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What are the most common reloading accidents which result in injury?

One of my friend's uncles lost his eye to reloading, but when I asked him what exactly happened he just kept telling me it was a "reloading" accident. Frustrated, I often wish I knew just what had happened just so I could be wary if ever in the same situation.

Has anybody heard of any other reloading accidents?
If so what happened and why?

I think the replies to this topic will make everyone here on the board safer.
(and me less worried about taking up reloading soon)...
 

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Undoubtedly the most dangerous thing that actually happens at the reloading bench is for a primer feed on a progressive loader or magazine priming tool to gang-fire. Probably where Unk lost his eye and he won't give details because he knows he screwed up and is ashamed.
Wear safety glasses and don't try to force anything invoving a primer, and never, ever do anything that will apply impact, by jerking a handle or hitting a rod. Primer feeds these days are armored and seldom cause operator injury, but if it lets go it will damage the machine... and the ceiling.

It is not at all a common accident. I have been handloading since 1970 and have NEVER popped even a single primer in a machine. I have crushed some with gradual pressure but never fired one in the shop. (Except the one I hit with a hammer just to see what it would sound like. Ouch. One was enough.)

I just don't know anything else to worry about in the shop. Smokeless powder is much less flammable than lawnmower gasoline or cleaning solvents and unless you keep enough to require a powder magazine under the fire code, is just not a significant risk.

When you get to the range, there is the risk of shooting a bad handload. Too much powder, too little powder, the wrong powder, the wrong bullet can wreck a gun. These are all operator errors, not some mystery hazard built into handloading. Pay attention to your work.
 

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Watch your magnum powders, like some of the Hodgens-fairly easy to double charge.
 

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I think magnum powders are pretty hard to double charge since it takes nearly a full cartridge case full to actually work. I would be more careful of charging cases with really fast powders like Bullseye and W-231. It takes very little of these powders to propel bullets and since it takes very little powder it is real easy to double or triple charge a case and the powder may still not be up to the top of the case.

Another common problem is no powder at all in the case. This results in a bullet stuck in the barrel. Don't shoot it out!

At the reloading bench, probably the biggest danger would be the primers. Should one ignite in a primer tube, you will have debis exiting the tube at very high velocity, so never, ever place any part of your body over or near the opening of the tube.

Always wear impact resistant safety glasses.
 

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reloading accidents

When I think of reloading accidents, I think of the "Kaboom!" first, having particpated in two during my career. The first was a borderline load in .40 S&W when I was too casual about the OAL (200 gr Copper platedTC over W231{charge forgotten but published} in a Lake City case with a WSP primer). The second was a .45 ACP load (230gr copper plated RN over 5.0gr W231 in a Lake City case with Federal LP primer). Both were loaded on a Dillon 650 and the liklihood of a double charge is extremely small.
In both instances, I was struck by shrapnel on my shooting glasses over my right eye -by the extracter in the first case and fragments of the brass in the second.
I have also set off a WSP in my Dillon and had trouble hearing out of my right ear for a couple of days. I have read on the SASS Wire about someone setting off a whole tube full of LP primers when he accidently ran a primed case through the machine.
I have also read about some one who was using his firearm as a case gauge and had an AD into a GI ammo can that was full of ammunition. I seem to remember that the result was fatal.
Regards, WalterB
 

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That Hogdon H110 leaves plenty of room for a double charge.....
 

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Really? What caliber? I've loaded scads of 357 magnum with H-110 and the starting charges use up 80% of the available case volume. Full charges use up at least 90%. When H-110 and W-296 are loaded below these levels you can get inconsistant ignition and some pretty wild pressure spikes.
 

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.44 mag seems to have pleanty of room when charging a slightly warm load.
 

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overcharge

I had a charge and a half in .41 Mag case with titegroup. This was all my fault as I short stroked the load and was using a powder checker die. I figured the load was somewhere around 10 grains. I glad I was using new brass in a Ruger Blackhawk. The brass stretched about 20 thou, and had rings around head from stretching so much. I now only user a LOCK-OUT Die.
 

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I'm still confused as to how you can have a double charge with H-110. You're not supposed to load light charges with that powder, due to the potential risk of a hangfire or detonation. Every manual I've seen says to use 90% loading density or better, to minimize airspace and ensure consistency. Most of the loads I made up were 97% or higher, and worked just fine. If you can get a double charge of H-110 in a magnum load, there's a problem! :eek:

PJ
 

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Well, I am very new to reloading and have only had two "issues" arise that could have been serious.

I have been experimenting with "bunny fart" loads (.38 Special). I have a Dillon 650 and have had two "squibs" during the past week.

The first with 125 JHP--3gr. Win-231 and WSP's...My step daughter and I were shooting (the "bunny farts" were made for her to use) and I hear a distinct "PH-ut". I asked her to cease fire...took the gun (a sweet shooting six inch 1947 Mdl. Military & Police) and found the bullet lodged with-in an inch of the muzzle.

The second instance was with 148gr. DSWC Rainier bullets ahead of 3gr. Win-231 w/WSP's. This time it was me at the range testing some loads.

Both of these loads had been loaded up the week before and I'd test fired a few rounds...six rounds of each batch when the first loads were produced.

I ran out a few (50) of each for later testing for basic accuracy.

Here's what I think happened. My Dillon is a great press! But is can very in powder charge .1 grain and at times (not often, but at times) .2 grains....with soft loads, I think I was TOO close to being TOO low.

I've thus changed my overall perspective regarding low and high end loads using my Dillon press. I now stay at least .2 grains (actually more than that) away from the high or low end.

This is my lesson. I'm happy to report I did not send a second slug up behind the aforementioned "squibs".

Can't be too careful.

Bob
 

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Squibs

VFM,
I just went through a similar episode with my .38 Spec.
I was loading 158 gr West Coast plated bullets over 2.9gr American Select in my Dillon 650 and after my 4th squib of the day (it gets kind of embarrassing to repeatedly ask to borrow the range squib rod and hammer)-
Why don't you put a liitle more powder in them things, Doc?
I eventually sequestered that lot of ammo and put the remainders in my pull pile.
I also was able to pick up the "PH-ut" and didn't put a second one down the tube on top of the squib, but was not shooting with anyone else. I'm glad that you were paying attention to what your daughter was doing.
Your thoughts about staying well inside the charge range with the Dillon 650 are excellent, especially with a non- spherical powder like American Select.
Regards, WalterB
 

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WalterB,
It's a lot easier to hear that Phhh-it when you are not at a busy/noisy range.
Glad to hear you were able to handle the problem w/no injury.

Bob
 
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