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Old 03-15-2020, 05:41 PM
Rbertalotto Rbertalotto is offline
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Default 17HMR Head Failure!!

Took my grandson shooting yesterday. CZ-453 / 17HMR Bolt Action

Haven't shot this rifle in close to ten years

Grabbed a few boxes of ammo from my ammo locker and had at it.

Had a Remington cartridge not fire.....perfect rim hit with the firing pin.

Next cartridge blew, sent pressure down the magazine and actually caused the next cartridge in the magazine to exit the case and spill unburnt power in the magazine! Thanksfully it did not ignite.
The pressure expanded the magazine to the point that I had to drive it out from the top. The sides were expanded so I disassembled it and using a small hammer, knocked it back into shape.

This ammo must be 10 years old.

Shot another 50 rounds of same vintage ammo but different manufacture with zero issues.

I did a search to see if there was a recall and all I can find is recalls on the Remington 527 SemiAuto in 17HMR.....and in some cases they are saying to return the ammo too.

Here are a few pictures of the case.







Fortunatly, no damage to grandson as he was wearing good eye protection. But he learned a valuable lesson on the value of good eye protection!
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Old 03-15-2020, 06:17 PM
moorepower moorepower is offline
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This is an old and not ultra rare failure. It used to pop up on RFC back when I used to actually go there. Always inspect ammo for split necks. There was a bunch of ammo recalled years back. For those that don't know, CCI loads ALL of in and Hornady makes the bullets. It just comes with different headstamps and boxes. Although I have not had any issues yet, apparently as the brass ages it gets harder and brittle.
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Old 03-15-2020, 06:21 PM
Bill K Bill K is offline
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Glad no one was injured, yes eye protection is well worth it.
Think I would call the company and ask about a replacement of that ammunition, also send them the case, etc. if they want it, hopefully they will say yes and check it out. Then replace the ammo you have like it with a fresh supply.
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:21 PM
TinMan TinMan is offline
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I agree with what moorepower said. As I recall, the 17HMR manufacturers had issues for a while, until they figured out some tighter specs for their brass. Some lots of brass were slightly too hard of a temper for the deformation involved with necking down the 17 caliber, and with time (age), they would crack or split. Any contamination would make the problem worse.

Be sure to tell them the lot numbers if you do try to send them back.

Last edited by TinMan; 03-15-2020 at 08:22 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:51 PM
GLWenzl GLWenzl is offline
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Thatís too bad it happened as it did but a very good lesson heís likely never to forget the importance of eye protection (actually al PPE).

I didnít not know or recall that this was a common or well known occurrence in a bolt rifle. Iíve shot a lot of HMR/HM2 ammo and had my share of failures with both types of failures as the one in the photo. But do not recall ever having both types of failures happen on the same round. All of the rim failures was on several different manufactures auto loader. Never a rim failure on a bolt gun of any type.

FWIW I have been dealing with a couple different firearm manufacturers. What I have been told the very early ammo was consistent ammo. But as the HMR craze hit, then it became very inconsistent and is why some auto loaders worked while others didnít.

I have a theory that is only a WAG on my part... but I have always had a gut feeling that the necks cracked (maybe a fine crack not noticeable) and when the fast moving bolt of the auto loader picked it up the bullet is forced back into the case causing the higher and inconsistent pressures in the the auto loaders.
Seems like that would not be the case here. I would great be interested in what the manufacture of this ammo has to say or finds out.

Iím still working with the HMR and HM2 auto loaders and about the time I think I figured it out I still get a small surprise. Nothing like what happens to you.

Sounds like the manufacture may owe you a new magazine?

One last thing...CCI told me they have the neck cracking thing figured out after a certain lot of ammo. I know for fact that itís not true. When it comes to the HMR/HM2 failures there also seems to be a fair amount of finger pointing going on making it hard to believe any of them...
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:54 PM
GLWenzl GLWenzl is offline
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One more interesting thing is that a few of us actually seen some of these rim fire cases being necked down and loaded on a Hornady AP press. Just interesting imo
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:37 PM
JIMinTN JIMinTN is offline
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I've had 17HMR split the neck on the brass in my Savage 17HMR, Winchester brand IIRC, but never had the rim blow out like that. Some rifles just don't like a particular brand, don't quite understand that since one company makes all or the majority of it like stated above.

Does one company make the brass as well, or does each brand have their brass made to their specs? Anyone know???
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Old 03-16-2020, 05:01 AM
georgeld georgeld is offline
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Nasty failure.

Roy: Thanks for the pictures. First I've seen of a rimfire blowing the rim.

Several years ago there was lots of cracked necks
written about. I solved all my HMR problems by
using the barrel for the NEF .17 VR build.

I do have an M-2 and only shoot it at cats, or to show
folks how quiet it is sometimes. Think i have 4-5 boxes
of shells for that yet. And may have the original box of HMR's
around, half dozen out of it is all.

We all sure need to wear safety glasses for every shot.
I'd been shooting the .223 a lot on pr/dogs on a 105 degree day.
Gun was hot from shooting, left one in the chamber 20 min or so
while changing areas. It popped the primer and stuck the case til things cooled down.

I caught a flake of unburnt powder on a contact lens dead center. Man I
was glad to have contacts in. NO I didn't have safety glasses on. That's
way too close.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:05 AM
Dean2 Dean2 is offline
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Brass failure on the 17 HMR was a real problem when it first came out. Both necks and head separation, plus the brass did not age well. As others have said, get hold of Remington, and you obviously won't be using any more of that lot so at worst you have a bunch to dispose of.

Glad no one was hurt. Let us know how you make out with Remington.
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Old 03-16-2020, 10:44 AM
GLWenzl GLWenzl is offline
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Well you are the second guy to mention early brass failures... I sure do not remember them... and is hot the HMR prior to it coming out. Itís hell having a poor memory.

George, I do not know how to post photos here any more do I just sent them to you in an email. They are of a severe rim blow out (and off) from an auto loader. Premium winchester ammo IIRC.

But to see it in a bolt gun is shocking to me because Iíve never seen or heard of one being blown out at the rim before. I do no believe it is but it seems like itíd almost have to be a bit of a sloppy chamber/ headspace issue. The neck shoulder area would be expected to see room for expansion and a crack for brittle brass.

Itíd be interesting to hete to root cause on this one.
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