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Thread: frustrating Day at the Range

  1. #1

    Default frustrating Day at the Range

    I went to the range this morning for the first time since I got my Ruger 454 back from the factory. I had some light 45 LC hand loads as well as some hotter ones to have some fun with. The light loads were 205 g lead bullets 9 grains of titegroup crimped with a Lee factory crimp die. After about 10 rounds I had a "squib" I guess is whats it's called. The range master back in the office was very helpful and popped it out for me with a brass punch. I figured it would be fine but it happened again. Should this be happening with 9 grains of titegroup? Could I have possibly made a mistake with the powder measure? The data was fro the Hogden book I think.

  2. #2
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    9 grains seems very light. I am seeing 9 grains is for a 300 grain Jacketed bullet.
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  3. #3

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    I am seeing 7.7 grains of titegroup with a 200 grain cast bullet from the Hodgden website.

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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    Was there any unburned powder in your barrel? Some people believe that you will get incomplete burning with a small amount of powder in a large, mostly empty case. Are you sure you didn't miss putting powder in those rounds? All the squibs I've had were because I missed loading the case.

  5. #5

    Default hmmm

    I'll vote for failing to get powder in the cases. That should be plenty of powder in the 45 LC case, and I'd bet even in the 454 cases. I regularly load that light in both with Unique, though not trying to draw a straight line between the two powders. Just an observation that if a small charge of Unique will light off consistently in those two cases, I'd expec the same from tightgroup.

  6. #6
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    Default Back from the factory

    Curious as to why you had to send the gun back - would you mind telling us and the level of satisfaction with the service.

    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    I went to the range this morning for the first time since I got my Ruger 454 back from the factory. .
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    Curious as to why you had to send the gun back - would you mind telling us and the level of satisfaction with the service.
    There was a post a while back about the Alaskan having cycling problems when shooting certain rounds which was basically the same problem I was having however I could not tell if it was because of the heavier bullets jumping crimp or an internal problem with the gun. I got a hold of Ruger and they were a little resistant at first but softened up a bit when I mentioned the numerous problems people in Alaska were having with these revolvers. Ruger emailed me a paid shipping label and had the gun back to me in about 3 weeks. They did not say directly over the phone what the problem was nor did they let me talk with a technician but on the return packing slip there was a note that said the barrel gap was adjusted and the crane was repaired.
    As far as the performance I did not have any cycling issues in the 25 or so rounds I fired but I did not shoot the real hot rounds either.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    I went to the range this morning for the first time since I got my Ruger 454 back from the factory. I had some light 45 LC hand loads as well as some hotter ones to have some fun with. The light loads were 205 g lead bullets 9 grains of titegroup crimped with a Lee factory crimp die. After about 10 rounds I had a "squib" I guess is whats it's called. The range master back in the office was very helpful and popped it out for me with a brass punch. I figured it would be fine but it happened again. Should this be happening with 9 grains of titegroup? Could I have possibly made a mistake with the powder measure? The data was fro the Hogden book I think.
    The charge is not too light, I mean it was but 9.0 grains isn't. I'd say you are not getting a charge of powder in the case. Do you use a loading block that allows you to see the powder charge in each case before you seat the bullet? This is probably a very big deal, though it seems to be just a squib load. The danger of a squib load is that you wouldn't know there was a bullet lodged in the forcing cone, and fire another shot. I'm sure you would know. The problem is that if you loaded two rounds with no powder, you probably loaded two rounds with double charges! That could be a problem. Re-evaluate you technique to ensure you cannot, or do not do that again.

    You mentioned the powder measure, I assume a hand cranking kind, technique here is very important. Is the measure designed for small charges of pistol powder? Some measures do not work well with both rifle and handgun.

    Use a loading block that holds fifty cases up right. After they are primed either charge a row at a time in the block (if it slides under the measure) or charge them singly by hand and put them in the block, then when done, look at them in good light so you can see that all charges are in the case and are filled evenly. Then before seating the bullet, look again. I charge them a row at a time in the block and check (tighten) the measure lock screw, and weigh after ten charges. (The end of each row.)

    Crimp on such light loads is not so important, so don't over do that step for these lighter loads, it works your brass. There isn't an ignition issue here with that powder and this doesn't sound like a "bad primer" issue. Also you should carry a 3/8" hardwood dowel piece about 12" long in your shooting kit for just such an occasion. Or a 1/4" bronze brazing rod will work fine, too. Also just out of curiosity, how are you seating primers? Keep in mind just because everyone does it a certain way, doesn't make that the right way to do it.
    Last edited by Murphy; 06-09-2008 at 16:37.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    The charge is not to light, I mean it was but 9.0 grains isn't. I'd say you are not getting a charge of powder in the case. Do you use a loading block that allows you to see the powder charge in each case before you seat the bullet? This is probably a very big deal, though it seems to be just a squib load. The danger of a squib load is that you wouldn't know there was a bullet lodged in the forcing cone, and fire another shot. I'm sure you would know. The problem is that if you loaded two rounds with no powder, you probably loaded two rounds with double charges! That could be a problem. Re-evaluate you technique to ensure you cannot, or do not do that again.

    You mentioned the powder measure, I assume a hand cranking kind, technique here is very important. Is the measure designed for small charges of pistol powder? Some measures do not work well with both rifle and handgun.

    Use a loading block that holds fifty cases up right. After they are primed either charge a row at a time in the block (if it slides under the measure) or charge them singly by hand and put them in the block, then when done, look at them in good light so you can see all charges are in the case, are filled evenly. Then before seating the bullet, look again. I charge them a row at a time in the block and check (tighten) the measure lock screw, and weigh after ten charges. (The end of each row.)

    Crimp on such light loads is not so important, so don't over do that step for these lighter loads, it works your brass. There isn't an ignition issue here with that powder. Also you should carry a 3/8" hardwood dowel piece about 12" long in your shooting kit for just such an occasion. Or a 1/4" bronze brazing rod will work fine, too. Also just out of curiosity, how are you seating primers? Keep in mind just because everyone does it, doesn't make that the right way to do it.
    I think organization is an issue here and a loading block for future reloading will help with that.

    I was not aware the handcrank powder measures were unique to rifle or pistol, I don't even think it says so on the unit. It was the one that came in the starter kit from Lee. Are you saying I would need a more accurate powder measure for pistol rounds? Could you recommend one? Is the primer alone enough to propel the bullets a few inches down the barrel?

    I am seating the primers with a hand primimg tool also from Lee and they are ending up flush with the headstamp

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    I think organization is an issue here and a loading block for future reloading will help with that.
    I only load 20 at a time, it helps to keep my mind on task.

    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    I was not aware the handcrank powder measures were unique to rifle or pistol, I don't even think it says so on the unit. It was the one that came in the starter kit from Lee. Are you saying I would need a more accurate powder measure for pistol rounds? Could you recommend one?
    I scale every load, with a manual scale... no scoops for me. I have never been comfortable with just scooping loads.

    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    Is the primer alone enough to propel the bullets a few inches down the barrel?
    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    I am seating the primers with a hand primimg tool also from Lee and they are ending up flush with the headstamp
    They shouldn't be flush with the headstamp, they should be flush with the stamped head. That is to say if they are flush with the stamp itself, they are too deep; they should be flush with the unstamped area of the cartidge base.

    I would ensure you're using good loading practices, check your primer pockets, make sure you're using the correct primer, weigh each load, and try it again!

    KRS

  11. #11

    Default Primer depth

    Seating primers to be flush with the headstamp or stamped head (?) is not the correct way to seat any primers. They may come out that way sometimes, but you should seat primers until they make contact with the bottom part of the primer pocket, even if they are several thousandths
    below the top of the primer pocket. This will allow the firing pin strike to properly ignite the priming compound by compressing the primer cup with the inner anvil, causing the pressure that ignites it. I'm not saying that this caused the problem, but it is proper primer seating procedure.
    I would try buying 100 different brand primers using a 45 Colt case on some and 454 Casull case with others with the same load given, but making sure the full load of powder is being dropped as suggested.
    My personal opinion is that the Lee powder measure as given in the kit is crap. Also if you have the one that uses different powder "discs" they are rarely accurate.
    If you know someone who is competent in reloading, you might work with them a while until you feel more confident.

  12. #12
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    For loading pistol cases (45 Colt for me) I use one of the RCBS little dandy powder measures. They are relatively inexpensive and only have one moving part so they are inherently simple. The drawback is that you need to purchase a different rotor for every powder charge, but if you already know what load you are going to use it for, then that is no big deal. For me, I am shooting 9.5 grains of Unique under a 250 gr cast bullet and it seems to be accurate to within .3 grains + or – which is fine for my purposes.

    As far as loading technique goes. I kind of started a process years ago with the intent of keeping myself out of trouble. It is rare that I will be able to finish a re-loading session all in one evening so I take notes and write everything down. For example, when priming cases I may end up with a bunch of primers left over in the pan of the hand priming tool, and knowing that I will likely use the same primer again in a few days I will write the primer info on a small piece of paper and put it in the primer tray so that a few days later, or more realistically, weeks later I am not throwing those un-used primers away because I cant remember what they were.

    The key to loading safely is to get yourself in the habit of doing it the same way every time and double checking yourself at each step. Be cautious of complacency as many of these simple tasks will eventually become automatic and that is when you can make an error. Avoid distraction and concentrate on the task at hand. Easier said than done I know, but when the little ones come by with a bunch of questions or are wanting to play, I just jot down my notes, police up the area and bag it for the day. I am not really able to do anything else when I reload and avoid conversation, phone calls, TV and the like.

    If you live in Anchorage and want to come over and check out the little dandy or observe my set-up just send me a PM and we can get together.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRS View Post
    They shouldn't be flush with the headstamp, they should be flush with the stamped head. That is to say if they are flush with the stamp itself, they are too deep; they should be flush with the unstamped area of the cartidge base.

    KRS

    I understand what you are saying here, I think, but I'll have to disagree. The primer needs to be seated to the bottom of the pocket. Further it needs to be seated to push the anvil into the bottom of the cup. It isn't always easy to tell if it is seated correctly. By dimensions, the primer will be a few thousandsths of an inch below flush when seated correctly. Most handloader newbies do not seat deep enough and I've never seated a primer so deep, even with strong pressure, to keep it from firing. I'll have to say there is a certain feel to a correctly seated primer and this must be learned. Some seating tools do not allow us to feel this and other tools seem to work great. I can only say what works for me. I use an RCBS Auto-Prime tool, bench mounted with lots of leverage. I have three of these in two states and I have been using them since the seventies. I will dare to say that I have seated one million primers with this system, handgun and rifle, and needless to say I think it works very well.

    Further, with this little problem I would guess that the primer alone as propellant would launch the bullet about an inch or two into the barrel. This would depend on a number of things, particularly the barrel, bullet and cylinder dimensions, the crimp, etc. I did a couple of hundred of these one afternoon with a good 44 Ruger to try to see which primer was stronger, didn't prove much because the same primer would launch each bullet to a different place.
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  14. #14
    Member KRS's Avatar
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    I know what you mean concerning seating primers; however for most of the loaders out there (after cleaning the flash hole) a flush seated primer is the safest most consistent way to load.

    Too many would try to force each primer too hard, denting and deforming in the process.

    I would clean each flash hole and go for consistency rather than forcing too hard.

    I understand why you disagree, but I still would use my method to obtain safety and consistency.

    KRS

  15. #15

    Default

    I have not yet had a chance to pull any bullets to see if I failed to load a bullet with powder or double charged one for that matter.The squib shots seem to be conducive of no powder in the case. I hope that this was the issue and not something else.

    What I should have said regarding seating the primers was I seated them as far as they would go again with a Lee hand priming tool. They seem to end up flush with the "stamped head" not the headstamp indentations. I know the flash holes were cleaned so I think I can factor that out.

  16. #16

    Default Seat primers completely

    KRS,

    I have to strongly disagree with your opinion on just flush seating primers for "most handloaders". I doubt that you would find any written handloading material that wouldn't say to seat the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket. Otherwise you are taking a chance on potential ignition problems. True, you have to learn to "feel" the primer bottoming out, but you have to learn to do all the steps properly. That's why I was so glad when hand priming tools came on the scene, and even though they are considered cheap, I have never found a hand priming tool with a better feel then the Lee Auto-Prime. Your technique to only seat primers flush with the top of the primer pockets, quite frankly, is wrong, unless the primer does that because of pocket depth.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    KRS,

    I have to strongly disagree with your opinion on just flush seating primers for "most handloaders". I doubt that you would find any written handloading material that wouldn't say to seat the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket. Otherwise you are taking a chance on potential ignition problems. True, you have to learn to "feel" the primer bottoming out, but you have to learn to do all the steps properly. That's why I was so glad when hand priming tools came on the scene, and even though they are considered cheap, I have never found a hand priming tool with a better feel then the Lee Auto-Prime. Your technique to only seat primers flush with the top of the primer pockets, quite frankly, is wrong, unless the primer does that because of pocket depth.
    Thank you for your opinion.

  18. #18

    Default Not opinion

    This is not just my opinion, it is what is proper and correct. If the primer is not fully seated, the firing pin will initially just shove the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket and may not have enough pressure left to compress the cup against the anvil and ignite the priming compound. But, I have the feeling nothing said will change anything, so....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    This is not just my opinion, it is what is proper and correct. If the primer is not fully seated, the firing pin will initially just shove the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket and may not have enough pressure left to compress the cup against the anvil and ignite the priming compound. But, I have the feeling nothing said will change anything, so....
    As I previously stated, I am aware of these concerns and your position on the topic. Again, thank you.

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    I seat primers Very Hard, and as Deep as I can. I may be seating them too hard, but I’ve never had a problem doing it that way.

    I don’t like hand seaters. I’ve used them but it was always difficult to get primers deep enough. I want them SAFELY BELOW the case head, and I believe that if they are seated shallow, it will result in inconsistent ignition.

    I’ve settled on two things to get my primers seated deeply. #1, I use a Primer Pocket Uniformer, and #2, I seat them with the primer arm on my press.

    The only way “feel” comes into the mix for me, is when I “feel” a loose primer pocket, and that hasn’t happened to me for years. I threw away some cases in my early days of handloading because I THOUGHT they felt loose, but in hindsight, I was probably wrong, since I never load hot, and certainly not back then.

    Most Powder Measures, will work with both rifle and revolver cartridges. Some are better suited for one or the other, and some have attachments for the same purpose. In any case you will want one that has the range of charge capability that suits whatever you will be loading.

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