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Weighing for squibs

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JamieC, Apr 19, 2019.

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  1. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    Had malfunction with my powder filler, thought I had separated all the offending, (possible powder-less loads), I was wrong. I have another batch of approx 350 bullets, already had two squibs. Instead of taking them all apart, I'm trying to find the bad ones by weighing. 9mm, 124gr Bayou Bullets LRN. Power Pistol, 5.2gr. I've weighed about 20 so far, most are 193-194gr, several are around 192gr, then I have two that are under 190gr, 1 is 199.5! I'll pull the light ones apart, see if I'm on to something, anyone have any tips, experiences to help out, thanks!
     
  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Due to variation in weight of the brass and bullet your are going to hard press to find one. Sometime you can hear the powder shift if not a flake powder, provided you have a air gap. And good hearing.
     
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  3. 1-12 INF (M)

    1-12 INF (M) Member

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    I have done this with .45 Colt loads and it works fine. You'll notice different brands of brass weigh differently, but you'll notice trends and a statistical mean. It's a good idea if you have any suspect loads.
     
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  4. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    You can pull the extreme ones, just to see what’s in them, you might catch them and you might not with 5.2 gn charge weight.

    One thing is for certain, if you pulled all 350, you’ll look into them from now on or buy a press with a powder check die, maybe both. :)
     
  5. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    Already added to the 'process'
     
  6. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Only works for pistol cartridges if you are weight sorting bullets and brass, but it does work. For rifle cartridges, it usually works very well.
     
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  7. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    For pistol using mixed brass I've never had much luck weighing to find an uncharged case. In my instance I only had 15-20 rounds done. I pulled them all apart. In your case I would probably do the same. You will remember this for a long time and it will help you refine your process.

    Jeff
     
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  8. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    After spending some time weighing loaded rounds, realizing there is no rhyme or reason, I decided to narrow it down by weighing different head stamps, sort it out that way, WRONG! That is all over the place also, even brass with the same head stamp seems to be too inconsistent to figure this out. When brass differs in weight more than the powder charge, there is no way to absolutely know without taking them apart what the deal is. Oh well, at least when I shoot this batch if something doesn't work, I'll know to stop and get some malfunction practice and get some use out of my new brass 'squib rod'!
     
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  9. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I do this. It works. But you have to sort by headstamp and use headstamps with small weight variance. You also have to use projectiles with small weight variance... a lot of coated or bare lead bullets will be +/- 2 or 3 grains, and that’s too much for it to work.

    Obviously, the larger the correct powder charge, the easier it is to detect a no-charge squib.

    If you head down this path, I strongly suggest you begin by writing down the weights of 50 or 100 of your completed cartridges with a given component combination. You will quickly get a feel for what the “normal” range is and what is “abnormal.”

    And remember - this is a QC check. It is not the quality control itself. This is not a substitute for looking in every case and having sound methods. It’s just a layer of potential safety and peace of mind on the back end.
     
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  10. fguffey

    fguffey member

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    I had the beginning of a bad day at the range, a shooter/reloader locked up his Model 66 S&W with a bullet that locked the cylinder. He could not pull the trigger, he could not rotate the cylinder, he could not pull the hammer back. And I was thankful for that. Another reloader and I removed the bullet by driving the bullet back into the case. As soon as we emptied the pistol he started shoving his reloads into the cylinder. Our thinking? If he had no powder in one case there was a chance he had too much powder in the next case.

    I would suggest you weight each component, case, bullet and primer then sort and match. If when weighing after loading any difference can only be caused by the powder.

    F. Guffey
     
  11. mdi

    mdi Member

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    In theory weighing may work to find uncharged ammo, but I never trusted the method, too many variations. I might try it with larger (15 gr. pistol charges or 40 gr rifle charges) charges.

    One hint; there's only one way to eat an elephant, that's one bite at a time. If you decide to pull all 350 you don't have to do them all at one time. I have pulled a bunch of military surplus ammo and I just did what I felt like doing at that time. On a good day I might do 80-100, but I also did only 20 at a time. No big deal, just do as many as you are comfortable doing. Soon the daunting task will be over...
     
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  12. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    If it's mixed brass, you probably won't be able to tell.
    I weighed a bunch of mixed 9mm brass once don't have the numbers handy but there was at least a 5gr swing between different cases. (if not more)
    Even with same brand brass of different lots there can be a swing. (weigh some of your brass to get the idea....)

    My main concern would be if there was a squib do you have a double charge in the batch some place???
    If you feel good that you don't you can either shoot them for practice and take a rod (a bit of oil in the barrel will help getting the bullet out if stuck) or pull them all.
    I think weighing them will just give you a false sense of security.....

    If it was a rifle round with 20gr of powder maybe but 9mm, I just don't think so.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  13. SCC

    SCC Member

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    I once did a run of about 200 9mm and when done found an issue that COULD have resulted in a squib. Realizing that brass weights differ, sometimes wildly, I separated the run by headstamp to weigh them. Not all of each headstamp are the same, so I separated by any variation in the printing or extractor rim. The result was around 10 groups that had a very small variance in weight within the group, something like 2gr. My load was 4.5gr so I culled any rounds that fell more than 2gr below the average for each group. I pulled those and didn't find any squibs. The rest were kept separate from my normal ammo and shot with extra caution. Still no squibs, so I guess I didn't have a problem after all. The range from lowest to highest average group weight was over 1.5x my charge weight.

    The point of this post being that you have to eliminate the variable of brass weight and that sorting by headstamp is a close, but not perfect way to do it.

    I also verified that my bullets were consistent before starting.
     
  14. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I pulled 450 rounds of 40S&W because I could not find the squibs in a lot of mixed head stamps. If it was all brass from the same manufacture's batch then it might work but I would not trust that method on a mixed head stamps batch.
     
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  15. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Trying to weigh them is an effort in futility. If you are SURE they are "only"squibs and not double charges ,you could just shoot them. In a semi auto the worst is slide will not function and a stuck bullet. If there are double charges then that could be a BAD day.

    The best practice correct answer is always (C)

    Pull Them all and recite I will always double check powder charge 350 times!
     
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  16. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    The issue came from a Lee autodrum, the bottom seemed to spread to the point that one of the 'legs' climbed up on the thumb screw adjustment ring, cocking the mechanism leaving it all the way up not allowing it to come back down and charge the next case so until I realized what had happened, (and it probably happened a couple of times), a certain number of cases went through with no powder. I got complacent and didn't check for powder in every load. I have since changed my ways.
     
  17. kilizyrag

    kilizyrag Member

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    If I had questionable loads I would pull the bullets on all of them and reload. I do not like squibs.
     
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  18. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I agree with Rule 3. PULL THEM ALL! Yes, it's a PITA. Betcha never have to do it again, it makes you paranoid about such things, and you will be a better reloader for it.
     
  19. fpgt72

    fpgt72 member

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    I agree with this....better safe then sorry.
     
  20. Ghost In The Fog

    Ghost In The Fog Member

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    In my reloading, I have had one squib. It scared me so badly I took the entire rest of the 100 rounds that I loaded and put them aside to be pulled at a later time.
    Ever since, I ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS look in the case. Every single round. I have moved up to a LNL AP that I am learning the in's and out's of and have added a powder cop on top of looking in every case.
    Squibs= BAD
    I have tried sorting by head stamp and case length. I am in complete agreement with Dudedog I commonly see 5.0 grain differences in empty case weights. Makes measuring completed rounds impossible to tell if the charge is correct.
    BTW that box of remaining rounds that I put aside, I threw away and considered it my punishment for being so careless. It made me angry every time I looked at it.
    The way I look at it, if one got by me and had little to no powder, a double charge could have just as easily. Or if I hadn't caught the squib and fired the next chambered round???? I am not willing to take that chance.
    Put the 350 aside and do not shoot them. Yes it is probably a waste, but what if it is not?
    I load in 100 round increments.(Or less) I separate those and keep loading. Each 100 is labeled and identified in a spread sheet. If something were to happen, I know which 100 to check and exactly what they are. I did have a 30 cal ammo can that I loaded with 1,300 rounds of 9mm just lose. I was glad to get through that can. Nothing happened but what if? Ya know?
    Be safe.Have fun.
     
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  21. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    If you use a powder that fills the case, a chance of a double charge is very unlikely. For there will be powder all over the place giving you a heads up. A Squib is still possible though.
     
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  22. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Further comment: Squibs in slow-fire are not good and a big hassle, but not catastrophic. Even if all you do with the suspiciously-light ones is mark them for slow-fire use only, then you will have reduced the chances of some disaster. Same approach I use with rounds that fail a tight case gauge - they become slow-fire practice ammo. As I noted above, though, you do have to have components with fairly tight weight windows to keep the noise from swamping the signal.
     
  23. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    I have been known to deliberately run squibs through my guns for various learning-related reasons. They definitely aren't good if you haven't planned for them, but rarely are they the calamity many make them out to be.

    In a semi-auto, a squib won't typically cycle the slide or extract the case. Most notably the sound is markedly different. These bullets are typically found a smidge further up the barrel than where they chambered. Not once have I ever managed to chamber a round in a semi-auto following a squib without either noticing the spent case and/or being unable to chamber the following round.

    Revolvers pose a slightly different challenge IF you manage to lodge the bullet in the forcing cone or barrel. Since the revolver will continue to operate as long as the cylinder gap remains, there is a real chance for issues to present themselves IF you don't pay attention. The sound is still decidedly muted. Most of the time IME the bullet never leaves the brass and jams up the revolver.

    I started deliberately shooting squibs after firing one on accident in my Chiappa Rhino then stupidly shooting another bullet behind it (I did hear the difference and ignored it). Amazingly no damage resulted to the gun but it left a lasting impression!

    If you are having issues or concerns with double charges I would think a different powder dispenser or system. Good case fill and looking in every case is the ultimate solution in any event.

    My experimentations with squibs most notably (for me) led me to develop reduced power loads in several calibers that are far below any reloading data. These usually have some specific application.
     
  24. tcoz

    tcoz Member

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    I once pulled 480 rounds of 45acp looking for a possible squib and never found one. I have this fear that I’ll be concentrating on my shooting and somehow won’t recognize a squib until it’s too late.
     
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  25. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Ouch...
    Whew, so the gun was ok, glad nothing really bad happened.

    Hopefully your shorts were ok as well.....

    1 squib on my new LNL and I bought a powder cop then a RCBS lockout die.
    I like the lockout die better for pistol.

    I should have caught the squib with out either one but as it was I pulled about 120 rounds with a hammer type puller. (and all were ok.....)
     
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