Squib woes


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pittspilot
March 24, 2013, 07:18 PM
I find that I am prone to getting squibs. I'm am being conservative, but I don't think I should be getting squibs.

I found a nice load for .38, but decided to use .357 cases.

I was using Berry's RN 158 plated with 4.7 grain Unique. In the .357 case, I went to 5.0 Unique. OAL 1.570. S&B Standard small pistol primers.

According to Lyman's it's a max load in .38. It seems to be a midrange in others references. What am I missing?

Am now thinking about going to 5.5 grains.

I am a rookie at this, so please don't think I have missed something dumb.

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GT1
March 24, 2013, 07:27 PM
When you say squib you mean the bullet never makes it out of the barrel, yes?

pittspilot
March 24, 2013, 07:28 PM
Yes,

The gun is a Smith 28-2, 4 inch barrel. Bullet is half an inch from the end.

TBH
March 24, 2013, 07:36 PM
Bad powder? Damp? Sounds like the primer is pushing the bullet into the barrel.

pittspilot
March 24, 2013, 07:40 PM
Thanks for our thoughts. The powder is new Unique and has never been damp.

BBQJOE
March 24, 2013, 07:49 PM
I have loaded a number of squibs. I load 44, 9mm, and 38. AND IT'S ALWAYS THE 38!!!
I don't know how or why. Maybe its just such a tall case, and so little powder, that it's easy to miss one.
Pisses me off when it happens, because I really try to stay focused.

Jim Watson
March 24, 2013, 08:04 PM
Hard to see how 4.7 gr Unique would stick a .38 bullet, even a gummy plated Berry.

There may be something going on here that you have not noticed or have not mentioned.

Unique is not the most uniform metering powder. How are you handling that?

Blue68f100
March 24, 2013, 08:12 PM
Squib = NO Powder. Primer only.

Primer drives the bullet into the barrel.

Now if your loading on a SS press you need to change your procedure. Use 2 trays. As you charge the case seat the bullet put in a different tray on the opposite side of your press. Once complete do the next. etc....

Now if your having primer fail to Fire, do you have a hammer spring that's been reduced in the gun? If so go to Federal Primers. If I recall S&B primers have a hard cap.

kimbernut
March 24, 2013, 08:17 PM
Are you making it a habit to look into every single case before topping it with a bullet? There is no way 5.0 grains Unique will stick a bullet in a .38 Special case or a .357 mag case. There had to be a lite load in there. I use 3.2 gr. Titegroup in a .357 mag case with 148 gr.357 HBWC or 125 gr.357 LSWC in my S&W 28-2 with nary a problem. If I decide to use .38 Special cases I cut the powder charge to 2.8 gr.

Are you loading single stage or progressive press?

Jesse Heywood
March 24, 2013, 08:31 PM
I'm not quite sure with comparison of Berry's vs. lead, but Alliant lists 4.5 gr. unique with 158 gr. LRN at 859 fps. There shouldn't be an issue with pushing a slug out the barrel at that speed.

How are you measuring your powder charge?

pittspilot
March 24, 2013, 08:38 PM
I am loading on a Dillon 550. I am using the stock Dillon Powder measure. I have a Uniquetek precision baffle. I weigh on a Dillon Eliminator Scale.

When I try a new load, I only load 20 rounds. My powder check is as follows. Initially set the amount. Then I pull 10 loads and weigh. Then I pull every three or four rounds to check the weight. Every measure is as I expect. I also visually check powder level before placing a bullet. I go slow. I think I am certain that there was the correct amount of powder in each case. I believe that I would see no powder or low powder. The squib was the second round loaded.

The 28-2 is stock. The primer was struck fine and I can see no difference between the squib round and the other round.

I am glad to hear that 5.0 grains should not stick a 158 grainier.

ridgerunner1965
March 24, 2013, 08:57 PM
ive loaded thousands of rounds of pistol and rifle rounds.never had a squib. but im always on the lookout for one.

charge 50 at a time and look into them with a strong light. i have a homemade loading block and i chek each charge before i put bullets in.

Walkalong
March 24, 2013, 09:16 PM
In a .38 case, and especially a .357 case, there is a lot of empty space in the case even with a 158 Gr bullet. Assuming your rounds all have at least 4.5 Grs Unique in them (4.7 +/- .2 grains), then my guess is you are firing some of the rounds with the powder forward in the case. I haven't tested Unique at that low a charge with a 158 powder forward and powder back, but most powders will drop 100 FPS powder forward in .38 and .357 cases, and some do much worse.

3.3 Grs Clays and a 158 Gr plated SWC in .357 brass gave me 629 FPS PB and 449 FPS PF. 449 is getting close to staying in a 6" barrel.

4.4 Grs W231 and a 158 Gr plated HP gave me 744 PB and 642 PF. Much better.

The worst one I tested in .357 brass was a 125 Gr plated bullet that lost over 400 FPS powder forward.

A quick test of your load will show if that is the problem.

If that isn't it, your powder charges are erratic.

hovercat
March 24, 2013, 09:20 PM
Put a heavier crimp and your problem will go away. Check for consistant case length. If your crimp is set for the longest case, you will have no crimp on the shortest. If you are not trimming cases yet, at least sort them in batches by length and adjust your crimp die for each batch.

243winxb
March 24, 2013, 09:45 PM
In the .357 case Use 357 magnum load data. :banghead: Alliant no longer lists load data for 158 gr jacketed bullet in the 38 spec. or 38 spec. +P cartridge.

pittspilot
March 24, 2013, 10:05 PM
Walkalong,

Thanks for those thoughts. I would have thought that enough powder, but I'll take a looksee.

243winxb,

I am trying to develop a load for my k frames. I have seen a lot of information which states that is no issue using .38 loads in .357 brass and OAL's. if you know of any information to the contrary, I would be interested.

Walkalong
March 24, 2013, 10:42 PM
I load light loads in .357 brass all the time, but you have to be careful to be sure they are not too light, regardless of powder position. Solo 1000, WST, Competition, and AA #2 are good ones to try for this, even with 158s. If you want to stick with a slower powder, True Blue is fairly position insensitive, unless you go too light.

Muddydogs
March 24, 2013, 11:07 PM
Use 357 magnum load data. :banghead: Alliant no longer lists load data for 158 gr jacketed bullet in the 38 spec. or 38 spec. +P cartridge.

This is what I would say also. Your powder charge is light in the bigger 357 case. I load 4.4 grains of Unique under a 163 grain cast bullet in 38 cases for a light target load and there is plenty of space left. In a 357 case there would be a lot more.

gamestalker
March 25, 2013, 04:40 AM
This is an issue that you must eliminate completely. Something in your process is allowing these charges to slip by unnoticed, that can't happen. Myself, and I'm sure a number of others here who have been loading for decades that have never had a single squib, will tell you the same thing. Squibs are very serious and represent a deeper concern, which is that your general process is lacking in necessary safe guards. Anyone that is experiencing squibs, will soon be experiencing double charges, charging with wrong powder, or using mistaken data, and the list of potentially deadly mistakes goes on if the root cause is not corrected.

Solution, without fail, you must incorporate using a bright light and visually inspect every single case before you begin seating bullets. And if you have anything else going on at the time, you need to remove it from the equation before you begin charging. When charging, only have those particular cases in front of you, and only the powder you are working with. I can't begin to tell you the number of reloaders I have known who learned the hard way.

GS

Lagarto
March 25, 2013, 04:44 AM
I loaded a batch of 44 mag cartridges with bullseye behind a 240 grain jacked bullet to be fired in a Ruger 77/44 rifle with an integral supressor.

The overall results were not all that good. When I swithched to 44 special brass and a slower powder, I got more consistant loads with better accuracy, tighter groups, and much flatter trajectories.

Alliant has come out with a slow powder for big magnum cases that may be of some value.

Another thing that I have experienced when trying to load a buch of cartridges on a progressive press; say 300 or so, it really pays to do a weight check on every round to confirm your lower control limit weight. The weight of the brass, primer, and bullet, plus minimum powder charge.

I have had squib rounds because I got too little powder or none at all into the case. The result can be embarrassing, inconvenient, costly or deadly. Ultimately, they are a warning, indicating that the individual does not have their process under control and their procedures need to be revised.

Best of Luck

Don Lagarto

kimbernut
March 25, 2013, 07:41 AM
Excellent advice from Gamestalker. Even with the Dillon 550B you can look into each case to check powder charge with a bright light. Better to slow down than to blow a gun or injure yourself or another shooter.

hovercat
March 25, 2013, 09:17 AM
You can use .38 data in 357 cases by loading to the same length.

ASCTLC
March 25, 2013, 10:23 AM
Seriously, if you're a rookie at this as you state, then please go use manual specs for .357 mag and quit thinking you're going to out smart it by using 38 load data in a larger .357 case. As some point out, you may use some data from a 38 Spl in a .357 case but at least wait until you get a little more experience under your belt.

Reading your experience actually makes me question if you are weighing your charge properly and significantly under charging your cases. If you're getting squibs, you should stop what's going on and get someone to come over and check what you're doing before you get yourself in to trouble.

Andy

buck460XVR
March 25, 2013, 10:26 AM
I shoot Unique with 158s in .357 cases all the time, jacketed and plated. 7.5 grains and it's still plenty mild. They make it out of the end of the carbines too.

BigG
March 25, 2013, 11:16 AM
I would suspect a primer problem failing to fully ignite the charge. Are there unburned powder granules in the squibs?

gahunter12
March 25, 2013, 02:10 PM
Seriously, if you're a rookie at this as you state, then please go use manual specs for .357 mag and quit thinking you're going to out smart it by using 38 load data in a larger .357 case. As some point out, you may use some data from a 38 Spl in a .357 case but at least wait until you get a little more experience under your belt.
I agree. You really need to go with published data. I would also use a powder that meters well starting out. I use W231 in my wife's .38spl loads. They are mouse fart loads, and very accurate. My 6yo daughter even shoots them. With a Dillon powder measure you will get very reliable metering with W231.

Also do yourself, and family a favor by adding a LED light to your press so you can visually inspect EVERY case after charging. I have been loading for 4.5yrs, and out of 60,000 rounds that I have loaded, I have had 1 Squib. That 1 squib is 1 too many! I know why I had the squib, and it was in my first 50rnds when I started loading. My daughter, 2 at the time started crying. I stepped away without clearing the press. Never again will I leave my press without clearing it first.

Here's a pic of my press with my LED on. Very bright.
http://i1060.photobucket.com/albums/t457/gahunter12/5AB455C3-F06D-47DF-B8C8-1DDC74C1ED2C-2703-000004C93FBF22B0.jpg

Certaindeaf
March 25, 2013, 02:19 PM
.When I try a new load, I only load 20 rounds. My powder check is as follows. Initially set the amount. Then I pull 10 loads and weigh. Then I pull every three or four rounds to check the weight..
Why do you do that? The weight of powder will not be changed once you seat a bullet.. perhaps weigh the thrown charge before seating bullets.
Maybe your Dillon is spinning/flinging the powder to the four winds before you can cap it with a slug.. I don't know.

shinyroks
March 25, 2013, 02:53 PM
I might suggest getting a single stage and using it for at least a few hundred rounds until you get the feel of things. Use a charging block, and a standard powder measure, or weigh the charges for a time. This way you can be sure of what is causing your problem. Just wrap up the Dillon for a while, you'll get back to it once you get the feel for manually checking all the cases. :)

floydster
March 25, 2013, 03:09 PM
In my reloading of 60 plus years, 90% of it is batch loading--looking into every case to make sure the powder charge is correct before seating a bullet.
And when running my progressive I do the same thing.
I have never loaded a round under a suggested starting load, and in all this time I have never had a squib---am I just lucky???

Smokeyloads

ATLDave
March 25, 2013, 03:36 PM
Fear of squibs (and, to a lesser extent, double charges) is why I sort my brass by headstamp and then weigh every finished round.

Walkalong
March 25, 2013, 06:52 PM
I see every charge I seat a bullet over. That is the only way I trust. :)

looking into every case to make sure the powder charge is correct before seating a bullet.
And when running my progressive I do the same thing.Yep.

cfullgraf
March 25, 2013, 07:59 PM
I find that I am prone to getting squibs. I'm am being conservative, but I don't think I should be getting squibs.

I found a nice load for .38, but decided to use .357 cases.

I was using Berry's RN 158 plated with 4.7 grain Unique. In the .357 case, I went to 5.0 Unique. OAL 1.570. S&B Standard small pistol primers.



If you have a chronograph, you can learn alot about what your load is doing.

I went through a batch of 38 Special wadcutter loads with Clays powder that stuck a number of bullets in a 6" barrel revolver. The load was near the top of published data but velocity was way below the minimum velocity listed in the data. (I know different guns different results but...).

Fortunately, I could shoot up the ammunition in a 2" revolver without issue.

As Walkalong said, powder against the primer (barrel up before firing) and powder against the bullet (barrel down before firing) can have a significant difference in velocity. With the powder against the bullet, it may put the velocity below the threshold to get the bullet out of the barrel. Again, a chronograph can show the difference.

HKGuns
March 25, 2013, 08:18 PM
I see every charge I seat a bullet over. That is the only way I trust.

Yep, only took me one .45ACP squib in an IDPA match to figure that one out. Mine was primer no powder. Luckily, the primer didn't cycle the action and the SO and I both stopped before things got out of hand.

pittspilot
March 25, 2013, 10:15 PM
Okay. I thought I had explained, but apparently did not.

1. When I initially set up, I run the press 10 times before I weigh my first powder load.
2. After I get my load set, I run the press 10 times under the powder die and weigh the result to make sure I have consistency. So 10 pulls of 5 grains powder should net me 50 grains on the scale. I usually get that + or - minus .1 of a grain which suggests to me that the powder is measuring pretty accurately.
3 When I load the 20 rounds, I go slow. I have a desk lamp that I set up to shine directly into the case. Before I place each bullet into a case, I carefully and specifically look into each case to make sure that I have the expected powder level. I am as certain as i can be that i have not seated a bullet without checking powder. To reiterate, I am not loading fast.
4 I remeasure the powder in the first round, and then each 4 or 5th round and then the last round. Just the powder, not the round.

I have flown high performance aerobatic aircraft for years. I am an attorney by trade. I know how to be detail oriented and I am being very OCD here. My decision to use .38 loads in .357 cases was driven after a decent amount of reading which suggested that the practice was accepted and done often. I am very paranoid about what I am doing and am acutely aware that this can be dangerous. I've been around dangerous things and have no illusions about what can happen.

So my issue is that even being as careful as I can, I still had this squib. I am as positive as I can be that there was powder in the round. When the round went off, it seemed that there was powder. I am going to pull the other 18 rounds and double check, but I would be stunned to find a round with no powder.

gahunter12
March 25, 2013, 10:45 PM
I would forget about using .38spl data Ina .357mag case. Start at the minimum charge for .357 using 158gr bullets, and slowly work your way down. You NEED a Chrono to safely do this. Start at 6.4gr per Lyman, and go from there. You are 1.4gr below the recommended start charge.

Walkalong
March 25, 2013, 10:49 PM
Some .38 Spl data is fine in .357 cases, while some is not, it really depends on the powder used and the bearing surface of the bullet.

pittspilot, if you have some more of those rounds, try the powder forward thing vs powder back or powder level. It may give the answer.

pittspilot
March 25, 2013, 10:50 PM
Yeah, I was looking for a gentle round in a .357 length that would not beat up my k frames. Perhaps 6.4 grains will not be hard on the gun.

Walkalong I will try this.

gahunter12
March 25, 2013, 11:02 PM
I would just use 6.4gr as a starting point. You should be able to drop from there some. You may find that you can go to 5.5. On the same note you may find your accuracy is better somewhere in between.

I have a great example with my pet .40 load I use in IDPA. I load Berry's 180gr RSFP with 3.7gr of WST for a PF of 130. This load is VERY accurate in my Glocks, and XDm. I lucked up on a great price for 1k of 180gr Zero FMJ. I worked up some loads to test last week. I started at 3.7 and worked up 3.9gr, and 4.1gr. I found the Zero bullets had decent accuracy with 3.7, but was extremly accurate at 3.9gr. I went back, and loaded up 50 more to confirm my test results. With the Berry's bullets I loose my groups at 3.9gr of WST.

jeepmor
March 26, 2013, 07:03 PM
I'd suspect you're using a primed case to 'setup' your seating depth and not realizing you can't tell the difference between an empty case and a full case when your done. Then your setup bullet accidentally finds its way your cartridges.

I did this twice on my 45 when I first started reloading, so I know and understand your pain. And I never see anyone provide a comment like this. Now, all my setup bullets when I'm setting seating depth intially when setting up my dies, are done on unprimed cases. No mistaking that bullet doesn't belong even if it makes it into your reloaded rounds, it won't cause you any grief.

stevehenry1
March 31, 2013, 05:39 AM
Seating the bullet does not affect the powder charge, but case volume does. The 38 and the 357 have different case volumes and that can make problems. For example, look at load data for .45ACP and .45 Colt. with the same bullet and powder, the charge will vary for similar velocities. Why? Difference case volume. Use data for the brass you are using.

A Pause for the Coz
March 31, 2013, 08:39 AM
I would be more inclined to suspect a powder measure issue. Bridging or short stroking some thing like that. Unique is notorious for inconsistent drops with certain types of powder drops.
Unique is a flat flake powder. If your set charge weight is with a packed measure ( all kernels laying flat) as you work the measure some kernels will land vertical in the drop creating air space.
Just some thing else to look at.

JRWhit
March 31, 2013, 10:12 AM
I'm assuming you use this same lot of powder for other loads of differing caliber. So we can assume powder is good. The biggest variable you are facing is the 38 data in the 357 case. I use 5.4 gn of Unique for 38s and wouldn't call them thumpers. I very curious about your experience because I was going to reduce them down. As Walkalong Said, that makes the most since at this time. Do like he said with PF,PB. I assume that would tell you that you need to go back too 38 cases or up the charge.

If you are dead set on using 357 cases, then a magnum primer may clear up inconsistencies and failed ignition, but at this point your undergoing a tremendous amount of hassle for what would be no problem in a 38 case. Again assuming that is the issue.

243winxb
March 31, 2013, 10:51 AM
Berry's RN 158 Having never used this type (plated?) of bullet, i should not comment. But there may be a problem with bullet pull/neck tension. If the case neck is not expanding .002" after bullet seating, the bullet may be moving when the primer fires. Alliants Unique is easly ignited, so this is a wild guess. :uhoh: Here is a good read. http://www.shootingtimes.com/2011/01/04/ammunition_st_mamotaip_200909/ We tested loads at both maximum normal pressures and at the starting loads (some labs calculate start loads—we shot them). Standard primers caused no ignition issues at the max load but posted higher extreme variations in pressure and velocity in the lower pressure regimes of the start loads. In extreme cases, the start loads produced short delayed firings—probably in the range of 20 to 40 milliseconds but detectible to an experienced ballistician. Switching that propellant to a Magnum primer smoothed out the performance across the useful range of charge weights and completely eliminated the delays.


Too Much Primer
You can have too much primer. When the output gas volume of the primer approaches that of the cartridge case, sometimes special handling is required. I remember when CCI was working with some experimental primers for 9mm Luger, and we started seeing odd time-pressure curves on the computer. Instead of the normal single peak, we saw two. One QA tech commented that it looked like the dual humps of a Bactrian camel.





It was a classic case of high gas volume but too little temperature. The primer’s extra gas unseated the bullet while still trying to light off the main charge, producing one peak. Then the bullet retarded as it engaged the rifling, creating the second peak. Although a shooter would never notice this in a production firearm, that double hump was worrisome, and we abandoned that mix.






Use 357 load data in a 357 case. :)

Starter52
March 31, 2013, 12:42 PM
A primer alone won't drive a Berry's plated bullet to 1/2 inch from the end of a 4" S&W Model 28. Your squib loads might be getting some powder, but not a full charge, OR the powder is not burning completely.

I suspect an inconsistant burn. I love the Berry wadcutter bullets, but I don't use their other plated .38 bullets because they lack a crimpling groove. I believe the lack of this groove is giving you an incomplete powder burn and is causing some loads to be squib loads.

Your reloading procedure is fine. You are doing everything OK. Change bullets.

lonehunter
March 31, 2013, 02:10 PM
Use 38 special loads in 38 special cases! Use 357 Mag loads in 357 Mag cases!

There is really no need to mix them!

They should be treated as 2 different cartridges because they are!

With some powder(H-110) a below spec load can blow up a gun as fast as a

over charged load!

If you are having squib loads you are doing something wrong!

Go back to the load book, use the exact listed Case, powder, primmer, bullet

weight and the over all cartridge length for the exact round you are loading for!

I bet your problem will go a way!

floydster
March 31, 2013, 02:23 PM
lonehunter has it right--quit mixing cal. loads, there is no point in it, either use 38Spl. or 357mag loads in said calibers.
And use starting loads as I have said in post 29.

Smokeyloads

Walkalong
March 31, 2013, 06:14 PM
floydsters a wise man, but I'll have to say I load light loads in .357 brass all the time. You have to be careful though. You need a good clean burning load that will get the bullet out of the barrel easily no matter what position the powder/case/gun is in. This leaves out much of the light .38 Spl data. Speer no longer lists much of the older light .38 Spl data, and no light 158 Gr loads.

I have a handful of loads with the Berrys 148 Gr WCs (DEWC & HBWC) and the X-Treme 158 Gr SWC in .357 brass that my .357s just love. Easy on me, easy on the guns, and quite accurate. The 148 Gr WCs are a bit easier to work with as they fill so much of the case, leaving the powder charge less space to flop around in.

Hint: WST, Competition (Kissing cousins), AA #2. Don't go too low. Bring a brass rod with you for testing, especially testing powder forward in the case. ;)

salm10
April 1, 2013, 07:08 AM
pitts, try a different primer. I had the same problem using Tula lead free primers, they worked fine with 38 special and AA2 per their manual. When I loaded 357 with AA7, I had 10 squibs out of 12 cartridges. Scared the heck out of me. Bullet was stuck in the barrel along with a mess of unfired powder. Switched to CCI500 primers and kept the exact same AA7 powder charge and the problem went away.

gilly6993
April 1, 2013, 01:52 PM
I have flown high performance aerobatic aircraft for years. I am an attorney by trade. I know how to be detail oriented and I am being very OCD here. My decision to use .38 loads in .357 cases was driven after a decent amount of reading which suggested that the practice was accepted and done often. I am very paranoid about what I am doing and am acutely aware that this can be dangerous. I've been around dangerous things and have no illusions about what can happen.

So my issue is that even being as careful as I can, I still had this squib. I am as positive as I can be that there was powder in the round. When the round went off, it seemed that there was powder. I am going to pull the other 18 rounds and double check, but I would be stunned to find a round with no powder.


pittspilot....no one is questioning your intelligence....the simplest solution (and the most intelligent) is to not interchange cartridges....38 loads for 38 cases and bullets....357 loads for 357 cases and bullets....simple....and don't forget that the 2 cartridges utilize different primers, small pistol vs. small magnum pistol....and the squibs are more thasn likely missed powder drops....best of luck....reloading can be a lot of fun and frustrating at the same time

TonyT
April 1, 2013, 02:14 PM
In my limited testing plated bullets provide ca. 10% lower velocity than similar weight plain lead bullets.

Certaindeaf
April 1, 2013, 02:39 PM
In my limited testing plated bullets provide ca. 10% lower velocity than similar weight plain lead bullets.
That ca will do it to you every time. What the heck is ca?

floydster
April 1, 2013, 04:59 PM
Ya, what is ca????

Smokeyloads

Fishslayer
April 2, 2013, 02:50 PM
floydsters a wise man, but I'll have to say I load light loads in .357 brass all the time.

^^^ This. I hardly ever use .38 brass for my range fodder. It avoids the carbon ring.

.38 SP+P charge of Bullseye or Green Dot in a .357 case with a 158gr LSWC seated just past the crimp groove works pretty well for me.

floydster
April 3, 2013, 12:28 AM
I use Pink Dot in my 357 mag:)

JRWhit
April 6, 2013, 10:07 AM
My recent findings that may be helpful.
I also use Unique and was trying to load a plinker with low recoil for my mom in 38 special using 38 cases. Using 4.8 gn of Unique behind a 125 gn bullet. I found that I was not getting complete ignition, verified by unburned powder found after firing. I did not get any squibs but I could imagine that the problem would be compounded with the longer 357 case. I abandoned Unique and and went to HP38/Win231 loading 4 gn behind a 125 gn copper plated bullet. The results are far more consistent with a very mild recoil, and fairly clean cases.
I have been quite fond of unique for mid range loads, especially in 45acp. But have found,through advice of experienced here at THR and now with trial and error, that HP38/Win231 is better suited for reduced loads.

dmazur
April 6, 2013, 03:10 PM
I understand that you are being careful with the 550, but I will offer this -

Too much checking, on the press, can cause confusion. (I am an engineer, and we tend toward compulsive, and I can manage to get myself confused...)

Just because the buttons are removable doesn't mean you should ever do this while doing a production run. If you have to, because something jammed, then I would suggest clearing all the stations and starting over.

I check powder charge every box, which is 50 for pistol and 20 for rifle. I use the break in production to label the box, make an entry in my Excel spreadsheet, walk around a little, etc. And I check powder charge with a reserved case (with a fired primer to contain the powder) which never gets used as a completed round. That's the only time I have the button out at Station 2.

I set up seating depth by making a dummy round, or using a previously-created dummy round, and that's the only time I have the button out at Station 3.

I set up crimp by making a dummy round and "sneaking up" on the crimp until it is what I want. That's the only time I have the button out at Station 4.

So, if you are checking rounds "mid-process", I am suggesting you might want to modify that. The progressive press isn't intended to be played with, despite someone's level of concern. You set it up correctly, operate it consistently, and it makes uniform (safe) rounds.

That, of course, is just my opinion. But it might be worth consideration if you are having trouble.

erikk8829
April 6, 2013, 09:50 PM
I also have been reloading for 60+ years pistol, rifle, shotgun & BP & never have had a squib. Why? I visual EVERY case before I seat bullet, or shot & I load ALONE so there are no distractions

35 Whelen
April 7, 2013, 01:57 AM
I've loaded gobs and gobs and gobs of .38's for my wife and I to shoot in CAS. I load a 130 gr. cast RNFP and a 160 gr. SWC and they're loaded in .38 cases, but to an o.a.l. that's nearly that of a .357 so they'll feed in her Rossi, so for all practical purposes, they're being loaded in .357 cases. It's a very light load of either Clays or Red Dot. Due to the nature of CAS, we shoot with the muzzles at varying angles, but usually more downward than anything. I've used every brand of primer under the sun, but currently am using Tula lead-free as that's all Graf's had in stock at the end of last year. Have never, ever once had a squib or a bullet stuck in a barrel on either revolver or more importantly the rifle.
I shoot copious amounts of Unique in my .38's .357's and especially my .44 Specials...my 4 lb. keg is almost empty. I load straight from either an RCBS UniFlow or Lyman No. 55 powder measure. Unique isn't the best metering powder out there, but variations in thrown charges are hardly enough to cause squibs in any of the mentioned calibers.

Although everyone here has made some good suggestions, but I believe your problem lies elsewhere:

I have a Uniquetek precision baffle.

I'd bet a dollar to a donut hole that this is your problem. A few years ago I was shooting lots of skeet and sporting clays with a 20 ga. and was loading my shells on a MEC Grabber progressive loader. I had used a 12 ga. Grabber years before when I was on our 4-H trap team and never had a single problem with squibs out of thousands of rounds. Same with the 20 ga. at first. Then at one point I ordered and installed an adjustable powder and shot bar which I checked with a powder scale when I first installed it. At the same time, I installed a powder baffle.
I immediately began getting squibs to the tune of a least 1 per 25 shells, sometimes two or three. I checked and re-checked the powder and shot charges being dropped by the bar, but the squibs kept on. As a last resort I removed the powder baffle and to this day have never had another squib.
I likewise had one of the Uniquetek baffles in my UniFlow, but was getting inconsistent charges when I'd throw and weigh charges for rifle cartridges. I finally removed the baffle. Problem solved. I can't explain why this happened and I know that countless thousands of folks are using baffles with no problems.
Remove the powder baffle and I'll guarantee you your problems will go away.

35W

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