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Old February 23, 2019, 04:44 PM   #32
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 18,062
It will raise pressure if it gets thick enough. That's the whole deal with the Glock polygonal barrel concern. If you have a barrel that doesn't support the case well at the back of the chamber (1911, original Glock barrels, etc.) once the pressure gets high enough, it will blow the case open at the unsupported area. That burst can do some damage. Much of it is to the remaining rounds in the magazine, but it also cracks the grip panels and can damage your eyes if you aren't wearing glasses, as gas and bits of brass get blown out the back through the gaps in the slide and frame fit. It's not normally the barrel splitting or the slide coming apart, but a polymer frame can be split by it. it's a pretty rude surprise to experience, I can tell you. In rifles such damage is worse because of the cartridge making a larger volume of gas.

The concern with Glocks is the reported tendency to shoot lead perfectly fine until all of a sudden, within the space of one magazine full, it goes from just fine to being so badly fouled that a case bursts, and does that with no warning and no prior history of a problem. It is mentioned as true under Urban Legends, true or false at the end of this article. This is what got Lone Wolf barrels a customer base, in good part; conventionally rifled barrels for people wanting to shoot lead in their Glocks without concern. Also because shooting lead bullets in Gen 1 through 4 barrels voided the warranty (I don't know if that's the case for Gen 5, which has different rifling that reminds me a little of ratchet rifling). LWD's comments are here.

The late Gale McMillan comments that if you ever tried lapping a polygonal barrel (with a soft lead lap) you would understand exactly why they are prone to lead fouling accumulation, though he felt harder alloys were less concern (see the bottom of this).

The problem is a little like slamfires in military rifles. Lots of people never experience one, but they do happen anyway, on occasion. I was present for one that happened with military ball ammo, so even using the right primers properly seated doesn't always let you escape the issue.
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