.45 reloading question. need a problem solved


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Josephnagy1
October 30, 2013, 06:37 AM
I have been reloading for about 2 years now. I have just started .45's and I am having some problems. I am using a RCBS progressive. I have a powder checker installed as well. The problem i am having is I am getting squibs. I am am going slow enough to verify powder. with checker. I am seating properly. What am I missing? Am I using to little powder? Other rounds are going off accurately. I just don't understand. I am using Unique powder. 6.0g.

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Pete D.
October 30, 2013, 07:14 AM
The problem may well be the Unique. As versatile a propellant as it is (I always have some on the shelf), it does not meter well in small charges...especially in progressive presses.
You do not specify whether you are loading for .45 ACP or .45 Colt...though at 6.0 grains the issue is the same. What is different is the recommendation for an alternate propellant. For the .45 ACP both Bullseye and Win 231 are classics and meter well. Check a load manual for charge weights.
Pete

cfullgraf
October 30, 2013, 08:24 AM
Yes, Unique can be difficult difficult to measure.

First, it is probably better to use the small metering cavity with you Uniflow powder measure (Since you said you are using an RCBS progressive, I assume you hae a Uniflow powder measure).

If you do not have a baffle in the powder measure., I recommend using one.

When setting up, run 20-25 charges through the measure to make sure powder column has settled. Then set your powder charge.

While powder check dies tell you large variances in powder, small variances, not so much. I would measure charges frequently at this time until you are sure what the powder measure is throwing during actual reloading.

Unique is position sensitive in the case, whether the powder is against the primer or against the bullet when the trigger is pulled. With 8.0 to 8.5 grains on Unique behind a 255 grain bullet, I get up to 100 fps variances in velocities in 45 Colt depending on the position of the powder.

If you are loading 45 Colt, 6.0 grains of Unique might have greater variances. The large volume of the 45 Colt case and the small charge of Unique is the issue.

As Pete D said, there are other powders that meter better and would have less position issues than Unique in 45 Colt.

If you are loading 45 ACP, 6.0 grains of Unique will fill the case better and the position of the powder in the case should not be an issue.

There are many other 45 caliber handgun cartridges and some of the comments still apply, but a bit more information in the question would allow more specific answers.

Hope this helps.

Josephnagy1
October 30, 2013, 11:47 AM
I am doing ACP. I do use a baffle and I randomly check powder weight with a digital scale. When i say randomly I mean every 12-16 I will dump and check on scale. I chose 6.0 because it was the middle ground of the range scale from Alliant.

RealGun
October 30, 2013, 11:52 AM
Might try relaxing your pace on the press. I never place a bullet until I can see the powder in the case. I have the flexlight LED to enable doing that.

Backroad
October 30, 2013, 12:08 PM
Agree with the above. I gave up Unique in favor of Bullseye for my .45s. Meters much better.

al

stompah
October 30, 2013, 12:39 PM
You might want meter out a couple dozen loads and measure each one and see how much variation you truly have.

Is your bench solid enough that the press doesn't move?

If you need to load up some ammo before your able to fix your squid issue I recommend using your press as a single stage and using a loading block. After you have powder in each case you can look at the cases from a 45 degree angle to compare the amount of powder in each case.

I use accurate #2 in my uniflow with the small cylinder and have great results.

trixter
October 30, 2013, 01:10 PM
I've been using Bullseye for 4 years now and it seems to meter flawsly, I use Unique for rifle rounds, with a Lee dipper and scale (slow I know, but it works)

sexybeast
October 30, 2013, 01:16 PM
I just read above posts and am shaking my head. You can blame the powder for measuring badly but not for squibs. If a powder measures badly it will throw .2-.3gr one way or another at the most. You have an equipment problem or its set up wrong.
I don't have an RCBS progressive and I am not going to "guess" what problems you are having except something basic like your powder measure may be clogged with something or the case is not activating the "drop". It could be something else too but its not the powder.
Unique is not as bad as Red Dot for metering and I can get the both to drop with a cheap Lee powder disc measure within .2gr on my worst day.
First thing I would do is dump your powder out and look at it and for any clumps or stuff that may have fallen in. I had a spent primer fall into my powder somehow once.

Blue68f100
October 30, 2013, 01:40 PM
Make sure you doing full stokes on the cycling. Short stroking the ram will give you all kinds of problems on any Progressive.

Robert101
October 30, 2013, 06:15 PM
Yep, Sexb is on to something. Check your equipment. Unique will drop within a variance. No drop is mechanical not the powder.

BSA1
October 30, 2013, 06:41 PM
Where do you reload...unheated garage, shed, basement?

Do you empty the powder measure when you are done reloading?

What do you mean by squibs?

bronco_buster
October 30, 2013, 07:00 PM
So you are encountering true squibs? Can you describe what you're encountering when firing them?

When you say you have a "Powder Checker" installed...what are you talking about? RCBS Lockout die? Hornady Powder Cop Die? What device is checking your powder?

I'm unfamiliar with the RCBS progressive, my progressive is RED. But I do run an RCBS Lock Out Die which was a little sticky out of the box. It was the smoothest sliding of several that I opened and checked out before buying, but found that it would stick during reloading, so I had to disassemble it and polish the rod to get it to work flawlessly. It would stick in the up position and allow an uncharged case to go through. I think the oxide coating was to blame, after polishing it with flitz and lubing it up, its 100%. The adjustments on it are on a bit of a learning curve...but once I got the hang of it, I could switch it up in less than a minute. Its the closest thing to foolproof I think a die can get, but its still not 100%. My rhythm is scanning all positions sequentially while pulling and pushing the handle...watching the brass drop and slide into position, feel resistance of the resizer, see the powder drop arm raise to top of stroke, observe the lockout die moving up then down, glancing into the case as it rises to the seater where I pop a bullet on and repeat the process...it happens automatically now, but it takes a lot of concentration. There is a "feel" for each step of the process. If I don't get the feedback or "feel" that I expect, even if things look fine, I stop and examine what is happening.

Every case gets a glance before bullet seating to assure bullets are covering an appropriate looking charge.

I would personally re-set everything and set it back up from scratch. Then check the setup per your manual...and then begin at a snail's pace examining each step of the process until you get the "feel" for what the press feels like in each stage of the process...I imagine its gonna be like the LNL, where the "feel" is very obvious once you've done it enough to anticipate it...for instance...my primer checker alarm is the feeling I get when a case doesn't get primed...

wally
October 30, 2013, 08:04 PM
I've used 6.0 grs Unique any bullet, any case, any primer for about 30 years in .45ACP.

I'm not familiar with your RCBS progressive, most I've seen look Rube Goldburg contraptions to activate their manual measures on the progressive press (Hornaday was no different), but if its not charging reliably I'd invest $30 in a Lee Auto Disk measure and be done with it, if its not obvious how to solve the mechanical problem.

I've used the Lee Auto disk since day one, Dillon's measure basically works the same way but comes with an adjustable charge bar instead of disks.


You generally don't want to let the powder level in the reservoir drop much below 1/3rd full with any measure, certainly not below 1/4 full. Maybe this is the problem? They will be very erratic on the lite side as they start to "run dry".

warhwkbb
October 30, 2013, 08:39 PM
I use an RCBS progressive with the Uniflo measure. I also use Unique periodically. What happens when you measure several drops in a row?

If you are getting consistent (within .2-.3gr average) drops, you are probably having an issue with your scale.

Please buy or borrow another scale or get some calibrated scale weights and make sure you are actually dropping the proper amount of powder.

Like others have mentioned, use the small UniFlo drum and make sure you get to within 1\8" at the top of the stroke. Are you using the Pistol bushing?

Josephnagy1
October 30, 2013, 08:54 PM
So many questions to try to answer

I reload in my garage. It is unheated and I live in Cleveland,Oh so it gets hot hell in the summer and cold as **** in the winter. I do not empty of the uniflow. Powder checker is a die that doesn't "measure" the powder just confirms there is powder in the brass. this is set up obviously after powder dispense.

I think i need to break it all down and start over.

Squib is when a round goes off but the bullet head does not make it out of the barrel.

243winxb
October 30, 2013, 09:21 PM
If you don't empty the uniflow & with a baffle, i would guess bridging of the powder. Along with not checking the checker. When dropping any powder from the measure, bridging may happen. The speed that the measure is operated at has an effect. Fast dropping of the powder may bridge at times. Slower moverment of the measure handle will have more of a trickle affect, no bridging. Some measures have a Handgun Metering Drum for loading small amounts of powder. The optional drum will give less weight variations & slower drop. A drop tube for 22 caliber can restrict the powder drop more then the larger caliber one. Powders that have bridged for me are 800X & Blue Dot when loading 45 acp. Other Example > When it happens, the first case gets less then the required amount, but enough to work the action of a 40 S&W. The next case gets the normal powder change, plus the remaining bridged powder. The maximun load of 11.2 gr of Blue Dot goes into the case, plus the bridged amount of 3.5 gr. When fired, KABOOM. Always look into the case to check powder levels before seating a bullet. Not easy to do using a progressive press. A single stage press, use loading blocks. Very easy to check the powder levels this way. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/th_Bridging_20100106_1.jpg (http://s338.photobucket.com/user/joe1944usa/media/Bridging_20100106_1.jpg.html)

cfullgraf
October 31, 2013, 12:30 AM
I do not empty of the uniflow.

Among other issues, when powders are left in the powder measures, the solvents flashing off will etch and damage the hopper over time.

It is best to empty the measure when you are done for the day.

ljnowell
October 31, 2013, 01:42 AM
Among other issues, when powders are left in the powder measures, the solvents flashing off will etch and damage the hopper over time.

It is best to empty the measure when you are done for the day.

Yep, Ol' Skeeter found that out with his Cow Killer loads.

Glock Doctor
October 31, 2013, 07:24 AM
RCBS powder measures come with two different size drums: one for large cartridges, and the other for small. Are you using the correct size drum? (Don't try to successfully throw small charges while using the larger drum.)

I've never in my life heard of Unique powder being position sensitive; (or prone to detonate) Bulleye, definitely yes, but not Unique; and any charge at or over 6 grains doesn't need oatmeal or kapok over the top of the charge in order to avoid detonation.

Anyway powder detonation problems apply mostly to very small charges of very fast powders and, especially, to intermittent (or first) shots. After the gun recoils you're safe to continue the shot string. Old time reloaders, like me, have the habit of elevating a pistol's muzzle before either taking a shot, or beginning a shot string with Bullseye in the gun.

If you're getting a lot of squibs I suspect that you're being, 'lazy on the press handle'. I always bring the handle to a firm snap at the top of the stroke, and then I let it, more or less, bang down at the bottom of the stroke. Too gentle a hand on the press handle, or not going fully all the way up and down might be contributing to your squib problem.

Don't use older powder that either smells sour, or has a pronounced brownish hue to it. Always remove the powder from the measure after use; and make a nice clean pour every time you fill the measure again. The inside of the powder measure drum and cannister should be kept very clean and dry. On a well used press cleaning out the powder measure is something that's best done several times a year.

Personally I've used many, many pounds of Unique powder without, ever once, experiencing the problem you seem to be having. Neither have I ever been frugal to the point of using small charges of any fast powder. (Yes, Unique - while not as fast as Bullseye - is considered to be a fast powder. Just not dangerously so.)

It has to be either something you're using or doing incorrectly, or it's in your reloading habits. Suggest you pay careful attention to how you raise and lower your press handle. I, also, doubt it's either fresh or properly stored Unique powder that's screwing you up. (You're keeping your powder cool and dry - correct?)

The final thing I can think to tell you is not to make the typical beginner's mistake of trying to move cartridge cases through the press too fast. Slow down, take your time, pay attention to the, 'little details'. Carefully watch what you're doing. Skillful reloading takes time and requires all of your attention - Which (Surprise!) can reward you, over and over again, by taking your mind off any life problems that might have driven you to the reloading bench for a few hour's solace.

warhwkbb
October 31, 2013, 10:24 AM
So many questions to try to answer

I reload in my garage. It is unheated and I live in Cleveland,Oh so it gets hot hell in the summer and cold as **** in the winter. I do not empty of the uniflow. Powder checker is a die that doesn't "measure" the powder just confirms there is powder in the brass. this is set up obviously after powder dispense.

I think i need to break it all down and start over.

Squib is when a round goes off but the bullet head does not make it out of the barrel.
When you had your squib, was there unburned powder in the barrel\chamber?

I'm guessing you completely missed the powder drop step in your progressive even though you have a powder check die!!???

Every time your lever goes down, the cases will rotate. You can not repeat any operation without the cases advancing.

I would get a flexible LED and mount it so you can visually see that each case has been charged before placing a bullet. It seems that your powder checker die is not set up correctly either.

Arkansas Paul
October 31, 2013, 12:48 PM
Among other issues, when powders are left in the powder measures, the solvents flashing off will etch and damage the hopper over time.

It darn sure will. I left one half full of Bullseye for about a month and it is pockmarked to hell on the inside. I took an old toothbrush and scrubbed it like crazy to get all of the little flakes out.

And yes, Unique can be a PITA with small charges. I use it for .45 Colt but I've stopped trying with .40 and 9mm. I know if I go a little over or under with the big .45 load in the Blackhawk, no harm done. I don't want to play with it in the smaller cases though. 9mm and .40 are high pressure to begin with. I may be overthinking it or being over cautious, but I prefer Bullseye or W231/HP-38 in the small cases simply because they meter so well.

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