View Full Version : I changed my carry load due to HIGH failre rate

Sir William
January 3, 2006, 04:04 AM
I have had great faith in Federal 147 gr Hydra-Shoks in 9MM for about as long as I can remember. Today I had that faith broken. A friend and I were drilling and practicing on the range. I drew from concealment and ran a 21 round string from my BHP MKIII. My 20 round magazines work well. I dropped the magazine, pulled my first spare and clicked it in. I dropped the slide and pulled the trigger, CLICK!! My stomach flipped. I checked and the round had fed. I attempted to cock the hammer and try again, CLICK!!. OK. Rerack to eject and continue. Nothing. I checked again, round had been fed. Repeat rerack and eject to continue. The next 19 rounds fired. I had ten rounds in a factory Browning magazine. I clicked it in and there were 3 rounds that failed to ignite. 3 out of 10!?! There were basically 5 total failures out of 50 rounds attempted. The magazines were eliminated as being the issue. The pistol was eliminated as the issue. The rounds were heavily indented on the primers, they simply would not ignite, period. Newly purchased ammunition. There were no indications of anything in the way of oil or crud that might have deactivated the primers. I was sickened. I am now trying Speer Gold Dot 9MM+P in 124 gr GDHP form. It functioned fine at the range.

January 3, 2006, 04:23 AM
A 10% failure rate is unacceptable, indeed. Were all the rounds from the same lot? If so, I would e-mail or call Federal and let them know about the problem.


January 3, 2006, 04:23 AM
Provided you have ruled out any problem with your gun --- an accumulation of dirt and crud in the firing pin chanel comes to mind, Get the lot number from the box and the rounds and send them to federal, you may save someone's life.

Sir William
January 3, 2006, 05:43 AM
It was past 2100 or I would have done that tonight. I saved the plastic boxes, lot numbers and one round with an indented primer. I am now worried about my 45 ACP and 38 Special cartridges. I may end up going Speer across the board. I did note that the +P rounds are quite a heavy wrist snapper and they seem LOUDER.

January 3, 2006, 10:51 AM
Read this same post on another board. The poster did not specifically mention Hydroshocks but mentioned 9mm Federal hollowpoints for personal defense. I'm guessing it's one and the same. All you guys using Federal for carry loads should be concerned.

January 3, 2006, 11:01 AM
Yikes, put an APB out on Federal. God help the poor soul who draws a gun with this ammo in it. In a fight, a "click" is heard louder than a "bang".

January 3, 2006, 11:15 AM
I had the same problem with Federal in .45ACP and 9mm. I now carry Hornady in my 1911s and Speer in 9mm.

January 3, 2006, 02:22 PM
Ironic...the exact same Federal rounds were on sale at my local gun store and I almost bought them, but they just got a shipment of Winchester 147g White Box , and since it was brought up in a previous thread, I went with the cheaper white box. I have been running 115g WWB HPs for awhile now with no problems. Could be a bad batch out there. I guess we should always fire a few rounds out of a new box of ammo before loading into the magazine of primary defensive weapon to make sure you don't have a bad box of ammo. One failure would put that box into the "for range use only" pile.

model 25
January 3, 2006, 02:47 PM
Federal was bought out by Omark I think, who also is CCI, I would send the rounds back to them and ask what is going on.


January 3, 2006, 03:19 PM
Most important characteristic of defense ammo is that it goes


every time.

L Puckett
January 3, 2006, 04:51 PM

Federal Cartridge Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK, Allied Technologies of Edina, MN.

ATK also owns, CCI, Spear, Outers, RCBS. ATK also operates (for the US Gov.) the Lake City Ammunitions plant and the Radford Ammunitions plant.

ATK also manufactures, advanced weapons systems and several space technologies.

Omark Industries, used to own CCI, Spear.

L Puckett

January 3, 2006, 05:43 PM
Switch to RA9T

January 3, 2006, 06:23 PM
I would try at least a couple of those rounds in a different pistol before blaming the ammo, it could be a pistol problem and not an ammo problem.

January 3, 2006, 06:33 PM
I carry Federal HydraShock in several different calibers for CCW. I use the 124 grain in 9mm, the 230 in .45, and 180 in .40S&W.
Over the course of many years, I have not experienced anything like you have described. I use several Browning HPs, two CZs in 9mm, and Colt and Springfield pistols in .45. In .40, I have a BHP.
Bottom line is that the only ammo you can trust to go bang, is the last one that did. Just like the lotto, where each ticket has as much statistical chance to win as any other ticket, I think ammunition is the same. That the last round of brand X, lot Y went bang 10 times in a row, is no guarantee that round number 11 has any more statistical chance to go off then number 10 did.

January 3, 2006, 08:52 PM
I think it's possible to get a bad production run of any product. Look at all the posts on this forum alone about gun manufacturers defects. It seems they all have some. I don't trust a box of carry ammo until I've shot it. If I buy a box of 20, I shoot 10 before I trust the rest. Sounds like a waste, but better safe than sorry.

Capt. Charlie
January 3, 2006, 10:06 PM
I'm sure you've already thought of this, but on the long shot that you haven't, is there any chance those rounds were exposed to Break Free or WD-40? Either will kill a primer in a heartbeat.

January 3, 2006, 11:03 PM
Referring to my post on THR : Which I cannot link to as THR keeps timing out on me - in General Discussions..

Short version..

Ladies Gun was a Glock 26.
Ammo was WWB 115 gr JHP Personal Defense.

Now like me and others, she runs a minimum of 200 rds of ammo , including all magazines , before she carries a loading for serious situations. These WWB had run 400 rds, of the same lot with no problems.

Speer is hard to find locally. Currently she/ I are using another proven load.

Federal P9HS1
This is the Personal Defense Load of 124 gr HS JHP.

We both fired another 100 rds of these proven loads in our respected guns and mags. We also bought these at two different locations and tried each others lot numbers. Satifised - again, we loaded up guns and mags.

Our guns have 3 different lot numbers in each of our mags ( 1 in gun, 2 spares).

I recall an old Mentor sharing - good idea to not have spare ammo of the same lot in gun, mags/ speedloaders.

Her gun was checked out, and the gun was not the problem.


Good point made on firing pin channel and lube penetrating primers.

My P-11 has the hammer and firing pin channel, Zippo Lighter fluid is used to clean and lube that area. Blow dry - dry. I use Mostly Dexron IIE ATF to lube mine.

She uses my other choice , Castrol Syntec 0w-30 , sometimes called GC for German Castrol.

I am concerned about the fact Premium ammo is supposed to be inspected better...
What I am hearing is not brand specific problem, just across the board concern with QC in many firearm related areas, not just ammo, not brand specific...nor level of quality if you will.

Sir William
January 4, 2006, 09:51 PM
OK. I just got through talking with a friend who had similar problems. The Federal cartridge used was PD9HS5 H Lot number seems to be 1 24T330 These were 135 gr Federal Hydra-Shok JHPs.

281 Quad Cam
January 5, 2006, 12:25 PM
Oh damn.... the 135gr HS's are my carry load! I just bought more last night! :(

I've never had an issue before though. Actually.... In my Glock and CZ - I've never had a failure to fire in thousands of rounds, with any ammo.

January 5, 2006, 01:07 PM
hmmmm. I must remember this. I just bought a 9mm. AND two boxes of 9mm Hydrashoks 124 gr.

January 7, 2006, 05:41 PM
Sometimes things can happen ...

Frequent proper training can help instill the necessary recognition & patterned responses which may be necessary to resolve many of the more commonly anticipated problems which can occur when using pistols.

With that mouthful out of the way ...

Having training kick in to help resolve 'unexpected' problems when pucker-factor is present is a good thing ...

Over the years I've experienced, and/or observed with other folks on our range, failure-to-ignite situations involving both reloaded/handloaded/remanufactured ammunition ... as well as brand new ammunition made by at least 3 of the major American ammunition manufacturers, and a couple of the foreign ones.

Things can happen.

Sometimes I've determined that improper cleaning/contaminants were involved in a particular situation, and sometimes I've eliminated that as a contributing factor, finding the pistol properly maintained without any contaminating liquids being present in places where they would potentially affect the ammunition being used or carried.

Not all ammunition is necessarily the same, either.

Some of the major maker's lower cost ammunition lines may not use the same components, or be subjected to the same sort of quality control inspections, as their higher cost, 'premium' lines. Also, sometimes a particular L/E or military contract specification may require a higher QC inspection process than that used in the same ammunition when sold in commercial venues.

I've been on the range when rounds didn't fire, even though they exhibited heavy primer cup indentations/firing pin hits, when Federal American Eagle, Winchester USA/Subsonic Duty/Personal Protection and Remington Express ammunition was being used. Sometimes I've bothered to test the rounds for ignition after a further hit, and had both continued failures-to-ignite as well as the rounds fire.

Interestingly enough, I carried Federal 147gr Hydra-Shok ammunition as an issued duty load for several years, and whenever I fired off older duty rounds or new-in-box rounds (we trained with less expensive 147gr ammunition) of it, it never exhibited any failures-to-ignite. I have a bit less experience with the Classic Hi-Shok 147gr & 115gr ammunition (mostly we used the American Eagle line, since it was on the state contract at the time).

I've had rounds fail to fire after exposure to lubricants inside magazines which were carried on uniform duty belts (big surprise), and remember one case where several rounds of W-W Silver Tips failed to fire after the user returned them for new ammunition during an exchange one time. On close examination many of the rounds exhibited contamination by a lubricant/solvent.

I've disassembled many service magazines being carried by folks and discovered significant solvent & lubricant contamination. I've allowed it to slowly drip out of a magazine upon occasion. Some owners/users seem to forget to occasional clean their magazines and leave them completely DRY, devoid of any lubricant/solvent/CLP liquid.

I generally use Winchester T-Series, Speer Gold Dot and Remington Golden Sabre as preferred carry ammunition ... (T-Series is the current issued round) ... although I'll sometimes briefly use the less costly W-W Personal Protection & Remington Express ammunition for my off-duty weapons, since that's what's on hand for training ammunition and it's easily available after I clean my various pistols.

Bottom line, when it comes to personally owned off-duty pistols I try to use the best quality ammunition I can ... and practice/review proper pistols skills related to resolving malfunctions, including ammunition-related problems such as 'bad rounds'.

When you consider that millions of rounds of ammunition come off production lines, it's hardly surprising that some of them may occasionally contain defective components such as hard, or inert, primers. I used to have the occasional inert primer back when I was a reloader, too.

I had a few instances where the cases of rounds were just enough out-of-spec, lengthwise, in some contract L/E ammunition ... from two different, major manufacturers, BTW ... for them to properly chamber in .40 S&W pistols. The overly long cases weren't easily apparent until I later carefully compared them to other unfired rounds in good lighting, at which time it was easy to see that the cases were slightly too long.

Sometimes things can happen ...

You can certainly call Federal and ask about it, though.

It wouldn't be the first time (or the last time) a particular production lot of ammunition was manufactured with some component or production condition which was later discovered to be problematic, or below the quality standards commonly acceptable to the manufacturer ... and which wasn't discovered until after the ammunition had been shipped/sold.