Ideas on cause of stuck bullet!!


January 23, 2010, 06:27 PM
So I was shooting this new 642 and ended up with a bullet stuck in the barrel but I'm a little unsure of the cause.

Here's the story. I had some handloads that I had loaded about 5 years ago. My father had loaded the cases once before and had written his load on the box. 125 grain bullet over 3.8 grains of Bullseye. So I had stolen his brass already, why not steal the load too. I loaded up 250 rounds using Berry's bullets and had run 150 through a 6 inch revolver over the years with no issues. So i get them out to shoot this new 642 and notice a possible problem. I was shooting into the end of a log and 1 out every 10 or so rounds would just barely stick in the log. The others would bury up out of sight. Then today, one stuck about 1/2" from the cylinder. It was obvious when it happen and I stopped immediately. I pulled the rest of the bullets and weighed the charges. All 3.8. There was powder on the back of the bullet and in the barrel behind it so I know it wasn't an empty case. So what happened. I know, I Know, below the minimum right but not per his Lyman manual. I checked it today and that load is within spec in the manual he used back then. My book gives 4.3 as a minimum. So has Bullseye powder changed or are there other Gremlins at work. Why did these shoot fine through my 6 inch (and my dad's for that matter) and not in the 642. Powder doesn't look bad but not sure if I could tell. Any Ideas from the experts????

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50 Shooter
January 23, 2010, 07:06 PM
If there was still powder left over after you fired it then it could be a bad primer or contaminated powder or combination of both. Also possible that moisture got into the case while it was stored.

January 23, 2010, 07:21 PM
contaminated powder, stuff in the flash hole from tumbling. Light bullet pull, some S&W's have a warning not to shoot lead bullets as they might jump crimp. Plated same as lead??

January 23, 2010, 07:28 PM
I firmly believe that it was more than just this one round that had problems due to the bullets that stuck in the end of the log. I just went out and they were barely stuck at all. The 150 that I shot trough my 6" were perfectly fine. Any contamination would have had to happen in the last year and they have been sitting in a cedar cabinet the whole time. They were barely crimped if any at all though.

January 23, 2010, 07:33 PM
The one stuck in the barrel is a sign of no powder. The primer is enough to push the bullet into the barrel.

January 23, 2010, 08:36 PM
There was a large amount of powder(burnt or unburnt I'm not sure) stuck on the base of the bullet and in the barrel behind the bullet. The case had powder in it for sure.

January 23, 2010, 08:48 PM
Large amount of unburnt bullseye sounds like bad powder to me. Bullseye is fast enough that if the primer went off at all and the powder was good I would expect decent ignition.

Steve C
January 23, 2010, 10:13 PM
Probably what 50_Shooter wrote. You had a case or several that the powder got contaminated or wet. Stored 5 years, could be anything that happened esp. if stored in a basement or garage. Ammo likes to be nice and comfy just like humans and extra cold, damp, or hot will often deteriorate powder and primer.

January 23, 2010, 11:14 PM
It was proably bad powder. But you need some crimp to allow pressure to build up before the bullet starts to move. A light crimp can cause poor ignition.

January 24, 2010, 12:51 AM
When bullets don't make it out of the barrel, that's usually a sign you need to add more powder.:scrutiny:

January 24, 2010, 01:00 AM
But what if the powder did not ignite?? Can too little charge cause the primer to be unable to ignite the charge?? I had a similar situation today. If you are knowledgeable on the subject might I request you look at my post a few down named ".40 S&W enforcer misfire". I was 5 grains under the 15.1 grains that enforcer powder directed on the powder jug. Only thing was, I did not know if that was a starting load or a never exceed load so I started low. Perhaps too low??? I am confused :banghead:

January 24, 2010, 01:02 AM
Odds are the powder has gone bad really depends on storage the environment.

January 24, 2010, 01:41 AM
I had a Berry's 38 158 HP stick in a 6" under a full lead load of HP-38 (3.7 or 3.8 somewhere in there I still have some I could pull to verify). First one out of the Batch. It was a very hard bullet to back out of the barrel...broke several wood dowels trying and then some oil and a nice long philips screwdriver which fit perfectly into the HP did the trick....but it was a bear to get out. The same load appears to shoot very slow from a 2" like it is trying really hard to make it out but just not quite enough oomph to get it out. They do make it out of a 2" but really slow.

I quit using Berry's for the 38 and went back to lead SWC's. Don't know the answer to your problem but I have had the same. I was not impressed with their 38's. The HP didn't open up at all, I would have been better with lead. I don't know it the plating process makes them larger and they get stuck....I guess I could get off the couch and take the calipers to a few and see if they are larger. I if were to use Berry's again I would load over max for lead and probably closer to the upper range of jacketed data.

January 24, 2010, 07:30 AM
If you still have some of that powder, smell it. If it is fruity or rancid, then the powder is defective.

If the powder smells alcoholy or like normal powder, there is a chance the powder measure was not throwing a full charge. I can think of several reasons.

But first we have to exclude the powder as a source of the problem.

Rollis R. Karvellis
January 24, 2010, 09:52 AM
There also could of been moisture in the case before it was loaded, and this contaminated the powder in the said case, or case's. The odds of only one or two round's being contaminated out of 250 seem preaty iffy. There is a preaty good thread going on about how hard it is to contaminat once your finished loading,

50 Shooter
January 24, 2010, 01:52 PM
I doubt that to little powder would cause a primer not to ignite, some where in the loading process your powder or primers got contaminated. One thing to be wary of is having to little of a powder charge and having the primer flash over it inside the case. I can't think of the exact term but it can lead to an explosion inside the case and lead to the case rupturing.

You probably won't see that so much in pistol calibers or the same type of damage but in rifle calibers it can be a bad thing and get worse the larger the size of the caliber.

January 24, 2010, 02:13 PM
You might want to check the barrel / cylinder gap on the new 642 with a feeler guage.

If it's excessive compaired to the 6" gun, it could loose enough pressure out the gap to cause even lower velociy = stuck bullets.

BTW: Plated bullet = More bore friction then a cast lead lead bullet.


January 24, 2010, 03:43 PM
They were barely crimped if any at all though. If the bullet is moving forward under recoil, there would be less pressure, possibly giving low velocity. Lite revolvers like my 337pd are know for the bullets moving forward. +P loads should alway be made with a jacketed bullet, crimped well. Do a test, fire 3 or 4 and check for bullet movement of the last remaining rounds in the chamber. Do it a few times. Bullseye is a very fast powder, hard to believe it would be possible, but who knows.

navyretired 1
January 24, 2010, 05:48 PM
Simple question simple answer, Ocums Razor says the simplist answer is probable thecorrect one, The primers didn't light the charge. They were contaminated probably from handling. Left over powder in case is giveaway. Powder when ignited changes state from solid to hot expanding gas not charcoal.
I've got two 8Lb kegs of Unique and Bullseye, they still perform perfectly. BTW when you smell powder which is deteriorating it smells very acidic and has a smokey look inside can.
I'd be willing to bet OB handles primers with bare hands. Or that mod 642 has very lite primer hits.

January 24, 2010, 07:30 PM
After reading all the posts, I would think your problem was do to a light crimp not maintaining the bullet properly for a complete powder charge burn. It is compounded by your short 2" barrel giving you less burn time to achieve any bullet velocity. The longer 6" barrel masked your borderline crimp problem.

I had a 2" S&W M15 stick a 158gr Factory bullet in the barrel. It was some German manufactured ammo sold as surplus. I pulled a few of them to check the powder charges,bullets pulled really easy, so I looked at the crimp. To make a long story short (I had 250rds of the stuff) I sat down at my loading bench and recrimped all I had. The report and recoil was stronger and I never had another problem with any of the ammo I had left.

If you have any of these loads left, try recrimping them with a tighter crimp.

January 24, 2010, 07:35 PM
I dont think your primer went bad, thats what managed to get the bullet as far as it did, because the powder didnt go off. Bad powder.

January 24, 2010, 11:34 PM
I've heard about this happening and it was attributed to a poor quality reload where there was no powder in the case at all, the primer discharge being enough to lodge the bullet in the barrel.

January 25, 2010, 11:06 AM
Thanks for all of the replies. After checking all the different theories as best I could I think the culprit was the lack of crimp coupled with the higher recoil of the 642 vs my 6". There was virtually no crimp at all and they all pulled with one light whack of the inertia puller. Sorry, I don't have the balls to load some more at 3.8 with a heavier crimp. It was a B@#$% getting that bullet out without damaging anything. I'm satisfied with this theory though. I wonder if this was the reason for the data change.

January 25, 2010, 11:18 AM
If you have any of these loads left, try recrimping them with a tighter crimp. Not always possible with a plated bullet, to much is not good. He could check the expander diameter, it should be .356" or under for this .357" bullet. The recoil is very different between guns he is shooting. If the short lite 125gr bullet is jumping crimp a lot so that the bullet base is almost out of the case, no pressure would build. Longer 158 gr LSWC will jam between the barrel and cylinder. If he has loaded Berrys lead bullet, it is for 9mm and undersized at .356" The correct bullet is there 125gr plated bullet, But at .357" it may be a hair undersize for the caliber IMO. Making the expander smaller would give more bullet pull. All this means nothing if the powder is bad.

January 25, 2010, 11:22 AM
Those who actually read your post and realized you found unburned powder deserve standard credit. Those who missed it and speculated on no powder charge get zero points.

Those who suggested a bad primer get zero points. A primer that sends the bullet that far into the bore *will* light up any charge of standard powder. Large charges of hard-to-ignite spherical process powders with ball-shaped (not flattened) granules are the notable exception, but you're not loading 296 or similar powders anyway.

All it takes is one drop of water in one case to make the type of dud you describe. Been there, done that. Since you didn't find smashed bug parts, we know THAT wasn't the source of the water.

There remains a chance that it might have been solely the light crimp, large powder chamber volume with a light charge, and possible/likely recoil back-out being the cause. However, I wouldn't bother to test it. The simplest answer might not be correct, if the simplest answer required one additional variable changing to transfer the event from the repeated low-velocity events you describe to the single total dud that introduced you to the joys of removing a stuck bullet.

January 25, 2010, 01:17 PM
hey Grump, how many points do you award to guys who read the whole thread and don't respond because they don't know the answer??? :)

January 26, 2010, 12:32 AM
how many points do you award to guys who read the whole thread and don't respond because they don't know the answer??? :)

:scrutiny: Okay, so how did you know I read the
whole thing and didn't know the answer? :scrutiny:



January 27, 2010, 04:14 PM
See page 12 of PDF file for ammo test for lite guns. AMMUNITION SELECTION FOR
Ti, Sc& PD
Before placing any of these reduced weight revolvers into
service, perform the following test to determine the suitability
of the ammunition you intend to use.
At a gun range or other suitable and safe location, prepare your
revolver for firing by fully loading its cylinder with the ammunition
to be tested. While pointing the firearm in a safe direction, fire all
but the last round. Remove the empty casings and the last
loaded round from the revolverʼs cylinder.
Carefully inspect the loaded round to determine if its bullet has
started to unseat (move forward) from its casing.(Figure 2) If it
has, you should not use the tested ammunition in your revolver.
Choose another projectile weight or brand of
ammunition and repeat this test until you find one that
DOES NOT UNSEAT under these test conditions. When you are
finished, fully unload your revolver and secure it safely.

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