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Thread: My guns refuse to shoot reloads...

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran Verd's Avatar
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    My guns refuse to shoot reloads...

    I have a Sig Pro sp2022 9mm and a Ruger p95 9mm.

    My father-in-law does his own reloads. They work in all of his guns, including his Sig and his Ruger (different calibers and types, but still, same company), but when we tried to shoot his reloads with mine, the casing always is slow to eject, making it get caught up in the slide and keeping it open.

    Now, the guns are relatively new, not quite 500 rounds through them each, but close. The guns both shoot different home defense rounds perfectly, and shoot Federal ammo like a kid eating halloween candy.

    To top it off, my FIL brought out a number of reloads, each with different powder amounts and even ones with the same powder ammounts as the Federals... but nada.

    Anyone have any ideas on what is up with this? I mean, according to people I've talked to, both of those guns should be more than willing to shoot any 9mm bullet I put in it, reloads or factory.
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  2. #2
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    I run reloads through my firearms and have found every firearm likes different reloads. The best way is to see if the casings have been roll crimped like factory loads or if the bullet is just pushed in. Also some powders burn different in all loads.

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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    You'll have to take a very close look at the rounds and compare them to factory loads that do work your Sig. Take a micrometer and measure every external dimension (case length, case diameter, round length, rim diameter, mouth diameter-everything) and see if there is a discrepancy, and then look up the dimensions for 9mm and see how much his reloads deviate from the minimums and maximums. Check for a crimp at the end of the case (or the lack of, or the opposite of a crimp-a flare).

    You'd be amazed at the microscopic differences in dimensions that can throw off the feeding and ejecting of a cartridge-especially for an automatic pistol. I shoot reloads in my .270 almost exclusively and it seems like about once every couple of boxes I'll run into a case that is thousandths of an inch too long, and I can tell by how hard it is to close the bolt. Now if I can tell a difference in my bolt action, just imagine what kind of effect that can have on a semi-auto.

    My guess is that either their rounds are either bigger or smaller than most factory rounds. If nothing is different, I guess you just have a very picky gun lol
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    Sometimes its just a tiny thing that will mess you up with reloads.
    For my auto's I use a taper crimp, make sure the full length resizer
    is sizing the cases all the way. Measure a fired factory shell and a reload
    empty. The only time I had problems with reloads is when I screwed up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verd View Post
    To top it off, my FIL brought out a number of reloads, each with different powder amounts and even ones with the same powder ammounts as the Federals... but nada.

    And, it's the exact same powder as the Federal ammo? Because they very probably use some proprietary powder you or your father in law will never get your hands on. That's not how reloading works. You can't just willy-nilly say this factory case had 6.5 grains of powder, we'll just put 6.5 grains of whatever powder in, and expect it to work--or worse, not blow your gun and your hand up, and spray your face with shrapnel.

    There's a thousand different powders with different characteristics and some of those have overlapping uses, and if you go by the book, you'll probably have good results.

    Chances are that if the rounds feed into your gun and don't obviously hang up, there's insufficient energy to push the back with enough velocity to reliably operate. You can use your field stripped barrel as a makeshift chamber checker for your ammo: if a cartridge falls in smoothly and doesn't extend past the breech-facing locking surfaces, it'll probably feed OK.

    If the fired cases are more noticeably fouled on the outside than factory ammo, that also indicates a light powder charge, since the pressure isn't sufficient to seal the case to the chamber, and you get gasses blowing back. Why would his guns feed it and yours won't? They probably have recoil springs which should be replaced, or he has a more reasonable powder charge.

    I don't pretend to know how regimented and by-the-book your FIL is, but it doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing.
    Last edited by CO-Joe; 10-02-2011 at 04:23 PM. Reason: edit

  6. #6
    Regular Member RPGamingGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verd
    My father-in-law does his own reloads. They work in all of his guns, including his Sig and his Ruger
    Quote Originally Posted by CO-Joe
    I don't pretend to know how regimented and by-the-book your FIL is, but it doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing.
    I happen to know the guy (he's my dad), and while it's completely possible, he's been doing reloads for several of his gun nut pals and contacts, as well as my uncle and some of his law enforcement friends (for their personal weapons, of course). No one else is misfiring or having trouble ejecting brass, so that leads me to believe it's something unique to the Sig SP 2022 and Ruger P95, or at least our particular guns. I suppose he could have just gotten 'lucky' before, but that seems unlikely to me. If that's the case, i need to take the guy to Vegas.

  7. #7
    Regular Member steelhawk's Avatar
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    I had been reloading 9mm for years, never having a problem in my BDM. I went shooting with my son-in-law one day. He ran out so I gave him some of my reloads. They wouldn't work in his gun. FTEs, if I remember right.

    I figured out that my taper crimp didn't go far enough down. When I adjusted the die, and re-crimped them, he was able to shoot my reloads.

    I don't know if this is a cause of your problems, but it solved mine.

    Maybe your pistol has a "reload detector" installed. See if removing it solves the problem.
    Last edited by steelhawk; 10-06-2011 at 09:02 PM.

  8. #8
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    as before mentioned it could be the way the bullet is seated "crimped or pressed" . also could be a slow flash primer, or the load is to weak.

    the reason i say that is i've seen factory loads FTE due to weak primers, that dont ignite fast enough, and cause a bad burn, also have seen bad powder not burn too quick. also as i said it can do with load size. you said the firearms are relatively new. if your fathers weapons and friends weapons are used more. the recoil springs may be weaker, and a newer firearm may be a lot stronger, needing a bit more powder to give enough force to eject the round. i would try a few grains higher on the loads *load it to the maximum reccomended for the shell/your weapons recomendation* and try that. good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelhawk View Post
    I had been reloading 9mm for years, never having a problem in my BDM. I went shooting with my son-in-law one day. He ran out so I gave him some of my reloads. They wouldn't work in his gun. FTEs, if I remember right.

    I figured out that my taper crimp didn't go far enough down. When I adjusted the die, and re-crimped them, he was able to shoot my reloads.
    If there's a crimp issue so strong that it creates problems, the usual culprit is that the case will only go so far into a chamber, and lock the gun up good and tight, and you'll have to gorilla the slide back. At least, that's my experience--I first learned that one with an XDM 45, which apparently has a tighter chamber than my 1911s, or Glock 21, which all worked well. My loads locked the XDM up, though... and it was a bastard to get the case out, which is kind of intimidating when you've got a loaded cartridge in a gun that won't fire, and you can't take it apart until you get it to rack!

    RPGamingGirl, Verd... I have an SP2022 9mm also, and truth be told, it's probably the most forgiving firearm I've ever found, when it comes to handloads. My advice is this: ask your dad / FIL exactly what recipe he used. Powder/powder charge weight/bullet weight and manufacturer/primer/overall length. All of these things can have important effects on how a load works. Compare it to known load data (most powder makers have free data on the net) or post it here.

    Without knowing specifics, there simply is no diagnosing the issue. Also, has he chronorgraphed the loads, and if so, what were the results?

  10. #10
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Few semi-autos can shoot anything you feed it. The Berettas we used for periodic qualification in the military were the same as our carry weapons, though they weren't kept in anywhere near as good of shape. I don't think our carry weapons had been fired more than 100 times. The practice/qual guns look liked they'd been fired 10,000 times or more. Sometimes they had difficulty handling the standard NATO ball ammo we'd feed it, though most of that I suspect was because of their poor condition + we'd use the worst of whatever they had on hand for target practice and qualifications. My Walther .380 ACP hated anything with an aluminum casing, and my CZ 85 B doesn't particularly like either Al or steel casing, either. Brass has an inherent self-lubricating quality when used in steel firearms, and it's also easier on the steel parts handling the brass.

    I've not had a single feed/eject problem with any of the thousands of factory brass-cased ball (FMJ) ammo I've fed it. I've also fed about 100 rounds of Winchester Black Talon, Silvertips, and Ranger SXT through it without a single problem. I also shot perhaps 500 rounds of Black Talon and Silvertips through my cantankerous Walther .380 ACP without any issues, either.

    So, for target shooting, any factory-loaded, brass-cased ball ammo works fine. Lead might be slightly easier on the barrel, but I'm not a fan of fighting lead fouling. For carry in cold weather or the woods, I always use 147-gr Winchester SXTs due to their better penetration power. Think "leather jacket." Whether on a bear or a human, I don't want thick or multiple layers of leather to be a show-stopper, particularly when they're supported by additional layers of nylon, wool, or other fiber. For warmer weather I use 115-gr Silvertips for their superior velocity, lower penetration, yet high impact.

    I bought 100 reloads once: 3 of the 100 miss-fed, and one failed to fire altogether. I've also shot about 1,000 reloads made by guys who really knew what they were doing, and some of them didn't work well, either. That was enough to convince me that factory ammo is the way to go, unless you either have a great reloading setup and really know what you're doing, or you shoot a lot, need to save money, and don't mind the occasional feed/eject jam or misfire.
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    Campaign Veteran Verd's Avatar
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    Well, I looked around a bit more and picked up a solid metal spring rod for the sp2022, which should help it. I also talked to my FIL and he said that he only brought light reloads with him because he is trying to find the lightest loads that my wife can shoot without getting too strong of a recoil. Now, not to say that she can't shoot her dad's 1911's .45's, it's just that she can't shoot all day long like he and I can. Hence why he is looking for a lighter load that she can shoot more comfortably. Unfortunatly, the lighter the load, the more chance of our guns doing what they were doing. He's going to bring over some full strength and some hot rounds soon.
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    This might be a bit of an over-simplification, so expert reloaders please forgive me.

    When a round is fired, the case stretches until it touches the walls of the firing chamber. Once the bullet leaves the barrel the pressure drops and the case contracts a bit and the empty case is extracted and ejected. The diameter of the fired case is a tiny bit more than the diameter of the original unfired case. The reloader should perform a sizing operation to compress or squeeze the case back to a smaller nominal size, with a tolerance of plus or minus some small amount. Barrels are manufactured with a nominal diameter firing chamber, plus or minus a tolerance, and are designed to accept ammo that has a case that is properly sized to *its* nominal diameter. If the case isn't the proper diameter, whether due to a sizing operation problem or a crimp problem as other posters have noted, the round might work in some barrels that have a firing chamber diameter on the large end of the tolerance, but not feed or eject ammo from a barrel that has a firing chamber on the low end of the tolerance.

    What I think is happening in your situation is your FIL's guns have firing chambers with diameters large enough to cycle the ammo, but your guns have firing chambers that are smaller, but probably still within spec. The key to the problem are the statements you made regarding your guns that "...the casing always is slow to eject..." and "They work in all of his guns...", referring to your FIL's guns. The friction between the too-large case and your gun's firing chamber is slowing the extraction process and causing the rounds to extract poorly or not at all. If the diameter of the reloaded ammo was correct, it wouldn't offer much resistance during extraction. Could be your guns have smaller firing chambers because your guns are newer. Or perhaps its just the way your barrels were made. Who knows? Tiny differences in the diameters of the ammo and firing chamber make all the difference. The problem is highly unlikely to be with your guns. Its not likely to be the recoil spring, not the magazine spring, not the charge (amount of power in the case), not lubrication. The problem is almost surely with the size of the reloaded ammo. In other words, the ammo is the problem, not your guns.

    You could measure your reloaded ammo with a micrometer, or you could simply remove the barrel from your gun and drop ammo into the firing chamber one round at a time. You're basically using your barrel as the measuring device or gauge to screen the ammo. If a round drops in and falls out easily, with no force applied other than gravity, it will probably function in the gun. If a round doesn't drop in and out freely, without being pushed or pulled, don't use it in that gun. It might work just fine in another gun of the same caliber (like all of your FIL's guns). I'd bet that rounds that are tight in your barrels fall easily in and out of your FIL's guns.

    I once had problems with a SIG P239 that wouldn't reliably eject commercial reloads. Same ammo worked fine in *every other* 9mm gun I had. Come to find out, the ammo wasn't properly sized during the reloading process. The P239 had a barrel with a firing chamber diameter on the low end of the tolerance, but still within spec (probably the same as your situation.) The reloaded ammo had several rounds per box that were larger in diameter than the high end tolerance for that caliber. Those rounds were unquestionably out of spec (too big) and shouldn't have passed the reloader's quality control checks and made their way into the box in the first place. When I showed the problem to the owner of the reloading company, he was both dumbfounded and perplexed, but admitted the error and gave me several free boxes for my trouble. And yes, I stood there and dropped every round into my barrel until I had the requisite number of full boxes containing rounds that freely dropped in and out.

    Eventually, I found another solution: I stopped using reloads. I've found that factory ammo is made to far more exacting tolerances than reloads. I'm going to use factory JHP ammo for self defense anyway, so why not practice with factory FMJ of the same bullet weight?
    Last edited by markand; 10-18-2011 at 12:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verd View Post
    Well, I looked around a bit more and picked up a solid metal spring rod for the sp2022, which should help it. I also talked to my FIL and he said that he only brought light reloads with him because he is trying to find the lightest loads that my wife can shoot without getting too strong of a recoil. Now, not to say that she can't shoot her dad's 1911's .45's, it's just that she can't shoot all day long like he and I can. Hence why he is looking for a lighter load that she can shoot more comfortably. Unfortunatly, the lighter the load, the more chance of our guns doing what they were doing. He's going to bring over some full strength and some hot rounds soon.
    The metal guide rod is utterly unnecessary in the SigPro. Mine has thousands of rounds through it, and it doesn't show wear beyond being slightly more matte in some areas. If there were much of any friction there at all to hold up the slide, it'd be shredded to bits. I'll bet the more reasonably loaded rounds will work just fine. Mouse-fart loads are just fine in revolvers, but as you found out, they aren't desirable in an auto-loader, which by its very nature has a relatively fine envelope where it either works good, doesn't work, or beats itself up.

    Here's another problem with mouse-fart loads: It's a damn good idea to train with what you'll use in a defensive situation. So, you've got your wife all used to weak ammo, but you'll load it up with (high performance) hollowpoints, right? Now, it's a different animal which barks, bites and moves around quite unfamiliar. When I load, I try to match the ballistics of whatever ammo I'll be using when it counts, so that the gun and I will work as much the same as possible as when I train.

  14. #14
    Campaign Veteran Verd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CO-Joe View Post
    The metal guide rod is utterly unnecessary in the SigPro. Mine has thousands of rounds through it, and it doesn't show wear beyond being slightly more matte in some areas. If there were much of any friction there at all to hold up the slide, it'd be shredded to bits. I'll bet the more reasonably loaded rounds will work just fine. Mouse-fart loads are just fine in revolvers, but as you found out, they aren't desirable in an auto-loader, which by its very nature has a relatively fine envelope where it either works good, doesn't work, or beats itself up.

    Here's another problem with mouse-fart loads: It's a damn good idea to train with what you'll use in a defensive situation. So, you've got your wife all used to weak ammo, but you'll load it up with (high performance) hollowpoints, right? Now, it's a different animal which barks, bites and moves around quite unfamiliar. When I load, I try to match the ballistics of whatever ammo I'll be using when it counts, so that the gun and I will work as much the same as possible as when I train.
    No, the plastic guide rod in her gun, which has seen less than 500 rounds, is already getting rather worn, with some ridges and slices in the plastic. Hence the metal guide rod. Plus, now that she has it, it gives the gun just a tiny bit more weight on the front end, which my wife says feels that much better for her.

    As far as the loads... I agree with you. I want my wife to shoot what we will be shooting to defend ourselves. However, my FIL really REALLY wants to be able to make us reloads in 9mm that our guns can comfortably shoot. While I disagree with him on having my wife shoot lighter loads, I do agree with him on the fact that if our guns were able to shoot his reloads, we could shoot our guns that much more for that much cheaper.
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    Founder's Club Member ixtow's Avatar
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    Most reloaders do so because they're saving money. So, they tend to load light.

    Most guns with aluminum frames have heavy recoil springs, because they're aluminum and the MFRs don't want them beat apart and have warranty issues.

    It makes for a tough combination sometimes.

    Chrono the reloads? At 50yds, I can actually SEE my bullets out of my 1911... :-p They are VERY subsonic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemo View Post
    I run reloads through my firearms and have found every firearm likes different reloads. The best way is to see if the casings have been roll crimped like factory loads or if the bullet is just pushed in. Also some powders burn different in all loads.
    Just to clarify, autos do not like a roll crimp, they like a taper crimp. A roll crimp will allow the case mouth to much forward movement. The taper crimp rests the end of the case mouth agianst the end of the chamber. Head space it is called.

    Roll crimps are used in wheel guns and rifles in general.
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