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Tell me: How many misfires, hangfires, or the like have you encountered with home loads as opposed to factory? I ask particularly b/c of your mention of customizing a home defense round; I've heard some say that in that type of scenario the last thing you want is a home load due to the potential failure of the round. Do split casings (when they split) offer any sort of hazard to the gun?

Tim, actually misfires and hang fires are very rare. I did get a bad lot of primers from CCI about 20 or 18 years ago. They were CCI Large rifle primers. I loaded up a fairly large number of cartridges for a 25-06 rife that I had built on a Ruger #1 barreled action. I took that rifle and ammo, along with 3 or 2 other weapons, to Alaska to sight in and test. I found that about 3 out of 10 of the primers were total misfires and the rest would not give me consistent results. Out of the ones that fired, I couldn't cover a 10 shot group at 100 yards with a dinner plate. Other than that batch of primers, I can't recall any misfires.

If I want to load especially accurate rifle ammunition, I'll use the “Benchrest” primers. They cost a little more but the results may be just a hair better than the regular primers. Shooting the M-1 Garand, Mini-14 or the carbine at 100 yards using open sights the slight increase in accuracy using premium primers and bullets isn't worth the price so I'll usually use regular primers and military bullets.

The biggest problem that I noticed with casings splitting in a revolver (usually my .44 magnum) is that they are hard to extract. Most of the splits in rifle casings are around the neck. The belted magnums have a bad tendency to have case-head separations. This is usually the result of full length resizing the cases too often. On my rifles, I only full length resize the cartridges that I use in the semi-automatics. The cases for the bolt action and single shot rifles I'll usually just neck size. When they get too tight, I'll partly F.L. size them. I have had cases fail in the Mini-14 and the Garand due to head separations. The next cartridge will jam partly into the chamber. It can be a pain in the @$$ to remove the broken case if you don't have the broken case extractor with you.

C.J.V.

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