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  #1  
Old 04-03-2013, 4:26 PM
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Default Reasons for a Stuck Bullet

So I got through my first batch of reloads this weekend. I loaded up some 125 grain .38's using a range of 3.2 to 3.6 grains of TiteGroup (using data on HSM's website for their 125 plated bullets) and some 230 grain .45 Auto FMJ's using a range of 4.3 to 4.7 grains of TiteGroup.

Everything worked flawlessly in the .45 (knocks on head). However one of the .38's loaded with 3.6 grains of TiteGroup managed to get stuck in the barrel. Brass looked real dirty and the plating on the bullet was stripped by one of the lands - right down to the lead below. Also I couldn't be certain but looking down the bore at the stuck bullet (once the gun was empty of course) it almost looked like the bullet was canted upwards towards the top of the bore. Like it wasn't able to right itself and jammed itself into the bore.

With a little bit of Hoppes Lube, a rubber mallet and the male screw end of a cleaning rod I was able to push the bullet out and the barrel is fine.

Question is what (if somebody were to be able to nail it down) causes this? Since this was my first batch of loads I measured every charge, so unless the scale was way off it was in the 3.6 grain neighborhood. Too tight of a crimp? Badly sized bullet?

Here's a pic of the bullet:

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  #2  
Old 04-03-2013, 4:29 PM
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Probably missed putting powder in that round.
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  #3  
Old 04-03-2013, 4:30 PM
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I'm going to go with 'too little powder' for $500, Alex.

Chris
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Old 04-03-2013, 4:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Light View Post
However one of the .38's loaded with 3.6 grains of TiteGroup managed to get stuck in the barrel. Brass looked real dirty
That's a sign that the pressure wasn't high enough to expand the brass and seal the chamber.
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Old 04-03-2013, 4:40 PM
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I would go with missed powder charge as well. Primers (depending on which one you used) are definitely powerful enough to move the bullet into the bore.

One caution is when loading something like Titegroup in a case like a 38 or 357M, it is just as easy to double as miss, likely good to review you proceedure and see where you can tighten it up. Double is always worse than no powder.
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Old 04-03-2013, 4:54 PM
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Here's a follow-up question for all: is it possible to have too much of a crimp? Is it possible to crimp a bullet enough to do this (even with a charge or maybe an undercharge). I'm thinking the answer is no?

Thanks for the responses so far, all. I'll go with undercharge or no charge at all (I was certain that I double checked every round visually, but missing one is always possible).
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Old 04-03-2013, 5:07 PM
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Too much crimp would cause a pressure spike. Which would at least expel the bullet.

Failing to charge a round is always possible and it can be extremely dangerous. Since this is your first batch I would break down the rest.
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Old 04-03-2013, 5:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Light View Post
Here's a follow-up question for all: is it possible to have too much of a crimp? Is it possible to crimp a bullet enough to do this (even with a charge or maybe an undercharge). I'm thinking the answer is no?

Thanks for the responses so far, all. I'll go with undercharge or no charge at all (I was certain that I double checked every round visually, but missing one is always possible).
Every single squib (from no powder, just primer) I have had was with deep revolver cases, loading light target loads, loading in batches (not progressively loaded), every single one was lodged somewhere between the cylinder throat (those lock up the action) to the base about halfway into the forcing cone (those unfortunately DO NOT lock up the action ).
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Old 04-03-2013, 5:17 PM
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Have you hit the billets with a micrometer?

The shape of that feels more like a 9mm not a .38 special / .357 mag

Did the bullets that fired hit and make a clean hole?
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Old 04-03-2013, 5:25 PM
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My guess is if the round was over crimped, it would also blow out the primer? Just a guess...

I'm going with no or too little powder.
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Old 04-03-2013, 5:44 PM
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I have had the same issue trying to make some bunny fart round and not using enough powder. I think the problem I had is with the large case volume of the 38. the small volume of powder either moved forward or spread out along the bottom of the horizontal case and did not reliably ignite causing a noticable funny ignition sound. When I lift the barrel between rounds the powder reliably ignite with a nice little report.

I am looking for a less dense powder with more volume per weight to fill the case more. going to try trailboss I think when I can find some.
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2013, 5:52 PM
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Called a squib. More powder. Get a little flashlight and check before seating.
It happens
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Old 04-03-2013, 7:41 PM
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For "Bunny Fart" rounds, some folks will take a pillow and pull the stuffing to act as a wad in the load
Powder
Then some Polly Fill stuffing
Then load the bullet

The stuffing keeps the powder against the primer
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Old 04-03-2013, 8:42 PM
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Another problem can be wet powder.

I sized some brass once (oiled the cases) and loaded up a 50 count. The first twenty were great at the range, but when I fired number twenty one, the gun just fizzled.

Sure enough on teardown, it was a squib. Some powder was not only unburned, but also black all over the bore and the barrel was caked with an oily soot.

Gotta make sure those cases are clean before loading up.
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Old 04-03-2013, 9:30 PM
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How did you measure your powder. When using a powder measure go slow and smooth. If going to fast and slapping the handle up and down can cause inconsistencies. This could be the issue but I am more likely to believe you missed the powder all together.
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2013, 4:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelogic View Post
Failing to charge a round is always possible and it can be extremely dangerous. Since this is your first batch I would break down the rest.
Just 6 rounds left from that batch. So I'm going to break them down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hermosabeach View Post
Have you hit the billets with a micrometer?

The shape of that feels more like a 9mm not a .38 special / .357 mag

Did the bullets that fired hit and make a clean hole?
Definitely a 125 grain .357 round. Everything else was hitting the paper like it should. It was the only one I had a problem with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomashoward View Post
Called a squib. More powder. Get a little flashlight and check before seating.
It happens
I was eye-balling all of them after weighing each charge, with a flashlight. But, again, anything is possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M27 View Post
How did you measure your powder. When using a powder measure go slow and smooth. If going to fast and slapping the handle up and down can cause inconsistencies. This could be the issue but I am more likely to believe you missed the powder all together.
I was using a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I made sure I was deliberately working it up and down and tapping on it to get excess flakes out as well for each charge. I'm a tiny bit concerned because I know I measured every charge.
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Old 04-04-2013, 4:21 PM
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How do you all check and spot check your powder throws? My thinking was check the first three to make sure they are right on or no more than +/- .02 grains and then spot check every 10th round. Then eyeball (with a flashlight) to make sure everything is OK before seating.
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Old 04-04-2013, 4:58 PM
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How is using the Lee perfect powder measure(which IMHO is certainly not perfect) weighing every load? Did you use a balance scale or a digital scale on every load and trickle the powder? Now that is measuring every load. I can get .4 grain difference using flake powders in my RCBS Uniflow and that is a huge difference for .38 rounds! My guess is light charge or no charge first and then second and even a contributing factor could be the "tightness" of the barrel. Have you ever swagged a lead bullet down the barrel to see what the dimension your barrel is? I have seen some tight ones and have re-loaded 9mm bullets in those in the past. I would say older .38's had that issue mainly.
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Old 04-04-2013, 6:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excaliburr View Post
How is using the Lee perfect powder measure(which IMHO is certainly not perfect) weighing every load? Did you use a balance scale or a digital scale on every load and trickle the powder? Now that is measuring every load. I can get .4 grain difference using flake powders in my RCBS Uniflow and that is a huge difference for .38 rounds! My guess is light charge or no charge first and then second and even a contributing factor could be the "tightness" of the barrel. Have you ever swagged a lead bullet down the barrel to see what the dimension your barrel is? I have seen some tight ones and have re-loaded 9mm bullets in those in the past. I would say older .38's had that issue mainly.
Every charge checked with a digital scale and every few charges spot checked with a RCBS 5-0-2. Then all cases were visually checked (with a flashlight) prior to seating.
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Old 04-04-2013, 9:52 PM
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With that said, I would "slug" the barrel and check the dimension of the slug. Like you said, you weighed them, so unless powder is wet or old or how about this one, flash hole full of crud (not sure if that would only set off a small part of the charge). I have a friend who forgot to clean out the flash holes once after tumbling in media. I have as of yet not done that one. Instead of slugging your barrel you could try using the caliper to measure the best you can the diameter of the inside of the barrel between the lands. If memory serves me right, mine measure like .355. I did have one in the past that measured .353 and that is the one I loaded the 9mm bullets in the cartridges. Still, slugging the barrel is best. Just trying to help.
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  #21  
Old 04-04-2013, 10:02 PM
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Sounds like a squib to me.
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  #22  
Old 04-05-2013, 11:10 AM
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At least you didn't do this...

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Old 04-05-2013, 11:35 AM
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At least you didn't do this...

WTF how does one do that without blowing up the gun? A bunch of squibs in a row?
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:46 AM
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SQUIB
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Light View Post
Just 6 rounds left from that batch. So I'm going to break them down.



Definitely a 125 grain .357 round. Everything else was hitting the paper like it should. It was the only one I had a problem with.



I was eye-balling all of them after weighing each charge, with a flashlight. But, again, anything is possible.



I was using a Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I made sure I was deliberately working it up and down and tapping on it to get excess flakes out as well for each charge. I'm a tiny bit concerned because I know I measured every charge.
If you are confident of powder in every charge, then I will say deactivated powder. Moisture or oil residual in the case that let teh primer pop the bullet out but not burn the powder.
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Old 04-21-2013, 7:19 PM
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Default stuck bullet

no powder or contaminated powder, might had some lube in the case. I miss powder charge once in a while and just primer will get the bullet down the barrel about an inch, tried a magnum primer just to see if it would fully eject a bullet and there was no difference it got stuck in the same place. I carry a brass rod and small hammer when at the range, just hammer it out and keep going. its not a big deal.
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Old 04-21-2013, 8:35 PM
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Could have been a bad primer.

Overcrimping will not cause a pressure spike or blow a primer.
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Old 04-21-2013, 8:41 PM
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No powder. Done that.
also, i think I'd recommend getting it out with a brass punch or a wooden dowel. I wouldn't use a cleaning rod, afraid I'd damage the barrel.
Is this not correct?
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Old 04-21-2013, 9:12 PM
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not correct. It's not wise to use a wooden dowel to hammer out a stuck bullet. Wood, aluminum, steel, delrin, all are poor choices to hammer out a bullet. Some less wise than others. Worst being wood, delrin, and aluminum for sure.

Brass is the way to go for sure.
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Old 04-22-2013, 7:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
not correct. It's not wise to use a wooden dowel to hammer out a stuck bullet. Wood, aluminum, steel, delrin, all are poor choices to hammer out a bullet. Some less wise than others. Worst being wood, delrin, and aluminum for sure.

Brass is the way to go for sure.
Why would you recommend brass over wood or delrin? There has to be something I am missing.
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Old 04-22-2013, 8:35 AM
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delrin has too much give and will lock up in a barrel. Ask me how I know.

Wood can fracture, then you have the opposing wedge issue. That will lock up a barrel RIGHT quick and you'll be up poop creek.
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Old 04-22-2013, 8:39 AM
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and since we are talking about being stupid and locking up a barrel with a stuck bullet and the wrong ram rod, here's how you fix it.

so you have a stuck rod that can't mash on the bullet but only the bullet is sealing the bore. You can hydro the bullet out. Fill the bore with oil to an inch below the surface. Take a relatively tight fitting brass rod (.25 for a 30 cal, 3/8 for a 45, etc) and wrap the end in electrical tape. Put on muzzle and start hammering. Deal with the puckering arsehole. The E-tape jams on the crown and the rod pushes through. That seals the bore and now you are hammering on oil. That will transfer down to the bullet and put even pressure on it. It'll come FLYING out of the chamber. Flying. Ask how I know.

Then you can freely pound the delrin rod you stuck down there like an arse and clean your gun up.

If you were stupid enough to hammer on wood and that split-lock on you, you're in for a whole new world of pain to get that rod out.
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Old 04-22-2013, 9:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
delrin has too much give and will lock up in a barrel. Ask me how I know.

Wood can fracture, then you have the opposing wedge issue. That will lock up a barrel RIGHT quick and you'll be up poop creek.
I disagree. I want the softest material that I can find to shove down my barrel. I know brass is way softer than my barrel but I still prefer the delrin. To keep from locking up get a the largest rod you can fit down the barrel so it has no room to flex.
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Old 04-22-2013, 9:33 AM
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I have pounded bullets out with just about every material listed above.

When you are pounding bullets out, you come to appreciate the virtue of shooting lead. Jacketed bullets that make it very far at all into the barrel are an absolute b**ch.

My advice on the various methods to dislodge a bullet is to perfect your process so you never have to find out how much pounding the various materials will withstand, it is not fun.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M27 View Post
I disagree. I want the softest material that I can find to shove down my barrel. I know brass is way softer than my barrel but I still prefer the delrin. To keep from locking up get a the largest rod you can fit down the barrel so it has no room to flex.
Have you ever removed a stuck bullet via delrin?
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:50 PM
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Yes, it was a 44 mag with a 8" barrel. A friend was trying to make reduced loads with trail boss. He says he reduced it too much. I say he forgot powder all together.

Anyways the projectile was about half way down the barrel, I grabbed a 7/16 delrin rod and a hammer. It was a bit of work but eventually it came out.
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Old 04-22-2013, 1:06 PM
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ive done a 7mm rifle. Didn't work.

I'm glad it worked for you, but Delin doesnt always work. I'm glad wood worked for you but others have fractured and double wedged it into their barrel. It's a disaster.

Brass always works.

Why would I pick a material that has risk if I can pick a material that has no risk?
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Old 04-22-2013, 1:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
ive done a 7mm rifle. Didn't work.

I'm glad it worked for you, but Delin doesnt always work. I'm glad wood worked for you but others have fractured and double wedged it into their barrel. It's a disaster.

Brass always works.

Why would I pick a material that has risk if I can pick a material that has no risk?
I haven't tried it on a rifle, and admittedly didn't even think about it. I could see long piece of delrin haveing too much flex in a long barrel.

My experience was with a thicker short piece.
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Old 04-22-2013, 1:29 PM
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Brass works in thick short pieces too
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Old 04-23-2013, 2:38 PM
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I've seen it several times in .38 Special and the reason for squib loads in every case was poor bullet tension in thin walled .38 special cases. Some 38/357 carbide dies won't size certain brands of thin walled cases enough to grip bullets tight enough. The primer itself starts the bullet moving before powder has enough time to ignite fully. By the bullet moving the amount of space or volume increases so that you have a very weak pressure. I've seen .38 bullets come from the barrel and fall to the ground 10 yards or so in front of the muzzle and also bullets not make it out of the barrel. IF you can move the seated bullet with thumb pressure or by pushing it against the bench then it doesn't have enough case tension. Only solution if your sizing die won't reduce the necks enough is to get another sizing die that will. Another thing to watch for is if your expander die is doing nothing and you feel no resistance when expanding. A tighter crimp won't help if you have inadequate neck tension.
One method to increase neck tension in thin .38 special cases is to size normally, then switch to a 9MM sizing die (couple thousandths smaller) and run the 9MM die down just past where the bullet would stop when seated. Then expand and load normally.

Last edited by rg1; 04-23-2013 at 2:42 PM..
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