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Old August 23, 2021, 10:33 AM   #1
pfan
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Double squib with 3.8 Gr 231 in 38 special

Hello Gang:

Its quite possible that I am a moron.

I reload carefully! shine a flashlight into the cases before, add the the bullet

158 Plated SWC Ranier, 38 special cases, WW primers 3.8 Grains Win 231

Squibs?? lower end of scale, but bullets got stuck in my Ruger Security Six 6 inch barrel?? Seemed very light in my J frame also

They wont come out tried wood dowel, brass rod, the bullets just seem to behave like soft lead. Now they seem squished together, the plating came off now its a lead and plated glob.

Called Ruger they were less than helpful, wont even look at it

Rather than ruin the gun, willing to send to gunsmith or revolver smith, anyone that wont beat on the gun, like a silverback Gorilla?

Any advice would be appreciated. Lot of aggravation for an enjoyable hobby
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Old August 23, 2021, 10:36 AM   #2
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how many bullets stuck in the barrel?
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Old August 23, 2021, 10:52 AM   #3
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Not sure maybe 2 one at each end although not sure.

Was thinking of drilling through them but don't want to trust myself to do it
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Old August 23, 2021, 10:52 AM   #4
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3.8 gr of Win231 isn’t a low end squib load in .38sp. Either your weighing system is off or somehow your not weighing/measuring your loads properly. If you can’t visibly verify your bullet has cleared the barrel, do not keep pulling the trigger. Unload the gun and poke a small dowel down the barrel and verify the dowel will go all the way into the cylinder. There is something wrong with your method and it needs to be fixed before you do any more loading.
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Old August 23, 2021, 10:58 AM   #5
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DO NOT use a wooden dowel to try to push bullets out of a barrel. The wood slivers and just makes them tighter. Use a brass rod to tap them out. If you have several of them in there, you’re just going to have to tap harder. The first one in line will push the others out. You may end up needing a new barrel. Ruger should repair your gun, they simply won’t “fix” it.
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Old August 23, 2021, 11:02 AM   #6
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I have no idea what happened, using the same RCBS scale I always use Lee Loader with their auto disc. .37 I believe.

The powder is new to me have used WST WSF for years, 231 has very low case volume apparently

Ruger wont do a thing, they said I can send it in for a "trade" They wont do any repairs

Id like to find a good gunsmith and have them take care of it
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Old August 23, 2021, 11:05 AM   #7
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If you cannot pound the bullets out, then instead of trading it in at ruger, just send it in for a barrel swap.
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Old August 23, 2021, 11:07 AM   #8
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They dont have any barrels for the Security Six, they wont even look at it
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Old August 23, 2021, 11:17 AM   #9
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The lead core is quite soft, as you discovered. Probably the first thing I would try is to get some Liquid Wrench and point the muzzle up and put a teaspoon or so in and let it soak for a couple of days. Repeat with the muzzle down. Remove the grip panels and hold the gun in a vice with padded jaws. Apply heat with a hot air gun, then use a 5/16" brass rod and a dead-blow hammer to drive the bullets out.

In the worst case, drilling will be required. To protect the bore, you want to use a drill guide of some kind. Some 5/16" spacers and a drill bit that just barely slips through them would work to let you make a reasonably centered hole without scuffing up the bore. That hole can pilot a larger drill, but it it takes some care. Short of that, a screw can be turned into the hole so a slide hammer can pull the bullets out one at a time.
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Old August 23, 2021, 11:24 AM   #10
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Thank you, was considering that, Kroll was also recommended. I was also told to put gun in freezer first, as the bullets will contract faster than the barrel!

Looking for a good gunsmith! Any recommendations?
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Old August 23, 2021, 11:32 AM   #11
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Get a brass rod thats as close to the bore diameter as possible. Definitely put some oil down the barrel and it it soak. I've used threaded rod in a pinch, but getting something softer than the barrel is a good idea.

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Old August 23, 2021, 11:56 AM   #12
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In one test on YouTube, Liquid Wrench beat Kroil, PB Blaster, and all other penetrants on the market for the purpose, which is why I mentioned it by name. In a counter-intuitive turn of events, it also costs the least.

My idea was the heat would thin the penetrant and help it get under the bullets better. You could heat it some (just getting hot to the touch) for that purpose and then let it cool and freeze the gun before tapping. I had to go to Matweb and double-check check lead's CTE, and freezing will shrink it more than the steel. If it gets to -10°F in your freezer the lead will shrink about 0.6 thousandths while steel will shrink about 0.25 thousandths. It may be enough difference to help.
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Old August 23, 2021, 12:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
In one test on YouTube, Liquid Wrench beat Kroil, PB Blaster, and all other penetrants on the market for the purpose, which is why I mentioned it by name. In a counter-intuitive turn of events, it also costs the least.
I think I know the test you are talking about. The amount of work that guy goes through to test products is amazing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick View Post
My idea was the heat would thin the penetrant and help it get under the bullets better. You could heat it some (just getting hot to the touch) for that purpose and then let it cool and freeze the gun before tapping. I had to go to Matweb and double-check check lead's CTE, and freezing will shrink it more than the steel. If it gets to -10°F in your freezer the lead will shrink about 0.6 thousandths while steel will shrink about 0.25 thousandths. It may be enough difference to help.
Heating the barrel could work too. It could also help soften the lead a bit too. I'd say you could also get a can of compressed air, turn it upside down, and spray the bullets with it, but I don't like the idea of the localized cooling. I guess if you don't get the barrel much hotter than it would get after a good amount of shooting, it shouldn't be an issue

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Old August 23, 2021, 12:45 PM   #14
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I had this happen to me many years ago with my Bersa 380 Thunder. Only one bullet was stuck.

I ran some oil down the barrel and pushed it out with a brass rod.

It was fairly effortless.
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Old August 23, 2021, 01:16 PM   #15
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You guys work on removing the stuck bullets, I'll comment on possibly why this happened.

Said above:
Quote:
3.8 gr of Win231 isn’t a low end squib load in .38sp.
I'll disagree with staunch vigor. I base my experience on more than 100k plated bullets loaded and fired, and also experience with sticking three plated bullets.

I think that you built a load that was too light and I'll show you why I believe this to be true. First we'll start with Hodgdon's current load data.

Hodgdon shows us just two different loads with 158gr bullets in .38 Special using Win 231 powder. They show us a cast lead bullet load with a range of 3.1 grains to 3.8 grains max.

The other load is for a jacketed XTP, 3.8gr to 4.3 grains max. I'll also point out that their test results for the 3.8gr charge under 158gr XTP returns 661 fps velocity.

Many manufacturers of plated bullets and even some other data sources often suggest that you load these use cast bullet data, which I believe is a ludicrous mistake and I've spoken about it for years.

The fact is, a cast or swaged lead bullet moves down every barrel with far less friction than any/all plated or jacketed bullets of the same diameter. If you have ever had to tap tap tap POUND a bullet down a barrel and you've experienced the difference between a lead slug and a plated/jacketed one, you'll agree immediately. Lead bullets are easier to push down a barrel.

If you are running a load that sends a bullet out of a handgun at less than 700 fps, you are already in suspicious territory. CAS and Cowboy shooters do a lot of this, and these guys use lead slugs to do it. If you are sending plated or jacketed out of a handgun under 700 fps, you are begging to eventually stick a bullet.

Here's where you REALLY run in to a problem: revolvers all have a bleed valve. It's the flash gap between cylinder and forcing cone. With a pistol, if the cartridge case obturates and holds the pressure inside the chamber, you will get 100% of the pressure that you have (no matter how low that pressure is) to push that damn bullet out of the barrel. Unfortunately, you do NOT get that with a revolver. Because of the flash gap, that much-need pressure will take the path of least resistance to escape.

With a revolver, if you have a tight fitting bullet (in this case, plated) and you have a too light powder charge (3.8gr Win 231 is light light light) then what you should expect is a bullet that tries to get out of the barrel and hopefully does. And as it is trying, the pressure that makes it move is also escaping from the flash gap. And if a bullet makes it half way or most of the way and fails to escape, now the next one is going to have even more trouble getting out because it will have even more resistance to moving and that will direct the much-needed pressure to again escape, and escape in the path of least resistance: the flash gap.

So, why didn't the very first shot stick? Why didn't they stick in your J-frame (where you admit that it felt light?)

Quite simply, plated bullets are budget bullets. We hope and expect every bullet is EXACTLY the same but that is wishful thinking. Some are possibly ever so slightly bigger or heavier than others. And it's also more difficult for a slow moving bullet to get out of a longer barrel than it is from a shorter one. And the actual bore dimensions are different between different guns. If the Security Six has a bore that is a little tighter than the J-frame you shot this same load from before, maybe the bullets that barely exited the J-frame have even less chance to exit the Ruger.

Finally, if your powder bridged a bit or quite possibly to dropped a 3.7 or 3.6 grain charge instead of a 3.8 grain charge, you have even less pressure to work with. And the COAL that you loaded, the volume of empty space in the cartridge also has a say in how much pressure is developed in each loaded round.

Summary, if you fell asleep reading this far...
You made loads that were too light, and you used a bullet that is far more difficult to push down a barrel than a cast or swaged lead bullet. You shot them in a revolver that allows much needed pressure to simply escape out the flash gap. That's why you stuck one or more bullets.
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Old August 23, 2021, 02:00 PM   #16
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Start with a small bit and gradually use a larger one until you get close to bore diameter. Then use some lubricant like Kroil, let it soak and then use a brass dowel if there's enough left in the barrel or the Lewis Lead Remover if only a little bit.
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Old August 23, 2021, 02:02 PM   #17
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I complained for years that Berry's Bullets (purveyors of plated projectiles) provided no load data on their web site but suggested using any available load data for lead bullets.

Then, a few years ago, they suddenly changed this advice. They now say "Cast or jacketed data with the same grain weight and profile will work with our bullets." And that's just nonsense. Cast bullets and jacketed bullets "of the same grain weight and profile" simply do not perform the same through the same barrel.
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Old August 23, 2021, 02:05 PM   #18
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The only bullet I ever stuck with a reload was by seating a 125 gr .38 to the same OAL and powder charge as a 158. I did not want to take time to adjust the seating die and powder measure. That was my mistake.

It was "activated" by the IDPA BUG standard of bringing the gun up from "low ready."
That slung the powder against the base of the long loaded bullet, a LONG way from the primer flash. The powder did not ignite and the bullet ended up just nosing out of the muzzle.

I seated the remaining bullets right up to the ogive and they shot fine from any position.

So your starting position and OAL might be factors.
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Old August 23, 2021, 02:57 PM   #19
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The way I look at plated bullets is, you get most of the softness of a hardcast lead bullet coupled with most of the friction of a jacketed bullet. Due to the friction, I consider it an ideal candidate for hBN or moly-coating or for use in a bore treated with Plate+ Silver or to be used with Tubb Dust in the powder. Anything to fight the friction.
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Old August 23, 2021, 03:11 PM   #20
jetinteriorguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoSecondBest View Post
DO NOT use a wooden dowel to try to push bullets out of a barrel. The wood slivers and just makes them tighter. Use a brass rod to tap them out. If you have several of them in there, you’re just going to have to tap harder. The first one in line will push the others out. You may end up needing a new barrel. Ruger should repair your gun, they simply won’t “fix” it.
Yes, I just keep a dowel in my range bag to check for squibs, not removing stuck bullets.
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Old August 23, 2021, 03:48 PM   #21
pfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
You guys work on removing the stuck bullets, I'll comment on possibly why this happened.

Said above:

I'll disagree with staunch vigor. I base my experience on more than 100k plated bullets loaded and fired, and also experience with sticking three plated bullets.

I think that you built a load that was too light and I'll show you why I believe this to be true. First we'll start with Hodgdon's current load data.

Hodgdon shows us just two different loads with 158gr bullets in .38 Special using Win 231 powder. They show us a cast lead bullet load with a range of 3.1 grains to 3.8 grains max.

The other load is for a jacketed XTP, 3.8gr to 4.3 grains max. I'll also point out that their test results for the 3.8gr charge under 158gr XTP returns 661 fps velocity.

Many manufacturers of plated bullets and even some other data sources often suggest that you load these use cast bullet data, which I believe is a ludicrous mistake and I've spoken about it for years.

The fact is, a cast or swaged lead bullet moves down every barrel with far less friction than any/all plated or jacketed bullets of the same diameter. If you have ever had to tap tap tap POUND a bullet down a barrel and you've experienced the difference between a lead slug and a plated/jacketed one, you'll agree immediately. Lead bullets are easier to push down a barrel.

If you are running a load that sends a bullet out of a handgun at less than 700 fps, you are already in suspicious territory. CAS and Cowboy shooters do a lot of this, and these guys use lead slugs to do it. If you are sending plated or jacketed out of a handgun under 700 fps, you are begging to eventually stick a bullet.

Here's where you REALLY run in to a problem: revolvers all have a bleed valve. It's the flash gap between cylinder and forcing cone. With a pistol, if the cartridge case obturates and holds the pressure inside the chamber, you will get 100% of the pressure that you have (no matter how low that pressure is) to push that damn bullet out of the barrel. Unfortunately, you do NOT get that with a revolver. Because of the flash gap, that much-need pressure will take the path of least resistance to escape.

With a revolver, if you have a tight fitting bullet (in this case, plated) and you have a too light powder charge (3.8gr Win 231 is light light light) then what you should expect is a bullet that tries to get out of the barrel and hopefully does. And as it is trying, the pressure that makes it move is also escaping from the flash gap. And if a bullet makes it half way or most of the way and fails to escape, now the next one is going to have even more trouble getting out because it will have even more resistance to moving and that will direct the much-needed pressure to again escape, and escape in the path of least resistance: the flash gap.

So, why didn't the very first shot stick? Why didn't they stick in your J-frame (where you admit that it felt light?)

Quite simply, plated bullets are budget bullets. We hope and expect every bullet is EXACTLY the same but that is wishful thinking. Some are possibly ever so slightly bigger or heavier than others. And it's also more difficult for a slow moving bullet to get out of a longer barrel than it is from a shorter one. And the actual bore dimensions are different between different guns. If the Security Six has a bore that is a little tighter than the J-frame you shot this same load from before, maybe the bullets that barely exited the J-frame have even less chance to exit the Ruger.

Finally, if your powder bridged a bit or quite possibly to dropped a 3.7 or 3.6 grain charge instead of a 3.8 grain charge, you have even less pressure to work with. And the COAL that you loaded, the volume of empty space in the cartridge also has a say in how much pressure is developed in each loaded round.

Summary, if you fell asleep reading this far...
You made loads that were too light, and you used a bullet that is far more difficult to push down a barrel than a cast or swaged lead bullet. You shot them in a revolver that allows much needed pressure to simply escape out the flash gap. That's why you stuck one or more bullets.
Sevens outstanding post!, and what I was thinking, it also made it out of the J Frames 2 inch barrel, maybe Ruger was a tighter barrel and the 6 inches was too much

I swear my scale is on, always double check (RCBS),always reset before I start and manually looked at all the cases with a flashlight.

New to 231 but have been reloading for a decade. Dont like how easy it is to double charge!

It definitely seemed very light. Even in my J frame almost like a .22

I shouldn't test my favorite revolver with a new loading. I have a Taurus 82, should have used as a test crash dummy

But then again, might have a tight bore! (Along with your other notes)
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Old August 23, 2021, 03:57 PM   #22
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38 Special is the sqibiest caliber of them all. Combination of very long case with small charges of powder that can be up next to the bullet, back next to the primer, or spread out randomly inside the case. BUT the worse thing in 38 Special is loose bullet tension. The primer force can start a bullet moving before complete powder ignition causing very low pressure. Check bullet tension first. I've seen bullets come out the barrel of others 38's that fall to the ground 15 ft. from the muzzle. Your bullets should not move with thumb pressure or by pushing the bullet against your bench. If the bullet moves that's bad. Even a crimp id not enough to compensate for loose bullet tension.
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Old August 23, 2021, 04:32 PM   #23
Electrod47
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Put the gun in the freezer over night after soaking with penetrating oil for a couple days.
Then bash it out with a properly fitted brass rod.
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Old August 23, 2021, 04:49 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfan View Post
Not sure maybe 2 one at each end although not sure.

Was thinking of drilling through them but don't want to trust myself to do it
Does this mean you possibly have bullets lined up from the muzzle to the forcing cone in a 6" barrel?
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Old August 23, 2021, 05:10 PM   #25
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Great post Sevens. You and I have been on the same page on this topic for years. Thanks for saving me the keystrokes.

Whenever the subject of load data for plated bullets comes up, somebody will invariably post "just use lead data" or words to that effect. This thread is exactly why such advice is bad.
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