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Light strikes with hand loads - expectations


Flashman
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Last year, my three primary practice and competition guns experienced problems with light strikes.  To make a very long and boring story short, coincidentally (or fortuitously) between December 2017 and January 2018, a 617 22 commenced a pattern of light strikes that became progressively worse, a GP100 in 38 Special experienced a similar pattern but with my handloads using Winchester primers, and lastly, a Glock 19.4 also started doing so with Winchester primers.

 

The 617 was returned to S&W four times before it was fixed.  It appeared the cylinder gap was reduced and cylinder play (end shake?) was greatly reduced and tightened up.  No problems after the final repair.  This firearm had about 15,000 or 17,000 rounds (my recollection without finding and checking the log) before it became a problem.  Throughout its life there may have been a handful of failures to ignite but it is a 22 and 22 ammo can sometimes be finicky in my experience.

 

The GP100 had close to 7500 rounds and no prior light strikes.  One trip to the factory, and it came back with a very tight cylinder (again, end shake) and was very sensitive to primers not fully seated initially (i.e., cylinder very tight and could bind).  No further light strike problems.  The gun is probably better than it was new--at least in terms of shootability.  I don't believe there had ever been a light strike previously.

 

The G19 had 7000 rounds when it started acting up.  In addition to my hand loads, there were a couple of Winchester White Box light strikes.  The recoil spring was changed at 5000 rounds.  Upon recommendation from a Glock armorer after the light strikes became more common, the striker plunger tube was cleaned several times and a new striker spring installed.  It was OK for about 1000 rounds and then started light striking again at an increasing rating.  The striker plunger tube was thoroughly cleaned again but didn't change the increasing rate of light strikes.  I finally returned it under warranty for a new gun.  I later checked the shooting log and noted there were about two light strikes per 1000 rounds prior to the increasing light strike problems at 7000 rounds.

 

The new G19.4 worked perfectly until two days ago.  At round 400 there was a light strike on a hand load.  There was nothing obvious that showed the primer was too high or low or any other problem.

 

Using hand loads should I expect there will be an occasional light strike with centerfire ammo?  Am I expecting too much with the Glock?  Many of you reload and shoot far more in one year than I do and would appreciate your perspective.  Thanks.

Edited by Flashman
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10 minutes ago, Flashman said:

Last year, my three primary practice and competition guns experienced problems with light strikes.  To make a very long and boring story short, coincidentally (or fortuitously) between December 2016 and January 2018, a 617 22 commenced a pattern of light strikes that became progressively worse, a GP100 in 38 Special experienced a similar pattern but with my handloads using Winchester primers, and lastly, a Glock 19.4 also started doing so with Winchester primers.

 

The 617 was returned to S&W four times before it was fixed.  It appeared the cylinder gap was reduced and cylinder play (end shake?) was greatly reduced and tightened up.  No problems after the final repair.  This firearm had about 15,000 or 17,000 rounds (my recollection without finding and checking the log) before it became a problem.  Throughout its life there may have been a handful of failures to ignite but it is a 22 and 22 ammo can sometimes be finicky in my experience.

 

The GP100 had close to 7500 rounds and no prior light strikes.  One trip to the factory, and it came back with a very tight cylinder (again, end shake) and was very sensitive to primers not fully seated initially.  No further light strike problems.  The gun is probably better than it was new--at least in terms of shootability.  I don't believe there had ever been a light strike previously.

 

The G19 had 7000 rounds when it started acting up.  In addition to my hand loads, there were a couple of Winchester White Box light strikes.  The recoil spring was changed at 5000 rounds.  Upon recommendation from a Glock armorer after the light strikes became more common, the striker plunger tube was cleaned several times and a new striker spring installed.  It was OK for about 1000 rounds and then started light striking again at an increasing rating.  The striker plunger tube was thoroughly cleaned again but didn't change the increasing rate of light strikes.  I finally returned it under warranty for a new gun.  I later checked the shooting log and noted there were about two light strikes per 1000 rounds prior to the increasing light strike problems at 7000 rounds.

 

The new G19.4 worked perfectly until two days ago.  At round 400 there was a light strike on a hand load.  There was nothing obvious that showed the primer was too high or low or any other problem.

 

Using hand loads should I expect there will be an occasional light strike with centerfire ammo?  Am I expecting too much with the Glock?  Many of you reload and shoot far more in one year than I do and would appreciate your perspective.  Thanks.

Any light strike is unacceptable. In 10 years of competition with reloads I have never had one.

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Have you replaced the striker in the Glock?  Seems I read, somewhere, a few weeks back about the tips on some glock strikers wearing early/short life.  I don't want to get into the MIM arguments, and maybe part of the reason for the discussion was someone selling tool steel strikers for Glocks and some other handguns.

 

Then there's the striker spring replacement, etc.  If you're primers are seated as they should be I'd try new springs first, then a new striker.

 

I've put extended firing pins in some of my CZ's (from CGW) but on others I left the stock firing pins installed.  Haven't had to trouble shoot a like strike issue in anything but my S&W M&Ps.  That was a combination of light strikes/no strikes and was finally identified as sear flutter (no strike) and timing (light strike) when the striker block wasn't quite out of the way when the sear released the striker.

 

I don't know if Glocks can have timing issues or not (sear releasing striker before the striker block is fully raised would be a timing issue.)

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Light stikes should be very rare and from my limited experience are caused by primers not seated all the way. I had that problem on some .38 special rounds that were my first reloads years ago.    I have a G19.4 with close to 10,000 rounds and never had any issues.  I changed the RSA at around 5,000 not because of problems but because others said this was a maintenance item that should be completed.  Other than that one thing it is completely stock, I never had a light strike before or after those changes.  It is very odd that this should happen on multiple firearms.at the same time 

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48 minutes ago, Flashman said:

Starting late Spring of 2018, I started checking every round reloaded which includes gauging every loaded round, feeling the seated primer as well as visually inspecting it.  

 

 

 

Interesting, I thought the first strike was fully seating them and that a second strike would set them off. It's not the first time I've been wrong, lol. I do find it weird that you're experiencing so many light strike issues across several firearms. That usually points towards the reloading process but maybe you're just extremely unlucky.

Edited by 4n2t0
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  • 2 weeks later...

I went for years without a problem (that's what I expect). Then last season I started experiencing light strikes (a few every hundred rounds). This was with CCI primers which I used for years. It was not related to my reload process as the primers were seated properly.  After replacing the main spring and installing an extended firing pin I have corrected  the problem.  I can run CCI, Win or Federal primers now with no problems.

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