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Old November 4, 2011, 10:34 AM   #1
federali
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Defective Ammo Can Get You Killed.

I was at the range today, shooting off an accumulation of what I call coffee can ammo: range pickups, misc. odds and ends, tarnished, aged ammo etc. The cal. was 9mm and the gun a Glock 34. One round refused to fully chamber and locked up the gun. Nothing I could do at the range would open the action until I got the gun on my work bench, put a dowl down the barrel and gave it several whacks with a hammer. I've never seen a gun so thoroughly locked. Yes, I know the trick of pushing the slide against a hard object but this didn't work and I didn't want to risk shearing off the front sight by really leaning into it.

As the senior firearms instructor for a federal agency, I've seen my share of factory defective ammo. These include inverted bullets, upside-down primers and occasionally, a tear in the case mouth, both with and without a portion of the case mouth folded inward, bulging the case. I also had one round, a .38 SPL, without a flash hole but there's no way to check for this.

Anyone who carries should inspect his ammunition before loading it into magazines. But, there's two additional things you should do: using a clean barrel from your disassembled gun, chamber each round manually to insure full and easy chambering. Next, using a shell holder for your caliber and normally used in reloading, run each rim through the shell holder. You'll find that if the rim dimensions are out of spec in any way, you'll meet some resistance putting the shell in the holder or, the shell will refuse to enter. Such casings and live ammunition should be set aside for practice or discarded. As a reloader, I find about one round per 500 that will not easily enter the shell holder.

A little dilligence regarding ammunition reduces the chance of a stoppage when you need your gun the most.
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Old November 4, 2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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Well, you did say its "pick-up" ammo.

I care for my guns very well, which includes feeding it quality stuff; that is except for my Taurus. I toss whatever is cheapest down its throat and would not care if it never worked again. But, even it keeps on truckin....

I agree, and I do inspect even factory ammo before transferring each round from cardboard to plastic storage box.
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Old November 4, 2011, 10:46 AM   #3
DBLAction454
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I mean... thanks for the advice but I dont use "pick up coffee can ammo" in any of my guns... especially my carry ammo

Defective ammo is dangerous? Really

I'm glad you didnt have a KaBoom with your coffee can ammo..

Shoot safe
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Old November 4, 2011, 11:38 AM   #4
federali
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Reading comprehension

Too many people in the forums apparently can't read. The reason why the ammo had been set aside in a "coffee can" was that it was unfit to carry. The ammunition defects I encountered on the job were all factory fresh ammunition purchased in large lots from Remington, Winchester and Federal, whoever won the contract that year and ammunition one might assume is fit to go right out of the box. No one in his right mind would "carry" ammo of unknown quality. Incidentally, I've fired off thousands of pick-ups without incident. I shoot on a police range so virtually all the live ammo on the ground is factory.
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Old November 4, 2011, 01:30 PM   #5
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i don't even practice with the ammo you describe. the only thing "old" i shoot with,is ammo that has been properly stored and already been inspected by me,personally.

..and there are methods you can use to thoroughly inspect ammo without doing it one cartridge at a time.


i really want to write more but i think i'll stop now.

it's good that you give this warning.
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Old November 4, 2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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If its not fit for SD in our carry gun why on earth would one want to just shoot it at the range. Good for one good for both uses, and just the same, not good for one not good for both uses. Just my opinion and what I would do.
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Old November 4, 2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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shooting off an accumulation of what I call coffee can ammo: range pickups, misc. odds and ends, tarnished, aged ammo etc.
I oncegot an old mason jar full of 22lr ammo from my grandparents that included everthing from blanks to cci shotshells. this ammo had probably sat in that mason jar since before I was born and had a doosy of a time extracting some of the older blass...luckily it was 22 and the gun was a marlin 60 so I could just dig in there with a pocketknife and extract it myself. never really liked the idea of coffee can ammo after that
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Old November 4, 2011, 03:49 PM   #8
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I was reading a book, (big book of 45 or something like that).
the author describes a rigourus routine a cop or agent or something used to do.

a new box of ammo, he would check each round by hand.
first primers
roundness
squareness of the bullet seating
weight
chamberd and could be extracted in his carry gun

anything that passed every check got put back in the box as good to go for carry.
anything that did not was pratice ammo only.
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Old November 4, 2011, 04:01 PM   #9
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Reading comprehension
Too many people in the forums apparently can't read.

The ammunition defects I encountered

Incidentally, I've fired off thousands of pick-ups without incident. I shoot on a police range so virtually all the live ammo on the ground is factory.
You initiated a thread, so don't become insulting when people respond and don't say exactly what you want to hear.

Isn't there a reason those rounds are on the ground, regardless of the fact that it's a police range? That means there has been some sort of failure, and I would not risk picking any of them up and putting them in any of my guns.

Why are you in the habit of picking up what you yourself refer to as defects?
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Old November 4, 2011, 04:47 PM   #10
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Isn't there a reason those rounds are on the ground, regardless of the fact that it's a police range? That means there has been some sort of failure, and I would not risk picking any of them up and putting them in any of my guns.

Why are you in the habit of picking up what you yourself refer to as defects?
not necessarily. you're saying you've never dropped a bullet by accident or spilled a box of bullets? not all floor ammo is going to be the result of a failure, also some failures are caused by the firearm rather than the ammo.

secondly. the OP is saying if you rely on the gun to save your life you need to inspect the ammo and get a reputable manufactured round that you've had good success with rather than just loading up with coffee can ammo. I would say though that if I was at the range practicing and I found an undented, unfired, untarnished round on the ground I probably would give it a try and see what happens
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Old November 4, 2011, 05:45 PM   #11
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If its not fit for SD in our carry gun why on earth would one want to just shoot it at the range. Good for one good for both uses, and just the same, not good for one not good for both uses. Just my opinion and what I would do.
If critical defense was my practice ammo, I'd be eating a lot of ramen noodles.
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Old November 4, 2011, 06:07 PM   #12
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I also had one round, a .38 SPL, without a flash hole but there's no way to check for this.
Of course there is. We do it every time we pull the trigger.

Every so often we get these threads to check ammo and the warning about how bad ammo could get us killed, but I have yet to see any stats on bad ammo getting folks killed. That isn't to say it can't happen, only that there seems to be a lot more warnings that there are incidents.
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Old November 4, 2011, 06:18 PM   #13
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not necessarily. you're saying you've never dropped a bullet by accident or spilled a box of bullets? not all floor ammo is going to be the result of a failure, also some failures are caused by the firearm rather than the ammo.

secondly. the OP is saying if you rely on the gun to save your life you need to inspect the ammo and get a reputable manufactured round that you've had good success with rather than just loading up with coffee can ammo. I would say though that if I was at the range practicing and I found an undented, unfired, untarnished round on the ground I probably would give it a try and see what happens
Yes, if I do drop a round I will pick it up. But I'm not in the habit of dropping them and leaving them. I will find it if I drop it. And it's not as if it happens very often, really almost never. I have also never spilled a box.

It's not worth it. Not for the trouble it could cause. The OP happens to be an armorer and was able to fix the situation himself, luckily for him. Not all of us can do so. I wouldn't risk damage or injury to "see what happens."

Of course I inspect my ammo. It's the wise and responsible thing to do. In fact, I caught a Speer Gold Dot 9mm recently that had been set back in the case considerably, after just one chambering. I'm glad I caught it. It looks fine visually until you compare it to an unchambered round. Is it worth shooting to see what will happen? Hell no. How do you know that the round you pick up is not set back, for certain? You don't.

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Old November 4, 2011, 06:29 PM   #14
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If critical defense was my practice ammo, I'd be eating a lot of ramen noodles.
amen to that
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Old November 4, 2011, 06:29 PM   #15
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Fed you left out the best part, what appeared to be the issue with the round that locked up your gun?

Just curious.

Oh and folks if most of you walked around some of the high volume LE ranges I have seen you would pick up and shoot the free, name brand rounds you see scattered about as well. It is not as if he dredged rounds up from the Lusitania and tried to shoot them.
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Old November 5, 2011, 07:20 AM   #16
federali
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RSQ VET...and the coffee can.

The problem appeared to be in the rim as it would not slide under the extractor. I can't totally account for why I couldn't retract the slide at the range other than perhaps an arthritic right thumb.

Regarding posting: I try to keep it short and sweet and sometimes leave out detail as no one wants to read a post that looks like War and Peace. First, police train 12 months a year. That means sometimes loading magazines with cold, numb hands. Ammo on the ground can be defective but I would say 99% of it was merely dropped, sometimes in grass that hasn't been cut for a week and amid hundreds, if not thousands of spent casings, sometimes in snow, where it remains. You and I might pick up our dropped rounds but officers being issued free ammo on the range often don't bother if the round doesn't drop within sight. Often, the individual ammo recovered was ammo that I had issued.

As for the coffee can: I worked for a holster manufacturer after retirement and also managed a private range and club and participated in various trade shows. I've been given many samplers of this ammo or that such as 20-round samplers of Corbon, Magtech and Triton CQD. I'd fire a few rounds and have some left over. Then, there's the matter of several friends who had passed away and their widows asked me to dispose of ammunition that's been in their homes for years. These too went into the coffee can for practice fire. Also in the coffee can were rounds that were starting to show a little wear from several trips in and out of the chamber ( I don't carry any ammo with extraction marks on the rim). The coffee can was also where I gathered ammo that I'd carried for a time and felt it was time to rotate.

The point is, the stuff in the coffee can was good and safe to fire for practice as live ammo is not easily and legally disposed of. Where it came from was not the issue. The issue was that an unnoticed ammunition defect could cause a stoppage and the assumption that if it's fresh ammo from a major manufacturer, then it's good to go. What especially bothered me in this instance is that I've been trained and also conducted training in stoppage drills such as failure to chamber or feed or fire, to extract, smokestack jams or the more difficult to clear, double feed. Had I been defending myself, I would have needed a second gun as all my training and experience failed to get my G34 back on line. I might add that my office consumed approximately 100,000 rounds of handgun ammo yearly in quarterly qualifications. As the senior firearms instructor, I've supervised the firing of approximately three million rounds of handgun ammo over 30 years of active service. Thus, I've seen a significant amount of ammunition that slipped past the various inspection checks at Federal, Winchester and Remington and made it into 50-round boxes.

I thought the purpose of the forums is so that we can all share and benefit from our pooled, collective experience?
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Last edited by federali; November 5, 2011 at 08:31 AM.
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Old November 5, 2011, 08:05 AM   #17
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You initiated a thread, so don't become insulting when people respond and don't say exactly what you want to hear.

Isn't there a reason those rounds are on the ground, regardless of the fact that it's a police range? That means there has been some sort of failure, and I would not risk picking any of them up and putting them in any of my guns.

Why are you in the habit of picking up what you yourself refer to as defects?
Read his whole post again, slowly. Pause and consider his background/experiences. He is explaining what his considerable experience has shown with factory ammo.
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Old November 5, 2011, 08:48 AM   #18
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agreed federali

You're experiencing in this thread why i've dropped back to lurker in these forums. And i wish i was just referring to posters. It seems that the topic of firearms causes a great deal of chest thumping,very little conviviality, and even less careful reading.

Posts like yours are the only reason i keep lurking quite frankly. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Ban hammer drops in 3...2...1...?
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Old November 5, 2011, 09:46 AM   #19
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Read his whole post again, slowly. Pause and consider his background/experiences. He is explaining what his considerable experience has shown with factory ammo.
There's no need to be insulting. He said he was shooting pickups, tarnished and aged ammo. I have a valid opinion that it's not worth the risk. No matter his experience, my opinion is still valid enough to stand.

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Old November 5, 2011, 09:52 AM   #20
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federali- your further explanations do add a lot to your OP. I am still of the opinion, however, that rounds picked up off the ground aren't worth it, to me, unless I know for sure they're ok. That would only happen if I saw them being dropped or the circumstances. Again, just my personal feeling.

The other situations, such as a stash sitting in someone's house for several years, I really wouldn't have much reason to hesitate to use.
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Old November 5, 2011, 11:02 AM   #21
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Seems to me lately and I'm included in this opinion, that some of us are getting our pantaloons waded up over silly stuff and taking things the wrong way, attacking personally, and in some cases getting nasty.


How about we ALL take a step back before hastily posting giving the proverbial hornets nest a poke and generally getting a bunch of folks dander up. Just a thought now.

After all 95+% of the posts on this forum are opinions, Right?
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Old November 5, 2011, 12:19 PM   #22
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The only loads I trust are my own. If you do use factory inspect every round, I do with my reloads. Most factory loads are good but you do see recalls.
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Old November 5, 2011, 05:13 PM   #23
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Did you know that the quack of a duck does not echo?
actually recent studies have shown that the only audible noise a duck makes is the sound of the echo from a quack not that I see the relevence.


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There is also no short supply of male ego either. Oh yeah, low post counts are taken as frivolous by high post count myth experts also.
again you are stirring up resentment and derailing a perfectly enjoyable thread and it is rapidly becoming clear why the high roads admins deemed it necessary to ban you.
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Old November 6, 2011, 06:18 PM   #24
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I am also a Retired Federal Officer & firearms Instructor, and spent a lot of time on police ranges. I have also found lots of defective rounds straight from the factory, my favoite being a 12 guage slug round. It had
Case/primer/powder charge/wad and roll crimp. How did it get in a box with no slug?

And lots of ammo on the range come from dropped partially loaded magazines (top round pops out when it hits the deck). Plus, the factory method to reload an MP5 is to lock the gun open before inserting the new magazine. This results in lots of fresh 9mm on the ground.
I have a coffee can or two, and routinely shoot (or try to shoot) such ammo. No big deal, I'm not using my carry guns, just some beaters with lots of rounds through them.
I also have a coffee can or two with "pull me" rounds - no primers, deformed so they will not chamber, or just suspicious.
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Old November 6, 2011, 06:57 PM   #25
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Defective ammo can be dangerous, water is wet, the sky is blue, so on and so forth.

Quote:
shooting off an accumulation of what I call coffee can ammo: range pickups, misc. odds and ends, tarnished, aged ammo etc. The cal. was 9mm and the gun a Glock 34.
Um......it's yer gun, right? Probably costin' you several hundred bucks..... and you are saving how many pennies by putting some ammo you found on the ground in it and pulling the trigger?

There are some twisted folk in the world: you better hope one of them did not put about 10 or 12 grains of titewad under a 147 gr bullet with a small magnum primer and crimp the hell out of it........ and leave it laying around for you to pick up....... things could get ..... exciting.
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