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In my 550 i dont always look for the powder in the shell but I always feel the bell in the mouth wth fingers before a bullet is seated to be sure it has powder in it.

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

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47 minutes ago, xtian999 said:

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

Except me. See above ☝️

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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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Posted (edited)
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 like the nail trick. Trust, but verify. Adds a step, but I would rather add a step than dnf another match for the same problem.

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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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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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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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