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Old April 25, 2013, 03:53 PM   #1
Machz93
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.38 special mishap

I did it. I did something I vowed to never do while reloading. I made a mistake.

Last weekend I was shooting some plated .38 spl 148g HBWC over 3.6 grains of HP-38. A combination I have loaded and shot over a thousand rounds of without issue. When I squeezed the trigger there was a slightly louder report. The recoil was slightly different than usual. The case head started to separate, extraction from the wheel was difficult because there was a noticeable bulge in case about .1875 up from the head, and the primer was smashed flat. My first thought was double charge, but then I noticed……

The target had two holes in it. One exactly where I was aiming, the other about 6 inches low. I was shooting at a distance of 30’. The top hole was a perfect wad cutter puncture. The other hole looked like a tumbling projectile hole only smaller than a .38 spl.

Here is my theory.
For this batch of reloads I used some range brass that somebody had given to me with an old C&H progressive press I had purchased about 6 months ago. In one of the bags of 38 spl brass there were some de-primed .32 brass. I found 2 .32s in the bag of 500 .38s. I think there was a 3rd stuck in the bottom of the .38 case that I did not catch.

I realize I was very lucky. The gun is O.K. and I can still count to 10 without taking my shoes off.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:00 PM   #2
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Sounds more like a squib to me. It would be difficult to size/deprime with another case inside the other, and then you wound have to prime it as well. Not only that how would you be able to seat a full wad cutter with another even small case inside the parent case?

I am going to hazzard at a squib. It can happen with light loads. A friend of mine stuck 6 wad cutters in his Model 19 4 inch. Lucky they were so light it did not damage the gun, and the cylinder was able to be opened without chanceing a bent crane.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:01 PM   #3
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It seems you would have found the 32 case when you deprimmed.
Could have also been a bullet stuck in the barrel and the second round knocked it out.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:03 PM   #4
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Wow! Glad you are Ok!!! I just started reloading 38 special and 357 magnum! Have to watch for that. I pickup range brass all the time.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Seems we are thinking alike M&P45.. Our threads are a minute apart.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:11 PM   #6
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I can rule out a squib. Every shot prior to that had a hole in paper verified by 2 sets of eyes. I was shooting a competition of sorts against a good friend.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:13 PM   #7
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Chief I was at the range when my firend stuck the bullets in his revolver. It took a good soak with oil, then a piece of drill rod, and mallet to get them out. Those uber light loads can be tricky if the sun is setting and behind your target. He could not see the holes at 25 yards. Then when he was going to reload he saw one a wee bit of the end of the first bullet sticking out of the barrel. I have had squibs with plated full wad cutters, using Trail Boss. There is just not enough space to get the pressure to get them all the way out. I switched to a load with Bull's Eye to shoot up the rest of them. By then I had a mold for 158 grain LSWC.

Note my firend no longer uses plated WC. He got a mold for DEWC that he uses.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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I stuck six bullets in a Model 27.
It was fine after I got them out.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:16 PM   #9
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My other thought is if they were plated hollow base wad cutters is that the lower skirted part of one was somehow stuck in the barrel. You would have had a hole from the part that left the barrel. The other part was left inside. The next round pushed both out.

Or the plating material was still in the barrel.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:32 PM   #10
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M&P

They were hollow base. What would cause the skirt to be left in the barrel? Or the plating? I would think that other people would have seen this happen as well.
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Old April 25, 2013, 06:36 PM   #11
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Sometimes a load that is too hot can blow the skirt. A crimp that is too hard can make the plating drag.

Though what you describe sounds like a squib that was popped out by the following round to a T. Check your barrel to assure that there are no bulges. Most times if it happened with a light load it will not hur the gun.
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Old April 25, 2013, 07:10 PM   #12
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I realize it sounds like a squib, however every previous round left an accounted for hole. We were shooting at 30' into a trap built in the basement. Walking up to the target after every 3 shots to judge score.
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Old April 25, 2013, 08:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Or the plating material was still in the barrel.
As 3.6gr of HP38 is not that light (so I doubt a squib), I'd say this is closer to the real answer...

Though I have not seen it personally, I have indeed heard of the plating sticking in the bore, and is one of the reasons I do not use plated bullets...

Skirt may well be the culprit also...
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Old April 25, 2013, 08:27 PM   #14
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If it was a smaller case inside, the depriming pin would have caught it. Also I think the primer would have a tough time lighting the powder charge.
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Old April 26, 2013, 12:48 PM   #15
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There have been reports of 2 bullets being loaded into 1 case.
But to do that with 148 gr HBWCs in a 38 case, the bullet would have to be seated out pretty long.
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Old April 26, 2013, 12:57 PM   #16
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Seems everything has been covered unless someone else shot your target.
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Old April 26, 2013, 01:41 PM   #17
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I appreciate all the suggestions everybody has offered. Tonight I will dig through my scrap brass pail and see if I can find a .32 case and see if loading it into a .38 round is even possible. I will also closely examine the rest of the crimps in that batch to see if any look excessive to the point of cutting the plating.

There is no way somebody else shot my paper. It was just the two of us shooting. My buddy shot his first 3 shots at his new target that were accounted for and my first shot at my new paper left 2 holes. For the record I beat him the first 2 rounds we shot. He still thinks I did this on purpose to not give him a chance to win one.

2 bullets in 1 case did not happen. I don't recall where my COAL ended up being set to, but it was definatly too short for 2 bullets. Honestly if somebody makes that big of a mistake they should stick with carrying factory ammo........ In their pocket. Not their gun.
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Old April 26, 2013, 05:22 PM   #18
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Wold the trap you were shooting into happen to be made out of metal? If yes then a piece of the plating may have back spattered causing the exta hole. If it is a wood trap, or has some kind of filler then it could have been from displaced filler, or wood debris. Just a couple of thoughts on other things. Do you still have the target? If so check to see if it looks like the tear is from the other side.

If not since it was your first shot then the round may have separated from the plating. This can be casued by either too hard of a crimp, a deep gouge in the plating, or too hot of a load.

Unless you tumble after sizing/depriming then it would not be possible to deprime the brass with another case inside. It would have jammed up in the die.
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Old April 26, 2013, 06:39 PM   #19
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Unless you tumble after sizing/depriming then it would not be possible to deprime the brass with another case inside. It would have jammed up in the die.
I've deprimed cases with another case stuck inside several times over the last 20 years. The decapping pin just punches through the primer in the inside case. Only way you can tell is that the ram doesn't come quite all the way up by about 1/8", the handle doesn't go quite all the way down. I'm loading on a Dillon 650 progressive so it's very noticeable in that it doesn't allow it to quite stroke far enough to allow the press to trip the cam to advance to the next position.

Loading on a single stage (or a progressive) with the decapping pin sticking out far enough would easily allow you to deprime a case with the next smaller caliber stuck inside it. Shouldn't be any problem loading it up with a small charge of fast powder, the volume wouldn't be reduced enough to notice.
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Old April 27, 2013, 05:56 AM   #20
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Done it with a 9mm stuck in a 45 ACP....
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