strange ammo fail @ the range.

joepistol

joepistol

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I have 3 autoloaders chambered in .380 caliber.. decided to take all 3 & do a comparison of the three, to see which I could shoot the most accurately.
The pistols are 1) Taurus mod. 58 2) CZ-83, and a Sig Sauer 232.
I started shooting 5 rds the each, rotating from 1 pistol to the next..had a separate target for each pistol.
Ammo was my hand loads, with 105 gr Bayou (?) polymer coated Cn shaped pills, powered by Clean Shot powder.
After running my test, a clear winner emerged..which I then used to shoot some factory Federal JHP rds. I had found in my .380 ammo stash.
Wanted to compare their accuracy to that of my loads.

Imagine my surprise when I fed this ammo to my most accurate pistol & got..nothing!
5 out of 5 rds. of the Federal JHP ammo I attempted to shoot were misfires!
I had NO misfires, no FTF, no FTE, or anything but "bang" with my hand loads... I'd shot about 120 rds. w/o incident

I know this Federal .380 JHP was old ammo..picked up from a friend that had passed. No idea how old it was, but it was stored indoors.
I recently found some .380 ammo I'd loaded back in 1987..it all fired w/o incident. I doubt the Federal ammo was that old, but it could have been.

I noticed normal looking primer strikes on the primers of the misfired rds.
I re-fed the 5 rds that had all misfired into the magazine & tried them again. Pull trigger, Click, no pop or bang.
Since I had all 3 pistols out, tried them in the other guns..with same result.

Next, I loaded another 5 rds. of the same batch of Federal ammo, & got ANOTHER 5 misfires!
That 0 fires out of 10 attempts. I had 19 rds of this ammo,& I tried them all.
Test finished, 8 rds fired,.. 11 were misfires.

Took misfires home. Pulled bullets from 5 rds. All had powder, which poured out easily, all charges weighed 4.1 gr.
I weighed the bullets I pulled, they weigh 90 gr.
The primers, despite having firing pin dent/impressions looked like they had not fired.

Took remaining misfired rds, cases, & some of the removed primers to my Gunsmith / gun guru..Doug Jones.
After examining the cases, & primers I had removed from the misfired cases, he put them on a flat spot on his vise,
& hit them with a hammer. They primers went off. Strange findings. primers did work..but not by firing pin strikes.

After discussion with Doug, went home & pulled the other 6 misfired rds. apart
I found 4 of the 6 remaining rds had powder grains that had clumped together, like it had absorbed moisture.
I have no thoughts on how moisture could have got to the powder.

I checked on Midway for Federal brand ammo,with 90gr. JHP bullets & this is what I found: https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1001553491?pid=901552
The picture in the link looks exactly like the rds. I tried to shoot.. nickle plated cases,and a JHP bullet that looks identical to those I have from the misfired rds.

Really can't explain what happened, or why it did. I seldom shoot factory ammo, but in my 50+ yrs. of shooting firearms,
this was a 1st for me..to have so many misfires from factory loaded ammo.
 
Babboonbobo

Babboonbobo

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That is really odd, I recently shot 200 rounds of 22lr that was stored in my dads out building summer and winter for almost 30 years! I took it home and it sat in my garage (very damp) for another 5 years and every round fired without issue, and through his old Lever action Winchester that hadn’t been cleaned in over 35 years!! Also my brother brought me about 40 rounds of 45acp he found in the bottom of a box in the sane storage shed. I ran them through one of my cheaper 1911s and all functioned properly.

Those dead rounds had to have gotten moisture to the primer and that’s why ut took a hammer blow for them to ignite.
Kind of like the rolls of caps when we where kids. If they got damp they wouldn’t work in the pistol but you could still get them to ignite with a rock or a hammer.
 
joepistol

joepistol

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I agree with Babboonbobo, it had to be a moisture issue. Not sure how the primers got "damp" in some rds & not others.
Or why some cases had powder that was wet enough to clump together, and the other cases, the powder was (seems to be ) totally dry.
I did re-use the apparently dry powder, after fresh primers were installed & bullets were re-seated.
Next range trip, I'll see if all the "refreshed" rds fire.

I like the comparison between those primers, and a wet roll of caps.:D
 
joepistol

joepistol

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Guess I never updated this thread.:eek:
I did (some time ago) take the 2 rds. I had reloaded with the old / dry powder, the other 4 rds (with wet clumped powder) replaced with fresh powder , & using fresh CCI primers in all 6 cases , to the range & tried shooting them. All rounds fired /functioned normally. Some how powder got wet ( ! ? )
and the moisture contaminated the primers ( ? )
No way to ever know how the rds were contaminated....Just another of life's mysteries.
 
cxm

cxm

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I don't think the age of the cartridges is the problem... Maybe it is how they were stored... but I have seen really old surplus ammo that has been stored under really bad conditions still work.

As a data point, I have fired 1916 head stamp 45ACP that worked fine. It had been stored for at least 40 years of it's life in the deep south before air conditioning came on the scene...

Have you contacted Federal? Any time I have had questions they have been most helpful...

FWIW

Chuck
 
joepistol

joepistol

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Rochester Hills, Mi
.." Have you contacted Federal ?"
I didn't bother.... if this was ammo that I had purchased..I would have.
I wasn't sure of anything about the history of those rds..as stated earlier, they were found ( in a box of assorted loose rds. ) upstairs in the home
of a childhood friend, that had passed. His niece was trying to get rid of his reloading stuff, ammo, etc..& not being a shooter, or having any idea HOW / where to get rid of it, so I offered to buy some of it, & try to sell the rest for her.
She then sold his Dillon 550 to a guy that was doing some work on the house, after I had told her I want to buy it..so I wasn't too pleased.
I did sell a bunch of ammo, reloading dies, equipment, etc..that he had collected.
I bought all the bullets, powder & primers he had (this was a few yrs. ago) as I knew I'd use the components eventually.
I had taught the friend that passed how to reload, about 30+ yrs ago
.
He bought a Dillon 550 press, a bunch of dies & equipment, then basically let it sit.
Guess he didn't enjoy loading , so though he had all the right stuff, most went unused.
Several die sets were still in the factory sealed cases.. the open die sets looked unused.

as for old military ammo, I've got a bunch of 30-06 with head stanps in the 40's-50's that my dad bought & never shot.
I found it after he'd passed, took some to the range & all that I tried to shoot, fired.
I've recently found some pistol & rifle reloads I made back in the 80's..it all fired as well.
 

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