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Old October 30, 2013, 07:00 AM   #1
Bill Akins
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Squib load at the range today. Only 2nd time in my life.

Went to the range yesterday, to shoot my second Rem 11 shotgun (for the very first time and she did great), my nickel and gold S&W 1917 .45 acp (that I've fired before and it performed good as always) and my S&W nickel 1905 4th change in .38 special (also firing it for the first time and it did great too except for the crappy reloads I was firing in it). The 1905 in .38 special is the one I had a squib load occur in yesterday.

For those that may have never heard the term "squib" load, also known as a squib round, pop and no kick, or just a squib, is a cartridge malfunction in which a fired projectile does not have enough force behind it to exit the barrel, and thus becomes stuck in the barrel. Basically you'll hear the primer pop, but no BOOM. Some of the powder may go off along with the primer, but for some reason either none at all, or most of the powder does not ignite like it should. Then it's time to check the barrel for an obstruction.

Sure enough when I heard only a small "pop" with no "BOOM", I stopped firing immediately. Pulled my steel M1a cleaning rod out of my case and ran it into the barrel. Sure enough I had a bullet about 3/4's of the way down the barrel. This was the second time I'd ever had a squib load. The other time was about 30 or more years ago when I had one in my very first S&W 1917 revolver. Back then I drove the bullet out of the barrel using a car engine valve rod and hammer.

An R.O. at the range overheard me say I had a "squib" and came over with a block of wood. I held the 1905 S&W while he used the block of wood and my cleaning rod to drive the bullet back down the barrel til it popped out.

Here's a pic of the revolver and projectile I took along with my cleaning rod after I returned home from the range.




Below you can see the boogered up top of the bullet from the rod driving it out of the barrel.


I was firing some old reloads a friend had given me just to shoot them up and get rid of them. Evidently some of them weren't that good. Didn't shoot them all today, but plan to shoot them out soon just to get rid of them so I won't be tempted to use them in the gun for any life saving situation. I'll buy some new factory loaded ones soon or reload some myself so I KNOW they are right.

So if you hear a "pop" instead of a "boom", stop shooting immediately. You may have (probably will) a projectile stuck in the barrel like I did. Lucky for me I had this happen decades ago so I knew what to listen and look for. If I had been a newbie and fired again, I'd either have likely bulged the barrel, or blown it up.

That was the only squib load I had in the old batch of .38 special reloads though.

Also noticed that seven of the reloads had been crimped so deeply, that it increased the diameter of the case and they wouldn't even fit into the cylinder of my 1905. They stopped going into my cylinder right at where the bullet had been crimped and wouldn't go any further into the cylinder.
Pic of that below, haze on the nickel is burnt powder from shooting, the nickel looks better when clean......


Like I said, a friend had given me these old reloads, I didn't reload them. But I'm going to run those too heavily crimped ones through my .38 special reloading die and resize them so they will fit again. No sense in wasting 7 rounds. But I also plan to shoot up all the rest of the three boxes of .38 special reloads my friend gave me in plinking, so I won't be tempted to use them later on when I need to know my cartridges will work perfectly if a life or death situation occurred.

Gotta watch those free reloads from friends, both for squibs and wrong case dimensions due to too heavy of a crimp. Okay for plinking but wouldn't trust them for anything serious. Like the old saying of: "I can't afford that free help", ....sometimes the same can be said of reloads friends give you that you didn't reload yourself.

'Cept for that, the old 1905 performed flawlessly and had a lot of fun shooting it. Firing it side by side with my nickel and gold plated S&W 1917 in .45 acp, really showed me quickly how much difference there is in the recoil of the .38 special and the .45 acp. The 1905 in .38 special had hardly any recoil at all. Needless to say, not the same can be said for my 1917 in .45 acp.


.
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Last edited by Bill Akins; October 30, 2013 at 07:54 AM.
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Old October 30, 2013, 07:33 AM   #2
Hawg
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I wont shoot anybody's reloads but mine and I wont allow anybody to shoot my reloads in their guns. I've never had a problem with any of mine but anything can happen.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:04 AM   #3
5thShock
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"No sense in wasting 7 rounds." Yes, there is.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:08 AM   #4
serf 'rett
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Did you see a significant amount of unburnt powder? Just wondering.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:16 AM   #5
Jim Watson
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Let's see, now. Your buddy gave you some junk reloads of which 7 will not even chamber and one contained no powder.

I wonder where the powder went? Is there one in there somewhere with the powder that was left out of the "squib?" What will a double charge do to your treasured M&P?

There is no way in the world that I would shoot them.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:19 AM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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Squib load at the range today. Only 2nd time in my life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
Let's see, now. Your buddy gave you some junk reloads of which 7 will not even chamber and one contained no powder.

I wonder where the powder went? Is there one in there somewhere with the powder that was left out of the "squib?" What will a double charge do to your treasured M&P?

There is no way in the world that I would shoot them.
I could not agree more strongly. No way in HELL I'd shoot those things. If I wanted to "get rid of them", the trash can works well.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:20 AM   #7
bedbugbilly
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I'll echo what Hawg said. I only shoot what I reload . . . not to say that a squib can't happen as it can but at least if it does . . . I only have myself to blame. Shooting someone else's reloads . . . you have no knowledge of what is really in them . . . regardless of who did them. Unless you measure the slug, you have no idea of what the tolerances are and if they are suitable for the bore of the pistol you are using them in. Yea, they may fit in the cylinder but if the bore is on the lower side and the bullet is on the upper side - it's harder to get it down the barrel even if it's soft lead and even more prone to problems if loaded on the lighter side. I have a 1905 4th channel like yours only it is the Target Model and a great shooter. The barrel on it is on the "tighter" side so I size everything that goes through it even though a round that has a unsized lead slug, straight from the mold bullet will chamber.

Glad you caught the squib and no damage was done. That Smith is too pretty to have anything happen to it!
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:22 AM   #8
Bill Akins
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Quote:
5thShock wrote:
"No sense in wasting 7 rounds." Yes, there is.
I was talking in the context of casual plinking. Not in the dire need of having reliable cartridges for a life or death situation. Naturally after what I experienced with those reloads yesterday I wouldn't trust them for anything but for casual plinking. In that plinking instance, I still maintain there is no reason to waste ammo or throw it away. All those cases need is to be resized. As to whether or not I need to resize them or even if their primers are defective or not is irrelevant if I am only using them for casual plinking. After I resize them and shoot them, then into the baggie they go for me to later reload. No sense in wasting anything. I grew up under depression era parents who taught me to never waste anything. I usually even try popping a .22LR twice if the first strike didn't set the rimmed primer off. I also pick up pennies off the ground if I see one .
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:26 AM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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Squib load at the range today. Only 2nd time in my life.

A double charge of powder doesn't care if you're "just plinking". It will blow your gun to pieces just the same.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:33 AM   #10
Bill Akins
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Quote:
serf 'rett wrote:
Did you see a significant amount of unburnt powder? Just wondering.
I didn't see any unburnt powder grains at all, but I did notice there was a lot of burnt powder residue on my 1905, much more than was on my 1917 and I shot a lot of rounds out of both of them. I also noticed a lot of smoke wafting out of the barrel to cylinder gap and the end of the barrel on the 1905 more so than is usual on a smokeless revolver, almost like it was shooting black powder. I think what was up with these reloads is that in some of them, the powder was burning more slowly than it should have been. Most of the rounds I fired in the 1905 seemed okay, but there were a few that I could tell didn't fire with full power, although I saw the strike on the target so I knew it wasn't a squib stuck in the barrel. Still, to be safe, several times I stuck the cleaning rod into the barrel just to make sure there was no obstruction if a round didn't sound full power to me. No obstructions except for that single one.

At any rate, going to shoot them up in casual plinking and then reload them.


.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old October 30, 2013, 09:17 AM   #11
texagun
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Quote:
I was firing some old reloads a friend had given me just to shoot them up and get rid of them......Didn't shoot them all today, but plan to shoot them out soon just to get rid of them so I won't be tempted to use them in the gun for any life saving situation....... Also noticed that seven of the reloads had been crimped so deeply, that it increased the diameter of the case and they wouldn't even fit into the cylinder of my 1905.....Like I said, a friend had given me these old reloads, I didn't reload them. But I'm going to run those too heavily crimped ones through my .38 special reloading die and resize them so they will fit again. No sense in wasting 7 rounds...... But I also plan to shoot up all the rest of the three boxes of .38 special reloads my friend gave me in plinking, so I won't be tempted to use them later on when I need to know my cartridges will work perfectly if a life or death situation occurred.
I see a lot of really bad ideas in your post. Please think this through before you damage your gun, or worse, lose a couple of fingers.
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Old October 30, 2013, 09:24 AM   #12
Bill Akins
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Quote:
Brian Pflueger wrote:
A double charge of powder doesn't care if you're "just plinking". It will blow your gun to pieces just the same.
Not really Brian. S&W's were proof tested at much higher pressures than that. I doubt a double charge would blow my revolver to pieces even though it's over 90 yrs old. I could tell by shooting that the reloads were pretty low power anyway, so a double charge would be a double charge of a low load.

Still, you and some of the other fellas posting make a good point. I wasn't even thinking about the possibility of whoever loaded them double charging one of them. I was just thinking about all those seven cases needed was resizing and they would fit fine. The possibility of someone double charging didn't enter my mind. And as I said since they were low power loads to begin with and I don't think even a double charge of them would blow my revolver up,....still,....no sense in taking chances if I don't have to.

I've got an RCBS kinetic bullet puller and I guess it couldn't hurt to pull the bullets from the box of remaining cases I have and resize and reload them all.
Just a little trouble no biggie. So that's what I'll do. I've got a lot of saved up .38 special brass I need to reload anyway so this is a good excuse to get to it .


.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; October 30, 2013 at 02:21 PM.
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Old October 30, 2013, 09:59 AM   #13
Bob Wright
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A double charge will indeed lift your top strap! Some powders "detonate" with far greater pressures than one would expect from a double charge.

Were I you, I'd pull those bullets, dump and discard the powder and resize the cases.

I would never resize a loaded cartridge. Your die isn't made to contain that pressure should anything go wrong.

Bob Wright

P.S. If you don't already know it, you can replace the Kinetic's shell holder with your shell holder from your reloading press. Lot less frustrating.
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Old October 30, 2013, 10:08 AM   #14
Bob Wright
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And...........


The last trip I made to my gunsmith's shop I saw a Smith & Wesson barrel, apparently from a Model 10, blown out from a squib load. The bullet appeared to have been stuck about 1/2" behind the muzzle. There was a large rupture running back from the base of the bullet about 1 1/2"~2" toward the frame. The bullets were JHPs. My guess is that maybe the first cartridge got skipped in charging, and the following got a double charge.

My gunsmith, Keith Warner, and I, both marvelled that that much pressure built up in the barrel, which at that time was a tube open at one end. Would have thought that would have allowed the pressure to dissapate somewhat.

Bob Wright
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Old October 30, 2013, 10:08 AM   #15
MrBorland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Wright
Some powders "detonate" with far greater pressures than one would expect from a double charge.
"Detonate" is the key word here. A detonation is quite a different thing than a fast, but controlled burn. Guns may be designed to withstand supernormal pressures from controlled burns, but pressure from a detonation can be well beyond what the gun can handle.
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Old October 30, 2013, 11:51 AM   #16
willr
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I have had a couple of my own squib loads. In one the RO tried to force it and damaged my pistol. With others, what I have done is to bring the gun home, squirt some CLP or other penetrating oil on top of the bullet, letting it sit for a while to let the oil penetrate. Then the use the largest diameter brass rod I can find to drive the bullet back. I have found that VERY little force is needed to clear the barrel. And there is no damage at all. Never use wood because it can split, force its way on either side of the bullet. Then there is real trouble.

Hope this helps.

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Old October 30, 2013, 12:25 PM   #17
Salmoneye
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Quote:
Didn't shoot them all today, but plan to shoot them out soon just to get rid of them...
I'd pile on, but it's all been said...
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Old October 30, 2013, 12:26 PM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
At any rate, going to shoot them up in casual plinking and then reload them.
It's beyond my comprehension to risk such a thing for 7 cases.

We're talking about like 50 cents here. I wouldn't want the hassle of tapping out a squib for 50 cents, say nothing about a double charge.

Your gun, your hands, your time, but there's not a chance I'd bother with any of it. No way, no how.
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