Author Topic: Bolt face errosion!!!  (Read 9789 times)

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Bolt face errosion!!!
« on: December 27, 2012, 05:39:30 PM »
I've been reloading for a few years now and I just saw something that concerned me on my handgun... it looks like there are some hot gases escaping from around my primers and eroding the bolt face on my auto-loader.  I'm currently using a LEE hand priming tool if that makes any difference - I can hear the RCBS crowd screaming LEE is crap already... really? 

I've fired maybe 600rds of reloaded ammo so far... this seems like it's not a good thing!  What can I do to stop it?  Oh yea, Winchester #7 primers, 4.3gr of IMR 700X and 230gr bullets (.451 cal).  Anything stand out as wrong?

Offline trekker111

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 07:38:14 AM »
How do the primers feel when you seat them? I assume you are talking about 45 acp, and if so, that charge of powder seems to be within appropriate levels. Are there any signs of high pressure on your fired brass?

Are we talking about a little ring of discoloration around the firing pin hole, or a rough grove.

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 07:16:02 PM »
Update - there was some very minor leading in the barrel which I think contributed to this.  I spoke with on gentleman who thought this could cause a pressure spike, enough to do some nasty stuff to a handgun  :o looks like I need to get one of those lead removal kits...

Offline Luvmy45

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 08:33:22 PM »
Something else is going on.

I am assuming you are loading 45 acp?

That load should be around 800fps... Very soft shooting for a 230gr load in a 45, that will not lead your barrel, you would need a stady diet of 1000fps lead bullets to start seeing leading generally.

What kind of gun is this? Revolver or auto? are you crimping the bullet at all?

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 11:23:51 AM »
Something else is going on.

I am assuming you are loading 45 acp?

That load should be around 800fps... Very soft shooting for a 230gr load in a 45, that will not lead your barrel, you would need a stady diet of 1000fps lead bullets to start seeing leading generally.

What kind of gun is this? Revolver or auto? are you crimping the bullet at all?

45ACP in an auto loader.  No crimping.  These are 1/2 wheel weight - 1/2 Pb cast in a lee tumble lube mold, sized to .451 and tumble lubed after sizing. 

Offline Luvmy45

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 11:49:47 AM »
What brand of gun?  Glock? Is it a factory barrel or a aftermarket?

U less you have a clogged barrel, leading after a few hundred rounds shouldn't be the problem...in fact there shouldn't be any leading at all at those speeds.

I would double check the dies and make sure you don't have any crimping going on... Sometimes the seating die can be used as a roll crimp...roll crimp on a straight wall case for an auto loader is a no no.  Are you using a taper crimp die? Just taper crimp enough to get you to factory spec .473 at the rim of the case.

You need to shoot a lot more than a few hundred rounds to start eroding the bolt face, got any photos?

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 07:02:46 PM »
Springfield XD w/ 4" factory barrel.  Using Lee die set - I don't own any type of crimp die, just a bullet seating die.
No photo's at the moment, that may take a few days...

Offline Luvmy45

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 10:13:57 AM »
I would get a hold of a chrono and see how fast your loads are going...

I would also double check your seating die... that die CAN be used as a roll crimp die if adjusted down too far... if you are crimping by accident, that can cause a spike in pressure and cause a a problem.

From Lee's instructions on the bullet seating die...
Screw the bullet seating die in until it touches the shell
holder, then back it out three full turns. Lightly ? nger tighten the lock ring.
Bullet depth is adjusted by screwing the adjusting screw in or out to suit.
Bullets should be seated deep enough to work through the gun’s action.
See maximum overall length on charge table. If a crimp is desired, screw
the die in slightly and test until the proper crimp is formed. Cases must be
trimmed to the same length to provide a uniform crimp.


If you are using mixed range brass, and it has not been trimmed (not needed, so don't do it) you may have a few pieces that are crimped while others are not.

I would find a chrono and measure your FPS to see what's going on and check your seating die for proper adjustment.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 12:59:39 PM »
I've never heard of pistol cartridges reaching pressures that would blow past primers with hot gases.  Are the primers fully seated (like .003" below flush? Did it take firm pressure to seat them?

It is the breech face not the bolt face on a pistol. The reason it is called bolt face erosion is because it normally happens on rifles, which have bolts. Rifles operate at 45,000 - 65,000 psi typically, so an over pressure situation would be much higher than that.  That much pressure in a pistol would likely do other damage as well not just the primer blowing out. 9mm and .40 pistol operate around 35,000 psi, way below what it would take to affect primers like that.  I would suspect a loosely seated primer IF the breech face is truly eroded. Is it really eroded (loss of material) or just burnt carbon or something on it?

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 11:28:53 PM »
There's more going on here than first glance.  First, is this bolt face erosion or firing pin hole erosion, or both (or neither)?  Second, if your pressure was up enough to cause those issues, you'd likely have issues with the locking mechanism or cycling issues to boot.  What is the source of your components?  Are they all newly purchased?  Did you pick up the brass at the range?  Are the primers old?  Many different things to look at and consider.

Also, has this erosion been a recent development?  Did it start prior to shooting the reloads?  You need to do some serious detective work and not get too focused on one possibility until you get enough clues to what is really going on.

Offline res45

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2013, 07:02:38 AM »
Quote
45ACP in an auto loader.  No crimping.  These are 1/2 wheel weight - 1/2 Pb cast in a lee tumble lube mold, sized to .451 and tumble lubed after sizing. 

In reloading straight wall cases that headspace on the case mouth we use a ?taper crimp? die. However this die doesn't really ?crimp? anything. It's sole purpose in life is to remove the flair on the mouth of the casing so the round feeds and headspaces correctly.
 
A properly adjusted taper crimp die may or may not increase bullet tension by as much as 10%. Screw that die down further and the casing starts to buckle releasing it's grip of the bullet which not only can cause bullet setback to occur  during chambering more easily but can crush the bullet as well, this is especially important when using cast bullets.  No point in having a properly sized cast bullet if you reduce the dia. apply to much crimp or taper crimp.
 
Bullet tension is determined by:
1. The resizing die.
2. The expander plug. (Bell mouth die)
3. Case wall thickness.
4. Bullet diameter.
 
The best way I know to properly set up your taper crimp die is first resize a casing and measure the mouth diameter with a set of calipers. Now take that empty casing and run it through the adjusted taper crimp die and measure again. The two measurements should be the same, or up to .002 smaller. Remember though less is more when it comes to taper crimping.

50/50 WW/Lead alloy will give you a BHN of around 10 that will require a Max load pressure of 14.220 PSI to obturate the base of the bullet to seal the bore  ie. 10 x 1422 = 14.220 PSI, you can water drop those bullets since they contain 50% WW alloy and up the BHN a few points.   However your bullet dia. appears to already be to small to begin with.  A normal dia. jacket  bullet runs at .451" plated bullets will normally run at .452"   

Cast bullets are a whole different animal they need to be sized .001" to .002" over the groove dia. of your  bore or cylinder throat in revolvers to seal it properly to begin with.  I don't know of any commercial bullet caster than sizes a 45 ACP bullet any smaller than .452" or home caster for that matter.  A .451" dia. cast bullet in a low pressure rd. like the 45 ACP  is going to lead the bore right off the bat reguardless of velocity,fit is king.  I cast the Lee 230 gr. RN TL bullet for several friends and I have them all shoot the bullet as cast no sizing at all with two light coats of Lee Alox thinned with mineral spirits.  If  you want to size that bullet size it to .452" and no smaller try it as cast first it should work just fine as is.

If you warm you lead bullets up say in a pan in the sun or on a heating pad as well as you lube you will get a much more even coat with no globing of the lube on the bullets.  All you need is a light golden sheen on the bullets.  As far as bolt face erosion if you can see a definitive groove being worn in the metal surface of the bolt face it usually cased by  gas leakage around the primer pocket.  When priming a case rifle or pistol if the primer feels loose when seating discard the case you should feel some  resistance when seating the primer.  There will also be evidence of gas leakage around the primer itself. 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 07:12:14 AM by res45 »

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 07:32:52 PM »
Wow, sorry guys - I lost track of this thread. 

I am using some old lyman dies to reload with - but I am not using it set to crimp!  The cast bullets are sized to .451" (most actually size to .4505" using a micrometer) - Lee tumble lube mold, 230gr, half wheel weight & half Pb.  Also, I never had any problem with the lube clumping up... if that makes a difference.

The bullets are inserted into cases saved from Remington factory loads and have been re-used maybe 3 times so far.  Primers are Winchester large pistol primers (new).  Powder is 700x @ 4.4 gr.  Seating depth is straight from my Lyman reloading manual, most recent edition. 

Primers are loaded via Lee handheld primer tool to at least 0.002" below - as recommended in the manual.  I honestly keep squeezing till I feel it bottom out and have never had one not seat deep enough - the case starts to pul out of the primer tool before I stop squeezing most of the time... so I always seat the primers with almost more force than the case can take before it starts to pull away from the tool... this should be sufficient.

I have shot through approximately 400 rds of these reloads before this happened... I clean very carefully and meticulously and hadn't seen it till recently.  I have also shot the same number of factor loads and never had any issues.  These are not range-pick up's.  I have saved my brass from factory loads, that's my only source!

I realize that the bullets I am shooting are smaller than is ideal, but until recently it was never an issue.  I do find it difficult to believe that there is no connection between the barrel leading, which I've never had before, and the appearance of the erosion. 

Modify: Pictures!


So hopefully I didn't make it sounds worse than it really is... but if this is going to be a sustainable thing, I need to make it stop doing whatever it's doing. 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 07:49:07 PM by CountryRootsCityJob »

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 04:32:39 AM »
side bar on leading:

To remove lead from the barrel, go to the grocery store and buy the "chore boy" brand of copper scouring pad. You will be able to unravel long strands of copper from this-
wrap around an old bore brush several times and then work the barrel- hold it over a piece of paper and see the lead flakes fall out into a pile. 
A little kroil ahead of time really helps.

I'd get the lee 452 bullet sizing die and use it vs the 451 unless you are having feeding issues (I have a kimber that requires 451)

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 10:22:48 AM »
side bar on leading:

To remove lead from the barrel, go to the grocery store and buy the "chore boy" brand of copper scouring pad. You will be able to unravel long strands of copper from this-
wrap around an old bore brush several times and then work the barrel- hold it over a piece of paper and see the lead flakes fall out into a pile. 
A little kroil ahead of time really helps.

BRILLIANT!!!!  That's why I love this forum.  You saved me from dropping $30 at Brownells for their copper weave patch cleaning kit to remove lead buildup, AWESOME!  +1!

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 03:59:53 PM »
BRILLIANT!!!!  That's why I love this forum.  You saved me from dropping $30 at Brownells for their copper weave patch cleaning kit to remove lead buildup, AWESOME!  +1!

Glad to help. The chore boy package i bought years ago contained 2 large pads and each seemed to have 50 or 100 feet of copper ribbon ready to unravel.

How well does it work? 

This is the lead from an uzi barrel after a couple hundred undersized 9mm rounds with the 1911 barrel bushing in the pic for scale (Only did it once, that's for sure)



___________________________________________________________________________________
To take a step farther you can use a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide/ 50% vinegar as a pre-scrub cleaning solution

Once done, wash well and oil the bore as certain stainless alloys are purported to be susceptible to pitting after prolonged exposure to this mix. On the rare occasion I have done this, I  slopped it in and let sit for 2-3 minutes then hit with the choreboy brush before rinsing etc. .

the byproduct is lead acetate sludge, which is a toxic suspension of lead that needs to be avoided, so wear gloves and dispose of everything appropriately




Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 06:47:30 PM »
the byproduct is lead acetate sludge, which is a toxic suspension of lead that needs to be avoided, so wear gloves and dispose of everything appropriately

You must have paid attention in chemistry class... once again, great information!  I'll be sure to put on the rubber gloves/goggles if I ever come to that.  I'll see if I can find some chore-boy first...

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 06:50:26 PM »
I would suspect a loosely seated primer IF the breech face is truly eroded. Is it really eroded (loss of material) or just burnt carbon or something on it?

It is definitely loss of material.  I'll double check my primers from now on as well... although I have a hard time believing that's the problem.
~CRCJ

Offline RacinRob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 08:40:46 PM »
Ok, here is a wierd idea... When you put a piece of brass on the breech face is the pitting under the brass or just outside of it.  I notice that when I make up light loads I have a problem with the brass getting really black.  I had this problem in a small .38 that I load really light for.  So, I wanted to know what was going on, so I looked into it.  What I think is happening is that the brass is not expanding enough when it is fired and the gases are blowing by the case.  Just an idea...

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2013, 07:06:37 PM »
So just recently I took a look-see at my brass... there were 5 or 6 pieces with burn marks around the primer hole.  Probably time to throw out those pieces of brass... it's a shame, only reloaded once!  I think I'm going to try out the copper scrubbing and keep a closer eye on my barrel until I can try out a larger sizing die.  Or perhaps I'll send it off to Lee to have them enlarge it. 

Any thoughts?

Offline res45

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2013, 07:37:52 PM »
You can hone the sizing die out yourself,it pretty simple to do just go slow size a bullet and measure often till you get it enlarged like you want.

http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/HowTo/How%20to%20Hone%20a%20Size%20Die.pdf

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2013, 10:58:33 AM »
You can hone the sizing die out yourself,it pretty simple to do just go slow size a bullet and measure often till you get it enlarged like you want.

http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/HowTo/How%20to%20Hone%20a%20Size%20Die.pdf

I'll try that one... thanks!

Offline lochaber

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2013, 12:05:33 PM »
If you see gases escaping around the primer (which would match the erosion on the breach face) there are only 4 possible options:

1) The primers are undersized and not sealing correctly
2) The primer pockets are oversized (what brass brand are you using?)
3) Your pressure is very high. Unlikely with your load
4) Your pressure is too low and there are some issues sealing the cup to the brass. You are actually loading a charge under the minimum charge (4.5)

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2013, 07:19:30 AM »
If you see gases escaping around the primer (which would match the erosion on the breach face) there are only 4 possible options:

1) The primers are undersized and not sealing correctly
2) The primer pockets are oversized (what brass brand are you using?)
3) Your pressure is very high. Unlikely with your load
4) Your pressure is too low and there are some issues sealing the cup to the brass. You are actually loading a charge under the minimum charge (4.5)

Responses:
1) I don't think that is something I can control.  They are Winchester, so I can only assume they are fine.  I have a hard time thinking this is the problem.
2) The brass is R-P, reloaded once.  I did not modify the primer pocket, only cleaned it.  I have a hard time thinking this is the problem.
3) The pressure... the max load in my Lyman 49th edition is 5.0gr of 700x... 4.3 shouldn't cause too much pressure.  Leading in the barrel, IMHO will cause a pressure spike!  I am becoming more and more  convinced this was my problem.
4) The suggested starting charge for 700x is 4.0grains for a 225 gr cast bullet.  What manual are you using that gives a minimum charge of 4.5gr?

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2013, 03:39:05 PM »
don't send the 451 in to lee to fix- a new 452 isn't going to cost much and besides, you may find (like me) that one day you have a gun that requires cast bullets sized to 451 and not the standard 452

Offline BlueSmoke

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Re: Bolt face errosion!!!
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 06:36:06 PM »
Shoot a bigger bullet.  .452 in the 45ACP

You are getting leading from a poor bullet fit (too small).

That in turn lowers the pressure of the round not allowing the primer to seal the back of the cartridge case.

All 45ACP rounds should have a firm taper crimp.  This will allow the pressure of the round to increase before the bullet leave the cartridge case.

When using tumble lube do it twice.... a day apart.  It loves to stick to itself.

Regards,

BlueSmoke