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Les K
07-20-2011, 9:51 PM
Hi all,

Made some bullets and shot (most) of them. The problem is that a one of them did not fire. It looks like it should have fired, there is a mark from the firing pin. Maybe it's a light firing pin strike, but I tried to fire this round at least 4 times with no BANG! Loaded another bullet and it fired OK. The mark on the primer looks as deep as the other cases, but it was inspected after those firing attempts. possibly, the first strike might have been light, but I'm not sure. It's not a squib, the bullet is still attached so there's a full charge there.

This was a Winchester WLP large pistol primer. My question is: what do I do with this round that won't fire? I'm afraid that it might go off if I try a inertia puller since the primer has already be hit. How can I safely deactivate this round and dispose of it? Soak it in something? Cast it in a big block of concrete and throw it in the trash? Seriously, what is the best course of action here?

As a side question, what could cause a light firing pin strike on a Smith and Wesson revolver (new type with the floating pin)? Assuming that the tension screw is all the way in and tight on the main spring, could the firing pin area be in need of cleaning? could there be debris not allowing the firing pin to have free travel and then have intermittent light primer strikes?

Thanks in advance for any information that anyone can provide.

Les.

bumpo628
07-20-2011, 10:06 PM
Could just be a bad primer. It's rare, but it happens.

I would just pull it with an inertia puller. Of course, I would put a large object in between me and the hammer just to be on the safe side. I've done it several times before.

Low-Pressure
07-20-2011, 10:17 PM
As stated, it could be a bad primer. I had 3 of those so far and they were wolf spp.

nagorb
07-20-2011, 10:25 PM
If you're really worried soak it in some WD-40 and then use an inertia puller.

Desert_Rat
07-20-2011, 10:25 PM
Just pull it with your inertia puller. I don't see what the big deal is. If it was a hang fire situation,you'd already know. That thing was just a dud. It happens,pull it and put the brass in with the rest of your fired brass.

Divernhunter
07-20-2011, 10:30 PM
Just pull it. No problem. Then punch out the primer and start over. Also no problem just punching out the primer. You will not get hurt.

Les K
07-21-2011, 5:29 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone.

Les K
07-21-2011, 7:48 AM
Here's an interesting tidbit that I found on the Smith and Wesson forum:

It seems that intermittent light primer strikes and subsequent misfires are not unheard of for the newer revolvers, and some say this was caused by California gun laws. Other people are experiencing the same thing (some right in the middle of competition) because they say apparently Smith and Wesson shortened the firing pins from .495" to .485" so that the California drop test will pass. I don't know how much truth there is to this and I haven't yet removed the firing pin to measure it. If true, I will not be happy because I don't really want to start replacing parts in an almost new gun.

I have a tip from the same website that says that Apex Tactical has after market firing pins that you can choose from. One is .500", and one is .495". The .500 is currently out of stock though. Anyway, it sounds like this is what may be starting to happen to me. If anyone else is having the same issue, this might be the explanation!

sonnyt650
07-21-2011, 8:04 AM
Have another firearm in that caliber? Shoot it from that!

Les K
07-21-2011, 6:39 PM
Have another firearm in that caliber? Shoot it from that!

It's the only 44 mag (and the only handgun) that I own for now at least. Maybe I just damaged the primer or something. Kinda new at reloading.......

huckberry668
07-21-2011, 7:15 PM
Here's an interesting tidbit that I found on the Smith and Wesson forum:

It seems that intermittent light primer strikes and subsequent misfires are not unheard of for the newer revolvers, and some say this was caused by California gun laws. !

wow, that's news to me. I got to check my 629 Stealth now...

The OP question on light primer strike. other causes can include:

1. cylinder end-shake. too much play fore and aft on the cylinder. here is how you check it, cock hammer on empty gun/chambers, try to push & pull the cylinder fore and aft for more than usual movement. usually this is a problem with older guns with lots of high pressure rounds fired. another symptom is pierced primers (you'll see smoke coming out the cylinder end).

2. I've used most if not all brands of primers in 20 years of reloading. The only primers didn't go off (on numerous tries and different guns) were 3 rounds of Winchester and 1 round of Wolf. over 100,000 Federals, 7,000 Remington 7.5s all went bang every time.

3. Dirty gun. my trusty Glock 19 had a light primer strike a couple of times after no cleaning for about 1000 rounds. The cause was brass shavings filled the firing pin channel in the slide. I was shooting Chinese 9mm ammo at the time (late 80s). I had to strip the slide to clean it completely.

4. improperly seated primer. usually from not seating it all the way. I have not experience this myself but read it in reloading manuals.

Sonnypie
07-21-2011, 7:47 PM
It's the only 44 mag (and the only handgun) that I own for now at least. Maybe I just damaged the primer or something. Kinda new at reloading.......

I've had primers that apparently got messed up from humidititity.
But I just use an inertia puller and run them through again.
Shucks, I just processed about 1500 rounds of 30-06 that I had with mercuric primers. FA34 National Match ammo.
Knocked them down (inertia), punched and sized, tumbled, and reloaded with Winchester primers.
So far, so good. Nothing blew up. :clap:
But historically, I can only remember 2 primers going off when decapping live primers. I was a teenager at the time, Dad and I reloading some of this ammo.
All that was left is now "modernized" with new primers. :rolleyes:

You are right to ask, Les, being you are new to reloading. Better to err on the side of caution.
But if it feels wrong, stop and rethink. One round blowing up in your face could be bad.
What I or somebody else might do, might not be cool with you to try.

Les K
07-22-2011, 4:40 AM
wow, that's news to me. I got to check my 629 Stealth now...




The gun that I originally posted about is also a Performance Center 629 Stealth Hunter. I checked that end shake like you suggested and as expected from a Performance Center weapon, I detected virtually none. The main spring tension screw is fully tightened, and I just added some loctite to ensure that it doesn't back out.

It doesn't sound like you've had any misfires with your stealth hunter, so that's great and I wouldn't even question the firing pin length. I'm sure my problem is just a fluke, or something I got on the inside of the primer.

I never did measure the firing pin yet....I'll probably go for the Apex tactical .500" inch one if I begin having more of these misfires though. I could also switch to the Federal primers.

bruce381
07-22-2011, 9:30 PM
make sure primers are seated flush better below the rim, if not below the rim the primer anvil will not put presure on the primer pellet and when the firing pins hits the primer cup the pellet does not get squished which it needs to to fire and then no matter how much you smak the primer with the pellet broken it will not fire.

MAC USMC
07-23-2011, 2:51 AM
I am going through a batch of WOLF large pistol primers and experience periodic mis-fires. Most will fire the second time around, a few will not. WOLF primers are a very good buy, BUT expect this issue to occur. This occurence has repeated in a variety of pistols, but it is not high volume.

This is nothing to get excited about. I simply but these rounds aside and keep shooting. I deal with them at the end of my range session. I have had to pull several rounds to salvage the brass, bullet and powder.

Now, this is PRACTICE AMMO - definitely NOT CARRY AMMO. I use only CCI primers for my essential ammo for home defense, etc.

TIP: I put in an extra step when reloading at home. Just after priming I do random checks on the primer seating to insure the depth is correct. Merely sit primed rounds on a level, flat surface and check for WOBBLE. It will be very obvious if there is a problem. I caught a mechanical discrepancy by doing this and quickly corrected it before loading a lot of ammo.

24Sailor
07-23-2011, 6:31 AM
As a curiosity, was the round just tried in just one chamber of the cylinder? Back in the 70's I aquired a Model 29. At that time I wasn't reloading ammo in that caliber. After firing about a box or 2 of factory ammo through the new gun I got a "click"! I unloaded the cylinder and found one round where the primer strike was on the side of the primer at the interface with the pocket. Being a stupid (bulletproof) college kid at the time I reloaded the cylinder and shot some more. Then it happened again, "click"! Without cocking I rotated the cylinder by hand to the next chamber. THAT'S WHEN I QUIT EXPERIMENTING. The cylinder wasn't indexing and the gun was shipped back to S&W immediately. Am I lucky I didn't blow myself up!

Whiterabbit
07-23-2011, 6:47 AM
It's the only 44 mag (and the only handgun) that I own for now at least. Maybe I just damaged the primer or something. Kinda new at reloading.......

When I was new to reloading I had a few fail to fires as well.

What I believe happened (to me) is at the time I was cleaning my brass using a liquid method. In my haste to reload, I oven dried them then had at it. Well, the oven dried the outside, but not the inside 100%. So I popped the primers in with a smidge of rinse water still in there. I attributed that to deactivated primers.

Upon disassembly I found the priming compound intact. Unloaded with no powder I took a couple rounds and clamped them in a vise and hit them with a nail. No fire. (and this usually works just fine. put on muffs.

I refuse to believe that it was anything other than something I did. I let my brass dry overnight and the problem went away. I bought a tumbler soon after that and have REALLY had no issues there.

So my question for you is: how clean are you being when processing brass? are you letting oil get everywhere? oil inside the cases when loading? cleaning using a wet method? water inside the cases when loading?

Les K
07-23-2011, 7:12 AM
As a curiosity, was the round just tried in just one chamber of the cylinder?

Yeah, I did think of that and I tried different cylinders. I also rotated the cartridge within the same chamber and it still misfired a couple of times. At this point, I'm sure it's not the gun but just that particular round.

Whiterabbit
07-23-2011, 7:18 AM
at this point? You've had 3 days to pull the bullet and inspect. Is the priming compound spent? If so, it's not your gun. If not, it still could be either way. But I'm still betting it's a moisture issue.

When you pull the bullet, look for clumpy powder and an unspent primer. Inertia puller and decapping pin are just fine. Go slow and you'll have no issues.

Les K
07-23-2011, 7:23 AM
cleaning using a wet method? water inside the cases when loading?

Yes! I'm cleaning using ultrasonics and then rinsing afterwards. Maybe that's the problem. I was thinking all this last week about how much of a hassle it is to deprime, clean with ultrasonics, rinse, then dry before even sizing the cases. I'm REALLY thinking I need to go to a tumbler and dry media so that I can just dump cases in without depriming and then all I'll need to do is separate the media. That way I can eliminate a number of steps and size and deprime at the same time along with eliminating the possibility of any residual moisture from becoming a factor. From what I'm reading, a whole lot of people don't clean primer pockets for pistol cases anyway and don't suffer any ill effects. The ultrasonic method does clean the inside of the cases and does a pretty good job on the primer pockets though.....

Les K
07-23-2011, 7:30 AM
You've had 3 days to pull the bullet and inspect.

Ummm...I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't purchased an inertia puller yet. I've been doing this probably less than a month and any mistakes I've made such as seating a bullet too deep I've just been saving until I do buy one, which will be soon believe me! I think I've only got 3 or 4 saved for this task. :rolleyes:

gab909
07-23-2011, 7:34 AM
That usually happens when I try to reuse primers also.

Bill Steele
07-23-2011, 8:04 AM
Yes! I'm cleaning using ultrasonics and then rinsing afterwards. Maybe that's the problem. I was thinking all this last week about how much of a hassle it is to deprime, clean with ultrasonics, rinse, then dry before even sizing the cases. I'm REALLY thinking I need to go to a tumbler and dry media so that I can just dump cases in without depriming and then all I'll need to do is separate the media. That way I can eliminate a number of steps and size and deprime at the same time along with eliminating the possibility of any residual moisture from becoming a factor. From what I'm reading, a whole lot of people don't clean primer pockets for pistol cases anyway and don't suffer any ill effects. The ultrasonic method does clean the inside of the cases and does a pretty good job on the primer pockets though.....

I experimented with ultra sonic cleaning and had a few fail to ignite. As Whiterabbit pointed out, it is really easy to have a small amount of residual water in the case when loading that will inhibit reliability. In every round that failed to fire, when I pulled the bullet, powder down by the primer was caked and the primer was a dud. I finally got to where I was decapping before cleaning and blowing each case out with compressed air after. Shortly after that I gave up on the US cleaning method and went back to tumbling with crushed walnut shells.

Les K
07-23-2011, 9:36 AM
Shortly after that I gave up on the US cleaning method and went back to tumbling with crushed walnut shells.

Yeah, I'm thinking on giving up the liquid methods as well. I was even pre-soaking the shells after decapping in an automotive parts dip, then rinsing, then dumping in the sonicator, then rinsing, then drying. This is looking like too much work and time invested to me. They come out clean, but it's a lot of effort.

Oh well, that's what being new to this is...trying stuff out and see what works. At least I borrowed the ultrasonic cleaner from work and it didn't cost me anything! Now saving up for a tumbler. Looks like a Thumlers Tumbler using dry media might be a good, quiet way to go...I know a lot of folks are using stainless and detergent, but they say you can also tumble dry if you like.

Whiterabbit
07-23-2011, 3:12 PM
Oh well, that's what being new to this is...trying stuff out and see what works.

That's what enjoying this hobby is.... (to me) :). Almost more fun to load them than to unload them!