Reminded Once Again: Check Magazines & Ammo...

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by Stephen A. Camp, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Deceased

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    Hello. Over the last four decades I have come across defective factory ammunition right out of the box that should have never left the factory. In some instances, primers were seated upside down or completely missing, cases were crushed or the bullets themselves were visually out of spec.

    [​IMG]
    Here are two Federal .45 ACP 230-gr. Hydrashok cartridges. It is pretty obvious that the one on the left is not as Federal intended when it somehow slipped out and was purchased in a box of ammunition. (This picture was taken several years ago and the cartridges shown were not a "rushed production" items. Many will recognize them as Hydrashoks using a truncated cone shaped bullet than the more rounded one used in current Federal Hydrashok ammunition.)

    Though certainly not common, I have seen defective factory rounds from practically all manufacturers, not just Federal. While a little unnerving, I guess that when hundreds of thousands (or more) of cartridges are being manufactured, some that shouldn't slip by, do, despite quality-control checks.

    My point is not to try and "defame" any reputable ammo makers, only to suggest that it is perhaps a wise thing to check each and every cartridge intended for "serious" use such as home defense or in a carry gun...and in all magazines dedicated for such purposes.

    I routinely do this with all ammunition intended for such purposes, be it for rifle, revolver or semiautomatic.

    A few weeks ago, I shot my SIG-Sauer P220 DAK, cleaned it upon returning home and locked it away in the safe. A day or two ago, I opted to load it up for home protection as well as for concealed carry for about a month in order to do a follow-up article to one done on the gun a year or two back.

    My normal .45 ACP "carry ammo" is usually Remington 230-gr. Golden Saber, Winchester 230-gr. Ranger JHP or Federal Classic 230-gr. JHP (since I have quite a bit of the stuff around.) I usually pick whichever I happen to have enough rounds from an already-opened box to handle 8-shots in the pistol and 7 more in a spare magazine for it. (The current magazines will hold 8; I simply prefer my single-stack .45's to hold the same number of rounds as my 1911's and since I have 7-shot magazines by the score for them...)

    [​IMG]
    When I carry a .45 auto, it is usually loaded with one of these three 230-gr factory JHP's. From left to right: Winchester Ranger, Federal Classic and Remington Golden Saber. Remington's 230-gr. Golden Saber is easy to spot as being slightly longer and usually measures right at 1.23" on average.

    I began loading a couple of magazines for my P220 DAK SAS ("SIG Anti-Snag) .45 pistol with Golden Sabers. This round has proven to feed smoothly in all of my 1911-pattern pistols as well as this and my other P220 as well as one I recently sold. The magazines were brand new ones.

    The ammunition "jammed" in one of them". LOA for the Golden Sabers was the usual 1.23" on average. I checked the LOA of cartridges from the box these came from against others having a different lot number; both had the same average LOA.

    The problem appears to be the length of the cartridge along with the width/shape of the hollow point in some of the current 8-shot SIG-Sauer stainless steel factory magazines. (Not all but some. In my admittedly statistically-invalid case, the figure would be one out of four such magazines or 25%.)

    [​IMG]
    This is the magazine in question. It is marked "SIG SAUER P220-1 45" on the lower left side and "Made in Italy" on the other. (I figure it was manufactured by Mec-Gar, a favorite maker of quality magazines by myself and many others.)

    Though it didn't happen all of the time, Golden Saber cartridges would hang up tight and failed to feed when cycled by hand. (Later on the same day, I determined that they failed to feed as well in firing...but ONLY in that one individual magazine.)

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the "nose-dived" Golden Saber. In this particular instance, it was the last round in the magazine but this stoppage also occurred with differing numbers of cartridges still in the magazine.

    [​IMG]
    Here is a view of the same problem from the top. The "inward curved" front of the magazine (about the 2 o'clock position) does not appear to be a "ding" or other than intended from the manufacturer. My other stainless 8-round P220 factory magazines are the same way and function fine with the same ammunition.

    Having said that, I believe that this inward curve to be at the core of this magazine's function-problems with this ammunition. I cannot measure how much it is curved inward compared to other magazines but I suspect that it is very slightly more. I cannot see it visually when comparing this magazine to others of the same line. However, this inward curve is less noticeable in my old blued factory 7-shot magazines...of which all that I've tried so far (10) have worked flawlessly. FWIW, the "problem magazine" worked 100% with:

    24 shots using Winchester Ranger 230-gr. JHP
    24 shots using Federal 230-gr. Classic JHP
    24 shots using Federal 230-gr. Hydrashok (truncated cone)
    24 shots using Federal 230-gr. Hydrashok (current style)
    24 shots using Hornady 230-gr. TAP (XTP)

    My point is not to criticize Remington, SIG-Sauer or Mec-Gar. It is simply to suggest not taking any product's functioning or "dimensional correctness" out of the box for granted. This problem-combination just happened to be the latest I experienced.

    Such "unintended consequences" could be aggravating at the least on a range trip or tragic in the extreme in a deadly force situation.

    Best.
     
  2. G26S239

    G26S239 NRA Patron

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    Good Points Stephen, I have found faulty ammo telescoped into the case and out of round on occasion so practice ammo needs to be checked as well as loads kept in the gun.
     

  3. Aurora

    Aurora

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    I started reloading in the late 1980's and took an immediate interest in the standards practiced by the bench rest community. Granted, I didn't continue loading to the same standard but I did pick up a lot of their quality control techniques during my time in that community.

    I was shooting some factory ammo (a very well regarded manufacturer) and was surprised to have a rim separate during firing. From then on I visually checked every round, weighed every round on a scale and checked the resizing. I didn't like what I saw.

    So yes, it's a good idea to always do this but it's even more important today. Companies are cranking things out as fast as they can to meet current demand. You know what that means in terms of quality control.

    V.
     
  4. GlockPride

    GlockPride M&P

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    Just wait until they start making it in China!!! Think about the QC.....


    And, all the lead that will be in the products.....




    Hmmmm, if China wants to push lead they should get into bullet manufacturing?




    I ked, I ked :cool:
     
  5. 2 Hawks

    2 Hawks ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    A few years ago on the firing range my friend opened a new box of police issued Federal 45acp 230gr Hydra-Shok® JHP. One of the rounds had the primer installed upside down. I've seen this with reloads but this was factory fresh ammo. So It is a good idea to at least check for abnormalities while loading up..
     
  6. C/O-RC

    C/O-RC

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    can someone post a picture of an upside down primer so i know what to look for? thanks!
     
  7. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Good report as always Mr. Camp.:)

    Over the years I'd had quite a few defective factory rounds.
    At present I'm getting about 5% of Remington 22LR that has no priming at all and a couple percent more that have partial priming and will fire if hit elsewhere on the rim.

    The last "scary" defect I believe was with a box of .380 MagTech that I bought for a defense round. The first round was a squib that just barely made it out on the barrel.


    I have no figures but I'm sure that if the ratio of failures of my reloads was compared to the factory ammo I've shot, the factory is far less reliable than my reloads.
     
  8. sigcalcatrant

    sigcalcatrant

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    No need, you'll know immediately.
     
  9. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Some factory ammo is plum scary.

    Factory new cracked 30.06. The flame burns through the crack like a blow tourch.
    Makes you glad you were wearing glasses.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. fastbolt

    fastbolt

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    A well worded reminder of why it's always important to function test a quantity of ammunition through both pistols and magazines (and repeat the testing periodically as new cases/production lots are acquired).

    While the firearms companies have reasonable control over their product ... and the ammunition companies over their product ... and the magazine companies over their products (for those firearms companies who use vendors for some or all of the magazines assemblies) ... and the shooter over their skills and techniques as applied ... sometimes there may be an unsurprising amount of potential "tolerance stack" which might be found when combining any particular shooter, pistol, magazine and ammunition together.

    Now, throw in some different maintenance practices and any variable environment conditions or circumstances which might occur ... and things can sometimes become really interesting.

    Personally, I prefer to try each new magazine with examples of the ammunition I plan to carry before placing the magazines in service. I dislike unwelcome surprises as much as the next fellow.

    Magazines are at the heart of a semiauto pistol's normal functioning.

    Thanks again for the timely reminder.
     
  11. sigcalcatrant

    sigcalcatrant

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    I test each round that I will be using for SD in the chamber it will be used in when I field strip for cleaning. Unfortunately, not all defects are visible. I have had two factory rounds, WWB, in which the primers had no anvils. They didn't fire, of course.
     
  12. SilverBullet_83

    SilverBullet_83 NRA member

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    M2 was the bottom case before the top one was fired?
     
  13. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    The ammo is the Korean military 30.06 that was sold a couple years ago for about $4.00/20 in 50 cal cans, with and without M1 Garand clips.
    It usually isn't bad ammo and is right accurate.

    After that case blew in my M1 Garand (no damage), I searched the internet for that kind of failure. It has a name but I don't remember it.
    The case is cracked during manufacture.
    I inspected the rest of that case of ammo and found only two more cracked cases, one shown. As can be see in the picture the crack is hard to see even when you are looking for it.

    As I use the rest of that Korean ammo I'll inspect the cases first.
     
  14. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Here's another example of poor quality control during manufacture.

    I shoot a lot of Wal Mart 550 bulk pack Fed and Rem 22LR. I expect some defects but put up with them because buying the amount of "good" 22 ammo that I shoot would be way too expensive.

    But the duds are getting to be a real PITA.

    A few minutes ago I shot a magazine of Remington from my S&W M&P 15-22.
    Of 23 rounds there were 8 duds, two of which fired second time around.

    Then I fired 10 Remington from a Ruger 22/45. Had 3 duds, one fired the second time.

    If I recover the round I pull the bullet and check for priming. There never is any.

    Here's the 6 duds from the S&W M&P.
    Can't say the shells didn't fire because of light firing pin strikes.:supergrin:
    [​IMG]


    This is the inside of the cases, along with a unfired Federal for comparison.
    As can be seen there just isn't any priming in the Remington cases.
    I just can't imagine such piss poor quality control when manufacturing anything.:upeyes:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  15. den888

    den888

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    Thanks, good suggestion. I found some bad bullets recently in some Blazer 45 ACP. The bullets were seated too deeply in the cases. I wonder if rushed production is taking it's toll on quality ?
     
  16. raven11

    raven11

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    I had a FTE last shooting session it had a bad burn mark on the bottom of the case, I wonder if it was a ruptured case?