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Discussion Starter #1
I've been handloading for several years but a problem came up last weekend.

I load a 310g hardcast Beartooth bullet in .45 Colt for my Ruger Blackhawk.  While I load hotter than most factory rounds, I'm not stretching the limits.  I've been very happy with its performance on several whitetail and two feral hogs.

However, on my last shot the cylinder locked up.  I'm afraid I've got a serious problem.  Apparently, the primer was high and there is a live round still in the cylinder!  

I've carefully disassembled the handgun but still no success with removing the cylinder.  The last round is definitely still in the chamber.  Looking in from the side you can see the primer protruding near the hammer and the bullet seems to be in the case.

Any suggestions for me from here?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Smart thing to do is take it to a gunsmith, with the same explanation as above.

The cylinder is going to have to be forced open while the latch is held down, probably by gently tapping with a rubber or plastic mallet.  There is a possibility of bending the crane so this must be done with the utmost care.

One other possibility is to run a rod from the muzzle to the base of the fired case, and tap it a few times to re-seat the primer.  If the primer has extruded into the firing pin hole this probably won't help.

But.... considering that there is still a live round in the gun, this sounds like a good job for someone else!  I personally would not like to be hitting a gun with a live round still in it.
 

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MTD,

OOPS!  I think we've all had something as purplexing as this in our shooting experiences.   Don't dispair.  You said you've disassembled the gun.  Have you removed the cylinder base pin?  If so, with the loading gate open you still cannot get the cylinder to release from the frame, try this:

Remove your grips from the frame, then soak the whole gun for 48 hours in either 1a grade kerosene or in lamp-oil.  This will deactivate the primer (usually) of the remaining live round of ammo, yet won't harm your revolver in any way.  Then, using a rubber mallet, gently tap the cylinder (with the base pin removed) from the left side of the revolver to coax the cylinder out the right side of the frame.  

Too, as Mike has suggested, after soaking the gun in petroleum to deactivate the primer, using a 3/8" wooden dowel inserted down the barrel, through the forcing cone, into the cylinder and finally to the empty brass case, tap on the dowel to re-seat the primer as he's suggested.  It might just work!

A couple of ideas for you to tinker with that won't hurt a thing!

Let us know what shakes out!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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mtd,

Since the primer is high, either it was seriously mis-seated when you loaded the cartridge, or it fired!  If it is so high (exerting so much pressure against the recoil shield) my bet is that the primer fired and the powder charge either squibbed badly or was missing.  The real reason for what you describe is usually that the bullet was forced out of the case far enough to bridge the barrel/cylinder gap.

My first option in diagnosing the problem is to put a rod down the barrel until it touches the bullet, then compare it to the barrel on the outside and you will know two things.  The first is, did the primer fire, and second, is the bullet out of the case.  If you find the bullet is out of the case, then you know you no longer have a live round and can use a metal rod, preferrably copper or brass, down the barrel to drive the bullet back into the cylinder.  Once you are sure the bullet is clear of the barrel either the cylinder will come out easily, which is likely, or you can then strike the cylinder from the left with a rubber or dead-blow hammer and drive it out.

Mike,  he said a Blackhawk, no crane!

If you find the bullet still fully in the case, then the primer must have been really high as loaded and it didn't fire.  If this is the case you can dis-assemble the revolver to the point of getting the hand out so you can rotate the cylinder backward and it should then come out easily.

I'll bet the first described scenario is what you find!  Let us know.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Yeah I just re-read the entire thread... somehow I confused "Blackhawk" with "Redhawk"!  And I own several Blackhawks, and have shot Redhawks... what was I thinking?

Good call on checking if the bullet is stuck in the b/c gap.  Have seen this before - just tap it back into the case very gently, problem solved.

If it's just a cratered primer on a fired round, and it's a single action, and you're SURE that the cartridge was fired, I'd also remove the BASE PIN, and just gently bump the cylinder out the right side, with the loading gate open, of course.

Oh well.... sometimes free advice is worth what you pay for it!  Sorry if I confused you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, I was out of town for several days.  I appreciate all the suggestions.

In response...

1. The gun is completely disassembled down to just the frame, loading gate and cylinder.  But it is still hanging up at the forcing cone area and the primer.

2. The bullet is still in the case.  Early on I used a wooden dowel to check.  I put it carefully down the barrel (with it pointed in a safe direction) and it just reaches approximately to the barrel/cylinder gap.  

3. I feel I am very careful about my reloading technique.  However I know that it is possible that I didn't get a powder charge in the cylinder.  I also agree that I might have a squib load.

4. I think I will try soaking the gun to deactivate the primer and work on it a bit more.  My main concern at this point is safety.  If I'm not successful I will take it to a gunsmith rather than risk damage to the gun or my kid's father.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
CB Hunter called it right!

As suggested, I submerged the barrel/cylinder in kerosene for several days to deactivate the primer.

I inserted a wooden dowel into the barrel and by tapping it with a mallet was able to reseat the bullet in the case.  Once that was completed, the cylinder was easy to remove.

I pulled the bullet from the case and low and behold, no powder charge.  I am a very careful handloader and this never happened before.  But it obviously did this time.   I guess this is the same sort of thing that allows "unloaded" guns to shoot people.  

Apparently, when the primer fired it drove the bullet far enough into the forcing cone to lock up the cylinder.  

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. Now to reassemble and get back into business.
 

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Congratulations! Glad to hear the story had a happy ending.            IDShooter
 

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mtd,
One other suggestion.  Check all the remaining ammo you loaded at that time.  Make sure there are no more powderless rounds.
 
What scares me in a situation like this is, since there was one round with "no" powder in it, is there a round somewhere with "two" powder charges in it?

If this were my ammo, I would pull and check every one of the unfired ones just to be sure.

Just a suggestion from a super carefull reloader that so far, (hope I don't jinx myself), hasn't had that problem.  Others yes, that one, no.
 

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Hi everyone,
    I know this is kind of an old post but re-reading it got me to thinking about safety techniques. I reload on a single stage press mounted on the right side of my bench, and throw powder charges from the Uniflow mounted on the left. After my cases are primed I put them in the loading block mouth DOWN. Then as I charge each one I return it to the block upright. Then when I'm done charging cases I use my bore light and go down each row, looking in each case with the light.
    This method not only ensures that I get a charge in each case, it also helps prevent double charging because I only pick up the upside down cases when throwing powder. I realize many of you may already know this or use another method, but I thought it was still worthwhile to pass along.
      I don't know of a way to check your charges on a progressive unless you use one of the "powder checker" dies with the stem that protrudes from the top.
      I'm not uptight about many things, but I imagine it's pretty tough to learn Braille at my age so I try to keep my reloading practices dummy proof!    ID
 
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