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Thread: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

  1. #1
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    Default Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    During my last reloading session with new brass, I found five cases with the flash holes drilled noticeable off center. I am not reloading for bench rest accuracy, but I would like to get as much out of my handloads as possible.

    Your comments please.

    Best wishes from Texas.

    John in Texas

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    Hi John
    I am not the most experienced reloader, but I would toss them. Any issue that could potentially cause the characteristics of the load to change is not worth it. In this case with the primer holes being off center, I would wonder if the primer would not being as effective in touching off the powder.

    z

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by Zane Rakes View Post
    Hi John
    I am not the most experienced reloader, but I would toss them. Any issue that could potentially cause the characteristics of the load to change is not worth it. In this case with the primer holes being off center, I would wonder if the primer would not being as effective in touching off the powder.

    z
    No doubt. They will not be used. I was just curious if anyone had had any first hand experience with cases like these.
    Thanks for the response.
    John in Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    About 7 years ago I was getting ready to attend a Carbine Class and needed 500 rounds of 243. I decided to make a project out of it and began preparations to hand load a 500 round batch (word of warning; read the fine print. Many of these classes or schools don't permit reloads. Stoppages on the firing line impede the instruction. The instructor cut me some slack, and all the rounds worked fine.). In any event I ordered 500 rounds of unfired 243 brass and other suitable components. The cases would be resized, have the primer pockets uniformed, trimmed to length and champhered. while handling the cases I found several cases with off centered flash holes. Name:  PC190144.jpg
Views: 96
Size:  58.4 KB Years ago I encountered the same things working with Military 223 brass for a 7MM TCU. A bit of research revealed it was a batch of experimental brass made using expedited case forming techniques and found to be acceptable. In any event out of the 500 rounds there were 50 cases with visibly off center flash holes There were an additional 26 cases with damage to the neck (more on that in a bit).

    The rifle used was a relatively stock ultra light Win M70 with a glass bedded wooden stock and light bbl. The gun carried a 3-9 Leupold VX-II in Redfield mounts. The gun is not a bench rester but delivers a consistent 1 1/2 inch groups with selected hand loads in various weights. The load used was consistent in that regard, with the infuriating habit of placing 4 shots into sub 3/4" groups and a flyer out to 1 1/2"; sometimes the first shot, sometimes the 4th sometimes the last one. All in all a gun and load with a proven track record.


    Back to the brass. I contacted the manufacture and asked why this was showing up. I was told little except that they would replace the brass and shortly I received a 100 rounds of unprimed brass.
    While the off center flash holes concerned me, the bigger problem in my mind was the damage to the neck. On several cases there was a 3/16" "dingus on the neck. I looked like it had happened during some part of the manufacturing process and resulted in a weak spot in the neck that (I felt) would effect uniform neck tension. I was not turning the case necks.

    I finished loading up the batch of ammo, (including the "bad" brass"that was segregated to a separate box. and tested it prior to the class. They held steady at 1 1/2 inches for two 5 shot groups, one was a bit smaller, but not enough to merit notice. After the class I again tested the loads on multiple occasions (I had 80 rounds of the good ammo left and 40 rounds of the "bad" ammo with which to work) and all of them have held within the norms (including that blasted flyer. In any event the difference between the ammunition with the off center flash holes worked out just fine, and I can see no statistically relevant difference in the different batches. Interestingly enough the class spent a good deal of time shooting at 100M with a sling, unsupported. That was a great developer of humility. I really don't think that the off centered flash holes will make any difference. But hay, part of the pleasure of hand loading is being as anal as you want to be.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    flamingo 7

    Thank you for taking the time to post this thorough reply. I read it with much interest. I'm assuming that the point of impact was essentially the same between the two batches of ammunition. For what it's worth, I've found that brass obtained from MidwayUSA is in much better condition than brass obtained from other retailers.

    Thank you again for the post, and good luck with that fifth shot.

    John in Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    I reload for just "shooting" and hunting purposes and have never seen a problem with off center flash holes. I have never thrown out a case for that reason and have always had groups that stayed within the norm. Beware, this result is not a reason to refrain from checking though. Cases with no holes or restricted ones are possible and that is bad.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    snakey2
    Thank you for replying.
    Good shooting.
    John in Texas

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    You are welcome and another caveat. Sometimes if they are really off you can't de-prime them on a press. I might then toss them or punch the primer out by hand and reuse.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    I would go ahead and shoot them and see if there's any difference in the POI or accuracy. I'd be more concerned with flash holes that were obstructed or not punched through fully.

    Hey flamingo, are you coming to the rondy? Hope to see you there.
    "Neither sport nor art should be unnecessarily cluttered and complicated."

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Off Center Flash Holes in Centerfire Cartridge Cases

    I'll be there. It's in a new spot. Make sure you check with Angie. See ya then.

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