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Old January 4, 2017, 04:31 PM   #1
fotojake
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Is it the ammo or the revolver?

Took a very new SW 64 to the range the other day to practice with a box of Armscor 158 FMJ 38 spcl ammo. Two times a round failed to fire (out of the box of 50) So, I pulled the trigger, the cylinder did it's thing and the next round would fire. I pulled the trigger again the necessary amount of times so as to cycle through to the round that didn't fire and the second go through the round did go bang!

Is it the ammo that may be faulty, or is it something to do with the weapon? I shot 80 rounds of American Eagle and Miwall ammo earlier in the week and nary a problem was had. Stupid me should've stopped when the round didn't fire and checked to see if the primer had even been struck, but I didn't.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
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Old January 4, 2017, 04:55 PM   #2
Mal H
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Given your other evidence of good ammo all going bang, I would have to say it was probably the ammo. Armscor has had a few reports of loose primers, so if that's the case, your first try probably seated the primer and the second try fired it. In general, Armscor is reliable ammo. (It wasn't Amerc, right?)

Quote:
Stupid me should've stopped when the round didn't fire and checked to see if the primer had even been struck, but I didn't.
You need to get into the habit of stopping immediately when something doesn't happen that should have. The worst case would have been that you had a squib load and the bullet was firmly planted inside the barrel. Squibs are hard to distinguish from a simple fail to fire when you're shooting with hearing protection on. You also, as you already know, passed up a good piece of evidence to help you answer your own question.
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Old January 4, 2017, 04:56 PM   #3
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I would say the primers weren't fully seated in the rounds that went off the second time. The first strike seated them and the second set them off.
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Old January 4, 2017, 05:00 PM   #4
fotojake
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Definitely Armscor. Inexpensive, and super clean, too!

Thanks for the info on the primers not being seated. That, and the potential squib round - which I had heard of before but thought you'd at least hear/feel some sort of pffft after pulling the trigger.

Still relatively new to this game and always learning.
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Old January 4, 2017, 05:35 PM   #5
cslinger
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I know you said new but could the strain screw have backed out or simply wasn't installed tight enough. If you see it with other ammo I would look there.
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Old January 4, 2017, 06:03 PM   #6
Hal
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+1 to the screw.

Shoot a few hundred rounds and see if it has any problems with any other ammunition.

I had a brand new S&W M617 that would do that exact same thing with everything except American Eagle.

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That, and the potential squib round - which I had heard of before but thought you'd at least hear/feel some sort of pffft after pulling the trigger.
Yes - a squib will usually sound and feel - -different.

Perhaps you meant to say - hangfire?
A hangfire is where the trigger is pulled and the firing pin strikes and every thing appears to be normal,,except the round doesn't go off.

Then a split second to several seconds later - BANG!

If you pull the trigger and the hammer falls and the gun doesn't go bang - - keep the muzzle pointed down range and count to 10.

I've had two hang fires in my life. They are - disturbing....
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Old January 4, 2017, 07:04 PM   #7
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While newish, was it used? I had a used 19 that had its springs messed with.
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Old January 4, 2017, 11:04 PM   #8
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It is a sad fact that used guns (and other products) are often placed on the market after the previous owner has decided to do his own repair or redesign and realized that he has messed things up beyond his (or anyone's) ability to repair. These folks live by the motto, "Let the next sucker worry about it".

I have bought used guns, but then I am pretty good at checking things out before shelling out money and never buy sight unseen.

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Old January 4, 2017, 11:22 PM   #9
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I've had failures to fire on first hits with Armscor .38Sp with my five revolvers (actually 6 or 7 revolvers as two are no longer owned by me).

Although loose strain screws should be checked, also, I suspect it's this brand of ammo.
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Old January 5, 2017, 09:44 AM   #10
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Since I depended on my revolver (carrying it for 20 years in LE) I want it to go bang, I have to trust the revolver and ammo.

My Model 28 (which was gifted to me by the Dept when I retired) will shoot anything.

So I thought.

I picked up a couple boxes of Remington 158 LSWCs to carry in my 642 carry revolver. Before I carry ammo I want at least a full box through the gun to make sure it worked.

The Remington didn't. Ok is it the gun or the ammo? I tried it in my Model 28, still had some that wouldn't fire. I tried it in a couple others, My Model 27 and Model 64. I still had a couple that wouldn't work.

My reloads worked in all my 38/357s. I picked up some Winchester 158 LSWC, ran through 100 rounds, in my 642, they all worked as intended.

So I don't buy Remington. Maybe just a bad lot, (which was probably the case) but I don't trust Remington ammo, I have to have trust in my revolvers and the ammo.

The OP says he tired other ammo that (if I read it right) worked without a flaw. That tells me that's the ammo he should use.

I don't believe in lightening trigger pulls on revolvers. The best way to cure that problem is dry fire sessions. Dry fire the revolver until your finger is tired and cant pull the trigger. Then switch hands and do it with the weak hand. When that tires, switch hands and do it again.

Keep this practice up for several weeks and I bet you don't notice the heavy trigger pull. Work on the muscles in the hand and finger, leave the gun alone.

Any Company can have a bad lot of ammo. Example back in the days when DCM issued ammo for the leg (EIC) matches, our club was issued a lot of Lake City '06 (Garand Ammo) for our EIC match. None worked, the primers went off, came out of the case into the action of the rifles. Turns out Lake City forgot to put a flash hole in the brass. That doesn't mean all Lake City ammo is bad, it means that lot was bad. I happened to have a bunch of LC '06 ammo for the sniper schools I was running at the time, it worked well and we were able to continue the match.

Find ammo that works in your gun, get enough of a Lot of that Brand, to fire 50 - 100 rounds without fail, save the rest for your carry ammo.
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Old January 5, 2017, 10:47 AM   #11
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I occasional use Armscor ammo and so far have never had any problem.
But with the amount of ammo any manufacturer turns out, it's understandable mistakes will happen.
Think of all the car recalls.
Just stay aware and "Trust No one."
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Old January 5, 2017, 02:30 PM   #12
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I'd bet 99% chance it's the ammunition. Try other brands, if you get even one FTF, call S&W and they'll make it right...and on their nickle too. Rod
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Old January 5, 2017, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
While newish, was it used?
Nope, brand spanking new. I ran about 80 rounds through 'er a few days prior.

I just keep thinking of the potential disaster that could have been, had it been hang fire or a squib round. This incident, and the responses to my original post on it, have drilled home how to treat either of those situations if this incident ever comes up again.

Very grateful and thanks.
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Old January 6, 2017, 12:07 PM   #14
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One of the problems of "training for the real world" meaning keeping/getting the gun back running as fast as possible, (to defend yourself with) is that it shortcuts/ignores the usual safety practices.

Sure, this makes perfect sense, in a gunfight, where your LIFE is at risk, but training / practicing that way DOES involve greater safety risks in the event of a misfire, especially a squib round.

The semi shooter's instant "tap rack bang" and the DA shooter instantly pulling the trigger again WITHOUT checking anything else (like if there is a bullet stuck in the barrel) has an element of serious risk, when you do it on the range.

There's a line there, where you have to make the decision, either to be as safe as possible, or accept a degree of risk, in order to have realistic training.

Personally, I'm in the camp that says, the instant something doesn't work like normal, STOP!!! Training is now over, until you determine what went wrong, and why.

As to your specific issue, my money would be on the ammo, as the most likely culprit. Whenever you have a gun that is working normally and certain individual rounds don't fire, it's almost always the ammo. When the gun itself has a problem, its usually a consistent problem, not a random thing. Usually.
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Old January 6, 2017, 07:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
Personally, I'm in the camp that says, the instant something doesn't work like normal, STOP!!! Training is now over, until you determine what went wrong, and why.
+1 on that. And I've got two squib loads in the early days of having my LCR to prove it!

ETA: just to clarify, these were on separate range visits and I did stop after each.
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Old January 9, 2017, 04:19 PM   #16
fotojake
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Shot a box of American Eagle LRN 158 grain yesterday, and, aside from the stuff being absolutely filthy, not a single misfire. Has to have been the ammo.

Thanks again.
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Old January 10, 2017, 08:23 AM   #17
Don P
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I vote for ammo being the issue. many folks at the range i am a member of have had many issues with Armscor ammo.The 158 grain not making chrono failure to fire as well as the 9mm and their 22lr are well lets say useless.
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Old January 10, 2017, 10:53 PM   #18
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In this case, I think it it quite likely that the ammunition is the problem, but we still do not have enough ammunition to know for sure. Federal ammunition is not a good test for a revolver that could potentially be having light strikes. Federal primers are known to be the most sensitive, and a light mainspring can be reliable with Federal ammo, but not with any others.

You need to try a variety of other ammo besides Federal to determine if the firing pin strikes are really strong enough. I have been told that Remington UMC ammo has fairly tough primers, so that might be a good one to include in your testing.

Good luck with your testing. The model 64 is a great gun.
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