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6 hours ago, xtian999 said:

So what everybody is saying is, “Don’t trust the powder measure.”

I absolutely trust my powder measure, but I trust my eyes more. In probably close to 100k rounds reloaded, I have never once cycled the handle of my press and not had a powder drop into the case (as long as the hopper was full). That being said, I have a light and a mirror set up so that I can glance into each and every case before I seat the bullet. It does not take any more time to look into the case than not looking, and it is extra insurance. I have actually dropped bullets onto the expanded case, and then removed them, because I couldn't verify that I looked into the case. I will not seat a bullet without looking into that case. 

 

Another thing about the light and mirror setup. I've noticed that it is much easier to spot cases that have split in the powder drop station using the light and mirror.

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12 hours ago, Larry White said:

Rig a light. Then just look, every case, every time. Just look.---------------Larry

 

This works.  Over 30 years without a squib on a 550.  As I've gotten older I've upgraded the lights. Now I have one in the center of the press and one just to the left of the press. I position myself so that I see into each case without any additional movement. Pull the handle, look and rotate.

 

For loading rifle cases, I do it a bit differently.  Since I cannot see into the case, I have an 8d nail cut off to a 1-1/2" length.  After dispensing powder but before placing the bullet, I drop the nail into the case. If it falls all the way to the bottom of the case, no powder. If it only drops a small amount, its got powder.  Not really needed but I put a mark on the nail with a magic marker to show approximately the right amount of powder is present.

 

Edited to add - I must be a creature of habit.  Even though I've never had a squib, I always bring a squib rod to matches.  Never needed it personally but it has helped out a fellow shooter a time or two. 👍

Edited by Flatland Shooter
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I’m more concerned about recognizing a squib in time to prevent firing another round. I compete regularly and use factory ammo. Though I’ve not experienced a squib myself, I’ve seen a number occur in matches. In fact, just this past weekend. The RO was right on top of it and stopped the shooter. I don’t know that I could have caught it. 

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  • 1 month later...

One of the most important aspects to reloading that not everyone can do is to feel the press.  As you reload your rounds each pull of the handle should have a similar feel to it.  If you feel a crunch or need extra pressure to pull the handle do not ignore it.   Check the round or rounds in the press for splits, double charges, a bullet going in crooked, etc.

 

I have a light above and to the left of my press that allows me to see into every case as I am placing the bullet on the charged case.  I also have lights centered above the press as well as to the right so I do not have any shadows.  I have caught weak charges due to a bug getting into the powder hopper, that one took a while to figure out, LOL.  I have caught 9mm cases nested inside a .40 or .45 case that would have gotten crushed during the decapping process, and rounds that were shot out of larger than normal chambers so that they deformed during the sizing operation.

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/10/2019 at 8:35 PM, David.Hylton said:

Using a light and checking each case for powder will prevent squibs. if you have a bad case or other problem, clear the problem and let the empty space advance. Don't try to keep the shell holder full.  

 

Yeah, I pitch em when I notice something wrong.  We had a problem defined as human error and running too fast while being distracted by a tv.  All of those problems have been taken care of. 

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  • 1 month later...

I loaded up 3400 rounds on a Mark 7 and the powder measure worked itself lose and I didn’t notice it because I’d never had the problem. I took the ammo to a major the very next weekend. The first stage was a unloaded start so I wait for the beep lid the gun and “poof” but the RO didn’t stop me so I pulled the slide to clear it and put a new mag in, I knew it wasn’t going to chamber another because bullet barely cleared the chamber needless to say the RO had no clue what to do and I couldn’t stop myself. After all done I ended up taking a 0 on a 150 point stage

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I ditched the M7 powder measure and use my Dillon, with double springs and a Uniquetek micrometer.  Very reliable, consistent charges.   Had the same problem with the M7, plus wide variation in charge weights.  

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  • 9 months later...

I had one on the last stage of the day. It was my first batch that I reloaded off a 550. Now I wear a headlamp and do a Very deliberate check on powder. I learned that going a little slower while making sure everything is 100% is better. I’m glad I didn’t get hurt or anyone else. 

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I had a squib years ago from a round I loaded and the round did have powder. As far as I know my powder check didn’t give any indication of problems  either. How you might ask? Media with Nu Finish car polish got stuck in the bottom of the brass. I used to add Nu Finish car polish or Dillon Rapid Polish to my media. I was tumbling my brass in new media and remembered I hadn’t added the polish to my media so I opened my tumblr (Vibratory Case Cleaner) and put some in. Lesson learned: NEVER ADD POLISH AFTER BRASS IS IN MEDIA! If you’re going to use polish always put it in media and run tumbler until it is fully dispersed then add brass. I feel a little dumb sharing this story but it may help somebody. 

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Something else to keep in mind is anytime the press stops for any reason, double check powder loads before  a bullet is seated.  Its hard to get a double charge load on a progressive press but it can be done.  I had a strange upset in the press the other day and once I fixed the issue I checked the bullet coming out of the powder drop station and it had double charge loaded the cartridge.    

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On 3/18/2019 at 10:03 PM, hey.moe said:

I’m more concerned about recognizing a squib in time to prevent firing another round. I compete regularly and use factory ammo. Though I’ve not experienced a squib myself, I’ve seen a number occur in matches. In fact, just this past weekend. The RO was right on top of it and stopped the shooter. I don’t know that I could have caught it. 

 

That was always my concern too. I had one a few mos ago. In practice, not a match. My brain registered something was wrong before I fully realized what, and I stopped and checked. - and it was a squib lodged about 1/2 way down the barrel that I had to tap out. It was caused by a split case that made it past my inspection routine.

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Catching a squib on time in live fire is really critical. ROs are of great help but you cannot blame them if they did not catch it. My simple way is when abnormal amount of smoke gets out of the chamber or ejection port when I rack open the slide to clear a jam (or nojam as in last rnd fired), it means the barrel is clogged. Most probably Its a squib. Stop and check. 
Even at speed as in stage runs this is quite easy to detect if you know we dont normally have noticeable amount of smoke on chamber end. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I once had my powder measure return chain come loose and it wasn’t pulling it back to the stop. Basically short stroking it and getting a partial charge. I caught 5 of them but missed one that my BIL got in his box. Fortunately we were just practicing when it showed up and no harm was done. 

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11 hours ago, Remy said:

 

After reading many of those I remembered that I once had something similar happen and never did figure it out. But reading all the stories from many of you here of missing anvils I wonder if that’s what it was. It was a stiff load (compressed) of AA#9 in my 454 and Rem SR primers. First one went pfffft with smoke out of the cyl gap of my Super Redhawk. This was a bit unnerving to say the least! Upon inspection after the smoke cleared it had taken the bullet and powder charge and shoved it about an inch down the bore. The powder was packed in so hard I had to use a brass pick to dig it out before driving the bullet out. Fortunately it had made it Past the cyl gap but I have never had that happen before or since. I have never seen a missing anvil in 45 years of loading but I guess it can happen. 

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On 3/11/2019 at 1:13 PM, xtian999 said:

I will go back to shooting factory ammo at matches until I get a little more reloading experience. I don’t mind a “learning opportunity” on my time at my neighborhood range, but having a dnf at a match is a waste of travel time, gas, match fees, etc.

 

I will start checking every powder charge by eye before setting the bullets. No way to check powder level after the bullet is seated when using random brass so will also use new brass and weigh the rounds after loading until I am sure that the system is working.

 

 

You will find that the same brass will weigh up to 5 grains different from each other.

Whether it is new brass or used same head stamp they will be different.

Try it, you will see for yourself.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow is right - I mean, that looks like right out of a cartoon. Like Wyle E. Coyote should be holding it with smoking hair after roadrunner put his finger at the end of the barrel.

 

And 45/70 is a fairly low pressure round isn't it?

 

you okay? Still typing two handed? 

Edited by OptimiStick
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On 3/11/2019 at 7:31 AM, Hi-Power Jack said:

 

Impossible to have a squib if you check each and every case for powder.     :) 

Au Contraire! I check every case for powder with a video camera pointed down into the case and a monitor right next to the case (on a Dillon 1050).  At least I "thought" I checked every case!  But, after loading hundreds of thousands of rounds over many years it finally happened.  I was having some press problems, had to back up and fiddle with the press, etc., and even though I thought I was being super diligent, somehow one slipped by.  Mea Culpa.  Fortunately the RO screamed STOP (and I heard him and obeyed) when he heard a primer only bang.  Bullet was about 2" into the barrel.  No damage, but definitely a lesson learned.  When having press problems, stop everything, unload every station, figure out the problem and fix it rather than trying to fix on the fly!

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/10/2019 at 3:42 PM, GrumpyOne said:

I would not suggest a lockout die for a 550. Having that lockout die means that you would need to seat and crimp at the same station...which would be ok on revolver rounds like 38 Special, 357, etc...but I would keep the stages separate for taper crimp rounds.

 

Get a light and a mirror and position in such a way that you can see inside each and every case before you seat the bullet. 

I put a Double Alpha magnetic powder check on my 550. I size, decap and prime first. Switch heads and run Powder, powder check, seater then Lee FCD.  Extra step but it's been working good.

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