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wwillson

Pierced gas seal dome VP-60 w/Universal Clays

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All,

I picked up seven of these Helarco VP-60 wads that I had just shot. There was a fresh layer of snow and I was the first shooter, so I know they were my wads. Much to my surprise, six of the seven had pierced gas seal domes. Two of the seven had clearly also pierced the bottom of the wad cup, leaking hot gas into the shot column. These are steel trap loads using published data for Hodgdon Universal Clays.

Why are the gas seal domes being pierced? Many of us use the same wads at the club and I often can hear that the muzzle report is not consistent from same shooters on my squad. I think this is a pretty clear explanation of why one shooters gun can sound normal on one shot and weak on the next.

Strange and I have no idea why these wads would do this.

Wayne

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Ballistic Products is going to test these loads and let me know what they find.

Another member at our trap club said that it's because Universal is a double base powder and burns too hot for these wads.

Wayne

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I called Hodgdon and asked about the theory that double base powders burn too hot for these wads. The gentleman I talked to said that this can't be true as all powders burn somewhere around the temperature of 4500F. He also stated that double base powders don't necessarily burn hotter than single base powders.

All news to me.

Wayne

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I talked to Ballistic Products a couple days ago. I can't say enough good about their customer service and willingness to help solve this problem. They loaded the exact load I use and saw the same problem I have with pierced gas seal domes. They loaded with a couple other powders and observed the same results, pierced gas seal domes. Ballistic Products is working with Helarco to redesign the thickness of the gas seal dome to solve the problem. How's that for customer service!

Wayne

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The roof of the powder cup is too thin. Mfr will have to thicken it up which might cost us more in the end, or we'll have to find the magic recipe. Just sent out some Solo 1250 recipes with this wad for testing by Western Powders. I asked them to send some of the wads back along with speed and pressure, so we'll see what happens.

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I had something happen to me with VP-60's that if it didn't happen to me I never would believe it to be true. I was shooting a handicap and had a squib load, there couldn't have been any powder because it was one of those completely silent non-events that trap shooters hate. I saw the wad land just past the 16 yard line and there were no other wads even close, so I know it's the wad that came from my squib. I picked the wad up and was shocked to see that the force of the primer alone had pierced the gas seal dome!!! Like I said, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believe it. I'm in the camp that Helarco has some serious problems with this wad design. I hope they step up to the plate and address the issue with a better design soon.

Wayne

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Helarco is finally pulling these wads from the market. The press release is here and I've captured a screen shot below.

I applaud Helarco for admitting there is a problem with the VP-60, but I sure wish they would have acted faster. We first contacted them at least a couple years ago about the rupturing problem.

Wayne

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We still haven't heard from Ballistic Products when they will have VP-60's again. Many at our club are running low and starting to look for alternatives. Some are using VP-53's, while others like me are using VP-51's, which I've used for years.

Wayne

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I missed all of this, since it came before I joined.

Interesting stuff. Thanks for doing something about it instead of just saying "Huh, would you look at that?" and going on like most would.

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It was interesting from the prospective that our club was probably the largest single site consumer of VP60's in the country. We are required to shoot steel and the VP60 became the wad almost everyone used. We noticed the problem with pierce gas seal domes and brought it to the distributor's attention, but at first they didn't really pay attention. When enough of us called to complain, they ran some tests and said, "I think we may have a problem as we were able to reproduce the piercing almost at will". That's not what they said verbatim, but pretty close.

I just wish Helarco would start shipping the new wads to the US so we can start using them again.

Wayne

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Helarco came though with improved VP-60's now called the PT-1260. I'm going to load some up to shoot Thursday night - will let you know if I experience any troubles.

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I loaded a box of shells and shot them last night. What a difference it makes when the gas seal dome doesn't fail! We cut a VP-60 and a PT-1260 lengthwise to see how much thicker the gas seal dome is on the PT-1260. We didn't have a caliper to measure accurately, but estimated that the PT-1260's gas seal dome is about three times as thick as the VP-60. There was no problem with the PT-1260 as every single shot was very consistent. I will see if I can find a fired PT-1260, but finding one of 25 out of millions will be pretty tough.

Good work Helarco!

Wayne

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