Finding squibs


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walking arsenal
November 9, 2007, 05:20 PM
Hey all.

I just recently got into reloading and was wondering if there were a way to find squibs without pulling all the rounds you made.

I'm almost 90% sure i don't have one in a recent batch i made but I'd like to be sure so i don't have to take a hammer and dowel to my beloved 1911.

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Fly320s
November 9, 2007, 05:27 PM
Weigh them.

If you know the powder charge you used, and you should, you can probably tell which cartridge(s) didn't get powder.

strat81
November 9, 2007, 05:53 PM
Yup, weighing them will work. Weigh a few known non-squibs and get an average. If you find one that deviates from the average by the amount of your powder charge, you most likely found a squib.

walking arsenal
November 9, 2007, 05:55 PM
I was hoping to not have to buy scale. I just use a lee powder dip for my loads, a scale was in my future buy.

What would be the best procedure for doing this? I used two different bullet brands for my loads.

The same powder and primers but a mix of cases.

There is going to be a lot of variation in that isn't there?

RustyFN
November 9, 2007, 05:57 PM
If you weigh them let us know how it worked. I have never heard of anybody having much success that way. If you get a light case and bullet in the same round it could be 4 or 5 grains lighter and still have powder.
Rusty

RustyFN
November 9, 2007, 06:10 PM
I was hoping to not have to buy scale. I just use a lee powder dip for my loads, a scale was in my future buy.
If you don't have a scale then how do you know how much powder you are putting in the case? I have never used the dippers but have heard from others that they are as accurate as the auto disk measure when it comes to the Lee chart. For the auto disk measure I have to go up 1 or 2 cavities to get the charge that Lee said I could get with the smaller one. For example you might think you are throwing 5 grains because of the Lee chart and in reality only be throwing 4 grains or less. I personally won't load without a scale to check my measure.
As far as squibs this is what I do for 223. The case is very hard to see into and I like to see into every case so instead of looking in I shake the finished round. With the amount of powder I use in 223, in the finished round you can just barely feel the powder shake back and forth. If I don't feel powder shake or it shakes to much I pull the bullet. When I load pistol I look into every case before I set the bullet on to be seated.
Rusty

rcmodel
November 9, 2007, 06:13 PM
Very easy to avoid with proper loading procedure.

#1 Buy a loading block.
#2 Turn all your empty cases mouth down in it.
#3 As you charge a case, put it back in the block mouth up.
#4 When you get done, LOOK IN THEM and see if any have been double charged, or with no powder.

#5 Now, set bullets in the mouths of all of them.
#6 Then seat them all.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

georgeduz
November 9, 2007, 06:15 PM
come on! buy a scale. thats the 1st thing you buy,try weighing the bullets too,in some brands you will see the difference.

hapi
November 9, 2007, 06:30 PM
+1 for weighing them

esheato
November 9, 2007, 06:43 PM
Shoot them.

No, I'm not trying to be smart. I carry a small brass rod with a weight on the opposite end for pistol and a cleaning rod for rifle.

It only takes once. Drive the 30 min to the range, set up your gear, put the target stand out there and *click*. Without a rod of some sort, you'll change your mind right quick. ;)

Ed

larryw
November 9, 2007, 07:31 PM
Variances in bullet and case weight are significant compared to variances in powder charges; this makes weighing them a useless test. For example, if you get a heavy bullet married to a heavy case, it may weigh as properly loaded when actually light. Get a light bullet married to a light case, and it will weigh as a squib when actually not.

If in doubt, take them apart: proper reloading does not involve guesswork.

Steve Koski
November 9, 2007, 07:54 PM
Dude, pull the bullets.

rcmodel
November 9, 2007, 08:02 PM
I carry a small brass rod with a weight on the opposite end for pistol and a cleaning rod for rifle.Again, if you have a squib reload once in a lifetime, you are doing something very wrong

You need to carefully review your reloading procedures, and figure out what it is.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

walking arsenal
November 9, 2007, 08:04 PM
If you weigh them let us know how it worked. I have never heard of anybody having much success that way. If you get a light case and bullet in the same round it could be 4 or 5 grains lighter and still have powder.

Thats what i'm worried about

Variances in bullet and case weight are significant compared to variances in powder charges; this makes weighing them a useless test. For example, if you get a heavy bullet married to a heavy case, it may weigh as properly loaded when actually light. Get a light bullet married to a light case, and it will weigh as a squib when actually not.

Exactly

Shoot them. No, I'm not trying to be smart.

Obviously

Dude, pull the bullets.

It looks like thats what i may have to do. I'm not looking forward to pulling 150 rounds though. It might be easier physically to just shoot them and pound out a squib if i find one.

rcmodel
November 9, 2007, 08:14 PM
If you are not 100% sure you put powder in one, are you 100% sure you didn't double charge another one?

Pull the bullets before you blow up a gun!

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

esheato
November 9, 2007, 08:27 PM
You need to carefully review your reloading procedures, and figure out what it is.

I've used the pistol rod exactly once at an IDPA match for another fellows pistol.

I've used the rifle rod exactly once when loading light bullets long on my .223 AI and had the bullet pull out against the lands.

I appreciate the concern, but my load procedures are just fine.

Ed

taliv
November 9, 2007, 09:32 PM
i dunno... if being "90% sure" means you think you could have as many as 15 rnds loaded sans powder (10% of 150 rnds) i'd probably pick a different hobby

Chris Rhines
November 9, 2007, 09:37 PM
The last time I was 99% sure about my reloads, I had my Glock 35 disintegrate in my hands. Not something I would recommend.

If there is any doubt at all, pull the bullets.

- Chris

Kimber1911_06238
November 9, 2007, 09:41 PM
+1 for what rcmodel said. Be very carfeful and methodical with your reloading and this will never happen.

Weigh them....if you don't have a scale, you should buy one....it'll come in handy

wally
November 9, 2007, 09:50 PM
If you reload you need a scale -- especially if you want to get anywhere near factory ammo performance.

But unless you are using all the same lot of brass and bullets your task is hopeless as the variation of the bullets and brass will exceed the charge weight. Weigh some (say 20) of your brass cases and bullets seperately, and compare the variations to the difference is charge weight you want to detect.

Just be aware of reduced recoil and have a squib rod and mallot in your range bag. Its not that big of a deal. A 6" long, 3/8" diameter brass rod works very well for a 1911, or so I've been told :)


If you are not 100% sure you put powder in one, are you 100% sure you didn't double charge another one?
That's why I strongly recommend "bulky" powders like Unique and Blue Dot, especially when starting out as you can't miss a double charge when you go to seat the bullet since the powder overflows the case.

--wally.

mightyike
November 9, 2007, 10:04 PM
I think reloading and handloading mandates a certain level of personal quality control....I have no problem with a dipper, but to ask us/a forum how to tell if you loaded some 'squibs'? I think you are tempting fate, your eyes and possibly your life...(your guns a goner).....you must check powder levels. You must. You must be careful when you handload....I'm restarting after 15 years, been re-reading alot, started when I was 13 years old. Never had a squib or double charge....it's not in my equation....Walking Arsenal, are you serious? Handgun powders are fast burning and a double charge can be life threatening. We need all the votes we can get in 2008.

Jim Watson
November 9, 2007, 10:07 PM
I think somebody already said it, but I'll repeat, weighing whole cartridges looking for a missing (or doubled) five grain powder charge is not reliable, especially since you are using mixed brass and bulk bullets.

What do you think your chances of delivering a double charge while you left one empty? If it is not zero, you must pull them down. If it is zero, you have two choices, you can pull them all down or you can shoot them slowly with a clearing rod at hand.

Loading single stage, you must get 50 cases at a time in a loading block and go down each row under a strong light to be sure each one contains 1.00 powder charge.

I am with rcmodel, stuck bullets are getting entirely too socially acceptable now. Just taken as a cost of doing business in a half-assed way. They ought to be considered a humiliating blunder.

Walkalong
November 9, 2007, 10:52 PM
Rule #1 - SEE every powder charge you seat a bullet over.

Rule #2 - SEE every powder charge you seat a bullet over. - yes, this is important.

I have never had a squib in 20 + years. SEE Rule #1 & Rule #2

Weighing the rounds WON'T work for the reasons Jim gave. Period.

I keep a brass rod in my range bag. The time I jammed up my EMP with a borderline big reload it came in real handy. (The EMP went back to SA with an undersized chamber which they reamed out - documented in earlier threads) Other than that it has just ridden around in my bag for years, and still will. It may come in handy again some day.

Oh yea, I am loading on a progressive, which is NO excuse for not seeing every charge. I bored a hole in my press and have a Fenix E1 (http://www.eliteled.com/products/flashlights/fenix-e1.html) in it shining down in the case. I used to use a Maglight Solataire before the advent of the LED flashlight.

Wildfire
November 10, 2007, 12:08 AM
Walkalong is right. There is no way weighing will work. As some others have already explained. And very correctly also. Reloading with out a scale ?
That is a NO NO. And as stated by others, LOOK at the powder. KNOW that it is there. Be able to bet your life on it. As with Walkalong and I'm sure many others I have over 25 years of reloading with no squibs.

That scale is a #1 tool, A nessessity ! Not an option. I'm not so convinced on the dipper thing, for measuring powder.
I may not have added some new point to the discusion here but am backing up the idea that you need a scale and need to SEE the powder in the case.

walking arsenal
November 10, 2007, 01:44 AM
Gad, last time i post an honest question about something like this.

i dunno... if being "90% sure" means you think you could have as many as 15 rnds loaded sans powder (10% of 150 rnds) i'd probably pick a different hobby

(Sigh)

They (squibs) ought to be considered a humiliating blunder.


Well if they aren't yet they're getting close.

Just so i can quell some of the assumptions of my stupidity (you guys know who you are) I'm using a lee hand loader and a set of carbide RCBS dies to reload .45acp rounds. I know it's a menial set up.

Let me explain.

I live in a tiny shoebox apartment. I'm poor. Very poor. I don't have the space nor the money to go out and buy every nifty little gadget for this hobby, I make use of what i have and can afford. I bought the press so i could maybe continue to do the hobby i love. I haven't fired most of my collection in over a year and a half except for once when someone else footed the ammo bill. Most of the collection by now has been sold to cover bills.

Anyway

The recipe i'm using is:

Either a sierra or hornady 230grn fmj on top of 7.5 grns of Hogdon HS6. (i think, its late here and i'm tired and don't want to look it up)

Supposedly the load clocks around 7:30 FPS, i don't have a crono so i don't know.

I'm very careful reloading my rounds but i have a suspicion that i may have missed one case out of the one hundred and fifty that i loaded.

All i wanted to know was IF i there was a way that i could find that single round without having to save up money for a bullet puller and spend eight hours pulling all my rounds.

Apparently there isn't.

And apparently there isn't a way to tell a guy that without being condescending and demeaning.

Way to take the high road guys.

G'night, I'm off.

Steve Koski
November 10, 2007, 01:46 AM
Arsenal - I have pulled as many as 300 bullets when I screwed up a load. Oh well, I learned my lesson.

You won't be the first guy to pull bullets for an hour.

RyanM
November 10, 2007, 01:51 AM
If there's a fair bit of space between the bullet and powder, you can shake the rounds and see if you can hear and feel the powder shaking around inside. I found my one and only squib that way, though it was a relatively light load in a .357 magnum case.

Other than that, check E-bay for cheap, used scales. A scale really is not optional when handloading, unless you stick with very conservative loads. The manual tha comes with the Lee dippers errs on the side of caution, but it is still a good idea to get a scale ASAP.

walking arsenal
November 10, 2007, 08:45 AM
Thanks steve. I've tried the shaking method and because i use so little case volume i could really feel the powder shake. I think that worked pretty well.

I'm going to get a scale eventually but like i said, i'm a little short on scratch.

If it's really that big of a deal i'll probably hold reloading until i can get one.

Walkalong
November 10, 2007, 10:41 AM
Gad, last time i post an honest question about something like this
I hope not. Seriously.
I'm poor. Very poor. I don't have the space nor the money to go out and buy every nifty little gadget for this hobby,
It takes no money to be carefull, which is all we are saying.
And apparently there isn't a way to tell a guy that without being condescending and demeaning.

Way to take the high road guys.

G'night, I'm off.
I hope we did not sound condescending. We feel strongly about what we tried to convey is all. I guarantee we were talking to the posters who gave poor advise more than to you when we blasted weighing charges to find squibs or blasted the posters who say "oh well, no biggie, it happens" because it should not.
If we strayed from the "High Road" please forgive us. See you on the High Road and don't be hesitant to ask more questions. AC

rcmodel
November 10, 2007, 12:58 PM
+1 Walkalong!

I also apologize if I came across as demeaning to you.

It's just that a double-charge often goes hand & hand with a squib load.

I've seen too many damaged guns and shooters hands over the years to conclude that "shoot them and see what happens, and keep a rod & hammer handy" is the proper course of action.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

RustyFN
November 10, 2007, 01:44 PM
walking arsenal, I have also had to pull 90 bullets because of my own screw up. It's a PITA but a great feeling when you go to shoot knowing that you caught the mistake and are now confident in the rounds you have. Don't let some of the comments bother you we all have made mistakes, some will admit it and some won't. If you have plenty of brass and bullets to load then you don't have to pull them all at one sitting. Pull 10 to 20 at a time and before you know it they will all be pulled. Just make sure you keep them seperated and marked good so they don't get mixed in with the good ammo.
Rusty

Walkalong
November 10, 2007, 07:53 PM
Yep. "If in dought, pull em out." :p

walking arsenal
November 10, 2007, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the advice gang. And the apologies, sure wasn't expecting to find those when i logged in tonight.

I appreciate that.

Looks like i'll be buying an inertial bullet puller before i buy a scale and both before i begin reloading again.

If anyone has suggestions for scales id sure be interested.

hotwheelz
November 10, 2007, 11:03 PM
Walking arsenal,


Send me a p.m. with your address Im sure I have a spare bullet puller in one of my box's of stuff here its yours no charge. We have all made mistakes loading I have pulled down over 300rnds once after relizing my mistake. Better safe then sorry.

griz
November 11, 2007, 09:02 AM
Re: shaking to hear powder.

You can hold the round butted up to a powder funnel and it makes the powder easy to hear. Amazing how well it works.

May I ask why you suspect that you didn't charge a case?

walking arsenal
November 11, 2007, 10:12 AM
Sure.

I load rounds with a lee hand press one at a time.

Normally this insures that i look into each case before i put a bullet on them, mostly because it's slow.

I load the rounds five at a time. I set out five cases in a row and fill them left to right, looking into each one as i go.

I also count as i go.

Then I pick up the cases from left to right as i load bullets on them. I look and count again 1-5.

One night i counted one through five and then looked over at my "bench", there was a case there and it had powder in it. Then i looked at the empty cases i had sitting base down eight inches away.

(sigh)
My brain was fuzzy.

Did i place out six cases this time by accident and forget to count?

Did i grab an empty primed case and put a bullet on it?



I fished around in the bag for the suspected round, i shook it in my hand and listened for the powder. I THOUGHT i could hear it. Wait, is this the round. It looked almost the same as all the others except that i knew it was S&B brass.

I fished around for all the S&B cases. I shook all them. They had powder, didn't they?

By then i was on a second guessing spree so i just shook everything. All 150 rounds........my fist at my press, and the cat. It was very therapeutic.

Then after a week of wondering i posted the question here.

Steve Koski
November 11, 2007, 01:22 PM
"It's just that a double-charge often goes hand & hand with a squib load."

I've heard that a million times, but never heard of a case where it was true. Can you cite some for us, if it is "often" true?

rcmodel
November 11, 2007, 01:36 PM
We had a collection of blown-up K-38 S&W cylinders at our AMTU gunshop.
The old progressives would skip a charge and double the next one if you weren't paying attention.

I have repaired a couple of K-38 S&W's with the whole barrel full of 148 grain wad-cutters. They don't blow up unless they get a double or triple charge of Bullseye powder.

There also has to be some correlation between the fairly recent rash of stuck bullets, and blown-up Cowboy Action guns.
It takes a double-charge or worse to blow three chambers out of a Colt SA cylinder and also blow the top strap off.

A squib doesn't blow up a gun when the next round is a light target load.
You just end up with two bullets stuck in the barrel and maybe a ringed barrel.

And as I said before, if one round is missing it's powder charge, how do you know the next one didn't get a double dose?

You simply don't or can't know, without pulling all the bullets and looking.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

griz
November 11, 2007, 05:14 PM
That makes sense WA. I was wondering why you thought it was one instead of any other number, but I see now. Try the funnel to the ear trick. It works so well that you will feel sure it has powder if you hear it.

Good luck, Griz

Walkalong
November 11, 2007, 05:59 PM
It takes a double-charge or worse to blow three chambers out of a Colt SA cylinder and also blow the top strap off.

A squib doesn't blow up a gun when the next round is a light target load.
You just end up with two bullets stuck in the barrel and maybe a ringed barrel.
No truer words spoken.

strat81
November 11, 2007, 07:23 PM
If anyone has suggestions for scales id sure be interested.
I've had very good luck with the Frankford Arsenal Compact Digital scale from Midway. The RCBS 505 is also highly popular.

Wildfire
November 12, 2007, 11:23 AM
Don't get too down, If good handloaders are reaming you it is because they care. No one wants to see any one get hurt handloading. There is only one safe way. KNOW what is in there. Like I said before. Be Able to bet your life on it . Reloading is a serious game. Atleast at times like this.
You may have one thing going for you. You say you used 7.5 grs. That is much better than a smaller charge. That 7.5 grs. may allow you to see the weight difference, if you weigh each round. Chuck any thing that comes up light. Using cast bullets, you would not be as safe with this method. But being factory jacketed, Maybe. You may hear how someones cast bullets always weigh in right. For the most part a gooooood caster can acheive this. But some can not. Not well enough to bet your life on. At first I was not in favor of weighing. But you tossed in new info. The opposite can hurt you. Using a powder that would allow a double charge to go un noticed. Always use a powder that will spill over should that happen.
Every one has to start some place. I have been at this for almost 30 years and have been blessed with good tools. You will get there.
A scale is a must, and you need one. Mixed brass will weigh up different. But if your brass is all the same, you may be ok weighing those rounds.
I say this with caution though because it still is not the best way or the dead nuts right way. :)

woodfiler
November 13, 2007, 06:03 PM
the best thing is to use the loading trays. when i started thats what i
did, but this was the advise from 2 very experienced loaders. you can
do it several ways:

1. run a flashlight over each round after you put powder in the 50 or
so the tray holds.
2. you can use a wooden scure (large toothpick) use a magic marker
and mark where the powder should be and put it in each shell
to check the powder level.

We've all been down this road, what scares me most (and everyone else)
is a double charge, it really makes a mess, and could be lethal.

wood

Quoheleth
November 13, 2007, 08:08 PM
OK...here's another idea.

You don't have the $$ for a scale. Been there, amigo. What am I saying...still there!!!

You rolled 150 rounds. I don't know how much you spent on bullets, powder and primers. You have somewhere between $5 (w/ lead bullets) and $15 (jacketed) invested in those 150 rounds. Let's split it and call it $10.

Instead of jacking around with the ammo, weighing it, wondering if cases are all the same, if bullets are same, etc., just play it safe. If you don't have a bullet puller anyway, just toss the whole shebang in the trash can, walk away, and start fresh with more careful practice. OR, if you dont' want to toss them, put them in a Folgers coffee can, label them QUESTIONABLE - DO NOT USE!!! and put them away for now. Start with fresh cases and double-check the hound out of them. If you have to, invest in a new box of factory ammo to get some fresh cases.

I use the dippers too, but I check the first few dips to make sure I'm "in the ballpark" (fwiw, I use AA#5, a fairly fine powder that settles well into the dipper. I get very even dips, only varying a few tenths of a grain either way) and then spot check along the way. If I feel I tapped the dip (i.e., it settled) or if I spilled any powder, I empty the cartridge and do it again.

Seriously...toss the 150 rounds. Walk away. Count it a cheap experience opposed to a hospital visit.

Hang in there.

Peace,

Q

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