How to Trouble Shoot Problems with your reloads. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Colorado4Wheel
10-14-2011, 20:24
So this topic comes up fairly regularly. I thought I would post a little process on how to trouble shoot the common problem of “Why doesn’t my ammo fit my gun”. There are lots of reasons why your ammo may not be fitting your specific barrel. Remember every gun’s barrel is different. Don’t expect what works in one barrel to work in another barrel. Let’s see if we can figure this stuff out.

1) Using a case gauge vs a barrel. A case gauge is a tool that is meant to mimic a pistols chamber. Most do not make any attempt to mimic a barrels “throat”. The throat is the part of the barrel that the bullet projects into. No case gauge is going to be the same as your barrel but your barrel is also not going to check the entire round because the ramp is usually cut away a little and the rim of the case does not go into most barrels around the entire perimeter. So both have their pros and cons. The best option is barrel because it will test the throat area and that is where a lot of people have issues.

2) Let’s talk about “Sizing Issue”. Many people who load for Glocks say we have a “Glock Bulge issue”. That may be true but believe it or not a good sizing die will take out the Glock Bulge. Not all dies are created equally. Some have a pretty large taper going into the die that moves the carbide ring farther from the base and as a result the ring doesn’t size as low. Dillon and RCBS are known for this. Lee is known for sizing lower. Hornady is pretty good in this regard as well. Redding makes both kinds of dies, single stage version (no taper) and progressive version (tapered). I have not used the Redding. So how do we trouble shoot a Sizing Issue. Pretty easily. Size a bunch of cases and drop them in your barrel. No bullets. Just sized cases. Feel the way they hit the end of the chamber. Listen to the sound. Notice the depth it goes in the chamber. That’s how your loaded round should look, feel and sound when you drop it in the chamber. Sizing issues are diagnosed before you load any powder or seat the bullet. Simple isn’t it? If it doesn’t drop in cleanly you need to lower the sizing die. It can just touch the shellplate and still not bind. You need to be sure to not let the setup bind on a progressive press. If lowering the die doesn’t help you may need a better sizing die. The manufacture may give you a “Small base die” that might solve the issue. Or you can try a Lee/Hornady/Redding. You shouldn’t need to go to a push through die for the vast majority of barrels. Some manufactures of aftermarket barrels have a history of making some tight chambers. They will often work with you to open it up if you ask.

3) So the next area that gives people trouble is bullet seating issues. You run into problems in several areas. One is when you seat the bullet it can go in a little sideways causing a bulge on one side of the case that is not on the other side of the case. Usually, you can visually see the issue. Then the loaded round is too big on that side and it won’t properly chamber. This is going to normally solved with a little more flare. Flare the case .015” over the size of a sized but unflared case is normally going to be fine. You don’t need to measure it after you have become accustomed to what works and what doesn’t. If this doesn’t solve the issue you may need a custom seating stem that better match’s your bullet style.

Colorado4Wheel
10-14-2011, 20:24
4) Another thing that confuses people is what is commonly called “The Coke Bottle Shape”. It’s totally normal in most cases. As long as the round chambers without issue it’s actually preferred. This is a optical illusion created by the sizing die sizing the case smaller and then when you seat the bullet pushes the case out to the size of the bullet. Basically, it "looks" like the case is bulging at the base of the bullet after you insert the bullet. After the bullet ends the case returns to it's normal smaller size again. Hence the “Coke Bottle” name. The deeper you seat the bullet the more likely it is to look like this. Also, the smaller the case is sized the more it will “look” like it’s bulged. It’s actually a good thing to have a case that is a little smaller then the bullet diameter. This is what creates bullet tension and prevents bullet setback. Because cases are thinner at the top and thicker at the base, the deeper you seat the bullet the, the wider the case becomes when you insert the bullet. If the bulge is too large that it causes issues with chamber you’re going to need to load longer.

5) The other issue created when you seat a bullet is a OAL (overall length) issue. Basically the loaded round is too long and the bullet hits the throat. The only way to resolve this issue thru trial and error. The way I do it is to load the round long, remove the flare (don’t crimp inward). Drop the loaded round in the chamber. Then shorten it up till the round drops in freely with a nice “thunk”. Load it at least .005” shorter then that length just to be safe. You may want to go even shorter. If you make a dummy round at the right length you can use this round in the future to reset your seating die to the same length. Just put the round in the shell holder. Lower the handle. Screw the dies adjuster down by hand till it contacts the bullet of your dummy round. Set the die and your done. Simple.

6) Flare is another area that causes issues. Don’t over flare. Never more the .020” over unflared size. Don’t under flare either. It can cause the bullet to not seat straight. .010 is about the least I like. But you can experiment and find what works for you.

7) Crimp is very misunderstood. In an autoloading pistol (9mm, .40, 45acp, etc) you only remove the flare. You do not crimp inward. Yes that seems odd. But it’s true. Crimp does not hold the bullet in place on a autoloader. Bullet tension through sizing holds the bullet in place. If you look at the picture in the Lyman manual you will see that the taper crimp picture does not show the crimp going inward and denting the bullet. Revolvers do have a actual crimp. They get the edge of the case rolled inward. This is called a “roll crimp”. Your reloading manual has a good picture of this. Over crimping a pistol round can cause a bulge lower in the case. It can also cause accuracy and other issues. Many people don’t deflare enough. So the loaded round does not go into the chamber. It’s hard to tell if it’s a OAL issue or a Crimp issue at this point. First thing I do is use my dial calipers. You can use the skinny end of your calipers to measure the remaining flare at the end of the case. You will see the needle or the number grow larger as you measure the very end of the case vs the part just before the flare. You can also use the calipers as a double straight edge. Place the loaded round between the jaws of the calipers and hold the setup to a bright light. You will see the bumps and flares of the case very clearly like this. Remove flare till the case goes in properly.

8) Keep in mind on a progressive press your Flare, crimp, OAL and sizing will change if your loading with a Full Shellplate vs one station at a time. Always make adjustments with a Full Shellplate. You can use dummy rounds and empty cases to duplicate this effect.

9) Where people often go wrong in trouble shooting these things is they just randomly start to change things. They don’t have a system to figure it out. Basically, when you set up your dies the first time you should check the sizing die out. Make sure it’s sizing the case properly to drop into the barrel cleanly. Problem solving a sizing issue after you seated the is very difficult. Check your sizer with just the empty case. After that you check OAL and Crimp. If you run into issues with a caliber I will first look at the crimp. Sometimes brass is different and the flare is not getting removed properly. It’s easy to visually see this or measure it as I said above. If crimp is right then the next thing to check is OAL. Try seating the bullet .010” shorter. Did that help? If not then go shorter. Lead is often seated very short compared to FMJ. Check your manual for Lead OAL, that might help. If you’re seating shorter than the OAL of your load data you need to work the load up again to be sure it’s safe. If you’re thinking the OAL is not the issue go back and look at the sizer setup (recheck a sized case in the barrel). If the case goes in properly then take the loaded round and roll it on a flat surface. Watch the bullet tip. Does it wobble? If so then you have a bullet seated crooked. Check every step individually and you will find the issue.

Hope this helps.

Let me know if I missed something.

squirreld
10-14-2011, 22:15
good write up!

Zombie Steve
10-14-2011, 22:48
You forgot part 9... placing your Lee FCD in the trash can.

:whistling:

Beanie-Bean
10-14-2011, 23:25
C4W,

Thank you for taking the time to post this. I can tell you that you've helped at least one person (again!) and have scared me off ever considering an FCD for anything.

Particularly interesting idea was the case gauge/barrel testing--I check the dummy rounds from the magazine after they pass the gauge check. If they chamber and eject properly, I'm pretty much done at that point and will continue loading at those settings. However, I was intrigued by the empty shell and drop tests you mentioned, and will try that during tomorrow's session.

EL_NinO619
10-15-2011, 01:36
A+ Brother... And I just thought you where a evil person and would never help anyone :supergrin:.. Or this may just be away for you to avoid ignorant question.:dunno:

FLSlim
10-15-2011, 08:08
Good job, time for another sticky....

thorn137
10-15-2011, 11:05
The other issue created when you seat a bullet is a OAL (overall length) issue. Basically the loaded round is too long and the bullet hits the throat. The only way to resolve this issue thru trial and error. The way I do it is to load the round long, remove the flare (don’t crimp inward). Drop the loaded round in the chamber. Then shorten it up till the round drops in freely with a nice “thunk”. Load it at least .005” shorter then that length just to be safe. You may want to go even shorter.

I've always messed around with smoking bullets, or sharpie pens, with barely acceptable results at times... this tip is excellent. So simple that I feel stupid for not thinking of it - so - Thanks for posting it. :)

thorn

Shadyscott69
10-15-2011, 11:16
:rock:

rpgman
11-08-2011, 08:53
thanks for taking the time to write this up.
Greg

ChrisJn
11-08-2011, 09:32
Very well written and easily understood. Good job, Steve.

Hogpauls
11-08-2011, 12:16
Thanks C4W, great write up! I've been having some accuracy issues and I'm sure my crimp is the problem and you just verified it.

jmorris
11-08-2011, 14:07
Usefull info for subjects that are posted often.


The case gauge is the #1 cure for those mystery malfunctions as the barrel drop doesn't check not only the ramp but also the part that is in contact with the breech face. Dings caused by prior firings and contact with ejector/extractor is what you catch with the case gauge. Those same dings are also fixed by push through and roll sizers.


http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/DSC02128.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/DSC02130.jpg

TexasFats
11-08-2011, 15:00
One added note on crimp: The reason why we don't want to force the case brass into the bullet with too much crimp when loading for an autoloader like a 1911, etc., is that these guns are designed to headspace on the case mouth. If you look down the barrel of an autoloader from the chamber end, you will see a slight shoulder at the end of the chamber. The case mouth butts against this shoulder for headspacing. That is why revolvers firing the .45 ACP need half-moon or moon clips, or have to use the .45 Auto-Rim. Their chambers don't have this shoulder for the case mouth, unless specially chambered.

jmorris
11-08-2011, 15:43
That is why revolvers firing the .45 ACP need half-moon or moon clips,

The two I have fire just fine without moon clips. The reason you need moon clips is to eject the brass. They would also be needed if the revolver was chambered for 45 long colt not ACP.

GioaJack
11-08-2011, 16:04
I shoot my Smith model 25 all the time without clips, easier than loading and unloading them. For those cases that don't fall out when the gun is inverted it's a simple matter to push them out with a pen or anything else that is handy.

Headspacing on the case mouth is one of the most misunderstood myths when it comes to the necessity of being precise with taper crimping.

Over the years, many years, I've done countless tests on over crimping both 9's and .45's to the point where they resembled very aggressive roll crimps that could not possibly headspace on the case mouth. (Accuracy was not a concern just an attempt to get the rounds to malfunction.

In guns ranging from Smith models 39 and 59, BHP, Colt Gold Cups, various Colt 1911's, Star PD and countless others I have never had a single occasion where the extractor didn't hold the round in place and allow the round to fire normally.

This is not to suggest that a taper crimped round should be needlessly be crimped more that necessary but simply to demonstrate that the crimp is not as critical as some would believe.


Jack

Duck of Death
11-08-2011, 16:09
*QUOTE*
and have scared me off ever considering an FCD for anything.

Why????

TexasFats
11-08-2011, 17:29
The two I have fire just fine without moon clips. The reason you need moon clips is to eject the brass. They would also be needed if the revolver was chambered for 45 long colt not ACP.

You are right. I had forgotten that. That is also why the .45 Auto Rim was invented, so that the ejector star would have something to use to push the cases out of the cylinder.

TexasFats
11-08-2011, 17:38
I shoot my Smith model 25 all the time without clips, easier than loading and unloading them. For those cases that don't fall out when the gun is inverted it's a simple matter to push them out with a pen or anything else that is handy.

Headspacing on the case mouth is one of the most misunderstood myths when it comes to the necessity of being precise with taper crimping.

Over the years, many years, I've done countless tests on over crimping both 9's and .45's to the point where they resembled very aggressive roll crimps that could not possibly headspace on the case mouth. (Accuracy was not a concern just an attempt to get the rounds to malfunction.

In guns ranging from Smith models 39 and 59, BHP, Colt Gold Cups, various Colt 1911's, Star PD and countless others I have never had a single occasion where the extractor didn't hold the round in place and allow the round to fire normally.

This is not to suggest that a taper crimped round should be needlessly be crimped more that necessary but simply to demonstrate that the crimp is not as critical as some would believe.


Jack

Jack, if .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9 mm, etc. don't headspace on the case mouth, then what do they headspace on? They don't have either a rim or a shoulder for headspacing. Also, if they don't headspace on the mouth, then why do some pretty reliable sources (Hornady, Speer, Sierra, Lyman, et. al.) say that they do in their manuals. Also, I have some snap caps in each of those calibers, and, I guarantee, those snap caps all show that each blow of the firing pin drives the cap up against the shoulder in the chamber where the case mouth would contact if it were a live round.

Of course, the ejector hook could be holding the cartridge enough to allow a firing pin blow to fire the round. But, that does not mean that the results from your experiments indicate that it is safe to fire such rounds. To determint that, one would need a pressure gun to measure the chamber pressure on your rounds. Personally, I'll just follow the manuals that have done some testing with proper pressure equipment and not crimp, or just put a very mild taper crimp on stuff like .45 ACP.

PCJim
11-08-2011, 18:07
Jack, if .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9 mm, etc. don't headspace on the case mouth, then what do they headspace on? They don't have either a rim or a shoulder for headspacing. Also, if they don't headspace on the mouth, then why do some pretty reliable sources (Hornady, Speer, Sierra, Lyman, et. al.) say that they do in their manuals. Also, I have some snap caps in each of those calibers, and, I guarantee, those snap caps all show that each blow of the firing pin drives the cap up against the shoulder in the chamber where the case mouth would contact if it were a live round.

Of course, the ejector hook could be holding the cartridge enough to allow a firing pin blow to fire the round. But, that does not mean that the results from your experiments indicate that it is safe to fire such rounds. To determint that, one would need a pressure gun to measure the chamber pressure on your rounds. Personally, I'll just follow the manuals that have done some testing with proper pressure equipment and not crimp, or just put a very mild taper crimp on stuff like .45 ACP.

Me thinks you misread Jack's post. He was DELIBERATELY attempting to prove that, while those cartridges are designed to headspace on the case mouth, they will usually fire when being held by the extractor.

GioaJack
11-08-2011, 18:18
Oh, you're absolutely right, the cases do indeed headspace on the case mouth. That's what they were designed to do, hence no rim.

What I attempted to demonstrate, probably poorly, as I usually do, is that the amount of crimp applied to the case mouth is not nearly as critical as often espoused by those who may have less than a thorough working knowledge of a semi in battery.

Assuming a given firearm is in proper working order the extractor will hold the case in the proper position to fire and in turn extract that case.

Take the extractor out of the firearm and it is possible to crimp the bullet to a degree that it will negate the designed headspacing characteristics and allow the round to move so far forward in the chamber that the firing pin, or striker may not impact the primer. Of course if you remove the extractor you have a single shot firearm even with a properly crimped round.

I would disagree with your assertion that firing such rounds is unsafe, (unless you're referring to an instance where you're working with an already borderline dangerously high pressure loading and you intentionally increase those pressures with an aggressive crimp). I've never experienced nor witnessed a dangerous situation caused by an extractor holding a round in position. Think of a combat situation, (military more so than police), where ammunition can be subjected to handling or explosive forces that causes dents in case bodies and or case mouths that would mimic severe over-crimping. Is there time to check each and every round to insure that it meets specs? No, of course not, you load your mags, if not already loaded, slap it in the gun and commence to fight. Happens all the time... probably always will.

Again, I am not suggesting that loaders should not practice safe techniques nor should they do some of the things that my brethren and I did when we were considerably younger and invincible, I am merely suggesting that ammunition loading, be it new manufacturing or reloading is not the rocket science that some make it out to be... if it was it would surely be beyond the realm of what I'm capable of.


Jack

WiskyT
11-08-2011, 19:45
This is not to suggest that a taper crimped round should be needlessly be crimped more that necessary but simply to demonstrate that the crimp is not as critical as some would believe.


Jack

Who do you mean, anyone in particular?

jmorris
11-08-2011, 21:41
Of course if you remove the extractor you have a single shot firearm even with a properly crimped round

Out of curiosity have you tried? Some of my semiautos were designed without extractors and run just fine (with properly crimped ammo).

_The_Shadow
11-08-2011, 22:19
I was just mentioning on Handloads site about the use of the cartridge case gauge, very useful tool! Worth the money!

I have seen many 10mm and 40S&W brass that would only fit the gauge if run thru the "Pass Thru Die" system, best use for the LEE FCD, take the guts out and push the brass completely thru and the brass will fit the Gauge!!!! OH yea Redding makes a "Pass Thru Die" system also...

njl
11-08-2011, 23:42
Isn't 0.015" flare kind of a lot? I was just loading some 9mm and decided to do some measuring of my setup. I was only flaring to about 0.380". I decided to increase it a bit, and ended up at 0.383". This is enough that I'm able to start PD or MG bullets enough that they'll sit in the case. Flaring 0.015" would be about 0.392".

PCJim
11-09-2011, 09:33
My suggestion is that you flare only enough to allow you to sit the bullet in the case mouth so that it enters the seating die properly oriented, not sideways. Jacketed bullets would require slightly less flaring than lead, due to a smaller diameter. Bullets with a BT profile would require even less, although I don't believe you'll find they are very rare, if not non-existant, in pistol calibers.

jmorris
11-09-2011, 09:44
I have seen many 10mm and 40S&W brass that would only fit the gauge if run thru the "Pass Thru Die" system, best use for the LEE FCD, take the guts out and push the brass completely thru and the brass will fit the Gauge!!!! OH yea Redding makes a "Pass Thru Die" system also...


The problem with thoes are that they multiply the time it takes to reload by at least 2. The Magma case master is a pass through machine that is very fast other good choices are the Scharch and Casepro roll sizers, they will also work for semirimed and tapered rounds like the 38 super and 9mm. The last benefit of the roll sizing machines is that they also iron out any burs inside the extractor grove, something a push through can't do.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/casepro/DSC02110.jpg

PCJim
11-09-2011, 09:53
The problem with thoes are that they multiply the time it takes to reload by at least 2. The Magma case master is a pass through machine that is very fast other good choices are the Scharch and Casepro roll sizers, they will also work for semirimed and tapered rounds like the 38 super and 9mm. The last benefit of the roll sizing machines is that they also iron out any burs inside the extractor grove, something a push through can't do.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/casepro/DSC02110.jpg

Just looking at that machine tells me it costs considerably, I mean considerably :wow:, more than a set of Lee dies...

unclebob
11-09-2011, 09:54
I have also shot 45GAP, the case is the same length as a 9mm in a 45acp gun. Just to prove to myself that it can be done.

jmorris
11-09-2011, 20:16
Just looking at that machine tells me it costs considerably, I mean considerably , more than a set of Lee dies...


It does but is also does does a better job and completes the job by itself after you fill it and flip the switch.

halfmoonclip
11-09-2011, 20:33
The only reason I use a Lee Factory Crimp Die is for hard-kicking loads in a .357 Titanium Centennial; the admonition from Smith is to fire four rounds and examine the 5th; look to see if the bullet is being pulled.
The FCD die solves this problem by putting a really strong roll-crimp on the casing, which in turn holds the magnum loads in place when shooting this revolver.
Regular Lee dies are great; how Lee can make such great dies and crummy presses remains a mystery to me.
Moon

Colorado4Wheel
11-09-2011, 21:02
You don't need a FCD to provide a roll crimp. Lee's roll crimps are the same so you could just use a regular roll crimp die if you want. I really don't want this thread to turn into a FCD debate. I also don't want people to think the FCD has some special "roll crimp" either.

halfmoonclip
11-09-2011, 21:11
You don't need a FCD to provide a roll crimp. Lee's roll crimps are the same so you could just use a regular roll crimp die if you want. I really don't want this thread to turn into a FCD debate. I also don't want people to think the FCD has some special "roll crimp" either.

I can tell you for absolutely dead flat certain that a conventional roll crimp die would not hold bullets with magnum loads in my 340SC; the FCD holds them quite nicely.
As noted in my earlier post, there is no need for the FCD under more normal circumstances.
Moon

jmorris
11-10-2011, 09:31
With my 360PD (11.3oz) regular roll crimp dies work fine, even the SD dies, if you are using jacketed bullets with a proper cannelure.

halfmoonclip
11-10-2011, 09:40
With my 360PD (11.3oz) regular roll crimp dies work fine, even the SD dies, if you are using jacketed bullets with a proper cannelure.

That may well be true with jacketed bullets; it was not true with the lead truncated cones that I was loading as last-ditch GTFOM bear dissuaders.

They were cast very hard, with a good crimping groove, but they relentlessly backed out under recoil with a standard roll crimp. Blame the bullet lube, the inherent 'greasiness' of lead, or the really abrupt recoil of getting 1000'/sec with an 140 gr bullet. It is not a pleasant load to shoot in a Ti.

Again, I don't recommend the FCD for anything except extreme circumstances where a regular crimp won't do it. Too hard on brass if nothing else.

Moon