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Author Topic: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel  (Read 15494 times)

xsquidgator

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I bought my first Glock, a used gen 3 G19, back at the beginning of the year.  Being cheap, I also bought a Lone Wolf barrel so I could shoot my home-cast bullets in it.  And it was great, just drop in the aftermarket barrel and away it goes, no problems.


Part I - The Problem
So a week or so ago I bought a new gen 4 G23 and a Lone Wolf barrel to go with it, intending to have the same kind of experience but in 40.  Not so good.  On its maiden test firing, I had jam after jam after jam, either FTF and/or failure to go completely into battery.  My shooting buddy said the problem was that the chamber was too tight, and that polishing the chamber could improve that.  We had another friend who went through somewhat the same problems earlier in the year with a 40 LW barrel.  

Not wanting to go nuts on something like that, I did some reading and then called Lone Wolf to ask for advice.  They emphatically said "don't" to the idea of polishing or enlarging the chamber at home.  A guy on the phone there told me that the LW chambers are match chambers (ie - on the tight side for specs) and that Glock chambers are often a little more on the generous side to enhance feeding reliability (kind of like the thing about military machine gun chambers being bigger than M16 or M14 chambers).  And by email, I got a nice, detailed response from someone else at Lone Wolf.  He suggested I verify that the LW barrel was headspaced correctly by dropping a factory round into the barrel and see how far in it goes.  (The barrel was indeed made correctly).  Given that though, he then said
Quote
The problem is most likely caused by an expanded or swelled case head that has not been fully resized. Ammunition that is fired from an original Glock factory barrel produces (very) expanded case heads. This expansion occurs because of the large chamber used in Glock factory barrels. Many reloaders think they are full length resizing their brass but this simply is not true. The sizer die has a beveled area located at the entrance of the die mouth. This beveled area helps guide the straight walled cartridge into the die. The case rim is held with a shell holder. The area of the cartridge that is between this beveled area and the shell holder never gets resized completely.

If you drop your reload into a LWD barrel and the case head (rim) sits above the barrel hood this is a good indication your brass is bulged and not resized correctly. Here is 2 ways to fix this problem:

1 Run your loads through a case gauge before shooting. Many reloaders currently use Dillon or Midway stainless case gauges however these manufactures are known to have liberal tolerances. If your Dillon or Midway case gauge works with the LWD chamber you are good to go. If not, we recommend you use the EGW case gauge. The EGW is known to run tighter tolerances. Once the reload is fired from the LWD barrel you should not have a feed problem again.

2 You can return your barrel to Lone Wolf and include 4 or 5 dummy rounds of your reloads (no powder or primer) and we will open up the chamber to accommodate your loaded round.

*If you are reloading 40 S&W or 10mm we recommend you use the Redding GRX push through die to remove 100% of the case budge.

A little experimenting and measuring with calipers and micrometer convinced me that there was something there.  My LW 40 barrel measured 0.425" inside the chamber; the factory Glock barrel measured 0.428" or so.  I also dug through my cleaned 40 brass collection (range pick up brass from all over the place) looking for cases that had the rectangular Glock firing pin indent on them, and resized them as I normally would when reloading.  Sizer die firmly down against the shell holder, as far down as it would go.  Not in every case, but frequently, the Glock-fired brass did come out on the large side even after what should have been a full length resizing.


Part II - Materials and Methods
So looking around, the Redding GRX push-through dies are $35 or close to $60 for the carbide ones.  If I knew that would fix the problem, I'd be glad to buy one, but who wants to spend $35-$60 on something that *might* fix the problem?   Happily though, there seems to be a low-budget solution I stumbled upon while researching:

Nutshell version - if you have a 40SW factory taper crimp die, remove the internals, and use the shell of the FCD as your 40SW brass push-through die.  I used the push-rod from my 40 cal lead bullet sizing kit to do the push through like the guy in the video does.



I resized some brass this way, using some Hornady One Shot case lube.  Being impatient, and observing that the push through rod applies pressure to the entire base of the cartridge, I also ran a couple of boxes of my reloaded ammo through this thing.  On occasion, it takes some force!  Just on the off chance ( :scrutiny) I was being stupid with this, I wore safety goggles.  No problems though.

What do you know, I think there's something to this.  I resized 10 Glock-fired 40 cases as I would when normally loading them, then measured the case bases with a micrometer.  Most were around 0.422" to 0.424", but at least one out of ten was at or even 0.0005" (half a thousandth) larger than the 0.425" the Lone Wolf chamber measured.  Ran those same cases through the improvised push-through sizing die (disassembled Lee factory crimp die) and those same cases all ran 0.422" to 0.423".

Part III - Results
Significantly improved performance shooting my cast bullet reloads in the LW barrel after making this change.  I didn't do a thing to the LW barrel other than clean it normally.  The performance wasn't flawless but it was way way better.  Out of about 100 rounds, I got one FTF jam, one failure to go into battery (it wasn't stuck hard and required only a slight push), and one stovepipe malfunction.  Compare this to a malfunction rate of 30-40% prior to "deglocking" the brass with a push through die.  I have a hunch that the gun may still need breaking in or something, so I don't think I'm done breaking in and testing yet, but the signs are very encouraging.    I bought this gun and barrel with the idea of using it for IDPA (to complement my G19 that I use for that).  I'm still not sure if I'll do that, but the gun even if not perfect now runs well enough for IDPA.

Having problems with a Lone Wolf G23 barrel was a surprise to me, given my problem-free experience with the G19 LW barrel.  My internet reading tells me that this isn't totally unexpected, since the 9mm case has a slight taper, and 40SW does not.  This seems to make 40SW a little more prone to not feeding properly especially if there are other problems.  I also did not previously realize that my "full length" sizing die was missing part of the cartridge base brass.  And I also used to poo-pah the idea of unsupported Glock chambers.  I wouldn't necessarily say it's an issue of unsupported chambers, but perhaps it is true that Glock chambers are a little looser and that with maybe a little extra bulge at the base due to an unsupported part of the chamber does make Glocked brass a little more challenging to reload, at least in 40.

I am pleased with the customer service at LW.  Apparently they've had a lot of people sending in barrels to have the chambers enlarged a bit, so they now charge $35 for that.  I'm also very pleased that this no-extra-cost fix seems to have worked, and that no extra dies need to be bought nor do I seem to need to send the barrel out for re-reaming.  Occasionally I've had problems with my reloads getting stuck in an XD40 and an XDM40, which I used to blame on improperly seated/sized bullets.  I plan to add this push through sizing to all my 40 reloads no matter what kind of bullet is loaded, and I suspect it'll help with that too.

Does anyone here have experience with this kind of problem, and/or would recommend a different course of action?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 12:57:35 pm by xsquidgator »

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    JD

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #1 on: December 06, 2010, 06:37:42 pm »
    Wow, great post. Thanks!

    TXGunGeek

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #2 on: December 06, 2010, 07:58:16 pm »
    The Glock 40 bulge has been well documented and cussed in IPSC circles. I've been shooting 40 in an SV and STI with fully supported chambers for more years than I care to admit. When I police range brass during a match I always sort out the Glock brass and used to toss it. Now I put it aside and have the push through resizing die to clean it up. There were a few folks who had roll sizers to rework their brass. That was a bit rich for my blood.
    The push through sizers work well enough for range brass and practice rounds but I would not use reloaded brass like this for major matches or reload them many times as this is working the brass pretty hard.
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    FMJ

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #3 on: December 07, 2010, 12:22:59 am »
    Is this only for .40 as opposed to the tapered 9x19?
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    MacLean

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #4 on: December 07, 2010, 01:47:01 am »
    Is this only for .40 as opposed to the tapered 9x19?

    It has more to do with the unsupported chamber than it does the taper, unless I am mistaken.
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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #5 on: December 07, 2010, 11:27:10 pm »
    It has more to do with the unsupported chamber than it does the taper, unless I am mistaken.

    Oh, I guess you're right.  I forgot about that, and there was talk of bulging at the base for the .40 shells.  Not to mention that the round operates at higher pressures than 9x19.
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    cpaspr

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 10:35:44 am »
    I've not had problems shooting reloads of Glocked .40s through my Sig, though I will now mike some and see if the bulge is still there and to what extent.  Also mike the chamber and see how close the two are.
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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 10:42:22 am »
    There is a reason for the term GFB.  Glock #*&@ed Brass.
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    xsquidgator

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 11:10:41 am »
    The Glock 40 bulge has been well documented and cussed in IPSC circles. I've been shooting 40 in an SV and STI with fully supported chambers for more years than I care to admit. When I police range brass during a match I always sort out the Glock brass and used to toss it. Now I put it aside and have the push through resizing die to clean it up. There were a few folks who had roll sizers to rework their brass. That was a bit rich for my blood.
    The push through sizers work well enough for range brass and practice rounds but I would not use reloaded brass like this for major matches or reload them many times as this is working the brass pretty hard.

    I'm glad you mentioned that about sorting out the Glocked brass beforehand, that had not occurred to me.  I had heard of "glocked" brass before but until now hadn't paid much attention to it, figuring it wasn't real or wasn't real enough to apply to me.  Now I'm toying with the idea of polishing the chamber to smooth the sides (maybe that's why I still have an occasional FTF?) and maybe even take out 0.001" or so of material.  I'd be much happier if Glock just made conventional rifling so I could have the oversize chamber and be able to shoot my cheap cast bullet reloads.  It's always something.

    When you sort out the Glocked brass, are you just looking for the rectangular-shaped firing pin hit?

    Chief45

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 12:21:33 pm »
    we don't even bother.   Over the last few years I've been able to purchase factory new Duty Loads for less then the cost of "practice loads" (duty equivalent) using State Purchasing contracts pricing. 

    we train and practice with the same loads we carry on duty.
    The brass is then picked up and sold.  We don't use reloads and don't allow anyone to pick up our used brass to reload themselves.  The most we will allow is to let the local BSA troop pick up the brass and sell it to purchase supplies for their camping trips.

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    cpaspr

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #10 on: December 12, 2010, 03:46:32 pm »
    <snip>

    When you sort out the Glocked brass, are you just looking for the rectangular-shaped firing pin hit?

    That seems like the easiest way to me.  That firing pin hit is unique to Glocks I think, but if it isn't I don't know of any other way short of miking each and every shell.
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    Coronach

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #11 on: December 23, 2010, 10:12:08 pm »
    What does this resizing do to case life?

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 11:06:18 pm »
    Case life will always be reduced slightly by sizing due to the brass becoming brittle by being worked.  Most susceptible area on most pistol brass is the case mouth.  The way I generally look for split case mouths is to roll a handful of polished brass around in my hand prior to sizing and listen.  Any with split necks ring like a little bell.

    As for exact amounts of case life reduction,  the 2 biggest factors are:

    1.  Brass quality.
    2.  How "hot" was it loaded?

    I've had starline and federal brass that's been loaded 15 plus times with full pressure 357 mag loads and it's fine, while some recent manufacture remington brass split on the first firing.
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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #13 on: December 25, 2010, 11:42:13 am »
    This a great example of using that thing between your ears. Usually this type of problem would result in a "This companies product sucks" post from someone who doesn't really think about things.
    Great solution, too. :clap

    I learned years ago if my range pick-up 9mm brass had been fired in Glock to use my one Hornady 9mm sizing die that was really tight and sized them to just barely over minimum spec. But if I did resize them in my RCBS die - same problem you had.
    Good thing it's easy to see the tell-tale firing pin strike from Glocks on the primer.
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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #14 on: December 25, 2010, 05:50:34 pm »
    Have had the same problem with reloaded Glock brass when shooting through my Kahr CW-40. They fail to go to battery. Taking those round and shooting in my Sig 226, don't have a problem. I now size all the way to the shell holder and test load the case after reloading. If it fails to go to battery, that becomes a round for the Sig. I am buying the Redding 40 cal sizing die after Christmas. it is my experience that after sizing and shooting in the Kahr, I have no further problems with the reloads. Another item of interest with loading for the Kahr, if to make sure every round is within or under spec for OAL. If the round is .001" over length, I have problems with FTF. t this point I don"t think it is Glock brass, Kahr Problem. It is just a minor glitch that I can work around. By the way, The beginning work around was an excellent article. Thanks.

    xsquidgator

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    G23 & Lone Wolf barrel- 2012 update
    « Reply #15 on: January 15, 2012, 11:04:59 pm »
    I think I've finally fixed the jamming problem, and I don't think the cause is related to the Glock bulge, after all.
    All I did that seemed to fix things was to polish the chamber.  It took me a long time to realize my earlier attempts at polishing were not done correctly, but when I used the right tools/techniques, the problems went away.

    The secret to polishing out chamber roughness, assuming that was the real problem, was to use a wooden q-tip (surplus from a doctor's office) cut down to the right length, chucked up in a dremel with some polishing compound.  It was whatever grit is in the dremel polishing kit, and I verified on the outside rough part of the Wolf barrel that the polish would remove the rough finish before applying to the inside of the barrel.

    The other day I ran 100 rounds of my cast 40 reloads through it, no problems except for one FTF which was my first round fired left (weak) hand only, so I think that was limp-wristing rather than the barrel's problem.  These were rounds that I specifically did not screen out ones that had been shot in a Glock, and I did not "de-Glock" them with the push-through sizer die, either.
    Today I ran another 200 rounds through it without having cleaned the barrel since Friday's test.  Only one FTF when using the Gen 4 recoil spring, and one FTF when I was using the Gen 3 spring and bushing.  The Gen 3 spring isn't as stiff as the gen 4, and while it's more comfortable to rack the slide with, it definitely is lacking the umph of the gen 4 recoil spring.  Once or twice, the gen 3 recoil spring in the gen 4 Glock didn't quite get the slide all the way to battery when I initially racked the slide.

    I'm pretty pleased though that I got essentially 300 trouble-free rounds through it, that is way way better than what it was doing when I originally posted. It is also a relief that I don't have to do the PITA of sorting out Glocked brass and de-Glocking it.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm back to picking them off the ground, cleaning them up a little, and loading them and good to go.  Good deal.   :thumbup1

    Outbreak

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    Re: (Reloading) Lessons learned from new Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel
    « Reply #16 on: January 15, 2012, 11:51:17 pm »
    I've known about the push-thru resizing trick for a while. Both my .40's (Sig P226 Elite and STI Edge) will eat almost anything. The Sig doesn't care at all, the STI is 99.9%. But I had one jam with the STI that took me 5 minutes to extract. I gauged it after I finally got it out, and sure nuff, it was Glock fluffed. Yeah, I actually call it that.

    I recently resized 1,000 range pick-up cases with the push-thru setup, and every single one gauged. They ran through the resizing die in the Dillon a lot easier, too.

    Of course, you mess up on the push-through and you get this.

    Also, I didn't see FMJ's 9mm tapered case question answered, so I will. As I understand it, you can't push-thru 9mm because it is tapered. The factory crimp die is designed to crimp the case mouth, which is smaller diameter than the head because the case is tapered. I haven't noticed any problems with Glock fluffed 9mm, possibly because it's tapered. In my experience, 9mm is more sensitive to bullet shape and OAL. I loaded a bunch of 9mm to book OAL, but with SWC bullets, and they wouldn't chamber.
    TexasOutbreak

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