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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting Squib loads in .38, 148 LHBWC. I don't get them in 158 SWC.

I am using a Dillon SDB and the Lee Auto prime. (my primers seat better this way).

Load:
Fed. SP Mag. primers
WST 2.6 gr.
Precision Delta 148 gr LHBWC.
mostly Rem cases
Seated almost flush W/taper crimp.
I place the finished rounds in 50 rd. boxes with lead down. Of the first 5 rounds 3 were squibs. Out of the 50 rounds about 8 were squibs, 3 bullets cleared the muzzle and made it 25 ft. the rest lodged in the barrel. I also noticed my groups were string more vertical than normal.

Ideas?

The bullets are a bit sticky with lub and I was thinking the powder, with the lead facing down, was getting stuck in the cavity of the bullet and the primer was not igniting the powder.

I also noticed my groups were string more vertical than normal.

Next trip to the range I will load the rounds in the cylinder, and with the muzzle up, tap cylinder a few times to get the powder toward the primer end. I will also try some Berry's plated HBWC bullets. I may have to go to
Bullseye powder, but I have 3lbs of WST left.
 

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squid loads

if this was happing to me the first thing i d do is load some without the mag primer. this may be causing the base of the bullet to melt or at least get to hot. looked in all my loading books and material i have and i dont see and thing about using mag. primers with this setup. good luck.
 

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WST is slower burning than Bullseye and 2.7 grains of Bullseye is the classic HBWC load in the .38 Special. In my opinion your powder charge is too light. If you increase to 3.0 grains I'll bet you will get rid of both the squibs and the vertical stringing.
 

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squib .38s

i cant find any loading data for the 3.grs of WST the max is 2.8grs with std. primers NOT MAG primers. would this not spike the load and create over pressure on the gun. just a thought. i d be real careful about going past max, max is there for a reason.
 

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squib .38s

bent rod the max preeure for the.38 acc. to sammi is 18,900 the max pressure on the WST load at 2.8grs. is 16,000 using std. primers. using the mag primers you are spiking the pressires higher. now if you use the higher powder load you may very well cause damage to the gun and worst yet hurt some one around you upon shooting the over loaded gun. walk light and carry a big stick be good.
 

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IMO, you have two problems. One are those mag primers. The second is probably powder contamination. Stored nose down, your powder is in contact with what you described as "sticky with lube."

I'd bet that the bullets you tapped out of the bore had a gummy goo in the bases - which used to be the powder.
 

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The Winchester Powder Data Manual lists a recommended load of 2.8 grs. WST with the Hornady 148 gr. LHBWC bullet for 16,000 psi. This is a mild standard pressure load. It is not a maximum load as far as safe pressures are concerned, because with HBWC bullets the maximum load is usually determined by the performance characteristics of the bullet rather than maximum safe pressures. Before you reach an unsafe pressure, the bullets do weird things like expanding and/or blowing their skirts, and accuracy goes out the window.

I stand by my suggestion to increase the powder charge to eliminate the squib loads. Start at 2.8 grains and it would be OK to increase to 2.9 or 3.0 if the squibs continue. I have used 3.0 of Bullseye with a HBWC with no issues, and BE is a faster powder than WST. However, 3.0 of BE was not as accurate as 2.7. The key is to get consistent velocities of about 725-750 fps.

Your stuck bullets, vertical stringing and squibs are classic symptoms of too light a charge in the .38 Spl. It would be interesting to know what velocities you are getting with those bullets that do leave the barrel.

An increase of just 2 or 3 tenths of a grain can make a big difference in performance when dealing with such small charges.

Also, HBWC bullets are normally seated flush with the case mouth. If you are seating them out a bit, the increased powder space can contribute to squib loads. You could try reseating a few of your existing reloads flush and applying a medium roll crimp rather than a taper crimp. That might allow pressures to build to a more normal level and stop the squibs.
 

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squib .38s

WHB. i will give you that this is correct. my point is the man is working with MAG. primers not std. i know of no loads that rec. mag primers in a std. 38.spl. also i dont think that the make or modle of the .38 has been divulged so if it old and wont accept + p loads i d very leary.
 

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I certainly understand your concern about magnum primers and it would be nice under ideal conditions to try different primers for best results, but there are two reasons I am not concerned about the safety of using magnum primers in this instance.

First, the loads he is using (and that I suggested) are all mid range loads that do not approach +P pressures. Swtching primers in such loads is not an unsafe practice.

Second, nowadays some manufacturers (namely Winchester) produce only magnum-equivalent primers for use in pistols. The Winchester WSP and WLP primers are the only pistol primers they make these days that I am aware of and they are listed for standard or magnum pistol loads. I am not privy to the manufacturing details of either, but they are probably at least somewhat hotter than the old standard primers.

If we were talking about max or near max loads I would wholeheartedly endorse your sentiments.
 

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I don't think the taper crimp holds as tight as a roll crimp. Perhaps the magnum primers force the bullet out before the powder gets lit.
 

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What some of us are missing is directly related to what leadpot just said. (I should have elaborated on this earlier.)

The poster's first problem is magnum primer in a load with light, cast bullets. The primer alone is likely enough to unseat the bullet and propel it at least partway into the bore - and would do so even if there were NO powder in the case.

Secondly, there is that likely powder contamination issue I did discuss.

Result: All those loads are suffering from premature evacuation (snicker!) of the bullet, and inefficient or non-existent powder ignition.

Solution: change to standard (mild) primers and remove excess lube from the bullets, especially from the hollow base.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys,

More info: I am using a Ruger GP100, I also have a S&W 14 that I will use when I get this ironed out. I had trouble a while back with the same148 bullets load using standard Win primers.

I am using Mag primers because I could only get Mag at the time, but I do have reg primers. I have done some research on mag primers for the 38 spl, and have read good reviews, measured velocity was more constant and better groups. I still have 50 more of these rounds, so I will seat them a little deeper and apply a roll crimp. I would really like to safely use the mag primers, because I have a bunch. If I have to bump the load a little I will only use these in the Ruger GP 100.

I have fired 1,000 or more 158 P.D. SWC bullets and reg primers and taper crimp with no problems so I feel my loading procedures are OK
 

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well im aware what win. did and there primers for pistols from what ive read and been told are not as hot as mag primers from other manf. i still will stick with my guns on the flame front in the case melting or maybe making the base of the bullet very soft allowing the gases to get by the bullet to fast. also rocky has a point also but we will see what we will see. could be a combination of all the wrong this we have discused and they are all involved with what is happining
 

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You may have a problem of a low volume powder charge for the space available. This can contribute to some squib loads, large variations in velocities and poor accuracy.

I did some powder position testing recently using Rem. 1-1/2, Win. SPP and CCI 500 small pistol primers in a 6" 357 magnum.

When the powder was forward with Win. 231 the velocities were 100 to 150 fps slower than with Rem.1-1/2 or CCI 500. When powder was to the rear against the flash hole there was not much difference.

Even the Clays, AA 2, Titegroup and 700X had lower velocities with the powder forward, accuracy was worse and extreme spread figures were also much worse than the powder to the rear loads.

My conclusion of this test was, small volume powder charges in a large volume cartridge case is asking for poor to mediocre accuracy unless all shots are fired after pointing the muzzle vertical prior to firing. Also, some powders said to be "Less Position Sensitive" are still position sensitive, maybe not quite as much, but enough to be a concern.

Use of a somewhat slower powder or a larger volume powder that fills the available space better helps a lot.
 

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. . . I have fired 1,000 or more 158 P.D. SWC bullets and reg primers and taper crimp with no problems so I feel my loading procedures are OK
I roll crimp my 158 gr. LSWC bullets since they come with a crimp groove. What, may I ask, are P.D. SWC bullets? Are these jacketed?

I recall once getting a squib load in a .38 Special LHBWC bullet. My fault as I did not throw a powder charge. The primer drove the bullet just past the tip of the 4" barrel. The report sounded very mild so I stopped shooting. Drove out the bullet with a cleaning rod and later, reloaded and shot it. Worked fine the second time.
 
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