Sunday, August 5, 2007

On the importance of testing handloads

My supply of .45acp is running low. So low, in fact, that I'm starting to look sideways at my big box 'o ready to load .45 cases.

How big a box? Well.... it's actually a .30 caliber ammo can plus a two gallon glass jar.


Having such a nice batch of cases ready to go, a good bit of Berries plated bullets on hand, and the desire to try out a new powder in a big way....

Let the mating begin!

Uh.... the mating of components that is. What did you think I meant?

After setting up the progressive and dialing in all the bits, dits, and thingies I got everything humming. CCI-300 primers, 7.8 grains of Power Pistol, and Berries plated 200 grain flat points.

Away we go!

BUT..... that was too easy, wasn't it? I said I was trying a new powder, and that means everything is different. While my Colt would eat 6.0 of Winchester 231 all day long, how would it do with the considerably higher intensity Power Pistol?

I stopped the press at 100 rounds, and should have stopped at 50. That would have
been enough to test fire for issues. I'm glad I did!

Today I blasted through 50 rounds of the new stuff and picked up an issue right away.

I had dialed the bullet seating a bit deeper than usual, and function went out the window.
Fail to feed city.... but only with one magazine! That being the one and only super high quality Wilson super duper special magazine I own. The one that holds eight rounds in a standard package, and the one that lives in the Colt all day long.

Uh Oh Scooby.... not good.

The photos show the story
better than I can describe it.
Short round, different magazine lips, different presentation in the action,
all leading to a fail to feed.

The first photo shows a new round next to an older load that works 101% of the time.

The second shows the different presentation offered by a standard magazine and the Wilson eight round.

How do I fix it? Not hard, really. I'll bump out the over all length on the next 50 rounds about .040" and try another range test.

The other 50 rounds I loaded that are a bit short... those I'll reserve for practice in the standard magazines.

Lesson learned? Before cranking out 1000 rounds on the progressive machine, make SURE the load you are building will shoot well through your weapon!


Anonymous said...

Those "other" 50 rounds sound like good fodder for training. Mix them with rounds that feed well so you won't know what is going to happen (at the range, of course ;-) ).

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

I actually have some like that. Fully prepped cases with bullets seated, but no powder and no primer. They feed and function fine, but no bang. Mix a few in a bag of cartridges at the range, and get occasional fail-to-fire's. Good practice, and the total lack of a primer keeps them from getting mistaken as live rounds.