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Old 04-19-2010, 09:32   #1
chemcmndr
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Signs of underpressure on cartridges

I have been unable to find any information on this topic, so I look to more experienced people. I've seen a good bit of information on the signs of overpressure on cartridges, such as the flattening of the primer, etc. What about when a round doesn't have as much pressure as it should? I ask because I was shooting some reloaded 9mm and noticed that there was some soot on the outside of the brass near the case mouth, almost as if the case wasn't expanding fully in the chamber. The rounds were loaded with Hodgdon Universal to the minimum powder amount and did cycle the slide, but sometimes the slide wouldn't stay open on the last shot. These are the reasons that lead me to think that my rounds may be a little underpowered.

Any suggestions, remarks, or comments?
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:50   #2
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A chronograph is a good starting place. Actual velocity vs published velocity for that load will tell you quite a bit.

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Old 04-19-2010, 10:10   #3
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Originally Posted by chemcmndr View Post
I have been unable to find any information on this topic, so I look to more experienced people. I've seen a good bit of information on the signs of overpressure on cartridges, such as the flattening of the primer, etc. What about when a round doesn't have as much pressure as it should? I ask because I was shooting some reloaded 9mm and noticed that there was some soot on the outside of the brass near the case mouth, almost as if the case wasn't expanding fully in the chamber. The rounds were loaded with Hodgdon Universal to the minimum powder amount and did cycle the slide, but sometimes the slide wouldn't stay open on the last shot. These are the reasons that lead me to think that my rounds may be a little underpowered.

Any suggestions, remarks, or comments?
All of those are signs that you do not have enough powder in the cartridge.
Just because it is published minimum charge, that it well work in your gun X but it works in gun Y
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:52   #4
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Universal is a little dirty when not pushed to mid level loads.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:34   #5
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The rounds were loaded with Hodgdon Universal to the minimum powder amount and did cycle the slide, but sometimes the slide wouldn't stay open on the last shot. These are the reasons that lead me to think that my rounds may be a little underpowered.

Any suggestions, remarks, or comments?
It's why I never recommend starting charges for semuiautos. They often barely work the action or fail to give 100% reliablility. The slower the poder, the more you'll see under pressure signs that you noted. You'll also find more unburned powder in the gun & around the shooting area. Universal & other med burners are at their best above midrange pressure/vel levels.
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Old 04-19-2010, 15:22   #6
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As already stated, the two characteristics of those 9mm rounds indicate underpressure - black, sooty case mouths and failure of the slide lock after shooting the last round.

The greatest sign of underpressure is a stuck bullet in your barrel.
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Old 04-19-2010, 16:14   #7
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As already stated, the two characteristics of those 9mm rounds indicate underpressure - black, sooty case mouths and failure of the slide lock after shooting the last round.

The greatest sign of underpressure is a stuck bullet in your barrel.
Right on that assessment. Bump the charge a tad and have at it. The 9 MM is pretty forgiving on the pressure levels so a published MAX is usually pretty darn safe.

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Old 04-19-2010, 17:17   #8
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Getting hit in the face with powder particles is a good sign of too low pressure. 3.5 Bullseye with a 180LTC in 40SW worked well as a reduced load for me so I tried 3.0. In my Glock 27 it worked great, but I got "stuff" hitting me in the face with that load in my Beretta 96. So I went back to the 3.5 load to have a load for both guns. The 3.0 load shot well and cycled both guns well, but obviously it wasn't sealing the case in the Beretta.
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Old 04-22-2010, 14:43   #9
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Universal is a little dirty when not pushed to mid level loads.
+1

I have had the same experience with Titegroup.
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Old 04-22-2010, 17:34   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiskyT View Post
Getting hit in the face with powder particles is a good sign of too low pressure. 3.5 Bullseye with a 180LTC in 40SW worked well as a reduced load for me so I tried 3.0. In my Glock 27 it worked great, but I got "stuff" hitting me in the face with that load in my Beretta 96. So I went back to the 3.5 load to have a load for both guns. The 3.0 load shot well and cycled both guns well, but obviously it wasn't sealing the case in the Beretta.
I'll find powder particles on my hands/arms too, if the charge is super light.
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Old 04-23-2010, 15:31   #11
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I'll find powder particles on my hands/arms too, if the charge is super light.
Some powders leave lots of unburnt particles even with high charges. Shoot a box of full load 357Mags loaded with 296 and you'll find a pile of powder on the floor in front of you and powder all over your arms.
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Old 04-23-2010, 15:54   #12
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Some powders leave lots of unburnt particles even with high charges. Shoot a box of full load 357Mags loaded with 296 and you'll find a pile of powder on the floor in front of you and powder all over your arms.
Roger that. That is the problem I have had with Blue Dot. I'm glad I ran out of that stuff.
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Old 04-23-2010, 16:05   #13
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Pushed out ("high") primers and/or soot around the primer pocket.
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Old 04-23-2010, 16:58   #14
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Who reloaded them?
What brand/type/grain bullet?
How much powder?
COAL?

I've been shooting 124gr FMJ/CMJ/JHP from PD and MG with minimal loads of Universal (4.3-4.4gr) and though I do sometimes get some sooty brass, I've shot several thousand through a variety of Glocks (everything from the 26 to the 34) and not a single malfunction.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:48   #15
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Take a careful look at this pic. Notice the discoloration 1/8" above the rim. That is an indication that you may want to check your load.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:25   #16
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wtf happened here^^^

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Old 04-24-2010, 09:32   #17
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Sent to me from a friend. I assume a double charge.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:35   #18
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Originally Posted by gwalchmai View Post
Sent to me from a friend. I assume a double charge.
So...what's that got to do with signs of underpressure?
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:36   #19
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Thanks for the topic. A lot of my lighter loads have been gathering soot around the mouth. They cycle my g21sf just fine, but do not cycle most 1911s reliably. Time to bump it up a little.

Learn something new everyday...much appreciated.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:41   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njl View Post
So...what's that got to do with signs of underpressure?
One of the classic signs of underpressure is the sooty discoloration caused by insufficient obturation. As my pic illustrates, many of these signs can be caused by other factors...
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:44   #21
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Some powders leave lots of unburnt particles even with high charges. Shoot a box of full load 357Mags loaded with 296 and you'll find a pile of powder on the floor in front of you and powder all over your arms.
296 was originally a 44 Mag powder along with H110. 2400 is a better powder for a 357 mag but needs magnum primers.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:10   #22
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Originally Posted by mteagle1 View Post
296 was originally a 44 Mag powder along with H110. 2400 is a better powder for a 357 mag but needs magnum primers.
2400 was originally developed for the 22 Hornet and the 296 is for the 30 Carbine. Most loads for 2400 use standard primers.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:32   #23
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Originally Posted by mteagle1 View Post
296 was originally a 44 Mag powder along with H110. 2400 is a better powder for a 357 mag but needs magnum primers.
I dont use magnum primers in any of my 2400 loads.
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