357 Split Cases

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Walter Johnson
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357 Split Cases

Post by Walter Johnson » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:12 pm

Had a bunch of failures today with new brass.

357 Magnum
Henry Bigboy 20" barrel.
Load was 125 gr hornady xpt
9 grains of unique

All failures were partial splits along the circumference of the shell. About 50% were in the middle and the rest towards the bottom (primer end).

Primers looked fine.

cedestech
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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by cedestech » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:45 pm

New brass like you bought and first time loaded and fired by you?

New brass like new to you?

New brass like new to that rifle?

Is the rifle new or have you been shooting it for a while and this is the first time you've had a brass problem?


:-?

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by Walter Johnson » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:53 pm

New brass & first time fired.

This is my first go at loading 357, but have loaded lots of 308 and 44 mag without issue.

New rifle, less than 100 rounds through it.

Will buy some factory ammo tomorrow and shoot that to see if maybe the chamber has a problem.

Still have about 400 cases that are not loaded yet, but were tumbled, sized, trimmed, & chamffered with the cases I had trouble with today. I inspected about 100 of these and cannot see any visible defects.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by cedestech » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:52 pm

Who's the brass manufacture (curiosity, not that it really matters).

I shoot A LOT of 357 and usually my cases are on their 5+ loading before they look so scary I just pitch them or sell with the caveat that they are only good for one more loading.

Out of the thousands of times I have reloaded 357 only had a couple split and they were length wise, not a case head separation.

Don't know you or anything about your loading practices nor am I making any assumptions....

Lever hard to open? (one of the signs of over pressure even if the primers aren't cratering)

Are you sure your scale (or what ever you are using) is accurate and consistent?

I don't use Unique but 9gr doesn't sound terribly hot as they have 9.6 listed as the max charge. I have found that you really don't need full power but what ever is the most accurate load for this game. If you are only using it for PC then it doesn't take much to knock down a 1/2 scale ram at 100 yards, faster isn't always better and case life is really nice at lower settings. I am using 5gr of 231 under a 125gr round and though I haven't cronnied I would bet it can't me more then 1000 fps or so judging by my sight settings.

Or... it may be a craptastic run of brass.... If you shoot some factory stuff and have no problems and the cases don't measure rediculous amounts over the SAAMI specs (ie look like a 9mm shot out of a 40) I'd call the brass manufacture and see if they would swap you out or have a reason for it. Obviously if there is a huge blow out on the cases call up Henry. They'll make it right.

Good luck. :)

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by Walter Johnson » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:22 pm

Starline

Lever opens easliy to eject spent rounds and chambers new ones without resistance.

Scale corresponds with the weight set I own, so its within a 10th of a grain or so is my guess.

After i try the factory ammo, I'm gonna give a much reduced load a try say maybe 6 grains of unique. More of a 38 special load than 357 mag.

I could tell the loads I started with were on the hot side, my thinking was 9gr was in the middle per my book. I was hoping they'd be good for PC and the full scale targets at least to the 150m turkeys.

Now I'm kinda scared to even try loading the 180 grain bullets I was gonna sling at the 200m full scale rams.

Guess I should have started with the minimum charge and worked my way up.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by frankmako » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:00 pm

Buy a chronograph, they don't cost much and you will know what your loads are doing. I got about 500 1980 year 357 brass that has a boat load of reloads in them. I can shoot 25 and get 5 to six split cases. Some splits are small at the case mouth and others are all the way down. I just use this brass for practice ammo only. I just open a box of 500 of starline 357 brass this week. When loading I have around 30 cases that were to long. When I ran them in the taper crimp die it put a dent/ring about 1/2 way down. I got a second box of 500 and I am going to mic them to see if all are the same length.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by Walter Johnson » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:06 am

Frank, none of my starline was uniform length. I made three buckets and mic'd all 500.

Too short had about 30 cases.
Just right, about 250
Too long, about 220.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by 44 mag » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:29 am

Pm sent

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by GabbyJs » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:00 am

Are your Starline .357 cases nickle plated or brass? Nickle will often split faster than brass cases.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by cedestech » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:36 am

My current brass is starline. I was using Federal and had 5+ loads on them (800 peices rotated) and they were starting to bulge at the head where the resizing die stoped.

Starline was $135 / 1000 delivered I believe and am on my second loading. They were so consistent I didn't even bother trimming.

You are going to have problems with the full size pigs with 125 gr. My wife is shooting 140 gr and it'll ring a heavy set pig and of corse she is having 50% ringing on rams but you have to hit them first and she is recoil shy.

I'd check the factory brass after firing and if the brass looks OK call starline. You may have a bad batch. If your load is correct you shouldn't be splitting new brass.

If the chamber seems large let Henry know. They are FANTASTIC about making their rifles right.

Good luck. :)

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by pastorcurtis » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:11 am

Lever actions are pretty famous for this in 357, especially as you get to the higher pressure loads (plenty of threads on this over at Cast Boolits). The bolt "gives" a bit and allows stretching of the case along the long axis. Starline has been a terrible performer on this for me - case head separation on the last 100 I loaded up was after no more than 3 loadings, a lot of them on just one. First and last time I'll buy Starline for the lever action! This was new in the package brass with a stout load for sure (17.1 grains H110 under a 158 grain bullet), but other brass holds up fine.

Advice: switch to Winchester brass. That holds up a lot better: you'll get a visual warning after about 5 or 6 loadings: bulging at the case head. But know that stout 357 loads in a lever action are going to be rough on brass and you won't get the loadings you are used to in handguns.

Tip: if you get case head separation, a bore snake passed through the muzzle end will pull out the rest of the case 99% of the time. Try a double or even triple patch on a brass jag pushed down through the muzzle end for that 1% super sticky piece.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by Another Dang 9 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:23 am

I've been shooting my Winchester brass since 2002 when I started lever action silhouette. Not a single failure so far. I've used Unique the whole time but a lighter load of 7.1 with 125 gr. bullets. I've never lost an animal due to ringers. I would try some different brass first to see if you have the same issue. I always find free brass on the range.
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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by pastorcurtis » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:40 am

Another Dang 9 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:23 am
I've been shooting my Winchester brass since 2002 when I started lever action silhouette. Not a single failure so far. I've used Unique the whole time but a lighter load of 7.1 with 125 gr. bullets. I've never lost an animal due to ringers. I would try some different brass first to see if you have the same issue. I always find free brass on the range.
My load for chickens and pigs is 7.1 gr of Unique and a 158 grain bullet. I can reload that brass indefinitely without the problems associated with 9+grains of Unique or 16+ grains of H110. Those hot loads in the lever action set up are just heck on brass.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by Jason » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:37 am

Wouldn't it be better to use Lil'Gun instead of H110 for those heavier loads? When I was first starting loading for my 1873, I got great advice here on using Lil'Gun for heavier bullets and faster loads. Especially in a rifle, it can achieve the same or higher velocity with heavier bullets in 357 magnum with much lower pressure. Out of my 1873 with 24" barrel, 16.0gr of Lil'Gun with a 158gr XTP FP bullet gives me 1865fps average muzzle velocity (SD 4.5, ES 11 over 10 shots). According to Hodgdon's load data, the pressure is only in the mid-20k CUP range. At the upper end of the powder range for each powder, the velocities are relatively close to the same but the pressure is massively higher with H110 compared to Lil'Gun.

Note: linking to pistol data as they don't show the Lil'Gun data on the rifle side, even though their data for other powders, including H110 is the same for both pistol and rifle
http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol

That's as fast as I want to drive that bullet, as even the flat point version of the XTP with its higher impact velocity range than the hollowpoint will likely just blow apart if they hit the targets going too fast. The pressure on that load is less than the 7.5gr of CFE Pistol and 125gr bullet load that I use for pistol cartridge animals. Even my CLA ram load (15.0gr Lil'Gun, 180gr bullet) only makes it up to the mid-30k CUP pressure range using Lil'Gun powder, and it pushes that 180gr bullet faster than I thought a 357 Mag case was capable of (Avg 1747, SD 11.7, ES 30). I didn't go higher than 15.0gr of powder with my ram load because that was the max listed on the Hodgdon data, and there wasn't a single hint of high pressure just as the Hodgdon data predicted there wouldn't be.

I'm not sure how long it takes to wear out brass using any of those loads. I haven't actually done it yet, despite using Starline brass that sounds like it's not the most durable from this thread. If your brass life is short, it might be worth it to buy a pound of Lil'Gun and do some load testing.

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Re: 357 Split Cases

Post by Walter Johnson » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:42 pm

I may have left out some critical info, but I was so frustrated yesterday I forgot. I have a new RCBS carbide 3 die set that I used on all of this ammo. However with this die set I found the expander is slightly out of spec. The straight section of the expander is 2 to 3 thousands of an inch too big in diameter and will not easily thread into a freshly sized 357 case. In fact it was so hard to thread that I used a small pliers to work it down, carefully checking for flare until I got the desired result. With my 44 mag die set, the expander slips right into the case until the taper starts, not the case with my 357 expander. Maybe this somehow is causing the problem? I did call RCBS and they will send me a new expander since mine is out of tolerance.

Next steps:
1. PM some of the people who posted to get more info on CLA loads in 357 magnum! I know it's not ideal, but it's what I have to shoot for now.
2. Shoot the box of factory ammo I bought and inspect all cases. If any issues, next step is to call Henry.
3. Assuming no issues with the factory ammo will try 6 grains of Unique and a 125 grain XTP with some of my starline brass. If no issues, I'll keep using it, but only with the reduced loads. If it does have issues most likely will trash can this brass (maybe call starline) and proceed to step 4.
4. Bought a Hornady die set and Winchester brass. Do more reloading and if I'm still having issues at this point, will send the rifle to Henry to check out.

On the bright side, I shot a 30 out of 40 with this gun in PC before I realized there was an issue with my loads.

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