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Squib woes

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

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  1. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    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.
     
  3. shinyroks

    shinyroks Member

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    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. :)
     
  4. floydster

    floydster Member

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    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
     
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Fear of squibs (and, to a lesser extent, double charges) is why I sort my brass by headstamp and then weigh every finished round.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I see every charge I seat a bullet over. That is the only way I trust. :)

    Yep.
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  8. HKGuns

    HKGuns Member

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    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.
     
  9. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  10. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    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.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.
     
  12. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    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.
     
  13. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    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.
     
  14. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

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    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.
     
  15. stevehenry1

    stevehenry1 Member

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    Charge vs volume.

    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.
     
  16. A Pause for the Coz

    A Pause for the Coz Member

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    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.
     
  17. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    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.
     
  18. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    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/
    Use 357 load data in a 357 case. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  19. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    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.
     
  20. lonehunter

    lonehunter Member

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    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!
     
  21. floydster

    floydster Member

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    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
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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. ;)
     
  23. salm10

    salm10 Member

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    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.
     
  24. gilly6993

    gilly6993 Member

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    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
     
  25. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    In my limited testing plated bullets provide ca. 10% lower velocity than similar weight plain lead bullets.
     
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