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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a month ago I loaded up a few 357mag from an old (20 plus years) pound of powder I had. I loaded up 5 rounds to see if the powder was still good (smelled good, looked good).
At home, the five I loaded all worked fine, so I loaded up another hundred or so more.

Off to the range, first shot out of the gate...squib. :(

What to do? I didn't want to pull bullets, but I really didn't want to pull squibs. (Ordered up a Hornandy cam lock bullet puller. Works great by the way.)
Today I pulled bullets. I wanted to see if the power burned, so after a dozen, outside I go. Powder burned fine.

Now I'm wondering why the squib. I use a case lube when loading, thought maybe that was the culprit. So pulled another 2 dozen. I spayed the rock I was burning powder on with case lube and let it dry, poured half the powder, then in a separate pile, I doused the powder with case lube. There didn't seem to be any difference in flame or heat from either pile.

The case that the squib came from, had a chunk of what looked like burnt powder, but it had all "welded" together. I've seen this before on yt videos. Anyone else seen this?

So, I think the powder was fine. I think using the case lube is fine. I think probably all of the other rounds I loaded would have been fine. The primers were new and did send the bullet into the barrel. I think perhaps there was another contaminant in the case. Maybe water from the wet tumble? Although these dried in my dehumidifier for several hours, there may still have been water in a case. Never know, but I will check them better in the future.

While I was burning off the powder, I figured "might as well" get rid of a very old pound of Black powder. Nasty stuff that Black powder. My advise, burn in small quantities and use a 10 foot match.

Smokeless powder burns slow, but hot with a lot of flame. Black powder just pooooooooofs in all directions.

I've heard this can be used as fertilizer? Anyone know for sure? I have another pound, don't want this stuff in the house.
 

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It seems to me, especially after the tests you ran, that you likely either had insufficient powder, or you had a bad primer. Have you tested any of the primers after dumping the bullet and primer? That's kinda loud, but it would be interesting to see if primers were good. Then again, you could have just ran across the one primer or short powder charge in your entire load.

If you take a wood dowel with you to the range, you can try to clear a squib bullet from your barrel right there and then try to keep shooting. And yes, I've used dumped powder as fertilizer, just thrown it into the lawn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It seems to me, especially after the tests you ran, that you likely either had insufficient powder, or you had a bad primer. Have you tested any of the primers after dumping the bullet and primer? That's kinda loud, but it would be interesting to see if primers were good. Then again, you could have just ran across the one primer or short powder charge in your entire load.

If you take a wood dowel with you to the range, you can try to clear a squib bullet from your barrel right there and then try to keep shooting. And yes, I've used dumped powder as fertilizer, just thrown it into the lawn.
I have checked other primers from this batch. The first dozen or so, I pulled with the kinetic puller back when this first happened. All went bang. And it did pop when the squib happened.

There was a big chunk of crusted something, it was about the size of what should have been the powder charge. It looked like charred powder. This was Accurate #9, a slow burning large volume powder. I'm 99.9% sure there was powder in the case.

After today's experiments, I'm thinking the powder was contaminated with something. Every other case I pulled apart had a good volume of powder.
 

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Did a drop of sweat fall into the case while you were checking the powder drop?
 

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While I was burning off the powder, I figured "might as well" get rid of a very old pound of Black powder. Nasty stuff that Black powder. My advise, burn in small quantities and use a 10 foot match.

Smokeless powder burns slow, but hot with a lot of flame. Black powder just pooooooooofs in all directions.

I've heard this can be used as fertilizer? Anyone know for sure? I have another pound, don't want this stuff in the house.
Too bad it is illegal for you to ship it or I would be glad to take it off your hands for you.
My flare launchers, cannons and mortars are always hungry for black powder.
 

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About a month ago I loaded up a few 357mag from an old (20 plus years) pound of powder I had. I loaded up 5 rounds to see if the powder was still good (smelled good, looked good).
At home, the five I loaded all worked fine, so I loaded up another hundred or so more.

Off to the range, first shot out of the gate...squib. :(

What to do? I didn't want to pull bullets, but I really didn't want to pull squibs. (Ordered up a Hornandy cam lock bullet puller. Works great by the way.)
Today I pulled bullets. I wanted to see if the power burned, so after a dozen, outside I go. Powder burned fine.

Now I'm wondering why the squib. I use a case lube when loading, thought maybe that was the culprit. So pulled another 2 dozen. I spayed the rock I was burning powder on with case lube and let it dry, poured half the powder, then in a separate pile, I doused the powder with case lube. There didn't seem to be any difference in flame or heat from either pile.

The case that the squib came from, had a chunk of what looked like burnt powder, but it had all "welded" together. I've seen this before on yt videos. Anyone else seen this?

So, I think the powder was fine. I think using the case lube is fine. I think probably all of the other rounds I loaded would have been fine. The primers were new and did send the bullet into the barrel. I think perhaps there was another contaminant in the case. Maybe water from the wet tumble? Although these dried in my dehumidifier for several hours, there may still have been water in a case. Never know, but I will check them better in the future.

While I was burning off the powder, I figured "might as well" get rid of a very old pound of Black powder. Nasty stuff that Black powder. My advise, burn in small quantities and use a 10 foot match.

Smokeless powder burns slow, but hot with a lot of flame. Black powder just pooooooooofs in all directions.

I've heard this can be used as fertilizer? Anyone know for sure? I have another pound, don't want this stuff in the house.
ahhh???
don't you load on a progressive press?
how do you check/double check to make sure that you have powder in the case (every case?) just saying.
also powder makes a very good fertilizer, especially if you mix it with some sand or soil and spread it about in a fert spreader.
 

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With some slow burning powders if bullet isn't crimped tight enough to keep primer from unseating bullet powder may not burn. Problem is not with powder or primer. With crimp or case or both. Have dumped most of powder load from case when removing bullet. Worst was 45/70 BFR revolver with not enough crimp. Bullet stuck in forcing cone and cylinder chamber throat. First shot other 4 rounds still in cylinder.
 

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You say you wet tumble? Do you deprime before the wet tumble? I agree with your assessment that the powder got contaminated somehow, most likely water. It sure wouldn't take much.
 

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You say you wet tumble? Do you deprime before the wet tumble? I agree with your assessment that the powder got contaminated somehow, most likely water. It sure wouldn't take much.
Tend to agree as I had that happen to me once after wet tumbling. Bulled bullets and found 2 more with wet powder.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ahhh???
don't you load on a progressive press?
how do you check/double check to make sure that you have powder in the case (every case?) just saying.
also powder makes a very good fertilizer, especially if you mix it with some sand or soil and spread it about in a fert spreader.
I do use a progressive. The reason I switched to this older powder, is because of case capacity. 12 grains puts it up to where I can see it, yes every case gets an eyeball or two on it while I'm seating the bullet.

Having no powder in a case, does not explain what it was that was in the case. That's what got me thinking contamination of some kind, most probably water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You say you wet tumble? Do you deprime before the wet tumble? I agree with your assessment that the powder got contaminated somehow, most likely water. It sure wouldn't take much.
No, I don't deprime before wet tumbling.

I'll give all future wet tumbled runs more time to dry before loading. Most often, anything tumbled goes into a bin, to sit forever. These 357's were loaded within a day or so of tumbling.
 

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What powder were you loading?

All the Best,
D. White
 

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I deprime and wet tumble, then dry them with a towel to prevent water spotting and they sit in a flat colander with a fan and brooder light on the batch. With 2-3 hours I'll take a sampling of cases and rap them on a dry surface to see if there's still a drop of moisture in them. They go into some kind of plastic jug and aren't used for weeks or longer. I think being able to circulate air through the case mouth and flash hole helps dry out the inside base of the casing. (plus my primer cups are pretty and the new primer seats very well)

Added...why lube pistol cases? The only time I lube pistol cases is for depriming the larger caliber to speed up/smooth out the process and the lube gets washed off in the wet tumble.
 

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Well I am no help at all, as usual!
I still use the old fashioned dry media and tumbler, and an old antique Lee turret press, and load using the batch method and it takes a long time, But then I can't remember the last time I had a squib or needed to disassemble a bullet either.
whall ways me!!-----

we all have our better ways though!
 
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It just so happens that I'm in the middle of taking bullets apart 45 ACP's everything I have loaded was within specs. They just seem to shoot very hard I'm chalking it up as a learning experience I jumped ahead too far to fast but I figured it would be ok being within specs and I guess I could go ahead and shoot them but they are uncomfortable to me and I imagine they are beating the pistol up Another lesson learned
 

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It just so happens that I'm in the middle of taking bullets apart 45 ACP's everything I have loaded was within specs. They just seem to shoot very hard I'm chalking it up as a learning experience I jumped ahead too far to fast but I figured it would be ok being within specs and I guess I could go ahead and shoot them but they are uncomfortable to me and I imagine they are beating the pistol up Another lesson learned
As long as the pistol is rated for +P rounds, you're probably fine to shoot a couple of hundred down the pipe. However, if they hurt and serve no purpose (like a SD round), then pulling them for a softer, accurate round is a good idea I think.
 

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Well I am no help at all, as usual!
I still use the old fashioned dry media and tumbler, and an old antique Lee turret press, and load using the batch method and it takes a long time, But then I can't remember the last time I had a squib or needed to disassemble a bullet either.
whall ways me!!-----

we all have our better ways though!

I also use dry media and have never had a problem. If wet tumbling why not put them on a baking sheet and in the oven to dry the cases out? OP what kind of projectiles were you loading?
 

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It just so happens that I'm in the middle of taking bullets apart 45 ACP's everything I have loaded was within specs. They just seem to shoot very hard I'm chalking it up as a learning experience I jumped ahead too far to fast but I figured it would be ok being within specs and I guess I could go ahead and shoot them but they are uncomfortable to me and I imagine they are beating the pistol up Another lesson learned

well its your loads, your pistol (I assume) and your hands soo!
Personally I don't powder puff anything.
If I want to shoot a 22 or a 25 then I will shoot them, I want a 9, 38 Super, 10 MM 45 to feel somewhat like that caliber when I shoot it.
thats just me but that is why I buy a particular caliber, not to download it.
I have loaded light loads and lighter projectiles for a very few family and friends that had mostly 38 Snubby revolvers that had problems with recoil but I really don't load for others and I have no desire to shoot a down loaded caliber myself.
 

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I'm with you, olfarhors. I dry clean with a vibrating case cleaner. I don't want any water or similar liquid anywhere my powder reloading setup.
 

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No, I don't deprime before wet tumbling.

I'll give all future wet tumbled runs more time to dry before loading. Most often, anything tumbled goes into a bin, to sit forever. These 357's were loaded within a day or so of tumbling.
Yeup, same as happened to me when I wet tumbled to start. I didn't and don't pull primers before hand. I think there was water trapped in the spent primer and when I knocked it out whatever water was trapped got into the case. My guess from this is it doesn't take but a drop.

I suppose one could say I wet wash more than wet tumble. I have a square plastic jar that I use. It holds about 200 9mm easily so I put in the dish soap and Lemishine then drop in the brass and fill with hot water until the brass is covered. I then shake it by hand while surfing the auctions or forums. It's basically tumbling on itself. Then rinse well in hot water and then pour out on an old towel. From there it goes into an old toaster oven at 225* for 1/2 hour and then I leave it in until it's cool enough to pick up bare handed. After that I throw it in the dry tumbler for another hour. After this it should be clean and dry.
 
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