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Squib woes

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by pittspilot, Mar 24, 2013.

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  1. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    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.
     
  2. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    When you say squib you mean the bullet never makes it out of the barrel, yes?
     
  3. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    Yes,

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

    TBH Member

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    Bad powder? Damp? Sounds like the primer is pushing the bullet into the barrel.
     
  5. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    Thanks for our thoughts. The powder is new Unique and has never been damp.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  6. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Member

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    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.
     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    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?
     
  8. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    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.
     
  9. kimbernut
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    kimbernut Member

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    Squibs

    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?
     
  10. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    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?
     
  11. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    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.
     
  12. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    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.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.
     
  14. hovercat

    hovercat Member

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    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.
     
  15. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Unique From 6.0 grains to 8.3 grains in 357 mag. 158gr jacketed

    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  16. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    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.
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.
     
  18. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    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.
     
  19. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    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
     
  20. Lagarto

    Lagarto Member

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    Light Bullseye loads in Magnum cases

    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
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  21. kimbernut
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    kimbernut Member

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    Advice

    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.
     
  22. hovercat

    hovercat Member

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    You can use .38 data in 357 cases by loading to the same length.
     
  23. ASCTLC

    ASCTLC Member

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    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
     
  24. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    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.
     
  25. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I would suspect a primer problem failing to fully ignite the charge. Are there unburned powder granules in the squibs?
     
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