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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie reloader back once again seeking advice. Loaded 5 rounds of .38 spl, first time reloading that caliber. Using Hodgdon Universal with Winchester primers,Hornady 110Grn XTP. Loaded all 5 rounds into friend's S&W revolver, first round was barely a pop. Stopped ,unloaded the gun and could see right away the bullet was in the barrel maybe about 1/2" or so. There was clump of unburned powder packed in right behind it. Fortunately we were able to push the bullet out with a brass rod. I didn't dare try to fire any of the remaining 4 rounds. Not sure this would be considered a "squib load", there definitely was powder in the case. I checked each round carefully when loading. The case looked normal after firing and could see the primer was struck cleanly. After removing the stuck bullet we fired some factory ammo thru the gun with no problems. The crimps on the reloads seemed good, primers seated correctly, C.O.L. good. Have used powder from this 1lb container on other calibers with no problems, so I don't think the powder would be contaminated in some way. Anyone experience this with a reload ? What could cause this to happen? Could it be a bad primer? Awaiting advice before i try to fire the remaining 4 rounds :smile:
 

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If you had a clump of unburned powder behind the bullet it sounds like it did not ignite, this most likely would be caused by powder that had been contaminated. You said you have loaded out of this can before, is it possible water or oil could have somehow gotten into the can.
 

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Yup, that would be a squib load. I've had a total of one ever shooting remans, and one from a box of WWB. It happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you had a clump of unburned powder behind the bullet it sounds like it did not ignite, this most likely would be caused by powder that had been contaminated. You said you have loaded out of this can before, is it possible water or oil could have somehow gotten into the can.
I have loaded and fired rounds from same can of powder that were loaded after these 5 rounds with no problems. I would imagine a primer is either bad or good with no in between ?
 
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Powder did not ignite which means contaminated/failed primer or contaminated powder.

Be careful...a second load behind a squib in a revolver can lead to disaster!
 

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When it comes to primers there is no in-between, they either fire or they don’t. One other possibility is if you tumble you brass with walnut shells or corncob a piece of it may have been trapped in the flash hole preventing the flame from the primer igniting the powder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When it comes to primers there is no in-between, they either fire or they don’t. One other possibility is if you tumble you brass with walnut shells or corncob a piece of it may have been trapped in the flash hole preventing the flame from the primer igniting the powder.
I wet tumble using the little stainless steel pins, could it be possible that a pin got somehow stuck in the flash hole? Any thoughts on trying to fire one more round or should i just disassemble and start over?
 

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I wet tumble using the little stainless steel pins, could it be possible that a pin got somehow stuck in the flash hole? Any thoughts on trying to fire one more round or should i just disassemble and start over?
That or maybe the brass was not fully dry which would contaminate the powder. Myself I would just disassemble the rounds and after making sure the cases are totally dry then reload them.
 

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msgt/ret probably said it. Did you make sure your brass was dry? There is still a void, what powder and charge did you use?

I can count three times I forgot to load powder. A primer can send a bullet down the barrel a short distance without any powder. I have learned to pay 100% attention as reloading is a fun, but serious hobby.

I haven't had a problem in the last 25 years. I learned mistakes can happen, but with total concentration it can be avoided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Myself I would just disassemble the rounds and after making sure the cases are totally dry then reload them.
The cases were tumbled at least a week before I loaded the 5 rounds. Plus I oven dry my cases after they come out of the tumbler. I am going to do as you suggested and disassemble the remaining 4 rounds, recheck the powder and start all over. I suppose I may never know the exact cause but the trail may lead back to me given that I am a newbie reloader :smile:
 

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Check the fired brass primer hole. See if it is blocked or really dirty? As said , I would also pull and recheck/reload the other four rounds.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Myself I would just disassemble the rounds and after making sure the cases are totally dry then reload them.
Today I carefully disassembled the remaining 4 rounds. I re-weighed the powder from each round. They all weighed 5.1grn of Hogdon Universal. Inspected the inside of the cases, checking the flash holes. Could see nothing out of the ordinary. Went thru the process of reassembling each round. Walked out to my range and fired each one from about 15yds, all went bang,, all hit the 8" steel plate. I guess I will never know what went wrong with that one round out of the five. :confused: I guess I should just be happy that nothing bad happened to the gun and I wasn't injured.
 

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The fact that the bullet was driven into the barrel proves that the primer ignited. The "clump of unburned powder" shows that the powder was not fully ignited.

Two possibilities:

1) The primer did not ignite with enough energy to fully ignite the powder. This would almost have to be a defective OR contaminated primer, or,
2) The powder did not ignite because it was defective or contaminated. Since all your other loads from that batch were OK, it would seem to eliminate defective powder.

So, you're left with contamination of either the powder or primer, or a defective primer as the culprit. As you said, you will probably never know. Any possibility that your hands were sweaty, dirty, or wet while you were handling components? Practice good reloading hygiene!
 
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