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Reload Troubleshooting

This is a discussion on Reload Troubleshooting within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I finished reloading my first four 9mm (115 gn) rounds after finally setting the dies on my Lee 1000 press. There are only three dies ...


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Old June 26th, 2013, 05:55 PM   #1
 
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Reload Troubleshooting

I finished reloading my first four 9mm (115 gn) rounds after finally setting the dies on my Lee 1000 press. There are only three dies on this press so most would think it should be an easy task. And you will forgive me for loading just four (I figured if I screwed up, four bad rounds would not be as demoralizing as 50 bad rounds). I took my four rounds to the range and loaded one into my P95 Ruger. Pulling the trigger resulted in a low power pop and it did hit the target; however, the spent casing did not eject. In fact, the slide barley moved. I racked the slide, ejected the shell, and loaded the second round. Same result. In fact, this happened four all four rounds. So I ask my fellow reloaders what might have gone wrong? I believe one of the following is the likely culprit:

1. Too little powder resulted in insufficient force to move the spring/slide.
2. The bullet was not seated low enough inside the case.
3. A poor crimp resulting in too low of pressure in the shell.

I used the recommended auto disk load from the book and was careful to measure the basic powder charge called for in my Lee manual. So I don't think it was No. 1 (too little powder). I took my micrometer and am sure I measured the overall length properly (so I don't think it was No. 2). I tend to think it was No. 3 as I cant tell if I crimped it properly or what constitutes a proper crimp to begin with. I would appreciate any advice my fellow forum members could give me.



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Old June 26th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #2
 
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I would say #1 you didn't have enough powder. But that is not to say 2 and 3 are correct either. What powder and charge are you using?
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Old June 26th, 2013, 06:32 PM   #3
 
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Yes, what are the numbers, powder, measurements you used?
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Old June 26th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Dawgface View Post
Yes, what are the numbers, powder, measurements you used?
I used Rocky Mountain 115 Grain jacket bullets, ACCR No. 2 powder, and CCI primers. My Lee auto disk setting was .30

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:00 PM   #5
 
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Did you verify the powder charge with a scale? If not, you should have kept one of the four rounds so you could pull the bullet and verify the charge.

Also, you say the bullet hit the target, but the shot didn't actuate the slide. Did the bullet punch a clean, round hole, or is it an oblong, or "keyholed" hole?

9mm calls for "small pistol" primers, so I'm assuming you didn't put the wrong primer in.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:11 PM   #6
 
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Brian: I hope you are weighing your powder charge and following up with a good reloading manual. Also be sure to be seating to the correct depth according to the manual. Seating to deep may cause a spike in pressure. I don't load for 9mm,I do load for 40 S&W which calls for careful loading .
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpvanhoy View Post
Did you verify the powder charge with a scale? If not, you should have kept one of the four rounds so you could pull the bullet and verify the charge.

Also, you say the bullet hit the target, but the shot didn't actuate the slide. Did the bullet punch a clean, round hole, or is it an oblong, or "keyholed" hole?

9mm calls for "small pistol" primers, so I'm assuming you didn't put the wrong primer in.
I weighed each shell, zeroed my scale, applied the charge, and measured the change in weight. The weight for each was 3.6 grains. I did not think to examine the hole to see if it keyholed. I did use CCI small pistol primers.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:29 PM   #8
 
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Looking at the charts, .30 on the Lee Disk is 3.6gr which is the starting load for Accurate No.2 for a jacketed 115gr bullet.

Did you pre-season (might be lack of a better word) the powder measure a number of times (like 8-12x) then take a sample powder charge and weigh it to verify it is 3.6gr?

Edit: Never mind. Just read your latest post saying you weighed the charge.

I take it you're using carbide dies and no lube on the cases?

Last edited by Trinimon; June 26th, 2013 at 07:31 PM.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:57 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrian View Post
I finished reloading my first four 9mm (115 gn) rounds after finally setting the dies on my Lee 1000 press. There are only three dies on this press so most would think it should be an easy task.
Actually, the 4-die set is easier. Adjusting the seating and crimping in separate dies is much simpler than adjusting a single die to seat and crimp to specifications in a single step. But that is water under the bridge now and not all that big a deal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrian View Post
And you will forgive me for loading just four (I figured if I screwed up, four bad rounds would not be as demoralizing as 50 bad rounds).
That was an extremely wise thing to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrian View Post
I took my four rounds to the range and loaded one into my P95 Ruger. Pulling the trigger resulted in a low power pop and it did hit the target; however, the spent casing did not eject. In fact, the slide barley moved. I racked the slide, ejected the shell, and loaded the second round.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrian View Post
Same result. In fact, this happened four all four rounds.
This is good. It means your loading technique is consistent. Something wrong with it, perhaps, but consistent. What is wrong can be cured. If your technique is inconsistent, even finding what is wrong is doubtful. Consistent is good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrian View Post
I cant tell if I crimped it properly or what constitutes a proper crimp to begin with.
With cartridges that headspace on the case mouth, crimping is rarely the solution to any problem. If you crimp too hard, the case mouth will miss the shoulder in the chamber and headspacing will be incorrect. Bullet tension (the friction grip the case has on the sides of the bullet) gives you the grip your bullet needs to build up proper pressure before the bullet begins to move. With pistol powders (especially the faster powders) this is rarely an issue.

If your rounds fed through the action from magazine to chamber without any problem and without the bullet being pushed deeper into the case when it hit the feed ramp (bullet setback), I think, dimensionally, your cartridges were correct.

In my Lee loading manual (1997 reprint of the 1996 edition), Accurate#2 under a 115 grain jacketed bullet calls for 4.3 to 4.4 grains.

Accurate's web site
http://www.accuratepowder.com/wp-con...d_data_3.5.pdf

suggests two different 115 grain jacketed bullets and these specs: (Grains, Bullet and Cartridge overall length) (NOS Nosler, JHP Jacketed Hollow Point)

3.6 to 4.5 NOS 1.070"
3.7 to 4.7 JHP 1.077"

ALWAYS check multiple sources for new activities, recipes, whatever. A typographical error or a mis-read could ruin your day. Two or more matching mistakes would be vanishingly unlikely.

Good luck.

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Old June 26th, 2013, 09:32 PM   #10
 
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Lee's modern reloading second edition, list a starting charge of 3.6gr and a maximum of 4.5gr and 1.077" minimum over all length.

Hornady's eighth edition lists 4.3gr-4.7gr and 1.1" C.O.L.


When I'm working up a new load I will make 5 at the lowest starting charge weight and then 5each at +.1gr intervals to maximum charge weight. Use a fresh target for each charge weight so you can see how each groups up. Check for over pressure signs with each round before moving to the next higher charge. It makes it quick to find what the gun likes, each gun will likely prefer a bit different charge weight.

As an example my Remington 700 .223 shot a very tight group with 55gr HP Varmint Nightmare bullets on 24.5gr of H335, but my Mini-14 will not cycle with that load. Going by the Hornady manual I am already above the max charge(for their 55gr bullets), but the Lee lists the max charge at 25.3gr for a jacketed 55gr bullet, Hodgdon has two 55gr bullets listed at 22.7-22.8gr and one up to 25.3gr. So I will make 5ea starting at 24.6 up to 25gr and see what groups well and cycles the gun.

As has been advised check multiple sources for load info and stay safe.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 10:09 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrian View Post
I finished reloading my first four 9mm (115 gn) rounds after finally setting the dies on my Lee 1000 press. There are only three dies on this press so most would think it should be an easy task. And you will forgive me for loading just four (I figured if I screwed up, four bad rounds would not be as demoralizing as 50 bad rounds). I took my four rounds to the range and loaded one into my P95 Ruger. Pulling the trigger resulted in a low power pop and it did hit the target; however, the spent casing did not eject. In fact, the slide barley moved. I racked the slide, ejected the shell, and loaded the second round. Same result. In fact, this happened four all four rounds. So I ask my fellow reloaders what might have gone wrong? I believe one of the following is the likely culprit:

1. Too little powder resulted in insufficient force to move the spring/slide.
2. The bullet was not seated low enough inside the case.
3. A poor crimp resulting in too low of pressure in the shell.

I used the recommended auto disk load from the book and was careful to measure the basic powder charge called for in my Lee manual. So I don't think it was No. 1 (too little powder). I took my micrometer and am sure I measured the overall length properly (so I don't think it was No. 2). I tend to think it was No. 3 as I cant tell if I crimped it properly or what constitutes a proper crimp to begin with. I would appreciate any advice my fellow forum members could give me.
OhioBrian, It sounds like you started correctly in regards to the "starting load" of 3.6 grains. You did not say OAL you used & where you got the data. I know that Lee's website has some great videos for setting the dies up in the 3-die set. I would suggest checking them out, they really helped me. I had a similar problem when I started reloading 9mm, my starting load would cycle the LC9, but would not cycle the longer barrel, heavier slide guns we have. So you move the charge up slowly toward the max charge for that powder, till you find what works. Go slow, you will get there & learn a lot in the process. You just need a very light taper crimp on those 9mm rounds & when set up properly, that 3-die set will work. Good luck!
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Old July 8th, 2013, 05:40 PM   #12
 
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I can guarantee it is number 1. I have a lee 4 hole turret press with auto disc. I have loaded unique, universal, and Accurate #2 through it. I started checking the loads right off and found that the recommended auto disc would throw low of the documented weight by at least 2 sizes. I would advise getting a scale and check your loads. Start a reloading log and document the
the actual charge weight and auto disc that you use. (This is the only solution that I could come up with for myself)
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Old July 8th, 2013, 09:12 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbroad1964 View Post
I can guarantee it is number 1. I have a lee 4 hole turret press with auto disc. I have loaded unique, universal, and Accurate #2 through it. I started checking the loads right off and found that the recommended auto disc would throw low of the documented weight by at least 2 sizes. I would advise getting a scale and check your loads. Start a reloading log and document the
the actual charge weight and auto disc that you use. (This is the only solution that I could come up with for myself)
I think your correct mrboard. After very careful measurements and comparisons it appears that the autodisks are off by two sizes.

I came to this conclusion earlier today. At first, I thought I was just misreading my data or perhaps I had made a mistake. As I am new to reloading I was sure operator error was the most likely cause. But seeing your remarks on this thread today is like deja vu.

Last edited by OhioBrian; July 8th, 2013 at 09:21 PM.
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Old July 9th, 2013, 06:50 AM   #14
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Hi Brian. As you suspect, too little powder. At least the bullets got out of the barrel .

Many, many years ago I was starting to load 45/70 for the first time using smokeless powder. I was shooting a old trapdoor that the old owner said he shot smokeless powder in, but I was suspicious about his story so I loaded the very lowest charge I could find listed and cut things back a bit more. The result was even less successful than your results, with the bullet stumbling into the ground half way to the 50yd target.

Of course it was one of those days when ever shooter in the county was at the range and everybody around me had a good laugh - including me after my initial disappointment.

Squib loads (rounds that have no or too little powder) can be dangerous if the projectile does not exit the barrel. It's a thing all reloaders need to be mindful of and if any doubt exists that the projectile did not exit the barrel, make a visual inspection of the barrel.

FWIW, I normally pick a starting load based in part on the quality of the weapon being fired. If it's a quality weapon in new condition, I'll start my loads someplace in the middle of the powder charges listed in my Sierra Reloading manual. If I question the weapon at all (old gun, unknown make, questionable quality, etc.) I start at the bottom weight, as you did.

I'll load 5 at that load, add a couple tenths of a grain and load 5 more, etc until I reach the max charge or I reach a listed bullet speed I don't want to exceed.

As for the Autodisk chart being off, Make certain that the powder is fully settled in the hopper before loading. You can do a couple things to help this - 1. tap the plastic hopper gently with a screwdriver, 2. cycle the hopper 10-20 loads (catching the powder in a container), or 3. select a powder that meters more uniformly with your powder measure. Then there is the whole Lee thing where it works, sorta (but I'll not get on THAT soapbox).
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Old July 9th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #15
 
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I've been reloading 9mm 115gr FMJ for about a year now. I'm still a rookie, but will share my experience anyway. I also started out using Accurate #2 at their suggested starting load. It would not reliably cycle the slides in both our SR9Cs. I gradually increased the powder charge until the pistols cycled reliably and ended up at 4.5gr. This is near the max load according to Accutate's data, yet well below the max listed in Hornady's book. This load doesn't "feel" any hotter than WWB bulk ammo and shows no over pressure signs. One of these days I will get a chronograph to help gauge different loads.
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