Dumbest Reloading Mistakes?


November 28, 2010, 01:41 PM
Mine happened this year, after 15+ years of reloading. I spent almost 2 month (every Sunday at the range) trying to come up with a sweet load for my Remington 700 SPS in preparation for this years deer hunting season. The load I finally settled on was giving me 5-shot 1/2" groups @ 100yds on a regular basis so I loaded up a 50 round box for my trip back home to WV for opening day of rifle season. For some reason a week before my trip I realized that I hadn't actually checked to see how rounds fed from the magazine of gun during my load development so I decided to take it back to the range once more before heading back home. I found that all of the rounds I had been testing for this gun were almost 1/8" too long for the magazine area of this gun and for me to use this load it would now be a single shot rifle. I decided to push 20 of the 50 bullets back far enough that they would fit properly in the magazine and visit one of the local ranges in WV on Sunday before opening day to see how they performed. I guess I lucked out as the rounds still grouped at 1" @ 100yds. Only thing left now was to find a buck. Needless to say I only saw 15 does, a dozen turkeys and gave up on counting the number of gray and red squirrels (the red ones were so fat this year they sounded just like a deer). Oh well, guess it's time to start preparing for next year ;)

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November 28, 2010, 01:55 PM
I think the dreaded double charge is probably as bad as it gets.

November 28, 2010, 01:59 PM
"I stuck a bullet in a .357mag rifle today"

November 28, 2010, 02:00 PM
If your worst reloading mistake doesn't draw blood then your pretty lucky.

My "worst" goes back to 1986. I was fussing with a Lee Progressive which on it's best day is a POS as far as the Primer Feed.

Mine had failed to advance a primer to the seating position so the case started dumping powder under the shell plate. When I was trying to free it up so I could resume loading, (here it comes) I put my work lamp to the back of the press so I could see the problem better. I put my hand back to try and move a case in the plate when the whole #$%&@NG tray of small rifle primers exploded. The heat from the lamp set them off. The tray splintered. The flash burned the back of my left hand and the splinters opened several cuts on the back of my hand. Enough so I could see a tendon.

Several Stitches required and the press is now history. Have a Dillon XL-650 now and haven't had a problem since I unboxed it and bolted it down. Many thousands of rounds.

November 28, 2010, 02:29 PM
One time I tried to seat my thumb in a .500S&W case.

November 28, 2010, 02:36 PM
Yow!!!!! My symphony is extended to you!!

I was gonna say, resizing my thumbnail to .356" in a Lyman bullet size & lube press a couple of years ago was about as worse as I ever have done in 50 years.


November 28, 2010, 02:56 PM
I've put a depriming pin through my thumbnail before. It was an unpleasant experience.

Jesse Heywood
November 28, 2010, 04:38 PM
Since I am still here to post, I must assume that I haven't my worst reloading mistake yet.

November 28, 2010, 05:36 PM
My worst was in the early '70's. Lee Loader-Wack a Load. 1 scoop of Bullseye called for. In doing my "Load Development" I thought that 2 scoops would be better??:confused::banghead:
My BIL has that old Spanish Import .38 Spl. hanging up on a peg in his barn.
The story is that the import POS hand gun would not hold up to normal factory loads???:uhoh:

November 28, 2010, 05:44 PM
50 prepped cases in the loading block, charged them all with powder. Went to start seating bullets and did 10 or so before I saw powder laeaking out of the bottoms where I had forgot to put the primers in.

November 28, 2010, 06:01 PM
For me it was loading about 20 rounds with bullet and powder before I realized I forgot to put the primers in. I also loaded one round for my M1 with a 180 grn bullet a primer but no powder, luckily the bullet didn't even move out of the case into the barrel when I fired it. Been lucky so far no double charges, knock on wood.

Hondo 60
November 28, 2010, 06:03 PM
I guess my worst (so far anyway) was when I got confused by how much powder to charge a case with.

45 Colt
10.5 gr of AA5 is OK, 10.5 gr of Titegroup is NOT OK.
Hodgdon says 6.6 - 7.5 gr of titegroup

Ended up having to pull 3 boxes (150 rounds)

At the same time a friend was calling me (crying) she was so frustrated with her computer (yes, I'm a geek & freely admit it). :neener:

And I'm trying to get these bullets pulled so I don't forget which boxes to pull.

November 28, 2010, 07:08 PM
Worst would have to be a squib that of course had to be the first shot out of my revolver. Bullet stopped part in the cylinder, part in the forcing cone.

Now I got 5 rounds left in a cylinder I can't open.:banghead:


November 28, 2010, 07:49 PM
I was putting powder in some .44 mag cases, then put the bullets in, just as post #10 did, couldn't figure out why powder was running everywhere....... no primers Dip-Stick!:cuss:

November 28, 2010, 09:03 PM
I got overconfident with my 45 ACP. Switched to my first time loading with cast bullets, and left the seating die set in place for my jacketed bullets. Drove 1 hour to the range without ever checking to see if they would fit in the magazine, let alone chamber. Paid my $12 to the NRA for an hour of range time on a Thursday night (after waiting 45 minutes). Got to the firing line, and realized my mistake. Thought I could be smart about it, and forgo the mags, and just chamber each one individually - no dice, they were still too long.

Then I figured I'd break out the 30-30, and test the stuff I'd made recently for it- my hammer spring is a little worn, and every so often it goes into 'light primer strike' mode.
After getting 4 shots off, and denting 8 primers with no 'bang', I get the dreaded 'tap on the shoulder' - the RSO tells me 'times up'. Then I get the fish eye from the same RSO, after I pull my brass back to my bag with the squeegee (about 3 ft. beyond the red firing line)... Sheesh... what a night....


November 28, 2010, 10:53 PM
Always double check, everything. :uhoh: http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/KABOOM.jpg http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/45lodgedbullet_1.jpg http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/dpms204upper_20100105_11.jpg http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/40sw_1.jpg http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/40swblowup_04.jpg http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/40swblowup_01.jpg

November 28, 2010, 10:57 PM
So far all I can submit is while reloading some .223 for gopher season, I must have missed one of the cases on the corner of the loading block with case lube. So, naturally I grabbed that one first. Up into the sizing die, and STUCK. Don't pass go, no $200. So with a hopper full of powder, I rotate my turret so that I can get the dies/powder hopper out to look at the stuck case. And what do we do now? Well we turn the whole thing upside down so that I can check out the stuck case. Which shifts all the powder to the top of the hopper, blowing the lid off and dumping powder all over me, my stool, bench, floor, everywhere. So, now I got a huge mess to clean up, wasted powder, and a stuck case. I swept up the powder, finally got the case unstuck, and quit for the day.

November 29, 2010, 09:28 AM
While not exactly my fault, but my wife will say it is. Wife decided that my reloading area needed a good cleaning (in the spare bedroom at the time). I left a box of primers out. The vacume cleaner thought they looked fun to eat. A few little pops and vacum died. I could not tell how many detonated, but I am short 100 primers. Needless to say the wife was rather upset.

November 29, 2010, 09:49 AM
Nothing severe. I've only loaded a couple thousand since I started. On my second loading trial, I was experimenting with WSF and Universal. I got the loads mixed up.

For 115gr of 9mm, I planned to load:
5.3 gr of WSF
4.4 gr Universal

However, I loaded 5.3 of universal. Hodgdon lists 4.5 gr of Universal as the max-load.

I caught the mistake before firing, as I went and double-checked the numbers. But it was still no joy to pull 15 slugs.

November 29, 2010, 09:59 AM
Well I have a few but my worst thus far was mixing powders in the drop and not realizing it until I loaded about 1000 rounds....

November 29, 2010, 10:50 AM
Using Federal Primers in a 30-06 Garand. Federal primers are the most sensitive primers on the market. Conventional wisdom was that only high primers caused slamfires. Had two out of battery slamfires with the second blowing the back end of the receiver into my face, before I figured out that maybe primer sensitivity was also an issue.

And that Conventional Wisdom was all bunk. :cuss:

November 29, 2010, 03:15 PM
Well, let's see - so far this week, I managed to detonate 20 primers in the primer tube. Very loud. New primer tubes (ordered a spare!) being sent next-day air.

November 29, 2010, 03:21 PM
Using Federal Primers in a 30-06 Garand. Federal primers are the most sensitive primers on the market. Conventional wisdom was that only high primers caused slamfires. Had two out of battery slamfires with the second blowing the back end of the receiver into my face, before I figured out that maybe primer sensitivity was also an issue.

And that Conventional Wisdom was all bunk. :cuss:
I'm guessing that's where your screen name comes in?

I hope you weren't injured seriously

Arkansas Paul
November 29, 2010, 04:30 PM
When I was just starting I loaded some rounds up and zeroed my rifle for them. They grouped fine so I took the brass and just loaded the same load. Only I didn't trim the cases. Got to the woods and the bolt wouldn't close on any of them. Luckily I had a box of factory ammo in the truck and checked my zero and it didn't ruin the hunt. Killed a decent 6-point that day too. Glad I had the factory rounds in the truck.

dagger dog
November 29, 2010, 04:49 PM
Haven't drawn first blood yet with my reloads, (on my end) but how about buying dies,powder,bullets,brass, bullet moulds etc, and not owning a firearm in that specific caliber !:confused:

November 29, 2010, 05:35 PM
You can search my post if you want to see all the pics. My biggest mistake cost me a rifle and couldhave been worse.
I was reloading 10 test rounds in my 7mm rem mag to try as ahunting load in my newly built rifle(didn't have 100 through it). Loaded them up with 65 gr rl 22 and 154gr hornady interlocks and took 5 rounds of my barnes to shoot also for group. Set up my target 100yds fired off my barnes and went to turn my box for a clean paper. Got back, loaded a round in the rifle. Drew down and BANG. After I got back on target and the smoke cleared the shot was about 12"high and 8"right. My whole gun was smoking, bolt stuck. Got home and pulled a bullet and my whole pound of 22 was full of 2400! I ran 65 gr of 44ma powder in my 7mag. After doing some mesureing I actually swelled the chamber of my new barrel .0034 so a new 7mm mag case would wobble in the tube. Needles to say my savage didn't grenade but it came apart in several pieces. I was luck and I know it. Now nobody else reloads at my table but me.

November 29, 2010, 07:34 PM
Nothing crazy yet but I did get a squib round in my M&P9c but it didnt go further than the chamber and didnt cycle the slide.

November 29, 2010, 07:54 PM
I spit in a half pound of varget once. I dip snuff and picked up the wrong jar. I knew it as soon as I did it.

November 29, 2010, 08:35 PM
I was not a Rookie when this happened .I had been Reloading for a couple years when this happened.
The Second day with my New Dillon 650. Detonation of 100 Plus Large Pistol Federal Primers In the Primer Tube.
Got my Attention and a Large Piece of Fluorescent Light Tube in my Stomach.

The Section of Light Tubes Above the Primer Tube is Now Protected from Projectiles.

November 29, 2010, 08:47 PM
Other than the occasional missing primer....

Some of you guys must have horse-shoes up the wazoo

Anyway, my tip is to put a card in the hopper with the powder and lot# listed on it. Saves a lot of head scratching. The one time I discovered 2 types of powder on the bench. I was lucky that the one in the hopper was Red Dot and easy to positively ID. I had read to only have the one can on the bench, but the day of my confusion, I decided there had to be a better way, and a few minutes later there was a card in the hopper. Has been ever since.

Hondo 60
November 29, 2010, 09:04 PM
how about buying dies,powder,bullets,brass, bullet moulds etc, and not owning a firearm in that specific caliber

Heck, I've done that.
(Honey, I NEED a new gun)

November 29, 2010, 09:36 PM
Guess I need to have a discussion with quality control....

I prepped several hundred 9mm cases - deprimed & sized, tumbled, primed. Got ready to load the cases and the cases seemed slightly too large. Bullets slipped right in the cases, before belling. Could not figure out what was going on. I tried resetting the dies, pulled the depriming pin out and resized the cases, same problem. Then I checked the decapping and sizing die more carefully. I had mixed up two sets of dies. I load both 9mm and 9mm makarov and had switched the dies. Took several days to figure out what was going on.

November 30, 2010, 12:02 AM
Managed to seat a primer in upside down on a 9mm case. Charged it, loaded it with a bullet, stuck it in the magazine and fired it. Primer went off, powder didn't ignite but made for a big flash and bang. Luckily the shooter and the gun were unharmed. I still don't know how I could have missed that one, but I ALWAYS load my ammo into the case primer side up now on my pistol cartridges and double check primer orientation before priming and before charging now.

total recoil
November 30, 2010, 03:06 PM
Loading 9mm with accurate #2. Got done reloading. Powder measure/dispenser still has 1/4 cup or more of powder in it. I dumped the remainder of the Accurate #2 back into the powder can of Clay's Universal by accident.(the wrong can)
(Never have two open powder cans on the bench at once)
I saw what I had done right away! GROAN!-- Luckily the Universal can was almost full and after thoroughly mixing the two, I did some testing and found out that my new mixture of Universal number 2 works just fine! I worked up loads with it and the powder reacts just like either one alone. (Universal and #2 are about the same speed)

December 1, 2010, 03:34 AM
Forgetting to put powder into the case, seating a primer up side down and the cartridge on the right.

December 1, 2010, 01:34 PM
Wow Afy, how did you manage that one?

Arkansas Paul
December 1, 2010, 01:58 PM
Haven't drawn first blood yet with my reloads, (on my end) but how about buying dies,powder,bullets,brass, bullet moulds etc, and not owning a firearm in that specific caliber !

Ha! Funny you should mention that. I bought a set of Hornady dies for a .44 mag/.44 special at a yard sale the other day for $8 and I don't own one. I figured for $8 why not?

December 1, 2010, 02:07 PM
I trimmed first measured last.

50 .308 cases down the tubes.

December 1, 2010, 03:20 PM
Haven't drawn first blood yet with my reloads, (on my end) but how about buying dies,powder,bullets,brass, bullet moulds etc, and not owning a firearm in that specific caliber !

I am currently in that situation.

How about forgetting to trim and discovering that all the cases are 0.01 too long - after priming, charging, and seating? (I just started reloading and that, knock on wood, is the worst I have done. The cases still fed into the rifle without resistance though)

December 1, 2010, 04:07 PM
I also tried to deprime my thumb, dang that hurts.

December 1, 2010, 11:52 PM
Haven't drawn first blood yet with my reloads, (on my end) but how about buying dies,powder,bullets,brass, bullet moulds etc, and not owning a firearm in that specific caliber !:confused:
I don't call that bad luck, I call it good planning!

December 2, 2010, 01:00 AM
I'm very new at this...

I've made a point from the start to have a bucket under the press to catch whatever falls, but it didn't occur to me that it might be a good idea to have a clean, empty bucket. I had trouble with the primer feed system and dropped a tube of primers into a bucket of trash. More than once, I'm sorry to say. Sorting that out was no fun, but I guess it was better than chasing primers all over the floor. A clean bucket is a good thing. I also have one of those floor mats with holes in it that help with standing on a hard surface at the press--all those little holes help to contain spills.

I experienced my first squib round today. Bang, bang, bang, bang, click. After a wait, I dropped the magazine and cleared the chamber. The brass of course fell off the front of the bench. After hunting for what I thought was a cartridge with a bad or poorly seated primer with no joy, I examined the barrel. No daylight. I tore the gun apart and sure enough, there was the bullet lodged in the barrel. Pressure with a cleaning rod didn't do the job, so I packed it away and pulled out another firearm to finish the afternoon. Backups are good!

I've taken a few new shooters to the range and the topic of a squib round was never part of the discussion. It will be from now on. I've read about this, and was paying attention this afternoon when it happened to me. My friend and I both learned a good lesson. It's one I'll pay special attention to when teaching a new shooter.

Back at home, I cleared the bullet from the barrel with a wood dowel down the nose of the barrel on the bench vise. Splinters flew and safety glasses were a good thing.

My buddy tells me that he thinks I had a low powder charge. I think I had a *no* powder charge. I'm going to load a couple up and see what happens.

evan price
December 2, 2010, 04:22 AM
My first time loading ever. 124 grain plated 9mm luger in WIN brass with WIN primers and Win-231. I was setting my press up- had never done it before- and was working a dummy round through the stations to get it right. When I got done I loaded My Very First Round. You could hear the heavenly choir sing and the beam of sunlight struck the tip of that bullet and made it gleam, it even had that little "ding!" sound when I held it up to the light... :)

Anyway, then I noticed that I had the crimp set WAAAAAY too tight and it was an extreme roll crimp, not a taper. Extreme as in it was cutting into the bullet and couldn't be taken apart with my bullet puller. It got tossed on the desk and left for another time. I readjusted the dies and then made up another ten rounds- good ones this time. Put them on the desk, went to the bathroom, then took the Sig 239 9mm out to the back yard to experiment, grabbing the loaded rounds from the top of the desk as I went out the door.

First few went very well. The very last round turned out to be that overcrimped sucker. Whew! Squib round, my hand hurt, smoke coming out of the slide, slide locked partially out of battery. Once I got it open that case was just swelled and the case head had flowed into the extractor groove. The bullet was almost at the end of the barrel but had to be pounded out. I'd nearly crimped it in half it turns out. The Sig was fine.

December 4, 2010, 04:03 PM
I have two... both involve primers. One i was repriming some prepared 7RM cases, and for whateve reason one of my primers decided to "off". had the case not pointed "oh so safely". lesson learned. 2nd one, i was helping a neighbor of mine reload a lot of 9mm. were doing it in stages. two people, running out of a 5 gallon bucket of cases..... we deprimed and resized them all, ran through a tumbler, and we were now priming them... out of one 5 gallon bucket, into another. I primed one, and tossed it into the "done" bucket... it landed ever so gently and popped... scared the snot out of us.:what:

Brer Rabbit
December 4, 2010, 07:54 PM
While preparing for the next days National rifle Match at Camp Perry,during the early 1980's, I was sitting in front of the TV in my motel room, with a beer or maybe two or three, reloading for the next day. All went well, completed my loading well before lights out.

The next day on the 600 Yard line, I carefully got set up an loaded for my sighters....CLICK, Hmmm, pull bolt back --I loaded my rounds to just engage the rifling. Brass comes out bullet stays in, powder spills all over, and inside the action. Looked at brass----no primers. Time to Panic? Not yet, I'v got a nice box of reloaded rounds---looked --all have no primers. Time is ticking-- what to do? I blew out and cleaned the action on my 40X as best I could, and reached for my trusty box on LC M-118, and completed the round in time. I won't brag about the score.

Lessons relearned --load without distractions, and drink beer after, you've finished. It was a baaad day at Perry, but it shore could have been worse..

Brer Rabbit

December 4, 2010, 08:06 PM
My dumbest mistake was actually made while casting bullets. I was involved in a motorcycle crash in april, driver of mack truck didnt see me.I spent the summer in a wheel chair. I had a makeshift casting bench on the poarch (plywood on top of a cooler) when I started for the day I decided that socks and crocs and shorts would be enough protection (didnt actually think about it and had no business doing anything that required much thought due to pain meds). Well I was wrong. When I fluxed my lee bottom pour furance with was, I was startled by the flashover when I sturred. I pulled my hand back with a spoon full of hot lead. It landed ontop of my left foot and melted my sock to it.

December 4, 2010, 08:14 PM
my tip is to put a card in the hopper with the powder and lot# listed on it. Saves a lot of head scratching.
Wish I knew that tip 15 years ago. I got the wrong powder/load data mixed up and when my first round fired like a cannon, I instantly knew what I did wrong. Fortunately, my Glock pistol withstood the overpressure and I didn't need to change my underwear - but I sure came close! :D

On the way home, I told myself "Boy, I won't do THAT again"

Now, I only keep one powder on the bench and double check my load data.

December 4, 2010, 10:50 PM
Anyway, my tip is to put a card in the hopper with the powder and lot# listed on it. Saves a lot of head scratching. The one time I discovered 2 types of powder on the bench. I was lucky that the one in the hopper was Red Dot and easy to positively ID. I had read to only have the one can on the bench, but the day of my confusion, I decided there had to be a better way, and a few minutes later there was a card in the hopper. Has been ever since.

Never ever have 2 open containers of powder out at the same time.

Never ever leave powder in the powder measure hopper, for any reason whats so ever. For one thing it not good for the plastic in many hoppers. For another its not air tight.

December 5, 2010, 02:33 AM
Loaded 100+ rds of 45 LC with Large RIFLE primers - then got PO'd at the pistol when they didn't go pop the first time!! Also have missed priming a case and wondered where all the spilled powder is coming from; many times over the years. Now have a note taped to reloading area saying " LOOK AND THINK BEFORE DOING". It has helped SOME!

December 5, 2010, 03:35 AM
50 prepped cases in the loading block, charged them all with powder. Went to start seating bullets and did 10 or so before I saw powder laeaking out of the bottoms where I had forgot to put the primers in.
been there done that...hahaha

Lee Roder
December 5, 2010, 08:40 AM
Me? Dumbest (sorry no blood) has to be trimming brass with a cordless screwdriver-powered Lee case trimmer.

First pass through a new bag of Winchester brass and things looked dandy. Really easy. Retrimming a few of my just trimmed cases removed a bit more brass so I figured I wasn't done yet. I wanted them EXACTLY the right length, I'm just that kind of person, and this Lee trimmer was SO SIMPLE. It has a built-in length gage.

So I trimmed them all a second time, and a third just for good measure. But after "trimming" them all a third time brass was STILL coming off. So I grabbed the calipers and measured - now they were all 0.02" TOO SHORT! :eek:

Lee CS told me that the "tips" of these things are no longer hardened (despite what the package says) and that I was just applying "too much pressure" while "trimming". The length gage was getting shorter with each use.

Lee replaced the tool. My $20 bag of brass went to the scrapper.

December 5, 2010, 09:33 AM
Not really a reloading story, but closely related.

When I was 16 or 17 a buddy and I bought a can of FFG black powder. We made a couple of firecrackers and other experiments, then we decided to dispose of the remainder of the can. We had seen all the Hollywood cowboy movies with the trail of powder being used as a fuse, and decided that was a great way to touch off what must have been 3/4 lb.

So we made a "fuse" trail about 12" long and poured the rest into a big pile. I squatted down and lit the trail with a book of matches. The whole thing burned so fast that I was still squatting there when it flashed. It went off like lightening hit, womp! So there I was, squatting in front of a big black spot in my driveway, hand still extended with a charred match, short pants on, and every bit of hair burned off my shins, arm, and face, including eyebrows.

I must have looked like something out of an Our Gang comedy. And my buddy who had chosen to stand a safe distance away was rolling on the ground laughing.

December 5, 2010, 12:16 PM

Sir i would have paid to see you standing there in front of said giant black spot. I for one am glad you are ok.

December 6, 2010, 05:46 AM
Many mistakes in life! In reloading---the little stuff a primer or two in backwards, wrong die and size in the bullet instead of seating it, trim too much off the brass and so on. Nothing stands out but the time I got a deal on brass and ended up with a 5 GAL bucket 7.62X51 that was 3/4 damaged beyond use/ other brass. Should have looked more closely at it before buying. It was an estate sale and the heir did not know that it was the scrap bucket and finished filling it with more brass of the type that was on top.:banghead: Still would not refund money however when contacted at a later date.:cuss:

December 6, 2010, 06:23 AM
Portrait of frwobbly and friend.

December 6, 2010, 01:08 PM
Sir i would have paid to see you standing there in front of said giant black spot. I for one am glad you are ok.

That was way back when teens could walk into a gun store and buy anything, so of course it was pre-internet video. Probably missed my only chance to become a millionaire. The Kernel hit the nail on the head with the cartoon above.

Hondo 60
December 6, 2010, 06:29 PM
sorry rf, but I too would've paid to see it. :D

I guess that's a sign of respect when other would pay to see your mistakes. :neener:

Pat M
December 7, 2010, 12:36 AM
I would say that I lucked out when my friend, new to handgun shooting, was firing my hand loads through my Kimber Gold Match .45. I was busy loading mags and not paying attention when he had a jam. I cleared the gun, inserted another mag, and dropped the slide....another jam. I thought perhaps my reloads were not sized properly and were not fitting in the chamber, so I put the gun away. When I got home and went to clean it, I realized that there was a squib load in the barrel, preventing the next round from chambering. Had that bullet been 1/2 inch further down, I would not have been so lucky. Aside from loading a squib load, my mistake was not watching a new shooter on the line.

December 10, 2010, 01:52 AM
The squib round thing...

I attended a Defensive Handgun course a few months ago. I could be wrong, but I don't recall any discussion of squib rounds. The FTF training I received was to slap the mag, rack the slide and fire. If that didn't go bang, drop the mag, rack repeatedly, load the mag, rack the slide and fire.

Perhaps that's right in a real life defensive situation, but having experienced a squib at the range (my load, my mistake), and recognizing it before jamming another round in the chamber and firing has me thinking the matter through.

At that same course, I was dumping boxes of factory ammo into a jacket pocket for loading. Without examining them beforehand (my bad, lesson learned). After the course I unloaded some mags and found a seriously set-back round. I'm thankful I didn't fire that round.

I've taken three first-time shooters to the range, and the topic of squib loads wasn't on the orientation. A fourth friend was with me when I shot that squib, and it was an eye-opening experience. We both learned a lot. Squib loads will be part of my new shooter orientation from here on out.

What worked for clearing the barrel was a piece of dowel and a bench vise, pushing the bullet back out of the barrel. Splinters flew and eye protection was a good thing. My better half has since stocked up on oak and brass dowels. To the point he makes me think he thinks a squib round will be a common occurrence. :) I think not!

My Dad and I were talking about this earlier today, and I searched and found an accounting of a squib on an LEO range. Mistakes were made and a second round was fired into a blocked barrel, with factory rounds. The blown gun was promptly replaced by the ammo manufacturer, no surprise. The RO is under scruntiny.

Pay attention.

And I'm going to put clean underwear in my range bag. :)

December 10, 2010, 02:15 AM
What worked for clearing the barrel was a piece of dowel
I keep a 1/4 inch extension in my range bag. If other shooters experience a squib (Thankfully, haven't had one in years), I tap it out with the extension and pliers. It doesn't take up much space and no flying splinters. :D

December 10, 2010, 02:42 AM
Hey, bds.

There must have been dozens of conversations about what folks carry in their range bags. (Spare underwear?!) I took a quick look, but didn't land on the thread. Do you have a pointer? Or should I start yet another thread on a worn topic?


(edit for grammar)

December 10, 2010, 10:29 AM
I tried the search option several times with different key words too and nothing.

There was a thread with suggestions as to what to carry in the range bag ...

Maybe it's time for another thread? :D

December 10, 2010, 10:25 PM
I tried to load my finger-tip into a .45LC case once. Don't ask.
Fortunately, I didn't try too hard, and only ended up with a nice crescent-shaped cut on said fingertip...fairly painful, fairly bloody, but a hair more enthusiasm on the handle and it would have really been ugly.... ~.469 diameter acupuncture?

December 10, 2010, 11:19 PM
Thinking my first load book, "Speer 12" was on the level.

It should say "APRIL FOOL!" at the bottom of every page.

Foto Joe
December 11, 2010, 10:03 AM
Gotta say, I'm impressed by everybodies candor.

I've had two good ones, the first 30 years ago and the second recently. I too once had a Lee Whack-A-Load. While in my dads upstairs office (I was 21) loading 45 Colt after being asked by my mother not to do it in the house I discovered exactly how much force on a Whack-A-Load is required to detonate a Large Pistol Primer while standing over it. Off in the distance I could hear through the ringing in my ears my mother inquiring if I was till alive. No more Whack-A-Loads, ever.

Along with attempting to resize a finger once or twice without success, how about switching from 45 Colt to 38 S&W dies on the press and forgeting to change the shell holder, #!%##^@!!!! When the ram came down without the brass in it, I'm sitting there scratching my head as to exactly why that shell holder let go and not figuring it out until I happened to look in the die case and realize that there was still a 38 shell holder in the it. 1st lesson, put all other dies away except what you're working with and no vice grips are not intended to remove stuck cases!!! Idiot, idiot, idiot!!!

December 11, 2010, 11:15 AM
After 30+ years of handloading I've had nothing more serious that a few squib loads that ended my revolver shooting for the day.

December 11, 2010, 11:19 AM
Next to a double-charge, squibs are about the most serious thing I can imagine.

December 11, 2010, 01:52 PM
Dumb things while Reloading.. jeez, where do I begin? I learned straight out of the Sierra book (no one I knew reloaded ammunition). Good book, but not a substitute for a good instructor. Over a decade after I started reloading, I'm still learning things.

Anyway on to the dumb stuff:

* First time I loaded for 9mm, I had a Glock 17, and bought two 5 gallon buckets from an old guy at a gun show - one bucket was 3/4 full of brass (I *still* haven't gone through all of it a decade later), the other bucket about 1/10th full of 147gr cast lead ball. The lead bullets were a fairly soft composition, lead built up in the barrel over time, and I ended up bulging/destroying the original barrel.

* As part of the above, I was paranoid about pressure at first and went way too soft on the initial load. I also didn't know that you should load & test, load & test. So I loaded up 200 very soft subsonic 147 grain loads for the 9mm, and they wouldn't cycle the slide. Ended up hand-feeding them 1 at a time until I'd shot through the 4 boxes I made. (Wasn't long after that, I discovered the barrel had bulged - this happened immediately after switching from lead reloads to factory ammo).

* Loaded up a tray of 45 ACP, without primers and ended up with a big mess of Unique. Actually, I think this happened MORE than once when I was loading on a manual turret press. Now I use a Dillon and it only happens when I forget to put in the low-primer follower rod in the primer magazine; then the buzzer doesn't trip to tell me I need to refill it.

* Squib load. Somehow managed to load up a squib 9mm once, and had to hammer a bullet out of a Taurus.

* Not checking overall length; assumed the sizing die was set properly loading up 45ACP, and short loaded a batch of 250 rounds, after switching from FMJ to Golden Saber. Had to pull them all with the kinetic puller, which really, really sucked. I learned to re-test ALL measurements at the start of a session, even if I'm loading the same caliber as last time.

* Broken pins sizing mixed berdan primed 308's...

* Ruined expensive dies by forgetting to lube casings...

* (Just Last weekend!) dropped a full box of large pistol primers on the floor immediately after opening it. On a painted concrete floor, those little buggers can roll a LONG way. I'm still missing 6 of them.

* I used to load in the garage when we were renting a house 5 years ago; had 5 kids and no spare rooms to set up. Left my gear outside in the unheated garage all winter and the condensation ruined ALL of my reloading dies (rust). Some were salvageable but not all. Also, the crappy garage had cracks, and termites got in to my reloading bench, so I had to build a new one... Oh, those termites also got in to a cardboard box I had sitting on the floor that contained 150 primed 300 Win Mag casings.

And that's an interesting story - you know termites will actually build nests in a box full of shell casings? Yeah, I didn't either. Even more annoying, after cleaning them, is depriming. You can't just resize the buggers and push the primer out because that's exceptionally dangerous. So I soaked them in water. For *8* days. (Remember, these are NOT loaded, just empty primed cases). Test fired a few in my 300 Win mag and after soaking 8 days in water, THEY STILL FIRED. I was blown away.

So I put a bunch of old socks inside of one sock, taped it to the end of my 300 Win Mag barrel so it'd catch any debris, and went about firing off all of the primed casings in my livingroom. Well, I didn't realize how much heat those generated, so after a few minutes I set the socks taped to the end of my rifle on fire.

Yup, there I was, in my underwear, running through the house with a sock-wrapped flaming torch of a rifle. I made it to the kitchen where my wife was doing dishes and shoved the end of the flaming mess right in to her dish water.

She was NOT happy with me that night.

Hmm... what else...

* Buying a box of 1000 250 grain .452 lead cast bullets for my Glock 21 (this is before I knew about the leading problems in Glocks.) Anyway, 250 grains is a touch much for a 45ACP, but we'll get to that.... I'd discovered someone's loading information on the Internet, didn't bother to double-check for validity, and went about cooking up a batch of 50 rounds "for testing".

Note: It always makes you feel more important when you put the end before the means.. A claim of "Testing" can embolden you to make stupid decisions if you don't follow established methodologies properly..

So I head out to the range with these ridiculous 250 grain SWC 45ACP cartridges. I load up a magazine, point it down range, and "THUMP"... What the hell, I think.. that didn't feel right. The slide came back HARD, hung for an ackward moment, then "THUNK" went forward and chambered the next round.

I have to give it to Glock. That's one TOUGH gun.... and I was ridiculously dumb.

After four or five of those, I decided that I'd done something horribly wrong, because the gun was cycling so very strange. The weapon wasn't hurt, but if I'd continued down that path I was on, *I* might have been.

* ON a related note, of too-soft loads, I got really load happy on my Dillon progressive the week I bought it and cranked out a huge amount of 223 - some 1,200 rounds. I *thought* I was using a previously proofed-recipe for that rifle, but it turns out that batch I based the load on was when it was 100 degrees out in the middle of the summer. THEN it worked fine, and cycled the rifle. But that winter, when I loaded up those 1,200 rounds, I found it would short stroke my AR15 and cause all sorts of hideous feed problems.

Thinking I was going to be stuck with 1,200 "hot summer days only" rounds, I tried them out in my FS2000, and on the wide open gas port setting they actually cycle fine. Dodged a bullet so to speak there, but those rounds are only reliable in that FS2000; any other 223 weapon I own, they are too soft to work in.

* Forgetting powder in the hopper... my bench is in front of a window, east facing, so catches the sun in all of it's morning glory. UV rays break down powder, so leaving powder exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time is bad, as is water vapor in a basement. I've burned off about a pound out of precaution over the years. Not a big waste, but still, annoying.

* Buying 50 lbs. of H1000 for my 300 Win Mag when I first started loading. An old timer had a keg of it for sale, along with 10,000 of the worst 168 grain lake city rejects the world has ever seen. I was dumb and bought them. All of it. Over the years I experimented with powders and found 5 other powders that are MUCH better and more accurate than H1000. So, here I am a decade later, and still have at least 15 pounds of it left. I've burned off at least 10 pounds of it over time, as it was kept in non-airtight containers, and some of it started turning south (caustic smell).

Which brings me to the WORST incident I've ever heard of. The guy that had the 50 lb keg of H1000, he told me a story. See, he kept the (original) cardboard keg in his unheated garage. Over the years, he'd pushed it aside, piled crap on it, and basically forgot it. But over time that keg was soaking up water vapor and was exposed to condensation .. a lot of it.

He went out to his garage one day and noticed a bad smell; burning his nose, type of smell. He started sniffing around and found that it was concentrated around one specific area. Moving a bunch of junk, he "re-discovered" this 50 lb keg of H1000 that he'd shoved in a corner and forgot about. Popping the lid on it, he was overwhelmed with fumes at first. Then, he noticed the powder was *steaming*.

He drug the keg out on to his driveway, and called the 800 number on the side of it. As he got on the line with the person that answered, he hurriedly explained the situation and the person said "GET THAT POWDER CLEAR OF ANYTHING, RIGHT NOW".

Well, as he was saying that, the powder ignited. The entire 50 lb keg went up in a matter of seconds. It melted a cast-iron patio table a few feet away - reduced it to slag. It bubbled the paint on his house, and garage. His chrome car bumper was cracked and the grill of his car melted, as did the plastic headlight brackets. The concrete drive cracked, and every bit of grass within 20' went up.

It went out as fast as it started, but sure as hell got the attention of the local fire department, police, neighbors, etc...

Anyway, the lesson I learned from his experience is that COOL DRY PLACE means exactly that. A cool *DRY* place. Not a garage.

As for Hodgedon? They sent him a replacement 50 lb keg free of charge, at no cost. Wonderful company to deal with. Anyway, back in 1998, that's what I ended up buying from him, at (get this) $4 per pound. So even if it isn't the best powder for my rifle, it's got me through cheap reloading for a long, long time now.

Got more stories but my fingers are tired. :)

Messenger Guard
December 12, 2010, 01:59 AM
I've been reloading for over twenty years and have done about everything I've heard here. Another mistake I didn't read was not crimping magnum loads tight enough. One shot out of the 44 mag and my prized 629 had bullets locking the cylinder up tight. Luckily I've never made the bullseye/ slow burner mix up mistake.

December 12, 2010, 02:18 AM
< at Trent > :eek::eek::eek:

Oh my!

December 12, 2010, 10:12 PM
Hi, Trent.

The image of one running about the house in their underwear with a flaming sock-wrapped rifle provided me with a much needed belly laugh. I'm glad you're ok and telling the story! I had a good laugh again recounting the story to my husband. He wondered why you didn't head for the toilet?

I'm still laughing. Thanks for sharing.

This is a great thread. I've learned lots. Thanks to all.

December 13, 2010, 12:14 AM
Our last house, had one toilet.. we have 5 kids. It's never open when you REALLY REALLY gotta go. Our new house has 4 toilets. And... I have several fire extinguishers now. :)

December 13, 2010, 12:21 AM
Not checking your powder scale calibration often enough

December 13, 2010, 10:14 AM

That's a good one. People assume that the electronic scales are always accurate. Even me, for awhile. :(

I found out with some knocked-back primers once on my 300WM that isn't always the case. I now keep a dust cover over it to keep dust from building up on the plate & tray, and recalibrate it at the start of each reloading session.

You know, after reading that... I really should get a high quality manual scale for a cross reference. I only have ONE powder scale (RCBS electronic one). I sold my old electronic scale when I bought it, and I gave away my manual scale when I bought the first electronic one.

In other words, I have no way to actually verify that one scale I'm using is accurate.

Thanks for posting that one up!

December 13, 2010, 10:59 AM
I have had a squib load, but that was the only serious problem... BUT...

For the past two nights I have been learning a valuable tumbling lesson....

38's, 357's and 9mm's should NOT be tumbled with .45ACP brass! I have a small bucket full of 38/9mm stuffed 45's to seperate!

December 13, 2010, 11:02 AM
Oh God, 40 & 45's / 9mm & 40's do that too. Get some corncob in between them and it can take a pair of pliers and a lot of sweat to remove them, often at the sacrifice of the smaller shell casing.

Edit: 9mm/45 is the worst, if there's enough media between them it can be downright horrible.

I don't tumble mixed brass anymore.

Hondo 60
December 13, 2010, 11:36 AM
9mm, 38 spl & 357 mag don't tumble well with 45 Colt.
Especially with new corn cob & a generous dollop of Cabela's polish.
I've learned my lesson.

December 13, 2010, 11:47 AM
9mm, 38 spl & 357 mag don't tumble well with 45 Colt. Especially with new corn cob & a generous dollop of Cabela's polish.

Thats my exact situation :) Oh well, I am grateful for Monday night Football!!

December 13, 2010, 12:53 PM
Yup, there I was, in my underwear, running through the house with a sock-wrapped flaming torch of a rifle. I made it to the kitchen where my wife was doing dishes and shoved the end of the flaming mess right in to her dish water.

I'm searching YouTube now for the video. :D

December 13, 2010, 01:21 PM
I have an interesting variation on the "I forgot to put in primers..."

I was loading 38 special wadcutter rounds and had all of my brass sized primed and belled. So I take the first one, do a powder charge, go to seat the bullet and think "Oh I better make sure I primed this", turn it over and think "Good, its primed." Put the bullet in, get it half way seated and then think "Why is there powder all over the bench?"

I'm glad I caught it ahead of time. Its basically the reloading equivalent of asking a guy holding a cup of coffee in his watch hand what time it is.

shooting time
December 13, 2010, 02:11 PM
I have had some squibs also,One i had i did not know about i was shooting my MP5 and little to my knowledge one squib must have had enough power to go about 4" down the barrel and stop while having enough power to cycle the bolt.I was cleaning the gun and felt the patch go in the barrel tight then get loose then tight again.Thats when it hit me i must have had a squib and it buldged the barrel.

December 27, 2010, 01:59 AM
I've been reloading for a few years now, and started primarily because 10mm ammo is so danged expensive, and nearly worthless. Can anyone guess where this rabbit hole leads? Yeah, I wanted to play around with some very hot, but non-nuclear warheads. My loads, oddly enough, were within everyone's specs, and I had double checked everything. Yep, click kaboom right in my hand, and the magazine fell to the floor. There I am laying the gun down to see if my hand is still there...
It was a ruptured case head. No major damage to the gun, and a trip to Atlanta and Glock repaired it at no charge since it was just a few polymer pieces that failed. I second whoever said Glock's are tough guns. That load shoulda been good for close to 1600fps...

My dad did the same thing on his 45LC. Blew the cylinder into a few pieces and destroyed the top, including his red dot. When I showed him the blown out case, we both realized we had the same problem.

Never reload nickel plated cases with even modestly warm loads!!! Better yet, don't bother reloading nickel plated cases!!!

To Sherri and those others mentioning the "talk" with new shooters. I nearly learned the hard way to always mention this, cause its one of those things we take for granted, yet a newbie might not think about. I was teaching a good friend to shoot in the back yard (on my very warmly loaded 10mm). After giving him the basics, he points the gun and prepares to fire. Then I start screaming NOOOOOO!!!

He put his thumb on the back of the slide.... with his finger on the trigger. :what:

He asked what would have happened. "Your thumb MIGHT still be attached." :banghead:

December 27, 2010, 10:27 AM
This thread should be a sticky for new, and seasoned reloaders. I have loaded a few squibs in my time and have never had followed them up with another round as I always shoot slow fire. I think that is important with semiautos and new shooters who just have started reloading or shooting others reloads. There is an advantage to shooting a revolver. I just see too many people shooing as fast as they can pull a trigger. That said, I use a Dillon 550B press. I wish I had a single stage and keep looking for one used but never find one at a price other than new. BTW, I'm going too move the powder out of the garage now. Never too late to learn. TNX

December 27, 2010, 02:52 PM
Regarding Squibs... most squibs in a semi-auto stop the function on a fail to eject; not enough powder to expel the bullet, not enough power to cycle the slide - every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Squibs in a revolver are not subject to this, the cylinder will rotate just fine to the next round. Personally, I'd much rather a new shooter experience a squib on a semi-auto than a revolver. At least then they'll stand there and look confused for a minute on how to clear the action, which gives me a chance to stop them if I didn't notice the different sound for whatever reason. A revolver, they might just keep right on going...

December 27, 2010, 02:57 PM
yes that "keep on going" thing could ruin a good day. Seen it happen with a H&R 9 shot revolver. Good thing it was only 22LR... lead went into both booths, left and right of shooter, nobody hurt

December 27, 2010, 03:46 PM
Several Stitches required and the press is now history. Have a Dillon XL-650 now and haven't had a problem since I unboxed it and bolted it down. Many thousands of rounds.
You're one of many that I like to hear from. Back when I bought my first progressive press I asked for opinions on all of them from owners. In most cases the owners of Lee presses warned me about the priming system. Happily I bought Dillon.

The worst mistake I've ever done was on a 550b. I've always had problems with RCBS dies on the Dillon presses. Usually the decapping assembly loosens and breaks the pin. One time the whole decapping assembly disappeared from the die after I had loaded 500 new cases.

I looked at all the cases and knew it was somewhere in one of them. Have any of you ever pulled 500 bullets? After thinking awhile I went out and got an industrial magnet. I found the cartridge with the decapping assembly in it pretty quickly. That was my worst mistake ever.

December 27, 2010, 04:43 PM
On my Dillon 650 loading 223, the whole decapping / expander assembly became loosened one time and fell in to a 223 case. I didn't realize it until the press stuck on the reverse stage (seating a primer). I had to disassemble the primer feed carefully because the press was jammed; the fresh primer had wedged in to the old primer somehow on the reverse stroke, and I couldn't get the casing out!

Once I freed the captive casing with the expander ball & decapping pin in it and pried off the half-way-stuck live primer, I had to cut the casing apart to get the decapping assembly out.

Was a total cluster that ruined my session, after that I was done for the night.

December 27, 2010, 05:02 PM
On my Dillon 650 loading 223, the whole decapping / expander assembly became loosened one time and fell in to a 223 case.

RCBS sizing die? I finally quit using them and now only purchase Dillon sizing dies.

December 28, 2010, 01:21 AM
Yeah, sure was RCBS. None of them stay tight. After losing a bunch of decapping pins early on, I started using blue loc-tite on the buggers. I had to turn the lock rings down a bit on the lathe to get them to snug up on the Dillon.

My die collection is about half split between cheap RCBS and Lee dies. For the bolt guns I use high-end Redding dies. Spend the money where there's a gain to be made. :)

December 28, 2010, 02:06 AM
I'm new at this and have only loaded about 130 so far. Biggest mistake has been twice pouring powder down the expander die funnel with no case in the die.

January 2, 2011, 01:14 PM
Put a decapping pin into my thumb when sizing some 38 spec. on a single stage press.

January 14, 2011, 06:28 PM
I'll list my mistakes in numerical order, in order in which I learned them (THW!):
Mistake # 1 - You Must Use Case Lube
Mistake # 2 -If the case is stuck, Brass will bend and tear easily
Mistake # 3- The pin on the sizer that knocks out the primer will break when trying to free a stuck case
Mistake # 4 - There is a different between Small Rifle & Small Rifle Magnum Primers
Mistake # 5 - 1/1000th's of an inch makes a big difference in bullet diameter
Mistake #6 - 1/100th's of an inch in length makes a big difference when chambering
Mistake #7 - Gunpowder is flammable, even explosive
Mistake #8 - Pressure without velocity can be dangerous when explosive

January 15, 2011, 12:41 PM
Back in the late 70s my dad was having some blood pressure trouble and the docs were trying different things. Sometimes he had a slight lack of attention. It had not been very apparent. One day, while visiting, he suggested we go out to the range. He had some new bullets for the 357 he wanted to try.
I loaded up my favorite gun (of his), a 5 1/2" nickled Colt SAA. One shot which seemed a little warm. Gun was locked up. I finally got the cylinder out and found a badly cratered primer. Switched to my Stainless Ruger Single action. Same thing.
I put the batch away. Asked him what the charge was. "4.5g Unique".
Back at the shop I looked at his scale. Right balance set at 4.5. Left set at 5. He'd bumped it and not caught it. 9.5 was way over the top.
Two things learned that day. One....after setting the scale and verifying the drop with three or four throws I now throw ten into the pan and weigh. If you're getting 45 grains with ten, you know you had 4.5 with one.
Two...Don't shoot someone else's reload.

January 19, 2011, 01:00 PM
While reloading 9mm casings. did not have the casings up to the die and dumped load in to die and all over bench. Oh well not to much mess. Live and learn my sequence.

January 19, 2011, 03:46 PM
Back in the early days of reloading, I consented to load some ammo for a friend. He had a pet load recipe he had picked up somewhere. I loaded 100 for him just as his recipe said. Then when he came to get them he brought his rifle and he went out to fire a few to see how they worked. Well.............. the first one was so hot he couldn't open the bolt. Got it open by tapping it with a piece of hardwood. I had to pull 99 bullets.

First and last time I loaded for anyone but me.

January 19, 2011, 03:56 PM
One time I tried to seat my thumb in a .500S&W case.

Different calibre, same mistake.

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