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Discussion Starter #1
Please bear with me as this is in some ways inexplicable.

I recently bought a Ruger LC9. Good gun, I'm accurate with it, but it's had a real problem with brass shavings and other crap in the chamber area as well as in the firing pin channel.

In fact, so much so that I had a series of fail-to-fires, something that a concealed carry gun simply cannot do.

I looked online, found a few instances of this, and it was recommended to clean out the firing pin channel. It's a bit of a pain on the LC9, but I did it, there was a bunch of grease and brass bits in there--in fact, it prevented the firing pin from fully striking the primers.

Well, I thought, where is all that brass junk coming from?

Saturday, I learned.

I was shooting some of my reloads, in this case some Precision Delta 115gr FMJ with some W231 powder, and I had a kaboom. I had a case failure which blew out the extractor, fortunately, no injuries by me:



I extracted the cartridge case and here's what it looked like:



Note in the above pic, the indentation from the firing pin, which is pretty normal.

But that wasn't the problem w/ the brass bits. Only later did I discover the real problem, which is illustrated here by these two fired cases:



Look closely at those primers; that's brass that's flowed into the hole in the primer. As near as I can tell, the striker from the LC9 is piercing the primer.

I decapped one of the offending cases, and compared the extracted primer to that of a normal case; the one on the right is the inside of the cup of one of the brassy primers, while the one on the left is normal:




Well, I called Ruger, told them about the Kaboom problem; they'll fix the gun for $35 plus parts, and they'll examine it to see if they can figure out why I'm having this primer problem.

I read someplace that if the striker is just a bit long, it can pierce the primer; seems odd, as they're CCI primers which have never given me a problem in my XD9, only in this LC9.

I believe i know where the brass bits in the action are coming from, but what I can't figure out is how this is happening.

Any ideas, observations, words of warning or whatever?

Thanks in advance!
 

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You need to check your powder charge. It looks like an overvharge which is very dangerious. What powder are you using and what charge weight? What are you weighing the charge with.

Important: Set all your reloads aside and "do not", repeat "do not" shoot any more of them until this problem is resolved.

Post your reload data here to be reviewed. You are very close to a severe injury and lucky it didn't happen already.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You need to check your powder charge. It looks like an overvharge which is very dangerious. What powder are you using and what charge weight? What are you weighing the charge with.

Important: Set all your reloads aside and "do not", repeat "do not" shoot any more of them until this problem is resolved.

Post your reload data here to be reviewed. You are very close to a severe injury and lucky it didn't happen already.
I don't know if the case failure was an overcharge or simply a bad case. I just re-examined the case, and it sure doesn't look like a bad case (no wear at casemouth, no cracking of the case wall near the mouth, like that).

When I was originally testing the LC9, I chrono'd a series of loads side by side with my XD Service.

The shorter barrel of the LC9 produces about 100 fps slower velocity, and those velocities were, with the 115gr bullets, between 1000 and 1050 fps.

So I didn't see anything I was shooting as a hot load.

I was thinking like you (I think) in that I saw the case failure as unrelated to the other problem, unless somehow the brass shavings interfered with the proper chambering of the round, which left some of the case unsupported and thus vulnerable to failure.

I know the rounds all fit the chamber correctly, because the time before at the range I talked with a guy, showed him the issue of the brass shavings, and his feeling was that the rounds weren't headspacing properly. I subsequently ran every round I had through the Lee FCD, and then one by one used the barrel as a case gage to see if each would go in unimpeded. They did, just fine.

As I'm trying to learn a lesson or two from this, I'm thinking back to my assuming the brass shavings were somehow from the extractor, though inspection of fired cases were inconclusive. It's obvious I was looking in the wrong place.

I have about 11 rounds left from that lot of reloads, I may just pull the bullets and confirm the loads. They were produced on my Hornady LnL progressive, whose powder measure is very accurate.
 

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Loads you are shooting OK in the XD9 may be too hot for the Ruger. Pull a couple loads, re-weigh the powder to verify it is what you think it is supposed to be. Then post all your reloading information on here of the formula you are using.
Bullet brand, shape and grains?
Powder name and charge weight?
OAL?
Source of cases, ie. pickups, fired in one of your guns, bought somewhere, which one?
We can get a group answer here from some of the old time experts.

Pictures of spent primers don't look like they have been pearced.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Loads you are shooting OK in the XD9 may be too hot for the Ruger. Pull a couple loads, re-weigh the powder to verify it is what you think it is supposed to be. Then post all your reloading information on here of the formula you are using.
Bullet brand, shape and grains?
Powder name and charge weight?
OAL?
Source of cases, ie. pickups, fired in one of your guns, bought somewhere, which one?
We can get a group answer here from some of the old time experts.

Pictures of spent primers don't look like they have been pearced.
I appreciate your input!

I haven't had a chance to pull the remaining bullets, I will try this pm or this evening.

Powder: W231
Weight: 5.1 grains
OAL: 1.125
Bullet: 115gr Precision Delta FMJ
Case source: Pickup.

Yeah, the spent primers are a little weird. I can't figure out where the brazing stuff at the other end is coming from if not that. Something is going on here and I'm not sure what it is.

The good news, I suppose, is I'm going to learn something. Never a bad thing.
 

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Something to remember, Fred has always said 231 is a not one of his recommended powders because of the fact it has a very low safe range. Safe range is the difference in weight between the low safe load and the max safe load. There is not much room for error.

We need to get Fred's opinion on the load you are using in the Ruger. Post the information and he will confirm if it is a safe load or not. He is our main "go to man" for load information.
 

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I appreciate your input!

I haven't had a chance to pull the remaining bullets, I will try this pm or this evening.

Powder: W231
Weight: 5.1 grains
OAL: 1.125
Bullet: 115gr Precision Delta FMJ
Case source: Pickup.

Yeah, the spent primers are a little weird. I can't figure out where the brazing stuff at the other end is coming from if not that. Something is going on here and I'm not sure what it is.

The good news, I suppose, is I'm going to learn something. Never a bad thing.
Also, concerning your picked up cases; if they were shot by a weapon with an unsupported chamber they MAY have been weakened and perhaps are unsafe with anything but low charges.
Just a thought.

-steve
 

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115 GR. SPR GDHP Winchester 231 .355" 1.125" 4.7 1075 25,300 CUP 5.1 1167 28,100 CUP

Above information from winchester on line loading information. 5.1 gr is their max load for W231 with pressure of 28,100 cup. A slight increse in powder would definately be an over charge for the LC9. Continued use of max load is not a good idea. LC9 may not be strong enough for max load usage on a regular basis. Low safe load to max load is only .4 grains of W231. Not much room for error with W231


will wait for Fred's input.
 

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I appreciate your input!

I haven't had a chance to pull the remaining bullets, I will try this pm or this evening.

Powder: W231
Weight: 5.1 grains
OAL: 1.125
Bullet: 115gr Precision Delta FMJ
Case source: Pickup.

Yeah, the spent primers are a little weird. I can't figure out where the brazing stuff at the other end is coming from if not that. Something is going on here and I'm not sure what it is.

The good news, I suppose, is I'm going to learn something. Never a bad thing.
According to hodgdon load data, 5.1 of 231 is a max load with a 115 gr bullet.

Unless your powder measure is more accurate then most, you are getting over pressure rounds.

Pull the remaining rounds and weigh the powder charge.

don
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK, ran home for lunch and to pull the bullets and check.

15 rounds remaining.

2 of them had charge weights of 5.0 grains.
10 of them had charge weights of 5.1 grains.
3 of them had charge weights of 5.2 grains.



So, it would appear that the case failure may well have been simply an overcharge.

I don't use W231 for most of my shooting, I generally use WST in both 9mm and .45. These FMJ rounds were actually produced in May of 2009, and were the end of that production run. I usually shoot lead rather than FMJ, and these were just retained in case I wanted some FMJ rounds. I wasn't planning on shooting lead from the LC9 until I had gained some measure of consistency with it.


I'm willing to accept as the explanation that I simply may have had an overcharge in that one round, and I agree--W231 is not the best powder for that round.

Now if I could figure out what's happening on the primers....


Thanks to all who have weighed in here--I appreciate it greatly!
 

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If the area in the gun where the firing pin comes through the frame is not perfectly flat an overcharge will "flow" the primer cap into the surrounding gaps. That looks like what has happened to yours. From the pictures, of the 2 cases pictured the primer buldge looks like both are almost exactly the same shape. Both flowed into the same uneven gaps around the firing pin. IMO
 

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I see primer flow(a sign of excessive pressure) The reason the first didn't flow was the case head separation which "relieved" the pressure. Loads are too hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I see primer flow(a sign of excessive pressure) The reason the first didn't flow was the case head separation which "relieved" the pressure. Loads are too hot.
I appreciate the observation.

I would like to understand this better, as apparently I'm missing something.

If I shoot these rounds out of my XD Service, I generate velocities in the mid 1100s--not something that would be considered +P or a particularly hot velocity.

In the LC9, I was getting about 100-120 fps less than the XD, which is understandable given the shorter barrel. Regardless of the loads, some commercial, some reloads, I would get 100-120fps less in the LC9 (I did the comparisons directly for that reason).

What I'm not understanding is why, if the loads are hot, I'm not getting really high velocities out of the LC9.

I've always used velocity as a proxy for pressure, at least in a gross sense. I've never spec'd a load that produces 1200fps in the XD, simply because I don't see a need to go that high. So why would I get primer flow in the LC9?

Something's not adding up for me here, and I'm not saying you're incorrect--please don't take it that way. It's just that I'm puzzled by this. I thought I was starting to understand the dynamics of reloading a bit, and now this.
 

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That is an odd place for brass to blow out. it is pretty thick in that spot on most brass.

Is it range pickup brass? Do you know how many times its been reloaded?

Stick with medium burn rate owders for 9mm and it is darn near impossible to Kb a 9mm with good brass.

Here is a pic of some Winchester bulk pack. I fired 10 rounds from that box and 4 of them were like this. the fireball was HUGE in full daylight and recoil was 3X the normal amount and the brass did not burst, even at the feed ramp portion of the brass.

Look at the flow in that primer, even the headstamp got a nice flat edge around the stampings!



I believe the marginaly safe loads along with weak brass is the problem. JMO from loading many 9x19mm cases....
 
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