Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rotate Your Carry Ammunition

Winchester Ranger RA45TP with Multiple Hard Primer Strikes, but No Ignition

Just wanted to put out a quick reminder to everyone to periodically rotate carry ammunition. Recently, there was an advisory from Gwinett County (GA) PD regarding an incident where an officer found himself in a deadly force encounter only to discover that the chambered round in his duty pistol would not fire. Fortunately, the officer's training took over and he was able to successfully clear the malfunction and end the encounter.

The round in question was examined by the manufacturer, who discovered that the primer mix had been knocked out of the primer when the round was cycled through the firearm multiple times. Two cases of the same ammunition (presumably from the same lot) were tested and functioned normally.

Recently, one of my Detective partners and I were teaching at the range when three carry rounds failed to fire. We examined the firing pin strike and saw they were solid, centered strikes. We are now in the process of rotating all officers' duty ammunition, which we typically do once a year.

Federal, Remington and Winchester all recommend that cartridges should not be chambered more than twice before being discarded. Bullet setback can cause pressure spikes and primers can go dead. In an AR or M4 type carbine, this is even more critical as the chambering process is very hard on the cartridge.

In the end, I wouldn't lose a ton of sleep over this, but it is good practice to regularly rotate the ammunition in your duty sidearm or carbine. This is not the area where you want to go cheap.

Be safe out there!

Tim Lau
10-8 Consulting, LLC

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