Safety! Check your CCW ammo regularly - MP-Pistol Forum

Safety! Check your CCW ammo regularly

This is a discussion on Safety! Check your CCW ammo regularly within the CCW forums, part of the Armory category; Something I overlooked this time and its been many months since I checked my daily carry magazine. This is for you new folks or those ...


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Old September 6th, 2016, 02:56 PM   #1
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Safety! Check your CCW ammo regularly

Something I overlooked this time and its been many months since I checked my daily carry magazine.

This is for you new folks or those of us, like myself, that might need a reminder!

Check your carry ammo regularly and discard, permanently, any rounds that have set back or damage to the case.

I always carry chambered and I sometimes have to unload my pistol so some of the rounds get stacked back in the mag. This is not a good thing to do more than once. Chambering a round more than once or twice can push the bullet back into the case

Bullet set back and case damage can and will occur. This can lead to over pressure in the cylinder and case blow out which can seriously injure you, kill you or at least destroy your handgun.

The pic below is of six of the fourteen rounds of .40sw that were in my carry mag. Look at the case damage and set back on most of the rounds. This was potentially dangerous for the next time I fired the gun. I might have even needed it in self defense.
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Old September 6th, 2016, 04:17 PM   #2
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Let me explain the situation shown here: These cartridges were all removed at a firearm inspection prior to officers shift change. Cartridges #2 and #3 were removed from service, the officers regularly ejected these rounds and then put them back in the magazine to be loaded into the chamber again. Repeated rechambering of the same rounds over and over resulted in bullet setback, an incredibly dangerous situation.

Pressure spikes substantially when the bullets are seated too deep, bullet setback to this extent can result in doubling chamber pressure, which can blow up your weapon.

I had an experience some years ago, some 45acp cartridges which were a very mild load, I got some new bullets of the same weight and general shape, they were seated to the same depth I had been using for years with no problems. Unknown to me was the shape was slightly different, and when seated to the same OAL, they were deeper in the case than what I was used to. When I took them to the range they were hot, real hot! They were blowing primers out of the empty shells, the primer pocket was so expanded it wouldn't even hold a primer anymore. This was a very mild load, I was baffled as to what was going on, I talked to some people and I finally found the bullet shape and the seated depth were the cause of the problem, new shells were loaded at a longer OAL, and fired normally.

Bullet setback is extremely dangerous, if you ever see cartridges like the ones pictured, do not shoot them, discard immediately, if you have access to a bullet puller, pull the bullets.
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Old September 6th, 2016, 04:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the good information that you have presented. Many are not aware of this...I know I wasn't.
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Old September 6th, 2016, 05:27 PM   #4
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When my carry ammo gets like that, I partially pull the bullet to a length beyond max COAL, then reseat the bullet to the proper COAL.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 02:35 AM   #5
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Not very many decades ago, a study was done to figure out why revolvers were blowing up with target loads using Bullseye powder. It was bullet setback that was the culprit (when shooting). So yes, it's a very dangerous condition. It doesn't take much, especially with fast powder, in this case Bullseye, to get over 100,000 psi.

I don't pull the bullets a bit and reseat because at that point the damage has been done to the case IMO, but I never pull the cartridge out of the chamber in the first place. I know it's good as long as I don't screw with it. I just check the rounds in the mag' when I change mags.

Years ago when I was CCW'ing a 1911 it would have a tendency to move the bullets deeper, so I just stopped removing the round from the chamber. I also began easing rounds into the chamber and making sure that the slide was in battery by hand and by eyeball. Then I realized that I was the problem.

Unless one has put penetrating oil on the primer or in some other way compromised it, the round will go off, so there's no reason to remove and rechamber it. The chambered round can be checked to be there with a simple press check.

Simplify, simplify.

Now I use a dry lube* so there's even less of a chance to compromise a primer, so less of a need to pull the round in the chamber. I haven't had any problem with a chambered round not doing what it's supposed to do; ever, in 45 years. So IMO, the best solution is to dodge the problem entirely.

*Prolix cleaner/protectant/dry lube used correctly. (it needs to dry otherwise it'll penetrate) Used incorrectly it'll probably deactivate primers. I never tested that; it's an assumption and I err onto the side that works and I don't deviate from it.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 03:18 AM   #6
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I do look at my ammo but I also do something else.

I don't reuse the same couple of rounds from the top of the magazine over and over. I'll unload 5 or 6 rounds from the magazine, put the one that was in the chamber in the magazine and then reload the magazine. That way I'm rotating that "chambering" force across several rounds vs. a couple.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 08:39 AM   #7
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A work around by someone else

I was talking with a gentleman at the range the other day about this thread and what he has seen in his many years carrying. He told me that when he goes to practice, either dry fire or at the range, he takes out the magazine with the carry ammo and uses separate magazines for target ball ammo. Then, when he is done, the last round of ball ammo stays in the chamber and he puts his carry magazine back in the gun. He said that way he didn't have to worry about cycling the same round over and over to get it set back or other issues.

He went on to say that it didn't matter with the first round being ball ammo as it would still cause damage and he would be firing two shots anyway.

Not sure what I think about this, but it does give me something to consider.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 10:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducknshoot View Post
I was talking with a gentleman at the range the other day about this thread and what he has seen in his many years carrying. He told me that when he goes to practice, either dry fire or at the range, he takes out the magazine with the carry ammo and uses separate magazines for target ball ammo. Then, when he is done, the last round of ball ammo stays in the chamber and he puts his carry magazine back in the gun. He said that way he didn't have to worry about cycling the same round over and over to get it set back or other issues.

He went on to say that it didn't matter with the first round being ball ammo as it would still cause damage and he would be firing two shots anyway.

Not sure what I think about this, but it does give me something to consider.
I alternate HP and ball ammo in my .45acp mags anyway, as I don't know ahead of time which'll be more important; expansion or penetration.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 10:29 AM   #9
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My shooting partner (a Federal Air Marshal) is encouraged to fire all the rounds from her duty weapons when she goes to the range, and to practice with the duty ammo our government provides for them. Doesn't help most of us here, who are paying for our own ammo.

My instructor/trainer would eject his carry mags when he gets to the range, insert range mags, and fire off the round of carry ammo that's in the chamber. At the end of the session he chambers a fresh carry round from the box.

Every month (when I was shooting weekly) I would send an entire mag of carry ammo downrange. Don't have the opportunities to shoot nearly as much now, but still empty my carry mags about every fifth range trip, usually after the guns have been cleaned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick M View Post
I alternate HP and ball ammo in my .45acp mags anyway, as I don't know ahead of time which'll be more important; expansion or penetration.
Not really necessary, especially with a 45ACP, as you have a 50% chance that the round in the chamber is the wrong choice. The best choices for defensive ammo (HST, Gold Dot, PDX-1, Ranger T) is optimized for both penetration AND expansion in tissue.

Last edited by KRWeiss; September 7th, 2016 at 10:39 AM.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 10:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianK View Post
Not very many decades ago, a study was done to figure out why revolvers were blowing up with target loads using Bullseye powder. It was bullet setback that was the culprit (when shooting). So yes, it's a very dangerous condition. It doesn't take much, especially with fast powder, in this case Bullseye, to get over 100,000 psi.
This is actually backwards, there is a very well known phenomena when shooting revolvers, if there is insufficient neck tension or if the crimp is too light, under recoil bullets can creep forward, and in some cases far enough to tie up the cylinder. This is due to inertia, the gun recoils to the rear, the heavy bullet wants to stay in place while the case is forced to the rear. This is the same thing as pulling the table cover off a table while leaving the plates and silverware in place.

Bullet creep is limited to revolvers where there is room for them to move forward under recoil, the magazine in auto pistols limits creep, there isn't enough space to creep forward. Setback is limited to auto pistols because of the forces involved in chambering the round.

Another story illustrating the forces involved, this was over 50 years ago when I was a new shooter. I had a M1 carbine that I added a scope mount, it was a grooved mount the same as normally used on 22 rifles. I was really surprised the scope was creeping forward under recoil, I was expecting the opposite, I couldn't stop it till I drilled and tapped a screw in the mount to stop the scope from moving forward, the same forces involved with bullet creep in revolvers.

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...uct_list&c=170

Over the years there has been a lot of speculation why revolvers were blowing up with light loads, many think there is a phenomena called detonation which is where a light load blows up a gun, there have been books written about this because its so controversial. The powder companies have studied this to death and have NEVER been able to demonstrate it, not even once. I tend to believe their scientific testing which tells them the problem is actually caused by the reloaders accidentally using multiple charges in the same case, Bullseye is so fast it takes up very little room in the case, and you can't tell a double charge by looking at it, user error was the final determination after years of testing.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 12:16 PM   #11
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This is good information to know. When I go to the range I eject the round in the round in the chamber and put it back in the magazine, then use a different mag with my practice ammo. Thus, I have probably done it a least a few times with the same round.
Will have to look at the best way to handle this. Either a fmj as first round, or fire the first defensive round then switch to practice mags.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 02:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRWeiss View Post

My instructor/trainer would eject his carry mags when he gets to the range, insert range mags, and fire off the round of carry ammo that's in the chamber. At the end of the session he chambers a fresh carry round from the box.
I think this is the practice I will adopt from now forward. This takes care of that one round that tends to get chambered multiple times and assures undamaged ammo for carry duty.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 02:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G56 View Post
This is actually backwards, there is a very well known phenomena when shooting revolvers, if there is insufficient neck tension or if the crimp is too light, under recoil bullets can creep forward, and in some cases far enough to tie up the cylinder. This is due to inertia, the gun recoils to the rear, the heavy bullet wants to stay in place while the case is forced to the rear. This is the same thing as pulling the table cover off a table while leaving the plates and silverware in place.
I can attest personally to this

Even more of a problem with today's lightweight alloy j-frames.

I loaded up some 38SPL and never had a problem shooting them in my full lug 686. Shot them in my 642 and it locked the gun up due to bullet going forward.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 02:46 PM   #14
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If it is safe to do so, securing the pistol in a safe spot is preferable to unloading it when not in use. I understand that not everyone has a safe spot to store a loaded handgun, so in some circumstances unloading is unavoidable.

In that situation you want to watch the rounds very closely and compare them to a round that hasn't been chambered to make sure setback isn't happening.

It is also important to keep fresh ammo in the pistol, as a Deputy we were supposed to renew the ammo we carried every three months, and I would shoot up the old ammo in practice, we often don't practice enough with full power ammo. Even a individual should replace their carry ammo regularly, I recommend at least once a year as a minimum. While I have NEVER had a single problem with 'old' ammo, say less than 10 years, this is a small investment when protecting your life.

Another personal experience: My auto pistols were kept in a loaded condition, locked up in the safe when not in use, when taking a pistol out to shoot up the old ammo everything was left in place, in other words the pistol was taken to the range with the old ammo still in it and it was fired 'as is' as a check of the ammo and the magazine. I flew the airplane for the dept, when in the airplane I didn't wear my regular duty belt, I didn't need cuffs or pepper spray while in the plane, so I carried a 1911 in a pancake holster. So one day I took the 1911 to the range to shoot up the ammo that was in it, bang, then a smokestack jam, bang, and another smokestack jam, it turned out that it jammed after every shot! Kind of scary when your life might depend on it, but without doing this I might not have found the problem on the range, turned out I had a damaged extractor. I was sure glad I found this!
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