What type of malfunction is this - when bullet doesnt eject

Senor_Barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    Hoping someone here can identify and educate me on a recent issue I've had with my handloading and, in doing so, prove to myself and my range buddies that I'm not crazy.

    What's happened?
    I load a cartridge into the chamber, bolt locks closed, everything feeds as normal.
    Then...
    Press the trigger, hammer strikes primer, I hear the click, but round does not fire.
    So...I eject the round

    Possible explanation the first time?

    The first time this happened one of my more-experienced buddies thought it could be a bad primer. But these were "newish CCI 200" from last year and stored adequately

    Another buddy thought maybe that the hammer didn't strike the primer hard enough or was seated improperly in the pocket

    The last guy thought I just forgot to load powder in the brass because he looked at my primers and all seemed good. I didnt want to believe that I would forget powder. Im positive I reloaded each round correctly.

    The second time...
    Fast forward to this afternoon and this happens again. Press the trigger I hear a click but bullet doesn't fire. This time I was smart enough to take the cartridges home with me and try to pull the bullet with the bullet-puller hammer.

    **Pictures of bullets and primers below**

    I was very nervous that maybe my friend was right and I did forget to put powder in it. And, by the coloring of the bullets I pulled it looks like there was "something" in the cartridge to discolor the bullets as they were seated. Is that primer dust or powder dust...

    My questions
    1) Any guesses why this could be happening?
    either the explanations above or others? How you I go about troubleshooting?

    2) Can the primer ignite the powder but the bullet fails to fire? If in some crazy world that is possible what happens to the powder it as it is burned off....and....how is that at all possible?

    I've done as much internet searching as I can but I don't know what this type of malfunction would be called. I've seen some mention of a "squib", but my bullets fail to even eject.

    Maybe I just have improper reloading management and I am forgetting to put powder in my brass...but I just struggle to believe I could be so careless. If you knew me...and my OCD...you'd understand why.

    Thanks in advance for any education you can lay on me!

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    rustyinbend

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    When you opened the cartridge ... what was inside? Was there a bunch of "gook" that would indicate residually burned powder, or was it basically empty? If residual ... I'd worry about powder quality that "fizzled" but didn't actually explode. If nothing (empty cartridge) ... I'd suspect you forgot the powder. Just thinking out loud ...
     

    BillyNg

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    What I don't understand is the "click". When you pop a primer its loud, like, radio is turned way up kinda loud. Whereas the "click" of a trigger is nothing.

    Op, did you hear a trigger "click", like dry fire, or did you hear a distinctive POP (but not a BOOM obviously). If pop, consider yourself lucky that the primer didn't have enough juice to lodge the bullet(s) into the barrel. If it had, and you sent a live one to follow, you'd be in for a world of hurt.
     

    Jack's Dad

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    I forget to load powder one time but the primer still drove the bullet out of the barrel. Barely.
     
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    Senor_Barney

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    When you opened the cartridge ... what was inside? Was there a bunch of "gook" that would indicate residually burned powder, or was it basically empty? If residual ... I'd worry about powder quality that "fizzled" but didn't actually explode. If nothing (empty cartridge) ... I'd suspect you forgot the powder. Just thinking out loud ...
    The cartridge on the right is a primed, unfired round i am about to reload. You can see the clean yellow brass inside. The cartridge on the left was one of the problem rounds. Its dark inside and you can see the powder residue i swabbed from the brass walls on the cotton swab.

    Definitely could be primer powder popping. Not only is that just embarrassing because it means I didn't load the cartridge, but it's somewhat puzzling because that primer hole is so small in these cartridges.

    I store the H4350 in my garage and only pour into the RCBS what I think ill use for the loading session. Is it advised not to leave powner in the dispenser?

    I guess my garage can fluctuate from 70-80f at times...

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    Senor_Barney

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    What I don't understand is the "click". When you pop a primer its loud, like, radio is turned way up kinda loud. Whereas the "click" of a trigger is nothing.

    Op, did you hear a trigger "click", like dry fire, or did you hear a distinctive POP (but not a BOOM obviously). If pop, consider yourself lucky that the primer didn't have enough juice to lodge the bullet(s) into the barrel. If it had, and you sent a live one to follow, you'd be in for a world of hurt.
    I did here a distinct "click" just like a dry fire. It was so unmistakable that i actually thought I had forgotten to chamber a round.
     

    FCS

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    No powder in those cases.

    Those who have done it.
    Those who will do it.
    Those who will do it again.

    Easy to have happen.
    One thing out of sequence, one distraction and get a case or two w/o powder.

    Once your OCD gets to CDO, probably won’t happen again. 🤣
     
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    Carlos Danger

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    I did here a distinct "click" just like a dry fire. It was so unmistakable that i actually thought I had forgotten to chamber a round.
    Since the bullet never left the case, you hear nothing. The black residual is from the primer igniting. Has happened to me once or twice. Be thankful the primer didn't jam the bullet into the lands.
     

    patriotnation

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    I store the H4350 in my garage and only pour into the RCBS what I think ill use for the loading session. Is it advised not to leave powner in the dispenser?

    I guess my garage can fluctuate from 70-80f at times

    View attachment 7713420View attachment 7713422
    So are you asking if it is ok to leave powder in your RCBS for days or weeks? Or an hour or 2?
    Always put it back in the sealed container when done reloading. Humidity has a big effect on weight of powder.

    that residue looks to me like primer pop with no powder. It happened to me recently and I am lucky as hell because the bullet jammed the throat. I thought back in my reloading and I had spilt a case then got a double, so somehow I wound up skipping one. That is all it takes. I try to eyeball each one before seating but I seat as I go instead of waiting to fill 100 cases then seat.
     

    Huskydriver

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    Since the bullet never left the case, you hear nothing. The black residual is from the primer igniting. Has happened to me once or twice. Be thankful the primer didn't jam the bullet into the lands.

    Yup seen a guy blow up a pistol this way with a squib.....
     
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    Doom

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    No powder and you are very lucky this did not turn into a squib load. You didn’t mention if you are single round reloading or using a progressive press. Unfortunately it seems obvious that your Quality Control system needs some attention. Every cartridge should be inspected for powder separate from the powder drop prior to bullet seating. On a single stage this is easy to do when placing the case in the shell holder. On a progressive for rifle cartridges, the easiest verification is to weigh the completed cartridge. I always weigh my AR reloads to verify the presence of powder.

    As for sound, most of the noise that you will here escapes from the muzzle. If the bullets remains in the case it possible the primer pop won’t be heard, especially with hearing protection in place.
     
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    DownhillFromHere

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    Since the bullet never left the case, you hear nothing. The black residual is from the primer igniting. Has happened to me once or twice. Be thankful the primer didn't jam the bullet into the lands.
    This 👆👆👆. Been there done that. It is surprising that one hears nothing but the action click, but the black residue on the bullet base tells the tale. I had a hard time believing I didn't drop powder into cases and that I couldn't hear the primer fire... but live & learn.

    So now my reloading process involves:
    1. putting primed cases neck down / head up in the trays, where I can easily see that every one is primed;
    2. after powder is dropped, obviously the case is neck up in the tray;
    3. after I'm done, I use the flashlight on my phone to verify there is powder in every case.
    Once or twice in every few hundred rounds, I find one empty. Not so much anymore since I added the above steps. Howinell it happens, I don't know, but it does, because, after over 50 years of handloading, I find few things more mind-numbing.

    The danger of squib loads is very real. Even in competition, where there might be time to salvage at least a few points after a failure to fire, I stop because I'm going to visually verify the bore is clear before I chamber another round in that firearm. A buddy of mine destroyed an expensive PCC in a match when he had a what he thought was a FTF, racked in another round... and bang, the magazine was blown out and the upper was clearly bulged because of the bullet in the barrel. At least he wasn't physically hurt.

    In my skeet-shooting days, no-powder loads manifested with the big shotshell primers launching the shot column 20-30 feet out of the muzzle. Wad may or may not clear the bore. One guy had such a load, checked his bore, saw the wad still in it, and walked to the end of the between-fields wall where 3/8" dowels were kept to push out stuck shells or wads. A few seconds later, he disappeared around the wall... looking for a missing dowel?... then, BOOM. Squad members ran around the wall to find the guy standing there, very shaken, holding his grandfather's L.C. Smith double with one barrel split in the cartoonish banana peel pattern. He couldn't find the dowel so he decided to just shoot the wad out with a live shell....
     

    Dave62677

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    I usually prime all the cases, drop the charge then seat the bullet right after.
     

    2aBaC̶a̶

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    Just had my first no powder over the weekend. Only way I knew was that the next round wouldn't chamber because there was a bullet stuck in the lands (luckily)

    Shit happens. Check your barrel for a squib.
     

    wadebrown

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    I have a narrow field high intensity light on my reloading bench that I turn on after I have charged (or think I have) all the cases. I shine the light straight down and then go through the charged loads on the rack and touch each one and look down into the case, the light allows me to see the powder kernels if there is any in the case. I hand trickle each charge so I do not have to worry about my thrower throwing a light load, but the light would also allow me to see if I threw a light load.

    It works for me, we all need to find a system that works for them no "one size fits all" life just ain't that easy we all need to try things make mistakes learn from the mistakes and others improve, rinse and repeat. Enjoy the journey.
     

    Jmkjr87

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    Yea you didn't fill the case with powder and just had the primer pop, which is quiet because the bullet didn't leave the case. When making your own ammo, you have a round that doesn't go off you mark it some how and bring it home to inspect why, always. And whenever you have a fail to fire, when you eject that round you make sure the bullet comes out also or that's a squib load and a bad day. Doesn't matter if it's competion or hunting you make sure because it can fuck you up or kill you. Or at the very least destroy your gun. Smarten up at the reloading bench and make sure those cases are filled. If your unsure after setting a bullet shake em and listen for the powder.
     
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    6.5SH

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    Build the habits now. If you are using a block examine every case with good lighting.
    If using a press mounted measure use a good light:

    In my younger years the overhead lights were enough and could put out 100 rounds an hour and still looked in every single case to see there was powder and a fill level that was acceptable. There is no need to go balls to the wall.
     

    John Glidewell

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    I always look in cases with flashlight before seating bullets.

    I watched a well known shooter have a bunch of rounds he did not drop powder in. Click. Ejects and shakes, yup, no powder. Loads another one, same thing. 3 times a charm, not this time lol. It was funny to watch, we all laughed at him. He at least had a sense of humor about it.
     

    r.tenorio671

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    ...if you are as OCD as you stated, you can also take a verified loaded round, weigh it and note the weigh it. After you have your loading tray full of loaded rounds, you can then weigh each round and see if they all fall into an acceptable range. Any empty cartridge will be obvious.

    ...an alternate method is weigh the primer, casing and bullet (unassembled) and note their combined weight (just put them all in the scale pan). When you weigh your completed rounds, an empty one will be obvious. Using the same brand of brass gives better numbers, a mix-mash of brass can give wide variations, conduct the testing with ALL brands of brass to be used in that loading session, you can still use the average of those numbers to identify an empty.

    ...the type of press in use (single -vs- progressive) will be a consideration for the verification method you find that works for you.

    ...it may be advantageous to set your press height so that you can look down into your casings as you cycle thru your loading.
     

    zeroz

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    Another member joins the club!
    The couple times Ive done it I've been lucky that the bullet didn't leave the case. As stated above but worth stating again, always do a full autopsy on any failed ammo you loaded.
     

    bax

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    You need a flashlight if the load factor is small - case only a third full or some such. If you use a large load factor (say 80-90%) , it is easy to see the powder level in the case since it is nearly up to the neck. A decent overhead light will do. Another advantage of large load factor - you can't throw two charges into that case - they won't fit. If you try, it makes a mess - God reminding you to pay attention.

    When loading precision ammo, I usually charge a 50-round loading block, inspect the powder level, then seat bullets. After seating the first one, I check that it will fit into my magazine. I do not charge cases then leave them for later. In my new favorite shooter, if it fits in the mag, it cannot be touching the lands so I don't have to check that. When I am finished, I dump unused powder back into the jug and clean up - no powder on the bench or in the auto-flinger.