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Old December 8, 2012, 05:19 PM   #1
bamiller
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What happened?

Been reloading for about a year and a half and never had one issue with my reloads..until today. 1st two reloads I attempted to fire out of my fairly new Springfield XDS smoked after pulling the trigger but nothing else. After waiting a safe length of time I racked the slide and the spent casings ejected. Then field stripped to find the bullet lodged in the barrel in both caes. Proceeded to shoot Winchester white box and Golden Sabers with no issues. What happened? What should I do with the remaining reloads? I was thinking about trying the reloads in another pistol but probably not a good idea?
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Old December 8, 2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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How were you charging the powder? Sounds like a squib due to too little powder or even none. I would either pull the remainder or shoot them one at a time to see if it was an isolated incident.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:10 PM   #3
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That's certainly what it sounds like -- or contaminated powder that simply doesn't burn, or doesn't burn properly.

Absolutely, get some from the same set and tear them down and see what you can find in there.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:13 PM   #4
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Primer with no powder will do that. If you saw only a little smoke and didn't eject a case that spilled powder all over or wasn't packed with powder spoiled by oil or moisture, then you have some uncharged cases.

If your brass and bullet weights combined are more uniform than your charge weight is, you may be able to find suspect cartridges just by weighing them. In many instances, though, with fast target powders, the combination of mixed headstamp cases and cast bullets can vary more than the powder charge, in that case you could catch some, but not all of the bad ones. It'll requires a bit of work.
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Old December 8, 2012, 06:20 PM   #5
m&p45acp10+1
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Ok causes for most squibs that I can think of off the top of my head.

1. Somehow missed charging the case. With a progressive if one gets into la la land for a tad bit of time it can happen. As well as bridging powder with some types of stick, and large flake powders.

2. Bad powder. If the others fired then that would not be the case.

3. Clogged flash hole. Some times dirt clods can work their way into range pick up brass. The decapping die pokes a hole into it. Somehow during handling a piece of the dirt makes its way to the flash hole. Or impacted media. Especialy corn cob media in deprimed brass in a tumbler.

4. In rifles, and magnum rounds with slow powders. Not enough case fill can keep the powder from igniting.

6. In magnum hand gun, and rifle rounds using a non magnum primer for slow powders can fail to ignite the powder, yet unseat the bullet causing a squib.
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Old December 8, 2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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Just weighed the other 98 in the box and all but 7 weighed in the 322/323 range. Pulled those 7 and they had little or no powder. Guess would be powder dispenser or operator screwed up. Either way not good.
Going to run a few cases through the dispenser weighing each.
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Old December 8, 2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamiller
Guess would be powder dispenser or operator screwed up.
That would rightly be an "and" in there, and I mean no offense.

Check those charges visually. Every charge, every time.
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Old December 8, 2012, 08:52 PM   #8
m&p45acp10+1
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A few tid bits of information can help us to help you if you give it to us.

First what powder are you using?
Second What kind of press, and powder measure are you using?

If you are loading on a progressive, or semi progressive it would be advised to use a good metering powder. Fine ball powders tend to meter well, though they tend to not fill the case very well. Bulky powders can clog the mouth of the funnel causing what is known as bridging. This can keep a case from getting enough, or any powder. It can also lead to the next case being over charged as well.

Take 10 cases. Charge each weigh each charge seperately. If they are to within .1 grains of each other then that is good enough provided you are not on the thresh hold of a maximum charge. Now throw 10 more charges, and weigh the whole bunch. Divide by 10 the number should be in the area of the 10 single charges you threw before. If not then you should either check your powder measure. Or you will need to weigh each charge by hand. Or better yet get a better metering powder.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:00 AM   #9
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I look in EACH case before I seat the bullet.

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Last edited by Unclenick; December 11, 2012 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Make good photo more obvious.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:23 AM   #10
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Powder bridging in dispensers can cause overloads as well a squibs.

The problem, as mp45acp10+1 wrote, the powder that does not get through to one case can be added to the next case's normal charge when the "bridge" breaks, creating a double charge. That is a possibility when the powder is bridging AFTER the metering cavity. So, it is wise to look for overcharges if you have found under charges.

On the other hand, if the powder is bridging somewhere BEFORE the metering cavity, then it only produces light loads. A somewhat related issue is the changing weight of the powder above the metering apparatus as the hopper is drawn down during reloading of multiple rounds. If the metering cavity was set with the hopper full, then reducing the hopper level may cause the powder throws to become progressively lighter. On the other hand, if you set the metering cavity with the hopper too low, then add more powder, you can get higher charge weights than you were intending.

One way this is addressed is to add baffles to the hopper, so that there is an intentional type of bridging well above the metering cavity, which tends to make the powder weight at the cavity entrance stay more constant.

Another way to address bridging is to intentionally bump the powder dispenser THE SAME WAY EACH TIME. On a progressive, the normal operation may give the appropriate bumping when things are running smoothly, but get somewhat off when there is a stoppage, and the bumping becomes non-typical for a few strokes. On a stand alone measure, there are sometimes even little weights hinged to the device that are intended to be raised and dropped to thump the measure in a contolled way. But, you can do the same thing by the way you raise and lower the handle or tap the device with a knuckle.

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Last edited by SL1; December 9, 2012 at 01:51 PM.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:30 PM   #11
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SL1 the only times I have seen bridging it was in the powder funnel. Happens for me when I am loading with Trail Boss in .30 cal rifle cases. I have to tap the funnel, and case to help settle the powder in. Longer stick powders will do it for me when loading in .22 cal bottle neck cases as well.
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Old December 9, 2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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First of all, great that you noticed something really different and took the time to check for an obstruction in the barrel.

Second, take some time to find out what might have changed that resulted in 9 rounds with little to no powder, when you had 1.5 years of experience with no problems. Something definitely changed. It should be relatively easy to determine what changed and now you can make sure you avoid it happening again.
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldreloader
I look in EACH case before I seat the bullet.
That's the ONLY way to be absolutely positively sure you don't short shot one... or worse, double shot one.
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:34 PM   #14
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I agree, what kind of press and powder?

Myself, I just got a Hornady Lock and Load AP progressive this week. I also got the RCBS lock-out die that will prevent the press from cycling if there is an undercharge or doublecharge. It's not a substitute for a visual check, which I have done every turn, but it's a good human error preventer.

And yes, I tested it with an empty case, and with a double charge case. It works great!
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m&p45acp10+1
. . . the only times I have seen bridging it was in the powder funnel.
Same here. Though I've got ample evidence of having had it happen inside a powder measure, I just can't see it inside there when it does.

Seriously, though, there does seem to be bridging or log jams in some measures with some powders. Call it packing irregularities or whatever you please, it is certainly the case that fine spherical powders will rarely, if ever, have this issue.

A couple of guys in past threads have mentioned attaching a fish tank aerator pump to their powder measure hoppers with rubber bands to act as a vibratory settler. Use a pushbutton switch and just give it a one second push at each end of the charging stroke, one to fill the measure cavity and the other to drop it down the tube.

With completely empty cases you also want to look at the possibility of short stroking the press.
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