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Checking already loaded rounds, looking for empties or double charges

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Slamfire
retfed
DA/SA
mpolans
james r chapman
Asa Yam
troystaten
Wobbley
jjfitch
mikemyers
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Checking already loaded rounds, looking for empties or double charges Empty Checking already loaded rounds, looking for empties or double charges

Post by mikemyers Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:34 pm

A relative asked me if he could weigh his boxes of loaded 38 Special cartridges to confirm that they have powder in them.  My first thought was no way, but the more I thought about it, I'm not so sure that was the right answer.

He reloaded his used 38 Special cases, after tumbling them.  He used the same bulletin all of them - he was making wadcutter rounds for his Model 52.  He doesn't remember his powder load, but I'm 99% sure it was 2.7 or 2.8 grains of Bullseye.  Reloading was done on a Dillon 550B.

I suggested he take one box of questionable 50 rounds, weigh each one, and record the weight.  His bullet weight ought to be consistent, and while I don't know how much variation there might be in the case weight, I doubt it would be as much as 2.8 grains.

I suspect that after doing this, he could discard any rounds that seemed overly heavy or light, and shoot the ones that were close to the expected weight.  


He is 99.9% sure he never made any mistakes, but the idea of blowing up his gun if there was a mistake got to him.  
Your thoughts?
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Post by jjfitch Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:40 pm

Your bullets will have more than a 2.8 +/- variation in weight! Exercise in futility!

Never ever shoot reloads that are "suspect"! Especially somebody else's reloads! 

Smiles,
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Post by Wobbley Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:51 pm

Very difficult to do for pistol cartridges.  

I just measured 5 random primed cases.  They varied from 69.1 to 66.8 grains.  Add the variance from the bullet and it could easily mask the lack of powder.  A suggestion that I saw somewhere is to get a cheap old 38 special revolver and remover the barrel.  Then shoot them into a Bullet trap.
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Post by mikemyers Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:21 pm

jjfitch wrote:Your bullets will have .......
His, not mine!!!  I told him months ago that weighing them was a silly idea.
Then I wondered if maybe I was being too stubborn.

I told this person over and over and over and over that he had to SEE the powder before he put the bullet in place.
I also sent him a link to how a mirror on his Dillon would allow him to do this.
He did buy a light that I think shines down the middle of the Dillon, but I've never seen it.
It still has powder in it from 2 1/2 years ago.

What made him finally react, was when I sent him photos of blown up guns I copied from this forum.
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Post by troystaten Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:58 am

While clever the 38 special with no barrel as a bullet puller might run afoul of the ATF.  I guess you could shoot them very carefully and check after each shot to see if the bullet hit the target.  I would be just as worried about a double charge of the ammo in question.

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Post by Asa Yam Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:29 am

Wobbley wrote:A suggestion that I saw somewhere is to get a cheap old 38 special revolver and remover the barrel.  Then shoot them into a Bullet trap.
A more effective, but much slower process, is using a kinetic bullet pullet to separate bullets from the loaded rounds.
Checking already loaded rounds, looking for empties or double charges 1960973398 <--- kids, demonstrating kinetic puller technique (on each other.)

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Post by Asa Yam Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:51 am

mikemyers wrote:...SNIP...
He reloaded his used 38 Special cases, after tumbling them.  He used the same bulletin all of them - he was making wadcutter rounds for his Model 52.  He doesn't remember his powder load, but I'm 99% sure it was 2.7 or 2.8 grains of Bullseye.  Reloading was done on a Dillon 550B.

...SNIP...

Your thoughts?
Just curious if your relative has considered an alternative of changing to a less dense powder?  Hornady's reloading center shows a 148 grain wadcutter load using 2.0 to 2.3 grains of Trail Boss.  Not sure what the volume of such a charge is, but Trail Boss is significantly less dense than Bullseye.  A double charge would be noticed immediately.  See images at https://gunblast.com/IMR_TrailBoss.htm for reference.

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Post by james r chapman Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:46 am

Trail boss will basically fill the case.

And no, you can’t weigh finished rounds to check for powder.
Too much weight deviation accumulated with case and bullet.
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Post by mikemyers Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:54 am

No, he hasn't considered any alternatives, nor has he used the reloader in the past three years.  He had rotator cuff surgery, twice, and hasn't been shooting either.  He's thinking of doing so again.

The problem wasn't what powder to use - the problem is he refused to look to verify the powder was there.  He thought that was a silly idea, since he "knew" he had loaded the powder.  Nothing I said meant anything to him until I sent a photo of the blown-up gun.

Kinetic bullet puller might be a good idea, but maybe not good for his shoulder?

Oh well - you guys gave me the answer, which I'll send him today.   Thanks.
That's the answer I already came to, but you've all confirmed it.
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Post by mpolans Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:23 am

Kinetic bullet puller. Then you can reuse the bullets and powder. And it's mostly in the wrist, not the shoulder. If your friend has a kid, it's a perfect project to put them on.

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Post by james r chapman Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:14 am

Whack-A-Mole

Good practice!
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Post by DA/SA Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:51 am

james r chapman wrote:Whack-A-Mole

Good practice!
And serves two purposes.

After disassembling about 100 rounds or it will probably make you pay far more attention to your reloading process!  Smile
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Post by mikemyers Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:20 am

I will send him this YouTube video, and a link to where he can buy one from Amazon:




I bought one from Amazon four years ago, from RCBS.  Any recommendations for which one to suggest for him?  Does Dillon make a tool like this - since all his "stuff" came from Dillon, that's another option for him.
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Post by james r chapman Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:12 pm

RCBS, LYMAN,FRANKFORT ARSENAL,HORNADY,

https://trendytactical.com/best-bullet-puller-on-the-market/
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Post by Guest Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:03 pm

Having had to use one of those pullers on quite a few "suspect" or bad rounds in the past, I have to say they are a Right Royal PITA to use and I would certainly not recommend them to an older person with suspect rotator cuffs!

OK, with the present dire shortage of small pistol primers, saving at least the primed brass is quite valuable, but get a younger, fitter person on the job. And put a block of hardwood on the bench to use as an anvil.

In the case of 38 wadcutter rounds, even if they might have more powder than intended, another option would be to shoot them up in a 357 magnum revolver.

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Post by retfed Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:15 pm

I cannot agree with radjag's suggestion to put these questionable rounds, of .38 wadcutters in a .357 and shoot them.  A round with low to no gun powder could yield a bullet stuck in the barrel, and the next round could spell disaster for the gun and possible injury to the shooter and or bystanders.
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Post by Asa Yam Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:28 pm

retfed wrote:...A round with low to no gun powder could yield a bullet stuck in the barrel, and the next round could spell disaster for the gun and possible injury to the shooter and or bystanders.
See https://gizmodo.com/what-happens-when-a-bullet-gets-stuck-in-a-gun-and-you-1657411557 for an extreme example.  BTW, this is also one of the rare ways to jam a revolver.

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Post by mikemyers Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:42 pm

If you fire enough rounds at it, the stuck bullet has to come out, right?

Checking already loaded rounds, looking for empties or double charges Omamfciqg1uiper3pdrj
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Post by mpolans Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:15 am

radjag wrote:Having had to use one of those pullers on quite a few "suspect" or bad rounds in the past, I have to say they are a Right Royal PITA to use and I would certainly not recommend them to an older person with suspect rotator cuffs!

OK, with the present dire shortage of small pistol primers, saving at least the primed brass is quite valuable, but get a younger, fitter person on the job. And put a block of hardwood on the bench to use as an anvil.

In the case of 38 wadcutter rounds, even if they might have more powder than intended, another option would be to shoot them up in a 357 magnum revolver.

When using a kinetic bullet puller, don't use your shoulder and arm muscles to mash the bullet puller into a table as hard as you can, instead, just flick your wrist to generate speed. You're using the bullets own mass x the speed of the bullet puller to get the bullet out, you're not trying to pound it out.

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Post by Slamfire Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:17 pm

I found the linkage to resetting the powder horn on my Dillion 550 had fallen out of the slot. The case about to have a bullet inserted had no powder in it. The powder charge was 4.2 grains Bullseye.

I am using mixed brass. I weighed about ten difference primed cases and found the case to case weight difference greater than 4 grains. Therefore, given the weight variance in the case alone, I would be unable to sort out cases with powder, no powder, or even double charges.

Maybe an X ray machine could detect a double charge, or an empty case, but I don't own one.

If your neighbor is concerned about a double charge, he should disassemble all the questionable ammunition. At least he can re use the components.

I am not going to throw stones, because I have wondered if I tossed a double charge, but ended up shooting the ammunition anyway. None of my guns have blown up, yet..... affraid

But if I had any brains, I would not have done that. jocolor

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Post by mikemyers Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:21 pm

Slamfire wrote:I found the linkage to resetting the powder horn on my Dillion 550 had fallen out of the slot. The case about to have a bullet inserted had no powder in it. The powder charge was 4.2 grains Bullseye........
How did you discover this?  Luck?  Using a mirror?  If you hadn't noticed it, from that point on, it sounds like you would be loading squib loads.
I've been told there is no way to add a check station to the 550 - not enough stations.
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Post by Slamfire Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:25 pm

mikemyers wrote:
Slamfire wrote:I found the linkage to resetting the powder horn on my Dillion 550 had fallen out of the slot. The case about to have a bullet inserted had no powder in it. The powder charge was 4.2 grains Bullseye........
How did you discover this?  Luck?  Using a mirror?  If you hadn't noticed it, from that point on, it sounds like you would be loading squib loads.
I've been told there is no way to add a check station to the 550 - not enough stations.

I looked down and the linkage was out of the slot. So it was luck, nothing more. 

I took the  completed rounds in the box and put them in a plastic bag. I will take them to the range and blast them at rocks.

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Post by james r chapman Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:56 pm

As stated before, a 550 and 45 acp, it’s quite easy to spot an empty case by just looking under your nose.
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Post by mikemyers Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:12 pm

Jim, you could word that more forcefully - as in if you're using a 550, >>ALWAYS LOOK<< at powder in the case before placing a bullet on the case.

(Is a mirror required to do this?)
(What to do with a 38 case?)
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Post by bruce martindale Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:53 pm

Useful tip for inertia pullers: the collets don't last so use the proper shell holder instead. If anything breaks my loading routine, l check the shell for powder. I also learned not to load too much ammo as my tastes change.

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