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Split cases


JayDee
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I’ve been reloading 40 for 6 years and have been through about 8k rounds per year. I case gauge all my reloads. I just got a stack of primers and loaded up some major and minor 40. I found a number of split cases during QC and case gauging. 
 

Most didn’t case gauge and were easy to spot. But during QC I found a few that passed the case gauge. 
 

question: have any of you ever shot a round with a split case (case with a crack/material failure)? If so, what happened? 
 

I don’t think I missed any, but it made me wonder about the outcome of missing a split case. 
 

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience or thoughts on the matter. 

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3 hours ago, JayDee said:

I’ve been reloading 40 for 6 years and have been through about 8k rounds per year. I case gauge all my reloads. I just got a stack of primers and loaded up some major and minor 40. I found a number of split cases during QC and case gauging. 
 

Most didn’t case gauge and were easy to spot. But during QC I found a few that passed the case gauge. 
 

question: have any of you ever shot a round with a split case (case with a crack/material failure)? If so, what happened? 
 

I don’t think I missed any, but it made me wonder about the outcome of missing a split case. 
 

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience or thoughts on the matter. 

Sometimes depending on how bad it is you may not notice it. If it’s by the mouth and affects tension on the bullet you can get a blooper. It won’t sound the same and will have reduced recoil and velocity. It may or may not eject properly too. Generally they don’t hurt anything but I have seen some that split down the side and left a crappy carbon track in the chamber. Done enough times I suppose it could erode a groove in the chamber but it would have to be in the same place. I’ve noticed while watching some shooters that every once in a while you’ll see either a smoky round or one with a ball of fire. I’m guessing that could be a split case, or a loose neck. 

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25 minutes ago, louu said:

You can usually hear them in the case feeder or when handling the brass, they have a different sound

Yup, part of my process is to grab a bunch in both hands and shake the cases. Split cases sing out!

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I've seem to see more split cases in 40 so I look at each one after I load them.  It goes pretty quick 0 simply rolling the cases usually flags a bad case with a darker line.  My thinking is if they are going to split, they will do it during the loading process.  I guess if you annealed the cases, you could reduce the splitting but why bother?

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Thanks for the replies. 

Usually I can feel when a case splits during sizing, and if I don’t notice, I usually can feel a difference when placing the bullet on the expanded case mouth. 
this photo shows some details. The bottom round made it through the progressive but failed the case gauge. The top two passed the case gauge. 
 

so far it’s only a small percentage <0.5%. 

1ED2C2D7-01F4-45B2-8F38-2C3CDB729F6A.jpeg

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As an experiment I have intentionally shot a few pistol rounds with split cases. They all fired and acted normal but this was under controlled conditions and only one round at a time.  I would be concerned about neck tension and bullet seating depth.  All of them were minor splits on the mouth none more than 1/8” long.  I promptly collected the brass and disposed of it.  

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5 hours ago, JayDee said:

Thanks for the replies. 

Usually I can feel when a case splits during sizing, and if I don’t notice, I usually can feel a difference when placing the bullet on the expanded case mouth. 
this photo shows some details. The bottom round made it through the progressive but failed the case gauge. The top two passed the case gauge. 
 

so far it’s only a small percentage <0.5%. 

1ED2C2D7-01F4-45B2-8F38-2C3CDB729F6A.jpeg

Any particular brand?

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No particular brand of case…. These are 2x Winchester and 1x federal but I own about equal amounts of These stamps plus Starline and Xtreme. 
 

nickel plated are a different story, I typically toss those as they seem to split earlier than reg brass. 

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9 hours ago, JayDee said:

No particular brand of case…. These are 2x Winchester and 1x federal but I own about equal amounts of These stamps plus Starline and Xtreme. 
 

nickel plated are a different story, I typically toss those as they seem to split earlier than reg brass. 

Yes nickel is a problem. I just wonder if your chamber is a bit large and overworking the brass, or your sizing die is a bit tight. I have some 10mm that’s been loaded 5-10+ times with no problems and with some not so gentle loads. All brands too. 

Edited by Farmer
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I do use a Lee U die, so I suppose it could work the brass more than the regular die. 
 

Chambers are on spec (both Dan Wesson). 
 

none of my Starline brass (purchased new) had evidences splits so it is probably related to range brass of unknown provenance. 
 

thanks all for the input. 

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4 hours ago, JayDee said:

I do use a Lee U die, so I suppose it could work the brass more than the regular die. 
 

Chambers are on spec (both Dan Wesson). 
 

none of my Starline brass (purchased new) had evidences splits so it is probably related to range brass of unknown provenance. 
 

thanks all for the input. 

Maybe just try a regular sizing die (if you have one) and see if they’ll gauge and improve the life. If the headstamp is still sharp and the rim isn’t chewed up badly they shouldn’t have been fired much. You can sometimes see extractor marks around the rim that can give some indication of excessive use. Generally brass blown out in the center are an indication of over sizing or oversized chamber. FWIW, Starline brass is pretty tough stuff. 

Edited by Farmer
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My experience with split brass is like whats mentioned above.  I shot them during practise sessions, if they are not cracked horizontally. usually they felt the same as normal rounds, occasionally some felt less powerful due to reduced neck tension or reduced chamber pressure. I have not encountered one that caused ejection failure, however some of them could not chamber. 

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