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Old November 12, 2012, 07:03 PM   #1
brigond
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WARNING for new reloaders

I'm a new reloader myself. So far I only reload 9mm. This is a little embarrassing but ill share it in the name of safety. I have heard many different types of warnings but this one I haven't heard much. Actually a friend of mine who also reloads warned me about this. I'm glad he did cause it happened today . While shooting some test reloads I came accross one that seemed really weak. It made more of a poof and had little or no recoil. If I were really new to this and was not pre warned I may have continued shooting.. Instead , I stopped shooting and field stripped it on the spot . Yup, there was a bullet jammed in the barrel. If I ignored the symptom I could have been hurt. Somewhere along the line I failed to put a charge in the round and the primer was enough to push the bullet out. I'm using a turret press. I was distracted at some point. When my friend warned me I immediately started taking precautions but I reloaded this batch before the warning. I used a wooden dowel rested the breech end of the barrel on a block of wood , and was able to get it out. I lost some range time and gained some wisdom. I will always look down in to the case with every stroke of the press.
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Old November 12, 2012, 07:54 PM   #2
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excellent post. I love seeing these. newbie or veteran, it never hurts any of us to be reminded how quickly our fun hobby can turn deadly or injurious if we fail to pay attention to the details. thanks for sharing.
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Old November 12, 2012, 08:16 PM   #3
velillen
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Definitely a good thing you realized it was a squib. But also not something just for reloaders either. Ive mentioned it to a few friends who shoot and they dont htink it can happen with factory ammo but it can and has. Good rule of thumb for me is if i pull the trigger and it doesnt do what its supposed to then stop and see why.
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Old November 12, 2012, 08:29 PM   #4
floydster
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I am an old guy and at our range the other day one of my old Geezer friends that has been reloading for over 60 years had a squib in his 1911.
He looked at me with a strange look and ask me if I had a rod and hammer in my range bag--I said yup I do
He said in all the years at the reloading bench he can't remember having a bullet stuck in a barrel---so just goes to show you

I have been reloading for over 55 years--I guess me time will come yet
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Old November 12, 2012, 08:40 PM   #5
Edward429451
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Good catch! A good reminder for us all to pay attention. Quality control never stops, it just starts over when we pick up our empty brass.
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Old November 12, 2012, 09:37 PM   #6
brigond
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Another thought is if you hand your gun off to a friend or anyone at the range. I usually bring friends with me. I will warn and watch them while they are using it. On a positive note , I was able to use the stuck bullet to take a measurement (slug the barrel) since I'm using lead cast bullets.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:07 AM   #7
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Good to hear that you caught your squib in time. I've had two squibs, both with factory ammo, one in .22LR and one in .25ACP. So far, every round of mine has been a good one.

I have a fairly foolproof method (learned on TFL) whereby I pick up an empty primed case, put powder in it with a dipper, and add it to the rows of cases with powder. Then when all the powder is added (usually a batch of 50 or 100 or however many I need to fill a partial box) I check them with a flashlight before going on to the next step of seating the bullets.

Yes, it's slow, and I only have a hand press, but I've gotten faster over the years and have 100% confidence in my ammo. I would not recommend anything other than a single stage press to a new reloader, or maybe a turret operated in single-stage mode. Even with the experience I have accumulated, the chance of a kaboom isn't worth (to me) the time savings.

If you were in a live rapid fire match and not casually shooting at the range, you might not have time to react to a squib. Some guns are capable of containing multiple jammed bullets in the barrel with only a bulged barrel resulting, but some are not and break apart under such pressure.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:30 AM   #8
fehhkk
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Make it a good habit of lighting up your press, and before you place a bullet on a case with powder, always make it a point to spot check the powder level. Even on rifle cartridges, you should always check. Been reloading for almost a year now, around 7,000 rounds, never had a squib so far.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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Good looking out on that squib.

I'm a newish loader as well, also doing 9mm and on a turret press.

To minimize mistakes (especially due to distraction) I use it more like a single stage that I don't have to swap dies on.

Everything gets done in stages. I.e. - decide how many I want to load and them decap/size all, then prime all, then expand all, and finally charge and seat.

It's slower, yes, but thus far have had no issues or skipped steps
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Old November 13, 2012, 01:03 PM   #10
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I weigh my bullets after reloading them. One time not too long ago after loading a batch of 45-70's I came across a round that was heavier than the rest. After pulling the bullet I found a 22lr case inside the 45-70 case. I don't know how it got their or how I didn't notice when resizing but I can only wonder what would of happend.
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Old November 13, 2012, 01:18 PM   #11
willr
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What Spacecoast said is really worth listening to. I would add only two comments: even the "flashlight" test doesn't always work because it is sometimes hard to tell visually just how much powder is in a case. I have come to using either a dowel or brass rod marked from a properly loaded case, dropped into each case in a lot to be sure there is no squib.

My second comment is that I will not use the reloaded ammo from a gun show. If I can make a mistake myself, how can I be sure that someone else hasn't also made the mistake.

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Old November 13, 2012, 02:01 PM   #12
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This is why I have a dowel rod cut for a smaller piece, then after powder I check each case to ensure that the line I marked on it is right at the top of the case. If its below, then no/low charge, above then its double/over charge. Haven't gone wrong with it yet.

Congrats though on finding it before things got ugly though.
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Old November 13, 2012, 02:45 PM   #13
tkglazie
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This is why I prefer loading in index mode on the turret press. Every charge I drop is visually inspected on the press the second it is dropped and every visually inspected charge is immediately covered with a bullet with no delay. If there is any delay or distraction (or spot check) the charge gets dumped back in the hopper and the case is verified empty and returned to the press. In the case of deep .38 cases that cant be inspected on the press, the charged case is removed, inspected and covered with a bullet then returned to the press (replacing an uncovered, charged case to the press is a big no-no in my book). With only one case in process at a time and 100% visual inspection the chances of a squib or double charge are reduced exponentially.
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Old November 13, 2012, 02:48 PM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkglazie
This is why I prefer loading in index mode on the turret press.
I agree.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:04 PM   #15
tkglazie
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I am not surprised BP- most of what I didnt learn on my own I picked up from following you and Lost Sheep
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:14 PM   #16
mikld
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Yep, I learned the same way. But that was 35+ years ago and I did it with a Lee Loader! Now, I look in every case to make sure there is powder...
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:10 PM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkglazie
I am not surprised BP- most of what I didnt learn on my own I picked up from following you and Lost Sheep
Oh hell! You don't let people near you when you shoot those reloads... do you!?

I just made an unforced error with my own loads... I may have to reinvigorate my Confessional Wall of Shame thread...
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Old November 13, 2012, 08:03 PM   #18
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Charges that fail to drop properly is an issue that is easily monitored on a progressive:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/199...powder-cop-die

That said, along with the rest of the basics drilled into my sons when we started shooting, was that if ANYTHING doesn't sound or "feel" exactly "right" after the trigger pull...

STOP. If it failed to fire, wait to avoid the possibility of a delayed primer detonation. Inspect the weapon.

Whether it's shooting, reloading, or whatever...chit happens when we get in a hurry and become complacent.
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Old November 13, 2012, 11:29 PM   #19
RC20
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I did the same thing with 9mm a while back.

Got back into reloading the last few years.

I don't use a progressive, but I was doing a fill and bullet seat and got lost.

Now I fill them with powder, look into each case and then proceed.

I actually had tow out of that batch. Same drill, dowel down the barrel cleaned it then stopped, took them home and weighed them to see if they had powder in them.

For me I am not good at remembering if I looked at each one so single loading is better for me.

ps: my brother who is very meticulous (progressive loader) had a couple of duds with his rifle reloads. Same thing. We were both talking about it and he admited it first. I told him, well, I don't feel so bad!
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Old November 14, 2012, 12:46 PM   #20
53rdcard
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Im pretty new to it as well, so i am paranoid and weigh every 5th to check, also have another check, when i first started, i was extreamly careful to make test loads to find the sweet spot load for my 9mm, once i found it i again being extreamly careful to triple check each round, even went so far as to weigh all of them, made a box of 50, and set them in the tray, then put that tray on my digital scale to weigh the entire thing, wrote that and the finished correct bullet weight down and taped it to the scale for handy reference, now as i finish a box, i use the exact same tray to make sure it isnt in the equation, and weigh each box to make sure nothing is off, if the weight is off plus or minus, i check each bullet to see what is up.

doing that has saved me having 2 unloaded and 1 double loaded round in the few months i have been doing this.
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:29 PM   #21
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Yep, been there and done that. I had to hammer a bullet out of a Ruger Super Redhawk .44 magnum. If I hadn't stopped... it could have gotten ugly real fast. It was my first and only squib and has made me much more cautious on the reload bench.
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Old November 17, 2012, 05:37 AM   #22
brigond
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I've since added a bench light that shines straight down into the case. Like some here have suggested it helps reduce the odds of it happening again. I couldn't find one of those flexible , clamp to your bench lights. Instead, I found a very small light weight flashlight at Walmart for a little over 2 bucks. I used a coat hanger wire screwed to the side of the bench . I bent the wire around the flashlight which holds the light and is adjustable to a certain extent. It's thin, lite , works well , and its out of the way. This allows me to eyeball the powder level and is sort of a reminder when I get a clear view of those little round 231 powder disks. It's a definite improvement .
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Old November 17, 2012, 09:19 AM   #23
Uncle Billy
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I don't have a progressive press, I have a "regressive" press, one die at a time. My procedure is to set the primed, empty case on a digital balance and set the tare weight, drop the powder, then weigh it again to see how much powder got loaded; if it meets specification the bullet is seated right away, if not it's dumped back into the powder measure and recharged; either way the bullet seated immediately after charging, one at a time.

I don't separate dropping the powder and seating the bullet into stages, dropping powder and seating the bullet are one stage. If I get interrupted after dropping the charge and before seating the bullet, the case gets dumped back in the powder measure right away; when I return to reloading I begin with dropping the powder again.

A case on the bench in a loading block is either primed and empty, or completely done.
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Old November 17, 2012, 12:39 PM   #24
tkglazie
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excellent process uncle billy. that's about as safe you can get assuming you check your scale regularly, and considering how detailed your process is thats a pretty safe bet.
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Old November 17, 2012, 07:11 PM   #25
Mac Sidewinder
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A few of you have explained that you either weigh individual completed rounds or boxes of completed rounds to ensure you didn't short or over charge with powder. With the variances in bullet weight and case weight how can you tell especially in 9mm? I would imagine that there could be a big difference between individual completed rounds even if everything was done correctly.

I have weighed bullets and found some that were off by a couple grains, coupled with the fact that cases can be a couple grains different completely makes finding a over or under powder charge impossible in some instances.

I wouldn't depend on this as a fool proof method of checking cases. I ALWAYS visually inspect each and every case for a correct powder charge. I also measure each 10th charge on the scale. Call me paranoid but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Just my 2cts

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