I was doing the TacShac club shoot this morning with a bunch of shooters that are quite a bit better than me. The first stage, although slow, had me happy at least … the second, not so much.
I was first on the line and about half-way through the 18 shot stage, the gun went pffft. Everyone shouted stop, so I did.
Bad squib, with the nose of the bullet prairie-dogging out the front of the barrel. With nothing to hold the barrel, I decided to “beat it back”. It went half way. And nothing further. Even with a really big hammer.
So I was on my way home with plans of bigger hammers, drills and vices when a real expert (I’m not kidding here) took one of my rounds, removed the bullet and put in just enough tissue paper to hold the powder inside the case. He then “loaded” this case into the barrel, pulled the trigger and off the bullet went. Look, I would not recommend doing anything of the sort and or getting a squib at all. But I certainly learnt something today.
So three out of a hundred stuck in the tube is unacceptable in any shooters book, even while shooting Diplopoint. I pack up and go home, rather despondent.
After sitting and moping and reading a lot about squibs on the interconnected webs, I remember the flakes of powder spilling. So I spend some time looking at the press. And, lo and behold, there is the problem.
I did not screw in the powder-through die properly when I replaced it on the .45 turret head. Which lead to the disk not moving forward completely … which still saw powder drop in almost all of the cases. But in about 3%, not enough came through to get the bullet through the barrel.
Setting up the die, properly, fixed the issue. No more powder flakes on the bench, no more squibs. Happy shooter? Not quite. I still get two or more light strikes every 100 shots.
I am not closer to solving that issue, but I’ll be sure to write about it when I do.
As I’ve said somewhere else on the blog, the month of May is busy for South African IDPA shooters. League upon league and there is even a classifier or two to keep the bunch honest before the first big match of the year in June.
I roll my own and decide that, with a few public holidays in hand, I’d try to move ahead of the pack and fill a few ammo boxes … a grand and noble idea, one could say. But, before I can start, I need to take the hopper off the 9mm turret head (I needed a few rounds for Steel Challenge) and put it back on the .45ACP setup.
Reloading is not new to me anymore and I find it rather tedious, to be honest. I use the Lee Classic Turret. It does all it promises to do and more, but I can only do about 200 rounds in an hour while keeping my concentration. As you will see in Part 2, “my concentration” is relative anyway. This time the press spills a few flecks of powder per round. It bothers me, but not so much that I stop.
My process is to check the powder in every 20 or 30 rounds or so. It looks OK, I don’t weigh it and I load up around 400. And I cart off about 100 of those to the range to chrony and for some accuracy practice. Which is also good!
At around the 3rd shot, the report and recoil is less than expected. Much less. So I rip out the barrel and have a look. No squib. Reassemble and shooting again. Two shots later. No report, no recoil. I rip out the barrel and there it is. No sunshine coming through! The squib is about halfway down, another round would easily chamber but fortunately the slide did not have enough momentum to grab another round from the magazine. I remove the squib, thinking I’ve made a mistake … first time ever in .45ACP … and surely it cannot happen again.
In shooting out the rest of the 100 rounds, I have “light” shots at a ratio of about two in 10. I have three more squibs! Something is really, really wrong …