isn’t always the best practice. We ended up going back to our old reliable powders that we shot for years and we don’t shoot 7/8 ounce when the weather gets below 30 or 40 degrees.
drh08- I seems logical that the firmness of the crimp would have some effect on chamber pressure, but 1000 pounds seems like a lot. How much pressure is required to open the crimp. Also, if the chamber pressure was altered 10% by the crimp integrity the problem would be present all seasons. Could you expand a little on your post?
Sammie We have run a lot of tests for cold weather shell performance, freezing them and taking them in styrofoam chests to be shot through the chrono the culprit in every case was a non-oem wad, powders used were Alliant red, green and unique, hodgdon tightgroup, clays, Int.clays , accurate's solo 1000, nitro 100, when used with the oem wad for the shell casing, no bloopers, primers used, Fiocci, Rem, Win. all shells were loaded with 1 1/8- 7 1/2, 2-3/4 1145-1150 hope this helps! incinerate em!
Most of the time when you get a booper is in straight wall hull that because most of us use wads that are not made for stright wall hulls and in cold weather the power cup does not seal of the charge and it blows pass the seal and this cause a drop in pressure and the end is a blopper I have recoved some spent wads that were bloopers and found that wad was as black as coal from the gases getting by take the same shell and heat them up by placing them in your car by the heater duct as you drive to the range and you find that the bloopers go away and the same shell acts normal I try this with green duster wads in fedral top gun hulls that what I use as a test and this what I found.I also try this same test on Rio's factory shell's and came up with the same out come keep them cold and you will get boopers heat them up and thay go away.Also take in acount that years ago we didn't have over bored guns and Dia was around .729 know most of the gun coming from the factory are .730-.750 which only adds to the problem,and also we didn't have cheap shells then either.
No bloopers any of my reloads - but assuming a complete powder charge, the usual blooper culprit is the wad obturating cup is not providing a complete seal of the powder. Plastic can change dimensions with weather, but if the wad shrinks, the hull should also shrink. I think if someone is having a real problem (multiple bloopers in every box) they probably have selected the wrong wad for that particular hull. Some of the "replacement" wads that are just like Rems or Wins are not. If you take out a mic, you will detect a difference in the dimension of that obturating cup. Some shooters interchange wads with impunity - they don't read loading manuals, they take loading advice from yo yo's in the club house or some of the enlighted contributors here.
Just for the heck of it, why don't you measure a few wads and hulls from various manufacturers and then throw em into the freezer. Measure em again and tell us the results.
I will expand a little on my cold weather experiments I ran into. My load was 18 grains promo, green duster wads and 616 primers. This load actually works in my Super Sport down to about 10 degrees. I can see the blooper coming as the gun starts to short cycle the round and the barrel smokes like a black powder gun and before the round is over its blooping. This happens much faster in ColdIrons 682 as his gun has lengthened forcing cones as is over bored. Using a XXL 7/8 with the same powder and primer I will start having problems around 30 degrees. I attempted to use the same load but switched powder to E3, same results and was almost expected as E3 doesn’t pressure very high. I then attempted E3 and Promo adding a grain of powder to the load and got week rounds but it smoked something awful. I have switched back to 700x and stayed with 616 primers running 17 grains of 700X with green duster wads 1 ounce and 16.5 grains of 700X with XXL wads 7/8 ounce and have had no problems since. I am not saying Promo was the cause because simply changing guns makes a difference. ColdIron and I worked with the people at Downrange and his tests have shown that a change in the crimp depth can have as much as 1000psi difference. I have decided I won’t load a round anymore without seeing data on the pressure the load will give. Now I also just can’t get myself to load other primers because I am cheap at heart and haven’t had any problems with 700X and 616 primers. The money I was hoping to save pretty much goes out the window when you start getting weak rounds.
We did more modifications to the loads but also came to the conclusion that you must have faith in the shell you are shooting or this just isn’t any fun. Nothing more frustrating than almost being able to watch you shot string head to the target. However I was amazed that you could break targets with very very weak rounds.
I re-read some of the posts and would also like to mention I have about 2500 straight wall 1 oz loaded shells with green dusters that don't like anything a robin isn't around for. I am waiting for summer for those rounds. Yes cold has an amazing change in the performance of loads. I was amazed at how fast the load can fail on the shooting range. It goes bang and very quickly as it cools down stops going bang. Most loads work fine in warm weather as the changes in the shells aren’t affected as much in warm temps. Hence my 2500 rounds waiting for warmer temps. By the way when the heck is it going to get warmer?????? I just recently started reloading again and am in the learning curve of this. It does look very apparent that loading a tapered hull wad in a straight walled shell is a very bad idea in the cold no matter what powder and primer you put behind it.
If you any Fiocchi, Rios, Kermen, or the new Remington UMC and leave them in your vehicle over night in cold weather you are going to have a problem. Also found that light loads of green dot and solo 1000 also will be a problem
The same load that I use all year round, will have bloopers in the cold weather if I leave the shell in vehicle all week and it's like temps in the single didits. I would check the field for wads. The powder seal would split straight across or were pie shaped cracks. Warm them up in the house and were fine the next time. Jerry
Jerry: I had the same thing with wads found from weak rounds. This happens from a second light of the gun powder after the first. I believe the pressure tests from this have been posted. That second light of the powder cracks the wads and well the results arn't pretty. That is what happens in the shell just before the horrible boop if the shell gets a little colder.
Sammie: Green dusters are a tappered wall wad. Stick with REM STS, gun club or AA. Most cheap hulls like top guns are straight walled. I have run my 700X down to 15 below leaving them outside for 3 hours before shooting. I was very desperate to shoot that day and wanted to test. This was with 616 primers. ColdIron sticks with Clays powder and I know people that swear by Red Dot but I have no experience it. When in doubt talk to people that reload and find out what powder they are using. Around here in Minnesota you won't find a bunch shooting in the winter with Promo. I am not saying Promo doesn't perform but you will find a huge following for red Dot and 700X. Clays probably after that.
Good luck reloading
I shot the infamous -10 with -35 wind chills this winter, using WT12s and Green Dot, and had no problems then or any other day. I use Red Dot at about 17.7 grains for singles and Green Dot at 20.8 grains for handicap. The Green Dot and the WT12 wads have been mentioned as not being good winter components and I have not found that to be the case.
The only time I hear a lot of Bloopers is when someone leaves their shells in their trunk and they freeze. I also hear a lot of Bloopers when Jim W is shooting - but I'm pretty sure that's just operator error!!