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Old March 11, 2013, 11:30 AM   #1
Erich
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Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

I don’t usually gripe about customer service -in fact, my experience with firearms-related customer service - and reloading related customer service in particular - have been very good. But I had a bad experience with Federal just now, and thought I’d share it, because it was so unusual in relation to the service I’ve gotten on other ammunition issues.

So, yesterday I had brought a brand-new silver box of Federal Classic ammo to the range to try in my new-to-me pre-Model 30 Improved I-frame. The Federal Classic ammo was 98-gr RNL .32 S&W Long, part no. C32LB, lot number 3 19J155. Federal ammo is more expensive in this caliber than Eastern European stuff, but I figured the good thing about using big maker ammo from Federal would be that I’d be able to reload the empties. Based on decades of past experience, I figured I’d get quality brass after firing the low-pressure .32 S&W Long factory loads.

The ammo shot well enough (group at 10 yards), though was pretty tame (M 667.8/ES 78.95/SD 32.31).



But wait! Upon firing, I noticed that one round did a very odd spurt of stuff out of the bbl/cyl gap, and was surprised to find that I had to hammer on the ejector rod to get the rounds out of the cylinder. Out of five rounds, four split - and one had its primer pop out the back.





This was NOT the fault of the gun - I fired four other loadings on the same outing (two handloads - ironically in Federal cases, and two factory loadings by S&B and Aguila) with no problems whatsoever.

So, since this ammo wasn’t going to give me the reloadable cases that I’d been after, I figured I’d contact ATK; on advice of friend, I went to their site and filled out a contact form:

Quote:
Four out of five cases split on a new silver box of Federal Classic .32 S&W Long ammo, part no. C32LB, lot number 3 19J155. One primer protruded. The cases had to be forcibly extracted by hammering the ejector rod. This was not a problem with the gun, as several other loadings performed flawlessly.

Here are some photographs:

i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-34_709.jpg

i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-51_820.jpg

I deliberately purchased what I thought to be quality Federal ammo because I wanted the spent cases for reloading. Please contact me about this.
I was really surprised when Federal wrote back a terse, “Go Away” email:

Quote:
You bought old ammo, it has been sitting on the shelf. The brass split due to stress corrosion cracking. It was manufactured in 2003.

Thanks
Federal Ammunition
I was pretty amazed by this, and responded:

Quote:
Are you kidding me, or are you just insulting me? I've been happily reloading much of the same brass since the '80s, and you're going to tell me that your new, never-fired brass from only ten years ago will split when fired in a low-pressure factory loading in the .32 S&W Long cartridge.
I’ve not heard back. I’m not pleased with Federal/ATK’s handling of the situation; I would have expected that Federal/ATK would stand behind its products or care more about its customers.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:57 AM   #2
Cheap 870
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I posted this in another forum & now I'm posting it in this one.
That's how aggravated this makes me.


That response would've made me mad all so.
In my eyes it doesn't matter if factory ammo is 10yrs. old or 20yrs. old it sure shouldn't have done that. So what they are saying is that Federal Ammo has a shelf life??? If that's the case they should put an experation date on all their ammo boxes & when it expires you should be able to send it back for a refund.
This is redictulous & the response you recieved back is a joke.
And if you want to copy & post my response in your next email you have my permission.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:23 PM   #3
F. Guffey
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http://www.turkmauser.com/ammo.aspx

http://www.turkmauser.com/ammo/mhbTurk.aspx

I no longer shoot this ammo, I know it is old, I have pulled the bullets, saved the powder and bullets then formed 30/06 cases to 8mm57 cases, all the problems went away. Number one, I shake the case to detect loose powder, if the powder is loose it only means the powder is loose on the bullet end, it does not guarantee the powder is not caked on the primer end, with that old ammo I would not pull the trigger then immediately open the bolt if there was a failure to fire.

No one can imagine the effect of pulling the trigger on a case with caked powder next to the bullet, I was given one of those ,you bet, no problem, and he is one of the best reloaders in South Texas, three boxes of the ugliest reloads I have ever seen. Not much room for forgiveness when the rifle was a 30/40 Crag with one locking lug.

I epoxied the cases into case trays, at the time I had little concern for those that were desperate for cases.

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; March 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM. Reason: add a t to be
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:40 PM   #4
sunaj
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If the brass has been stored properly, and they are saying 2002 mfc is so old that explains the brass splits I think I would avoid Federal brass from here on out
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:04 PM   #5
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Wow, that is one of the worse CS responses I've seen from an ammo manufacturer. They are basically stating their ammo is no good after 10 years? Designed obsolescence?

Sounds more like the ATK webmaster responding then an actual ammunition engineer. I would ask to be forwarded to a supervisor who is a grown-up.
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:24 PM   #6
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I'm with NWPilgrim. That's an idiotic response. I'm still loading component brass that I picked up off the range of the shooting club I began my shooting at, in 1988.

There's no way that ammo is too old. I really have no idea what the problem is, almost looks like Federal had a bad run of brass. While I can see a company referring to it's age as some manner of an "answer", the response they sent stinks quite a bit.

I don't know if this will help much, but when you've got handloading questions, they get funneled to Ben Amonette at ATK and although he's not always come through with helpful answers, he does tend to get back in a timely fashion. I'm not sure if he'll help with factory ammo problems, but I don't think it can hurt to go from two or more angles.

Ben.Amonette <at> ATK.com will send a note directly to him.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:19 PM   #7
hardworker
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Or it could have been a bad batch of ammo. Sounds like they were aware of the problem and told you why it happened.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:47 PM   #8
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I'm not surprised about Federal's lack of concern about their efficacy for reloading, however, split shells that can't be ejected, etc. pose a real risk, depending on what you are using them for. What type of satisfaction were you looking for-replacement, some sort of credit, or other recourse?
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:06 PM   #9
LE-28
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Quote:
they get funneled to Ben Amonette at ATK and although he's not always come through with helpful answers, he does tend to get back in a timely fashion.
I've had one dealing with Ben Amonette at ATK and he came through for me in a heartbeat, It was my mistake but he made it right with me in a New York second. I thought he was the gun powder guy but maybe he does more than that. I can't imagine he was the one that told you to go away. He sounded like a straight shooter to me and I was impressed by his willingness to make me happy with my problem. (Again, My Fault Entirely).

If you are 100% accurate with what all took place with your corrospondance, I doubt Ben was involved.

Last edited by LE-28; March 11, 2013 at 03:13 PM.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:09 PM   #10
reynolds357
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I wish you could get in a time warp and go deal with Ruger in the early 80's. You would appreciate Federal's helpfulness if you had ever had the pleasure of dealing with Ruger in that era. Federal is basically saying, its their low end ammo and they dont really care. Would tick me off as well if they told me what they told you.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:11 PM   #11
reynolds357
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Suna J, Federal brass has been on my avoid list for a very long time if it bears their and not Lake City markings.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:24 PM   #12
LE-28
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I'd like to know who sent you that reply. Can you post the corrospondance so we can see it?
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:21 PM   #13
maillemaker
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I find this post disturbing. Ammunition that has been sitting on a shelf for 10 years should work just fine.

Steve
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:24 PM   #14
Erich
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No kidding.

You've seen all the correspondence, LE-28. The Federal email came from an anonymous address: Anoka Prodserv <Anoka.Prodserv@ATK.COM>

Thank you all for your kind replies. (reynolds357, you cracked me up.) Before I went to law school, I did my time behind the counter of a gun store and in customer service - I remember well the magic words, "I'm so sorry that happened to you. That is not at all the experience that we want for our customers. How can I make it right for you?" You know, the kind of response you get from pretty much any CS person involved in any way with the reloading hobby.

A friend on another forum knows people and offered to put me in touch with the bigwigs at ATK. That's not really the point, though: I'm not really looking to be made whole or to help Federal rehabilitate their image at this point, just wanting to let fellow 'loaders know what sort of response they can expect if they encounter such issues.
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:08 PM   #15
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Another place where ATK seems to be having case issues is with their SPEER nickeled 357 Sig brass. It often showes a web of cracks in the shoulder area when factory ammo is fired.

I also bought some Federal "Champion" .45 ACP ammo at Walmart (because it was cheap) and found that its "FMJ" bullets were actually thick-plated, with a LOT of small dents on their noses. And they turned-out to be several mils out-of-round when I pulled a few. But, those cases did not split.

Seems like maybe there are some general QC problems at ATK these days.

On the other hand, I bought a lot of Federal factory ammo in the 1970s and am still shooting a lot of those cases these days. So, I guess things have changed.

SL1
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:28 PM   #16
F. Guffey
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You bought old ammo, it has been sitting on the shelf. The brass split due to stress corrosion cracking. It was manufactured in 2003.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chain of possession, I have no clue how the box of ammo was stored, as to ‘it does not take me long to look at it’, after I experience a problem with a box of ammo, I stop, who knows what the story would have been had a few of the cases been saved.

A friend called and was asking about Remington ammo, seems a pound owner of a new Ruger rifle and two boxes of Remington 30/06 ammo that had 5 cases to fail to fire fire out of 20, long story, he brought the 15 fired and 5 failed to fire cases over, no new box and no way of contacting the proud owner. We tore the ammo down and measure everything to the grain and thousandths, I was impressed. The fired cases would chamber in my chamber gage, I removed the primers then installed them back in the same case they were installed in, I chambered all 5 cases in one of my M1917s and fired them one at a time. I believe the cases would have fired in any of of sever M1917s, there were 5 attempts to fire the failed to fire cases in 3 different 30/06 rifles at the range. At the range that day it was ‘bad old Remington ammo’. I was impressed with their primers, hammered 5 times then bang when fired in a rifle that does not have a bashful firing pin.

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Old March 12, 2013, 03:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
I can't imagine he was the one that told you to go away. He sounded like a straight shooter to me and I was impressed by his willingness to make me happy with my problem.
I hope you didn't get from my post any suggestion that Ben Amonette might have been involved in the lousy response he got. My bringing in his name was a suggestion of who I would send an e-mail to, to get to the bottom of this.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:30 AM   #18
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In a situation like that when you spoke to them the first time and knew in your heart yor were being handed a line of bull you should have told them of your affiliation with this and other widely used shooting forums. You then could have explained to them you would be all too happy to post their position along with graphic pictures of the failed brass for all to see and form their own opinion as to weather their ammo was safe ( they love that word ) to fire . You realize of course what you have is the very thing recalls are made of right ? Their position was WAY off the grid of acceptability.

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Old March 12, 2013, 06:49 AM   #19
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Sounds to me like an entire corporation will be taking the rap for the idiotic email from one person. I would escalate this to several others until you get a satisfactory response, or enough support for his stupidity to determine its a companywide policy issue, and not just one underling who answers email in a way that his superiors are unaware of. If you were a Federal exec, you would want to know. I would foreward your email and his repsonse to a dozen or so corporate Federal email addresses.

That you wanted the cases for reloading is irrelevant. Something was obviously wrong for this ammo to to generate excessive pressure that is both dangerous to the shooter and his equipment.
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:10 AM   #20
Erich
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Actually, I'm pretty sure there was no excessive pressure - look at the chrono numbers. Thanks for all the replies - I'm not really concerned at this point about getting myself made whole so much as letting the shooting fraternity know 1) that I had a brass issue and you might, too, and 2) the pretty astonishingly uncaring response about a product that is unfit for its intended purpose.
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:49 AM   #21
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I would try to at least call them and see if you could talk to someone, it would be ashamed to chalk up a company due to one person that may have received the emails, but who may not care or is just incompetent.
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:08 AM   #22
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I believe Federal will survive your attempt to discredit them.
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:19 AM   #23
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Moved to General Discussion...
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Old March 12, 2013, 04:54 PM   #24
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The company can't fix it if they don't know its broken. Take it up the ladder. That will serve two purposes. Lets them know they have a bad batch of ammo out there, and they have a customer service rep that needs to be fired.
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Old March 12, 2013, 08:06 PM   #25
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Quote:
The company can't fix it if they don't know its broken. Take it up the ladder. That will serve two purposes. Lets them know they have a bad batch of ammo out there, and they have a customer service rep that needs to be fired.
^^^ This.

2003 is only ten years old. People have dug M1911s out of attics and barn lofts that have been left loaded since Grandpa came back from WW2 and the ammo doesn't split when fired.
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