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Valuable lesson learned

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MoreIsLess, Oct 4, 2011.

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  1. MoreIsLess

    MoreIsLess Member

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    I learned a valuable lesson, almost the hard way. I was at the range testing out some reloads that I had made for my M&P 45c. A friend of mine, who is an experienced shooter, wanted to shoot my gun so I let him (I am actually surprised he would be willing to shoot reloads made by somebody else, especially knowing that I am a novice reloader). He fired 3 or 4 shots out of it fine and then a squibber. Following the squibber, the next bullet wouldn't feed, so he pulled back the slide to eject it and then the next one wouldn't feed either, nor the next one or the next one. We just figured that the OAL was to long or maybe they weren't crimped enough. When I got home I go to looking at my gun and I noticed that there was a bullet lodged in the barrel, apparently the squibber. It was a good thing the gun the gun wouldn't feed the rounds subsequent to the squibber or my friend probably would have shot the gun with a bullet lodged in the barrel.

    I remembered that when I was at home loading the rounds that I had turned off the powder measure on the Lee powder thru expanding die to go eat dinner and then when I came back from dinner I forgot to turn it back on, so I ended up with one or two rounds with no powder in them. I didn't think much about it as I had always been more concerned with putting too much powder in a round so I didn't think much could happen except it wouldn't go bang. Boy was I wrong.

    I am a little "gun shy" about reloading now so I think I am gioing to turn the auto indexing off on my Lee turret press and use batch processing to load the rounds so I can see the powder in each round as I look at them in the tray. Hopefully this will help somebody else avoid a disaster like the one that almost occured.
     
  2. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Lesson 1st:
    Investigate every squib.

    Lesson 2nd:
    Never allow any one or any thing to interupt a necessarily continuous element of reloading such as powder charging (especially in a progresive).

    Lesson 3rd:
    "Batch" processing (a) can be safely interrupted between stages, (b) is almost as fast as progressive (unless you're into 100's of rounds), and (c) is far more conducive to a good night's sleep. :)

    Lesson 4th:
    Always thank the fates for teaching you lessons where it's a lasting memory -- instead of a lasting effect. :what: :D



    (There but for the Grace of God is the Old Reloaders catechism.)
     
  3. coebam

    coebam Member

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    I use the Lee Classic Turret press - Like it alot actually. I am still a "novice" as well. I have been a reloader for almost a year, maybe 4000 rounds of 45acp and 9mm so far. I too have made the mistake/error of not loading the charge. I am now in the habit of just plain looking into the brass right before I place the projectile on the brass. It's still relatively fast, using the autodisk, but I always look now. My wife was shooting my reloads and I heard one that didn't sound right and stopped her. No projectile was in the pipe, but the way it sounded there was no powder in the cartridge. Good post bro!
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I commend you for fessing up about your mistake.

    And I commend you for figuring out exactly what happened before continuing on.

    We read about folks loading squibs quite often here, and they go blissfully about their way continuing to shoot the rest of the loads after getting the bullet out of the barrel.

    How do they know they didn't miss one round and double-charge the next one??

    Anyway, I have reloaded for about 50 years without a squib, or blowing up a gun.

    And I still use the loading blocks, batch charging, & and looking at every single charge before placing the bullets in the cases I have always used.

    It's nearly impossible to miss one, or double charge one when you do it that way!

    rc
     
  5. Shmackey

    Shmackey Member

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    Wait--what does that mean? Why would a powder measure have a "feature" like that? Seems like a recipe for disaster.
     
  6. Fullmag2682

    Fullmag2682 Member

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    A habit I developed was looking in the case every time. It paided off just recently, after letting my re-load set-up set for a couple of years. Decided to get another gun and start loading and shooting again. So any way the powder measure was not throwing accurate loads light, lighter, then heavy. Because I was looking into every case it possibly saved my bacon and gun. Now weighing every 5 throws, measure is staying accurate but still not adjusting right.
     
  7. MoreIsLess

    MoreIsLess Member

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    Don't know, ask Richard Lee.
     
  8. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    I would tie a bright piece of yarn onto the reloader when you shut off the powder, when you come back latter see the yarn open the valve remove yarn start loading.
     
  9. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Member

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    Never leave ammo on a progressive - clear the press before getting up.
     
  10. noylj

    noylj Member

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    So glad the bullet didn't stick a little further down the barrel.
    The "turn-off" feature makes it easy to cycle a primed case until the powder-feed chamber is empty and you can remove the measure and exchange the disk or pour the powder back into the can. Personally, I make sure the screw is TIGHT so it doesn't accidentally turn itself off.
    Anyone who has a squib should KNOW to check the chamber for a stuck bullet. The fact that your friend didn't says a lot about him and his knowledge.
    Finally, WHY did you turn off the powder measure? Never turn off the powder measure. Always make a note of where you are in the loading cycle for when you come back. Always cycle your shell plate to empty before leaving the press.
    Single-stage, even for 10 rounds, is no where near as fast as a progressive.
     
  11. rick300

    rick300 Member

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    I learned on this forum that some mount a light to their press and sit high enough to look down into the case while you work. Works for me, so far so good here's mine. Rick
     

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  12. bds

    bds Member

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    Unlike most powder measures that have some sort of chamber "gate" that closes the opening to the hopper, on the Auto Disk powder measure, the disk top acts as a flush stopper/cap on the wiper bottom of the hopper.

    If it did not have the rotating on/off feature, all the powder would pour out when you went to change the disk.

    I only turn off the Auto Disk hopper when I am changing disk holes or switching out to another disk.
    There's no reason to turn off the powder measure while you are having dinner. I am SURE the powder won't be leaking out if you moved the disk back. :D
     
  13. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Visual is best

    Looking at 50 (evenly) charged cases in a loading block is VERY reassuring. Not only do you get confirmation that all have powder, but also confirmation that all powder charges are approximately equal.

    I still like continuous processing on my turret press, for the speed and for the convenience. So I take extra care to ensure the powder drop is proper.

    I know of one reloader that uses (instead of the flashlight used by Rick300) a very small, flexible goosenecked LED light. A small mirror that allows you to see more conveniently deep into tall, skinny cases would not hurt, either.

    I thought about mounting a candle for the light, but thought better of it. I tried that once to see if my fuel tank was full. You don't need to school me more than once. (The wise man learns from his mistakes. The TRULY wise man learns from the mistakes of others.)

    Once, using my progressive, I ran out of gunpowder and did not notice. I wound up pulling over 30 bullets from my finished cases just to find the 15 that lacked powder. I rue the wasted effort, but do not regret one bit the avoided tragedy.

    Stay safe. Always, All ways.

    Lost Sheep
     
  14. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

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    I don't trust myself to be in a hurry anymore. I don't yet reload but, if I do, I'll be going slow and double/triple checking everything.
     
  15. Vette

    Vette Member

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    I have two Lee Pro 1000. I removed the center rod disabling the indexing function. The die holder is turned by hand to put the proper die in place. The priming set up was also removed and i hand prime now. So i guess i Basicly turned them into a turret press.
     
  16. Stormin.40

    Stormin.40 Member

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    Thanks for posting. I appreciate others sharing their mistakes, it reminds me to pay close attention.
     
  17. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Two things for you OP.

    First I modified my Lee powder measure with a label maker and now know with a glance if the measure is off or on. Just orient it so the off/on is over the screw for a handy index mark. Works well for me.

    Second I also use the batch method like RC Model but the first step with mine is I use an additional loading block and insert the empty brass primer up to make sure the primers are all inserted correctly as the process starts. Also this helps to assure that the full ones end up in a separate loading block after being inverted and charged, helping me avoid a double charge when using a small amount of propellant.
     
  18. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    The off/on feature is very handy on the Pro Auto Disk, but you can just remove the entire turret and dump the powder back in the can.
    It is very easy to position your seat so that you just see the edge of the powder charge after it is dropped. If you can't see it there is not one there or it is short. If you see too much then it may be long. Just takes a few seconds to remove the cartridge, dump the powder in the scale pan and check the weight if you are not satisfied.
    I weigh the first five powder drops, any that vary as above, and each tenth after that, including the last one. Never have had one that varied up or down by sight that was off by weight.
     
  19. wally

    wally Member

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    You have to be aware of any and all non-normal shots, even with factory ammo. Squibs happen!
     
  20. Fullmag2682

    Fullmag2682 Member

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    Have the Hornady powder measure. When the lube drys or runs out it becomes very unpredictable. Bought a digital scale for faster measures (not sure its going to work out) and right now staying away from very close tolerance powders like Clays for the 45acp.
     
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