Monday, August 3, 2020

Gun Stuff - Clearing Squibs

I have been changing the specs on my reloads recently, and as someone else once said "Nothing is more difficult than introducing a new order of things." For the 3rd time in 30 years of reloading, I got a squib in a match. We caught it when it happened so I didn't wind up like that fellow who found he had 17 slugs jammed in his barrel, but getting the one slug in my barrel out turned out to be more difficult than anyone imagined. Gun in question is a Hi Point 4095. Brand new. .40 cal.

I had been getting failures to extract occasionally at the end of a string, and so had added a dowel to my kit to push the recalcitrant last round out of the chamber. Works fine. 

NOTE DON'T try this on a stuck bullet. All it does is jam wood down around the bullet and further wedge the slug into the barrel.

When you find a cleaning rod, which is typically aluminum, DON'T BOTHER. I first tried a 3/8" Brass rod and hammer and got nowhere. I dismantled the gun and put the barrel and the rod into a hydraulic press. Bent the rod without moving the slug. I am willing to believe that without the wood, this trick might have worked but with both feet well down the rabbit hole...

Step 2: Made a 20" long drill bit. Used some of that brass rod, and drilled it to .312" (5/16) pressed the bit in and pinned it. Put some tape around the bit near the end just to be sure. Don't want the bit wandering. Peck drilled down the barrel, and first removed about 1-1/2" of crushed wood. Eventually started removing lead. Eventually the bit dropped through. Had to pry the remains of the bullet off the bit before retracting the bit. Success! Clean the remaining debris and back to shooting.

I straightened the brass pusher rod and added a steel weight so as to have a workable tool if this happens again. 

Here's the drill bit. This one is using an aluminum tube, 3/8" OD, 1/4" ID and a .281 drill bit. This is because I lost the brass original. Don't ask. The pin is 1/8" brass so no scratches.
Here it is with the hammer rod. My first squib happened in a Model 10 S&W revolver at a gun store range. I asked the folks there if they could help me and they tried the hammer and rod trick with no success at all and believe me they were really pounding on it. I eventually cleared that one by drilling the bullet and now am convinced that the "just push it out" approach is just wishful thinking.

So how long did it take me to clear that squib? About 2 days, including the time required to make the tools.

1 comment:

Witold Pilecki said...

The only squibs I have ever experienced were .22LR I tried an aluminum cleaning rod and also quickly discovered that was NOT going to work. I have a steel G.I. 1911 cleaning rod in my armorer's tool box that worked perfectly and I was back in business. I have never given any thought to it happening with a larger caliber. I do load my own .38/.357 Magnum and .45 ACP/Long Colt. I guess if it happens on a range outing with one of those, I will just take the gun out of service and deal with it at home.