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Old February 10, 2013, 08:23 PM   #1
FloridaGuy
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What am I doing wrong?

I reloaded several hundred .38 special rounds last night to shoot today. Out of what I reloaded there were about 20 or so that would not work in the revolver. From what I can see the primer's are sticking up to high and stoping the chamber from turning. I am using a Dillon Square Deal "B". What would be causing this?

Also is there anyway to salvage the components from these bullets? If not what is the best way to dispose of these rounds?
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Old February 10, 2013, 08:30 PM   #2
1stmar
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You can salvage the components if you have a bullet puller. You can gt one from midway for less then 20$, kinetic puller works fine. I don't have a square deal, but it sounds like you are not seating the primers firmly enough. On the 550b this occurs on the up stroke as the ram lowers the shell plate. I would start there. It may be possible your shell plate is not tightened down enough. Pure speculation on that since I don't have a square deal
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Old February 10, 2013, 08:44 PM   #3
dmazur
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I have a 550B, but the instructions for the Square Deal B say you push the lever forward to seat primers, so that much is the same. Shell plate center bolt and spring-loaded detent ball look the same. Primer slide appears to be similar.

If primers don't seat completely, you can look at -
  • shellplate is loose, allowing case to tilt as primer is inserted
  • primer slide isn't adjusted correctly
  • lever isn't being pushed all the way forward

I have never bothered to clean primer pockets, but I have read reports of primer residue causing trouble with seating primers. But that would only apply if the cases had been reloaded many, many times and not cleaned.
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:00 PM   #4
1stmar
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If its the same as a 550, there is a spring loaded primer cup, you must push the lever forward with some exertion. It goes up to a point and then there's another .005 that seats the primer, you'll feel it
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Old February 10, 2013, 10:01 PM   #5
Misssissippi Dave
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First put all the cases you loaded in a block with the primers up. Run you finger over the primers to feel which ones are feeling high. Once you identify them, remove the locator pin for the primer position. It is under the die for the powder drop. Now press the handle forward and remove the primer on top of the pin. Once done, you can place each of the rounds in this position and press the handle forward hard. This will finish seating the primers. Do not pull the handle down. You don't want to advance it. You don't have to pull any bullets unless you really want to for some other reason.

Normally when the shell plate is higher than it should be you will get problems with the primers not seating properly. Also when the shell plate is at the proper height it will be more difficult to advance it when you have a high primer. It is something I can feel in the handle.
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Old February 12, 2013, 06:15 PM   #6
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If the press is adjusted properly, I'd think you'd notice that auto-indexing was harder than normal,,,,because of the 'high' primers. Check the shell plate height & go back & check the instructions.
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Old February 12, 2013, 08:05 PM   #7
FloridaGuy
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I called Dillon today to place an order for 4 quick change setups and 2 additional die sets. While I had them on the phone I asked him about my above issue and was told that the only thing that would cause this is that I am not pushing hard enough to set the primers. He also asked what primers and brass I was using. He said that military brass is harder to set the primers in. They recommend the use of Federal Brass. He also said that CCI primers have a much harder cup and that makes them harder to set. He told me to just push really hard and don't worry about something breaking. He said if it does they would fix it. He said with the SDB there is really no adjustment for the shell plate. Just to verify that the screw holding it in is tight.

I went back and looked at the direction and there really is no adjustment to the SDB. Pretty much you take it out of the box mount it to a work bench and connect the powder system and you are ready to load. The only real adjustment is to the die's if you are using a different round then what they have it setup for from the factory.
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Old February 12, 2013, 08:13 PM   #8
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You should be able to reseat the primers. You can also buy a hand primer tool and do it as a separate step. No need to take them apart.
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Old February 12, 2013, 08:32 PM   #9
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The person with Dillon support said that the company's stance is not to try and reseat the primers with out taking the rounds apart. But he said that he has done it before with out any issue but he did have one that went off and hit him in the leg. He did tell me that I could do it with a hand primer system but to make sure I was wearing gloves and eye protection. But the safest thing to do is take them apart and recover the bullets and powder and then reseat the primer and reload the round.

I really have not made a decission on if I am going to just try and reseat the primers or that them apart. I am not sure using a bullet pull to take them apsrt is any safer. Because I have heard stories about rounds going off if a bullet puller.
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Old February 12, 2013, 08:46 PM   #10
serf 'rett
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Quote:
What would be causing this?
Before we getting to the cause, I think it's worthwhile mentioning a few items.
To start with, there is this:
Quote:
I reloaded several hundred .38 special rounds
Which is perfectly fine if you've been reloading for a while and know the ropes; however, if you are just getting started, it's not a good idea to load "several hundred" before they have been tested. The general recommendation is to load a few rounds for testing, before cranking out a large volume.

Then we have a recommendation:
Quote:
You should be able to reseat the primers.
While this may be possible, it is not something I would ever recommend to someone with limited experience. It is simply too easy to get out the kinetic bullet puller and disassemble the rounds and remove the risk of exploding a cartridge. When the bullet and powder have been removed, then you can reseat the primer with minimal risk (wear eye and ear protection if you do this).

I think the Dillon folks have nailed the cause of the high primers, but there is a very important issue which hasn’t be addressed. That is the issue of inspection. A high primer is a serious issue, even more so in semi autos than revolvers, but it is serious. The high primers should have been caught at the bench during the inspection of the rounds. A progressive is a wonderful machine, but it does not eliminate the necessary checking of the reloaded cartridges if one is just starting out. Once you have cranked the handle thousands of times, you should develop a feel for what is “right” and what felt wrong.

Just my wandering thoughts.
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Old February 12, 2013, 09:05 PM   #11
FloridaGuy
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The several hundred rounds that I loaded were done using a load that I had tested in 10 rounds that were fired the previous day at the range. When I try a new load I only load at most 10 rounds to test. Then if I like the round I will load several hundred to shoot over that weekend.

The high primers where caught at the reloading bench but there where a couple that I was thinking would still work in the gun. Those I took along with me to the range to see if they would work but they did not.
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Old February 12, 2013, 09:24 PM   #12
spacecoast
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It is easy to fully seat those primers with a hand press and a ram prime from Lee.

Personally, I think it's a mistake to start with a progressive. A hand press gives you a great "feel" foe what is happening at each step of the process that you can't really get with a single stage either.

Whereabouts in FL are you?
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Old February 12, 2013, 10:02 PM   #13
Misssissippi Dave
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Pulling a case out on the 550b to check the primer depth is easier to do than it is on the SDB. Priming on the 550b is done in the first position and the SDB is the second position. On the SDB you have to pull the positioning pin to remove the case to check it. Having the press set to the right height makes the operation easier too. When I press in the handle to set the primer on either one I can feel it start to go in and can pretty much feel it bottom out. When I'm not quite certain if it seated fully I will press the handle in again before going further. I have yet to not fully seat a primer on the SDB press. I did have a few problems on the 550b in the beginning. I got the SDB after already loading a lot of ammo on the 550b. I probably had so few problems with the SDB because of my prior experience with the other press.

Now that you know this can be a problem I'm fairly certain you will have it happen a lot less in the future. The Dillon guy seems to have the best solution for you. I didn't think things through enough and should have suggested pulling the bullets prior to trying to finish seating the primers. Doing short cuts when you first start out is probably one of the worst things to do.

When I make my second test of a load I have worked up I normally only load 50 rounds to see how it does for a longer test and to check how well it burns. I prefer a cleaner burn if I can get it and stay accurate. Once that is checked out I tend to load several hundred for a full range trip test. Normally by that time I have pretty well made up my mind about the load. I still have several hundred rounds loaded of some ammo I loaded a while back while trying to find alternate loads I could easily use if I couldn't get the powder I prefer to use. I found some combinations that worked better than what I started with. You just never know. I guess one day I will have to shoot those too just to have the cases available for the better load. At least now if I can't find the powder I really like I have some others I can easily switch over to until the other one become available again. This comes in handy when supplies are short like now.
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Old February 12, 2013, 10:26 PM   #14
Unclenick
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FloridaGuy,

I can verify that some primers just need a good hard shove on the handle to seat. If you are using brass with tight pockets, running them through a primer pocket swager can help even if they aren't crimped. Get Federal or Winchester primers for easier seating.
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Old February 12, 2013, 11:28 PM   #15
serf 'rett
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The CCI primers are easy seating compared to the Russian stuff.

Floridaguy - sounds like you're on the right track.
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Old February 13, 2013, 07:50 PM   #16
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The main danger, I believe, in seating a high primer is that some powder may have gotten between the primer and the bottom of the primer pocket. There is a CHANCE a granule of powder could set off the primer. I have never heard of this happening, but cannot say it could not. Primers are made to be sensitive to impact, but they are made of explosive stuff.

So, I would recommend taking each round, holding it primer-side up and shaking it gently so any loose powder will fall back through the flash hole into the cartridge body. Then seat the primer properly, wearing eye protection and hearing protection.

If a primer goes off inside a cartridge that is not confined in a chamber, it will be loud. The bullet be propelled away at a low velocity and drop to the ground. The brass cartridge will split open and perhaps tear into a couple of pieces which may fly away in unpredictable directions and scatter burnt and unburnt powder all over the place.

There was a thread somewhere about what happens to cartridge ammunition in a fire which would be educational, but I can't find it right now. If I do, I will post a link.

I would get a hand primer and seat them if there were a lot. If there were just a few, I would seat them on my press. Work under a heavy blanket if you are concerned about a detonation.

Good luck,

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Old February 15, 2013, 12:15 AM   #17
Colorado Redneck
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Primer seating on 38 specials

I have experienced similar issues. At first I was using an RCBS Rockchucker with the priming set up on the press. I tried pressing the primers so hard I was picking the bench up, and still not getting the darn things to seat right. This was not consistent, as different brands of brass were problematic, and it was only a few out of every hundred. After discussing the problem here in TFL, somebody mentioned a "primer pocket uniformer." I got one and that solved the problem. Some primer pockets just seem to be undersized and/or shallow. Using that little tool cleared it up. It is a kind of time consuming, but worth the effort.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/400...niformer-small
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Old February 15, 2013, 12:24 AM   #18
shootniron
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Quote:
but he did have one that went off and hit him in the leg.
He told you that it was okay, but he also had this to happen...

I have reseated them several times with a hand primer with no issues.
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