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Old 11-02-2013, 20:04   #1
The Faux King
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Winchester .223 45 grain JHP -- Close Call

Today while shooting my AR at my friends house I had a squib round with this Winchester ammo (Lot # 87GH80). I shot 40 rounds of this a few weeks ago without a hitch and have 4 more 40 packs as well as about 500 rounds of their 5.56 55 grain on my shelf. Tried to remove the lodged bullet but myself but was unsuccessful -- going to take it to a gunsmith on Tuesday when they re-open to have it removed. Hopefully nothing is damaged and luckily the bullet stopped where it did so it prevented another round from chambering and someone experienced a nasty kaboom.

Has anyone had this happen before? I was really surprised this happened with factory ammo. Unfortunately I did not keep the spent casing to return to Winchester.
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Old 11-02-2013, 20:07   #2
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Squibs scare me. Sure you can feel and hear 'em if you're shooting slow, but if the second round in a triple tap drill squibs you're in trouble.
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Old 11-02-2013, 20:17   #3
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Yeah I was shooting American Eagle green tips just before and was getting to do some 3 round bursts for the first time with my Geissele SSA since I was on private land for a change. I got through one twenty round mag and then my friend loaded the Winchester he brought and was shooting slowly when this happened.
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Old 11-02-2013, 20:25   #4
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Glad it wasn't worse!
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:53   #5
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Gas guns don't cycle squibs. Even if a projo magically lodges between gas port and muzzle it will not have had sufficient gas to cycle the mechanism. Operator error is the root cause of KBs due to squib obstructions in gas guns.

That said, operator error happens. Nobody should assume it can't happen to them. I've seen attempts to hammer live rounds into battery behind stuck projos on everything from a Uzi to a M2HB. The latter would have been "exciting" had my buddy not stopped the guy and gotten him to check.

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Old 11-03-2013, 09:08   #6
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Gas guns don't cycle squibs. Even if a projo magically lodges between gas port and muzzle it will not have had sufficient gas to cycle the mechanism. Operator error is the root cause of KBs due to squib obstructions in gas guns.

That said, operator error happens. Nobody should assume it can't happen to them. I've seen attempts to hammer live rounds into battery behind stuck projos on everything from a Uzi to a M2HB. The latter would have been "exciting" had my buddy not stopped the guy and gotten him to check.

Sam
My thoughts as well. It's one of the things that concerns me when people practice malfunction clearance drills with emphasis on speed without identifying what the malfunction is. I'm as guilty as the next. There have been times where I got a FTE or FTF that I cleared quickly and returned to firing. Either situation could have been a squib and I wouldn't have known as I didn't take the time to ID the problem.

I had a bad batch of 9mm that was the result of me trying to use the last of a can of powder when the thrower wasn't being consistent with so little left in the hopper. Every 1-3 rounds FTE'd out of my P239. I took it as an opportunity to practice clearing it quickly and returning to shooting. Probably not the brightest move.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:09   #7
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:07   #8
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It's one of the things that concerns me when people practice malfunction clearance drills with emphasis on speed without identifying what the malfunction is. I'm as guilty as the next. There have been times where I got a FTE or FTF that I cleared quickly and returned to firing. Either situation could have been a squib and I wouldn't have known as I didn't take the time to ID the problem.
My NFA mentor drilled me hard on clearing after every FTFire, off-sound report, low/no recoil sensation, not seeing a complete round eject on manual extraction, etc. Then one day I had a round fail to go fully into battery after a normal report. So used the forward assist. No dice. Shoulda known better - it was a broken case. Naturally, it was a brass case tracer reload. Fatigue and imperfection are part of the 46 chromosome human condition. All we can do is practice and preach as best we are able.

Youtube is full of videos of "operators" manually racking multiple rounds following repeated misfires. All it takes is to fail to see the case that manually ejects minus its projo.

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Old 11-03-2013, 10:22   #9
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I've tried that ammo in the past, never had a problem.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:43   #10
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I noticed winchester in 2005 started to have more quality control issues than normal,such as no extractor groves or partially cut in cases,abnormally high percentage of dud primers,don't even get me started on their component primers.
I found the best thing to do is avoid all things winchester at all costs,I have and find life simpler without the winchester head aches. SJ 40
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:48   #11
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Point taken. Anyone out there care to speculate as to what went wrong with this round? I've only been shooting for about ten years and have never seen this happen with manufactured ammo, my understanding is that it is much more prevalent with handloads. Will Winchester swap this ammo out? Think the rifle will be okay for future use? I don't see anything visually wrong, I'm hoping the gunsmith will give me a better opinion. Just bought the rifle back in August.
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Old 11-03-2013, 14:06   #12
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Problem with powder is usually at fault. Could be inadequate charge was dropped (bridging) or it was contaminated/wet. When reloading shotshells its very easy to dump powder into an empty that has a bit of rainwater. You can see unburned flakes in the action as in your pic. A very marginal ignition due to defective primer could fail to adequately ignite the charge. But usually primer failure manifests as misfire.

Most likely your bbl will not have been damaged by the squib. Damage can occur by bubba'd attempts at removing the projo. Bring it to someone you respect.

Do not know what WW might say.

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Old 11-03-2013, 14:38   #13
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Originally Posted by Samuel_Hoggson View Post
Problem with powder is usually at fault. Could be inadequate charge was dropped (bridging) or it was contaminated/wet. When reloading shotshells its very easy to dump powder into an empty that has a bit of rainwater. You can see unburned flakes in the action as in your pic. A very marginal ignition due to defective primer could fail to adequately ignite the charge. But usually primer failure manifests as misfire.

Most likely your bbl will not have been damaged by the squib. Damage can occur by bubba'd attempts at removing the projo. Bring it to someone you respect.

Do not know what WW might say.

Sam
As Sam said you can see unburned powder in your photos,he also mentioned primers and from my experience with winchester primers that would be a start.

I had a bad sleeve, 5000 in 05 with primers that had no priming compound in the cups,of anywhere from 3 to 10 per hundred.
I had been using winchester primers for over thirty years up to that point,after that no winchester primers. SJ 40
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Old 11-03-2013, 17:05   #14
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Originally Posted by The Faux King View Post
Point taken. Anyone out there care to speculate as to what went wrong with this round? I've only been shooting for about ten years and have never seen this happen with manufactured ammo, my understanding is that it is much more prevalent with handloads. Will Winchester swap this ammo out? Think the rifle will be okay for future use? I don't see anything visually wrong, I'm hoping the gunsmith will give me a better opinion. Just bought the rifle back in August.
I've had a lot of issues with Winchester White Box, but no issues with their higher end lines. Hopefully the 1,000 count box I have of Winchester LR primers in the closet doesn't have problems, since it's destined for 308 hand loads.

My money is on an extremely low powder charge. There was some in the case, but not enough that it was in good contact with the flash hole, so the powder didn't burn normally.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:05   #15
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I had a round that didn't sound right the other day at the range. I stopped and broke the gun down to be on the safe side.

Nothing was in the barrel but it's better to take a few minutes and play it safe than the alternative.

Good on the OP for catching what could have been a bad situation.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:08   #16
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My thoughts as well. It's one of the things that concerns me when people practice malfunction clearance drills with emphasis on speed without identifying what the malfunction is. I'm as guilty as the next. There have been times where I got a FTE or FTF that I cleared quickly and returned to firing. Either situation could have been a squib and I wouldn't have known as I didn't take the time to ID the problem.

I agree. It's one thing if you have to do it in a gun fight. But at the range during live fire, stop and check. Malfunction drills can be set up under controlled conditions and be simulated without live ammo too. It's much safer that way.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:31   #17
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For target rounds, I won't buy WWB 55gr 223 anymore. Earlier this year, I got many boxed with dented casings around the neck. The Steyr AUG I had at the time would feed and shoot everything. But, it would jam 2-3 when I used WWB. I gave up on it, never a problem again.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:01   #18
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From what you show in the pics that should have been very obvious. When you cleared the squib was there alot of powder falling out? Looks like just the primer poped with enough force to move the bullet into the rifling. Lucky you it didn't go far enough to allow another round to chamber. A brass/mild steel rod should be enough to remove the projo. Just pour some oil down the barrel first.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:21   #19
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I agree. It's one thing if you have to do it in a gun fight. But at the range during live fire, stop and check. Malfunction drills can be set up under controlled conditions and be simulated without live ammo too. It's much safer that way.
Insert "train how you fight" mantra here. Since I'm not an operator I'm going to stick to identifying my malfunctions and checking for barrel obstructions in the future.
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Old 11-04-2013, 14:45   #20
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Gunnut: that's correct, there was obviously a major malfunction an when I popped the charging handle back there was a mess of powder inside the chamber area as well as inside the cartridge -- so you think the culprit was a bad primer?
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Old 11-04-2013, 15:39   #21
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I've had a lot of issues with Winchester White Box, but no issues with their higher end lines. Hopefully the 1,000 count box I have of Winchester LR primers in the closet doesn't have problems, since it's destined for 308 hand loads.
I would look around and see if I could find some other primers. If I did load the Winchester primers, it would be in very small batches. I wouldn't sit down and load 1000 rounds with primers of dubious heritage.

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Old 11-05-2013, 17:45   #22
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Gunnut: that's correct, there was obviously a major malfunction an when I popped the charging handle back there was a mess of powder inside the chamber area as well as inside the cartridge -- so you think the culprit was a bad primer?
If it was a complete dud, the projectile would never have left the case. Obviously the primer at least partially functioned, but either it didn't have enough compound to ignite the powder correctly, or there wasn't enough powder to ensure good contact with the flash hole.

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I would look around and see if I could find some other primers. If I did load the Winchester primers, it would be in very small batches. I wouldn't sit down and load 1000 rounds with primers of dubious heritage.

Richard
Those primers will only be used in batches of 100-200 rounds at a time for a .308 bolt action. If there are issues, I'll call Winchester and start hunting down some Wolf or CCI primers.
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Old 11-06-2013, 16:11   #23
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Light/short loads (which can include a "squib") can happen every once in a great while. Luck of the draw. Kind of like getting a case without flash holes, reversed/mangled primer cup, etc.

As mentioned, being able to recognize something out of the ordinary is important.

Just the other day while I was working a range day I came across a .40 S&W round (a premium line load from one of the major makers) that had a case trimmed just a bit too long. It stopped the slide from going forward into battery. The subtle difference was noticeable when comparing it to other rounds, but only when you knew to look for it.

I added it to my small drawer of exemplars of such ammo. (I don't keep all of them, but mostly just representative samplings of different types of issues I've come across, or have had handed to me during training/qual ranges.)

The last time I had that happen in one of my .40's, using duty ammo, it involved another company's line of LE ammo ... but that time it happened with 2 rounds in the same 50-rd box.

Several months ago (and many cases ago), I was using the same premium .40 load and came across a "bad" primer that couldn't ignite.

I was notified of that happening with a .45 load (LE ammo, premium line) something like 3-4 years ago.

If you shoot many ten's of thousands of rounds, or watch many pallet loads of cases being used throughout a year, it's not surprising to come across a round with some QC issue now and again, and it's not always going to be something that may be visible.

LE ammo contracts often have specifications stating the maximum number of allowable problems over some number range, and permit replacement of cases if one doesn't meet the stated specs within the contract language.

When some company's machinery may be churning out up to 1 millions rounds every 24 hours, it's not hard to imagine a problematic rounds slipping through at one time or another.

Of course, sometimes it may not be an isolated QC problem with a single case, bullet, primer, powder charge etc, but might be something that could affect rounds throughout a certain production run.

I remember seeing the notifications a couple of times of one ammo company recalling some limited production lots of LE ammo which had been identified to have short powder loads, and which were replaced with new cases (different production lots) of the same ammo.
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Old 11-07-2013, 19:59   #24
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The story I have been told is that Winchester-Alton,Illinois had three contract negotiation
talks with the machinist union and all three times they refused to reason with Winchester.
So Winchester is closing its operations totally in 2016 when a government contract is completed and moving south to I believe Mississippi ?? In the mean time I have a couple of friends in LE and some of the stories I hear like primers in backwards, overcharged loads,bullets drop in casing. The word is nobody gives a hoot about QC any more at
Winchester since everyone will eventually lose his/her job. Me personally I don't shoot anything by Winchester made after 2008. Sad, very sad!!!

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Old 11-08-2013, 18:20   #25
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^ explains why they haven't responded to my inquiries.

Knocked the bullet out a couple days ago, cleaned her up real good and taking it to the range tomorrow.
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