View Full Version : Bizzare semi-squib with proven load

John Browning
07-19-2012, 11:19 PM
Today I was shooting a target load that my 1911 has liked for around 1,000 rounds. Gun had just been detailed stripped and cleaned prior to use. After 50 rounds of a new load, I moved on to my target load. On the first round I got a semi squib. The primer strike was solid , the bullet impacted the target, but the slide did not cycle and it felt just like a squib. Disassembled and saw LOTS of unburned powder in the barrel. Gave everything the once over and the gun looked fine. Then round #2 did the same thing. Detail strip, everything looks the same, try again. Round #3 does the same thing. Solid primer strike, obvious ignition of the primer, but unburned powder abounds in the barrel.

I have since given the 1911 the once over. The firing pin is fine. The only issue I noticed is that a round would stick up maybe .02-.05 of an inch higher than normal and it felt like you had to really push it in rather than drop it in. Quick work with a bore snake and rounds dropped in like normal. I am unsure if this was the cause or the result.

Any idea what happened?

Here is the load (which has worked for 1000 rounds+)
.45 ACP
Fed brass
Win LP primer
5.7 W231
2.35 OAL
200gr Berrys SWC

The only thing I could think of is that it is a bad lot of powder, but this seems hard to believe. The powder is 6 months old and stored in my garage which does not have temp or humidity/water issues.

07-20-2012, 1:36 AM
Was the powder stored in your garage for six months brand new and unopened? As in were the loads the first ones out of a new jug of powder? Or were they loads from a jug of powder that you were partway through? I'd agree that is most likely the powder. Try shooting them out of another 45 if you have one. If you don't, but are set up to reload other calibers, try one of them. Win 231 can be used for very many pistol calibers including nine millimeter. If you get the same problem in another 45 or another caliber than it would most definitely be the powder. Another very easy test, which you may have already tried, would be to shoot some factory loads out of your 1911 and see how they do. I honestly can't think of anything that could be wrong with a gun that could cause something like that, so its probably the powder or less like defective primers or some sort. Anyway, powder manufacturers are very willing to listen to any problems you may have due to lawyers and fear of being sued. I'd give them a call and explain your problem and give them the lot number of your powder. If it turns out it was a bad lot they'd probably tell you to throw it out and send you some new powder or give you a refund.

07-20-2012, 1:45 AM
Another simple consideration- have you cleaned or oiled your press recently, especially the dies themselves or the powder measure? As you are most likely aware, oil does bad things to powders and primers, but in the quantities that would be used to maintain a press it would be a real long shot. Once again I'd have to say that it is probably the powder, especially if it is from a just opened jug. I use Win 231 for 45 myslef and your load is fine (although I assume your OAL is 1.25 or so and not 2.35" which I assume is a typo. If you are loading at above 1.27" OAL or so that would also be out of the ordinary, but as you have fired the load a thousand times I'm sure that's not the issue)

07-20-2012, 4:53 AM
I would agree with JonM, but I would pull some from that group and make sure you have as much powder in them as you think you do...

07-20-2012, 7:52 AM
Bad batch of primers, perhaps.

07-20-2012, 7:59 AM
If there was a lot of unburned powder, then it probably was powder or primer contamination. Either oil from the dies, some lube or moisture left in the case or oil from your fingers contaminating the primer.

07-20-2012, 8:04 AM
My guess would be a pressure problem. The powder was not allowed to build up to pressure, ensuring complete burn. I would check the diameter of the bullets, also check your dies/brass for proper neck tension. Were you crimping these?

John Browning
07-20-2012, 10:07 AM
These are the first rounds I've made out of this jug of W231, it was just opened prior to putting them together about 2 months ago. I do oil my press often, but not in a place that it would seem would ever cause contamination. The dies are carbide and get no oil, and the hand priming tool gets no oil. I also load on a single stage, so these all had full charges of powder. I could admit that one round might slip through, but the three in a row performing identically makes me think that this whole lot of primers/powder went bad.

I do crimp these. They are taper crimped to .470.

I took one of the fired cases with primer and tried to see if perhaps it was a partial detonation of the priming compound. Several attempts led to no result, the primer that had fired seems to have done so correctly.

Weird stuff.

07-20-2012, 10:25 AM
Yup, its your powder it seems. You can try to fire a primed case to see if it detonates properly or fizzles out or something and you could also load some in a small primered case like a 9mm to rule out the primers completely. But yea, I'm definitely thinking you got a bad lot and should give Olin/Winchester a call (the Winchester that makes rifles and the one that makes ammo are two different companies with the same name).

Cowboy T
07-20-2012, 6:13 PM
Try priming a few empty cases, say 10 or so, and popping the primers in the gun. You should get a good "POP" and a bright flash out the muzzle. If not, then there's something wrong with the primers. If you do, though, there may be something wrong with the powder.

John Browning
07-20-2012, 8:23 PM
The primers all give a nice loud pop/bang. Would it be meaningful to try and light a small bit (10 grains or so) of powder on the concrete and see how it burns?

07-20-2012, 11:45 PM
The primers all give a nice loud pop/bang. Would it be meaningful to try and light a small bit (10 grains or so) of powder on the concrete and see how it burns?

If you have some old powder to compare with (got any old loaded rounds from the "good" bottle you can pull?), then it might show a difference.

Unfortunately, depending on the way the powder might be contaminated, a non-comparative burn probably won't help you.

07-21-2012, 5:23 AM
I doubt you would have primers that ignite some of the powder and not all of it, once ignition is started it should be complete, bad powder, call Olin...