Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Uh Oh, Chongo, Range Report

[Chongo refers to a non-speaking, but annoyingly-loud character on Danger Island. Saw that on the Banana Splits.]

First the good news... I got the trigger squeeze problem I was plagued with about licked with my 1911. When I think in it right, and squeeze it right, I get inside the 8 ring. When I distract myself and yank, I know the hit is gonna be bad before I can shift focus off the front sight to check. Then I kick my metaphorical behind before the next shot, and that one squeezes off good.

So I fixed one problem.

But I got a different problem.

At the gun show, I mentioned buying a lot of ammo for range work. Decent priced stuff from Georgia Arms. I'm pretty sure it was Georgia Arms. I am double checking, but it's hard to find a table map of the gun show. They were sorta close to the corner NRA's table is in. Pretty sure it is GA Arms. Bought 2 ammo cans from them.

Georgia Arms looks to be a semi-factory ammo maker. A bit of a BIG home reload operation. They use new components or once-fired brass to make relatively cheap bulk ammo. I'm not saying anything bad about them, by any means. I just had an issue with one gun with one of their batches. This is my first experience with them.

Well, I was testing the new ammo AND the new mags. (I know. MISTAKE! Test one thing at a time, if something goes wrong suspect the ONE new thing...) In the middle of a magazine... ~click~

On close inspection, the slide is not all the way into battery. I can see brass, so there is at least a case in there. And the slide is jammed up tight. I can't budge it. My Sig is DAK, so double action only, so I can pull the trigger all day long on it, click click click. But I don't because the gun isn't in battery and that seems like a recipe for bad things to happen.

I summon the range guru. He determines it's a live round, and it isn't budging. So the softface hammer is introduced. A few light taps and it's fully seated. I ducked behind the partition as he fired it off. It worked normally, but we didn't find the ejected brass for inspection.

Maybe that was an anomalie. So I continue.

The same thing happened next mag, but I can push the slide into place. It goes off when I pull the trigger, then. The local guru may have found the brass, and it may have had a light strike on the primer before the good strike.

To be sure it isn't the mag (though they weren't suspected at this point) I loaded from a box of factory ammo known to work fine and no hiccup presented itself.

So the likely culprit is cases that are a little too fat. Or the bullet is too far out, or the chamber was dirty/gritty, or there is a burr in the chamber, or the brass was too thick. But I'm thinkin the cases were too fat. Out of spec on the dimensions. The fat ones are stripping off the mag as they should, but then sticking in the chamber and jamming up the works.

The brass is Winchester or Speer. Knowing GA Arms it is new brass or fired once.

It might work fine in someone elses gun, just not in mine. Gonna see if MBtGE wants them. His Beretta prefers round nose FMJ bullets anyway.

Before that, on the suggest of IRC user C-90_Fla from Gunblogger Conspiracy, I'm gonna take the barrel off the gun and drop in a large sample of bullets from this batch, to see if any stick part way down. That will confirm the dimensional integrity. Maybe they were shot at a cop range out of Glocks and the bottoms of the cases are bulging. I'll report back. Same with the can of .45 on the 1911 barrel, just to see. Wait right here. Won't be long.


Ok. Done. Found 4 more that wouldn't fall into the chamber of the barrel and then fall our again, via gravity. So 6 out of 500 isn't bad. IF that is the last of my problems.


*Horrible show. Not up to today's political sensibilities, inexpert slapstick, poor Saturday-morning acting, African Leopards in the Caribbean... Yay 1960's. But it was a kid's serial.


Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with my Ruger P97 .45acp, but it isn't just Georgia Arms ammo.

ANY reloaded ammo will hang in the chamber, sometimes so tightly that I've got to basically beat it out of the gun.

My problem may be different than yours and you may have gotten some bad ammo from Georgia Arms, but the symptoms were strikingly similar.

Basically, I think this is caused by a combination of two things: A chamber that are right at the minimum spec, and resizing dies that are toward the outside edge of the specs.

They work fine with factory, brand new brass, but once fired and resized, the brass is too tight and they jam up.

I can't remember who, but I read a blogger a while back who was having problems like this with his own reloading setup and a particular gun. IIRC, he eventually found an older die that resized the cases just a tiny bit smaller and his problems went away...but he had to use an old die, all the newer ones of various brands resized the cases too large.

My solution was just to never try to fire reloaded ammo in that gun. I now have another .45 that eats anything you feed it and I'm going to sell the Ruger eventually.

I would imagine that a gunsmith could measure the chamber dimensions to be sure that's what the problem is and ream or lap it to a bit looser spec to fix the problem.

Jay G said...

I've been having a devil of a time with the Winchester White Box .45 ACP FMJs. It seems there's at least 2 or 3 bullets that are seated too deep in the case, causing the edge of the brass to curl out and prevent chambering. It's quite annoying to lose half a dozen rounds per range session...

Chris said...

I've used some Georgia Arms 9mm and never had a problem. Hollow points and FMJ, both 115 grain and 124 grain, through a SW99 and a Sig P226.

I have had a problem with a FM Browning that didn't seem to like Winchester white box either. Replaced the recoil spring and extractor spring, same problem. New mags, problem solved, at least for now.

Anonymous said...

Winchester white box is my standard plinking ammo. I've never had a problem with it even in the gun that won't eat reloads reliably.

Yours must be even tighter than mine.

Anonymous said...

Have you mic'ed the sticky rounds to see if they are in fact larger than the ones that fit?

Crucis said...

For reloads, I always use a full-length sizer for my pistol rounds. That "should" eliminate any fat rounds until your chamber is tight. I have a rifle at the 'smith to have the chamber reamed at bit. Some factory ammo won't seat without a lot of effort. The 'smith mic'ed the chamber and found that is was a few thousandths small.

If you can, you might try checking your barrel's chamber.

Arthur said...

The LEE factory crimp dies are nice for one feature in particular - they have a carbide post-sizer built in. If you have a fat round the sizer will take care of it.