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If you shoot often enough, you will have misfires. They’re most common in .22 rimfire. The priming process for .22 sometimes results in a missed spot on the rim of the .22 cartridge. When that happens to be the spot the firing pin hits, the priming compound isn’t set off. No bang. Most of these will fire if they’re rotated and struck again in a different spot. Some .22 firing pins are designed to hit two spots at once, making these misfires much less likely.

The next most common misfires are from reloaded cartridges, especially those produced on progressive loading set-ups.  It’s easy to produce cartridges at a good rate, and to miss that the powder reservoir needs refilling. Then the question then becomes “when did I run out of powder?” Sometimes carefully weighing the cartridges can prevent the necessity of pulling the bullets and inspecting them. I’ve had a number of misfires where there was no powder in the case, and the primer barely moved the bullet a short way down the barrel.

Problems with malfunctioning primers are next on the list. Primers can be seated backwards (most are caught during inspection), not seated completely, or contaminated with petroleum products. It doesn’t take much oil to “kill” a primer.

Water is far less a problem if the primer is dried completely should it become wet. I had a couple thousand primers become thoroughly soaked in a flood. The compound in the primers was the consistency of wet plaster. I didn’t want to throw them away, though, so I carefully dried them outside. As you may have heard, the Arizona summer is a dry heat. Temperatures reached over 110.

A close friend and I used those primers in .38 wadcutter reloads and I don’t recall having a single misfire.

The least common are blooper rounds and hangfires. A blooper round is one where there is a significant reduction of sound, yet the bullet or shot manages to clear the barrel. Shooters should be alert to situations where the shot sounds or acts differently. When it happens, inspect the bore. Placing another shot after a projectile is lodged in the bore will ruin a good barrel and could have much worse results.

If you have never experienced a hang fire, it’s…interesting.  That’s when there’s a delay between click and bang. It’s usually very noticeable, somewhere between a tenth and a quarter of a second.

Recently I decided to check the sights on a GLOCK 23 that was new in the box. I had obtained it in a trade. It fits my holsters. I decided to make sure it shot where the sights pointed.

I took it to the ranch and fired three rounds off-hand at 50 feet. A couple of the rounds were in the right place, but one was off a bit. I moved back to 100 feet, with a similar result. One of the rounds was decidedly low. I decided to be a bit more careful. I went back to the bench for the full 60 yards of the pistol range, used a rest, and was surprised to see the bullet hit the dirt half-way to the target.

The rounds I was using were of unknown provenance. They looked like factory Winchester jacketed hollow points. All the headstamps were Winchester. I don’t remember exactly where they came from. Of the 40 rounds, half seemed to give full power performance. Another 14 or 15 produced shots that were definitely less powerful, but which worked the action. Six were decided bloopers where the fired case stayed in the chamber, but the bullet cleared the barrel. Three of them were hangfires.  I had never seen that happen before with what appeared to be relatively fresh ammunition in good condition.

Without a case lot number, there was not much that could be done. I fired off the remainder of the bag so that I wouldn’t rely on it in the future. They might have been reloads, but I could not be certain.

I have two theories. Either the primers were partially contaminated with oil or this might have been an early lot of ammunition with lead-free primers. The early lead-free primers had a shelf life of about three years, then they started to deteriorate. The performance of the .40 ammo that I fired would be consistent with that.

Again, if you shoot enough, you will have misfires, bloopers, and/or hangfires. Keep the muzzle pointed down range, and be sure to check your bore if there is any doubt.


©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. Had my first squib load last week. Racked the round out and powder came out too. so I split the ar and took out the bolt and saw the bullet lodged about 6 inches down the barrel….scary stuff

    • Scary indeed.

      Is there an accepted procedure for removing a bullet stuck halfway down the bore without destroying the barrel?

      • the last time I had that issue, a brass rod and a hammer worked fine. NOT using a drill praying to God that you won’t hork the riflings.

        that idea sucked. but rhe brass cleanimg rod pushed the bullet nack to the breach, now mess, no damage

        • If you have to use a drill you can get good results protecting the bore with a section of arrow shaft.

        • Many competitive pistol shooters keep a length of brass rod in their bag for this. I do– and I’ve used it twice in one range session, after Newtown when ammo quality went into the toilet (range reloads).

          Pull the barrel, insert the rod, pound on floor. Bullet comes right out. No hammer needed.

      • Tap it out with a cleaning rod and a small hammer. Preferably in the direction the bullet should have gone, e.g. towards the muzzle.

      • Yes.

        1. NEVER use a wood dowel or other wooden stick to try to force a bullet out. The reaction of many gunsmiths (including your truly) upon hearing that a gunowner has used a dowel (or similar) piece of wood to attempt to drive a bullet out of the bore is “Oh crap, here we go… quote the guy six hours of time or just open the book and find a new barrel…”

        2. A brass rod can be a good idea, especially if you can get one that is nearly the size of your bore and the bullet was soft lead. If the bullet was bronze, or has a hard copper jacket… well, this might not work as well.

        3. If you can’t get the bullet to move easily (eg, there’s two bullets stuck in the bore, not one), you’ll probably need to take it to a gunsmith if you want to save that barrel.

        Even a .22LR can “ring” the barrel when there’s a squib in the bore. You’ll see a little lump form right behind the previously stuck bullet in the bore when you send another one down the bore.

        The ultimate manner in which bullets are forced out of a bore involves a lathe, the barrel is pulled off the action and put between the chuck and a center in the tailstock, with the chamber end towards the tailstock.

        A brass fixture is placed into the chamber and forced into place tightly by the tailstock. This fixture will be hollow where it runs up into the chamber, and will be slightly conical at the breech, to allow pressure from the tailstock to seal off the bore. There will be a zerk fitting on the brass fixture.

        A high-quality grease gun (eg, Lincoln, made in the US) is hooked up to the zerk, and grease is pumped into the bore behind the bullet. A good, heavy duty grease gun can generate about 15K PSI force, which will be enough to move the bullet down the bore without making marks or getting your driving rod wedged into the bore.

        The worst situations are where the bore was of low quality, or it had some pitting, heavy copper or lead fouling, and then the owner has made several attempts to remove it. Ever wonder why gunsmiths seem short of patience with gun owners? The “bullet stuck in the barrel and I tried to get it out” is one of the things that really, really annoys gunsmiths when we’re expected to pull a miracle out from betwixt our buttocks…

        • You’ve convinced me.

          If it happens to me, I’ll take it to a ‘smith and let them have at it.

          TTAG is very fortunate to have someone like DG around…

        • “3. If you can’t get the bullet to move easily…”
          I want time chime in here on what “easily” is. If you are using a brass rod and a mallet and in two swings it didn’t move a good amount, stop. Save yourself a barrel and take it to a smith at that point.

      • OH come on! Everyone knows you just need to shoot it out with another round. And if that doesn’t work you just have to keep doing it again.

      • I don’t know, and hope to never have to find out, but I’ve wondered if a blast from a heavy duty air compressor could do it with some kind of snug fitting adaptor at the breech end. Should just be a matter of sufficient PSI, in theory. I have no idea how much is sufficient.

  2. I went shooting with some acquaintances and they were having a ton of hang fires and misfires with an AR-15.

    They blamed the ammo. I pointed out that the “dud” rounds had very light primer strikes, and that the problem was most likely with the rifle.

    They offered to let me shoot it. I declined.

    • Next time pull the upper, check the hammer spring, installed backwards. I’ve seen a cheap trigger job, they cut one leg off tooooooo short, it didn’t hold any tension when the hammer was back. Young’ish sailor, came into the building, said something about a wasted hour drive over and now back with his new AR. I was talking with the range master about something, we said bring it in, both figured hammer spring installed backwards. Nope, leg cut off to lighten the pull. RM had a spare spring, installed for free, but the RM kept the spring for show and tell time.

      Two I didn’t see in person just pics on RM’s phone, new first AR owned by a pistol reloader. Something about pistol powder in an AR case, who knew??? I think the stock was only part that could be used. Some how only a very minor cut.

      Other was a black powder rifle, owner goes hunting, does not shoot it, pulls the primer. Goes again, loads it, does not shoot it, pulls primer. Time to go to the range, the target is always in season. Loads it again, does not notice the rod is not going all the way down. BOOOOOOOM!!! Splits the barrel into 3rds about 12 inches back from the muzzle all the way back.

      Gunsmith/gun store owner tell me he had a guy buy 3 9mm pistols, brought all 3 back in, wanted a refund, 3 different makes/models. Slides locked up, store owner asked, if he was using a certain ammo in a white box sold by the largest employer in the US, said yes, how did he know? Took them to the back workshop, got the rounds out, pulled the bullets, dumped the powder, the primer hole was “missing”. I didn’t see them, but had no reason to doubt the store owner.

      • “Something about pistol powder in an AR case…” Several AR calibers use what are more commonly pistol caliber powders.

  3. 15 years ago while shooting I had the barrel on I THINK it was a smith revolver, fly off. Sheared off the pin and the bullet was stuck in the barrel. .357. Shootiing reloads. Threw the rest of the ammo away.

  4. The rounds I was using were of unknown provenance. They looked like factory Winchester jacketed hollow points.

    WHAT ???
    You shooting ammo you don’t know where it came from ?
    For shame – 50 lashes with a wet noodle.
    I NEVER shoot anything I don’t know where it came from.
    I always find live rounds at the range – on the ground – would not dare to put into my gun – give to club, although I should probably just discard.

    • With about 40 years of ammo and guns, I do not remember the provenance of a lot of stuff. This looked like factory .40, but I could not be sure. It had primer sealant on the primers, but I have know a few reloaders to do that as well.

      I am a bit leery of reloaded ammo from someone I do not know, whose habits I do not know…

      On the other hand I have some reloaded ammo from a friend that is outstanding. YMMV

      • I’m with Dean on this one. If you have enough rounds sooner or later you’re going to lose track of what box came from where. Be safe and use good judgement is about all you can do.

        Now if you wanna try some hangfires I can loan you some 1940s 7.35 carcano that is pretty consistent at .5 aeconds delay. Don’t flinch or you’ll pull your shot haha.

        • I have the same experience with a Steyr 8mm. Ammo headstamp says 1938. Product of the third reich. Very interesting when you pull the trigger. Did I mention it’s a straight pull bolt? There’s something to think about when firing.

        • @Bob in Calif Make sure that action is locked up solid. I don’t know what gun you are using, but if it wasn’t safe to operate within the conditions it was intended, it probably wouldn’t have been selected by a military in the first place.

        • Bob is talking about a Mannlicher M1895 in 8x56R. I just picked up three 5 round clips of nazi head stamped ammo for a buddy of mine at the last Las Vegas gun show

    • I was going to say the same thing. Shooting ammo from an unknown source is recipe for disaster.

    • Use an inertia bullet puller om them, then save the brass for someone who can use it.

  5. Only had one ever in many many thousands of rounds. This from some reloaded ammo that I bought at a mom and pop shop; they might have even loaded the ammo for all I know. I can tell you that I knew something was wrong because the sound was not at all right and the gun hung up loading the next round. I used a brass rod to pound the bullet out of the barrel after I disassembled it. Learned my lesson that day: if it isn’t factory fresh, pass it up.

    • I’ll second that. Unless it is factory fresh, or you know exactly how it was reloaded (you are putting your life in the reloader’s hands), then don’t ever risk it. During the 2013 ammo shortage I bought a box of obvious reloads for super cheap, but I wasted my money because I was too cautious to shoot them.

  6. I’ve gotten some scary results using club-reloaded shells at a university skeet shoot, including one or two bloopers that barely got the wad and shot out the barrel. I suspect they may have been using a progressive press and not kept a close eye on it- I’ve since heard rumors that alcohol is involved in their reloading process. Other than what I think was an overpressure factory Remington shell, I’ve had good luck with factory ammunition as far as misfires and risky defects go. Same with my own slug reloads.

  7. I must not be shooting enough. I’ve never had a centerfire cartridge (handload or factory load) fail on me.

    • I had a bad batch early in my reloading where I had about 1 in 10 noticeably down on power, and had two squib loads in a batch of 100. Quit shooting them, pulled the bullets and found no obvious undercharge.

      Honestly don’t know the cause. It was all .38sp at a published and well established load. Suspect it had to do with my lever speed/pressure on my AP press.

      • I had the same issue with a 38sp min load. Some powders do not meter nicely so when you are pouring only 2 grains, that poor metering can really have an exacerbated effect. I believe I was using 700x. Once that happened (bullet stuck in the barrel), I started loading 1 grain over min loads to compensate for poor metering and since then pretty much only load to defensive ammo specs.

  8. Had a primer rupture while shooting a bolt action. Blew gas and junk back in my face. (Thankfully was wearing sunglasses) they was reloads of unknown origin.

    Squib load shot out of a G26. Bullet barely made it out the barrel and racked the slide to eject the shell and it dumped allot of powder out too.

    • And that’s why the original Mauser action is so superior to other bolt actions.

      Peter Paul Mauser lost an eye to that sort of failure before the 98 came out. The “excessive” design attention to dumping gas from a punctured or failed primer overboard and away from the shooter’s eye is the hallmark of the 98 design.

  9. Learn from my mistakes. Do not, EVER buy Iranian surplus 8mm Mauser unless you want to tear it down for brass and bullets. It’s priced that low for a reason. I was on the express train to Hang Fire City right out of the bag. Yugo and Romanian light ball are still great if you can find them.

  10. Reloads of unknown origin? Seems legit (not!) How much money could you have possibly saved?

  11. Had repeated failed cases of Armscore 22lr the other day, in 2 different guns. Brass actually burst, and I ended up with stuck cases and melted lead in both guns. An AR with a 22lr bolt and a PPQ. Bolt was a loss, PPQ the case pulled out.

    • This! Back at the height of the 22lr drought a few years ago (I know, I know, it’s STILL thin on the ground but at least you can GET it) I was reduced to buying bricks of SK from the newly opened Creedmoor store near me – If you ever get the chance, that is some VERY sweet 22lr, and smells amazingly good as well – at the same time, I ran across a “deal” online for some S&B 22lr at a local pawnshop at literally 10% of the price! I bought some of the S&B (Sellier & Bellot) because hey, it’s .22, and NOBODY had this stuff, right? Long story short, out of the first box of 50, 47 of them suffered rim separation and case splitting – that’s 47 rounds out of 50 that failed, in some cases rather spectacularly! Upon researching the S&B, it turned out to be mid-80s manufactured – I ended up throwing away three boxes of it, at the height of the drought!

  12. Saw 357 revolver shooter at IPSC match have misfire on his first round and he was so focused on speed that he fired three more rounds before RO could stop him. First projectile was about 4″ in and barrel bulged. No powder in first round

    Browning rep back in the 1980s used to have under and over clay target shotgun he showed as a demo where a first time shooter had misfire and fired again without realising there was a wad about 3/4 of the way along the barrel. Barrel split at the roll seam and thankfully all the shot went backwards over his shoulder and also missed the referee

  13. I had a bunch of hang fires from a spam tin of .303 some time back. If I remember correctly it was Pakistani. I hated to throw ammo away but just couldn’t trust that stuff so I soaked the rounds in transmission fluid to contaminate the primers and powder and buried it on my buddy’s farm. It was next to an old oilfield dump so I didn’t think we could pollute the site any worse. Yeah I know that was a dumb thing to do but…

    • Personally, I would be leery about burying oil-soaked ammo in the ground due to the possibility of groundwater contamination.

      Burning it seems a better solution to me, build the fire, add the ammo and get 100 yards or so away to cook off.

      Am I missing something obvious with that plan? TTAG had a video on firefighting a year or so back that showed ammo fires weren’t particularly dangerous…

      • Correct. The fire training videos by SAAMI and IFSTA show that modern smokeless power commercial ammo (ie, no tracers, no explosive projectiles, just regular bullets), when lit on fire, is pretty much a regular fire from the fire department’s perspective. The primer cups and possible bits of brass that come off the fire won’t go through a set of bunkers.

        If you’re really concerned to keep the mess in one place, dig a deep hole, put the ammo in the hole, soak with some diesel fuel and set alight.

    • Back in those days (20+ years ago) we were all less respectful of the environment. The friend’s stepfather had been in “the oil bidnez” as they used to say and the property was littered with worn out drilling equipment and 55 gallon drums of mystery stuff. Today they’d call it a Superfund site. Friend died of cancer about 10 years ago so there probably were a lot of bad things on the property. I agree that burying old oil soaked ammo isn’t a real good idea but there wasn’t a lot of information in those days about what to do with bad rounds – and there really still isn’t today.

  14. The only fail to fire ammo I ever saw was my first ever production run of reloading.

    3 out of 50 failed. then I found out that you can’t let any ANY oil touch the primer. I havn’t had that issue again in the 4 years since that cherry busting experience. Also, my ammo is a lot more accurate now that my method is down.

  15. I remember seeing somewhere on the net, an old relic revolver with a length of barrel cut away, and least six lead rounds stuffed halfway down, end to end. There wasn’t any other information on it.

    Some time ago, I got a can of Pakistani 30 06 M2 ball for my M1 Garand. Hangfires aplenty with those, the worst of them taking fully half a second to fire after the primer strike.
    I made it through 16 rounds, and donated the rest to the old timer who picked up brass & dug the berms for lead on a regular basis. Later he paid me back with a nearly full case of 50’s Russian 7.62×25, and every single one of those worked perfectly.
    Come to think of it, I’ve shot some downright ugly Russian 54R and Nagant pistol ammo over the years, and it’s never failed me.

  16. Had problems with Chinese PolyTechnologies .223 55 gr FMJ. Issue was the bullets were not firmly crimped into the case. Used a Lee Factory crimp die to apply better crimp and resolved the matter. Symptom on the range was failure to feed because as the new cartridge was stripped out of the magazine the bullet nose would catch on something and the bullet would be pushed into the case thereby causing a jamb. None of them ever fed and were ignited, thankfully.

    Have had a reload or two where no powder or very insufficient powder was in the case and the lead bullet became lodged in the barrel of a semi-auto pistol. If that happens drive the bullet out with a rod and mallet from the muzzle end to exit the chamber. Problem I had was MY fault and resolved by making sure powder hopper is checked frequently and random checks of charged cases by visual inspection and weighing charges.

    The suggestion to weigh completed cartridges if you suspect you have loaded a few with no powder is a reliable way to find any without a powder charge. Helped a friend who had that issue figure out he had run out of powder about ten rounds before he realized it. Just find the ones that are light by the weight of the intended charge +/- a few tenths of a grain. The bullets and cases will vary a few tenths of a grain unless you meticulously weigh and sort both by exact weight before you load them, which is great for best accuracy, but can add an hour or more to the time to make a hundred rounds.

    • Maybe it doesn’t really matter, but I was always taught to never force anything back into the chamber; like removing stuck squib rounds, or cleaning the bore with a rod from the muzzle end first

      The reason being, aside from not pushing any crap back into the chamber (or action) or avoiding potential damage to the crown; stuck rounds with a pointed/rounded nose will keep the rod from pushing dead center, or even slip off the round and into the rifling as you’re pounding on it with a mallet. Even if it doesn’t, getting it moving in the opposite direction of it’s original travel will be harder than just sending it out the muzzle. Of course if it’s a JHP it’d keep the rod centered, but would also want to start expanding the round in the bore, requiring more force on the hammer.

      But I’ve only had a squib round once, so I’ve not really had an opportunity to try it both ways. Like I said, maybe it doesn’t matter much (if the right tools are used i.e. brass rod & plastic deadblow mallet); just when it was explained to me by my drill instructors & grandfather, it seemed to make a lot of sense.

      • I only ever had to do it on a 1911 where the stuck bullet was a 200 gr lead alloy semi wad cutter, bullets were lodged in only about 3/4″ to 1″. So removed the barrel, put some lithium grease around the bullet front and back and placed two leather patches against the end of the bullet nose. Then used a 3/8″ aluminum rod centered in a nylon bushing I fashioned to just fit in the mouth of the barrel, and gave it about two firm taps with the brass end of a gunsmith hammer and the bullet popped right out. So, I drove the bullet back over the small amount of rifling it had traversed to get stuck in the first place.

        However, had it been a rifle barrel instead of a pistol, I would have taken it to a gunsmith. Removing a stuck bullet from a 5″ 1911 barrel is a much less daunting task than removing same from a much longer and smaller diameter rifle barrel.

        You make a very good point in your comment and “my bad” for not specifying I only ever had to do it in a .45 ACP 5-inch 1911 barrel on bullets that have a flat nose. I would definitely take a long gun to a gunsmith and advise anyone who has any doubt whatsoever to do the same with their pistol, particularly if it’s a revolver.

        I would really have my doubts about driving a bullet stuck a couple inches up a long rifle barrel from the breech end to the muzzle with a rod and mallet, though.

        I always clean rifles from the breech end or use a brass rod guide from the muzzle end.

  17. One of the classic ways to achieve a hang fire or failed ignition is to handle primers when you’re reloading, but your hands are covered in sizing lube.

    For those who haven’t reloaded, sizing lube is about like most sex lubes – it’s a heavy alcohol/glycerine type lube, water soluble, and hygroscopic. I’ve used KY’s runny liquid type lubes in place of RCBS sizing lube more than once – they’re almost the same thing, they act the same. All you need is a thin film on the cases to keep them from sticking in the dies.

    BTW, Just because you can use sex lube for reloading, doesn’t mean you should bring sizing lube into the bedroom.

    When you’re reloading, you need to pay attention to what you’re doing, especially around the primers. When you’re handling primers, make sure your hands are clean of any oil or sizing lube. Make sure that you don’t leave primers out in the open if you take a break from reloading. Don’t leave primers stacked up in the press if you have an automatic primer feeder. Primers should either be in their original packaging, or seated into a case, which is then stored in a cool/dry location.

    • Just curious, as I’m not a reloader (at least yet), but I’ve heard about the dangers of primers. Just how big of a bang do they make? I’ve heard of squib rounds where someone forgot to add the powder and the primer is just enough to lodge the bullet in the barrel. Doesn’t sound like it would take your pinky finger off or anything.

      • Personally, I wouldn’t underestimate the energy in a primer.

        Since a round loaded with no powder can still firmly wedge a bullet in the bore, I’m inclined to believe they can have the potential to hurt you.

        There’s a YouTube vid floating around showing a gunrange firing line, a guy there is tapping with a small hammer in the breech of a gun when it goes *pop* on him.

        It blew his finger *off*…

      • A single primer in a case fired from inside a barrel without powder or bullet is enough to cause a pretty painful soft tissue injury. We’re talking a small open wound. If you stick your finger in the barrel or cover it with the joint of a finger I don’t think it’d take it off but it’ll leave a mark that’s for sure. The problem with saying it’ll cause X amount of damage is that it’s a very very tiny amount of priming compound. Unless it’s highly directed and the body part placed right in the path in a really not likely to happen in real life way, it’s just not enough to do much. Now, you get a tube of primers staged in a reloading press and some static sets one off things are going to get bad. I’ve seen the results of half a dozen primers in an aluminum feed tube popping from a static discharge and it caused severe soft tissue injury to two fingers. No fingers were actually completely lost but it was extremely close and full function and feeling was never restored.

        The compound in a primer is extremely energetic. The only saving grace we have is that such a tiny amount is present in each one. Caution when handling should be about the same kind of caution you’d have handling any high explosive.

      • I inherited a sporterized type 38 arisaka that my gramps that he switched over to 7×57. Wouldn’t chamber a 147 gr. Round. Figured grandpa cut the the throat to accept the 110-115 gr. Round. We pulled the bullets from a couple of rounds and with out think took the rifle to the basement to pop off the primers. Swear to god it was loaded then a 22 lr. going off and my ears rang for the rest of the day.

      • I had a Lee progressive that I used to reload .45ACP, and I set off a primer one time by mis-stroking the lever, and pulling it down anyway (ended up shearing the primer in question in half, setting it off). It chained, and blew the primers in the ready slot all the way up to the primer tray – about half of them went off, based on recovered primers in my shop afterwards (found just over 50-some-odd “unpopped”)! It blew the cover off the primer tray, sprayed primers and parts of primers all over the shop, peppered me with lots of stinging little bits of metal and plastic – THANK you safety glasses! – and I had to do an underwear-change as soon as I picked myself up off the floor and realized I was still alive! It’s kind of “energetic”, to say the least! 🙂

    • This is why I do everything one step at a time with a single stage press.

      0) Inspect brass and discard unusable cases
      1) Punch out old primers
      2) Clean brass
      3) Trim brass as needed
      4) Re-prime brass
      5) Re-measure brass for length
      6) Measure powder and add to brass
      7) Re-bullet the brass.

      Each step is fully complete for a run of ammo before the next step is started and after cleaning (tumbler followed by an old pillowcase full of brass in the washer and 48 hour air dry) I only handle the rounds while wearing nitrile gloves.

      • I agree, and I use single-stage presses (multiple) as you do.

        I clean my brass before decapping it, and depending on what I’m doing with rifle cases, I might full-length resize (for semi-autos) or just neck/shoulder size for bolts, but that’s about the only difference between us on this. I’m in complete agreement that:

        a) you can move a fair bit of ammo through your reloading bench with only a single-stage press when you “batch” it like this. I like to make my batches about as large as I want to load easily in one sitting – eg, 200 rounds.

        b) I think I see higher quality results.

        c) I’ve never had a squib or overload, because I’m tossing every single load, and weighing every single charge. I like my face right the way it is now. I see no need to alter it with a double-charge .45ACP load.

        d) I like the way a single stage press allows me to feel the primer seating step more reliably. I’m really particular about how my primers go in. If the primer goes in “too easily,” then I mark the case for rejection on the next loading. If it’s too tight, I’ll examine it to see if (eg) it was a crimped pocket case where I missed taking out the crimp.

        • I tend to agree.

          My way of doing this is in stages.

          I separate my steps so that it’s not “all at once”.

          For example, say I’m shooting 5.56. I police up all the brass and put it in a clear Sterilite box that I’ve marked at a certain height for an approximate number of cases.

          When I reach the line I punch out all the primers and count the brass in to a 500 casing batch. Empty casings get added to another container marked “500” until it reaches 500 rounds of punched brass.

          That stuff then gets cleaned and dried, dumped into another box and placed on a shelf. I do this so that I don’t really need to do much work on the primer pockets separately in terms of cleaning. Sometimes a touch up is needed, but generally not.

          I will then count out casings, usually 500, of a specific caliber.

          When that box reaches the specified number the casings are trimmed to appropriate length and replaced in said box. That box is then taken upstairs (I do my reloading the basement for fire hazard reasons) and I sit there watching a movie and priming the brass. When the box is complete the primed brass go back into the box and go to a 3rd shelf specifically meant for primed brass.

          Now when I want to do a run, I simply select the box of primed brass I want, count out the number I want, add powder and stamp in a bullet. Depending on caliber and my usage I might do a run like this every few weeks (5.56/9mm/.40./45) or once every few years (.30-30/7.62x54R) but the pattern remains the same and the rounds end up being uniform.

      • Sounds like you and I could reload together and trust each others ammo because that is exactly my process except
        8) Check OAL

        • Oh, yes, and there’s a couple more steps I use – like weighing each completed round as a last sanity check that the powder throw was correct.

          I’ll also sometimes sort & weigh my brass, neck-turn some of it, ream the flash holes, etc. If one wants to get really persnickity about loading, there’s lots more steps that can be added.

      • Me too , one step at a time , that’s how I was taught and that’s how I roll , but then again , I’m OCD and it’s my personality . ……………………….. and as far as removing the Squib , prep your work area with the following ;
        A heavy steel open hole anvil , like one you would use for hammering out a stuck bearing , sized just up from the muzzle you’ll be driving the bullet out of .
        A jig made to hold the barrel firmly upright over the anvil .
        A can of JB 80 penetrating oil .
        A solid steel rod ever so slightly smaller than the ID of the barrel .
        A small amount of dry ice .
        A 2-5 pound sledge hammer .
        Remove the barrel and clamp , muzzle down , in position over the hole in the anvil so that the muzzle rest upright directly over the hole using the jig you have made . Pour or spray the JB 80 into the chambering end of the barrel , letting it penetrate for no less than 24 hours . Drop a few chunks of the dry ice into the chamber end of the barrel , wait to the count of 30 , about 30 seconds . Slide the precisely sized solid steel rod into the barrel behind the squib and holding the extended end firmly with a gloved hand or vice grip , ( important , look directly at the area you are going to strike , do not look anywhere else , practice this , it seems to go contrary to one natural tendencies ) Strike the end of the rod firmly , with intent , as my pappy used to say . One firm strike . If the squib does not fall through or move in a significant way , remove the rod and repeat the entire process .
        If you have already attempted to remove the bullet by any number of other methods , you may need a gunsmith to drill it out .
        If it’s a cheaper rifle barrel , you may consider drilling it out yourself .

  18. Had a .308 round that wouldn’t fire a month or two ago. It was a Georgia Arms reload, but I’m sure it’s the fault of whoever made the primer. That’s the only time I’ve ever had an issue, at least with centerfire ammo.

  19. I had 2 or 3 hang fires the last time I shot my cap and ball revolver. I think it’s a bad batch of caps, several didn’t even pop.

  20. I started reloading back when ammo was scarce and overpriced. I have always been one to check about every 10th round for powder weight and primer seating (even with my Dillons). Hey, Safety. Even as diligent as I have been, I have experienced a couple squib loads. I keep a reloading log of everything I load. And also label AND date all finished ammo. That way if there is a problem I can isolate the problem batch.

  21. I know some guys who reload shotgun shells on a progressive press. You never quite know what will happen when they’re on the line.

    I concur with the above advice to use a single stage press. There are many ways to go about the process, but the key is to have multiple opportunities to inspect each case, especially primer seating and powder charge, before the bullet goes on. If you do it in large batches, you won’t waste much time changing dies.

    I like using a hand primer, which lets me “feel” each primer going in and inspect each primed case without slowing down the process. I can prime 1,000 cases in an evening, in my recliner.

    Thousands of rounds through various guns and every one sent lead downrange as expected.

    • I knew years ago when I started seeing all these re-load manufactures coming out with their fancy Progressive Presses and fancy attachments there would be problems because of them , you know with all the ADHD folks out there would have to be a few problems , nope , one stage at a time is fast enough for me .

  22. I’ve had probably three or four misfires with 9mm Winchester white box over the years, all of which had good primer dents but no ignition. I had the same happen once with Federal Premium hollowpoint. It was ammo bought at a range which required you to buy all your ammo there to shoot at their ‘free’ range. That $25 box of hollow points was all they had left in stock, and I remember being annoyed that they wouldn’t refund me $1 for the cost of that misfire, because thats what they had charged me for the round that failed.

    I also had several pierced primers with Sellier & Bellot ammo in my original (DAO) LC9, which did fire, but where metal from the pierced primer was pulled back into the firing pin channel afterwards, causing a light-strike misfire on each subsequent round after the piercings. The gun fired everything else I tried just fine, except the S&B. Ruger gave me a new firing pin on their dollar for that, and I stayed away from S&B ever since.

    Never had a bullet lodged in a barrel, knock on wood.

  23. This one time, I was in CMCC (combat marksmanship coaches course) in the USMC. Pew Pewin during the drills with my dinky worn out M9 pistol, click? did it click? Observ…. PEW!!! blew the top of the berm off 45* to my left. Maybe it was an ND, maybe not, I don’t recall anymore but no one noticed since it was in the middle of a drill. Could have been a rotten day >.>

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