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Stupid mistake

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JSmith, Jun 28, 2013.

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  1. JSmith

    JSmith Member

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    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!
     
  2. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    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.
     
  3. Jcinnb

    Jcinnb Member

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    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.
     
  4. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    What machine are you loading on?
     
  5. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    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.
     
  6. JSmith

    JSmith Member

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    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.

    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.)
     
  7. Missionary

    Missionary Member

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    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
     
  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    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.
     
  9. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    Did the squid bullet make it out of the barrel? If so I would think there was a little powder in the case.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I see every powder charge I seat a bullet over. If your set up doesn't allow that, use a powder cop die.
     
  11. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    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. :)
     
  12. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    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.
     
  13. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Member

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    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.
     
  14. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    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.
     
  15. Dontkillbill

    Dontkillbill Member

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    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.
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    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.
     
  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    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!
     
  18. JSmith

    JSmith Member

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    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? :eek:
     
  19. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    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.
     
  20. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    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
     
  21. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    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
     
  22. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    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.
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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.
     
  24. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I would have the gun checked out buy a licensed gun smith. There could be unseen trouble.
     
  25. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
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