I have spent a few hours spread over the last week to inventory and organize my on-hand ammo components, and to knock out some test lots of .30'06.
I went to the Provo public shooting range this evening to put some groups up out at a hundred yards to find out which loads worked better than the others. When I arrived I found that I had packed some light (125gr TNT bullets) loads I had assembled years ago. After I shot my test groups I decided to see where the old varminter loads were landing and loaded up three rounds in the Remington.
Bang. Feh; I was hitting about an inch right of my aiming point all night, and it was me, not the scope. I spent a few hours this week swinging a hammer for a surveyor friend and as a result it was awfully hard to get a good, relaxed natural point of aim working for me. Bang. Another shot two inches high, about an inch right, maybe a half inch from the first round. *click*. Pause. Open the bolt, see the case sliding back on the end of the bolt, then ejecting onto the table. Pick it up, inspect the primer and find it properly punched. There's no projectile... but there's no soot marks in the neck of the "expended" brass case to show it was recently fired. I pulled the bolt and looked up the bore into... blackness.
I've experienced my first squib load since I began reloading my own metallic cartridges in 1987. This happens when you get clumsy and skip charging a case and seat a bullet on top of a primer only. It's good that it happened at a range and in my hunting rifle. If I'd been shooting my M1 in the field the same situation might have turned out much uglier. I might well have been blasting away and experienced a failure to function and then executed "immediate action", which in the M1 simply means "rack the operating rod to the rear, let fly, and attempt to fire". Firing a round on top of a squib will blow up any rifle, and most pistols, too.
Tonight, the squib bullet was forced about six inches into the bore by the detonation of the primer. I don't carry a sectioned cleaning rod in my range bag, just a few bore snakes in my calibers. That's going to change. I didn't want to bug anybody else so I just packed up and brought every thing home. It took about a minute down in the Temple of Bang to tap out the projectile and then punch the bore with a brush soaked in solvent.
Lessons learned. PAY ATTENTION. Geeze, maybe that's how we get to mid October with a Communist running for the president, for the Democrats.