Help Diagnose My Problem...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by andcam, Mar 12, 2009.

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  1. andcam

    andcam Member

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    I've been loading 45ACP: 230gr Spear Lead RN, 5.5gr W231, Winchester Brass, Winchester Large Pistol Primers. 1.265OAL

    The load has been working out quite nicely until today...I was at the range and fired off 50 with no problem, and then I got a squib load (pop, sizzle, slide not cycling all the way) I cleared it and double checked the second box (shook rounds to make sure powder was in them...) Resumed shooting and 2 rounds later ANOTHER ONE! All in all, I had 4 in 10 rounds squib load. (I tested 10 after that loading ONE round in the magazine at a time.) Every single round that squibbed was lodged around the first inch of the barrel.

    I was dead certain that I charged each case, but I went home measured OAL and pulled the remaining bullets. Each case had powder...5.5gr to be exact. I rechecked to make sure that all the brass was within trim-to and maximum lengh, and it was. I checked my fired brass and there were no trouble signs and my gun was functioning and was not damaged.

    My question is: What is going on here?!?! I cleaned my FNP-45 and fired 50 rounds of 230gr Speer TMJ RN (5.5gr w231, WLP primers) and I had no problems...The bullet is the only difference between either two loads.

    Could it possibly be bad primers? If so, wouldn't the whole lot be bad? All rounds fired came from the same lot of winchester large pistol primers. (Lot: BAL105G)

    ...Or is it just me? This is the first time I've encountered such a problem. I don't think I made a mistake (super anal person who uses a single stage press and checks CONSTANTLY...) and 4 out of 10 rounds DOES seem fishy. I don't think I contaminated them (I use one of those RCBS auto prime tubes.) but who knows?

    I'm really confused. Any help would be appreciated...
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Primers not seated fully? That load should work great. :)
     
  3. andcam

    andcam Member

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    I know! They work wonderfully...this is the first issue I've had out of about 1000ish rounds fired with this load. I made sure before firing each of the 10 rounds I tested that the primers were below flush...I didn't have a means to measure exactly how below flush they were at the range though. Could some of them be seated too deep?
     
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Hard to seat them too deep. You can "crush" a primer, but it is very difficult to do. I have tried. When seating each primer just run your finger or thumb over each one. If it is not flush or better, you can feel it.
     
  5. andcam

    andcam Member

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    That's what I do. :) I'm thinking somehow, I contaminated the primers...but I don't know how I did so. I keep my primers in a cupboard and only used what I need (100 at a time). I dump them on my tray, flip them, and pick them up with my primer tube (RCBS).

    Another mystery of life...makes me want to break down the 300 or so rounds I have left. :banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead:
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    That is very tough to do as well. Handling them with reasonably clean hands won't hurt a thing.
     
  7. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    No powder or contaminated powder is my guess.
     
  8. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Sounds like all the primers went off just fine. When you opened the action did you see powder residue or unburned powder in the chamber and behind the bullet? If you did you had fouled powder.
     
  9. MkgReloader

    MkgReloader Member

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    Were you using a single stage or progressive press to reload your cartridges? I had a similar problem with a batch of 250 38spl rounds I reloaded last year using a Lee Pro 1000 progressive press. About 12 of them had little or no powder. I got to drive the bullets out of the barrel of my Ruger Security Six with a range rod and ball peen hammer.

    I never figured out what went wrong and never had a problem in 5,000+ rounds since then.
     
  10. kestak

    kestak Member

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    Greetings,

    I think me too it can be contaminated primers. You said you are very meticulous and any bullets you pulled had the correct amount of powder. It would have been in my book the most probable cause :human error.

    Is it possible your primer holes were so dirty that it prevented the correct ignition of the powder? Because I inspect every of my brass carefully, I found a fe times a piece of crushed walnul inserted into the primer hole inside the brass.

    Thank you
     
  11. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Try reading the whole thread, andcam stated he's using a single stage press.:neener:

    My bet is no powder, or contaminated powder. Further, are you cleaning your brass with a liquid cleaner? If so, you didn't get them dry!

    Primers are darn near impossible to contaminate. Besides they DID fire! It's very normal for a bullet to be just started into the barrel BY THE PRIMER ALONE.

    Do you have a powder funnel? Take it, place the loaded round in the bottom of the funnel,(small end), shake the whole thing while holding near your ear at the open,(large end). The funnel acts like a megaphone, amplifying the sound of the power rattling around in the brass case. I've had hearing damage over the years, it's the onl;y way I can hear the powder in a shell. All bets are off if it a compressed load though.
     
  12. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    As others have said, no powder, very light charge or contaminated charge. If the powder was contaminated you'd know as you'd have flakes pouring out of the barrel when you removed the bullet.

    When loading on a single stage press normal procedure is to stage all charged cases in a loading block and then do a visual inspection to make sure they are all charged and the powder levels are the same. Using this method you can detect very small differences in charge weight, as well as obvious no charge or double charge. The proliferation of progressive loaders has for the most part eliminated the powder check so problems as you describe are more common. Short stroking the press, running out of powder, powder bridging in the drop tube, all can lead to rounds not being charged or charged completely.

    Very rarely you will see new brass that doesn't have a flash hole punched.

    Primers are extremely reliable and almost impossible to contaminate enough to neutralize. In over 30 years of reloading I've had exactly ONE primer failure and that was in a factory primed new brass. I've mashed primers flat in very tight primer pockets and they've always worked.
     
  13. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Member

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    If your "squibs" lodged in the first inch of the barrel, then the primer went off.

    If you had unburned powder in the action after each squib, then your powder has become contaminated somehow. Contact the powder manufacturer if you're pretty sure you didn't contaminate it.

    However, if you didn't have a bunch of unburned powder in the action, then there wasn't any (or hardly any) powder in the case. Since you're loading on a single-stage press, you need to recheck your process.

    If you're using a powder measure and a loading block, you need to use a light source to carefully check each case in the block after all have been charged to ensure each case has the same amount of powder as all the others in the block. Do this religiously! Only then do you proceed to bullet seating and crimping.

    I don't mean to be a scold, but 4 squibs in 10 rounds is an indication of something seriously wrong. Think back. Could you have been "distracted" while you were loading those rounds?
     
  14. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Seems like the primer went off and there was powder in the case that did not light. Either excess lube in the case or something moist that kept the powder from lighting would be my guess. Was the powder clumped up when you pulled the bullets?
     
  15. ants

    ants Member

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    Knowing nothing else about the situation, I would suggest that it is a light powder charge.

    Also, make sure your powder did not get accidentally mixed with some other powder.
     
  16. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

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    If nothing else I suspect a blocked flash hole. Media in the flash hole will block the fire, but the pressure is still there to drive the bullet into the barrel.
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Media in the flash hole will be blown away with the force of the primer like dust in the wind.
     
  18. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    There was the correct amount of powder in the case. Guess that roolz out the no powder/light powder guesses. :) I think I'll go with "moisture in the case/powder" for $200 Alex.
     
  19. andcam

    andcam Member

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    i forgot to add that powder was in the action/spilled all over a bit when gun was disassembled, sorry. i never though of powder going bad...i've used up (i.e. fired) almost 3/4lb of that container. i make it a habit of checking each case has powder after all are filled in the loading block and then checking when i put the round in the press before i seat the bullet.

    you know...i do use the liquid brass cleaner (birchwood casey stuff), and let brass air dry for two days. maybe said brass wasn't dry enough? but then again, the powder was not clumped on the rest of the rounds that i took apart...

    perplexing.

    i'm thinking save the bullets and brass, bin the powder and primers and replace with new...what do you think?:confused:
     
  20. Devon

    Devon Member

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    Methinks you've already answered your question. Pull the bullets, add new powder, and you're good to go. Get a tumbler and forget about drying the brass.
     
  21. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Bingo! What did I win?

    That's EXACTLY what happened to me, with EXACTLY the same stuff. Early on in my reloading career, I tried some birchwood casey brass cleaner. I didn't get the cases dry, probably because of the damp basement I was loading in. Squibs, and a couple of outright duds. Threw that crap on the ash heap, never again for a liquid cleaner!:cuss::banghead::fire::mad:
     
  22. kestak

    kestak Member

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    Greetings,

    Do yourself a favor: Use a tumbler with crushed walnut and a few caps of Nu-Finish. Let tumble a few hours and voila! Clean and shiny brass.

    Thank you
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    It's amazing how long cases can take to completely dry out without a heat source. Sun or whatever. Tumbling is the way to go, or lots of patience. :)
     
  24. liljohn

    liljohn Member

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    I think you solved it, but it could also be the wrong powder

    I think you've solved your problem, but it could also be the wrong powder.

    The ball powders look pretty similar. If you used a slower ball powder it might look exactly like 231 so you might not notice it. The slower powder may not ignite if you have too much volume in the case. The pressures may not get high enough for a decent burn.

    Sounds like your primers are fine, though.
     
  25. andcam

    andcam Member

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    i'm sure it's the right powder...all i have is w231 and bl-c(2) and i use a completely different powder measure for my rifles just so i don't get them mixed up.

    ok, so looks like it's back to the tumbler! thank you all for helping me work this out. :)
     
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