Did I have a squib round?


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Cactus Jack Arizona
March 25, 2012, 12:46 AM
Hey everyone.

I went to the range today to try to find out why my Bersa Thunder 380 DLX has gone from amazing accuracy to now throwing the rounds anywhere it wants. I've changed nothing regarding the way I shoot.

I finished off two mags worth of WWB .380 and started on the third. The accuracy up to that point had been better than the last time I went to the range, but was still not as accurate as it used to be. Oh, approximate round count to this point is roughly 500. I got to the third round, aimed and fired. Instead of the normal bang, I got a little pop. It smoked from the hammer area but did not function the slide. Not knowing for sure what just happened, I continued to hold my Bersa, muzzle pointed down range. After about a minute, I ejected the mag and emptied it of the remaining rounds with my left hand, while continuing to hold the Bersa with my right hand, muzzle down range. Once emptied I replaced the mag back into the pistol.

After about another minute, I ejected the mag. At this point I was not sure if I had an intact round so I took the provided DUD can and ejected the round into the can. I discovered that the round had been fired. It was found in the barrel, just about to the crown. That ended my range experience for the day.

I examined the slide, barrel, bullet and casing. The casing still contained a bit of powder. The back end of the slide (inside) looks as though it has little bits of metal shavings, and both the inside and outside of the chamber is scorched. The inside barrel where the bullet was stopped looks as though it has "pitted".

Is this all a normal by-product of a squib? Is it possible for a squib to damage a gun? Could a gun cause the squib? I thought I'd ask since I've never experienced this before. Thanks.

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doc2rn
March 25, 2012, 03:00 AM
Yes, you had a squib! You had a round go off but it did not do so with enought force to make the bullet leave the barrel. If you take the slide off and look at the barrel really closely I bet you see a bulge in it from one that previously squibbed, this is what took your accuracy from great to awful. The previous squib probably went out with the next round, which is lucky that you didnt re-invent the handgrenade. When you hear the soft pop but dont think the round left the weapon, you should check it with a dowel/cleaning rod and remove it with a rubber mallet.

Fatdaddy
March 25, 2012, 08:32 AM
Sounds like the powder got contaminated or wet.
I forgot some rounds on my shooting bench that got rained on and left in the standing water.
Being the cremudgin' I am, I had to see if they would fire....same result.

Chief RID
March 25, 2012, 08:55 AM
You probably need to get it checked out by a smith. I don't know what you are shooting in the pistol but quality ammo would be suggested until the problem is solved after the smith checks it for tolerances and damage.

Orion8472
March 25, 2012, 09:02 AM
doc, from the OP, the accuracy change was noticed pre-squib. Just an FYI. :)

Jim Watson
March 25, 2012, 09:28 AM
A stuck bullet will not itself damage the barrel.
The harm comes when you fail to realize the problem and shoot it out with a following round.
Or when you do realize what happened and try to gouge the bullet out with an unsuitable tool like a screwdriver. A smooth brass rod is good. I need to pick mine up from the gunsmith, he was teaching his grandson how to run the lathe and had him make a knob for a squib rod as a shop project.

rodregier
March 25, 2012, 11:57 AM
*don't* try to use a wooden rod to drive a squib out. All sorts of sad stories of folks trying that unsuccessfuly, esp. in rifles. Brass rod just under the bore size is ideal.

Squib rod with a small hammer is a good thing to have with you for range trips. With luck you'll just be loaning it out, not using it yourself.

BSA1
March 25, 2012, 12:14 PM
Sudden bad accuracy and now a squib. Sounds like bad ammunition. Go buy some fresh stuff and give it a try.

I see no reason to have a gunsmith check the gun out. The squib did not cause excessive pressure as the slide did not move.

Also hardwood dowel works fine to drive a stuck bullet out. Amazing enough I use wood ramrod on my front stuffer.

Patriotme
March 25, 2012, 08:44 PM
I had the same thing happen to a Bersa 383A a couple of decades ago. Actually it happened to my wife and it ruined the gun. As a relatively new shooter she noticed a pop when shooting a round and then fired another one afterwards. She got the added recoil and gases blowing out of the ejection port. The gun then jammed almost every shot.
I checked out the gun when she told me what happened and saw a nice little ring around the inside of the barrel. As the barrel is pressed into the frame it was impossible to get the slide off due to the bulged barrel. The slide would lock open every time. It was many years ago but I think we were shooting .380 AAA. I don't even know if they make it anymore.
I've seen several squibs since then but have never seen anyone else get off another shot behind the squib.
I've removed about 6 squibs over the years with a wooden dowel and small brass hammer without any issues. It's part of my range bag gear now.

MedWheeler
March 26, 2012, 11:25 AM
Orion wrote:

doc, from the OP, the accuracy change was noticed pre-squib. Just an FYI

Doc did indeed suggest that in his response, that a prior squib incident may have occurred. I agree.

rodregier
March 26, 2012, 11:39 AM
Some folks mistakenly try using a soft wood rod, because they're easy to find :-(

Check the barrel for bulges from a prior squib. Look inside, run your fingers over the outside. If it isn't uniform, it's probably been bulged. That will play heck with accuracy.

Cactus Jack Arizona
March 26, 2012, 05:57 PM
Well, I have no knowledge of any other squib prior to this squib. I would think that if I had had a previous squib, I would have felt the difference in the gun. I certainly felt the difference between the squib round and a normal round on Saturday. Also, there doesn't seem to be any visible bulge in the barrel. Is it possible to squib and not know it? :confused:

Cactus Jack Arizona
March 26, 2012, 06:11 PM
Now I don't know if this is normal, as I've never paid much attention to it, but there is a discoloration on the outside of the barrel. It's a definite ring around the barrel about mid-way down. Interestingly, I do see a couple of small "dings" on the inside about where the discoloration is. However, my squid ended at the end of the barrel. :confused:

rodregier
March 26, 2012, 06:30 PM
The ring is the signature of an overpressure event caused by firing a normal load behind a squib that lodged a bullet in a barrel earlier.

It's really easy to be distracted when shooting, so you could have experience a prior squib+normal shot event and not necessarily realised it at the time.

This would also explain your new accuracy issues.

Suggest taking it to a "real" gunsmith for inspection. Assuming he concurs, a new barrel would be indicated.

SimplyChad
March 27, 2012, 01:53 AM
Squib, sad because those bursa a nice little guns.

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