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My first Squib 38 special

RoterTeufel

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I will preface this with the fact that I only have 1 type of projectile for 38 special. When I bought them years ago, I was new into reloading, saw a deal and didn't do enough research...

148 gr. L RN is not a common projectile \ load, which I've had to do a bit of research to develop.

Loaded up 2 sets of 8 cartridges with bullseye (16 total), Remington 1.5 primers. I kept the powder the same, but varied the OAL. The longer was matching factory lead round nose OAL that I have. The shorter was set to depth so the "crimp" band on the bullet just met the brass.

OAL= 1.541 (Long)
OAL=1.506 (short)

  • First 3 shots of each were out of a S&W TRR8 (5" barrel, n-frame)
  • Second 3 shots of each were out of a S&W 60-15 pro-series (3" barrel, j-frame)
getting back to the point.... Short ammo had more recoil... O.k.

Last round of the "Long" in the 60-15 have me a SQUIB!

I'm not certain what happened.
did I not put powder in the case?
I did get a call while loading, but am quite diligent about re-checking \ starting over.

I do periodically check my powder charge.

the bullet only went 1/4" into the barrel. It does appear to have burnt powder on it. Thankfully was easy to get out with a wooden dowel and a tap on the ground. MUCH easier than I thought.

Ok... Bring on the abuse!
 

Arto

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how many grains of Bullseye?
is the bullet crimped tight? sometimes if it's not a tight fit, the recoil will act as an inertial bullet puller.... might have moved the bullet way out (giving less pressure)? especially since the J-frame is light.....
maybe bring the calipers to the range, measure OAL, take 4 shots & measure #5 OAL after recoil?
 

milktree

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There's so much air inside a .38 SPL case, 0.04" doesn't really matter very much.

Even a hot .38 spl has a lot of air in it, the cartridge was initially developed for black powder.

My .38s could be triple charged and still have plenty of room to seat the bullet.

So I'm guessing you had poor ignition (bad primer?) or you messed up and didn't put any powder in.

about 1/4" into the barrel isn't crazy for a primer only load.
 

andrew1220

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about 1/4" into the barrel isn't crazy for a primer only load.
This. The 2 squibs I’ve had in the tens upon tens of thousands of rounds I’ve loaded, were light 357 mag loads. To this day I still don’t know how I managed it. Same thing though, they went about an inch into the bore.
 

milktree

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Use W231 for .38spl. The primer could well have flashed over that wee bit of bullseye laying in the bottom of the case. Jack.

Is W231 a particularly low density powder, or does it ignite super easily?

I use Red Dot, mostly because I have a *LOT* of it, but also because it's very fluffy.
 

TrashcanDan

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If there was powder in the case, you'd see it all over the place when you flipped the cylinder open.
Jack hit it too, primer was probably enough to push it out.

Loading long doesn't accomplish anything, especially in something chambered for .357. Its counterproductive. Too much dead space on a low charge and its squib time!
I've had undersized heads walk out on me and either lock the cylinder up by shot 5/6/7/8 or get about as far as just past the forcing cone.

With 148 gr rn you should be looking at around 5 grs of powder at least. Especially out of a 3" barrel.
 

hennypenny

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Can't see your reloading setup or what you're doing from where I sit. Powder measures can throw inconsistent and underweight charges, a moment of distraction. or countless other things can happen for many different reasons. Had similar issues once with an old measure and Bullseye in light .38 wadcutter loads. Changed to 231 and problem ended. That worked for me but might not be what fixes your problem, and there are too many variables for me to feel comfortable making a guess. The most important thing you already did. You recognized a squib and didn't ignore it. .
 

RoterTeufel

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how many grains of Bullseye?
is the bullet crimped tight? sometimes if it's not a tight fit, the recoil will act as an inertial bullet puller.... might have moved the bullet way out (giving less pressure)? especially since the J-frame is light.....
maybe bring the calipers to the range, measure OAL, take 4 shots & measure #5 OAL after recoil?
3.2 gr of bullseye. All research I found for 148 projectile started at 2.8 and maxed at 4.4 gr . Most were wadcutter loads, which goes back to less volume in the case. Wadcutter loads mostly maxed out around 3.5 of bullseye.

Very light crimp,but present. Physically checked all. The wax seal from the bullet when seated smeared just a little into the bullet.


If there was powder in the case, you'd see it all over the place when you flipped the cylinder open.
Jack hit it too, primer was probably enough to push it out.

Loading long doesn't accomplish anything, especially in something chambered for .357. Its counterproductive. Too much dead space on a low charge and its squib time!
I've had undersized heads walk out on me and either lock the cylinder up by shot 5/6/7/8 or get about as far as just past the forcing cone.

With 148 gr rn you should be looking at around 5 grs of powder at least. Especially out of a 3" barrel.
I'll take some pictures . I saved the squib. Will see what other powders I have.
Definitely have a small, unopened bottle of TrailBoss, Clays, and TiteGroup.

Don't recall W231 being in my stash...
 

andrew1220

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3.2 gr of bullseye. All research I found for 148 projectile started at 2.8 and maxed at 4.4 gr . Most were wadcutter loads, which goes back to less volume in the case. Wadcutter loads mostly maxed out around 3.5 of bullseye.

Very light crimp,but present. Physically checked all. The wax seal from the bullet when seated smeared just a little into the bullet.



I'll take some pictures . I saved the squib. Will see what other powders I have.
Definitely have a small, unopened bottle of TrailBoss, Clays, and TiteGroup.

Don't recall W231 being in my stash...
trailboss is nice since it’s so bulky. Probably impossibly to double charge. I’d stay away from TG with cast bullets. That powder burns so freaking hot, you might get some leading.
 

RoterTeufel

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Not the prettiest setup, but it works for me.
Powder charge on the turret press. Second powder charge screwed into a wooden block to the left in my vice depending on if I'm using the single stage to the right. All hand primed. Never liked the primer setup on this press. Plus I clean all the pockets after deprime with the Lyman case prep station.

20210124_102142.jpg

20210124_101431.jpg
Left: new/ unfired. Right: Squib

20210124_101353.jpg.

Top: unfired. Bottom: squib

20210124_102521.jpg
Looks like I have some 748, 3031, & blue dot as well.
 

Kevin 103

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Sounds like no powder. Tough to see 3.2 grains of BE in the bottom of the case. I have a little reading light mounted on the press that shines right down the case for a visual check.
I have experienced one squib too, I believe it was no powder in a .38 Also Bullseye Powder.

I Now carry a old brass cleaning rod and a rawhide mallet In my range bag.

I‘m glad no one was hurt and no damage was done. A good cheap lesson for you and a good learning tool for us. Thanks for sharing.
 

RoterTeufel

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Thanks for all the feedback.

Yesterday I checked the powder charger on the turret press and I consistently got 3.2 - 3.4 of bullseye. So, likely no powder in the case.

Yes, I agree that it is important that we are all aware that squibs can happen.

Plan to switch over to TrailBoss & save the bullseye for 9mm.

Loaded 50 more of the "short" to verify that it was not a bad load. Will test 25 each out of the 2 different revolvers.

20210124_163116.jpg
 

whacko

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I will preface this with the fact that I only have 1 type of projectile for 38 special. When I bought them years ago, I was new into reloading, saw a deal and didn't do enough research...

148 gr. L RN is not a common projectile \ load, which I've had to do a bit of research to develop.

Loaded up 2 sets of 8 cartridges with bullseye (16 total), Remington 1.5 primers. I kept the powder the same, but varied the OAL. The longer was matching factory lead round nose OAL that I have. The shorter was set to depth so the "crimp" band on the bullet just met the brass.

OAL= 1.541 (Long)
OAL=1.506 (short)

  • First 3 shots of each were out of a S&W TRR8 (5" barrel, n-frame)
  • Second 3 shots of each were out of a S&W 60-15 pro-series (3" barrel, j-frame)
getting back to the point.... Short ammo had more recoil... O.k.

Last round of the "Long" in the 60-15 have me a SQUIB!

I'm not certain what happened.
did I not put powder in the case?
I did get a call while loading, but am quite diligent about re-checking \ starting over.

I do periodically check my powder charge.

the bullet only went 1/4" into the barrel. It does appear to have burnt powder on it. Thankfully was easy to get out with a wooden dowel and a tap on the ground. MUCH easier than I thought.

Ok... Bring on the abuse!
A no powder squib will still show residue of what looks like unburned powder at the base of the bullet. Primers have more "hootzpah" than people think. I set off a primer in my muzzlenloader before charging to ensure the flash hole is clear......when I remove the breach plug yo look in the bore jts all dark from just one primer fired into it.
 
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I'm also with no powder . I'm using 2.6 gr. of Bullseye , cases had the primers in the case ready to load for 5 years , they were boxed away for some reason. Bullseye was about 8 years old 1/4 left in the container. I've been using the powder and the primed cases , 2.6 grains under a 148 DEWC plated , HBWC lead and 158 SWC cast . All fired well with 2.8 , so I'm with the guys saying No Powder. We're you distracted at any time, problems like that could be a disaster. Hopefully only happens this one time.
Chris
 
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