Wednesday, December 02, 2015


POTD: Squib Round Stuck in Polish P-64 Pistol! - The Firearm Blog

I had a squib once. But it wasn't as obvious as this one.

I was at a match, using my S&W 659, and double-tapping like I had just invented it.  Shooting minor power, I needed to be FAST!

Of course, the squib round was the first shot of the double-tap, and I had already pulled the trigger to launch the 2nd round before my brain registered that the gun had gone *POOF* instead of *BANG!*.

Well, I was done for the day.  The barrel had a big bulge in it, I couldn't even rack the slide and it hadn't gone into battery because ... barrel bulge.

It cost me $155 for a replacement barrel, and the gunsmith had a helluva time getting the pistol stripped so you know his fee wasn't insignificant.

The problem was, I was using this LEE Auto-Indexing Turret Press (with the plastic bushing) ...
 ... and at the time I was using the powder measure and actually rotating the turret.

For some reason it didn't load powder into one of the cartridges.  And I didn't notice.  

Note that I assume that I was in that purple haze that sometimes occurs when you start loading ammo at 9pm on Friday Night for the match on Saturday.  Not the fault of the press, it was entirely my fault.
(There are several lessons to be learned from this.)

I'm just glad that I didn't need to replace the slide, as well.

I do wish I had photographed the bulged  barrel, but I didn't at the time and I've lost track of it.  I've moved a couple of times since then, so I probably junked it.

Since then, I've bought a Dillon XL650 and it has eventually gone toes-up and seems non-reparable.  Yes, I sent it back to the factory. Twice.   So ... now I'm using the same LEE press ... but I don't attach the powder measure.  I use it like a single-stage press.

Step 1: Decap, resize and re-prime the empty cases, and PUT THEM IN A LOADING BLOCK!
Step 2: Using a BULLS-EYE manual powder measure, I add powder to the primed cases.  And I check the powder charge by weight before each reloading session, just to make sure I'm using the right bushing in the measure.   Then I hold the loading block under a strong overhead light to confirm that all cases have been charged, and not over-charged.
Step 3: then I go ahead and seat the bullet, and crimp it.  And inspect each cartridge.

Yes, even after all these years I'm still fanatically cautious about every step when I'm reloading.  I don't have the television running, no distractions at all, and I inspect each cartridge at least twice during the process.  I no longer feel obliged to use the chamber gauge, except when I'm loading 10mm.

It has often been suggested that my mission in life is to serve as a good example of the consequences of doing things the wrong way, and while I'm certain I haven't made EVERY possible mistake while reloading ammunition, I'm convinced that I've made MOST of the mistakes.  Well, in 50 years of reloading, even a Geek can learn that the "trick" to reloading reliable ammunition isn't a trick at all.  It's merely a matter of checking, double-checking, and inspecting frequently.

Single-stage reloading is boring and repetitious, so I don't load more than a couple hundred rounds in each session.

And yes, I don't use factory ammunition because if I haven't loaded it, I don't trust it.  That having been said, I bought 3,000 rounds of .45acp from a local shooter who can no longer handle the recoil from his 1911.  I got a good price .. $10 a box of 50.  Which worked to my advantage, until my trigger-bow got bent and I couldn't insert a magazine until The Hobo Brasser installed a new trigger in The Beloved Kimber.

Haven't been to a match since then.  Maybe this month ..... but then, it's raining pretty heavy this month.


Mark said...

Hey Jer get away from thet wheelbarra you know you don't know nuttan bout machinery.

Anonymous said...

People who really care don't use Lee progressive presses.