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Misfire Rounds

There’s no doubt about it, reloading your own ammunition is a fun and exciting way to dive deeper into the shooting world. However, as with anything we do, there are certain risk. Today, we wanted to look at some of the risks in ammunition failure. The terms for these failures can include dud, squib load, and a kaboom (double powder charge.) While these failures can rarely occur when shooting factory ammo, usually due to gun malfunction, they are common in reloads, especially from a beginner reloader. If you encounter one of these failures, don’t panic or quit reloading altogether. Instead, have the knowledge to recognize the failure and to know the steps to remedy it.


Most likely we all know what a dud is. It is a round that, for whatever reason, doesn’t fire. There’s no ignition, there’s no primer firing, nothing. Duds are most often caused by the primer not being struck properly, whether it’s due to an improperly placed primer or firing pin malfunction.

Whatever the cause, what you do after experiencing a dud is important. Whenever shooting and you experience a dud, the last thing you want to do is to turn the barrel of the gun towards you. Yes, that should go without saying, yet there’s always that one person who will turn the gun. Why don’t you want to do this?

Well, besides the fact that you always treat a gun as if it’s loaded, the technical explanation is that you aren’t immediately sure if it’s a dud or not. It could be that, within a few seconds, the primer ignites and the round fires. It could be that the primer wasn’t seated properly and, when the firing pin struck the primer, it seated it further into the casing, causing it to ignite then. Whatever the case, always keep the gun pointing in a safe direction for 10-15 seconds before moving. (if you are at a range, follow their rules and notify the range master is it is required.) Once the gun has been cleared and it is a verified dud, simply eject the round.

Squib Loads

Squib Loads can be dangerous, especially for a reloader. The reason for this is because, with a squib load, there is an explosion that occurs, it’s just not as big as normal firing. As Squib load is when there is not enough power in the explosion to send the bullet out of the gun, causing the bullet to get stuck in the barrel. This can be either from not having any powder charge (due to not paying attention during loading) or not having enough powder charge (common during experimentation.)

The danger, though, comes when the shooter doesn’t recognize the squib malfunction and fires a second round into the chamber. If this happens, your first step should be to make sure you still have all of your fingers. Chances are, there will be damage to the gun.Clearing a squib that has not had a second round fired is easy, disassemble the gun and clear the stuck bullet with a cleaning rod from the chamber end of the barrel. However, if there has been a second round fired, take the gun to a gunsmith and have it checked for damage before firing.

Remember to always pay close attention when you are reloading as to ensure that there aren’t any malfunctions in your ammo. And, if you experience them, be knowledgeable on how to clear the gun safely, for you and your gun.