The dangerous Squib load, and what to look for

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by chriseger, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. chriseger

    chriseger

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    Location:
    Miss-Al-Florida
    DSCN9765.JPG

    In every firearms class that I find myself in, before we issue out brass and get ready go loud, a number of subjects are covered such as range alibi fire, first responder etiquette, eye and ear protection, basic safety guidelines, and what to do with hang fires, misfires and squibs. Squibs? Someone nearly always asks? What’s that?

    Since it comes up with gun owners on a regular basis, we should have a thread that covers the basics of it.

    What it is...

    The point by point definition of a squib load is, according to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), Glossary of Industry Terms, L, "A cartridge or shell which produces projectile velocity and sound substantially lower than normal. May result in projectile and/or wads remaining in the bore."

    To make that even simpler, it’s a cartridge without enough umpf to push the bullet. This is bad because if that projectile does not clear the muzzle, and you fire another one right after it, you could have a bulged barrel as seen in forum threads or worse, a full-on Kaboom.

    These are caused when either not enough propellant is used, a primer is insufficient to ignite the propellant, a bullet is seated too deeply into the case or is too large for the case neck, or any combination of the above is encountered.

    What to look for

    That’s just it, its almost impossible to tell just from looking at an unfired cartridge, whether it is going to be an underpowered squib load or not. About the only time you will be able to do so is in a case of a misloaded round.

    These two cartridges are both 9x19mm parabellum/luger. Both are 115-grain FMJ bullets on a brass case with a small pistol primer. Can you tell which one is seated incorrectly and probably should not be fired? Remember, if you have a box of ammo and one of these things does not look like the other, you may want to give it a wide berth.

    Another squib maker is the dirt cheap Swedish 9mm KPTR M/39 gallery practice ammo that has been floating around for about a decade. Designed for the M45 and M45/B submachine gun when fitted with a special barrel attachment, its not meant for use in pistols. This stuff is very distinctive with its black bullet, silver tip, and a blue band around both the bullet and the primer. It has a plastic projectile with a 5mm steel BB in the tip. The thing is, its been reported that this stuff won’t cycle standard semi-automatic pistols (like your XD), and worse, the rounds often lodge in the barrel, making a squib load jam. If you have some of this stuff and just want to shoot it, check that barrel for blockages after every round, just in case.

    When firing, should you hear a round that sounds 'off', for instance when you go "pop-pop-pop-pip," *immediately stop firing.* That’s because you may have just experienced a squib load. It will often be accompanied by a hiss and a puff of smoke coming from the breech area of the pistol. Unload the firearm keeping your finger out of the trigger well and the muzzle oriented to a safe direction, then when safely possible, field strip it and check the barrel for obstructions.

    For a graphic view of what this sounds like, here is a great video from KGB65 that experienced a squib load while firing his Glock (looks like a 17L) in an practice in 2012. Watch for the smoke; listen for the hiss and not the 'pop.' Then check out the disassembly.



    And there you have it boys and gals, the basics of a squib load, and how to avoid that all-too dangerous kaboom on the range. The fingers you save could be your own.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
    KWalrad and coreymcl like this.
  2. Run-N-Gunn74

    Run-N-Gunn74

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Location:
    arizona
    I think that most squibs are a reloader error such as a primer and no power. Ask me how i know. How does setback create a squib?
     

  3. chriseger

    chriseger

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    Location:
    Miss-Al-Florida
    On the example cartridge shown, was just using it as an illustration. We went through a pallet of factory rounds a few months ago that had about a dozen of these in spread around. While I didn't pull this one apart, I do know that at least three similar ones resulted in either misfires or squibs and I think there was some sort of powder issue (lack of) . The point I was trying to make was that if a round looks funny when compared to the rest of the lot, it may be best not to shoot it in the interests of heading off a squib/hang fire/misfire off at the pass and just keep it for components. Thanks, Chris
     
  4. jdavionic

    jdavionic NRA Member

    Messages:
    17,697
    Likes Received:
    7,173
    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    I shoot USPSA and have seen squib incidents. Sometimes the RO and or shooter are able to recognize the event fast enough to prevent a more significant. In those cases, it's just a matter of 'hey, does someone have a squib rod'. However we had one guy that buldged his barrel due to a reloading error. He was out then returned after a barrel replacement and some gunsmithing work. Very first stage on his return, it happened again.

    People who are new to reloading need to worry less about their production rate and more about their quality. I've been reloading for a long time and never had a squib (knocking on wood now). I shine a light down the charged case before position the bullet for seating and check every round. If I have something odd happen on the press or an interruption, I pull all cases off and reset.
     
  5. wyntrout

    wyntrout

    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    I had a squib with my new G30S on the second trip to the range. I was using Federal Champion 230-gr FMJ from their 100-round Value-Pack. I reloaded from 1973 until about 2000 and never had a squib. I visually checked the powder after dropping the powder in my dual line cartridge holding block... drilled two rows of 1/2" holes in a 2x4 for easy checking after charging with powder,

    Anyhow, I had my camera taking a video of my shooting and the squib sounded like a phfft, I thought, but on watching the video, there was only the click of the firing pin striking the primer... absolutely NO smoke or flame from anywhere about the pistol. This was strange because the case was blackened and ruptured in a strange place and manner.

    I posted this on GT with pictures: https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/squib.1587509/

    I still haven't heard back from Federal since they said the case was going to be tested metallurgically.

    Thanks to a lot of talking about this possibility and what to do over the years, I knew I had a squib and needed to check the bore.

    Chat rooms like this are a good place to learn some good habits!

    Wynn :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  6. njl

    njl Crusty Member

    Messages:
    10,660
    Likes Received:
    3,520
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2000
    Location:
    :noitacoL
    I've had squibs with powder. i.e. pull the trigger, gun goes click. Rack the slide, and a shell extracts, spilling unburned powder into the gun and magazine. Presumably, the gas from just the primer going off was enough to push the bullet out of the case and just into the rifling. Why the powder didn't ignite, I don't know.
     
  7. uzimon

    uzimon Daca is caca

    Messages:
    3,440
    Likes Received:
    3,699
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Hangry chair
    Every squib ive had the bullet went just in the rifling to where the next round wouldnt even chamber. Pistol wouldnt go into battery
     
  8. ElevenBravoDotNet

    ElevenBravoDotNet

    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    95
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    You are correct, primer and no or very little powder. My daughter got a squib on her first COF of her first ever match, man I was so pissed at myself! She was already nervous...

    Got a RCBS powder checker die, dont have to look in the brass or anything, just check the plunger rise, VERY fast and ACCURATE!

    And setback... Im with you, Id be more afraid of over pressure than a squib!

    EB
     
  9. Jake Starr

    Jake Starr

    Messages:
    5,256
    Likes Received:
    1,141
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Only real way to spot a squib is by a trained ear or eye...and if you have someone who does an immediate action drill, well.....
     
  10. garyjandfamily

    garyjandfamily

    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Location:
    Utah
    This spring I was down at Front Sight taking their 4-Day Defensive Handgun class. The rule there is - factory ammo only! I was talking to our instructors about the ammo crisis, and they told me that they had all noticed a marked increase in the number of squibs over the last few years. To the point that they said that hardly a class went by that they didn't see a squib load. They do see a lot of rounds fired, maybe 18,000 or so during a 4-Day Class. They also said that they'd seen it from pretty much every brand, although some seemed to be worse.
    So this isn't only a problem with handloads!
     
  11. MARINE DIVISION TWO

    MARINE DIVISION TWO

    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    52
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    001.JPG 002.JPG 002.JPG 005.JPG SQUIB ! Check out these Pics of a Factory load Remington 38spl HTP my wife experienced and was aware of somthing not right,Thank GOD ! MDT
     
  12. alank2

    alank2

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    785
    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    In most rounds you can tell a squib with a digital scale. It is a matter of whether the variance in weight for the bullet/case is too much compared to the powder weight or not. Most cartridges I've done it works fine. You'll get a range of weights like 102.3-104.5 grains and then one will come along at 99 grains that will deviate from the rest.
     
  13. wrenrj1

    wrenrj1

    Messages:
    7,790
    Likes Received:
    1,039
    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Location:
    Huskerville
    I can see the reasoning for a revolver, but why pound the round back down the barrel instead of pounding it out the end of the barrel? Or does it really not make any difference?
     
  14. fredj338

    fredj338

    Messages:
    34,586
    Likes Received:
    13,921
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    so.cal.
    If you shoot enough, you can easily deduce a squib vs a fired round vs a misfire. But, you really need elec hearing to catch another guys potential squib. I get shooters w/ squibs 5-6 a year at the local Idpa matches i work. Having elec muffs, & paying attention, has saved quite a few guys an incident.
     
  15. fredj338

    fredj338

    Messages:
    34,586
    Likes Received:
    13,921
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    so.cal.
    A squib is just as dangerous if not caught & another rd follows it up. Dont trust any mech'l device 100%, you should still be looking into evepry case before placing a bullet.