I got some squibs...


March 23, 2006, 11:02 AM
I'm a new reloader. I probably have around 700 rounds under my belt.

My wife came home from shooting 100 of my reloads with 5 rounds that didn't go "boom". I checked the cases and the primers all had firing pin strikes on them.

I assumed that the 5 faulty rounds had somehow managed to make it through the press without any powder.

This morning I took the 5 bullets apart and found that every one of them had powder inside.

Being new I'm a bit unclear on where the problem might be.

1. the primer got hit
2. the round had powder inside

but the powder inside failed to ignite and the bullet is still 100% in place.

I figured that I'd pop the primers out and see if they ignited or not and then check the flash hole, although I'd guess that the depriming pin would clear out a flash hole at least enough for the spark to pass from the primer to the powder.

Any other suggestions?

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Uncle Don
March 23, 2006, 11:20 AM
You're probably not seating them as deep as you should. If you didn't have powder but the primer went off, there would be no bullet in the case, it would be in the bbl. My guess is that the firing pin pushed the primer deeper in the pocket and probably would have gone off on the second or third attempt. If they are not seated to their extent, the anvil in the primer will not crush - the power is absorbed the primer having room to move further into the pocket.

March 23, 2006, 11:23 AM
A couple of possibilities:
1. Improperly seated primer. If it isn't bottomed out the firing pin impact is cushioned by the primer being pushed further into the primer pocket. A lot of times those rounds will go off if you try firing them again.
2. Bad primer. Rare, but happens.

March 23, 2006, 11:29 AM
Busted/dirty firing pin, weak mainspring, setting the shoulder back excessively on bottleneck cases.

March 23, 2006, 11:30 AM
This is just about the only reloading mishap that hasn't happened to me. Knock on Formica. So all I can suggest is what I've read.

Oh, by the way, when your wife pulled the trigger and nothing happened, did she do a routine check of the barrel to make sure it had no bullet in it? A primer-only round can go "pop" gently enough that you can't hear or feel it and yet still get the bullet out of the case and into the barrel. This, I am sad to say, I know from experience.

Are the primers indented normally, or less than normal? A weak firing pin strike can cause misfires. Issues here are with springs, cleaning, lubrication, and perhaps headspace.

Were the primers seated all the way? If not, the firing pin's energy would have gone towards seating the primer the rest of the way rather than making it go "pop." How to tell: After making sure that the bullet didn't leave the case and get lodged in the barrel, recock the firearm and attempt to fire the dud round again. It will usually go the second time because the first attempt finished seating it.

Was there any oil or solvent on your fingers when priming? I've read that this can cause primers to misfire.

March 23, 2006, 11:35 AM
thanks for the help. My guess is that the primers were not seated deep enough. I'm still learning how much pressure to exert on the upstroke (Dillon square deal B).

Steve C
March 23, 2006, 11:39 AM
Not seating the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket is a common newbie mistake. You get worried about crushing the primer because of the warning in the manual. Most of us have done it at one time. After you’ve reloaded a while you will find that you can mash the primer flat and it will work fine but don’t seat it fully and you’ll get misfires. If you ever leave out the powder the primer alone will drive the bullet into the barrel an inch or two. Make sure you warn your wife or anyone using reloads to check for barrel obstruction anytime a round doesn’t feel right or just goes “pop” rather than bang. Many a revolver has been damaged by cranking off the next round after a powderless round left a bullet in the bore creating an obstruction.

March 23, 2006, 12:45 PM
It's also possible you contaiminated those primers from lube or grease on your fingers when you handled them. Lubricants are death on primers. I have seen this happen before, but not very frequently. Please review your loading procedures, but I feel the other feedbacks you have received are correct...not fully seated primers.:)

March 23, 2006, 01:33 PM
I've had exactly ONE of those happen, and the discoloration on the [edit POWDER [close edit] (slight) and lack of pushing the bullet forward led me to conclude that the primer pellet had a big 'ol bubble in it. The stiff is loaded into the cup as a paste, then dried out.

Caliber for yours? Mine was .357 Mag, and powder was....well, it wasn't 296 or H110 or Herco or Unique...just don't remember... I've tried empty cases and when neck tension is good and bullets are heavier than 125-gr, the primer sometimes won't move the bullet. Primers never move the bullet in .30-06 or .308. In 9mm, a good primer will wedge the bullet in the throat alarmingly tight.:banghead: Not gonna do THAT experiment again.

March 23, 2006, 08:07 PM
I've never had a misfire (knock knock). The only time I touch a primer with my hands is if I drop one on the floor. About once a year, I clean my priming tools, tubes, flip tray, etc w/ alcohol.

I crush them just a tad when seating.

March 24, 2006, 02:37 AM
I push FIMRLY on the handle when seating the primer,and hold it there for a second to insure there' is no 'bounce back'. Far too many people are temtped to run a progressive as fast as it will go,and the priming step gets sloppy when they do this.
You're not depriming then polishing are you? lot of old manuals had folks do this but with progressive machines this is self-defeating and , IMHO, just plain silly.But a great way to get primer holes plugged up.

March 24, 2006, 06:59 AM
Primers not seated well (by far #1)

I'd guess you're using CCI's (metal is harder). I switched to Federals and Winchesters. This eliminated the problem you describe. Not only does the softer cup material dent easier from the firing pin, but they also seat a lot easier IMO.

Light strikes. If you've lightened the trigger pull, you may have lightened the strike

If you read Lee's book, they make it sound like every Federal primer is going to blow your press apart and kill 1/2 the population of the US. I use them with zero problems in my 550

After reading some threads about guys unsuccessfully trying to de-activate primers with oil, I suspect it's something besides oil from your fingers

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