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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my first encounter with a squib load in my 454 Alaskan. 24grns of H110 and a 335 WFN sparked by a cci450 didnt turn out to be such a good load. That is the start load from Hodgdon but I guess it`s too lite...Here`s what happend. I put six in the cylinder and started fireing, first two shoots had very little reciol-like my trailboss 250fp loads. Third shoot was just a click, thats it. I thought it was just a misfire and fired the next shot and the gun recoiled so hard it come back and knocked my hat off, I guess 670grns @1100fps will do that! I looked over my gun real good and found no harm. I fired some other test ammo which all shot well and figured I`de try the same one again (a bit more carefull this time). This time first shoot, same lite recoil, second went click. I opended the cylinder to find a forcing cone packed full of H110, the bullet was stuck 1" down the tube. I checked the crimp even after the fired squib and they were all good. The powder worked fine on all other loads w/ cci450`s. What gives?
 

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That does sound like a load that may be light; and as others have said, light charges of H110 often produce squibs. However if you didn't see a quantity of unburned powder in your cylinder afterwards, there is a good chance that you may have had a load with no powder at all. The primer can push a bullet out of the case and into the barrel throat. Either way, firing a round with a plugged bore can be a memorable event.

I'm glad you and the revolver survived the incident without damage. This illustrates the basic concept that a "click" in a revolver, when you expect a "bang", should be treated as a squib load.

Those Super Redhawks are stout guns.
 

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It sounds to me like the classic H110 squib. Any load under the maximum charge can produce one - one of the reasons I don't use H110 (or W296, which is the same powder) in handguns.

If you want to keep using H110, up the charge directly to the maximum listed, use a firm crimp and a magnum primer, per the printed recipe. If you have any hint of a hang-fire or squib, do not fire again without checking the bore.
 

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Like Rocky says, anything less than about 5% under the maximum charge listed for H110 is just begging for a squib load. I learned that lesson with my 44Mag Contender. When I first got the gun I had never fired anything more powerful than a 38, so I was concerned about the recoil. I found out that going below the minimum load with H110/W296 isn't wise as those powders need a magnum primer, firm crimp and full charge to perform.

Based on the description you gave, my "burning" question (pun intended) is were these loads crimped well?
 

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The problem with H110/296 is that it is run on the bottom edge of the pressure needed for the powder to sustain burning in an oxygen-free atmosphere without extinguishing itself. I know that's counter-intuitive, as the powder supplies its own oxygen, but it turns out that with the strong deterrents used to slow the surface burn rates of spherical propellants, the heat can fail to disassemble the molecules to provide oxygen and fuel if the pressure is inadequate. In pressure too low, as when burning the stuff out in the open, there is dependence on oxygen from air to sustain the flame heat against the deterrents.

When the powder is made, the deterrent penetrates the surface, being more concentrated at the surface than deeper in the grains. Once you burn through the more concentrated surface deterrent this ceases to be an issue. The powder burn rate is then speeding up to maintain the powder's progressive burning characteristic despite shrinking surface area. Eventually, the grains get small enough that their lack of core deterrent can't make up for it, and the burn transitions to digressive burning. That usually happens just before the pressure peak. The weaker digressive burn and some powder thrown forward of the chamber are the smaller portions of the charge that continue burning past the pressure peak.

As near as I can tell from successful H110/296 loads, you need to reach about 25,000 psi and have the case over 85% full so the primer can pressurize it adequately, or both. Your load achieves neither minimum in QuickLOAD, being about 76% full and and running at about 20,500 psi.

I also note that Hodgdon uses a 335 gr. LFN GC rather than a WFN bullet. The greater length would help with case fill and pressure, but they don't say what their actual seating depth is to verify that? Some old manuals like the early Hornady Handbooks would give seating depth, but now you just get COL and no clue how deeply the bullet sits in the case? Not a lot of help figuring charges out.

In your shoes I would default to Alliant 2400 for the cast bullets. It's what Elmer Keith used to develop the .44 Magnum and works to lower pressures than the slow sphericals tend to. If you want to use H110/296 with cast bullets, I think you will have to creep the charges up, watching for pressure signs and leading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info. I should of started with a higher load but I thought more than min. would do me no good w/ a 2.5bbl. I got the H110 w/o thinking about it. I used the last of it on some 300gr XTP`s and I dont plan on useing it agian. 2400 sounds good and I`ll try it next time for the heavies.

About what happend, I did have a cone of H110 and all the rounds were heavy roll crimpped. The unburned powder was yellow at the front and normal at the base of the bullet. This was a very big lesson for me! I normally do check when it only goes click. I had a few misfires with other H110 loads and should of took the warning. This is a real defence gun and I got to have a load I can trust...

Do you think 2400 will do the trick w/ a snubby or will a fast powder make it go faster in your opinion. I`ve tried #7 and its a very high presure load but gets a 335wfp movin about 1300fps. I dont think I`de want to fire one if it was 90. Are any mag wheelgun powders singe based?
 

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H110/W296 are the only powders I've ever had any "issues" with. Reading some of the stuff on this forum, I can see that the problems were related to the standard practice of starting low, and working up.

I still like and use both powders, but I'm real careful to get close to 100% density with .357/.44Mag loads with heavy bullets.

If I want a modest, but not wimpy load, using lighter jacketed or cast bullets, I go for Herco. Those ancient flake powders from Bullseye to 2400, rarely pull any nasty tricks.
 
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