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Old April 24, 2005, 04:56 PM   #1
cgpro856
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38 bullet stuck in barrel

I have a 3 1/2" S&W 66 that I have been shooting 125 gr plated bullets with 4.2 gr of W231. They have seemed to shoot well and my wife likes the light recoil. On the last trip to the range however I took a box of 100 rnds that I had loaded and on the third or fourth cylinder full I got a real light pop and sure enough had a bullet stuck in the barrel. I figured I must have trown a light charge or maybe no powder at all so I pounded the bullet out and kept shooting. the next several rounds seemed fine but then it happened again. I shot 35 of the rounds and ended up with 4 bullets getting stuck in the barrel. I took the rest home and pulled the bullets and weighed the powder. Every load was 4.2 on the nose except one that was 3.8 Is 3.8 gr of 231 light enough to get a bullet stuck or do I have something else going on?
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Old April 24, 2005, 05:04 PM   #2
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Something else may very well be going on, but way to go on recognizing the event before firing again with the bullet lodged in the chamber! For very light loads, and I don't use W-231, I would try a powder that is less sensitive to powder positioning in the case, like Hodgdon Titegroup or at the same speed as W-231, Ramshot ZIP. Could be faulty or possibly contaminated primers, so that would be worth a check.
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Old April 24, 2005, 05:30 PM   #3
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make sure you use a heavy crimp regardless of the type of load used. that amount of 231 shouldn't causing your problem
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Old April 24, 2005, 05:38 PM   #4
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Since a heavy roll crimp is mandated for heavy magnum loads, I guess I will need some education on the merits of a heavy roll crimp on a light target load using a plated bullet! I don't think crimp is the culprit here! But I could be wrong!

This would seem to be an extremely low charge of W-231 and I would be using something a little higher.
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Old April 24, 2005, 06:01 PM   #5
Ruger4570
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The heavy crimp will hold the bullet in the case a little longer so that the powder gets consumed in the cylinder and not simply light up and push the bullet part way down the barrel and the rest of the gases blow out the sides of the cylinder no longer giving presure on the bullet. Whenever I load light loads I always stand all the cases up in a loading block and visually look into every case to insure there is a charge present and also to confirm there is no double charges. Actually, I do this with all my loads just to be safe and sure. It really sounds like you may have not put powder at all in the cases (easy enough to do/see above). Primers are pretty powerful and I would think it has enough power to push a bullet at least part way down the bore. As mentioned I would go to a powder that has more bulk and tends to fill the case up a little more or possibly a slightly heavier loading. My $.02 worth
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Old April 24, 2005, 06:43 PM   #6
cgpro856
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I always check the loading block for even powder levels in each case before seating bullets so I really doubt it was a no powder situation and even more so because of 4 in the same lot. I also do use a very heavy roll crimp on these loads and have been known to crush a case or two trying to crimp too much. I'm gonna pull all my loaded rounds and step it up a bit to maybe 4.8 or 5 gr just to be safe, but I think I'm leaning towards a bad batch of primers.
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Old April 24, 2005, 09:29 PM   #7
eka
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I experienced a stuck bullet using Unique in some light loads for a vintage M&P once. I, like you, didn't know if it was the powder charge or the crimp. I started crimping a little more and never had any more problems. But, in your case it sounds like you had the kind of crimp you needed, so it was probably a powder issue. Maybe the wrong kind for loading light. I've switched to Bullseye for my mild .38 special loads and it works fine. Good luck and I'm glad you were able to recognize the problem before you sent one down into the stuck bullet.
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Old April 25, 2005, 05:08 AM   #8
WESHOOT2
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Methinks the culprit is not enough powder.

(Test crimp, because then you'll know.)
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Old April 25, 2005, 08:49 AM   #9
Thirties
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Here is a message thread from THR I started on the same subject. There never was a definite resolution, but you may find value in reading through the many replies.

My guess is the stuck bullet came from a case that had been slightly damaged and then not well crimped, allowing the gas to escape. Contributing to this was the cold temperature at the time.

I have since fired over 40 rounds of the same 3.6g of W231 in the same gun with no problems. Only difference was a tighter roll crimp.

But I now also realize that 3.6g or 231 is too low for 125g plated Berry's bullets. I contacted them on the phone, and they recommend using low-mid power jacketed bullet data. I was using lead data.

I made the mistake of confusing two different plated bullet types:

NBC makes what they call "copperized" bullets which use lead data.

Berry and Rainier plated bullets are meant to use jacketed data, but just not top power jacketed bullet loads.

I had been loading lots of NBC, and only recently realized that Berry and Rainier plating required more powder. You only have to look at the two types to see the NBC is more of a wash. I still like and use the NBC. But now I'm loading the Berry/Rainier more heavily.

So, here's the tread, knock yourselves out.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=123695

By the way, the picture is not a fake. You can ask the folks at Pittsburgh Handgun Headquartes, they checked out my gun for me.

.
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Old April 25, 2005, 02:07 PM   #10
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You might want to try to figure out why you had such a large discrepency in the powder charge (4.2 to 3.8). If you are using a powder measure you should for a while weigh each charge from the measure before putting it in the case. This would enable you to re throw the light charge, and also to see if something in your procedure is causing the "light load". When you figure out what the problem is then you can go back to only weighing every 10th powder load.
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Old April 25, 2005, 04:36 PM   #11
Russ5924
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Did you ever think that by the time you shot 2/3s of them that you fired all the bad ones My standard load for the 158SWC is 3.8 grains of W231. My Dillon is always off a 1/10 or so either way when reloading.You might want to check you reloader or the way you are reloading.But it does happen I had one the other day first one in a long time.
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Old April 25, 2005, 04:40 PM   #12
Ruger4570
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Thirties: really neat picture (unfortunatly) it looks like one of those high speed photo's they sometimes use on magazine covers. I wish I could print it for my reloading room "wall of shame"
You are probably right, I didn't think that the plated bullets would need a higher charge to make them work, but it sure makes sense since you said it. I don't load "real light" loads anyways, just some slightly "reduced" ones. I guess I have a fear of detonation or secondary ignition at times
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Old April 25, 2005, 06:16 PM   #13
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That picture of the bullet sticking out of the barrel looks the cure might be adding 1.5 grains of laxative to the load.
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Old April 25, 2005, 06:25 PM   #14
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Joking aside, I just thought of a problem with light target loads. The powder in a lightly charged case can end up at the bullet end of the case, away from the primer, causing inconsistant burn. The trick with a light target load is to tip the handgun muzzle in the air prior to each shot, causing the powder to slide to the primer end of the case. It's possible the powder was at the bullet end of the case and didn't ignite.
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Old April 25, 2005, 07:32 PM   #15
cgpro856
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Thirties, My first of the four was almost exactly the same, maybe just 1/8" less bullet sticking out. It looked pretty silly though. I wish I had taken a picture. The other three didn't make it that far, one barely made it thru the forcing cone.
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Old April 25, 2005, 09:10 PM   #16
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CGPro, I'm with Wes and Dodge. You KNOW you have charging problems because of that one cartridge with 3.8 grains. First thing you have to do is to sort that problem out.

If you happen to be using a Lee AutoDisk without the return chain, I'd point the finger right there.
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