The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 27, 2012, 02:35 AM   #1
Coyote WT
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2011
Location: Woodinville WA (north of Seattle)
Posts: 147
50% fail rate



Wow, that was discouraging...

I took the first 20 rounds (.45 ACP) I loaded to the range today and had 9 misfires. I had 2 magazines of 10 rounds each. The first one I loaded had 1 out of 10 fails and the other had 8 of the 10 misfire. These were not squibs. It felt and sounded like the firing pin hit a snap cap or a bullet with no powder load.

When I got home I deconstructed the duds. The primer didn't ignite the powder at all. Every round had a full charge. To rule out bad powder, I took a sample and ignited it (cast iron pot, long fire place match, outside...if that breaks some etiquette or safety rule I'll accept that).

I also policed and inspected the spent brass for signs of excessive pressure and, to the best of my knowledge, there were no signs of casing damage.

This leads me to two possibilities.

Either I did something wrong in seating the primer or the primers are bad.

Thoughts?
__________________
Coyote WalkingTall
91/30 Mosin Nagant, P95 Ruger
M&P S&W .38, Savage 111 30.06
Springfield XD .45
Coyote WT is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 02:44 AM   #2
aiming fluid
Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2010
Posts: 41
A little more info would help us greatly in diagnosing the problem. Did the duds fire the primer? Did you try a second hammer strike on any of the duds?

Most likely it's a small procedure issue that can easily be fixed. Don't be discouraged; we'll figure it out for you.
aiming fluid is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 04:19 AM   #3
ruger357w
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 13, 2012
Location: Maine
Posts: 122
could be a number of things, we really need more info. Are your primers seated in all the way? what are you useing for primers and powder? What's the charge, are they crimped? what bullet and OAL? Also what are you useing for dies and a press?

Last edited by ruger357w; May 27, 2012 at 04:25 AM.
ruger357w is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 05:46 AM   #4
flashhole
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 1,298
Did you inspect the primer pockets and flash holes, especially the flash holes if you tumbled them. Sounds odd that 8 out of 10 would not fire but I agree we need a bit more info. Can you post a pic of the "fired" primers.
__________________
Gun control is hitting what you aim at..
flashhole is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 06:37 AM   #5
Hammerhead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,563
95% of the time the problem will be high primers - not being seated all the way down in the pocket. The firing pin has spent most of it's energy pushing the primer deeper into the primer pocket.
The other 5% of the time the problem is mechanical - dirty firing pin channel, weak mainspring, etc...

If the primer ignites but the powder doesn't, the bullet will be kicked out of the case and will usually be lodged in the barrel/throat and unburned powder will be everywhere.

Last edited by Hammerhead; May 27, 2012 at 06:45 AM.
Hammerhead is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 07:24 AM   #6
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,811
Out of curiosity, what is the case mouth diameter of the loaded rounds?
mehavey is online now  
Old May 27, 2012, 07:26 AM   #7
Uncle Buck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2009
Location: West Central Missouri
Posts: 2,561
A friend brought over ten rounds he had made, which had failed to fire. The primers showed a little tiny mark from where the firing pin had lightly struck the primer. We reset the primers deeper and then he tried to fire them again.

Everyone worked just fine. For most of the fail to fire rounds that I have seen, the primer not being seated correctly seemed to be the problem.

Some other problems I have seen: These are my dads primers, I found them in the garage when I was cleaning.

I found this can of powder and it smelled pretty bad, but I thought it might be good, so I used it.

I would venture to say the primer is going to be the problem. Try to re-seat it a little deeper next time, then if they fail to fire, try to reset it deeper before disassembly.
__________________
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
Uncle Buck is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 08:28 AM   #8
Misssissippi Dave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 5, 2009
Posts: 1,406
There is a good chance the primers are not always set deep enough. I put my finished rounds in the plastic portion of a used factory ammo box with the primers up. This way they are easy to see 50 at a time and I can quickly run my finger over them to see if any are not seated deep enough. They should be a few thousands of an inch below the rim of the case. If the primers are flush with the case and not slightly recessed, the primer will get seated all the way when you try to fire them. Often they won't fire. Spending my time doing this quick check has allowed me to not get any failure to fire rounds.

One other thing is if you have a pistol with a reduced hammer spring, it is possible the primers you are using are too hard. I have one pistol with a lighter then normal hammer spring in it and any round using the hard CCI primers can give me problems including factory ammo with this pistol. I like using Winchester or Federal primers since they are a little softer to prevent any light strike problems.
Misssissippi Dave is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 09:41 AM   #9
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,206
Coyote WT,

Assuming the primers did not ignite, there are two basic categories of cause:
  1. Cushioned firing pin blow
  2. Failure to get fully into battery so the firing pin blow is too far to the side.

The cushioned firing pin blow comes in one of three flavors:
  • High primer — Primers should be seated 0.003"-0.005" below flush with the case head.
  • Inadequate Crimp — If the crimp die didn't remove the flare from the expander die fully, the case will resist full entry into the chamber. This is what Mahavey was getting at, I expect.
  • Seating out too far — If the bullet meets the throat of the gun before the case head is flush with the back of the barrel it can cushion the firing pin some as it is driven into the rifling; this is especially so with lead bullets.

The failure to go into battery fully also comes in three flavors:
  • The gun doesn't feed your bullet shape well — this is usually due to feed ramp shape or sometimes where the magazine fingers release the bullet.
  • The other two causes are the same as the last two for cushioned firing pin blow, just expressing themselves differently.

If your failures to fire don't include a way off-center firing pin strike, look to the first category.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 10:18 AM   #10
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,811
-delete-
(though I suspect over-crimp)
mehavey is online now  
Old May 27, 2012, 10:31 AM   #11
Nathan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2001
Posts: 1,898
wow! That is bad luck!

First, I would look at your fired cases. How do the firing pin marks look? Same as everybody elses you pick up at the range? If so, that basically rules out the gun.

Next, I would confirm the primers. I would load 10 in cases and try them. Sounds like you should get at least 1 which doesn't fire. If even 1 doesn't fire, I would call the primer maker and ask them to take them in return at their expense. Then of course try new primers.

If your primer strikes look shallow, then I would look at headspace issues and the firing pin.
Nathan is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 10:39 AM   #12
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 3,564
On the ones that did not fire,what did the firing pin strike look like?A good dent,or wimpy?

And,as Uncle Nick mentioned.off center is significant,too.

My early handgun reloading adventures included not belling,or not sufficiently belling some 38 Super brass I fed to a 1911.It had a Clark bbl,headspaced on the case mouth.I used copper plated lead bullets.The case mouth shaved a little bullet metal forward.That shaving messed with the functional headspace,and so at times the slide was almost fully locked,but not quite.There is a little wiggle room in the disconnect,so the hammer would drop.

Unfortunately,at that point I also went down the velocity column,and picked a hot rod load of Blue Dot.

And,once I got to the range,I wanted to come home with empty brass.

I still have that Clark bbl in my junk drawer.The lugs set back on the half locked bbl.

I'd say,generally,if something about your handloads does not work,stop.

Ignition problems are also a fine way to lodge a bullet in the bore.Its a bummer to drive the bullet out sometimes.It is possible to batter the bullet so it gets tighter.

A squib doesn't make much noise,you might not notice it with ear protection.Then,you might react by racking the slide and shooting the next round.Two bullets in the barrel does not end well.

So,back from the side story:

You can look through the handgun,firing pin tunnel clean?

Dry snap much? Firing pin head can mushroom,then drag on the firing pin retainer plate.

Old gun? Get a spring and pin rebuild kit.You might have a limp hammer fall.Strut pin may be walking and dragging.

For about $20 you can get a box of 50 hardball factory loads.Try a couple mags.Zero problems? Maybe the gun is fine,but clean and lube it.Also,inspect the locking lug surfaces.

With your barrel out of the gun,drop several of your loads in the chamber.Do they fully chamber?Or do they stop short?

See,bullet dia a little too big(is it .451?) or the crimp bulging the case,etc can cause the round to stop short of headspacing on the case mouth.There is not an "anvil" so the strike energy goes into pushing the cartridge forward.

Did you use rifle primers by mistake?Cups are harder.

Are you handling the primers one at a time?Oily fingers are not good.

And,its been mentioned,high primers are just something to not do!

Clean,lube,inspect the gun.

Reloading,use universal decap die on the dirty brass,tumble till its clean.

Make sure the flash hole is clear and the primer pockets do not have crud in them.

Seat and crimp as two operations.Use a taper crimp or factory crimp collet die.There is often a crimp dia specified in the load book.


verify the rounds will drop full depth into your chamber.

No high primers.

Stop if it does not work.
HiBC is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 10:46 AM   #13
Coyote WT
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2011
Location: Woodinville WA (north of Seattle)
Posts: 147
answers to some of the questions

Thanks for everyone's quick response. Here are some of the answers I can provide:

1) I'm using a Lee Classic 4 station turret press with RCSB dies.
2) The duds did not fire the primer.
3) I didn't try dropping the hammer again (striker fire and didn't thing to reload a magazine or work the dud back in...I'll try that next time)
4) I didn't take a measurement of the expanded diameter and I'm not using a crimping tool.
5) I'm loading 5.9-6 grain of unique powder for a 230 gr bullet as the minimum listed in my Lymans.

Reading through everything I have a feeling I need to improve my primer seating technique for the next batch.

Here's a picture.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 001a.jpg (82.7 KB, 95 views)
__________________
Coyote WalkingTall
91/30 Mosin Nagant, P95 Ruger
M&P S&W .38, Savage 111 30.06
Springfield XD .45
Coyote WT is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 10:59 AM   #14
bossman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 16, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 996
OUCH, 50% is not good. Good advice here, I agree with Unclenick and think the problem will be in there somewhere.

Don't get to discouraged just step back and rethink what you're doing. It will be some sort of little adjustment and then you'll be good to go. A little more info on what you built such as bullets used, col, and type of primers used. Good Luck and hang in there.
__________________
NRA life member

When the going gets tough, I just open another beer.
bossman is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 11:02 AM   #15
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 3,564
Sounds like progress.

I am a little curious about"I'm not using a crimping tool"

When you set up your seating die,do you screw it in till it bumps on the shellholder?

Im sure your RCBS seating die has a crimp function built in.If you are setting the die on the shellholder,you are crimping!!Probably way too much.

Try this:

Take a piece of your sized,belled brass,put it in the shell holder,ram up.

Screw your seating die body down till you just feel it contact the case.

Lock the die body.

You will have to re-adjust your bullet seating depth to correct LOA.

Load and seat all your bullets.You will still have some bell.

Now,back off your seating stem,and gradually lower the die body of your seating die as you cycle a round through.You will see your bell dis appear.Use your calipers to measure the dia at the case mouth as you crimp,With jacketed bullets,it may be just a touch,but with cast bullets,there will be a spec...it may be .470 but look it up,to crimp down to.

Gross over crimping,you may have done,and it would cause your problem.
HiBC is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 11:09 AM   #16
HiBC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2006
Posts: 3,564
OK,I looked at the pic.Note your dud is a light,off center strike,and your fired round is a strong center strike.

That indicates to me your pistol is semi-locked up as you are trying to fire.

As I described,I messed up a good 1911 that way.Do not keep doing that!
Check your locking surfaces for battering.

For a while,till this is resolved,make sure your slide is 100% fully fwd before you squeeze!

I suspect scraping bullet metal on the case mouth or not understanding crimping.

I suggest you add a Lee factory crimp die to the 4th station of your press.

Then just leave the RCBS seater set up backed off from the shell holder,to just seat,and crimp in the 4th die
HiBC is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 11:22 AM   #17
Coyote WT
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2011
Location: Woodinville WA (north of Seattle)
Posts: 147
bossman: Thanks for the encouragement. I'm already planning my next adjustments based on some great feedback hear. Based on some of the other experiences I've read about early efforts, I'm sure a lot of first timers have the same kind of issues until everything is dialed in.

HiBC: I think the seater does have a crimping function which may need some adjusting. I think I also need to be more diligent on my post production inspection. On second look and going back to my manual, I believe I do see signs of over crimping. Also, I double checked each round I ejected to make sure the bullet was, in fact, still in the cartridge. That's one horror story I don't need to star in
__________________
Coyote WalkingTall
91/30 Mosin Nagant, P95 Ruger
M&P S&W .38, Savage 111 30.06
Springfield XD .45
Coyote WT is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 11:51 AM   #18
dabluesguy
Member
 
Join Date: August 3, 2011
Location: Eastern Orygun
Posts: 91
Had the same thing happen not too long ago. Primers were not seated deep enough. Problem now solved (for me).
dabluesguy is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 12:01 PM   #19
UtopiaTexasG19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 3, 2011
Location: S.E. Texas Gulf Coast
Posts: 743
Tell us more about the actual gun. Does it fire off store bought ammo 100% of the time? Try some of your reloads in another .45 and see if you get the same results. We need to see if it is the reloads or the gun!
UtopiaTexasG19 is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 01:42 PM   #20
Coyote WT
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2011
Location: Woodinville WA (north of Seattle)
Posts: 147
UtopiaTexasG19: Springfield XD has worked flawlessly since day one with factory (both new factory and factory remans). I don't have another .45 to use. I'm 100% sure my local range is NOT going to be ok with me testing hand loads in their rentals
__________________
Coyote WalkingTall
91/30 Mosin Nagant, P95 Ruger
M&P S&W .38, Savage 111 30.06
Springfield XD .45
Coyote WT is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 02:46 PM   #21
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,206
As noted, your dud firing pin mark is well off-center. The primer has a anvil inside that is like an upside down tripod. When the firing pin indents the cup, the priming mix is supposed to be squashed between the center of the primer cup and the top center of the tripod to fire it. Your off-center mark looks like it could have missed the tripod tip completely. As mentioned, this is an indicator of incomplete lock-up, where the barrel has not got 100% up into position because the slide is not 100% forward, so something is preventing that. Check the second list of causes I gave.

To get your seating die set up correctly:
  • Back the seater plug's stem out a few turns.
  • Take a loaded dud round and run it up into the die, then then turn the die body down until its crimp shoulder stops on the case neck.
  • Measure the diameter of the case mouth with a caliper. It should be between 0.467" and 0.473" wide.
  • If your case mouth is any bigger: Keep turning the die body down in small amounts until the case neck is inside that number range.
  • Once you have that adjustment done, tighten the lock ring.
  • Next turn the seater plug stem back down again until it stops on the bullet, then tighten its lock nut.
  • Make a fresh round and make sure the bullet seating depth and case mouth diameter are still satisfactory. If not, adjust as needed.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 03:39 PM   #22
eldorendo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2012
Posts: 224
Quote:
A friend brought over ten rounds he had made, which had failed to fire. The primers showed a little tiny mark from where the firing pin had lightly struck the primer. We reset the primers deeper and then he tried to fire them again.
Uncle Buck, if you reset primers in loaded rounds, then I hereby present you with the year's Darwin Award!! I'm sure you left out the part where you pulled the bullets, dumped the powder, then reseated the primers!!
eldorendo is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 04:15 PM   #23
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,811
I'll ask again......

What is the case diameter right at the case mouth -- of your loaded rounds?
mehavey is online now  
Old May 27, 2012, 04:28 PM   #24
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,206
I think that may be key, given the offset firing pin mark. Case mouth too fat. If it were just right, the gun would close all the way (unless it didn't like the particular bullet shape (still a possibility) or unless the bullet were seated too long for its nose profile). If the case mouth were too narrow, the gun would close completely and the cartridge would headspace on the extractor hook and fire, the way so many seem to do, but it could also cause high pressure if the chamber were at the short end of the range.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old May 27, 2012, 05:08 PM   #25
Coyote WT
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2011
Location: Woodinville WA (north of Seattle)
Posts: 147
Unclenick: Thanks for the adjustment instructions. I'll start tinkering with that and see if I can get everything in line.

mehavey: I'll answer again that I didn't think to double check the measurements. I will make sure that I double check all of the measurement and compare them to the diagram in the manual for the next run.
__________________
Coyote WalkingTall
91/30 Mosin Nagant, P95 Ruger
M&P S&W .38, Savage 111 30.06
Springfield XD .45
Coyote WT is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12906 seconds with 10 queries