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First reloads...had one squib

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by theflyguy, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Well I took out my first reloads today...did two different loads for the 9mm & two different loads for the .40. Was surprised how much lower the velocity actually was for the powder levels worked up.

    Had no problems with the 9mm other than the casing not throwing as far when shooting...barely went 1-3 feet from the gun....but the shooting was very accurate.

    When I did the .40, my lowest load (about the 7th shot) I had a squib!!!

    Don't know what happened, I checked each load when I loaded them.

    Thought for sure the barrel was ruined. When I got home I took a wooden dowel and was able to pop the bullet out of the barrel.

    The one thing I did notice was on all the cases was excessive powder on the outsides of the casings...never seen that on factory loads.

    All of my upper loads shot just find...will keep working up loads.
     
  2. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Glad you caught it- did it not cycle?
    If you had cycled and fired another round it could have been truly ugly.
    I've had one squib that I can remember. It's all a part of learning.
     
  3. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    Check multiple sources, but use the manufacturer's data as the final say. I believe the Lee reloading manual is considerably lower for the .40 than what Alliant says to use with Unique. It may be my other book, but I recall that the Alliant data started near the maximum load suggested by my published book.
     
  4. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    one thing u did RIGHT was use wood dowel and not something made of steel to pop the bullet out.
    lower end loads will cause sooty cases in some calibers,the brass just does not get pushed hard enuff to expand against the chamber walls.45 colt cowboy-level loads are famous for this.
    A squib will only ruin a barrel when another round is fired and smacks into the stuck bullet.
    Take an extra second or two when verifying powder in the case,it will pay off.
     
  5. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm curious to know what loads you were using? Reference/book(s)? What firearms? You mention velocity, you had a chronograph set up? Your stuck bullet, was it just barely into the barrel, or halfway or more into the barrel?

    I'm asking the questions because I'm a relative new hand loader, just about a year and a half. I've probably loaded close to 4000 rounds and shot 2500 of those. In that time I've had ONE squib, (bullet just far enough into the barrel to clear the cylinder) and ONE double charge, (more recoil, case harder to eject and the primer looked poured into the pocket), both in the same box of fifty .38 special, and it wasn't in my first box of loads. It was pretty obvious what happened, one missed a charge and the other got the extra! I've adjusted my process to make sure that doesn't happen again.
    Knocking on wood!

    I'm also using guns that are more likely to handle extra pressure, such as a mod 66 for .38 special and a full size all steel in .40 rather than a compact or sub-compact/polymer.

    Just seem to me there's an issue here, and it's scary, or maybe I was just lucky and the issues you are having are more the norm for new hand loaders? I would be worried that if I had turned out a squib in my first try I could have turned out a double charge and done some serious damage, to a gun and/or myself or others!

    Mike
     
  6. Puddin99

    Puddin99 Scappoose, OR Member

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    I would be leary of using a wooden dowel. You will see posts of people that have used wooden dowels to remove a squib. When they start pounding on it, the wood dowl splinters and gets around the bullet and jams it even tigher than it originally was. The preferred method of removing is a brass rod.

    The loads usually have a excessive burnt powder because the load was a bit low. When firing the case doesn't expand and you receive blow back around casing.
     
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  7. Swampr

    Swampr Camas Member

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    I'm also new to reloading and one thing I do when I'm done reloading is I always run every loaded cartridge across my digital scale, it's a little time consuming but you'll catch the double loads and the squibs. Plus it gives me a piece of mind doing this.
     
  8. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    In the case of a pistol load that is ineffective given your charge will be 4-8 grains of powder for most semi autos. Case variation can easily mask that difference.
    Instead get something like a RCBS Lockout die or Powder Cop. I don't use either one, visually checking each case as I hand load the bullet into it. Double charges of powder are obvious, light charges not so.
     
  9. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I had my first squib last year, a .38 Special, and the bullet stuck about halfway in the barrel of my 2" Taurus 605 - and this was after 30 + years of reloading. It really concerned me because I have always been ultra careful about powder charges but after posting about this the followups put me at ease. I HAD to have overlooked a short charged case. Either way it just reinforced the realization I need to stay vigilant and start checking the levels a little closer from now on.
     
  10. SynapticSilence

    SynapticSilence Battle Ground, WA Well-Known Member

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    I'd look at two things, based on your description of low power and the excessive powder on the casings. First would be your overall case length, which is highly dependent on not just the caliber or bullet weight or powder, but on the bullet profile itself. Not all bullets of a particular weight are the same. Even if your powder charge is within specs, loading a particular bullet too shallow can reduce the pressure to the point you'll experience low power loads and even a squib in extreme circumstances. The fact that you were sensing that all of the loads were low power leads me to think that might be the case. That doesn't necessarily explain the excessive powder, though. The second thing, inadequate taper crimp, could. Even though you just taper crimp these calibers, ie remove the bell from the case mouth after seating the bullet, if you don't do this far enough the bullet may not be experiencing adequate neck tension. In that case, the bullet may be propelled out of the case before the powder charge has a chance to burn completely. The amount of taper crimp needed can vary depending on ehat type of brass you're using, since different brass may have case walls of differing thickness. So inadequately taper crimping a particular round can also result in reduced power, a possible squib round, and leave unburned powder in the chamber, barrel, or on the rounds themselves. Reloading is just ad much an art as it is a science, I've learned, and you have to truly understand how all of these factors interact when you pull the trigger. And BTW, another thing about insufficient taper crimping and resulting inadequate neck tension is the possibility of bullet setback in the case when a round is chambered. That's kaboom land, so you want to make sure you get the taper crimp down right, if that's indeed what your problem might be. Glad it worked out without ruining your barrel/pistol.
     
  11. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    I use an RCBS Lockout die on both of my progressive presses...cheap insurance against a squib or double-charged round.
     
  12. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    I sure wish I knew how to tell if I have proper taper on the casing. You can't really see taper once the bullet is in the shell casing.

    I make sure my casings are in spec and that I am at of just below OAL for each round.

    I'm thinking I just missed one, or that my load was too low. Everyone said start out on the low end...I must have been too low.
     
  13. nwbobber

    nwbobber Longview, Wa. Active Member

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    Make sure your OAL is taking the particular bullet you are using into account. You have to make sure the bullet isn't into the rifling. You will need a set of calipers to check your crimp, measuring the diameter right at the case mouth. Usually the book will have a suggested start charge, and that has always been enough to ensure I didn't have a squib. Where are you finding your load data?
     
  14. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    I'm cross referencing several books Lyman's, Harnady and the mfg book, to see if I am in the correct range.

    Yes I had a chronograph set up at about 10 feet from the barrel.

    The bullet was stuck just inside the rifling...thank goodness!!! The bullet was the seveth round on my lower load. (.40, Tulsa primer, Unique powder 4.5 gn, 115 JHP bullet). When I did my second/higher load 4.7 gn....everything worked fine. As some have stated...I think the load was a little too light and I didn't have enough tapered crimp in the casing.


     
  15. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    You got a chrono! Cool!

    I'm guessing you mean 9mm and not .40. My book AND the Alliant website show that amount of Unique way low for a 9mm 115gr, more like a mid-upper with 231 or Titegroup. With Unique you should have been in the 5.6-6.3 range, no wonder you had issues with cycling.
    Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

    Your stuck bullet (From my ONE experience) was most likely due to NO charge in the case. I have a swing out kinda clamp-on light that I shine right down over my press so it lights up the inside of the cases in the press.

    A taper crimp would be better called a "Squeeze". Have you caught your finger between the ram and the die yet? See how much pressure there is? If you get a bit of squeeze at the to top of the stroke when you're seating the bullet, you've got the crimp you need. Try pushing the finished round on the edge of the table to see if the bullet moves, measure before and after.

    So what kind of velocity did you get?

    Mike
     
  16. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Your right...I made a typo when I was typing from memory.


    It was .40 I used 6.9gn of Blue Dot (load that I had my squib), then my second load was 7.3 gn Blue Dot....these worked great. Good grouping at 30 ft.