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Old September 22, 2012, 06:01 PM   #1
Metal god
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What is your definition of reliable ammo

Rimfire need not apply !!!!!

OK now in the last 6 months or so i've shot a few thousand rounds ( give or take ) of 223 , 5.56 , .308 , 30-06 , 12 gauge , 9mm , 380 , 40 S&W . All factory ammo off the shelf

There are a few things I am starting to notice .

1) . I never have any prolems with hand gun ammo , It always goes bang when I pull the trigger and I think thats all Im looking for out of hand gun ammo . DOES IT GO BANG EVERY TIME ? I do have nice hand guns IMO , XD , beretta , ruger . That may make a difference .

2 ) . As for rifle ammo . Does it simply have to go bang every time for it to be reliable or is there more you expect out of your rifle ammo ? hand gun ammo for that matter as well .

3 ) . Yes we all want the ammo to be as accurate as any given gun can shot it , but does that have anything to do with reliability ?

4 ) . Im seing less problems in general with bolt action vs semi auto's . I assume this is do to the fact there is just a hole lot less going on in a bolt action then a semi auto while being fired , YES ?
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Old September 22, 2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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Going "bang" means nothing if it doesn't consistently hit the target.
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Old September 22, 2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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My definition of reliable ammo for a handgun is that it goes bang and exits the muzzle with the proper velocity and can cycle the gun. For basic defensive rifle shooting it's about the same as for a handgun, go bang and have the proper velocity since I most likely won't be going out passed 50 yards. If you are say a designated marksman or sniper than I expect everything I said with defensive shooting plus precise accuracy and consistency; In that role 1 shot may be the difference between life and death for your brothers in arms.
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Old September 23, 2012, 06:43 PM   #4
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Going "bang" means nothing if it doesn't consistently hit the target.
Conversely, hitting the target on every round fired, but only on the odd occasions the ammo goes "bang" is also less than ideal
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:04 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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I don't recall any rifle ammo ever failing to fire in any of my rifles. Factory or handloads.

I've never had any problem getting sub-MOA out of some tailored handload. I've found some factory ammo which is sub-MOA in a rifle of mine, but it sometimes takes trying different brands.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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Shooting LC '42 in 2008 I had a case blow out. Sorta went "blat"

Old ammo can be unreliable
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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I have been averaging 1 out of a hundred or so failer to fire with lake city m193 . Some say light primer strike . They look like good primer strikes to me . I would think if the gun was prone to light strikes . i would have more failers to fire then 1 out of 100 .

I also have had two .308 failers in a bolt action recently . One was Tulla and the other was Winchester X "something I forget ( gray box ). both apeared to have good primer stikes .

The other day at the range I had one box of steel cased 223 that I had 3 feed jams and two failers to fire out of 20 rounds . Unfortinately I took them out of the box some time prior to going to the range and I do not remember the brand . I want to say WPA but Im not completly sure . The box was more square then rectangle. Those were the first 20 of the day . I also had 160 rounds of brown bear with me and I did not have one failer to feed or fire with those . Both ammo's fired out of the same gun . I have one AR that I only shoot steel case ammo out of . The rest only brass . Kinda running my own little test .

I have been shooting alot of different ammo out of all of my fire arms . Been trying to find what works best for each .That way I know what to put away for a rainy day

Like I said before , my hand guns don't seem to care . They eat what ever I give them .

Im still working on my AR's . They all love the good stuff ( $20 a box ) But when it comes to the cheeper stuff . They like PMC , Remington UMC , and they really like the Federal AR223 ( black box ) . Now when I say " like " , I mean it goes bang every time and is reasonably accurate ( 2 to 3 MOA at 100 yards ). By saying ( goes bang every time )that to me means it is cycling every time as well or it would just go bang once .

What do you consider is reasonably accurate for a 223/5.56 plinking round under $10 a box ( in MOA ) .With the good stuff ( $20 a box ) the best I can do is 1 MOA with Federal gold metal match al 100 yards using a scope . The majority of my plinking is done with iron sights or a red-dot .

I do not reload at this time but I do keep all my brass for when I do start reloading .
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Old September 23, 2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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I don't recall any rifle ammo ever failing to fire in any of my rifles. Factory or handloads.
I had some third-hand handloads hang-fire a couple years back. However... they had been stored in very poor conditions, and were handloaded in 1963 and 1969.
(The chain of custody could be traced and trusted for the handloads; and I verified the load data before attempting to fire them. I do value my eyes and fingers. )


I've haven't every had a factory ammo fail-to-fire or hang-fire in a rifle, that I can recall right now. But, I have had some ammunition that had incredible head space issues. Both bad boxes were from Federal.
The first problem was 0.130" excess head space with 150 gr 8x57JS ammo. Yes, that's one hundred thirty thousandths! I don't even understand how that could have happened with typical draw dies...
The second instance, was a box of Federal Power-Shok .243 Win where half the box would not chamber because the shoulder was 0.080" too far forward. Again... eighty thousandths!

Federal, apparently, does not understand the concepts of head space and standard dimensions.

Those, to me, were very serious strikes against "reliability" -- One box of ammo that was downright dangerous to fire; and another where the ammunition couldn't even be chambered.
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Old September 24, 2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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If you're getting that many failures to fire, I'd say its a gun problem, rather than an ammo problem. I've shot many thousands of rounds through AR's in the past and I can't recall any failures to fire in factory rounds. There may have been one or two, but it was so rare that I can't even remember it. Most was Lake City M-193, and PMC commercial M-193 back in the 80's. My guns were box stock Colts.

I know a guy that built an AR. He had some sort of match trigger, and had many failures. He thought it was the ammo (even shipped some back), but he had a lot of "ammo problems" before he put a regular trigger system in it, then the problems went away.

I had a problem with a Remigton 788 in 308 with military ammo. It didnt reliably ignite some of the cheap surpuls that was available at the time, so I sold it. The Ruger 77 I have has fired all the surplus stuff I've shot in it without incident.

So whats up with the 22 rimfire stuff? I've seen some allusions to it not being reliable. I've had very few problems with any that I've shot. More than centerfire, but nothing I'd consider worthy of comment.
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Old September 24, 2012, 09:53 PM   #10
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Yea you caught me . The one AR that has the problems with the lake city stuff I did a fluff and buff on the trigger . Got it down to 4 lbs .I think me stoning and buffing the trigger and hammer so they are as smooth as glass is what droped the trigger wieght from 7 to 7 1/2 lbs to 4 lbs the most but I did bend the hammer sping a little , about 15 degrees . I'll put one of my extra hammer springs back in and see if I get less failers .

As far as rimfire , I just felt the thread could get way out of control if people started talking about rimfire's and reliablity . I can give one example worth mentioning . I have put something like 800 to 1,000 rounds through my XD9 With no failers to feed , extract or fire ( NOT ONE ) it goes bang every time , Now with my Ruger mk3 I have shot 3 times that much out of it and well I have had many failers of all types . I would not say alot but many more then none like the XD . I now almost exclusively use some type of CCI out of all my .22lr and have almost no problems any more . IMO there is most certainly much more unreliable rimfire ammo out there then centerfire ammo . Thats why I did not want to get into rimfire reliablity issue .
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Old September 27, 2012, 05:30 AM   #11
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Aguila is on my 'very questionable' list. 2 years ago I was shooting the M1 Carbine match at Perry. Using issued ammo - Aguila. About halfway thorough a round many a funny sounding pop and peppered my face with blowback. What the? Didn't extract either. Stopped and pulled the case out. Hmmm, bullet still in place, primer struck and obviously went off and mostly missing. Pried out the remnants and looked underneath.. No flash hole!

Wow, that's weird, oh well, try again. Had another 15 or so rounds later. Yeah, okay, I'm done.
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Old September 27, 2012, 05:54 AM   #12
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If its Winchester I stay away personally. Never had any problems with anything else.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:21 PM   #13
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The only "unreliable" ammo I had experience with was 9mm surplus stuff that was meant for a submachine gun. It took 3-4 hammer strikes to make them go off. I ended up using them to cure my flinch.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:44 PM   #14
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Ammo that feeds and fires every time.
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Old October 8, 2012, 02:53 AM   #15
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Robust components on each cartridge ie. brass, bullet, primer,.
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Old October 10, 2012, 10:15 AM   #16
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In over 50 years of handloading, I've only had one handloaded round FTF in a bolt-action centerfire rifle. It happened last year with some primers bought recently at a gun show. They were either not made right or stored improperly prior to my getting them.



In my rifles, a good rifle round for hunting or defense, will feed from the magazine, enter the chamber easily, fire properly and be accurate to 1 MOA, or better (usually better), then extract easily and eject.

For bolt-action target and plinking, I don't mind if rounds fit a bit tighter and bolts close with a little more force, but not extreme force.

Regarding reloaded ammo reliability, I check rounds after sizing and after loading to assure they will feed properly in my rifles. Primers are checked by feel or sight as I seat them. I do one step at a time on all cases and don't turn a case neck-up until it's filled with powder. When filling with most powders, each charge is measured an weighed. Ball powder loads may be check-weighed after every five or ten, depending whether it's near maximum or not.

After filling all the cases, I inspect them in the block in good light, so I can see that they appear to have the proper amount of powder. That's critical IMHO!
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Old October 10, 2012, 10:34 AM   #17
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I have shot a lot of old and questionable ammo and had misfires/hangfires. But I expected that, and was not concerned.

But with good ammo, I expect NO misfires. Theoretically, I might live with one in a million but the one in a hundred mentioned above is totally unacceptable. Something would have to be wrong with the gun or I would never buy that ammo again.

I also would not accept misfires from a new gun. Again, with antique guns, I can accept problems, even accept ones I can't fix. But with a gun I might need for defense, I believe in zero tolerance of misfires.

Jim
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Old October 10, 2012, 11:10 AM   #18
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I have heard of having a squib that leaves the bullet lodged in the barrel, and the following shot causing a rupture.
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Old October 10, 2012, 05:51 PM   #19
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I have shot a lot of old and questionable ammo and had misfires/hangfires. But I expected that, and was not concerned.
Keep on shooting old and questionable ammo and you will eventually blow a firearm. You may not understand the chemistry but you will remember the effect.
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Old October 10, 2012, 06:18 PM   #20
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How would you blow the gun Slamfire?
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Old October 10, 2012, 08:12 PM   #21
Metal god
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Yes , please help me know what I should look for when it comes to old or questionable ammo . I have some ammo that is at least 17 years old . I know how old it is cus I have not owned a gun in that calibar for that long .

I have already shot some of it through a friends gun a few months ago . It all seemed to work fine . It's all in good shape looks clean with no corrosion .

Does ammo go bad ? Or if kept cool and dry it should last for ever ?

.
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Old October 10, 2012, 08:20 PM   #22
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I have three boxes of old 30 carbine hp ammo made by Winchester, in paper boxes. Probably 60's vintage? I wouldn't think twice about loading, and using this.
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Old October 10, 2012, 09:23 PM   #23
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Lets start off with the rule of thumb for the lifetime of propellants: 20 years for double based and 45 years for single based. Powder breaks down naturally, it is a high energy compound that is breaking down to a low energy compound from the day it leaves the factory.

Quote:
Nitrocellulose-base propellants are essentially unstable materials
that decompose on aging with the evolution of oxides of nitrogen. The
decomposition is autocatalytic and can lead to failure of the ammunition or disastrous explosions.
ROLE OF DIPHENYLAMINE AS A STABILIZER IN PROPELLANTS;
ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY OF DIPHENYLAMINE IN PROPELLANTS

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/783499.pdf


Heat greatly reduces the lifetime of ammunition, see table one in this manual for just how much:


Surveillance and in-service proof - the United Nations

http://www.un.org/disarmament/convar...Proof(V.1).pdf

Heat will age powder and create pressure issues:

INVESTIGATION OF THE BALLISTIC AND CHEMICAL STABILITY OF 7.62MM AMMUNITION LOADED WITH BALL AND IMR PROPELLANT

Frankfort Arsenal 1962

3. Effects of Accelerated Storage Propellant and Primer Performance

To determine the effect of accelerated isothermal storage upon propellant and primer performance, sixty cartridges from each of lots E (WC 846) and G (R 1475) were removed from 150F storage after 26 and 42 weeks, respectively. The bullets were then removed from half the cartridges of each lot and from an equal number of each lot previously stored at 70F. The propellants were then interchanged, the bullets re-inserted, and the cases recrimped. Thus, four variations of stored components were obtained with each lot.

Chamber pressures yielded by ammunition incorporating these four variations were as follows. These values represent averages of 20 firings.




Old ammunition will blow up guns through burn rate instability. This is analogous to using old gasoline in your lawn mower. Do you remember how that engine ran rough, back fired through the carburetor, and if you had continued, maybe something bad would have happened? What you want from gunpowder is a smooth pressure curve. Since old gunpowder burns irregularly, it can create pressure spikes. I found gun blowup accounts in my 60’s American Rifleman magazines, one guy shooting old WW2 ammunition blew his rifle all to pieces. On disassembling his rounds the writer found clumped powder. You don’t want hangfires, hangfires are a very discontinuous burn, the pressure waves are reflecting and rebounding, irregular pressure increase beyond the combustion structures of the gun, there is risk in hangfires.

Only Superman has X ray vision, so you won’t see the corrosion going inside of the case less you pull the bullets, but if you ever pull the bullets and see green corrosion, like what is on these pulled US surplus bullets, that powder is outgassing nitric acid gas and is beyond its shelf life. It probably will go bang, but the case will be weakened and you could be unlucky and have a case head rupture, you could also have pressure spikes due to burn rate instability.

Incidentally, double based powders, the nitroglycerine wicks its way to the surface, so the surface in nitroglycerine rich and that will spike up the pressure curve.

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Old October 11, 2012, 05:47 AM   #24
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Temps of 150* is really cooking powder. I can't imagine storing ammo where it might get that warm for any length of time...but that's probably because I live in Maine!! Moisture is more our problem, especially for those who live on the coast, or those who try to keep their powder in a moist basement.
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Old October 11, 2012, 07:53 AM   #25
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Temps of 150* is really cooking powder. I can't imagine storing ammo where it might get that warm for any length of time...but that's probably because I live in Maine!! Moisture is more our problem, especially for those who live on the coast, or those who try to keep their powder in a moist basement
Section 7.3 of the UN Surveillance Manual provides temperatures for ammunition left out in the sun, it can get pretty hot.

Surplus ammunition can be stored in bunkers which help keep it cool, but a lot of ammunition is stored in ammo cans under tarps or ISO shelters. If you ever get into an ISO shelter that is in direct sunlight, it is plenty hot.

As for 150 F, I have found references to weapon systems that because of location, the ammunition gets to that temperature and higher. It is a concern because primers will dud (there are high temp primer compositions) and the ammunition is unsafe after a short exposure.

The bottom line is that heat is bad, the more heat, the more bad.

Moisture is bad because water is a polar molecule and that breaks down gunpowder. I have found references where too much water damages the stabilizer. Gunpowder is a very complicated mix.
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