Case neck splits!?!

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bobkat
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GREENHORN
Joined: 12/16/01
Case neck splits!?!

Ive handloaded for about 50 years, rifle, pistol, shotgun, etc.  And recently run into a problem I've never had before.

When I reload I always inspect the cases for,the usual stuff, primer pockets, case necks, incipient head separation, etc.   I reloaded  some .243 cases about 4  times, not hot loads, prairie dog stuff,  but to load hunting rounds I tend to use cases near the end of their useful life, good sound cases but multifired so I can leave them if I or the grandkids get excited in the heat of battle/hunting.either older disposable cases or brand new never fired brass. 

Yesterday I fired some old rounds, maybe reloaded 15 yrs ago, to use them up as I use different bullets now.  When I picked up the first two ejected rounds., I noticed case neck splits!   Ok, once in a while Ive run into those with multifired cases.  However, when I inspected the next dozen or so unfired ones,  I noticed that  about half of the unfired ones  had neck splits.  What the heck??  I swear the necks were fine when they were reloaded maybe 15 years ago!   I admit I could have missed ONE split neck in 50 reloads, but NOT half of them!   (I don't drink so didn't load them up shit faced! LOL)

My question to handloaders - is it possible that these necks were intact when loaded years ago and somehow split sitting on the ammo shelf?   ?metal fatigue?  I doubt it......

Another question - are these safe to fire at targets, p dogs, etc. Just to get rid of them?  

A ringer here - my rifle is a Steyer Manlicher with double set triggers and it has rear locking lugs, like the Remington 788 had!   Normally I only neck size, inspect the cases carefully (or so I thought) use mild to moderate loads, and never turn the necks.   Supposedly with rear locking lugs you can repeatedly push the shoulder back leading to neck problems and even case head separation, so only on the last, disposable reloading, usually earmarked for hunting, do I full length size cases for this particular rifle and for a friend's 788.

Ive never seen this before, despite probably tens of thousands of reloaded rounds.  Did I do something wrong 20 years ago or were those cases simply old and tired like me, ready to give up the ghost? 

bobkat's picture
bobkat
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Joined: 12/16/01

I inspected the remainder of the case loading with the split necks.  Some were OK, some tiny short splits, some extending the length of the neck, and a bunch, believe it or not, had splits extending all the way back THROUGH the shoulder, one even a mm or so up the case wall! I'd find it impossible to believe that splits of that magnitude could have been overlooked during reloading.  A blind guy could see them at 20 feet.

 I wonder if these are some kind of metal fatigue from an already thin neck from too many reloadings?  Over time siting on the shelf, the slight neck tension holding the bullet was the straw that broke the brass's back?   At any rate -definitely dangerous to even think of shooting any of them!