View Full Version : Define the term "Smiley" regarding reloading
I've been reloading for about 6 months now. I've done alot of research and note taking long before I loaded my first round. I keep seeing the term "smiley" in regards to reloading. What exactly is a "smiley" and what causes it? I have been assuming it was the dent in the side of a case caused from ejection. If this is the so called "smiley", how is it bad, and how does one keep it from occuring when reloading?
The "Smiley" is formed from the expanding cartridge case which is starting to shear/tear the it self apart in the areas which lack case support, namely the feed ramp of the barrel. This area which lacks support allows the case on high pressure rounds to expand to the point of case head seperation if the presses are high enough. Some cases have blown out due to this lack of support which has bled a high pressure jet of expanding propellent gas to blow in to the magazine well and the openings of the trigger gaurd. When this happens the shooter can be hurt and the magazine can pe blown out from the well and in some cases the frames can suffer damage as well.
Click link below to see "smilley"
If you have any cases like the one in the picture...DO NOT ATEMPT TO RELOAD IT!, it has been compromised. Not even the "pushthru dies" will help to correct this...reloading and shooting this case can cause it to have a total case head seperation.
Why? Because the brass has started to shear as it stretched due to the unsupported area. Pushing it back into place will not help the molecular structure.
Don't confuse yourself with what is just an expanded case, swollen looking which filled the loose chamber. Those could be resized, but they will become work hardened sooner than cases which the chambers have tighter dimentions to support the cartridge case better.
Here is a picture showing lack of support at the feed ramp. Also if the pistol is out of battery(not locked in place) or barrel and slide unlock too early this smille or worst could happen.
Which is the preferred barrel to get rid of the smile? I just picked up a Lone Wolf.
Lone Wolf works, also Storm Lake & KLM. My Stock Glock 29 barrel has been tight enough not to develop any smiles with my handloads. I have the Storm Lake 10mm and 40S&W conversion and LWD 9x25 Dillon too, that LWD has very tight tollerances.
Thank you for your response. You have completely clarified the whole "smiley" mystery for me. I personally use a Bar-Sto barrel for my 2nd Gen M20. I guess the dent caused from ejection isn't a big concern? Is there a correlation between the strength of the spring and the power of the load that causes the shell to become dented during ejection?
There are many things which can cause damage to the cartridge cases. Yes the timing of the ejection in relation to the load used can cause some issues.
If the barrel unlocks from battery too soon and the brass still has enough pressure to expand and hold it to the chamber walls the extractor can do some damage. (more of a problem in semiauto rifles)
Sometimes they get damaged just by being smacked around by the returning slide either during feed or ejection. The breech face if not smooth enough or dirty could hamper the feeding process as the cartridge rides up the breech to be pushed into battery. Sometimes in the situation of stovepiping(brass trapped by the returning slide) will dent or bend things. They can also sustain damage by hitting the pavement or hard surface while the brass is hot from being fired.
I find some extractor rims (bent, dinged up) which will not enter a shell holder for reloading so These should be removed and not used, this can cause a failure to feed problem. Not a good thing!
Thanks again for your insight. You are a god amongst grasshoppers! I hope the BP oil mess doesn't affect you and yours too severely.
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