I Shot Through a Squib

For all of you that have been here before me:

I will be attending my class to qualify for a Georgia Concealed Carry License soon. Would you suggest taking your own pistol to class for use at the required range time, or waiting until after the class to choose a pistol for everyday carry? I already own a Citadel .45 full size, and this is what I would take to class.

I was raised shooting rifles and shotguns, and these skills are kept current. But I am relatively new to pistols. I have found I have a long way to go before I will be considered a real marksman with a pistol. I need to make more time for the practice range. A course is also in mind for the near future.

In the current issue of Shooting Times there is an interesting article on the nuances of reloading the .45 auto.

It speaks of using the correct propellant, and the challenges of different shaped projectiles and feeding problems associated with those. The article mentions that the loader should check the case length as repeated reloading of the case will result in the shortening of the case. For the 1911’s that I reload for, I know that OAL is critical to reliable feeding, but I haven’t thought too much about case length.

I’ve only been reloading for about a year and a half but during that time I’ve reloaded several thousand .45’s .40’s and 9mm rounds and have not noticed this being an issue. For the more experienced reloaders, has anyone noticed case shortening on the .45 and is it really an issue? And if so, how many times would you need to reload the case before it becomes a problem?

On a related issue, I am going to begin reloading the .223…are there any snags, pitfalls that are associated with reloading the .223?

How about any other round that you now load or have loaded that present certain challenges? Could you please bring up the problem and a solution for it that works for you?

(From the CCR Editor: A squib round is a fired round that does not have enough of a propellant charge or no propellant charge to get the bullet to exit the barrel. Some squibs are just the primer acting to push the bullet into the barrel. Shooting again with a bullet stuck in the barrel can cause a catastrophic failure capable of causing serious injury and even the death of the shooter.)

After all of these years of shooting, I finally had a “Squib” load rear its ugly head.

Last Saturday, I was running some tests on my Ruger 22 Charger. One round of Fiocchi 38-grain 22HVCHP seemed a little off from the shots fired previously but there was still a light recoil and not just the sound of a primer. I went ahead and shot some more with no problem. In all, I fired 50-rounds of Fiocchi, 100-rounds of CCI Blazer, and 100-rounds of CCI Mini Mag.

As I usually do, I ran a bore-snake through the barrel right after firing while the barrel was still warm. When I got home and tore the Charger down for a more thorough cleaning, I could see a dark band about 1 1/2″ back from the muzzle and no amount of scrubbing and cleaning would remove it. I had, apparently, shot through the “squibed” bullet.

I decided to take it to a gunsmith this morning and he pretty much confirmed my finding. I returned to the range with it and completed zeroing the scope at 25 yards with no problems. Luckily, accuracy was not affected.

Had this “squib” occurred in any other of my 22 pistols or revolvers, it probably would have cleared the barrel since they are much shorter than the 10″ of the Ruger Charger. It would have been simply a “soft” load. However, in the Charger, and with a long barreled rifle, significant damage to the barrel may have occurred. As it is, I simply have a dark band inside the barrel that is not causing any problems. I had been thinking about changing the barrel out for a Green Mountain barrel and this may be an excuse for doing so at a later time. For now; however, I’m simply going to become more aware of the rounds that I fire and hopefully will be able to detect a problem load better than I did.

I’m just thankful that this was not of a higher caliber.