Stupid mistake


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JSmith
June 28, 2013, 08:35 AM
I was shooting some .38 spl I'd loaded in an S&W model 36-10: 4.5 gr. W231, Berrys PFP 125 gr bullets, Remington Small Pistol primers. Near the end of the second box I had a sequence that went like this:

Bang. Bang. BANG!! pop.

Uh-oh.

I opened the cylinder, and sure enough there was a bullet stuck in the forcing cone. Obviously, I'd double-dropped one round and failed to charge the next one.

A couple of observations:

1) That 36-10 is a very strong little revolver. After close inspection I'm unable to determine which cylinder the double-charged round was in, and that would have been 9 gr. of 231 - an enormous overload.

2) I still have no idea how that mistake occurred. My quality control is usually pretty good (meaning this hasn't happened to me before.) Of course, I weighed every remaining round from that batch and found no other overloads or squibs. All I can do is pay closer attention and maybe load fewer rounds in one sitting.

3) My reading of the threads on this forum taught me to recognize and react to the situation when it occurred. Thanks, THR!

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Reefinmike
June 28, 2013, 08:55 AM
WOAH buddy! first off, a squib or double load should never happen, but having a double load and then continuing on your merry way to a squib? No disrespect, but that is foolish to continue on. When the double charge occurred, you should have been red in the face, packed up as quick as possible and hightailed your way back to reevaluate your system/ pull all the rounds you loaded and weigh.

1) If it was truely a double charge, 9 grains of 231 in a 38spl case under a 125gr berrys, the case should have been sticking a bit in the cylinder and with a flattened out primer. Heck, I use 7.5gr in a 357 case and they occasionally require a bit of work to extract

2)how are you loading your rounds? you should be looking into each case to verify proper powder charge. It may be a good idea for you to step away from the bench for a bit and buy some trail boss powder. that way a double charge will be to the tippy top of the case if not overflowing.

3) Again, not to bash, but if you "recognized the situation" you would have ended your day at the double charge and not gone on to a squib load.

Jcinnb
June 28, 2013, 08:57 AM
The other week, shooting my first 60 reloads, i head a huge BANG.

Checked my fingers and ok, checked my gun, ok.

Then I realized I had not put my ear protection back on after the range clear break.

Felt stupid, but I was relieved.

Certaindeaf
June 28, 2013, 09:01 AM
What machine are you loading on?

dogrunner
June 28, 2013, 09:31 AM
You present a powerful argument for choosing a maximum density powder........something that you can't inadvertently dump a double charge with.

I love bullseye, but I exercise extreme caution when I use the stuff as I well recall a couple of incidents in a PD once worked for that handloaded it's practice stuff on a Starr. I recall one cracked forcing cone, one cylinder that had to be replaced and one frame that cracked. Not to mention the numerous squibs stuck in barrels!

Granted, the incidents I mention took place over about two decades, but it sure reinforced my extreme caution, especially when using a progressive machine.

JSmith
June 28, 2013, 11:12 AM
having a double load and then continuing on your merry way to a squib? No disrespect, but that is foolish to continue on.

I will not disagree with that. The large bang was a lot louder and perkier than the rounds before it but I use 9gr. in reduced .44 mag loads, and the recoil didn't feel like 9gr. in a much heavier gun. I only assume I double charged one because the following round was a squib - my best guess was that 2 rounds of powder went into one. Maybe not. But still, you are correct - that would have been a good time to stop.

What machine are you loading on?

Lee Classsic turret. Not using as a progressive; I perform one operation (sizing, seating, etc. on a batch of cases before moving to the next step.)

Missionary
June 28, 2013, 11:27 AM
Greetings
First I am glad you are OK and the revolver is also.
About 50 years ago my dad returned home with an S&W 38 Special revolver blown apart. Top strap standing straight up still attached to the front of the receiver at the barrel. Nearly the top half of the cylinder gone. He and his Navy buddy reloaded 38 special by the hundreds I think using Bullseye but or another fast powder with 148 gr HBWC on top. Dad was not injured but lost feeling in his hand for a while. Revolver sat on the reloading bench for years but dissaperred when I was in the Army.
When I use those very fast powders I look into the case of everyone before a bullet gets placed on top. I use 10x more Unique than 231 or Bullseye.
Mike in Peru

Certaindeaf
June 28, 2013, 11:28 AM
.Lee Classsic turret. Not using as a progressive; I perform one operation (sizing, seating, etc. on a batch of cases before moving to the next step.)
Well that's surprising. Do you have/put them in blocks after/during charging prior to batch seating or do you drop, spin the turret and then seat?
Either way, eyeball each one and make sure you have good light.
And Red-Dot is a nice fluffy powder with about 80% fill in many handgun cartridges.

Muddydogs
June 28, 2013, 11:37 AM
Did the squid bullet make it out of the barrel? If so I would think there was a little powder in the case.

Walkalong
June 28, 2013, 11:38 AM
I see every powder charge I seat a bullet over. If your set up doesn't allow that, use a powder cop die.

1KPerDay
June 28, 2013, 12:57 PM
Lee Classsic turret. Not using as a progressive; I perform one operation (sizing, seating, etc. on a batch of cases before moving to the next step.)
Use the auto-indexing/progressive rod and it'll be a lot harder to double charge a case. You have to really work at it.

Glad you still have your fingers and eyes. :)

Certaindeaf
June 28, 2013, 01:13 PM
You have a point there 1K.. however, if he's true "batching" them, exactly like a single stage, I can't see how this could have happened.

Captaingyro
June 28, 2013, 01:31 PM
Thank you for sharing this episode; everyone who 'fesses up gives us all a chance to learn.

Let me add one thing to what everyone else has said: distraction. You can have sound practices, and exercise enormous self-discipline, and still be tripped up by extraneous "noise" in your environment.

One afternoon I had just started loading on the progressive when my wife popped in needing something. I took care of it, and went back to reloading. I hadn't pulled the handle three more times when daughter #1 dropped in. I spent some time with her, pulled the handle a few more times, and daughter #2 stopped me for something else.

When I finally turned back to the reloading bench, I saw about ten rounds in the hopper, and realized I couldn't remember diddly about the whole session up 'til then. I decided to just pull all the bullets and start over (with the door closed.) All the rounds turned out to be OK, but it just wasn't worth the risk.

Whenever you're distracted at the bench, put up a mental red flag, and make sure the interruption hasn't caused a potentially disastrous error.

1KPerDay
June 28, 2013, 01:48 PM
You have a point there 1K.. however, if he's true "batching" them, exactly like a single stage, I can't see how this could have happened.
I can... you can fit 4 or more charges of W231 in a .38 special case... and 2 charges looks pretty much like 1 charge to the casual eye. You have to really look down into the cases with a good light to see the 4 grain charge at all. Easy to get distracted, take a break, whatever... and leave a case in the shell holder for an extra pull of the handle. The key is "get distracted" or get sloppy somewhere in the process. You are certainly correct that with proper attention, batch reloading is no more dangerous than progressive reloading. I'm not saying that. However, with this particular press with the auto indexing rod in place, if you're stroking the handle all the way, it's almost impossible to double charge a case unless you remove the case for some reason, cycle the press a couple of strokes and reinsert it before the charging die... and/or manually turn back the die turret. Squibs are always a possibility with every system and all powder charges should be visually checked before seating a bullet, as has been stated above.

I'm assuming the OP is charging on the press. That may not be the case.


However, I agree that pulling the trigger again after the BOOOOM! was foolish.

Dontkillbill
June 28, 2013, 02:21 PM
I had a similar thing happen to me when I first started shooting and I was changing to a different charging system. Well I learned from my sins and seeing how your open about what happened I expect you learned from your mistake. I was lucky and it cost me a new barrel. The old barrel is on wall by my press as a reminder to take my time.

Certaindeaf
June 28, 2013, 02:35 PM
When I used to batch mine, I'd either bring the case to the measure or the measure to the case. In the former, you then place the charged case in a block and repeat and in the latter, you'd kinda pay attention, them being in a block and all. All with a final close eyeballing.

mdi
June 28, 2013, 03:24 PM
I see every powder charge I seat a bullet over. If your set up doesn't allow that, use a powder cop die.
Me too. And after a while, with experience you will be able to spot "something not right" along with no-charge and double-charge. I was reloading 9mm with Unique and charged 30 cases. I was inspecting all 30 in the reloading block and one seemed a bit fuller than the others, not much, mebbe a grain (?). I dumped the case into the scale pan and there was a small pistol primer in there along with a charge of Unique. I had a bunch of primed and ready brass in a baggy and somehow I had 2 primers in the bag with the cases and one of the primers stayed in the case until it got charged. Good eyes, Mike!

JSmith
June 28, 2013, 05:20 PM
Did the squid bullet make it out of the barrel?

No, it barely made it into the barrel - the base of the bullet was even with the mouth of the forcing cone. It wasn't in there very tight either - four taps on the end of a dowel with a 16oz mallet popped it right out.

I'm assuming the OP is charging on the press. That may not be the case.

When I used to batch mine, I'd either bring the case to the measure or the measure to the case.

I bring the case to the measure (RCBS Uniflow) one at a time.

Here's what I think went wrong. What I used to do (up until the above happened) was to decap/resize 50 or 100 cases and put them in the loading blocks base up so I could tell they were unprimed. When I primed, I'd place eachprimed case back in the block as it was done, base down this time. Then, when I charged, I'd pick a case out of the block, charge it, place it back in the block, and pick up the next one to the right (or the first one in the next row.)

I see now that that was an accident waiting to happen - much too easy to break concentration and pick the same case twice. My new modified procedure is to put primed uncharged cases into plastic Gladware containers. Then they go from the container to the powder measure, and from the measure to the loading block only after they've been charged. Then, of course, visual inspection (which I always do anyway except, apparently, for one particular time.)

Remind me every once in a while to pay attention to what I'm doing, OK? :o

Bovice
June 28, 2013, 05:25 PM
The other week, shooting my first 60 reloads, i head a huge BANG.

Checked my fingers and ok, checked my gun, ok.

Then I realized I had not put my ear protection back on after the range clear break.

Felt stupid, but I was relieved.
Lol I've done this. Scared the hell out of me.

My rule is that I do not seat a bullet into a case without visually looking into the case for pistol rounds in conjunction with a powder cop die. In cases that I cannot see into, a powder cop die is used by itself.

Following those rules will keep you from having a squib or double charge.

gamestalker
June 28, 2013, 06:50 PM
Even though I have used only single stage presses and have never desired anything any faster, I still won't load with a powder that will let a double fit in the case. As for squibs, from the very beginning 30+ yrs. ago inspect each case under a light to make sure I haven't missed one. We are human, and as such, we should make every attempt, and take every possible step to prevent mistakes of this nature from occurring.

I am so glad to hear that you didn't get injured. This hobby can very easily end our life or cost us our vision in the fraction of a second if we become complacent or over confident.

GS

raddiver
June 29, 2013, 11:12 AM
Then, when I charged, I'd pick a case out of the block, charge it, place it back in the block, and pick up the next one to the right (or the first one in the next row.)



Generally what i will do in this batch charge stage:
1. Dump powder into the funnel
2. Tap a few times, inspect for no bridging
3. Immediately move the funnel to the next case
4. Begin measuring next charge
repeat 1-4

If i have to get distracted, i make sure to finish that case, and ill stuff something in the next case i would charge. That way when i come back, my attention is focused on that case which will be the next one i focus on.

Maybe it's a good tip, maybe not. But thought id share nonetheless.

-RAD

KansasSasquatch
June 29, 2013, 01:01 PM
When I load on a single stage I seat a bullet immediately after charging and visually confirming the charge. I'm sure some would say that's dangerous but to me it seems much less dangerous than charging all of them and then trying to visually confirm them all at the same time. My eyes focus better on the charge if I'm handling one at a time rather than trying to look at 50-100 in the block. YOU have to figure out the method that works best for YOU.

ArchAngelCD
June 30, 2013, 02:00 AM
No, it barely made it into the barrel - the base of the bullet was even with the mouth of the forcing cone. It wasn't in there very tight either - four taps on the end of a dowel with a 16oz mallet popped it right out.





I bring the case to the measure (RCBS Uniflow) one at a time.

Here's what I think went wrong. What I used to do (up until the above happened) was to decap/resize 50 or 100 cases and put them in the loading blocks base up so I could tell they were unprimed. When I primed, I'd place eachprimed case back in the block as it was done, base down this time. Then, when I charged, I'd pick a case out of the block, charge it, place it back in the block, and pick up the next one to the right (or the first one in the next row.)

I see now that that was an accident waiting to happen - much too easy to break concentration and pick the same case twice. My new modified procedure is to put primed uncharged cases into plastic Gladware containers. Then they go from the container to the powder measure, and from the measure to the loading block only after they've been charged. Then, of course, visual inspection (which I always do anyway except, apparently, for one particular time.)

Remind me every once in a while to pay attention to what I'm doing, OK? :o
Why are you batch loading handgun ammo on a Classic Turret Press? The whole reason for owning a turret press is to load ammo in 4 steps until you have a completed round. That could not have happened if you used the auto-index rod and left the case in the press until it was done.

joneb
June 30, 2013, 02:19 AM
I would have the gun checked out buy a licensed gun smith. There could be unseen trouble.

FROGO207
June 30, 2013, 10:53 AM
I batch process also but my process is different. I believe it is safer also.;)

I deprime, flare, clean, etc. then set aside the brass for reloading in bulk containers.

I am right handed and work from left to right. I use TWO loading blocks. I fill the loading block with primed brass in the left hand block primer up. This assures I have a properly primed empty case. When the block is full I put the container of brass I was taking them out of in a different area so I can NOT reach it from where I am working easily.

I then take a case out of the block and turn it over then charge the case with my method of dispensing. Measure, scoop and funnel or whatever.

Next I put that case into the second loading block located to the right of the powder measure. Repeat till all the brass is filled and check all the charges for proper fill (equal amounts) with a bright light. Then I move the loading block with charged cases to the left of the press.

Last step is to seat the bullets one at a time and drop the completed rounds into the first loading block now located to the right of the press.

I do this process one loading block full (60 rounds) at a time. So far I never have had a squib or overcharge of any sort while using this method. This method might work well for you too.:) YMMV

BTW If I am interrupted I will stop at a point that is obvious so that I can resume without problems. Empty hands at a minimum or at a full loading block of charged cases for example.

ArchAngelCD
June 30, 2013, 05:18 PM
I batch process also but my process is different. I believe it is safer also.;)

I deprime, flare, clean, etc. then set aside the brass for reloading in bulk containers.

I am right handed and work from left to right. I use TWO loading blocks. I fill the loading block with primed brass in the left hand block primer up. This assures I have a properly primed empty case. When the block is full I put the container of brass I was taking them out of in a different area so I can NOT reach it from where I am working easily.

I then take a case out of the block and turn it over then charge the case with my method of dispensing. Measure, scoop and funnel or whatever.

Next I put that case into the second loading block located to the right of the powder measure. Repeat till all the brass is filled and check all the charges for proper fill (equal amounts) with a bright light. Then I move the loading block with charged cases to the left of the press.

Last step is to seat the bullets one at a time and drop the completed rounds into the first loading block now located to the right of the press.

I do this process one loading block full (60 rounds) at a time. So far I never have had a squib or overcharge of any sort while using this method. This method might work well for you too.:) YMMV

BTW If I am interrupted I will stop at a point that is obvious so that I can resume without problems. Empty hands at a minimum or at a full loading block of charged cases for example.
Do you batch process on a turret press? I was not saying batch processing was a bad thing. I do so with rifle ammo all the time. I was just commenting on what a waste it is to have a turret press and not take advantage of it's speed and built in safety when loading handgun ammo.

35 Whelen
June 30, 2013, 07:19 PM
First, to the OP, I commend you for being forthcoming. And, don't beat yourself up over the mistake or the fact that you continued shooting. As is evidenced here, it's easy to sit at the keyboard and throw rocks at others.

I too have a method that so far has been flawless. I load on an old Lyman turret press and when loading for CAS matches or just for lots of shooting, my method is as follows:

Size all the cases in a batch (typically 150 ea. x 2 calibers for CAS).
Flare all the cases in a batch.
Clean all the cases (if necessary).
Prime all the cases in a batch.
Charge directly from the powder measure. To do so, I pick up the entire 50 round block full of prepped cases and charge each case directly from the measure going down the rows of cases. The secret, as simple as it is, is to COUNT. Count each throw of the handle as you charge each case. If you're not at "50" when you charge the last case, there's a problem, but I've never had that happen. Picking up the entire loading block and charging the cases makes it much more difficult to lose track of which case is to be charged next.

This method works every time regardless of how many cases you're charging.

35W

FROGO207
July 1, 2013, 06:32 AM
I have a SS press and a turret both set up on the bench. I use the RCBS turret heads to hold my most common rifle dies mostly, three to a head so no need to reset the dies each time I want to change calibers. The SS for processing handgun brass. I prime with a Lee hand primer as well. If you have several loading blocks the process is much faster when charging multiple blocks at a time and stacking them. Time saved is not worth the possibility of a bad load to me or I would just go to a progressive and be done with it.:) The big thing is having ONLY the number of brass you are working with on the bench at a time and moving them to a different location for a positive result to keep track of the process. If you put a charged case back into the first loading block in my system it will be really obvious. Also the check levels of propellant at the end assures no over or undercharge as a complete separate redundant check. Just my way.:D

JSmith
July 2, 2013, 09:18 PM
Why are you batch loading handgun ammo on a Classic Turret Press?

That's a fair question. The answer is that old habits are hard to break. Years ago I worked as a lab technician (testing industrial materials); standard practice in that shop was to perform one operation of a procedure on each of as many as several hundred samples before moving on to the next step in the process.

What the turret press gives me is the ability to switch calibers as easily as swapping out one turret plate for another. I have turret plates with dies set up for .44 mag, .357 mag, .38 spl, and .45 acp. I can change those out knowing the dies are adjusted exactly the way they were the last time I loaded that caliber.

First, to the OP, I commend you for being forthcoming.

Sure. This is how we learn. I've read enough other peoples' cautionary tales here that I don't mind posting one of my own.

bigfinger76
July 3, 2013, 06:58 PM
I load one-at-a-time on a RockChucker. I size, deprime, clean and flare all cases beforehand. Then set up my seating die. Once I'm ready to load, I drop powder and weigh. If weight is good, I charge the case, then immediately place a bullet into it and seat.
Tedious? Somewhat, but damn near impossible to screw up.

mdi
July 3, 2013, 07:53 PM
Why are you batch loading handgun ammo on a Classic Turret Press? The whole reason for owning a turret press is to load ammo in 4 steps until you have a completed round. That could not have happened if you used the auto-index rod and left the case in the press until it was done.
Sorry, totally disagree with your definition of using a turret press. My turret press is not a progressive, nor a semi-progressive. A turret press is to keep all the dies in one place, already adjusted, easily changed functions/dies, and easily switched between cartridges/calibers (BTW, I think the Lee turret may be the only auto-index turret available, but I could be wrong). I batch load on my turret press and many times I'll do one or two operations at a sitting (size/decap, and prime a couple hundred. Later mebbe flare and prime and at another session charge, seat, crimp).

If I wanted a "put in a case and pull the lever several times and out pops a finished cartridge" press, I'd go with a dedicated, designed for large quantities of ammo, progressive press; Dillon...

stompah
July 5, 2013, 12:30 PM
For the OP, when I have all my charged brass in a loading block I not only use a flashlight to verify some powder in the cases but I also shine the flashlight at about a 45 degree angle and compare powder levels off all the cases. Doing I have yet to have once cartridge feel different from the others when firing.


Also try getting a bulkier powder. The costs savings isn't worth it. As mentioned before pick up some traillboss. I use it in my .357 for some powder puff loads and really enjoy shooting it.

JSmith
July 6, 2013, 10:23 AM
Also try getting a bulkier powder. The costs savings isn't worth it.

I'm not concerned with cost; I like 231 because it meters accurately.

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