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Bullet Setback Among Service Calibers

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Sammael, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Sammael

    Sammael Ich tu dir Weh.

    Feb 13, 2008

    I have a question for the more enlightened folk in this section when it comes to bullet setback:

    Is there one caliber (of those currently referred to as 'service calibers') that would be more susceptible to setback from repeatedly being chambered?

    Speaking strictly of mass-produced, factory ammo - from the WWB pinking stuff all the way up to the favored defense loadings from Speer, Winchester, Hornady, etc.

    Let me follow up by saying that I rotate my rounds so that they are not re-chambered any more times them absolutely necessary (after a few rotations, I shoot them up out at the range), but I have noticed that among 9mm/.40/.45ACP and even 10mm, the only ammo that I personally have visibly noticed setback issues with is .40 caliber.

    This was with Winchester Ranger-T, and the round in question had been chambered exactly 3 times, yet the setback was easily identifiable without even comparing it against the other rounds in the mag.

    Took it out, lined it up with another round out of the same box, and sure enough... It was set back enough that I put it to the side indefinitely.

    So the question remains - Are certain calibers more susceptible? I would assume many factors come into play (most notably the contour of the bullet itself), but I was surprised to see it happen on a well-favored defense round like Winchester Ranger-T 165s after only being rotated through 3 times.

    Granted, this was a sample size of one, which is why I defer to those more knowledgeable than I on this particular subject.

    Thank you for any insight.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  2. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    I took apart a Ranger-T .40 round (165gr) recently. I was suprised to see it had some sealant at the case mouth. Maybe that sealant acts a bit like a lubricant and makes it more susceptible to set back?

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

  3. Leigh


    May 22, 2000
    Eastern Kentucky
    Not sure about calibers but brands may be...

    I have seen case setbacks in 9/40/45 CCI Blazer (aluminum) after chambering only once.

    Not bashing CCI and still shoot it (if found cheaply) at the range but I tend to examine these rounds very cloesly prior to loading mags.

    That said, I once seated a .38 Secial (FMJ) Blazer deeper with only slight pressure of thumb/forefinger. The ammo was at least 5-6 years old but stored in a cool/dry location.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  4. teweekley


    Nov 20, 2009
    When loading my Glocks for carry, I ride the slide forward into battery. Then I check by retracting the slide slightly to make sure the extractor has a hold on the case rim. Tap the back to ensure it's in battery then holster. This helps reduce bullet setback for me.
  5. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
    Agreed. Short neck, not a lot of tension there.

    Among all the others, I think it has more to do with the gun and angle of feed ramp than the cartridge. I have one 1911 that really bangs rounds up the ramp, another that is much more smooth. G30 is probably the least abusive. Just my experience...

    When it comes to neck tension, heavier bullets in a given caliber will have more. Just more bearing surface touching brass. Among the same weight, hollow points will tend to have more than fmj.
  6. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

    Mar 25, 2008
    North East Ohio
    I've personally experienced it more in .40, with Gold Dot's and with Glock pistols than any other caliber.

    This isn't to say the other cartridges/pistols are immune, I've just experienced it more with the above.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  7. intecooler


    Nov 15, 2012
    Fill the case and setback isn't as much of an issue.
  8. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    The absolutely worse thing you can do to chamber a round in a semi-auto. :wavey:
  9. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

    Mar 25, 2008
    North East Ohio
    Kind of hard to do with factory ammo. :whistling:
  10. English


    Dec 24, 2005
    Can you explain why that is please?

  11. I haven't seen it on my .45, .40, or 357sig using Gold Dot or HSTs.
  12. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    May 31, 2011

    Let the slide slam forward, whether by "slingshotting" or hitting the slide stop (your choice).

    1. it allows the round to fully chamber and there is no chance of being out of battery by a smidgen such as can happen when you "ride the slide" home

    2. it also usually prevents the first shot from being out of group by an inch + causing what Massad Ayoob calls the 4 + 1 syndrome.

    If one is so concerned about bullet setback then simply rotate your chambered round or measure OAL with calipers to determine if indeed it has happened.

    Unless your job requires you to unchamber daily there is no need to do so except for routine lubrication/care.
  13. clarkz71


    Aug 24, 2012
    South Florida
    That's really a full disciption of ammo & gun.

    Let me try, I don't see it with .40 Smith & Wesson in my G23. .:whistling:
  14. English


    Dec 24, 2005
    But if you do as teweekley describes, ride the slide forwards, then retract it alittle to make sure that it has engaged the extractor properly, then let it forwards, and then tap or push the slide forwards it will be properly in battery without risk of setback.

    This only matters those who have to chamber and unload frequently, but for them it is better than the risk of setback. I can't comment on the 4+1 idea but if it is only an inch that is unlikely to matter for most self defense.

  15. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    OK, wise one - WW 9mm 115gr JHP +p+ doesn't set back at all in my G17 CCW gun.
  16. Sammael

    Sammael Ich tu dir Weh.

    Feb 13, 2008
    Regarding the 9mm:

    For what it's worth, I have rotated and chambered/unchambered tons of 9x19 over the years, and never once seen setback -ever. Same goes with my .45s, which I have also shot my fair share of within the last 25 or so years.

    This was part of why I found it so curious as to why it could have happened like it did with the Ranger-T 165gr .40 after only 3 chamberings.

    Yes, I do rotate my ammo, and yes, I try to avoid unchambering if at all possible, but I have a tendency to make my weapon safe when I come home, as I do have a little one in the house.

    For those concerned about readiness, if an intruder can make it past the alarm/motion sensors/video cameras and then also make it past the dog, I certainly have time to chamber a round, and/or grab the shotgun.

    Bottom line: Unless the weapon is on my person or secured in a safe, I unchamber the round - but I do try to avoid that situation if at all possible.

    However, I must make one small correction to my initial post: I have seen one fairly substantial example with a 175gr Silvertip in 10mm. Not sure why I did not recollect that when I made the initial post.
  17. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    Over the years I've seen plenty of repeatedly chambered semi-auto rounds end up getting set back. Even with the tightest of bullet crimps it still happens. Gently riding the slide forward isn't a cardinal sin. With the cost of today's grossly overpriced civilian, 'self-defense' ammo I frequently (gently) ride top rounds forward with my support hand.

    I think what we've got here is, 'a tempest in a teapot'. I can often tell by nothing more than the feel or the sound whether or not the slide has fully closed. As a precaution I, also, give the back of the slide a slap with my palm in order to insure battery.

    Is accuracy really a problem? Not with a pistol used from inside 40 yards it ain't; and, assuming that precision accuracy might be called for, what is the shooter doing with a Glock, anyway? I've been outshot many times, and at equidistances, too, by some fellow standing right next to me who's using a higher end 1911 pattern. 1 1/2" 25 yard groups are not easy to produce with anybody's plastic pistol. 2 to 3" groups are what I usually see.

    My own Glock groups? I can put them all inside 6 or 7"; but my rate-of-fire is much faster than most people shoot at; and it does NOT matter whether or not I load top rounds by gently riding the slide forward. Whenever you do, simply point the muzzle downrange, remember to keep that trigger finger straight and outside the guard, and slap the back of the slide. You'll be fine. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  18. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Ammo & gun specific. I see more of an issue w/ 357sig than anything else. The short neck means little case neck tension. Any round can setback during repeated chamberings. Just pay atteention to the top round OAL. If it gets 0.060" (about 1/16") shorter, put that in the practice box, pull it or toss it. You are approaching an over pressure round past that in 357sig or 40 at least. The 9mm & 45acp are more forgiving pressure wise but the 0.060" rule is still a good one to stick with.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012