Squib

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by buster40c, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    I had to go out in the country to help a friend out and figured I might as well use the possible waiting time doing some shooting. I took my SR22 with a brick of ammo and my LCR with about 2ro reloaded 38 spl.
    I started off shooting the LCR and shot maybe 50 rounds when I heard a pop instead of a bang. I thought dang it not again but sure enough there was the bullet sticking about 1/4" out of the barrel. I didn't have a punch or hammer so that was all she wrote for the LCR.
    I then shot about 60 rounds of 22lr before the phone guy showed up. While he was doing his thing I was picking up 22 casings when I saw a 38 spl bullet laying on the ground about 10' from where I was shooting the LCR. Could be the squib had knocked that bullet out of the barrel as to why it was only 10' away. I only heard one squib sound though. The phone guy was finished so it was time for me to head back home.
    On the way back home I stopped at a gunsmith to have him remove the bullet. I figured I could get it out but I wanted his experience and knowledge about the problem since this was the second squib I had. I also gave him 5 other rounds just to have him check over for any problems he might see. He removed all the bullets and all rounds did have powder in them. The squib knocked out without any real problem and the barrel looked okay as well.
    He asked what powder was I using and he said it was basically a shotgun powder. I told him it was Hodgdon which I was told could be used for pistol ammo. He said it can but it isn't a fast burning powder and he suggested to quit using it. He asked how many gr was I using and I said 2.5 gr. He thought that was way to low and could be some of the cause of the squib. He looked in a data book and he found lowest to use was 3.5 gr. He suggested I remove the bullets to check for powder and also to reload with perhaps Winchester 131 powder instead of the clays.
    When I got home I weighed several empty casings which varied from 68-73 gr, bullets were 124.5 to 125 gr, powder was supposed to be 2.5 gr which gave me a total of 200.5 +-. I weighed all my remaining ammo and found maybe 100 under 196 gr and maybe 75 in the 196-199.9 gr weight. Probably had a couple hundred 200gr + . I separated in three piles. Under 196, under 200, and over 200. I figured on removing all the bullets from those under 200 to be on the safe side. Could be if they are under 200 gr then they just might not have powder in them and I don't want to take a chance on them. I shot around 50 of those over 200gr and had no problems with them.
    I went to the Hodgdon loading data site and under 125 gr 38spl with clays powder it said for 125gr HDY XTP start 3.5 max 3.9. 125 cast LRNFP start 2.5 and max 3.5. I am using Rainier 125 gr FP they are flat nose full plated bullets.
    My next step is buy a bullet removal hammer and probably better powder. Dang it I have probably half a bottle of the Clays powder left.
    I was surprised the casings had variance of 67.6gr to 73gr. The bullets were all 124.5 to 125 so that also makes me think my scale is not the problem for the variance.
    The data book lists OAL min is 1.445. What would happen if say the OAL was say 1.355 OAL? Most OAL was running around 1.456+-.
    I also asked the gunsmith about putting wads in casing to take up space and he said he didn't suggest it. I have read elsewhere that it can cause problems. More problems I don't need.
    Anybody want to chime in don't hesitate giving your .02.
    I have to say this bunch of reloads I only twice hit a 6"x10" board. That's not good from 50' IMO. I was perforating the board from same distance with my SR22 shooting Thunderbolt ammo no less.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  2. SavageGuy

    SavageGuy Active Member

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    Hmmmm. Loading plated bullets to lead bullet data IMO doesn't really become necessary with a <2" barrel. There isn't enough barrel to push the bullet fast enough to get it up to speeds to where the plating will peel off. Maybe try 3.5 grains. Also, visually check with a flashlight all of the cases to make sure they have powder. Are you dipping or using a powder thrower?

    The only reason I use the cotton wads are for my longer barreled revolvers (6.5" blackhawk) for accuracy. For my snubby, nope, doesn't make a difference.


    BTW, what did the GS charge to take the bullet out?
     

  3. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

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    Buster,
    Savage brought up a good point. How are you measuring out your powder? In my Dillon I set my powder measurer and have to check it about every 5-10 rounds depending on which powder I am using. When I load by with my Herter's single stage I use the Handy Dandy rotors and try to find the correct rotor that will bring my powder charge closest to the MIDDLE of suggested charges. I only load copper plated bullets for my .45 cal. so that way my rounds are consistent. I have never used Clays but tend to stick to W231 Winchester, Titegroup, and Bullseye. For me the W231 and Titegroup seems to give me the best loads for accuracy and I am running at half charge. For instance I use 5.3 grns. of W231 and I can go up to 5.9 and the same runs for Titegroup. Any time I shoot, regardless of where I go I take my shooting bag. I carry a wooden dowel and a brass hammer in case I get a squib. They scare the hell out of me and I wrote on another thread on the time I had a squib at the range. I would also suggest getting another loading book. Lyman's has a new one out that I want to get. Powders have changed so much in the last 5 years and most of our manuals are a low older. Thank God you were smart enough to notice the squib and not have a Kaboom. As far as your COAL goes, on .45 the max is 1.273 and I load mine down to 1.250-1.255 so that should not be a problem. It takes some experimentation when loading rounds which I am sure you know. If you use a starting load of 10% below the max charge, that should be a good starting point. HOWEVER you have to be careful as I have some Power Pistol powder which I absolutely hate! Their loading specs are terrible!!! I bought a 4lb keg and have 2 1/2lbs left which I am going to sell real cheap or end up giving it away. Be careful buddy, squibs can be very dangerous especially if you are getting repeated rounds that squib on you.

    Tommy Good luck and be careful!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  4. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    The GS charged me $20 and I only had $19 so he took that. He said the advice was free. I was actually expecting a higher cost but he had it out with just a few hits with a mallet and copper rod. I figured I could get it out but I wanted to hear what he advised in the matter.
    Tommy if I hear any light bang or pop I am going to be visually inspecting it asap.
    The powder is dropped in using the Lee auto disc charge set up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  5. SavageGuy

    SavageGuy Active Member

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    Ohhhhh, and you're using a turret, correct?

    When we say that we visually inspect the cases, it's because we're using single stages and have a loading tray laid out before us with all of the charged cases before we seat the bullets. Little more challenging with a turret. Do you check the accuracy of the powder thrower every 10 or so rounds like Tommy mentioned?
     
  6. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    My method ,^^^ always has been, probably always will be.

    I have time, not in a hurry.

    If it takes me all day to make a few hundred rounds, I'm happy, and Ive never had a squib in my life.

    I never charge the min or max, to start , always 10% below max and work from there.

    Case weight variance is most time due to differing mfg's.

    I load a lot of 405 gr lead cast for 45-70 , I separate them into groups of 406, 400, 396, ...yep they vary that much. Adjust powder charges accordingly. If I'm looking for accuracy .

    COAL , usually the data books give a min and max , I usually go to the min, and then check chamber fit of the particular gun Im gonna be using them in , and may even have to adj slightly .


    Sorry I haven't reloaded .38 in years, then only a few . I used Unique powder at the time.




    Jim
     
  7. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    I use the Lee turret press but I removed the rotator indexing shaft so each stage I have to hand index to next die. Maybe I should put the index shaft back in.
    I think the problem could be the powder is to slow burning along with the charge is to light.
     
  8. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    Buster, I don't know what (fer sure), but you have been doing something really wrong. Reloading .38 SPC should be thoroughly uncomplicated.
     
  9. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    LOL leave it to me VT, I can do wonders. I still think it is the powder charge is to low.
     
  10. RavenU

    RavenU In the army now..

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    Hmmm, let's see?

    1. Don't use a slow burning powder to build lightweight small-charge target loads. In pistol ammo slow burning shotgun powders work best with, 'healthy' charges and mainly in heavyweight and magnum calibers.

    2. Light, 'squib loads' are economical; but, after using light charges for a number of years I finally got away from them and never went back. Why? Because they're simply more trouble than they're worth - especially in semiautomatics!

    3. Fillers like oatmeal and kapok DO compact a light charge at the bottom of the cartridge, and right next to the primer. So cartridge ignition is improved; however the principal function a filler serves is to prevent, 'flashover' and catastrophic powder detonation inside a lightly loaded cartridge case. This is really only a, 'first shot concern'.

    Filler, or no filler whenever you draw, or pickup a pistol full of light loads make sure that you ELEVATE the muzzle BEFORE you begin firing. Once you start a shot string recoil and muzzle-rise will automatically drop the powder to the back of the case for you; so, once you start shooting, no filler is needed.

    Fillers can, and often do, elevate cartridge ignition pressure. Like I said, after using them for a while I got away from very light charges, never went back, and never had any load problems, either.

    4. $19.00 to tap a stuck bullet out of the muzzle? Wow! All you needed was a cheap wooden dowel. It would have taken care of that bullet, and probably lasted for the rest of your life. I used to carry a thin 15 inch long wooden dowel in my range bag; however, over time I found this to be an unnecessary precaution; or, at least, for my own use it was unnecessary.

    Neither do you absolutely need a hammer. On those occasions when I had to knock out a barrel blockage I'd simply slide a thin wooden dowel into the barrel and, then, whack the open end of the dowel against a solid object like: the bench, a rock, a wall, or the floor. (Ain't no big deal!)

    Once or twice I used this dowel to help out another shooter; but I learned my lesson there to. No matter what you think, no matter how helpful you'd like to be, the, 'smart move' at the range is to NEVER HELP ANYONE WITH THEIR GUN. This may sound cruel, selfish, or indifferent; but experience has taught me to leave other active shooters and their gun problems strictly alone.

    (Which is, I suppose, the reason why so many gunsmiths will seldom work on a customer's gun while he's standing, right there, in front of him.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  11. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    I plan on pulling all the bullets and dumping the powder.
    Update:
    Well I called Hodgdon and was told my problem is probably not having enough if any crimp on the bullet. This is causing the bullet to move forward before the powder is burning good which is causing the pressure to be so weak, especially using the lowest charge of 2.5 it barely can put the bullet out the barrel.
    As far as being told that Clays is a slow burning powder he said that person doesn't know squat about Clays powder. He said Clays is one of the fastest burning powders on the market.
    He suggested instead of taking all the rounds apart I should try reset the bullet loading die for a crimp and try that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  12. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    Yeah, that's what I thought; never used it though.

    I think you are good pulling the bullets and saving the powder to reload a little stronger. A light crimp can't hurt either. I also think you'd do better with a single stage press - but I'm prejudiced.
     
  13. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    I put my Lee crimping die into the press and set it according to Lee specs. I reset the bullet loading die to specs also. I took 5 loaded rounds and first ran them through the bullet seat then I crimped them in the next die. I also checked OAL and primer seating on each one.
    I shot these 5 and wow there sure was a big difference in accuracy. I am going to run some more and see how they do. I think the Hodgdon rep figured my problem out. When I load any more rounds I will up the gr to 3.5gr. Definitely going to get a Lyman's 49th edition manual.
     
  14. greg_r

    greg_r Well-Known Member

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    Buster, one thing that may help you. Get yourself a small battery powered clamp on light. One like is sold to clamp onto a book for reading. Clamp it to your press and adjust it so the light shines down into the case at the bullet loading stage. Makes it easy to visually check your powder level when placing your bullet. You will quickly learn what looks right with your powder level.
     
  15. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    I just might do that. Actually I don't think I missed putting in the powder. I think it was as the Hodgon rep said about they needed to be crimped. I will soon find out if he is right. The first 5 I shot after crimping were much better.
     
  16. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

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    Buster,

    When I am single stage loading, I use a RCBS powder dispenser with the handy dandy rotors. I set out my wooden blocks and start in one direction and dump powder in the same manner every time. I never vary in how I dump the powder, I use the same pattern all the time. Then I take a flashlight and look into each and every round to make sure I have the powder in the shell casing. During loading, I will check about every 5-10th round for powder weight to ensure they are the same.

    When using my Dillon progressive I prime and drop powder and in my 3rd stage I will pull about every 5- 10th round and again check my powder weight. Some times I will get a variance of +- of .001 to .02 grains. The Dillon is not quite as accurate but that variance will not hurt the round. On my Dillon I have a "snake" light. It's a flexible light that you can curl around your loader and uses AA batteries. Cost is about $8-9.00.

    When I was loading 9mm rounds I was using CCI primers and I was having some failure to fire and a couple of squibs. I called CCI and gave them the lot # of the primers I was using and they told me I was not priming correctly. The chit hit the fan then and there. I later found out that they had changed the anvil inside of the primers(cost reduction for them) and I quit using those primers. I have had 1, just 1 Winchester primer go off and it turned out to be a squib. The CCI's I refired them 3 times just to make sure they would not fire and I did the same with the Winchester. Primer depths and widths can vary in size and depth dimension.

    Large pistol primers can vary in diameter from .2085-.2100.
    Small pistol primers can vary in diameter from .1745-.1765 (.020) and that is a lot

    Large primer height can vary from .115-.125
    Small primer height can vary from .117-.123
    These are the norms that the industry will accept or consider acceptable.

    You must, I am going to say should taper crimp your .38/.357 rounds when ever you reload. It takes just a light taper crimp, NOT roll crimp your rounds. Regardless of how I am reloading my .45, I taper crimp all rounds. I used to reload .38/.357 and always taper crimped all my rounds. The taper does not have to be hard. Push the round against your loading table and if the round does not recede back into the brass casing, then that's all the taper crimp you need. With plated rounds, the same applies regardless of caliber. You want just enough crimp so your round will not push in when pressed against your bench and it will not affect the plated rounds. I don't know if you are loading .45 cal or not but some things to look for are Blazer rounds, Federal rounds, and Non-Toxic rounds. They will NOT accept the large primers. When I get any one of those casings, especially Blazer I immediately pitch them. I hope I have not confused you. It's better to run middle of the road rounds than lighter rounds. I try to save on powder too however having a possibility of a squib is far more dangerous than a couple more tenths of grain of powder. Having a squib is NOT necessarily your fault. There are a lot of variables when you are reloading. Set up your loading process and load religiously every time the same way and that will help you stay out of trouble.
    Good luck buddy. I hope I did not confuse you as lengthy as this is.


    Tommy
     
  17. SavageGuy

    SavageGuy Active Member

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    Listen to Tommy, he's giving you good advice.
     
  18. RavenU

    RavenU In the army now..

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    NOT a good idea! It's too imprecise a way to test any bullet that's only been lightly crimped. In my experience you're just asking for bullets - especially bullets inside a revolver cylinder - to start, 'walking' on ya.

    Got a bathroom scale? Use it to push the cartridge, bullet first, down onto the platform. I think you'll find that most centerfire bullets need to be able to withstand, at least, 25 lb of downward pressure in order to consistently resist, 'walking' due to recoil.
     
  19. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it strange how something that seems so simple doing can actually have a lot of things to consider or it can go really wrong.
    The rep from Hodgdon said the hitting on a table test for a good bullet seat is not to be trusted. I agree though if the bullet can be pushed back by pushing on a table then it probably is seated way to light if any.
    The squibs could have been from the bullets walking from recoil thus making the OAL to long for enough pressure to build and then with a minimum load to boot came the squibs. Then add the missing crimp also allowing the bullet to move forward causing even less pressure to build. Come to think of it the squibs were never from the first or second shot fired of the five.
    Geeze between the loading, hand hold, trigger control and so many other variables there sure is more to shooting a gun than ever thought about.
    Thanks for the comments and advice because I sure am at the bottom of the beginners totem pole. At my age I will never know as much as you old time loaders know.
    When I am reloading I do try to keep a set movement and sequence pattern and I sure know it when I deviate from it.
     
  20. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

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    I will never know as much as you old time loaders know. ((Quote from Buster)

    Ok for you now Buster, just ok for you! Just because we may have loaded a few more rounds than you doesn't mean we are
    OLD TIMERS! Now I am crushed!!!! I was just trying to help and now you are saying that I got 1 foot in the grave and 1 on a banana peel. I am gonna sit over in my little corner and cry. I got tears in my eyes as big as horse turds right now :machinegun:I am gonna tell Bob and Magnum on how you have treated us and put you on the list. You have been warned and tread with caution :rayoff:

    Anyway, good luck with your reloading and don't be afraid to ask any questions again.

    Tommy