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Old April 6, 2013, 05:43 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Glocks and Reloads. Really... What could possibly go wrong?

Right.
Don't let's fly off the handle and "bang" on about kabooms...

This is not about handloads.

This is actually a serious thread about matching what's best for my gun and best for my wallet, and hence about commercial reloads.

Since buying my G19 3rd Gen, I have mostly fired Barnaul through it, a cheap steel-cased ammo from Russia. It's the main ammo at my local range, and much cheaper than other brands in gun-shops. I'm guessing my round count is no more than 2000.

I want to move to a brass-cased brand. Magtech is one at €195/1000. Fiocchi is another at about the same. Neither of these brands is on the shelves at the moment. No one has anything of note and all I want to do is stock up for the summer months of paper-punching afternoons and IPSC...

I have found a brand called AlsaPro, selling commercially reloaded brass with 124gr FMJ: exactly what I'm looking for.
They are selling for about €165/1000 and the same as Barnaul: exactly what I'm looking for.

The way I see it, everything is new bar the brass case. Similarly, I don't see why a reloading company would be any more prone to making a light/heavy charge in a case, than any other company out there.

So is commercially reloaded brass really as bad as handloads are painted out be?
Is it really such a big gamble compared to virgin-brass loaded ammo?
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Old April 6, 2013, 06:22 AM   #2
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In my many years of shooting I have witnessed 6 ammunition related events that caused harm to the fire arm. 2 were commercial ammo, (Federal hydashock,G23 XD40, wolf) 1 was commercial reload (black hills, M92)and the rest were handloads. Since I fire handloads 3 to 1 to factory, that seems about right. I have concluded that being aware is far more important than ammo, because anything can go wrong. Of these malfunctions, only the Federal and the black hills load was over pressure. The rest were low or no powder and the gun fired with barrel obstruction. My range bag has a rod to check the bore for stuck bullets, and is strong enough for me to pound out the projectile if need be. It has been used for that purpose several times, mostly for my buddies handloads. As I get older, I find myself checking the bore more often. Of my handloads thrown with a measure or on the progressive, only the 38 special has room for a double charge. These I check carefully.
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Old April 6, 2013, 07:13 AM   #3
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You won't be able to tell any difference between quality commercial reloads and brand new factory loads.

Our local sheriff's department has been using reloads for training and qualifying for almost 20 years now with no incidents. We have about 200 officers on the road, each one goes through about 2000 rounds/year in training. No problems at all with the 500,000 reloaded rounds/year.
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Old April 6, 2013, 07:20 AM   #4
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If the question is about commercial reloads, then it's not only GLOCKS that could be affected -- but virtually any gun. Why limit it to Glocks. Why not change the question to "how safe are commercial reloads -- and what damage could they cause."

I've seen two cases (after the fact) of commercial reloads (purchased at gun shows) causing a weapon to destroy itself. One was a Glock, and I don't remember the make of the second gun. It was clearly ammo related, and the owner was SOL. In the case of the Glock, the grip frame was destroyed, and while the shooter didn't bleed, his hand got quite a jolt, and it was numbed for a while. He has since sworn off gun show reloads.

A local university's campus police had some factory loads destroy two of their Berettas during a qualifying session some years back. It can happen with factory rounds. In that case, the ammo maker made the guns good. No physical damage to the shooters, but a bit of psychic wear and tear took place.

It happens.

I've been shooting Georgia Arms loads and reloads for years without problem -- in all sorts of guns. I'd be shooting it now if they had product. (sigh)
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:13 AM   #5
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I have a G19 3g and shoot commercial reloads frequently with no problem. My LGS carries it (I don't recall the brand) and it's about half the price of WWB and UMC.
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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Why limit it to Glocks. Why not change the question to "how safe are commercial reloads -- and what damage could they cause."
Simply because I have a Glock. And also because I have seen dozens of threads dealing with with the dangers of reloads and Glocks, especially given the stipulation by Glock themselves that reloads should not be used.

I am very tempted by these reloads, but would rather check if Glock's warning is as due to commercial reload problems and not just handloads.

Judging by the comments so far, commercial reloads are as safe a bet as any.
So far so good!! I'll probably give them a go at my next competition.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:17 AM   #7
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Simply because I have a Glock. And also because I have seen dozens of threads dealing with with the dangers of reloads and Glocks, especially given the stipulation by Glock themselves that reloads should not be used.
Until recently I had not seen anything from Glock saying NO RELOADS, but saw this statement in the older manuals: "No liability whatever can be accepted if inexpertly manufactured or inexpertly filled ammunition is used." The manual now says "reloads will void the warranty" -- but the words are essentially the same as above. I suspect, too, that in most cases, there's no way that Glock could KNOW that reloads were being used.

A lot of gun makers warn against reloads -- but that's LAWYER talk, 'cause they know that people do stupid things, and they apparently don't want to have to argue with idiots if they blow up their gun.

EAA has been known to claim the owner was shooting reloads when there was a catastrophic problem with their some of their 10mm guns, even though the shooters were NOT shooting reloads...

There is a general concern about shooting lead out of the Glock polygonal barrels, and if you ask Glock Customer Service they'll warn against it. But it's a bit like the "reloads" issue -- they don't know what the next idiot is likely to do.

You can shoot lead out of Glocks, and I know one professional shooter who shoots lead exclusively in his Glocks. The secret is getting hard-enough lead and properly sizing that lead when casting the rounds. Unless you're a technically savvy reloader, it's probably something better avoided. I don't reload and so only shoot jacketed rounds in all of the Glocks I've owned -- and in the two I now own.

My son, a NC State Trooper, (but a city cop for a number years), used my Glock 17 when he went through BLET. The school provided S&W 5906s and lead bullets. My son had the second best score in that part of the course, the best score going to an active-duty copy getting his certification. That guy was a bit of a gun nut and was shooting his duty Glock and duty ammo. My son shot the school's lead ammo. We checked and cleaned the Glock each night and there was a small bit of lead buildup near the chamber. I've seen far worse lead build up in revolvers and .22s shooting lead; the consequences of too much lead buildup is not the same in those guns, however.

I've seen many messages addressing Glock's unsupported chambers. For hot loads, that's conceivably an issue whether you're talking reloads or factory ammo. It seems to be a problem only with older .40 S&W barrels, and I think they've changed the barrel design a bit (for the better) in newer guns.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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EVERY manufacturer warns against using reloads in their firearms, so this is really nothing to worry about. I've had a KB in a Glock (double-charge of Titegroup in a 9x19), and, though it trashed the pistol, the only thing that happened to me was a little nick in my trigger finger.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:41 AM   #9
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So is commercially reloaded brass really as bad as handloads are painted out be?
Is it really such a big gamble compared to virgin-brass loaded ammo?
Should be OK. I wouldn't worry about it. As long as it's not some fool selling his reloads.

Every gun company says "no reloads". (Now is the time for you to learn a handy American English acronym: "CYA". It applies here.)

The issue with Glocks is whether cast lead reloads are OK. Glock says no. Interwebz gunboard hearsay (YMMV, CYA) is divided. An aftermarket barrel is recommended for peace of mind.
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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Just to clarify these would FMJ 124gr bullets, not lead.

The company concerned is AlsaPro. Details are here.

Seems to be a legit outfit, not a backyard shed company.

It is sold by both my IPSC club, a local IPSC stockist, a local gunshop and is used by quite a few shooters.

In that respect it seems a fairly safe bet.
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:26 AM   #11
Walt Sherrill
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Another question: why reloads? Are they THAT MUCH cheaper than the bargain-priced factory ammo? If so, I can understand, but if the difference is minor ($.50 a box, or so), I'd be more inclined to stick with factory.

Of course, it may be that the reloads are all you can find, right now...

I'd try asking around about that brand, and see if you hear any horror stories.

(Six or seven years ago a bunch of us locally tried AAA ammo, and it was a horror story; the ammo quality control was such that even if the powder loads were correct -- don't know -- the bullets themselves could be easily set back by just loading a round, and sometimes they were too long, and wouldn't load. Scary! I don't know if they're still around, and whether they've gotten their act cleaned up.)
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:45 AM   #12
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I outlined the costs in the OP.

Steel-cased, unreliable, 115gr FMJ Russian Barnaul: €165/1000
AlsaPro reloaded 124gr FMJ ammo: €160/1000

Fiocchi 124gr ammo: out of stock. Will be about €200/1000
Magtech 124gr ammo: Due in next week. €195/1000

Other brands mainly include Sellier & Bellot and Geko which are about €240+/1000.

As you can see the difference isn't insignificant. The additional advantage of the AlsaPro is that €0.16 is the unit price. All others tend to be more expensive unless you buy them in a 1000 round batch. Below 1000 rounds Barnaul starts at €0.20. Other can be as much as €0.28.

As you can see there is the price advantage regardless, but even more so if I am not obliged to go the whole hog by buying 1000 rounds. I could just get 500: enough for a couple of months at the moment...
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:52 AM   #13
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99% of what I shoot out of my Glocks (all 9mm's), are my own reloads. I have yet to have any troubles, other than some intermittent ejection issues as the brass is nearing the end of its life.

I constantly cycle through one lot of brass and load it to failure, which so far, works out to be around 30 reloads or so before its done. The two issues Ive seen, are the case rims get chewed up over time from constant extraction, and the case mouths split during resizing. Thats it.

As far as the guns, my one 17 passed 50000 rounds back around Christmas, and my one 26, somewhere around 22000 rounds, in the three and a half to four years or so Ive been keeping a track on them. I change the RSA's twice a year on both, and have replaced the extractor and its associated parts twice now on the 17. Other than that, and an occasional stipple refesh, nothing else has been needed.


Youre best bet is to start reloading yourself. It easy to do, and right now, its still costing me about $6 a box of 50 to shoot (Im still using on hand, pre insanity, paid for components). That will jump us somewhat here from what Im seeing things starting to cost, but its still a lot cheaper than buying, even by the case. 1000 rounds of 124 grain fmj's costs me about $130, or 100 Euros to load. Before the last scare, it was closer to $70/1000, hopefully, people calm down before prices double again.
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Old April 6, 2013, 01:13 PM   #14
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
You're best bet is to start reloading yourself.
Right now, I'm not that tempted. Handloading still costs more per shot that the cheaper prices per round I've quoted.

Plus I don't want to hunt around for brass just yet!!
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Old April 6, 2013, 04:44 PM   #15
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Almost every round I fire is one of my handloads. As mentioned, all manufacturers warn against the use of handloads in their pistols, over the years, Glock has just expressed it with a little more emphasis. There are no issues in regard to using properly constructed handloads in a Glock, particularly their 9mms, but because of the polygonal rifling, extra precaution must be exercised in using cast lead reloads and many choose to get a conventionally rifled aftermarket barrel. Those that are aware of the extra precautions do fire cast lead reloads through the polygonal barrel.

Having said all that, I don't recommend the use of commercial reloads. You just don't know how they're constructed and what components are used where the major ammo companies comply to SAAMI specification for just about any 9mm pistol you're likely to encounter. Anyone that uses TiteGroup in a high pressure cartridge like the 9mm is inviting potential pressure problems, IMO. And like one poster stated, he double-charged using TiteGroup and paid the consequences. That should be a reminder to everyone to carefully examine your powder charge before moving on to bullet seating when you handload.

I know we're in a mess regarding the ammo shortage, but if I didn't handload the 9mm (28 years now), there are 2 brands that are economy priced here, but in their country of origin, as well as other places in Europe, S&B and Fiocchi are premium brands. In the case of Sellior & Bellot, CZ and HS Produkt (XD/XDm/XDs pistols) are tested with S&B ammo. In both cases I use their brass for reloading and find it to be very high quality. So when the craze is over, if I didn't handload, it would be Fiocchi or S&B for me.
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Old April 6, 2013, 05:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Handloading still costs more per shot that the cheaper prices per round I've quoted.
Wow. Interesting. How much are components over there?

Over here, 9mm FMJ bullets are about $100/1000 = €77/1000

Powder is $20/pound = €16/pound

Primers are $30/1000 = €23/1000

9mm brass cost is negligible, save your own, and most people will just give it to you.

Cost for 1000 reloads over here would be €116/1000.
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Old April 6, 2013, 05:13 PM   #17
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Damn, that sounds like US pricing that predated the Abomination administration.
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Old April 6, 2013, 05:31 PM   #18
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The link showed fired brass. In both my own 9mm reloads for Glock, and some commercial reloads from a trusted company, there were failures to eject or extract. When I bought ammo made from new components from the same company, no problem. There is a taper on the 9mm case and it is difficult to duplicate that taper on reloads, and I believe my Glock's chamber did not like the lack of taper. Another Glock might work just fine, but you might buy a smaller quantity to experiment first.
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Old April 6, 2013, 06:05 PM   #19
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It is simply that reloads are out of the industry's control. SAAMI does a good job setting stds for safe ammo and us mfgrs do a good job with QC, but nobody knows how good YOU are at reloading, except yourself.
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:16 PM   #20
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If it were common practice for folks to distill their own "white lightning" and use it to fuel their cars (instead of themselves), it is pretty easy to imagine the auto companies saying the warranty is void if that fuel is used.

With factory loads, if anything happens, the gun maker and the ammo maker can work together to resolve the problem (or at least to point fingers). But with handloads, there is no formal quality control, no recalls, no standards.

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Old April 6, 2013, 09:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James K
. . . . But with handloads, there is no formal quality control, no recalls, no standards.
And no insurance to mitigate the damages.
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Old April 7, 2013, 02:52 AM   #22
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Wow. Interesting. How much are components over there?

Over here, 9mm FMJ bullets are about $100/1000 = €77/1000

Powder is $20/pound = €16/pound

Primers are $30/1000 = €23/1000
I once worked it all out.

-It was about €25-35 per pound (actual is €64-84 per kg depending on the powder: all provided by VihtVuori)

-Primers were €65 per 1000

-Bullets were about €150 per 1000

-Cases could be acquired from the range floor at 158 units of back pain/1000

So in total we are looking at €235-ish per 1000, not counting time.

In addition, a big problem is availability. No one reloads 9mm and so no one stocks bullets. I could reliably get plated FN bullets, but then we have the dilemma of plated in a polygonal bore...
Just not worth the hassle at present.

Quote:
major ammo companies comply to SAAMI specification
This company states that it meets C.I.P. standards; the European ammunition standard.

The truth is that legislation in Europe is such that there is no way any ammunition could get licensed for production if it were unsafe to fire. As such it would not get a licence to export etc.
I can't imagine it is any different in the US. This is a manufacturing outfit that has produced components and now reloads and has an output big enough to cater for foreign markets...

As I said earlier, in this respect, I can only imagine the weak link in the operation is the brass.
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Old April 7, 2013, 03:21 AM   #23
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I would consider commercially reloaded/remanufactured ammunition, from a reputable company, which loads to established industry standards, to be the equivalent of factory ammunition for all practical purposes. Of course, the caveats are the really important part of that statement.
Quote:
...could reliably get plated FN bullets, but then we have the dilemma of plated in a polygonal bore...
As long as the bullet is of reasonable hardness, and the plating is not too thin, I don't believe plated bullets would be a problem. I would certainly check to see if there were issues periodically, initially at fairly small round count intervals. The absolute worst case of leading I've ever encountered was from plated bullets. The plating was thin and the bullets were very soft.
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Old April 7, 2013, 06:19 AM   #24
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As long as the bullet is of reasonable hardness, and the plating is not too thin, I don't believe plated bullets would be a problem.
Well, I don't know if it is too thin, not thin enough. However, I did find a link to information on the H&N website saying that their plate is 0.08mm thick. As to whether the bullets are hard enough, based on the "plasticity" comment half way down, my guess is that they are not very hard at all....

Quote:
From the H&N website:
High-speed bullets are not jacketed bullets! This is why they can also be used at shooting ranges, where use of jacketed bullets is prohibited. The (galvanised) copper coating is around 0.08 mm thick – in contrast to jacketed bullets, where the jacket is over 0.2 mm thick, depending on the make. HS bullets also dissipate energy more easily on account of their good plasticity when they hit a receptacle. Fragmentation is also far less when hitting steel knock-down targets (e.g. IPSC) than with jacketed bullets. If the operator of your shooting range does not accept this explanation, print our DEVA assessment on the classification of copper-plated high-speed bullets.
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Old April 7, 2013, 07:19 AM   #25
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Factory reloaded ammunition is generally termed remanufactured. If it's from a reputable company, like Georgia Arms, the quality is generally as high as anything you're going to buy new from a major manufacturer's "budget" line, like Winchester White Box or Remington UMC's value packs.
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