When Good Ammo Isn’t

4-Dec-10 – 16:20 by ToddG

From good friend
(and occasional
pistol-training.com contributor) Rich Verdi
of SIG-Sauer Academy:


I thought you might want to throw this up on p-t.com as a reminder to take a look at your ammo before stoking mags. It came out of one of my students’ guns at a concealed carry class this past weekend, absolutely un-clearable by any standard means.

The photo is a bit blurry, but you can clearly see that the cartridge case lacks any sort of extractor groove. While far from common, I’ve seen this before with both brass- and aluminum-cased cartridges. One just slips past a manufacturing process, gets loaded up like a normal round, and boxed.

Or, along similar lines, here’s a photo I took of a buddy’s ammo (issued by a federal law enforcement agency) back in ’07. Luckily, this was discovered during a practice session and not under less calm circumstances:

Normal cartridge is on the left, the interesting one is on the right. It’s got an extractor groove, just not in the right place. Also completely useless and impossible to clear without a tool.

An annoyance on the range, but definitely far greater a problem if it happens when you truly need the gun to work. As Rich said, always visually check your ammo before trusting your life to it!

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 10 Responses to “When Good Ammo Isn’t”

  2. I find it hard to believe that anyone would load either of the pictured faulty rounds in a magazine, then proceed to shoot it. I have seen some malformed rounds which wouldn’t work properly, but which one might not notice before loading; neither of the pictured rounds fits that description, though.

    However, your point is perfectly valid, especially for carry ammo. All ammo manufacturers have been known to let crap out of their factories, so inspect, inspect, inspect.

    By MichaelD on Dec 5, 2010

  3. the one on right looks kinda cool, would love to have one like it in my collection, loaded or otherwise.
    I’ve seen a fairly large number of Winchester with no flash holes for the primer to ingnite through.

    By Rob Engh on Dec 5, 2010

  4. Here’s another similar photo. Not only was there no extractor groove, the rim is slightly larger in diameter than normal. It wedged into the breech face cutout of a Glock so firmly that tools were required to free it.

    http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/7114/badrimwebuz5.jpg

    By DJ on Dec 5, 2010

  5. If buying in store, I check all of the boxes I buy for carry ammo. If buying online, I still check upon reciept, it does happen from time to time, just pay attention to the explosive cartridge you are stuffing into the gun.

    I have also seen quite a few oddities with a certain brand of bulk ammo including JHP’s in bulk FMJ packs, random case oddities, and a few backwards bullets.

    By Tom on Dec 6, 2010

  6. It’s hard to believe they were able to seat a slug in the examples shown above. How’d the shell ever fit in the shell holder? I personally check every round issued at our agency. Most personnel don’t pay any attention.

    By rsa-otc on Dec 6, 2010

  7. Great article with sound advice.

    By FM on Dec 6, 2010

  8. How did you fire the cartridge with the misplaced extractor groove? There is no seated bullet and the primer looks like it was struck.

    By Tim on Dec 7, 2010

  9. I would imagine it fed and chambered just fine, perhaps pushing the extractor outward slightly more than normal. Overall length looks about right, so it would have headspaced on the case mouth as usual. After firing, I’m guessing it stayed in the chamber, and unless it was the last round in the magazine, another round probably came part way up the feed ramp and nosed firmly against it, locking-up the weapon until the magazine was forceably removed and the empty tapped/pried out.

    By DJ on Dec 7, 2010

  10. I have seen so many QC issues with ammo over the past couple of years that when we issue new duty ammo I was having the troops run through an inspection procedure on each round before we started stuffing mags.

    I have seen bullets with no hollow point cavity, missing or reversed primers, split cases, etc., and this is from premium duty ammo.

    By Chuck on Dec 8, 2010

  11. … also, this seems to make a another good case for Ayoob’s “DeJammer” as a very good idea to have on one’s person.

    By Chuck on Dec 8, 2010

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