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Thread: Reloading mk7 ball into new cases.

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  1. #1
    Member Fruler's Avatar
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    Reloading mk7 ball into new cases.

    So, I've been enjoying some POFicon mk7 ball without any hang fires or any problems at all, for quite a while now. So I figured I'd buy more... I bought 9 boxes, 32 rounds a box online..... I tested a handful of cartridges from each box, all were hang fires.



    Now the conundrum for me is this... What should I do with the cordite from the pulled cases? I've done a ton of looking online trying to find out how to remove the cordite in a efficient and then get the cordite into new cases. I haven't found anything. I WOULD HATE TO THROW AWAY THE CORDITE but if there's no way of getting it into new cases I may have to so, regrettably.

    My plan is to pull the bullets, reload them into new cases, with new primers. New cases because I only have a a few commercial cases that are reloadable and use the cordite if possible from the pulled cases.

    How much it'll cost me in money to do all this isn't my concern really, I just want to do it right I guess.

    Or... Should I just live with the hang fires?
    What would you guys do?

    Thanks again guys.
    Aussie in Missouri. Milsurps I have...1942 Lithgow SMLE No.1 mk3*... 1942 Mosin M 91/30.... 1944 dot K98k.... 1952 fazakerley No.4 Mk.2 Lee-Enfield....WANTED- Swiss K31 and M1903a3.

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    Contributing Member speckles's Avatar
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    That is a very interesting task you have set for yourself. And its funny that I just did the same thing about 2 months ago. I was working up a difference between mk7 vs other types of hand loads. I will say it is very possible to replace cordite back into a reload case without losing or breaking any of it. It is also possible to do it relatively efficiently. the cordite is like angel hair pasta that is quite brittle. From my recent trial, I found that the hang fires kill the mk7 accuracy, 75 plus percent of the time... On my next go around I will need to re-prime the mk7 with a good primer... (flaw in my study) The key for replacing the cordite into the case is to leave a few strands out while slowly replacing the strands into the case carefully. Here is the most important part..... If you are heavy handed, clumsy, shaky, or inept kinesthetically, then you need someone else doing it... Hard pill to swallow buy sometimes just have to know what your faults are.

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    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speckles View Post
    inept kinesthetically
    Haha, I'm stealing that phrase. It will apply well to a couple guys at work!

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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    POFicon (Possibility Of Firing) is suspect in many ways storage of the rounds being one yeah its cheap enough but you get what you pay for I used it for a little while and suffered the same fate hang fires.
    So your going to have to see how many strands you can get into a case and go from there as when the stuff is put in the case has not had the neck and shoulder formed on it so its just a straight tube.
    Me I would de-struct the cases use modern primers and powders then burn the cordite as for the primers there are ways of making them inert but as BAR says they are extremely hard to do and setting them off if they are mercuric (Knowing the Indians they would be) then all your doing is impregnating the brass case and your bore suppose you could wash both straight after finishing.

    In my view for your supposed gains it would not be worth the trouble factor in how much your time is worth with suspect results at the end game.....

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I pulled the bullets with Kinetic puller and the cordite came too. Then I primed new cases and used the cordite, easy enough to replace except for about four or five strands. Usually only a couple left over and it didn't show downrange. The primers you have are likely Berdan anyway...so you may not re-prime those anyway. I just salvage those out as is.

    As Cinders says, the important part is the bullets, most expensive. You can use new cases and a commercial powder too...
    Regards, Jim

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    Senior Member P246's Avatar
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    I pulled bullets and loaded over Varget and commericial cases. I still have some to go, but I was given 500 rds of POFicon so I can justify the time. I tried some initially but terrible hang fires and confetti of partially Burnt cordite did that plan in.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    The confetti is inescapable as there's an over powder card that has to go somewhere. It's the hangfires that breed a flinch.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    The "correct" replacement primer for these cases, and anything else with a .250" Berdan primer is the RWS 6000. These have been akin to hens teeth for a couple of decades.

    The next problem is the brass itself. The Cordite sticks were not poked in there individually by small children, but inserted BEFORE the case was finally formed, i.e., while it was still a cylinder with a rim. This, in turn, is a hangover from the very first .303 production which used a SOLID PELLET of compressed Black Powder. See also the previous service cartridge, the .577 / .450 for the Martini Henry. Same basic production method. Delete BP "pellet" and insert, literally, a "bundle" of cordite sticks, AND the "glazeboard" wad.

    The wad wasn't just there to stop the Cordite rattling around. It provided a "platform" for the bullet to sit on for the next few operations in completing the round. The final body taper, neck and shoulder were then formed in a succession of dies.

    This, of course meant that the brass was NOT annealed after final forming, for fairly obvious reasons.. Thus, all of the stresses generated by these final stages remained in the thinnest regions of the brass. Hence neck and shoulder cracks that appear in "New Old Stock" .303 ammo made this way. Furthermore, there was no "neck crimp" as we know it today, but a few "stab-crimps" about halfway down the neck. These are supposed to line up with the cannelure on the (Mk-7) bullet.

    There was also supposed to be a small amount of a bituminous sealer on the bullet before the neck was formed onto it. The use of a Mercury-based primer was the final nail in the coffin for the cases. Whilst the primer composition was sealed in its little copper cup, it posed no problems. Upon firing (POFicon optional), the mercuric Fulminate generated a serious flash which touched off the Cordite. Thus:

    The metallic Mercury reloaded in the process was blasted into the walls of the brass case. This seals the ultimate doom of the case. Mercury disrupts the Copper / Zinc bond that makes "brass" such a versatile material. The sting in the tail with these primers is the large amount, relatively speaking), of CORROSIVE Chlorate / Chloride salts released. These have little or no effect on the brass case, but are murder on other things, like, say, barrels.

    VERY few .303 barrels get to be "SHOT out", i.e., throats, lands and muzzle "washed out" by high-temperature propellant gases. Most die a lingering death from corrosion, primarily caused by lack of correct and thorough cleaning.

    IF you can find a stash of those RWS 6000 primers, or an equivalent, reloading is perfectly doable, once you have successfully removed the old primer without mangling the anvil in the primer pocket, and having removed the inevitable remains of the primer crimp seal.. I'm down to my last few hundred of them and they get used in once-fired cases that will be reloaded for "bush" work and NOT recovered.

    Back in the "good-old-days" here in Oz, it was a relatively common practice for "enthusiasts" to strip the rather plentiful "surplus" Mk-7 ball down and remove the Mercuric primer with a Hydraulic gizmo. The "clean" cases were THEN annealed, at least by the truly dedicated, (fifty years too late). A lot of the time the cases were reformed into sundry "wildcat" configurations; .22, .25, being the most popular. The .270-.303 was not a roaring success, probably because almost all of the bullets available in those time were of US manufacture and designed to "work" at .270Win velocities.

    In short: Remove the bullets and load them into new, Boxer-primed cases using nice new propellants and use as range ammo. Be aware that some lots of POF have "MUCH lighter-than-normal" bullets and these are of VERY dubious accuracy.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    The Cordite sticks were not poked in there individually by small children
    That's how we replaced them here...off to the workhouse to hire small children... Pretty funny...
    Regards, Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    The "correct" replacement primer for these cases, and anything else with a .250" Berdan primer is the RWS 6000. These have been akin to hens teeth for a couple of decades.

    The next problem is the brass itself. The Cordite sticks were not poked in there individually by small children, but inserted BEFORE the case was finally formed, i.e., while it was still a cylinder with a rim. This, in turn, is a hangover from the very first .303 production which used a SOLID PELLET of compressed Black Powder. See also the previous service cartridge, the .577 / .450 for the Martini Henry. Same basic production method. Delete BP "pellet" and insert, literally, a "bundle" of cordite sticks, AND the "glazeboard" wad.

    The wad wasn't just there to stop the Cordite rattling around. It provided a "platform" for the bullet to sit on for the next few operations in completing the round. The final body taper, neck and shoulder were then formed in a succession of dies.

    This, of course meant that the brass was NOT annealed after final forming, for fairly obvious reasons.. Thus, all of the stresses generated by these final stages remained in the thinnest regions of the brass. Hence neck and shoulder cracks that appear in "New Old Stock" .303 ammo made this way. Furthermore, there was no "neck crimp" as we know it today, but a few "stab-crimps" about halfway down the neck. These are supposed to line up with the cannelure on the (Mk-7) bullet.

    There was also supposed to be a small amount of a bituminous sealer on the bullet before the neck was formed onto it. The use of a Mercury-based primer was the final nail in the coffin for the cases. Whilst the primer composition was sealed in its little copper cup, it posed no problems. Upon firing (POFicon optional), the mercuric Fulminate generated a serious flash which touched off the Cordite. Thus:

    The metallic Mercury reloaded in the process was blasted into the walls of the brass case. This seals the ultimate doom of the case. Mercury disrupts the Copper / Zinc bond that makes "brass" such a versatile material. The sting in the tail with these primers is the large amount, relatively speaking), of CORROSIVE Chlorate / Chloride salts released. These have little or no effect on the brass case, but are murder on other things, like, say, barrels.

    VERY few .303 barrels get to be "SHOT out", i.e., throats, lands and muzzle "washed out" by high-temperature propellant gases. Most die a lingering death from corrosion, primarily caused by lack of correct and thorough cleaning.

    IF you can find a stash of those RWS 6000 primers, or an equivalent, reloading is perfectly doable, once you have successfully removed the old primer without mangling the anvil in the primer pocket, and having removed the inevitable remains of the primer crimp seal.. I'm down to my last few hundred of them and they get used in once-fired cases that will be reloaded for "bush" work and NOT recovered.

    Back in the "good-old-days" here in Oz, it was a relatively common practice for "enthusiasts" to strip the rather plentiful "surplus" Mk-7 ball down and remove the Mercuric primer with a Hydraulic gizmo. The "clean" cases were THEN annealed, at least by the truly dedicated, (fifty years too late). A lot of the time the cases were reformed into sundry "wildcat" configurations; .22, .25, being the most popular. The .270-.303 was not a roaring success, probably because almost all of the bullets available in those time were of US manufacture and designed to "work" at .270Win velocities.

    In short: Remove the bullets and load them into new, Boxer-primed cases using nice new propellants and use as range ammo. Be aware that some lots of POF have "MUCH lighter-than-normal" bullets and these are of VERY dubious accuracy.
    This is pretty much a reply to everyone, thanks for the guidance.

    Thanks for that information, I always wondered how the cordite got in there. I watched a history channel documentary on Britishicon rifles and at one point the Brits had war orphans loading ammo for the Martini Henry... That of course caused some serious problems.

    I didn't mention this in my first post but I chronographed 10 shot and recorded them. Those 10 shots had an average muzzle velocity of 2,562 FPS... Pretty hot considering the Royal Lab mk7 1939 I chronographed came in at 2430 FPS at muzzle. I wonder if the POF cordite doesn't age very well??? I was surprised by those numbers... One shot that I didn't record made it to 2672 FPS... That's some 200+ FPS over spec... If I had recorded that the average velocity would've been much higher... Standard deviation was high, as was extreme spread. Not consistent.

    If I didn't value the MK7 bullet I wouldn't even bother but both my rifles shoot it so well, like they were made to shoot the stuff MK7 loading have been the most accurate ammo I've been able to obtain, although some Germanicon made flat base is pretty close. I don't bother with the commercial stuff if I can help it.

    I tried pulling the cordite out of one case with tweezers and attempted to put them in another... After 30 minutes of struggling, I gave up. If I were to do this by hand for all that I have left, it would take more time than I have. So I will pull the bullets, buy some prvi cases and appropriate powder and primers. Thanks again guys.
    Aussie in Missouri. Milsurps I have...1942 Lithgow SMLE No.1 mk3*... 1942 Mosin M 91/30.... 1944 dot K98k.... 1952 fazakerley No.4 Mk.2 Lee-Enfield....WANTED- Swiss K31 and M1903a3.

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