Bad day at the range


January 29, 2013, 04:11 PM
Picked up some 30-06 dies last weekend and got a box of ammo loaded this week. Went to the range this morning and wasn't real impressed with what I got. I used IMR 4350 powder, Hornady 165gr interlocks, and once fired Fed brass with CCI primers. Loaded 5 each of 56.5, 57, 57.5 and 58 grains of powder. Seated the bullets to the cannelure. Had 2 rounds that failed to fire and I want impressed with the grouping on the rest. Went like this:

56.5 gr - Last round failed to fire, would not fire on second try, grouping wasn't terrible except for one flier. 3 in the center and 1 low.
58gr - Not real bad, 3 in the middle, 1 high, and the wind blew my target over on the last shot.
57gr - Shots would alternate between 2 different groups. Would be very happy with the load if they were all in one.
57.5gr - First round failed to fire, went off on the second try. Same as before, two different groups but neither were great.

I'll get out again Friday and shoot some more. Probably load a box with two different loads and try each one more in depth. Any thoughts what to try different, bullet seating depth? Any ideas why the bullets would shoot in different groups just me being a bad shot? They're good for shooting a deer or a coyote but I'd definitely like to improve them.

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January 29, 2013, 04:16 PM
Try a different a primer.

I had tested my .25-06 using 49.0 grains IMR 4350 with 115 gr CTBT with Winny brass.

4 different sets of 5 all the same accept the primer. It was very apparent to me that Winchester primers shot best in my loads with IMR 4350.

chris in va
January 29, 2013, 04:18 PM
Gun model used?

I'd be more concerned why the rounds didn't fire. I've never had an issue with CCI which leads me to believe the primers aren't being seated properly or there's an issue with the gun's ignition system.

BTW according to my Lyman manual those powder charges are at or above max, with 57gr being a compressed charge. Try backing it off to around 54-55gr.

January 29, 2013, 04:20 PM
Your "failed to fire" problems is one of two things.

1. You failed to fully seat the primers all the way.
2. You are pushing the shoulders back too far and the firing pin can't reach the primers.

#1 is likely, #2 is very unlikely.

I can't help you with your shooting.
What range were you shooting at??

If it was 100 yards, the first target doesn't look all that bad for a 5-shot group in the wind.


January 29, 2013, 04:27 PM
Mossberg ATR w/ Nikon prostaff 3-9. Shooting at 100 yards. The primers all seemed to be seated the same, I'm thinking one was bad because it didn't go off after 3 hits, and the other one could have been seated bad since it went off on the second. First target was only 4 shots, but no wasn't that bad except for the one flier

chris in va
January 29, 2013, 04:39 PM
Primers seated slightly below flush? I reload for my Garand, a couple thousand so far, zero duds with CCI. They have to be pressed in pretty hard.

January 29, 2013, 04:49 PM
Could the primers have been contaminated with oil somehow?

January 29, 2013, 04:52 PM
That would be my next guess.

January 29, 2013, 05:29 PM
Don't know how they would have been contaminated but it's possible.

Bull Nutria
January 29, 2013, 05:34 PM
i load 52g of IMR 4350 in 30.06 with hornaday 165g interloks and a CCi 200 LR primer, this is an old accuracy load from the plastic bound lyman shoots very well in my Rem model 760 pump. 1 to 1.5 inch groups at 100 yds off sand bags. i don't ever recall a dud CCI primer and i have loaded about 2000 over the years in my 30.06, 30-30 and 7mm08.

Make sure you seat the primers fully. you may want to try less powder but it looks like your groups are really nice for shooting on a windy day. shooting technique is very impt. in developing loads --take your time between shots. let the rifle cool after groups of 5. sporter weight barrels get hot easliy!!

good luck and have fun with your quest for good accurate ammo!!


January 29, 2013, 06:02 PM
what about media stuck in the flashole

January 29, 2013, 06:15 PM
Regarding CFO not firing. I had a 1000 box of 250s that did not want to pop.
My reply was in regards to accuracy with different primers.

January 29, 2013, 08:00 PM
I'm guessing it was just a bad primer. Didn't tumble them. Haven't heard about 52 grs but maybe ill try a few out for the fun of it. Also sounds like im expecting too much lol

January 29, 2013, 08:06 PM
You don't get bad CCI primers, unless you soak them in water or oil before you use them.

I have used CCI primers since the 1970's and have never ever had a miss-fire with one.


January 29, 2013, 08:12 PM

You say you didn't tumble the brass? What steps did you include in your reloading process? For my rifles I:

1. Tumble Clean
2. Size/De-cap
3. Check Length/Trim
4. De-Burr (if cases were trimmed)
5. Prime
6. Charge/Seat Bullet

January 29, 2013, 08:54 PM
There is always a chance of having a defective or contaminated primer. I would shoot more rounds to see if it continues and if it does, then look at possible problem with the rifle. Your best group was with the lightest load. Since all your loads are on the max side, I would try reducing charge to see if groups gets better.

January 29, 2013, 09:44 PM
pictures of primer strikes? What rifle?. Twist rate?

my magic '06 load is a hdy 150 with 57grains of 4350 lit with a win lrp through a remington 700.

you've got to be close. Shooting off bags a/o bipod right?


January 29, 2013, 10:01 PM
It's never had a problem with light strikes before. I'm thinking it was a bad primer since 3 hits should have seated it enough to go off it if wasn't all the way. I'm sure even CCI makes a bad one once in a while.
@egg250 I do about the same as you except I don't tumble my brass. All I did this time was size, prime and load it. Ill trim it next time.
Had a good rest to shoot off. Should be less windy next time and I loaded my next batch a little lighter. Hopefully it'll do a little better. As for the primers I had already used over half the pack for other rifles without any problems. This is the first one I had a problem with. I'll just pull it and reuse everything.

January 29, 2013, 10:31 PM
A bad day at the range is still better than a good day at work, right?

January 29, 2013, 10:32 PM
I'm sure even CCI makes a bad one once in a while. How can you be sure??

Like I said, I've never had a bad one in 40+ years so far!

Your chances of getting 2-3 in a row are less then winning the Power-Ball lottery.

It just isn't going to happen in your lifetime.

You need to look for another reason for the mis-fires.


January 29, 2013, 11:01 PM
I've never had a mis-fire with my reloads and I've been at it for several decades. I'm on the same page as RC as to possible causes, especially since you had more than one fail to fire.

Regarding your groups, considering you were shooting in wind that was strong enough to knock your target over, I would venture to say those loads didn't get a fair evaluation. I've been loading with IMR-4350 for both the .270 win. and 30-06 for a long time, and those powder charges are deffinitely too high. Which brings me to the question of why you started your work up at the maximum and then exceeded it?

I begin at the low end of the charge table, say 52.0 - 53.0 grs. and work up in .5 gr. increments until you've found the most accurate charge. If you decide to increase the OAL, as in closing the distance to the lands, be sure to do that at the low end of the charge table, and watch for excessive pressures as you get closer to the lands.


January 29, 2013, 11:02 PM
I can't be sure. Can you be positive they haven't out of the millions/ billions of primers they've made?? I had one that fired on the second strike, after the first presumably seated it the rest of the way.
So that leaves only one that still failed after several strikes that should have seated it fully if it wasn't to begin with. Add on that the gun had never had a problem firing with the other reloads and a bunch of factory ammo, a bad primer makes plenty of sense.

January 29, 2013, 11:08 PM
The wind was only 10ish mph, the target just got folded over a little. And seeing as Hodgdon has the starting load at 56gr with a max of 60, it seems perfectly reasonable to me.

January 29, 2013, 11:08 PM
By the second, third, or forth strike, the primer compound under the anvil will be crushed up into dust and fall out through the flash hole.

If there is no primer pellet left between the anvil and primer pocket, you can re-strike it into fused brass, and it isn't going to go off.

That doesn't make the primer bad.

That makes your re-priming technique bad.


January 29, 2013, 11:17 PM
I load for the 30-06 with 4350 for all my bolt action rifles with 165/168gr bullets and CCI primers.

Lyman 49 lists 57.0gr as Max for IMR4350
Hornady #9 also lists 57.0gr as the Max for IMR4350

When I use IMR4350 I charge 57.0gr under a 165/168gr Sierra bullet.
When I use H4350 I charge 58.0gr under the same bullets.

My son shoots a Remington 700 and that gun just loves a 165gr Sierra GameKing under 57.0gr IMR4350. That load delivers very tight groups out to 300 yards and it's his favorite 30-06 load.

I shoot a Howa 1500 and with a 165gr Sierra GameKing and a charge of 58.0gr H4350 that rifle will deliver a .314" group @100 yards. Both loads are made with CCI primers and Win, Rem or Federal brass.

BTW, those targets don't look all that bad so I'm not sure why you think you had a bad day at the range. That 56.5gr load you shot is @ 1/2MOA, what's wrong with that?

January 29, 2013, 11:18 PM
I had accuracy problems with 4350 in a 30-06 but figured it out when I shot near dusk - carbine length barrel - too short for full combustion - switched to a faster powder and now get better results.

I like Varget or 4895 now.

I think you have a primer problem too or a case prep problem.

Andrew Leigh
January 30, 2013, 12:21 AM

the pattern a group throws is of an indicator of what is going on;

Your first two groups, vertical stringing would indicate either a breathing problem or a dirty or weak spring in the firing pin, or the firing pin itself. On group 1 & 2 you could have been huffin' and puffin' after setting up the target at 100yds? If you were not then a firing pin problem may also explain the misfires.

On the second two groups. Horizontal string could be two things. The first is that the forearm of the rifle was slipping laterally on the front rest when firing. The second thing could be a loose fitting stock, when you get two sub groups within the main it is indicative of the rifle moving in the stock after two or three shots and then it will print laterally in a different place.

You are essentially using the OCW method for load development. This requires more rounds to be loaded starting lower down on the powder charge. I use the OCW method and it is not uncommon to have odd patterns fro vertical to lateral stringing with some real scattered groups inbetween. The groups start loose and get tighter then get loose gain but you will be left in no doubt as to where the sweet spot is. The third option to the above is that I think you may also be at the one end of the OCW method which means you never will know.

In summary I think there could be more than one problem, The easiest by elimination is to check out the hardware first, check the firing pin assembly and then check the tightness of the action screws. If a new rifle these could have loosened after a couple of shots.

Google Dan Newberry's OCW method. I think if you just extended what you are doing that you would get the results you want. It normally takes me 30 shot and I have the load I need without any doubts.

January 30, 2013, 01:38 AM
I'm with rcmodel, you need to double and triple check your primer seating depth. What priming system are you using? What brass are you using? Are you cleaning or uniforming the primer pocket? In the tens of thousands of CCI primers I have used, the only issues I have ever had traced back to improperly seating the primer. As mentioned before, the first strike on an improperly seated primer may deform or damage the primer so that it will not ignite on a second strike even if properly seated by the firing pin.

As for IMR4350, I have never had good experiences with that powder in my guns, especially at higher velocities. Maybe try finding a node at a lower velocity, or give 4064 a shot. Every gun is a different animal, and no matter how hard you try some just don't like particular powders or bullets. (My precision 30-06 also didn't like Hornady bullets....)

January 30, 2013, 09:04 AM
I don't know about Mossburgs, but on my Savage 110 I had to strip the bolt at the range once and adjust the firing pin striking depth. After about 100 shots, on the factory new action, it started light-striking and only setting off about 50% of the ammo. Post-adjustment, it has never failed me.

I can't fathom a bad batch of CCI primers. Never heard of such a thing. I've got some from the early 70's that still go bang just fine. :)

Assuming that your primers are seated properly.... and you aren't somehow shoving the shoulder back (nigh-impossible if you're using new, unmodified factory dies)...

Get the rifle checked. Make sure headspace is good, AND your firing pin is striking deep enough.


Headspace can be "sort of" checked on fired casings. Measure from the base to the shoulder of unfired vs. fired casings, and note how much, if any, the cases have stretched. If they've grown substantially, you've got generous headspacing. In that event, your firing pin might not be able to reach a primer with sufficient force to set it off. It only takes a couple thou.

January 30, 2013, 10:17 AM
Your load exceeds the maximun listed by Hodgdon, Lyman and Hornady. The Hodgdon data lists 52.0 to 56.6 grs of IMR 4350 for a 165 gr bullet. You were probably looking at the H4350 data or the data for a 155 gr bullet.

In 40 years of loading my only primer failures were traced back to oil.

January 30, 2013, 11:19 AM
travisd, nobody ever talks about washing cases but after I size, trim an camfer the case mouths, and clean the primer pockets I soak the cases in a bucket of warm dishwater to remove all of the residue from firing and lubricant from the sizing operation. I then rense the cases in clean water, drain the water from each case, and set them out to dry for a couple of days. These steps don't take much time and they insure that if the primer is properly seated it will fire every time.

January 30, 2013, 01:43 PM
Andrew - I'd never read that but its pretty neat. I'll have to give it a try that way.

Like I said I'm pretty sure I seated the primers fine, I feel every case after I prime them, and I've never had a problem before. Might try and take the bolt apart and see if I can't get it to strike a little harder. It is a fairly new rifle.

As for the load data this is what I'm getting from hodgdon, its for a sierra bullet but same weight and style. I'll try taking it down a bit though.

165 GR. SIE SPBT* IMR 4350* .308"* 3.300"* 56.0* 2746* 48,100 PSI* 60.0C* 2934* 57,600 PSI

January 30, 2013, 02:28 PM
As you have seen, Andrew Leigh gave you some pretty good advice. If you really understand the OCW method and follow it rigorously, it will yield amazing results.

If you want to see an example of what OCW can tell you, look at your two targets for 57 and 57.5 grains (the two on the right in your post.) If you plot the centers of those two groups, you'll find that they're almost identical...about 1.75" right of the bullseye and about .5" high. You're probably looking at a minor node there. Ideally, using OCW you'll see three or four charge weights in a row giving you the same center like that, and the middle of those charges is your "sweet spot". At that charge weight, small deviations from your intended charge will have little or no effect. (I think you're high in the charge range, and need to explore charges from 52 to 56 grains).

Once you find that sweet spot in charge weight, tighten up the groups with adjustments in seating depth.

Anyway, good luck and have fun.

January 30, 2013, 02:41 PM
I had that exact rifle. It wouldn't group much better no matter what I did. Sold it fast!

Andrew Leigh
January 30, 2013, 02:47 PM
My mate has a .300 Win mag in the Mossberg ATR. I was hitting 4" gongs at 300m (not yards) with monotony. I think the rifle is fine.

January 31, 2013, 03:11 AM
Have you tried dialing a square with your scope or checking to see if it takes adjustment? 8 clicks up, 8 clicks right, 8clicks down and 8clicks left. I have had problems with the Prostaff scopes, 3 in 2 years.

Ky Larry
January 31, 2013, 07:31 AM
RC, I kike CCI primers,too. However, I got a pack of 100 CCI SR primers a few years ago that had about a 50% failure rate. Sent the remainder back to CCI and they replaced them. Nothing made by the hand of man is perfect.

February 1, 2013, 02:17 PM
Just looked at the round that failed to fire. This is after 3 strikes. What's everyone think? Getting light strikes? Doesn't look real deep to me personally but I don't know for sure.

Andrew Leigh
February 1, 2013, 11:27 PM
Very light strikes.

As I said, vertical stringing is indicative of this problem. Did you check your firing pin assembly like I suggested? Looks to me as if you have found your problem regarding the misfires.

Still think you have another problem as indicated by your second two groups. The action screws are not tight enough causing the two groups within a group scenario.

Good luck.

February 1, 2013, 11:37 PM
Wow, that would be a light strike if it were only hit once but 3 strikes??? I agree, check the firing pin, firing pin spring and everything else involved. The good news is, it's probably an easy and inexpensive fix... Please keep us updated.

February 2, 2013, 01:52 AM
I said the same thing those two up there did as soon as I seen it.

February 2, 2013, 09:58 AM
Yup, those are light strikes, you need to clean/fix your firing pin.

Are those firing pins adjustable to length, like they are on the Savage/stevens actions?

February 2, 2013, 10:02 AM
I just looked at the exploded diagram of those, doesn't appear the striker is adjustable whatsoever.

If cleaning that bugger out don't work to allow more force to transfer to the primer, it appears that you're gonna need a new striker, and have it fitted properly.

February 2, 2013, 10:08 AM
Disregard I had the wrong manual.

Look at page 13 of the owners manual, on the exploded diagram, notice the firing pin assembly, how the shaft is cylindrical?

Get that bad boy out of there, and see if the firing pin shaft is threaded in to the housing.

If it IS, mark the location it's currently at (sharpie or scribe), disassemble it. Get some medium strength loc-tite, put a single drop on, and thread it back in not quite as far as it was previously.

(If there's a set screw, pin, or other retention mechanism you might need to stop and think about how to go about this).

Obviously if the firing pin shaft isn't threaded, you'll need to have a new part fitted.

This is assuming it's not just "gunked up". Based on the light strike pic you posted, that firing pin is maybe .002 to short. Should only be maybe a 1/16 or 1/8 turn adjustment if that shaft is threaded, depends on the thread pitch.

Be careful, make it too long and you'll pierce right through primers. :)

Andrew Leigh
February 2, 2013, 11:03 AM
To the OP

Google "setting a mossberg 30-06 firing pin" you will be surprised by the amount of firing pin problems the Mossbergs have. Is the rifle still in warantee? If so don't fiddle send her in.


February 2, 2013, 03:28 PM
Well I took the stock off and put some lock tite on the screws and snugged them down good. As for the bolt I took it apart and can't really find any way to adjust the firing pin. Traded for the rifle so I'm guessing it's not under warranty.

February 2, 2013, 08:18 PM
If it's not adjustable you'll need a new firing pin assembly, more than likely.

Is this the manual for your rifle?

It states it has a 1 year limited warranty, so unless it was recently bought and then traded for, it won't be under warranty.

Can you post pictures of the firing pin assembly?

I'm curious how they're put together.

February 3, 2013, 01:49 PM
Had it about 5 months no idea when it was bought. Guessing the warranty isn't good anymore. I'm guessing I'll just have to call Mossberg and see what it'll cost to get it fixed? A gunsmith probably cant do much can they?
Here's a few pics. This is as far as I got it taken apart. Can't figure out how to go any farther.

Andrew Leigh
February 3, 2013, 01:55 PM
There have been one or two horror stories regarding Mossberg ATR bolts. They may be lies but worst case scenario assume them to be true. Therefore I would send it in and would not tamper with it.

February 4, 2013, 01:25 AM
Well I took the stock off and put some lock tite on the screws and snugged them down good. As for the bolt I took it apart and can't really find any way to adjust the firing pin. Traded for the rifle so I'm guessing it's not under warranty.
Many times a good company, which Mossberg is will fix a faulty product for free or for a very small charge just to keep the customer happy. I would write to them and ask them what to do?

February 4, 2013, 10:20 AM
That looks pretty close to a Savage setup. That firing pin shaft is threaded in to the assembly hole, you just can't see it.

You're going to need a good set of calipers.

To start, get a reference measurement of the total LENGTH of the assembly to the tip of the firing pin to that housing it's in. (the lip the spring is butted against)

Then get a measurement of the amount the firing pin extrudes from the bolt face, at maximum, in the "fired" position. Your goal here is to get that firing pin to reach another .001 or .002 FURTHER.

Put a sturdy steel punch or good quality T handled allen wrench through that hole in the firing pin shaft and see if it ROTATES counter-clockwise. It might take a pretty substantial amount of force, and you might need to hold the rear of the firing pin assembly in a vice. (You have a reference measurement of the length already, in case it breaks free and rotates more than you intended.)

See if you can unthread that firing pin out of the housing. Once it starts moving, go 1/16 turn, re-measure. You only want to GAIN about .002" on the length. Thread/unthread as necessary to gain that length.

But a warning - I've read some articles this morning that say that the ATR firing pins are prone to BREAKAGE, but I couldn't determine where (probably the thin part, we aren't touching). So mentally prepare yourself for what might happen!

Now, this is where things get "iffy."

When you reassemble the bolt, it is POSSIBLE that there is a cross-pin that will LIMIT the forward travel of the firing pin. If the firing pin doesn't protrude from the bolt face any further than it did before, or you can't reassemble it, you might need to locate the blocking piece. Then turn the surface of the firing pin assembly down .001 or .002 to allow the firing pin to "reach forward" a hair more.

Let's see where you are following the adjustment, before we talk about removing metal though. :)

After you've managed to get the firing pin to extrude a little farther from the bolt surface, we'd want to make reference marks, fully remove the firing pin, and use some low or medium strength loc-tite on the threads (a little goes a long way), to prevent that firing pin shaft from rotating or setting itself back again in the future.

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