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Old August 15, 2011, 09:00 PM   #1
Prof Young
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All possible causes of a squib?


Out of about 400 rounds of reloaded 44 mag, I've had three squibs. Two about a year ago and one last week. My guess is that I loaded a bullet into a case that had primer only and no powder, although I'm mystified as to how I managed to do that. Are there other causes of a squib? Other things I should look for.

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Old August 15, 2011, 09:14 PM   #2
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Usually caused by failing to check the cases prior to seating a bullet.
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Old August 15, 2011, 09:17 PM   #3
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I've had ftf and squibs with a #1 Ruger and cast bullets. The cartridges went from a cold environment to a warmer one and I think condensation caused the problems
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Old August 15, 2011, 09:18 PM   #4
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3 squibs out of 400 rounds is pretty high. You might look at your loading process to see if you can come up with how the powder failed to charge the case. Looking at the cases in a loading block before seating bullets is a good way to check for over/under charges. In a 44 case, powder height will be easily visible. A powder cop in a progressive is another option.

If you had powder in the case but the primer failed to light it off, it would be very obvious. That much unburnt powder is going to be everywhere even on a light charge.

Causes for the powder failing to burn? Possibly if there was some contaminate in the case such as water or oil. If you had something blocking the flash hole, the primer is going to back out and bind up.
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Old August 15, 2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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The number one reason for squibs, kabooms and a plethora of other problems is caused by poor reloading practices......
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Old August 16, 2011, 03:46 AM   #6
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H110/W296 can be hard to ignite and if loaded light and/or lightly crimped will produce squibs.
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Old August 16, 2011, 05:49 AM   #7
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I think the main cause is reloader distraction. When reloading no TV or radio, No one in the room talking to you. No stopping to take a phone call or speaking to a neighbor, and then returning to reloading.

It's reloading only and check every operation as it is taking place.

Are you using a single stage press or a progressive one? If single stage then you are not using a loading block and checking the powder levels in the cases before you seat the bullet and that is a problem.

Are you double tapping the powder handle to make certain that you are getting consistent drops? Even on a progressive you have to learn to double tap so all of the powder falls out or your next round will be a double charge.
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Old August 16, 2011, 07:35 AM   #8
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A squib is a light charge, not a missed charge; how to do it is limited only to the imagnation of the loader; I've been impressed by the devious ways some people explain how/why they screwed up. All I can say is, after some 45+ years, it's never happened to me. But there's still time, and if I wanta get inattentive it will happen.
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Old August 16, 2011, 09:41 AM   #9
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Out of about 400 rounds of reloaded 44 mag, I've had three squibs. Two about a year ago and one last week.
It is too warm to be too cold!

I purchased a M586 in 357 from a bud. He had shot 40,000 rounds through it setting a PPC record. Which was discounted because he was a reserve Cop. All he every shot were 148 LSWC's, 2.7 bullseye and Federal primers.

I loaded up 158's and 12 grains AA#9 with WSP in 357 brass. In cold weather I got squibs. I had to knock the bullets back into the case to open the cylinder.

Used a long shafted screwdriver and hammer to do that!

Darn mainspring was weak, and while the primers looked well wacked, (see picture) I believe a combination of hard to ignite ball powder, cold weather, and weak mainspring were the cause.

I changed to a new mainspring, the next I went to the range it was 10 F warmer, no squibs. I have not shot the thing in 40 F weather but I think I have the cure.

If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
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Old August 16, 2011, 10:21 AM   #10
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Its either a no powder charge .....or improper burn or ignition on powder...

.44 mag case has a lot of volume - and in theory its possible for the powder to migrate forward in the case - and not be ignited properly by the primer. So I would look at other powders - something that fills the case with more volume might work better - or a powder like Hodgdon TiteGroup that was specifically formulated to still ignite properly and easily in high volume cases - where you have very little powder related to volume of the case.

Hodgdon TiteGroup is the only powder I use in .44 mag and its been real good.

But looking at your reloading practices - is a good idea as well. The more places human hands touch ( like in a single stage ) the more chances you have for a failure I'm not a big fan of single stage presses --- vs using a progressive press that has a "powder check" die option - like the Dillon 650 press or the Hornaday LNL. Having the "powder check" die - makes a no drop or even a drop of less than 0.2 grains from your goal drop next to impossible - if you use it right.
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Old August 16, 2011, 11:16 AM   #11
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Did your squibs happen on the first few rounds or last ones in the cylinder?

To check your crimps next time at the range fire 2 or 3 rounds and inspect the remaining few for "growth". Inspect the fifth and six ones before shooting also. Don't be surprised to see a lot more cannelure than when you first crimped the rounds.

After I thought I master the art of crimping on my 44 Mag my 19 ounce Bulldog snubbie taught me that it was even a better inertia puller. Even a proper charge may not ignite reliably if the crimp is giving up it's grip before the round gets to firing position.
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Old August 16, 2011, 04:14 PM   #12
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Burma war 1880's

A Snider squibed in the jungle...somebody laughed and fled...and the men of the 1st. Shirkas...picked up their subaltern...dead..... With a big blue mark in his forehead....and the back blown out of his head!
wncchester is right..a squib is a light charge..were the burmans pulling bullets & reducing powder charges in order to make detection of sniper more difficult? Interesting thought...perhaps 1st. use of subsonic ammo?

Last edited by Ideal Tool; August 16, 2011 at 04:59 PM.
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Old August 16, 2011, 08:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the thoughts and help.

I do use a single stage press and a powder dipper. I can't remember how many cc the dipper is, but it's the one that came with my lee die.

With 44 mag brass, it's pretty easy to see if there is powder at about the right level.

I'm using H110 and shooting a 200 gr bullet.

I'm following the specs that came with the die for H110 and a 200 gr bullet.

The first two squibs were on jacketed bullets and this last one on solid lead. All store bought bullets.

I have changed my process. I used to charge fifty cases and then press in the bullets. Now I press the bullet in immediately after I've charged each individual case.

So from all the info above I take it a light crimp might contribute to a squib?

Thanks again.

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Prof Young

Last edited by Prof Young; August 16, 2011 at 08:52 PM.
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Old August 16, 2011, 09:28 PM   #14
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So from all the info above I take it a light crimp might contribute to a squib?
With W296/H110, I suspect it might be a combo of light crimp and too light of charge. Are you using a magnum primer? Many times powder dippers measure light. H110/W296 is an excellent powder, but has a very narrow parameter in charge weights. I suggest weighing the charge from you dipper to confirm it is what you think it is.
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Old August 17, 2011, 05:40 AM   #15
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Yes, Tom Matiska, thats right on, a while back my OAL on last round in my RH, it "grew" by .028 after shooting off the first 5. More Crimp solved that problem.
I also have Fire Extinguishers, hope I never need those either.
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