Stuck bullet: primer fires, but doesn't ignite powder


February 2, 2005, 08:37 PM
Here is a photo of a plated 125 grain bullet stuck in the barrel of my snubnose Colt DS. The primer went off, but failed to ignite the charge. And yes, there was a charge, as it left flakes all over the place when I opened the cylinder.

Load data (temperature 32ºF):

bullet: Berry 125 grain plated FP
primer: WSP
OAL: 1.430
powder: Win231 3.6 grains

I had fired four cylinders of this type of ammo in single action mode. Then I switched to double action. This happened with the first shot of the 5th cylinder of the double action.

Anyone have any suggestions what happened, and/or what I should to to prevent it?

The gun is new to me, but I'd fired it on two previous occasions with no problems.

Can this be caused by stray lube in the primer pocket or case mouth? I'm just guessing the reasons here . . .

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February 2, 2005, 11:47 PM
I have no clue why the powder wasn't burned, but the fact that it made it that far and didn't clear the barrel is incredible

February 3, 2005, 12:23 AM
I had this happen to me in a very light load of AA#9 in my .454 casull. Primer went off and drove the bullet about 2 inches into the barrel...all the powder was actually compressed behind the bullet in the barrel! Damndest thing I ever saw. I'm betting it was just a really light load...had a couple click...boom's on that same batch as well.

February 3, 2005, 12:26 AM

I think you must have had at least a partial powder burn in order for the bullet to have reached that location in the barrel. What contaminated the powder charge is anyones guess. If the situation was as stated, the primer doesn't create enough pressure to move a bullet through a barrel without some assist from powder gases. This is especially true in a revolver. The cylinder is not a tight eough seal on the bullet to allow pressure to build and force the bullet through the barrel. Usuallya pistol bullet is crimped and the primer doesn't build enough pressure to even force the bullet out of the case. If the bullet were to move, it would only move as far as the leade. Any pressure would then flow around the bullet and escape through the cylinder gap. ;) I could be wrong, and if I am, I apologize. But I have a feeling my leg is being yanked on pretty good. Have fun and God bless. :)

February 3, 2005, 05:26 AM
Modern Handloading by Richard Lee pp 412
357mag 125 gr
start load 7.2.... max 8.1 of 231.

I don't know if this is a 38 or 357, but in either case, you're probably too low
and will stick a bullet HTH

February 3, 2005, 05:39 AM
That load should have no problem clearing the barrel. You certainly had some combination of problems that caused poor ignition. Low temp., contaminated powder/primer, light strike, poor crimp, etc.


February 3, 2005, 07:56 AM
Folks, I'm not pulling any legs here. This is a photo of what resulted. Maybe some powder did burn, but there was a lot of it unburned.

This s a .38spl gun (Colt Detective Specials were only made in .38spl), and, although the load is light, I'd fired many rounds from this batch with this gun and a 4" Smith model 10. Don't forget, these are not jacketed bullets. They are plated. There is a load in the Lyman book for 121 grain lead round nose that starts at 3.4 grains of W-231. I wish I'd chronographed the thing, bit it was on the cold side, with deep snow and a bright day with deep blue skies — bad chronoghraph conditions.

I'm trying to figure out where the problem lies: the load (contamination); the primer (not seated deeply enough); the gun (weak double action strike)? But there is no single thing that tells me what the cause was. Any more ideas?

In any case, I'm sending the gun to a 'smith for a cleaning and check-out. I was going to do this anyway, but the stuck bullet speeded up the decision.

February 3, 2005, 08:04 AM
Gee Thirties it's really hard to say what happened. If I had to choose sides it would be with thoses who clain poor ignition. I fired a few rounds with only primer ignition and have never seen one make it that far. 231 isn't that hard to burn so most likely a lite charge but still that's just a guess. I love that picture and BTW, nice Colt.

February 3, 2005, 08:27 AM
Can you further explain what you mean by "poor ignition"?

Does it mean that the primer didn't ignite fully?

If so, is this due to a light happer strike; a primer seated not all the way into its hole; a faulty or contaminated primer?

February 3, 2005, 08:42 AM
I'll say up front I don't really know. You have mentioned lite primer strike again. Have you done a "trigger job"?

231 ignites so easily it's hard to think that most anything wouldn't set it off. Or at least burn it enough to get the bullet out the barrel. I will guess lite powder charge. And please I'm not challenging your loading skills it's just sometimes things happen. Anyway, it's just a guess on my part. God Bless.

February 3, 2005, 09:01 AM
No problem, I'm inviting people to challenge my loading skills, my judgement, my gun, etc.

I'm just trying to find answers here.

As for trigger job, I bought this gun used from a dealer a month ago. It's a 1966 gun. So who knows if it had a trigger job.

As I said, it's going to a gunsmith for check out, clean and lube, clear the bullet, and bring back to original specifications.

As for the light load, yes, 3.6 grains is on the light side, but not off-the-charts light. And I had just fired 26 rounds of this load with no problems using the same gun also in double action.

I'll be interested to hear what the 'smith says about the action on this gun. The firing pin is a bit jiggly, but not any different from my Smith model 10's firing pin. I think that the slight looseness, or "give" is to avoid breakage. But I'm certainly not a Colt expert.

Thanks, fellas, for your replies on this . . .

February 3, 2005, 09:11 AM
You had powder in the case and it didn't burn.

Your case may have had lube in it that killed some of the powder or primer charge.

The primer charge could have broken and some of it was lost between the factory and your priming the brass.

Your DA pull is on the light side and firing pin didn't wack the primer very hard. (primers are USUALLY an all or nothing deal, but quien sabes?) Could your gun be dirty? Could your lube have frozen?

The powder wasn't really 231! (some slow burning powders will not ignite with light loads, don't happen to accidently use 296 by any chance?)

It was cold. Warmer weather makes for better ignition and higher velocities.
If it gets cold enough velocity can drop enough to stick a bullet that would otherwise be fine in summer. The longer you were outside, the colder the ammo got.

Powder position. Small charges that take up little case room can move around. When all the powder is next to the bullet and none is around the primer it complicates ignition and reduces velocity.

Bullet crimp. Plated bullet require you to reduce the amount of crimp you use. If there was a slight delay in powder ignition and there isn't enough crimp to delay the bullet, the effect is the same as increasing the effective case capacity. You get less pressure from the same amount of powder. (even if it had all burned).

Some of these things are more likely than others. I would have to say, were it me, the most likely thing would be refilling the powder measure with the wrong powder. 296 and 231 come in identical containers. It could happen, but I don't lube 38 Special cases.

In your case, maybe it is more likely that there was some case lube that remained on the case and ruined the primer.

Also, the combination of cold and powder position with a marginal primer could maybe cause this.

It all seem pretty reasonable to me.


February 3, 2005, 09:47 AM
David, thank you very much for the troubleshooting options. Your list was very logical, organized and helpful.

All of them make sense, except the W296. I don't have any. I'm only using W231 these days, as I'm going through the exercise of learning how to determine the best (for me) loads in .38 special. During this process, I'm only using W231. I make a strict habit of always leaving on the bench the powder container I'm currently using, while the other powders are all on a lower shelf nearby.

One item you mention blinks at me . . . it was cold, but 32ºF is much warmer than other times I've shot this same batch/load. I did stay out there longer than usual; I set the ammo box on a post rather than leave it in my pocket as I usually do; and I did drop one round in the snow before I brushed it off and loaded it in the gun.

Although I don't remember which round I dropped (the cold numbs the mind as well), the other two items — length of time, and box not in pocket — may very well have combined to give me this misfire in the first round of the fifth cyliner of ammo.

The gunsmith will let me know if there is a light hammer strike when he's received and looked at the gun.

Meanwhile, I'm going with the cold factor.

And I'll not be loading the 3.6 grains W231 with this bullet any more. It wasn't as accurate as the higher weight loads anyway.

Thank you, David, for helping me focus on the problems. It was a great help.

February 3, 2005, 10:46 AM
One note here. I have no problem with the charge weight of the load you were using. I thought maybe the weight of the charge in this one case was the problem.

February 3, 2005, 10:51 AM
I had the very same thing happen using WW296 in a 357Mag case with a 125gr plated (Berry's).Plenty of unburnt powder jammed up against the base of the bullet that stopped about halfway down the barrel of a 31/2".From the noise it made,it sounded like a very lite load.But, there was sure a large amount of unburned powder. :cuss:

Black Snowman
February 3, 2005, 11:25 AM
With the hang-fires you mentioned as well I'm guessing it's either a bad primer lot or contaminated primers. It's possible it's contaminated powder as well. Contaminated with what is the question. Have the primsers or powder been exposed to anything that could effect them? Solvents, high humidity, etc . . . particularly while loading?

February 3, 2005, 01:19 PM
It us not likley the powder or primer batches were contaminated. Tyhis was one incident on its own.

I plan to fire the rest of the batch with my Smith model 10.

As soon as I can get to UPS, I'm shipping the gun to a 'smith.

I am almost convinced it was the cold. The other problems are easier to trouble shoot. I'll load new batches, etc.

Thanks all for your replies.

Jim Watson
February 3, 2005, 03:49 PM
I have READ:

Win 231 is more temperature sensitive than most powders. I have seen stories of .45 era IPSC shooters putting ammo boxes over car defroster vents so as to make Major power factor on a cold day. Is ignition and combustion affected or just burn rate? I dunno.

Complaints of Winchester primer quality when they changed to the unplated cups in the blue boxes. I haven't had any trouble but others have. Misfires yes. Weak fires? I dunno.

Why are you sending the gun off?
To whom?

Edit to add: This is not an unknown phenomenon even in factory ammo. My local gunsmith was carrying a .38 with Cor-Bon JHPs. He had one not clear the barrel. When he ejected the case, a lump of melted and fused powder about the size of a pea fell out. Ammunition is loaded by the millions and billions, home and factory. Sometimes you get one that is just not right and The Answer may never be known.

February 3, 2005, 05:32 PM
"...the answer may never be known..."

You got that right!

Today I fired off the rest of the rounds from that batch in my 4 inch S&W model 10. It was the same temperature as yesterday (32ºF), but this time I kept the rounds in my pants pocket (warmer?). In any case, they all went boom. I couldn't test them in the Colt DS, as I'm unable/unwilling to remove the stuck bullet.

I guess one could very carefully drill a hole through the center of the bullet from the nose to the base; then use a larger bit; and then a larger one. Eventually, one could grip the protruding nose with a pliers and the bullet would collapse and come out. But I'm dreaming, really. I've hammered out bullets before that were stuck in a barrel, but this one is different (see photo).

I'm sending it to experts who will also go over the gun for me and let me know what it needs, etc.

Not yet decided between Pittsburgh and Hartford. Leaning toward Pittsburgh.

Thanks again for the advice . . .

February 3, 2005, 05:55 PM
I have seen this before and it was handloads in a 44 mag. An occasional round would ignite primer but the primer didn't have enough power to ignite powder..Force enough to push the bullet into the barrel.It was caused by a bad batch of primers.

February 3, 2005, 06:16 PM
I'd go along with the folks who say the bullet made an odd trip - so far and no farther - rather than hanging up at the forcing cone (revolver bullets under pressure will bump up to a barrel shape as they are unsupported in passing from the cylinder throat to the forcing cone and squeeze back down) or venting all the pressure and sticking in the throat.

Hence I'd guess excessively weak bullet pull - the primer had to push the bullet so the primer fired yet the 231 failed of significant ignition - in a rifle I'd think about a crocodile throat with excessive friction from the mud flats of an eroded barrel as stopping the bullet - I can't imagine that the Colt has a choke bored barrel so it's still hard for me to see the bullet making it that far and no farther.

Cold and powder position maybe with the powder up against the bullet and the bullet moving too quickly and so allowing the powder to be scattered without kindling.

February 3, 2005, 06:51 PM
we'll try this one more time

According to the Winchester Components Catalog (guess they'd know)

pp31...125 grain..start charge 4.8 gr..max 5.3...14,100psi..vel 840're 25% below minimum..I don't know where you got your load, but I'd STRONGLY suspect it's too low (unless Winchester doesn't know anything about their own powder)

You've got a dangerously low charge of temperature sensitive powder in cold conditions. They do not list 231 for normal 38 Sp., only +P.

You've got to build enough pressure to make the powder burn correctly. I'd suspect 231 is too slow to burn in this application. Even with +P and a light bullet, you're only getting 825 fps. My miniscule brain says this adds up to a "too slow" powder to be optimum for this application. Now, add 25% undercharge and cold temps and you've got problems.

I'd suggest a different source for the free Winchester manual... HTH

February 3, 2005, 07:37 PM
It might be a light charge but 231 is definetly not too slow for a 38 special load.

Anyway I'll try a couple guesses, and they are only guesses.

1. Contaminates in the case. Something like a blade of grass or a drop of water could keep the powder from burning all the way.
2. A freak chance of all the variables being on the low side for just one round. For instance the lightest of all the powder charges in that batch combined with the cold and a weak primer.

Again, this is speculation on my part.

February 3, 2005, 07:49 PM
I'm trying to get my brain around this...

why do Winchester and Lee not know that this is too low a load? When they say "starting load", I think they mean this is where you're supposed to start

you say this is an "'OK" load....

sez who????

Inquiring minds (at least mine) want to know

Anything I know about loading.......

Low charge + low temps + low bullet weight = incomplete burn = problems

Now, I know I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but if I get a bullet stuck in a barrel, the first thing I'd think about is increasing the charge to make more pressure

If I remember college physics correctly...Boyle's Law is PV=nRT. Pressure, temperature & volume relationship. Low temperature and low pressure (low powder charge seems to be the culprit along with the ambient temp). You're on the very, very low end, and slightly low charge and/or slightly low primer combination equals problems.

I'd bet REAL good money that if you follow Winchester's load manual, you'd be fine. If I'm wrong, please tell me why..

February 3, 2005, 09:17 PM
Sorry for the confusion. When you said it was too slow of a powder, I assumed you were refering to the powder burn rate, not the velocity of the load. 231 is a "fast" powder, even in a load that is slow. I wasn't tryin to comment on Winchester's, or anybody's, minimum load. In fact I have never tried 231 in a reduced load so will not comment on the load he used.

February 4, 2005, 02:02 AM
Two things is that first of all you did not get in a full 3.6 gr of 231 & better chance in hardly any. By change I accidently loaded 1.7gr of 231 with 162Gr cast bullet & gun felt like .22 & sounded like it.

At 20 yds one could heat the soft muzzle sound & a tink at the other end as the bullet tips hit the metal back stop.

Load should have been 2.7gr as I was doing some experimenting only my error on reading my scale!!!!!!

Secondly possibly the primer was next to a dud & they are rarely that unless you have some primers that have suffered a lot of heat for some months, like out in a garage in the summer or such. You want to keep powders & primers in a dry place & around 60F. OR you might have had a hair of OIL touch the primer & that ruins either powder or primers.

I have seen guns so saturated with oil that the gun would be lucky to fire any ammo.

Pull out the bullet tip, clean bbl like normal & reload again, only take your time ALONG with having a good CRIMP for that could be the third reason----lack of crimp to where someone will feel they have a load way way to empty. That happened to a chap at our range & in checking his dies I noted the crimp was basically nil.

February 4, 2005, 02:23 AM
I'm almost willing to bet that this is what happened--especially if you load cast bullets, too.

Once upon a time, I loaded tons of cast bullets for my .44. I almost never hotrodded the round--my favorite load for this caliber (.44 Magnum) is 8.5 of Unique under a cast 250 grain LSWC. Shoots like a dream in my gun.

Anyway, one trip to the range (after cranking out about 200 rounds on a progressive press), I'm taking aim at a 50 yard target. Squeeze the trigger; hear a "thunk" of the FP hitting the primer--nothing else.

Well, a few rounds downrange has taught me that hangfires DO occur, to I maintained a good, tight grip on the revolver, still aiming at the target. About four seconds passed.

Then, I heard a sizzling, BOILING sound coming from the gun! No joke!

I had not lowered the pistol--I simply tightened my grip and hung on.


The round went off with full force--and I hit a solid 9 at 50 yards with it!

I unloaded the gun, cleaned it, and went home. I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling rounds.

Here is what I found: Bullet lube had built up, and some had found its way into the powder drop! I had unwittingly contaminated the charge with a small amount of bullet lube. I found three more rounds like that.

Somehow, the primer flash hat hit contaminated powder, and had started smoldering. It then burnt off the bullet lube (the sizzling sound) and had then ignited the rest of the charge.

So, check that press! I believe that you have used some contaminated powder--or perhaps short stroked the press and dumped less than you wanted in the case.

Another possibility is that the bullet was loose in the case--which happens if you use a universal decapper and do not resize. Case-neck tension helps good combustion.

February 4, 2005, 03:06 AM
I agree it sounds like a comtaminated power charge,however there is one other possibility. I don't recall reading what type measure you used to throw the charges.

I had an RCBS powder thrower that absolutely could not throw a consistant charge with flake powders. Simce the load is already super light, it wouldn't take a much lighter charge to cause the problem you had.

February 4, 2005, 03:28 AM

The data you quote is +P data. The starting load is 14,000psi and 840fps. This is more than strictly required to get the bullet out of the barrel. This load would be closer to a maximum standard 38 Special than a starting load.

While I admit that Thirties load is on the light side, I see nothing wrong with it under standard conditions. You can safely download 231 until bullets stick in the barrel every time if you like. While the light charge could be a factor in the poor ignition, I don’t think it is primary

If use the load data Winchester puts out, you will have a very hard time. If you succeed in loading the 38 Special +P to the OAL they state you stand to blow up your revolver. Their current data misstates the OAL as .984” (380 Auto length). Check it for yourself. (

While I don't work for Winchester, I also would never tell you to load your cartridges shorter than the case length.


February 4, 2005, 05:15 AM
"you can safely download 231 until you stick a bullet in the barrel every time"

sounds like you're close to that point

February 4, 2005, 05:19 AM
You mentioned unburned power.
How much unburned powder?
If you loaded the case with the same charge as all of the rest you would still have at least 50% or the powder remaining.

If you still have the unburned powder weigh it and let us know.
After you weigh it weight out another charge of the EXACT same weight.

Put both powder charges in an empty case with a fired primer.

On a non-flammable surface in an area with good ventilation but no wind, turn the cases upside down.

Slowly remove the cases so you have two identical heaps* of powder.

Ignite one heap* with a match and time how long it burns.

Ignite the second heap* and time it.

If there is no difference you didn't have contaminated powder.

Contaminated powder will burn much slower and will spit* and sputter*.

My guess is that you probably dropped a light charge in the case and only part of the charge ignited and the pressure from it "blew out" the rest of the charge. Sort of like a flame out.

This light load you were using illustrates why powder companies recommend minimum loads. You can get the charge low enough to the point that ignition is unreliable. Just like you can run a gas engine too lean.

A fizz-bang like Powderman described, I have only seen on old surplus ammo and after breaking down several rounds in several different calibers there was only one constant.
Something, probably moisture, had caused the powder to clump* up into separate globs*. Some of the globs* would ignite some wouldn't. Sometimes one burning clump* would dry out another clump* enough for it to burn.

*[voiceon=TheBrain] "Your grasp of technical jargon staggers me, Pinky." [voiceoff]

February 4, 2005, 09:18 AM
Gentlemen, some of you are not reading what I have written. These are Berry’s 125 grain PLATED flat point bullets — not JACKETED bullets.

Winchester does not give load data on these bullets. The only data I found on a similar bullet was a Lyman 212 grain lead round nose @ 3.4 grains W231 starting load. I started at 3.6 grain for this particular batch. The Winchester data doesn’t have any 125 grainers listed for .38spl, only for .38spl+P. And the 125 grain bullet listed for +P is a JHP (not lead or plated). And this is a 2nd issue Colt Detective Special from 1966 — these guns were not intended for +P ammo.

As for experimenting with the left-over powder, it’s all gone. When I unloaded the gun, there was at least half or more of the load unburned, and it got all over the place.

I’m thinking it may have been a partial dud primer. I remember one of the primers had a red outline after seating. If I ever see that again, I’ll toss the round.

Anyway, I shot all the rest of that fateful batch of 3.6 grain ammo yesterday without incident using my S&W 4" model 10. It shot well, and made groups, although larger than I get with my HBWC loads — to be expected.

I use a Redding 10X pistol powder measure. This thing is very accurate and consistent, especially with W231 powder. With the amount of powder that spilled out of the barrel, it was clear I had loaded the case with sufficient powder.

So four possible causes remain:

outdoor temperature
contamination of primer or powder
partial dud primer
weak hammer strike

When I get a call from the gunsmith, I’ll learn if the hammer was to blame. But I think the temperature created the conditions that made this more likely to happen. As for contamination, I really doubt it. When I size cases, I have a tin of Imperial Sizing Wax on the bench. I touch the wax with my forefinger, lightly enough to just leave a print on the surface. Then I pick up the case and twirl it on the sides before placing it in the shellholder. I refresh the wax on my finger every 4th or 5th case. This is a very light application.

I did drop one primer on the floor when loading. I work in the basement with a concrete floor. Maybe I should have thrown it away. This may have been the problem child. I had dropped one round in the snow when loading the cylinder. This may have been the problem child. Maybe the snow-dropped round was the same one whose primer had fallen on the floor — now, that would have been a problem child, I’ll never know.

When I get word from the gunsmith, I’ll post it here.

I have stuck bullets in barrels before. In my Nagant revolver with CCI-500 primers, I got a few. When I switched to WSP primers, I never stuck a bullet again, until this one.

By the way, this bullet traveled about 2", about the same distance my stuck Nagant bullets traveled in their barrel. I was easily able to knock them out with a brass rod inserted from the muzzle end. The powder had not completely burned in the Nagant incidents either. In both guns, the bullets cleared the forcing cone.

This message is getting long. Thank you all for your kind interest.

February 4, 2005, 11:55 AM
Oh! I know what happened! You weren't slinging your pistol hand while firing like they do in the old cowboy movies. If you'd been slinging that thar hawgleg that bullet would've gone downrange. :neener:

February 4, 2005, 05:23 PM
You mentioned the amount of powder and the amount left over. I still suspect you're not generating enough pressure & heat to make the powder burn correctly. The bullet is moving before the pressure/temperature builds sufficiently. That's the reason the bullet kinda squirts out the end of the barrel but there's still unburned powder. That's also the reason the cold temperature could have an effect

I referred to a powder burn rate chart. 231 was #30 out of 132. You've got a light bullet, cold temps, and a (relatively for the application) slow powder. In cold temps, not only does the heat have to expand the gases enough to push the bullet, it also has to heat the metal.

Have you tried a faster powder (Bullseye)???? It's maybe #5 or so. The pressure spikes fast enough to get the powder burning before the bullet moves too far.

And the reason Winchester primers may have worked before is that they're considered the hottest primers. They would light up more of the powder quicker, which would raise the pressure and heat, which would make the load work...HTH

February 4, 2005, 05:44 PM
Is it the consensus that 231 ought not be used for mid-range but only for full range loads so to speak?

Seems to me many people, including if I am not mistaken some of our moderators migrated from Bullseye to 231 (some by way of 230) for easy metering with the lightest gallery loads. I suppose ball powders are harder to ignite than flake but I don't really know what that means or even if it's true.

My own experience has all been with a strong pull - not just a crimp but a squeeze - but perhaps the flush seating wadcutters increased loading density enough to make all the difference.

Without more theory, I'd have to generalize that a great many very very light 231 loads have worked well.

February 5, 2005, 06:05 AM
OK here's the deal. There is not sich thing as a "partial dud primer".
It can't happen.

Either the primer ignites the powder or it doesn't. If one single grain of powder ignites it will then ignite every grain of powder that is touching* it. IF the powder is good.
I repeat...
IF the powder is good.

If the powder charge density is so low that the powder is spread too thin then it would be possible for the charge toignite slow enough that the first part created enough gas pressure to push part of the charge away and/or blow it out.

At the range tonight p14Enfield had a fizzbang™ in his (what else) Eddystone P-14 Enfield .303. He was shooting sone 1964 vintage ammo from India. HE popped the cap and you gould hear it fizz for about ¾ second before it went BANG. That's a powder problem. Usually caused by moisture inside the case. The powder clumps, the primer fires but the "damp" powder acts like kindling wood, burning slowly a few grains at a time, until enough heat is created to "dry" the charge whereupon it goes BaNg.

*of course they really don't have to be touching. They just have to be close enough to ignite. I use the word touching because a grain good powder will ALWAYS ingite ANY good powder grains actually touching it.

February 6, 2005, 01:55 AM
"...I think you must have had at least a partial powder burn in order for the bullet to..." Nope. The primer alone will push the bullet into the barrel.
How old is the powder? Old powder that has been exposed to humidity, even in a closed can will be harder to ingnite. Had a can of Bullseye, I think it was, that I stupidly left in the wrong place for too long that wouldn't light. Put it into a big ashtray,outside, and dropped a lit match on it. Took 5 seconds or so to catch. Nice column of fire about 10 feet high.

February 6, 2005, 02:15 AM
I have the same Colt 'Det. Spl' only a younger gun. It has worked like a charm since day one & I will cut my loads so that are just 38 Spl loads & not +P loads. Also use loads of 231 down to basically 3.2 to 3.4 gr & with bullet tips of 140, 150 to 162 & in all cases are cast, bar some partially jacketed ones I have hanging around my reloading room & use once in a while just for the fun of it.

I had a flood in the basement & a batch of my primers were soaking wet as was 3 lbs of Unique. With some plain brown paper I laid out the primer & same with the power only moved the latter around for a few weeks.

Feeling all was dry I loaded some with the ex-wet powder & ex-wet primers & others with 100% dry of both powder & primers. Groups were the same so obviously I had dried both.

Yes, once in a while I will drop a primer onto the concrete floor, & never hesitate to pick it up & use it for they work perfectly. Fact is in looking around I have accidently stepped on a primer & still use it. I have primers in rnds ready to be loaded with powder & then the bullet tip on the feeling tipped me off that the brass might have a split & seeing it is so I will punch it out & reuse it with best of results.

Then I was using CCI or Winchester primers & now for my h/guns I use Federal while CCI or Winchester for my semi-autos. Basically a preference because I also use two PPC revolvers so hammer drop is light due to light trigger pull & in DA only.

I have seen many rnds of ammo with some red around the primer & that is usually because it is a waterproofing some demand. Even after use & with no tumbling some will still show that bit of red around the primer for the next load & narry a bit of trouble.

February 8, 2005, 07:20 AM
Easy to check to see if it was "primer only". Load a few with a primer and no powder and see if the bullet comes out. Now, you've obviously got to keep REAL close track as you know you'll have a stuck bullet. Just keep a dowel rod handy and be sure to remove the bullet immediately.

On any "primer only" that I've seen, the bullet just makes it into the forcing cone of the barrel, but anything's possible

As for 231 being "slow", it depends. Is WW-296 too slow for a .44 mag??? Depends on the bullet and powder charge. When I first started loading it was with a .44 mag. I did the "right" thing and reduced powder charge 10%. Problem is, you're never supposed to reduce WW-296 or H-110 by more than 3%. Super erratic performance. Not enough density to make the powder burn.

The lighter the bullet the faster the powder should be. What works with a 158 may not work with a 125, particularly with cold temps and low load density.

February 15, 2005, 11:59 AM
Folks, is it possible that a dirty primer pocket could be the cause of poor ignition of powder, especially when it happens in cold weather, and when firing double action?

When I first started reloading, I cleaned every primer pocket. I eventually stopped the practice after reading many people state they didn't bother. It seemed they were correct, since nothing happened.

I did notice that primers were a bit harder to seat (I use the Hornady hand primer). But they went in, and the ammo fired.

My stuck bullet has caused me to question all my procedures.

I did an experiment the other day. I carefully cleaned the primer pockets on de-caped/sized brass (.38spl). I used the Lyman hand tool. When I primed the cases the primers went in very smoothly and easily. I've not yet test fired the results — we're having a wicked winter for back yard handgun shooting here in Maine!

So, I'm wondering if the short cut of not cleaning my primer pockets led to this incident. A primer could have not seated deeply enough due to carbonized crud in the pocket. Any thoughts out there . . . ?

February 15, 2005, 12:17 PM
So, I'm wondering if the short cut of not cleaning my primer pockets led to this incident.
Short answer, NO.

A primer could have not seated deeply enough due to carbonized crud in the pocket.
Short answer, YES.

But either the primer fired or it did not.

What happened, to create the event shown in your picture in the opening post, was not a primer malfunction. The primer fired. It wouls appear that SOME of the powder with BOOM or at least FOOF. And the rest of it didn't as evidenced by your statment;it left flakes all over the place when I opened the cylinder
A small pistol primer firing by itself will NOT launch a correctly sized bullet that far through the barrel. I seriously doubt that even a magnum small rifle primer could do that.

In theory you could get enough gunk in the primer pocket to cushion the blow resulting in the primer not firing on the first hit. But it should on the second.

Back when I managed Sport Shooters in Kentucky, wer had contracted with a company to supply reloaded range ammo. I think these guys must be the Einsteins behind A-MERC because they had so many QC problems that we terminated their contract in less than a month.

We had a very high rate of no powder loads. In each and every instance, no matter what caliber, the bullet ended up half in the forcing cone and half in the cylinder.
There was also a high rate of high primers. Rounds that would chamber but had a high primer would more often than not fail to fire on the first attempt. But all would fire on the second attempt if there was powder present.

One again I reiterate. This was NOT a primer malfunction.
If the primer will ignite any of the powder it will ignite all of it*.

*provided it is a proper charge of non-contaminated powder.

The Bushmaster
February 15, 2005, 08:37 PM
Thirties... I just saw the photo. Now that looks neat. I have never seen anything like it in all my years as a range master. Glad you took a photo of it. WOW...No answer. Act of God, maybe?

February 16, 2005, 07:46 AM
Bushmaster, I wish I'd saved the spent cartridge so I could have studied the primer and the rest of the case. Act of God seems to be where it lies at the moment.

Good news is that I'm finally going to the UPS (1 hour drive, needed to accumulate a few other chores to go with) to ship my gun to the gunsmith today. I'll be looking forward to his evaluation of my used Detective Special — to heck with the darn bullet! I just want to get my gun clear and know it has been checked out by a knowledgable person.

Then I can get back to learning to shoot this 2 inch marvel the best I can. Of course, I'll also be refining my handloads, always cleaning those primer pockets from now on!

February 16, 2005, 06:10 PM
Gunsmith? OK it's your money. But what happened was NOT the gun's fault.

It baffles me how some people seem to think that the harder a hammer hits a primer the hotter it fires. Either a primer goes POP or it don't.

I have soaked primers in 3in1 oil, WD-40, ballistol, Clenz-oil, motor oil, gasoline, water, and even iced tea. Afte a week of soaking and another week of drying ONLY the gasoline killed any of them.

Just grab a pair of pliers and pull that bullet out of the muzzle and go about your merry way.

This was an ammunition malfunction. Most probably caused by operator error.
(I am still not 100% convinced that this was not staged)


But then some people just will look for anything but themselves to blame.

February 16, 2005, 06:52 PM
I never thought that this was anything other than operator error. I'm just trying to track down the error(s).

As for sending the gun to the gunsmith, I was going to send it in anyway to have the gun checked out. The stuck bullet wouldn't come out with the pliers I used. I didn't want to dammage the muzzle. So I figure the gunsmith can do it much more easily than I.

Maybe you haven't read my posts . . . maybe you are trying to get a wrasslin' match going here. But there's no one to blame here but me. It's not a huge mystery. I was just posting the info to see if there were any obvious errors made that I hadn't thought of.

By the way, after some searches, I came up with another possible problem. I had my W231 powder in the feed tube of my powder measure for a few weeks prior to this. I read that sometimes this can contaminate the powder. I'll be replacing my powders in their cans after each session from now on.

But how would it explain the fact that I shot off the rest of the lot in another gun with no problems (SWmodel10)?

I'm sorry I can't give you the satisfaction of a tug-of-war over your comments, but I'm just not in the mood to dispute what you say, BlueBear.

Looking forward to getting my gun back from the 'smith. I sent it today.

February 16, 2005, 07:35 PM
Can you expound on how W231 sitting in a powder funnel will contaminate it?

February 16, 2005, 08:29 PM
The technical part has been covered, I had repeated ignition problems using Unique in 38 special, it was a 5-6g load depending on which bullet I was shooting, then I started filling the case with styrofoam. This kept the powder down on the ignition end. Never had another problem.


The Bushmaster
February 16, 2005, 08:48 PM
Come on guys...The mystery is over (I still like that photo). He had 49 good rounds and only one bad round. I would call that a primer failure, manufacturers or Thirties intervention that caused that neat photo.

Bluesbear...Sit down and be nice.

The Bushmaster
February 16, 2005, 08:53 PM
Say Blusebear...Model railroads. Hummmm. Is that restraunt down where the King dome used to be, that has the large model train set that used to serve you at your table, still in business??

February 16, 2005, 10:16 PM
"Can you expound on how W231 sitting in a powder funnel will contaminate it?"

I said powder left in the feed tube. I meant to say powder left in the reservoir.

I read the old post last night, and I cannot find it. Closest I can come is this mention of powder etching the reservoir tube.

But what I read said that powder can become spoiled or contaminatad by leaving it in the powder measure reservoir. It has something to do with the reaction of the powder and the plastic tube. But don't take my word for it.

Based on the above experience, I have decided to modify my reloading procedures in three ways:

1) always clean the primer pockets.

2) always replace unused powder from the powder measure reservoir back to the original can after each session.

3) stop posting questions in this forum.

The Bushmaster
February 16, 2005, 10:32 PM
Damn...I don't like # 3.

February 16, 2005, 10:39 PM
Bushmaster, I think all the oxygen is leaking out of this topic, and we're all about to pass out from boredom . . .

When I get the little gun back from the gunsmith, I can return to loading ammo for it and shooting the lil' darling.

In the meantime, I don't think we are improving the common good any more with this subject.

The Bushmaster
February 17, 2005, 01:02 AM
Yeah...You're probably right. Incidently I have 3 S & W Mod 10. Two with 4" dress and a 2" (wife's). The two 4" smiths were Hong Kong Royal Police returns when Hong Kong changed to Wonder 9's. I got these cheap and brand new.

Next subject.. Bye..

February 17, 2005, 07:32 AM
There was an article many years ago where Skeeter Skelton (I think) said he loaded up some rounds with powder left in a hopper for a long time. He said the rounds were very weak, and he later found it had badly echted the plastic in the hopper. But you are right, he said all of the rounds were bad, not just one.

February 17, 2005, 03:05 PM
Especially in a revolver, where the cylinder/forcing cone gap would bleed off some of the already-low pressure. Usually those end up locking the cylinder, with the bullet halfway through the gap.

Primer pockets get my attention, especially when I noticed that I was creating my own potential problem. For a long time, I would decap and resize rounds, then tumble them one last time for a final finish before priming and charging the cases. What I had overlooked was the residual corn cob media lodged squarely in the flash hole or primer pocket, before the cases got primed. I never had any hangfires or misfires, and I attribute that to the primer blowing the contaminant out of the way before lighting off the powder charge. I caught it because I was doing a stretch ring test with one .30-06 case, and a piece of corn cob media fell out of the supposedly clean and empty case. Further investigation by holding the deprimed cases up to a light revealed several blocked flash holes.

Needless to say, I've changed my techniques.

I have, however, witnessed a fizz-bang (more of a fizz-pop) on two separate occasions. One was a beautiful Colt-Sauer in .458 Win Mag, that made the goofiest sizzling sound as the bullet went downrange, leaving the barrel heavily fouled with the unburnt extruded powder granules of IMR4198. We surmised that contaminated primers were the culprit, and the sizzling sound was the compressed powder charge wad burning as it stuck to the base of the bullet on the way downrange. The unburnt IMR4198 looked golden in color, probably because the deterrent coating had been flashed off?

The second fizzle I witnessed was with the owner of a Rolling Block in .45-70, again using IMR4198. (No connection to the Colt-Sauer incident) This time the 405gr cast bullet went about 6 inches up the barrel before stopping, with a big wad of unburnt IMR4198 stuck to the base of the bullet. Again, once the bullet and powder wad were tapped back out of the breech, the plug of extruded powder grains had a golden color. Odd, and we chalked it up to weak ignition from a primer with perhaps less priming compound than normal. :confused:

February 17, 2005, 03:51 PM
In a Smith Model 19 6". Plated Rainier 140 gr bullet. Unique, I forget the load, but the lowest listed. Fired in the cold. Both times I heard a nice sharp crack from the primer but felt no recoil so stopped and checked. First time, bullet stopped about 4" up the bore. Second time only about 1" of travel.

Now I use a single stage press and a Hornady powder measure. I eyeball all the cases in the loading block before putting in the bullet, to rule out double charge/no charge. BUT I ws using a pretty light charge and could easily have been fooled by a partial charge.

When setting up to throw a particular charge I throw 50 charges to settle the powder then begin weighing and adjusting. I noticed that occasionally I'd get a much lighter charge. Almost as if the Unique wasn't entering the metering chamber well, clumping or bridging. I began whacking the handle firmly after my first stuck round but it happened again.

My money is on a light charge. Should be less likely with 213 and that nice measure of yours, but I HAVE seen 231 and similar powders actually clump up, so you never know.

Also as others have said, crimp too light is another possibility. I still have the remaining 100 rds from the last fiasco, and I'm going home tonight and crimp 'em harder.

February 17, 2005, 05:08 PM
I have just read this thread and it has been interesting. Back in the 80's when I shot alot of 38 ammo, I puchased 1,000 rds of some German imported 158gr JHP ammo. I was using my 2" S&W Mod 15 at a night shoot, I triggered off 5 rds and could not fire the 6th, the cylinder would not turn.
Shined a flaslight on my Mod 15 and I saw the samething as the begining picture of this thread, a bullet sticking halfway out of the muzzle.

To make a long story short, I had "5" bullets stuck in a 2" barrel,the base of the 5th was still in the cylinder preventing it from rotating. Took it home and ran a drill through the bullets and drove them back until the cylinder would open, and I drove the rest of them out. There was unburned powder everywhere. Now being German factory loaded ammo what could be the problem??? Looked the gun over,no bulges,timing was OK. So I took it back to the range shot 8 more rds slow fire and the 8th was stuck in the barrel. Took it home pounded it out and started checking that ammo. I pulled bullets measured charges for 25 rds, all seemed to be the same, then I discovered that some bullets would easily push back in the case by pushing them against the bench. Now I have another 950 rds of this stuff, what to do with it?
What I chose to do was RECRIMP all the rounds with a firm roll crimp.
EVERYONE fired without a problem after the recrimp. You need a certain amount of bullet retention (more burn dewell time)to get the proper burn with light charges.

So my guess is, not enough bullet crimp. Cases vary in thickness from lot to lot by manufacture and from manufacture to manufacturer. So maybe it was a combination of a thinner walled case and your crimp allowed a poor burn of your charge to take place..

My experiance with plated bullets has been by the time you have a good roll crimp you have cracked the plating and accuracy goes to hell. I now taper crimp all my plated loads for that reason. I am currently shooting IDPA with a S&W 65. My load is 158gr Berry's Plated RN,4.5 gr of WW231,Win SP primers and any 38spl. case I can stuff. All rounds are taper crimped and I have never had a problem with them.


February 17, 2005, 05:33 PM
The crimp is something I'll keep an eye on. As these were plated lead bullets, I had set a gentle roll crimp fearing damage to the bullet. Also I was using mixed brass which would allow for some shorter cases to be even less crimped.

When I get the gun back I'm going to play around in a methodical way with all the things mentioned here so I can learn from it.

With all the ammo I've fired in my two 4" S&W K frames for the past two years, with no such problems, why the devil did this happen while shooting my 2" Colt snubnose the third session I'd ever had with her? I'm not "blaming" the gun here. I'm trying to get at the cause. Besides, I love that Colt Detective Special.

So far I like the following suspects:

¤ cold temperature
¤ dirty primer pockets
¤ powder too long in reservoir
¤ weak roll crimp
¤ oddball bum primer

Thank you all for the time you spent thinking about my problem . . .

February 17, 2005, 06:24 PM

If you use a taper crimp,case length is not as critical. Most Revolver die sets come with the roll crimp die,but you can buy seperate taper crimp dies.
I also crimp seperatly from seating the bullet. Less chace of the case mouth damaging the plating. I also tend to bell the case more so the plated bullet easily starts into the case. All these little things help.


February 17, 2005, 06:35 PM
Sigma, thanks. I use a Redding profile crimp die which is their name for roll crimp. And, yes, I always crimp in the 4th position in a separate step. I also bell the mouth so the bullets can be hand started more easily.

I know I was crimping on the light side in that instance. I'll screw 'er in deeper next time. I'd like to try that before getting a taper crimp die for .38spl.

February 18, 2005, 09:29 AM

Another thought on crimp, if too light the bullets will move forward in the cylinder (out of the case) while the gun is being fired. This would also change your powders burning property, especialy with very light loads.

My 38/357 taper crimp die was purchased from Redding,they make geat dies.


Master Blaster
February 18, 2005, 10:07 AM
Reduce the amount you are belling the case, to just enough that the bullet will stand on the case mouth, the absolute minimum!!!!!!

February 19, 2005, 11:07 AM
I tried reducing the belling and it just caused me more problems than it was worth. If the bullet moved at all when going into the seating die, the sharp edge of the case will catch and crack or peel the thin plating on these bullets.
This methood works fine for FMJ's, but not plated. Anything that breaks the plating causes inaccuracy using these bullets.

Also using a progressive press (Dillon 550), it speeds up my loading time if I don't have to fiddle with each bullet set on a case. I only bell enough so the bullet just sits down inside the case mouth. That way it can't hurt the plating and also allows the bullet to sit straight when entering the seating die.

I will admit it may reduce case life,but after 5 or 6 loadings I dump them anyway. Using a progressive press has some different technics,then using a single stage, where you have more control over the case.


February 19, 2005, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the link Thirties on the WW231.

Every once in a while I switch calibers and leave the powder measure loaded. For instance, I ran out of Sig brass and finished loading some forty. So, I just switched out toolheads but I haven't seen any issue with the rounds I loaded. I would be pretty shocked to learn that the plastic Dillon is using would be susceptible to a reaction with gun powder. It is completely possible but I would like to think that they checked that out. I'll send them an email and see what they say about it.

February 19, 2005, 01:18 PM
Another case of a shooting problem solved just by asking about it here. I had about 90 rounds left of my 140 gr plated bullet/Unique 5.1 gr/Rem 1 1/2 primer load which twice stuck the bullet in the bore as described. I went home and re-crimped them more firmly after reading the comments here.

Today every cartridge fired with a nice crack and noticeably brisker recoil than before. No stuck bullets, no squibs. And the accuracy, though not tested on paper (It's 10 degrees outside, I didn't linger), seems pretty good: I was hitting soda cans at 25 yds quite regularly.

It has really paid off to belong to THR!

February 19, 2005, 02:17 PM
CAn't speak to current plastics but older plastics certainly reacted - said to be in proportion to the nitroglycerin content. Many older measures will show discoloration toward the base. Folks who broke bulk and sold especially shotgun powders in milk jars found a reaction as well.

February 23, 2005, 12:15 PM
Only1asterisk suggested powder position. Since single action shots were ok, but the first double action shot resulted in a problem, it may be possible that single action cocking raised the muzzle and positioned the powder on the primer whereas double action shooting started with the powder away from the primer.

March 3, 2005, 11:38 AM
Khornet, you mentioned tightening up the crimp. I loaded some new rounds just as before but with a tighter crimp.

I shot them in another Colt DS, and had very good results. I also loaded a batch with 3.7 grains of W231 instead of the original 3.6 grains, and they shot even better.

I've learned many lessons form this. Among them these are the most important:

1) always clean primer pockets

2) always empty powder measure reservoir after each session

I am now thinking that I had a poorly seated primer in combination with a lightly crimped case, some very cold weather, a round that fell in the snow, not using Titegroup, and possibly a light striking hammer on my used Colt DS (still waiting for the gunsmith's phote call).

Anyway, I appreciate all the positive info here. The photo is not a fake. It really did happen. I'll check in again when I've spoken with the 'smith.


March 8, 2005, 02:17 PM
I spoke with the gunsmith today. He knocked out the bullet, checked the gun for timing, lubed, and test fired. He said the gun was/is in excellent shape. So I can let go any thoughts of light D/A strikes.

I will have to chalk up this incident to careless reloading on my part. I cannot think of any other cause.

Maybe in the warmer seasons, this would not have happened. I'm glad it did occur. It caused me to tighten up my procedures. My shooting will benefit, I'm sure.

Can't wait to get my gun back from the shop!


March 8, 2005, 04:17 PM

The Bushmaster
March 8, 2005, 10:21 PM
Aah Bluesbear...Did you have something to say or are you just trying to keep this string going?

March 31, 2005, 07:51 PM
Well folks, I got my gun back this afternoon via UPS. It looks real nice. They checked the timing which was right on, the double action hammer fall which was just right, and they lubed inside as it was a bit dry. Stuck bullet removed also. They told me my gun was in very good mechanical order. Thank you to the guys at Pittsburgh Handgun Headquarters.

I'm going to shoot some loads tomorrow; and this time of year I'll be able to pull out the chronograph as well.

I have been rolling over all the possibilities. My conclusion is that I had one bad round. This could have been a badly seated bullet, a lightly crimped round, a very cold round of ammunition. Maybe all three in one. In any case, I've been unable to repeat this event in my other Colt DS.

So I will declare this thread over, or nearly over, unless some of you want to kick any more ideas around.

Thanks. I appreciate your help.


The Bushmaster
March 31, 2005, 08:01 PM
Congratulations Thirties...Now. Back to shootin'...

November 19, 2005, 02:14 PM
It's been a few months, but I wanted to post the info I received over the phone from Berry's Bullets.

They told me to NOT use lead bullet data when loading their copper plated bullets. They suggest using the mid-range of powder listed for jacketed bullet loads of the weight/shape bullet. It has to do with the copp plated surface giving more friction than lead.

I underloaded; and that was the most likely reason the bullet stuck.

Thanks all for your interest in my problem . . .


December 3, 2005, 05:46 AM
Ya think?

I guess you could consider a round with only a partial powder charge as "underloaded".

December 3, 2005, 12:21 PM
Ya think?

I guess you could consider a round with only a partial powder charge as "underloaded".

I think this is a little "strong" He was kind enough to share what he found out. Not sure this follow The High Road theme.

I appreciate the follow-up

The Bushmaster
December 3, 2005, 12:35 PM
Aah Redneck2. Ya gotta understand Bluesbear...He lives in a very wet climate. I know. I lived in Western Washington and Oregon for most of my life and it gets down right wet up there. Bluesbear is just getting a little damp. That either makes you suicidal or belligerent. In his case it's belligerent...:D

December 3, 2005, 08:10 PM
I've nothing to contribute as to why the round squibbed -- obviously the primer didn't ignite the powder fully but was powerful, along with whatever did ignite, to push the bullet that far. Cold and crimp are both likely contributing factors. Since the event wasn't repeated, it was likely a freak incident.
But here are a few notes to add:
W231 and HP38 are the same powder. That opens up the number of loads you can check.
Over the years, I've had 5 squibs that didn't leave the barrel. Four were tests; the fifth was expected but not intended. In all cases, the bullet made it down more than 2" of barrel. (They were all lead bullets, so there's not really a true parallel, but close enough.) Two of the tests were with deliberate underloads of H110, a slow-burning powder (again, no true parallel)that will squib if underloaded. The powder piled up behind the bullet just as described here.

The Bushmaster
December 3, 2005, 09:18 PM
There's that "W-231/HP-38 the same" thing again...Then how come my loading manuals have different powder weights for each powder. If you are loading W-231 use W-231 data and if you are loading HP-38 use HP-38 loading data. And stop telling these fine people that they are the same.:banghead:

Oh...By the way...Welcome to the best reloading site on the web anonanon.;) We are very glad you have joined us. Really. We are.:D

December 4, 2005, 10:42 AM
Sorry I missed this thread the first time. I found that W231 is very position sensitive in lighter 38 special applications. Position sensitive? If the powder is close to the bullet, performance is different than if powder is close to the primer when fired. Start with muzzle down and raise the muzzle level; the powder is closer to the bullet, and there is incomplete ignition and a stuck bullet. Start with muzzle tipped up, then lower to level; the powder is closer to the primer.

You can call that "underloading" if you wish, but it happened to me and my loads were within Winchester's published loads.


December 4, 2005, 11:35 AM
I wouldn't have mentioned that HP38 and W231 were the same powder if the concept hadn't been circulating for some time (more than 10 years) and been published in reputable magazines. Either Hodgdon or Winchester confirmed it at one time -- but not first-hand to me, it is true. One -- maybe both -- also confirmed that W296 and H110 are also the same powders, and even identified the lab/plant where the powder is made (General Dynamics in Florida if I remember).
And yet, loading data is different. One of the most confusing things about handloading is that data is different -- from one company's manual to another's, and even from the same company's manual from one edition to a later edition.
Different lots of the same powder produce different results. Well within the safety margins, but still different.
I posted some fast, incomplete research once (on a different matter), and another poster did a more thorough job showing I was wrong as often as I was right. I quickly scanned through the manuals I have -- same book, same gun, same load except for powder -- and when I can find listings for both powders find that there is variation but no real discrepancy. On the other hand, everything from Bullseye to Unique falls in the same range.
Whether the same or different, it isn't a good choice for hot loads. Anyone loading for a weaker gun should be checking actual performance before crowding the upper load listings in any book.
I certainly don't recommend that anyone mix the different powders either.

The Bushmaster
December 4, 2005, 01:46 PM
Imccrock...You have it right. But unless you are in a combat situation your normal procedure is to start with muzzle up and bring it down to the target placing the powder in direct contact with the primer. I have not seen this problem as I load maximum or near maximum (+P) loads only using W-231 for my .38 Specials of which I have 3 Mod 10 S&Ws. W-231 isn't the only powder that is position sensitive in large cases and small powder charges and .38 Special is the main problematic calibre of the group, but easily solved.

anonanon...I'm having the same discusion on another string and have listed the powder weights for .45 ACP using HP-38 and W-231...You might check it out. Whether they are the same or just enough different at least you and I are in agreement...Don't use one for the other or mix them...:cool:

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