High Pressure Loads in Shell Shock NAS3 Enclosures


WARNING: All technical data in this publication, particularly for hand loading, reflects the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances which are not necessarily reported in the specification. article and over which the National Rifle Association (NRA) has no control. . The data has not been otherwise tested or verified by the NRA. The NRA, its agents, officers and employees accept no responsibility for the results obtained by persons using this data and accept no liability for any consequential injury or damage.

The new two-piece 9mm Luger case designed by Shell Shock Technologies is appearing in more and more factory ammunition. This innovative design has a stainless nickel alloy cylinder body attached to an aircraft grade nickel plated aluminum base.

Figure 1. Shell Shock Technologies’ new cases are made from two separate components, one nickel alloy steel and the other aluminum.

The nickel alloy shell (NAS3) housings have purported advantages over conventional brass housings. They’re 50% lighter, less abrasive, self-lubricating, corrosion resistant and won’t split, chip or crack, and they’re magnetic so you can grab them with a magnet.

NAS reload3 case is no different than loading brass cases except for the need for a special sizing die and flaring die made by S3 Reload. Housings require lubrication for the calibration step, even though the special calibration die has a carbide insert. The sizing die can also be used with regular brass cases.

Shell Shock claims they are stronger than conventional brass cases and have a pressure rating of 65,000 psi. This caught my eye, and one of the things I was wondering was if they could be used for super high pressure loads like 9 Major.

We often think that the powder chamber contains most of the peak pressure, but the pressure also pushes the primer back through the flashhole. If the pressure is too high, the primer metal will show signs of strain as it flattens and flows, and the primer hole may be stretched, making it too loose to reuse.

I was wondering how the boot pocket in the NAS3 the aluminum head of the case would withstand very high pressure. Brass cases, when loaded to very high pressure, can, within just a few uses, end up with loose primer pockets. Shooters loading 9 Major for competition, where pressures can easily exceed 9mm+P pressures, may find themselves with loose primer pockets after just a few loads.

NAS Durability3 The primer pockets of the cases were tested by firing high pressure loads into new cases and then repriming them to gauge how “loose” the primer pockets were.

The first high pressure charge was a +P charge published in the Western Powders Handbook. It was a 115 grain jacketed bullet sitting at 1.1 inches on 6.2 grains of True Blue fueled by CCI 500 primers. The Western manual states that this load produced 38,373 psi and 1197 fps in their 4 inch test gun. This load was clocked at 1277 fps from my Lone Wolf 4.6-inch barrel and 1295 fps from my 5-inch Kart barrel.

+P load was triggered four times in the same NAS3 case. The primer pouches were in good condition. They weren’t as tight as the new cases, but they weren’t loose.

A second high pressure test was performed by charging the boxes to 9 major performance levels. Nine Major (or Major 9) is a term used by competitive shooters who load 9mm Luger ammunition to achieve a specified power level required in USPSA/IPSC competitive shooting sports for Open Division pistols (usually having a compensator and an optical sight). Power factor is defined by bullet weight multiplied by velocity divided by 1000. In USPSA, the major power factor is 165, which means a 115-grain bullet must hit at least 1435 fps to to qualify. Most shooters load their ammo to a power factor of around 170-172 to ensure it meets the requirements. These velocities and pressures generally far exceed common 9mm Luger performance and should only be loaded by very experienced reloaders and only fired from weapons specifically designed for this type of ammunition. 9 Major chamber pressures can be extremely high with certain loads and can exceed SAAMI pressure limits of 38,500 psi for 9mm+P.

A test was performed to verify the speed of loads in NAS3 housings compared to conventional Starline 9mm brass housings. Both cases were loaded with Federal small rifle primers (205), 7.8 grain AutoComp and a 115 grain Winchester JHP bullet seated at an overall length of 1.150 inches. They were fired from a Glock 19 with a 4.6 inch Lone Wolf barrel. The Starline brass load produced an average of 1521 fps, and the NAS load3 case was faster with an average of 1577 fps. Curiously, the NAS3 cases have a slightly higher internal capacity than Starline cases, so one could predict that the NAS3 cases would produce a little less speed. However, that was not the result, and I compared these same two cases with standard pressure loads and the NAS3 the cases reliably produced higher speeds with the same load.

Shell Shock's speed was recorded with a Shooting Chrony chronograph at approximately 10 feet.

Table 1. Speed ​​was recorded with a Shooting Chrony chronograph at approximately 10 feet.

A load was developed in Shell Shock cases using 7 grain Winchester AutoComp and a 115 grain FMJ Zero bullet seated at 1.150 inches OAL. This load produced 1475 fps (169 power factor) in the Lone Wolf 4.6-inch barrel and 1521 fps (175 power factor) in the 5-inch Kart barrel. Thirty-seven percent of these cases had primer pockets that were too loose to safely hold a new primer after a single shot. The primer pockets in the remaining cases were significantly looser than the new cases, but were still tight enough to reuse, although I would hesitate to use them for this same high pressure load.

Two 9 Major loads: one with a Zero FMJ bullet and the other with a Hornady HAP bullet.

Figure 2. Two 9 Major loads: one with a Zero FMJ bullet and the other with a Hornady HAP bullet.

AutoComp is one of the faster burning powders used for 9 Major. A second round of 9 Major ammunition was loaded with Accurate #7, a slower burning powder. This powder should, in theory, be able to achieve the same level of power factor as AutoComp but at a lower pressure.

Four different load weights (9.0, 9.3, 9.6 and 9.9 grains) of Accurate #7 were loaded in 10 new cases each with 115 grain Hornady HAP bullets at 1.150 inch OAL. The laps timed from the 5-inch barrel Kart at 170, 176, 179, and 183 power factors, respectively (1477, 1533, 1553, and 1594 fps, respectively). None of the 170 power factor cases had loose primer pockets, although many were not as tight as the new cases. One of the 176 power factor boxes had a primer pocket that was too loose to trust future loads, but the remaining boxes were fine. None of the 179 power factor cases had loose primer pockets. With the 183 power factor cases, a primer pocket was a little loose but would probably handle a standard pressure load. A primer was so loose that it fell off during handling! The primer pockets in the remaining eight cases were not as tight as the new cases, but were still reasonably tight.

The speeds and power factors for the AutoComp load show the first speed and power factor of the Lone Wolf 4.6-inch barrel and the second speed and power factor of the 5-inch Kart barrel.  *A worn primer fell out of the case during handling.

Table 2. Speed ​​was recorded with a Shooting Chrony Chronograph at approximately 10 feet. The speeds and power factors for the AutoComp load show the first speed and power factor of the Lone Wolf 4.6-inch barrel and the second speed and power factor of the 5-inch Kart barrel. *A worn primer fell out of the case during handling.

These extreme pressure tests show that NAS3 cases can be used for high pressure and 9 major loads, but depending on the powder and level of performance required, primer pockets can loosen after one or a few loads, just like brass cases.

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