Author Topic: It happened again  (Read 5762 times)

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wv109323

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It happened again
« on: August 26, 2016, 11:10:28 pm »
 I wrote a post about powder bridging while loading .38 Special about a month ago. I thought the problem was due to the extremely light density of WST powder.
Well Last night I was loading some .45 ACP rounds for practice. I was dropping 4.2 grains of BE powder. I filled the hopper when I began loading that night. I poured the powder through a funnel into the hopper to the height of 6-7". This hopper is the Lexan that is clear with factory powder funnel.
 I confirmed my weight 3 times and they were right on. I began loading and was checking to make sure powder was going into the cases about every 20 rounds for the first 80 rounds. I checked again at about the 130th round and NO powder in the cases. I had to pull approx. 40 rounds.
 I first thought if the powder was bridging there had to be a void in the hopper. I took the primer tube and pushed down on the powder in the hopper. Nothing. I removed the head and worked the powder slide manually and no powder. I began to pour the powder back into the 1 lb. container. The first 3 inches from the hopper poured naturally and then the powder stopped,. About three inches of the powder would not pour out of the hopper by gravity alone. It did not take a lot to break the remaining powder loose but it needed assistance to break it loose..
 The powder was poured out of a factory 1 lb. container,through a funnel with a hole of 3/8 to 1/2" hole. No lumps were noticed when pouring the powder into the hopper originally. The powder has been stored in my man cave that is heated and air conditioned. The container has the factory foam seal intact. The problem occurred after the powder was poured into the hopper within 45 minutes.
 The previous 300-500K rounds I have loaded have been fine. But in the last month I have had this happen with two different powders,on two different Star presses,loading two different calibers.
 Any Ideas on cause? Static electricity, Humidity,Temp change,Aliens,George W Bush

fc60

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 11:02:30 am »
Greetings,

Is the powder hopper original? The reason I ask is, some plastic has more static electricity potential than others. The original Star tubes were "Excelon" trade name, which I thought was polycarbonate.

There are lots of clear plastic tubes available; but, not all are suitable for smokeless powders.

I have used WST and Bullseye since the late 70's and never had an occurrence that you describe.

Do any of your fellow loaders have an old Star hopper that was metal with the wire level flag?

A possible workaround would be to attach a ground wire to the powder hopper or wipe it down with a anti static wipe that you toss in the clothes dryer.

Cheers,

Dave

wv109323

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2016, 12:47:35 pm »
I have two Stars Reloaders.
 The first incident was with WST in a Star metal Hopper. (I am thinking it is aluminum) It has an Aluminum cap with a small hole. It does not have the powder level indicator. It does have the baffle as discussed in previous post.
 The second incident was with a clear plastic Hopper. I am 99% positive both are Star original parts.
 I have had both machines for numerous years, though I did buy them second hand. I know I bought parts from the original Star factory in San Diego. This is the first occurrences and like posted 300-500 K rounds loaded.

FOR_Star

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2016, 04:38:51 pm »
Quite a puzzle.
So on two different Star machines, loading two different calibers (.38 Spl & .45 ACP), two different powder magazine materials (alum & plastic), two different powders (WST & Bullseye), made by two different manufacturers (Hodgdon & Alliant) - complete powder flow stoppage occurred during a reloading session.

Given the level of experience you indicate, nearly all questions posed will seem simplistic and insulting, but are not intended that way.

Did the stoppage/blockage occur in the magazine or the spout?  Are you using the large spout?
The Star system has the "clicks" to slightly vibrate the powder bar.  Are the rollers on the back of the charge bar rolling freely?

In your last example, a factory-fresh, sealed, 1 lb. can of BE is opened, poured into the powder magazine and then loading commences until sometime in the first 45 minutes the powder bridges/stops flowing.  It would have to be something within the physical powder delivery system of the Star.  Maybe simple stuff like spiders, cobwebs, oil, moisture, etc.  Since you've used these machines extensively with success, it's hard to understand how they would suddenly become so super-static charged as to completely halt the powder flow.  Maybe empty out the magazines and vigorously blow them out with dry compressed air, particularly the baffle areas.  Then swab out with something that evaporates and leaves no film like denatured alcohol, then blow out again.  Clean the charge bar, powder housing, and spout with the same stuff.  Everything in the world of powder on the Star ends up dry & clean.

Just "spit-balling" here.  A very frustrating issue to resolve, I'm sure.

Thoughts from others??
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 04:47:07 pm by FOR_Star »
Warren
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Star owner since 1979

tony barone

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2016, 05:21:50 pm »
If it happened on two different Star machines then it might be external like humidity? For Star made a lot of good points. I would run a dryer sheet thru all of the powder delivery components. I have never had that happen in 250,000 rounds of loading on my Star.

varmintpopper

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2016, 05:46:45 pm »
My 2
If powder was left in the powder mag. for extended time, Moisture may have lumped some of the powder and stuck it to the recesses of the baffle and out of sight. Having some lumped in the recess after the old powder was dumped out and refilling and loading a few rounds the lumps are shaken off the baffle walls and caused bridging. I never leave/Store powder in the hopper after reloading a batch of bullets.

Good Shooting

Lindy
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 10:55:30 pm by varmintpopper »

cc656d

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 09:49:09 pm »
1- Excelon is in fact the trade name for Star plastic powder magazines . The last time I tried to find it the manufacturer no longer makes it in that size . It is clear PVC tubing , not pipe.
As for powder I have 3or 4 15 lb  Bullseye cans (great for brass storage )and 4 8 lb cans that I have run through my 1980 Star and have never had a problem. That is about 175000 not counting the 4 lb cans that I used.
The only thing that I can think of is moisture.
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wv109323

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 11:09:53 pm »
For Star,
 I believe the stoppage on the WST occurred in the spout. (.38 Special,alum. hopper) I say this because after a few operations to get powder to drop(after I discovered the problem) I let the operating handle return under spring pressure. There was quite a bit of powder on the shell plate after this. Even though the lid was off the hopper, I don't think any powder that was jarred out of the hopper would land on the shell plate.
 The Bullseye, I believe was in the hopper. After I removed the head and began to pour powder from the hopper back into the 1 lb. can, all the powder would not pour. I worked the powder slide several times but no powder came out. I used the primer pick-up tube to break the powder loose and then emptied the hopper into the container. I inspected the powder spout and powder slide. Everything seemed normal.
 I do not know what you mean by the large spout. The .45 I.D. spout is larger than the .38 special spout. The .38 Spec. spout hole diameter is .260" IIRC.
 Yes the rollers are free on the powder slides and the PS guide does have the clicks to vibrate the PS.
 The Bullseye powder was not in a new container. I have a four pound jug and and only open the 4 pound jug to fill the 1 pound container. That way the 4 lb. jug is open very seldom,hoping to keep it fresh as possible. I insure the 1 lb container has the foam seal on the lid. I poured out of the 1 lb. container through a funnel into the hopper. The funnel hole is roughly 3/8 to 1/2", so there was no "lumps" when poured in the hopper.
 My man cave is off the master bedroom shares the same heat pump. It could be an insect but not likely. If an insect was in the hopper the powder would have been poured on top of him. Why 80 to 90 rounds then stoppage?
 I thoroughly cleaned the presses in late May early June. I loaded 1000 rounds to go to Camp Perry. I loaded about 400 rounds for practice a week before Perry. Press has set with no powder since early July until this event.
 I have loaded 500 rounds in the last two days without incident. I inspected a case every 20 rounds.

wv109323

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Re: It happened again
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 10:53:06 pm »
 I think I solved some of this problem. I was loading some .45 ACP with Bullseye. I was checking every 20 or so rounds. Sure enough it happen again. A round with no powder. I emptied the powder hopper through a very small funnel. At the end was a small sliver of stryfoam from the lid. This piece was about 3/16 X 3/8". The piece had been cut from the seal when the lid on the powder was tighten up. At some time it fell into the container without notice.
 Apparently this was blocking the flow of powder when it got to the powder slide. My normal funnel for pouring powder would allow this piece to flow through without notice when pouring into hopper and back into the container.