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Squib load... need some help


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I recently bought a Dillon 550b and while waiting for 223 dies to become available I am reloading 9mm.

My press is set up correctly as far as I know. When the case goes up to activate the powder die, the powder bar appears to move appropriately. However, randomly and frequently, no powder is dropped into the case.

I did not notice this with my first set of test reloads, and had a squib. The bullet was stuck in the barrel after the gun did not go bang on a cartridge. Had to take the gun home and remove the bullet from the barrel in a vise with a punch.

So everything appears to be moving appropriately when the empty case goes up to the die, but sometimes no powder. It is random and I see no specific pattern.

Any ideas???

(fortunately I did not persist in my attempts to fire another round down the barrel with the stuck bullet, or this would have been a very different post).

I am not really new to reloading, and have been reloading on a Lee single stage press for awhile. Many years ago I had a Dillon square deal that I used for reloading when I was doing some pistol competition in the early 90's.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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I'll add to poppa bear's two very good questions.

Is the bell good? Could be not activating fully if the bell is too light.

Dump out the powder and see if anything fell into the hopper that may be blocking the drop. This has been talked about a few times on here.

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Loading titegroup powder; charge between 4.0 and 4.4 gr.

I was mistaken.

It appears that the powder bar is not fully moving out to charge every time I let the handle move forward on the downstroke (I am not always priming cases in the press). There seems to be a point where it (the handle and powder bar) get stuck and I have to push the handle beyond this point to get the powder bar to fully move.

Is this because a screw is too tight or too loose?

Thanks for your help!

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Does it work smoothly when you do not have any cases in the machine? You need to isolate the problem, and the easiest way to do that is to take it one step at a time until you see what is causing the jam. Does the powder bar move freely is you push it by hand?

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Sorry about the image, but I am pretty much a novice about loading images into a forum post.

The sticking problem appears to be where the 2 pieces in the red square meet when the press is actuated... I really don't know if this is normal or not. It appears that the flange on the bellcrank thing is riding over that shoulder. I have another powder system which I have yet to set up, and although it is not attached to a failsafe rod, the powder bar and bellcrank cube do not move beyond the point where contact is made on the shoulder. Hope this makes sense, but it is hard to describe without having a good handle on the nomenclature.



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The first frame in the picture is before I pull the handle.

The next frame it seems to get stuck as the case is going up to be charged.

The third frame the powder bar is completely over and powder is dropped.

The last frame is where it gets stuck on the way down and did not completely return (so did not charge the powder bar & resulting in the squib load).

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Thank you. That helps.

But it still seems to get stuck at a certain point where the bell thing rotates over the shoulder (I have indicated the 2 parts that seem to stick with the green arrows). I can easily push the handle down and the powder bar moves out, but if I don't apply a slight amount of pressure it appears that it might stick at that intersection at times. Perhaps this is normal, but I had a squib load so I a little paranoid about the whole thing.


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It moves that far on the downstroke of the handle, but does not appear to move further.

The issue is when I raise the handle up, the 2 points that I have indicated with the green arrows seem to "stick" when they articulate over one another.

Since I was loading one round at a time, and was not priming the cases at the time, I did not force or push the handle all the way back up and forward.

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Ok, thanks everyone for the help.

The bar appears similar figure 20 when it is closed, and looks like figure 21 when it is fully open.

I loosened the hex nut of the bellcrank screw and that seemed to at least partially eliminate it getting "stuck" on the way down.

So I suppose that I had too much tension in the screw and this did not allow the bellcrank to move as freely as it should.

What would help is to see a closeup video of the bellcrank in action; I will search youtube for one.

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First, the pics youi posted are far too small but it gives one the idea.

I have a 650 but the operation and drop is the same as on the 550.

IMO that is NORMAL operation of the drops. I have 3 powder drops. They all operate the same way, (exception myi ancient 1993 era drop is a slightly differ design).

That arm thing with the bent bit is supposed to 'hang' on the way down. ANd it is going to rub a bit on the way up.

Normal, least in my experience.

What this tells me in your case. Two things. One you are not providing enough bell on the case to provide sufficient back pressure on the UP stroke. If the arm catches

and stops at the upstroke, never completing full powder bar excursion, that is the reason. Insufficiently belling. Lower that powder drop die

. While your doing so be damn sure the powder drop is properly attatched to the die, and that the bushing (white one) inside of the drop is not upside down. One can acciden tly do that and end up with the drop not properly secured to the die via that saddle bit held by two allen screws.

Two, the next thing your description tells me is that the spring tension on the 'down rod' is lacking adjustment. That is the 'safe bar' It has to have enough pressure to ensure

full pullback of the powder bar.

If you desire, one can wrap a rubber band around the hopper (at base of the metal hopper funnel)

and around the metal doo-hicky on the powder bar. This will mimic the old style powder drop that came

with springs in that location. Works great. I use it on one of my 'new' powder drops.

I would be wary of backing off that screw too much, there is a shoulder bushing in that arm that should provide the proper clearance with that screw and nut

properly snugged. If you do back it off, just be sure it does not loosen further due to operation and vibration. Blue Thread locker would be advised depending on type nut that is there.

Edited by Buzi
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