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Discussion Starter #1
Well I encountered my first squib earlier today.....32 h&r 5.0 grains of HS-6 with 100gr Hornady xtp. I've fired many of these before and never had a issue. It wasn't hard to realize what had happened, when I fired it was equivalent to less than a cap gun and barely made it out of the cylinder jamming up my single six. I'm thinking it may have been causing by a bad primer.
 

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Well at least you noticed it. I saw one last year at my local shooting range when a guy was shooting a Colt 380 acp and cheap russian silver bear ammo. He's lucky because one of the range officers was watching him when it happened and screamed at him to stop shooting. They took the gun apart and the bullet was stuck half way down the barrel. The guy shooting didn't even know what a squib was and he's very lucky that range officer stopped him before pulling the trigger again.
 

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Evening laglass69;

If the primer went off (it must have) then it should of at least ignited the powder.

My guess (from afar here) is that you didn't have 5.0 grains of HS-6 in it. If you are darn sure that you did then possibly the bullet worked out of the case from previous rounds recoil & the bullet was setting loose in the cylinder so didn't generate full pressure at ignition.

Are you getting a good solid crimp on your bullets & are the bullets a tight fit in the case?

Try putting a round in one of the cylinder holes then shoot all the others (not that one) then remove that (test) round & measure the OAL & compare that to it's original (after loading) length.
 

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Sounds like the primer went off but there was no powder for it to ignite.
How easy was it to knock the bullet out of the barrel?
Been there done that.
 

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I had my first and only squib not long after I first started reloading. Turns out I primed but forgot powder. It scared me but was a good lesson. Now I check every load meticulously, I always make sure every round properly fires before pulling the trigger again and I never let anyone fire my reloads.
 

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What this guy does; because safety is non-negotiable, is:
1. Since my press is a progressive type, I have a LED light kit mounted up the back side frame arm which illuminates the work area nicely.
2. Take time every 5th round to do a complete powder charge check.
3. Load in manageable batches; speed is not my primary requirement; quality ammo is.
4. At the end of every batch, each cartridge is weighed. One must understand that every cartridge is going to have a different weight, but they should all be "close" to each other. If you find one that weighs, say 5.0 grains less than the others, that would be a susceptible cartridge and should be a prime candidate to use the bullet puller on and investigate the situation.

Why?
1. Safety is priority one.
2. My wife and daughter both fire my reloads.
 

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My first (and only)squib was in a Ruger Blackhawk .45 LC back in 1980. Jacketed 240gr Sierra HP went about 1½" up the barrel. I couldn't get it out. Had to take it to a gun shop and they had trouble getting it out. At the time, I was charging the cases individually and weighing each load on a scale. To this day, I don't know how I missed charging one.
 

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One of the reasons I use a single stage press is because it slows me down and I have to do everything in batches. I do small batches of 50 rounds per reloading cycle.

What I do after I charge all cartridge cases is grab a bright led flashlight and look at each and every cartridge casing and physically verify that there is powder in each and everyone one and that no cartridge casing has more or less powder in it than any other one. So far this has kept me squib load free.
 

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One of the reasons I use a single stage press is because it slows me down and I have to do everything in batches. I do small batches of 50 rounds per reloading cycle.

What I do after I charge all cartridge cases is grab a bright led flashlight and look at each and every cartridge casing and physically verify that there is powder in each and everyone one and that no cartridge casing has more or less powder in it than any other one. So far this has kept me squib load free.
+1. I also use the flashlight powder check method. Very important step, especially when using fast burning powders that don't come close to filling the case.
 

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Reloading for around 50 years has produced a squib or two. In my case, it's invariably been a no-powder situation. In a revolver, for me this has always put the bullet partway into the forcing cone so that it locks up the cylinder (the safest kind of squib).

There was one incident that I still can't explain, and my reloading records were no help. A couple of years ago, I found some lead bullet .357 reloads in the back of a cabinet, years after I had switched over to plated bullets. The clue I should have considered was the lack of a label, which I always do. I decided to shoot them, and got a squib shooting the first cylinder. I used a brass rod to knock the bullet back into the cylinder, unloaded / reloaded the gun and tried again. The second cylinder went OK, the third had another squib / another lockup. This time I got out the bullet puller and started removing bullets. There were around 25 rounds total, and about two-thirds of them had a uniform charge of what appeared to be 231. The other third had no powder. Wherever these loads came from is still a mystery to me, but lesson learned: Anything I come across in future that doesn't have provenance (my label with all reloading data) gets disassembled.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pretty much all it did was barely push the bullet into the forcing cone and tie up the cylinder. I reload on a single stage press in 50rd batches and I'm pretty meticulous about everything but just goes to show that no matter how careful you are things can still happen. I don't how I missed one without powder but from now on I will definitely use the flashlight like you guys described.
 

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I've been reloading for 30 years. Fortunately I have never experienced a squib with my hand-loads. The guy that got me started reloading preached safety and consistency. While I have used progressive presses in the past, primer feed issues and the resulting spilled powder caused me enough grief to where I now just use two single-stage presses on my bench. I reload in 50rd batches, and carefully inspect the filled loading block after every step. I've got an old Tekna mini dive light that hangs from it's lanyard on my bench and I use it to scan the rows of charged cases before seating bullets. Visually checking for under/ over charged rounds is a vital step in my process, especially with the small powder charges used in my target and plinking loads in .38spl and .45acp. I want top accuracy and consistency from my ammo, and I don't worry about production speed. People talk about how many hundreds of rounds an hour they produce, where 200 rounds is a day's project for me. I use the same level of care loading all my ammo whether it be a hunting, defense, or target load. That practice has served me well .
 

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My technique is, once the powder charge is weighed I take a case from the tray charge it then seat the bullet immediately. The empty brass never comes to the bench until the powder charge is ready and once charged never leaves my hand 'til done, inspected as I go and never interrupt mid cycle. One at a time, yeah it is slow!
 

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The first and up to now the only squib load I experienced was in the early 1980s. At the time I was living in Tampa. I regularly did my shooting at the Tampa PD range. I was firing my Ruger 45LC Blackhawk. I loaded the cases with 25.0 gr of W296 and 240 gr JHP. While I was shooting I notice some unburnt powder was accumulating around the cylinder. I should have realized there was a problem, but I didn't. My next shot didn't sound right and again I should have realized what was going on but I didn't. The next shot was a big suprise, the luck was hard and parts went flying.
I maybe slow but I eventually realized I had a problem and stopped to investigate. The ejector was gone and the barrel had a bulge about 3" from the cone and the second bullet was just beyond the bulge. The rest of the revolver was intact.
A trip to my local gunsmith had him check out the revolver's remains. He even xrayed the parts and everything was still good (thank you Ruger).
A new barrel and ejector and a hard chrome platin job and I was back in business.
The important find was the cause of the squib load. It turns out I was not applying enough crimp on the case. There wasn't enough resistance to insure powder would completely combust.
Now when I am at the range and I hear a squib load go off, I am the guy yelling cease fire and running (okay walking fast) toward the shooter. Every once in awhile, I think back on that day and everything comes plays back in slow motion.
Skip forward a couple of decades and I began using a progressive loader when I noticed the powder dispenser was not consistent. I took the rounds apart and found a couple that didn't have much powder (Unique) in the case. That was the last time I used the progressive loader.
Now I measure each load and do a lot of checking. I keep good records and label each box. No more crappy reloads or squib or double charged cartridges. I find that life is a great teacher and the lessons learned last a lifetime.
 

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Well at least you noticed it. I saw one last year at my local shooting range when a guy was shooting a Colt 380 acp and cheap russian silver bear ammo. He's lucky because one of the range officers was watching him when it happened and screamed at him to stop shooting. They took the gun apart and the bullet was stuck half way down the barrel. The guy shooting didn't even know what a squib was and he's very lucky that range officer stopped him before pulling the trigger again.
I'm curious about a squib in a pistol(not revolver)?

It doesn't chamber the next round, due to not enough pressure to cycle the slide. So, there is no chance of a catastrophic event, correct.?
The Colt .380 acp was a pistol correct?
 

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It happens to all of us at one time or another

I have had squibs with my SSM's before myself. As it turned out, it was a new micrometer powder measure I was using. With those lighter loads, it can happen more easily. Shooting a single action, allows you to notice the lack of recoil and report. If it continues, buy a wooden dowel to push it out the barrel.
When it happened to me, I started looking into the case to see the powder level in the case before I seated the bullet. Oh yeah, I slowed down my cadence a bit as well. I suppose you could go back to a single stage press and loading blocks, but that's pretty slow.
 

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Long time lower volume loader with an observation and a comment...no I'm not trying to start a manufacturer's war. I've observed brand new loaders come on line and ask about what kind of press to start with....and the drone begins...arguments about using a single stage to learn the process...many say get a turret and the ever present get a high speed progressive , automatic, bell ringing, whama dama ding dong factory style press and learn on that.

If a new loader is really interested in beginning to add loading to his/her hobby, it's like buying a new weapon...there is a learning curve and that curve becomes part of a storehouse of knowledge that keeps us safe.

I have a personal opinion and that is all it is that a new loader should learn to load on the simplest, slowest, most basic equipment possible and learn each step one at a time in a manual manner...then "move up" later on. The idea of a high tech automatic press in the hands of someone that is new scares me to death...I keep seeing articles about "how many loads can I do in an 8 hour day? and things like that....that's not a hobby..that's suicide for a new person.

I've had times when I suspected an issue and rather than take a chance I've pulled down a number of rounds to check...never found problems but no chances...it only takes one...I always add the word "yet" to a brag but in over 50 years I have "yet" to have a kaboom, a squib, or a real issue...it may well happen but I started on a single stage way back when and just a year ago stepped up to a turret press and I've finally (after a year) gotten good and comfortable with it...I'll never own a progressive..I have no need for that kind of volume...I load for my own shooting which is slowing down as I get older.
 

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opos, An excellent post and I totally respect your opinion. Speaking as a person who taught many newbies how to reload, I found there were varying degrees of mechanical aptitude. Some people went into orbit just at the sight of a progressive press with all the linkage and junk attached. Then there were others with a bit more mechanical aptitude that actually understood the entire reloading process .... which by the way is identical for a single stage, turret, or progressive press. Once the process is thoroughly understood, it's just a matter of .... do I want to do one step at a time? .... or multiple steps with each pull of the handle?

My conclusions for a newbie that has never reloaded is a bit different than yours and here's why: Assuming a standard single stage press, you have to install and adjust dies a minimum of 4 times to load each batch of ammo. This requires some mechanical abilities ... even though it is "one step at a time". In the process of loading a batch of ammo on a single stage, you will actually handle each case a minimum of 8 times .... once in, once out for each individual step. The more you handle each case, the greater the opportunity for a screw-up ... spilling powder, dropping a partially loaded case, spilling primers, or getting things out of sequence.

When the same person loads on a progressive press, the dies are adjusted in advance so if you load a batch of ammo a couple months later, the tool head is ready to go ... very little mechanical abilities needed. Basically, you are just pulling the handle, inserting a fresh case each time as well as a bullet. In this automated process, you only touch a case exactly once ... when you put it in the first station. Yes, you do have to keep an eye and "feel" on things. If something looks or feels wrong, it probably is. I can't speak for other equipment but my Dillon RL550 will usually go hundreds of rounds without the slightest hiccup .... then you may get a bad case, a defective bullet, or a bad powder drop, or a primer problem and have to stop and investigate. It usually takes just a few seconds to clear the problem and resume reloading. To minimize problems, I do cull my cases ... but I do that with single stage loading too.

Back when I had my gunsmith shop in Phoenix, AZ area, I had two RCBS Rockchuckers and a Dillon RL550 mounted on a reloading bench. The deal was ... if customers bought their supplies from me, I would let them use my equipment to reload for free ... closely supervised of course. This worked out exceptionally well .... my equipment soon paid for itself and customers got free training. Some customers learned that reloading was just not for them .... so they saved a lot of money by not buying their own equipment. More times than not, customers would learn the process then head to Scottsdale and buy their own press directly from Dillon. For those that decided on a single stage, I sold many of them as well as dies and other reloading accessories. I did this for 10 years and trained at least a hundred people to reload ... probably more. I never kept track but my guess is ... way more people bought progressive presses than single stages or turrets ... and for those that did buy single stage presses, it was usually a lack of $$$ ... not a fear of the equipment.

No doubt, a lot of people think exactly the same as you when it comes to buying a press ... and we all respect their decision. My point is ... many of the newbies out there will start reloading on a progressive press if they can afford it and we also have to respect their decision too.

Related to this thread, no matter what type of equipment you use you MUST ensure each case gets a uniform powder charge. You can do this with fancy powder check dies, trickling up each charge, or just by doing a good visual inspection. No matter which method you use, you have to check each and every case because ol' Murphy is just waiting for you to miss one.
 
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