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Catastrophic Failure of Semiautomatic Handguns [Glock]
New Jersey State Police ^ | February 23, 2007 | New Jersey State Police-

Posted on 02/28/2007 11:52:31 AM PST by archy

Catastrophic Failure of Semiautomatic Handguns

The following bulletin was received from the New Jersey State Police - Officer Safety Division

Date: February 23, 2007

Continuous reloading an chambering of the same round may cause catastrophic failure in semiautomatic handguns.

The Security Force at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, recently reported on the catastrophic failure of a semiautomatic handgun when it was fired. The internal explosion caused the frame to break while the slide and barrel separated from the weapon and traveled down range. No one was injured in the incident. An investigation revealed that security personnel were repeatedly charging the same round of ammunition into the chamber.

Technical personnel at Glock Inc. advise that repeated chambering of the same round may cause the bullet to move deeper in the casing, further compacting the prpellent. When a normal cartride is fired, the firing pin his the primer, igniting the propellant. When the propellant burns, the gas pressure drives the bullet out of the case and down the barrel. However, if the propellant has been compact, the pressure may increase beyond the gun's specifications, causing the weapon to break apart. Sigarms Inc's peronnel confirm that reloading the same round five or six times will cause the problems, noting that reloading the same round even once will void their warranty. Both manufacturers stress that the problem is not with the gun, but with chambering the same round repeatedly.

The NJ Regional Operations Intelligence Center urges all law enforement officers not to chamber the same round when loading their weapons.

***For example, when you clean your weapon, most of us drop the magazine and then pull the slide back thereby ejecting the round in the barrel. After cleaning the weapon many of us will return the "same" round to the barrel that we initially extracted. Each time the slide slams forward on that same round it seats it deeper into the cartridge. Apparently, by seating the round deeper into the cartridge, it creates greater pressure when the round is intentionally detonated by a firing pin strike and is causing weaopn's to explode.

-xxx-

*-more-*


TOPICS: Government; Miscellaneous; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: banglist; giuliani; glock; kaboom; kboom; newjersey; police; safety; warningnotice
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Los Alamos report:

On 12 December 2006, at 0845, at Technical Area 72, Firing Range 1, a Glock 22 handgun exploded in the hands of a Protective Technology Los Alamos (PTLA) firearms instructor as he fired the handgun.

The firearms instructor was not injured, but felt some soreness in his right hand. He noted that the force of the handgun pushed his right thumb back. The handgun shattered into several pieces; the pieces flew everywhere and eventually landed on the ground. He safed the remaining box of ammunition and then reported the event to his management. As a precaution, the firearms instructor was taken to the Laboratory's occupational medicine facility for evaluation. He was evaluated, released to return to work with no restrictions, and scheduled for a follow-up evaluation the next day.

The instructor was preparing for a training exercise and was the only person on thefiring range at the time of the event. He wore the prescribed personal protective equipment for firearms use (safety glasses, armored vest, head and hearing protection, nomex gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and safety boots.)

The handgun has been secured in the PTLA armory. PTLA management has initiated an internal investigation.

Subsequent preliminary PTLA review indicated that a possible combination of excessive pressure and a bore obstruction contributed to the explosion.

The rounds used during this training event were duty rounds recently removed from service that had been used in a magazine containing a single round by PTLA forces. The single rounds of ammunition designated for initial loading in Glock 22 handguns are used on a daily basis and the one round of ammunition is typically loaded 45 times over a 30-day period. The frequent loading of the rounds continually pounds the ammunition into the chamber, which in turn recesses the bullet further into the casing. Over time and use, the projectile is seated deeper into the cartridge case contributing to an increase inpressure upon firing.

Because the event revealed lessons learned that may be pertinent to the DOE complex, the Institutional Facilities and Central Services Facility Operations Director deemed the event reportable as a management concern.

Background:

The firearms instructor had used the handgun for about five years.He noted that the last time he used the handgun was on 7 December 2006, and had cleaned and secured the handgun that same day. Before the event, the instructor had fired the handgun five times. After the event, the instructor noticed that one bullet remained in the handgun. Other PTLA firearms instructors noted that this is the first time this type of event has occurred with Glock handguns at PTLA.

Cause Description:

Operating Conditions:

Training Exercises Activity Category:

Training Immediate Action(s): As a precaution, the firearms instructor was taken to LANL occupational medicine for evaluation. He was evaluated and released to return to work with no restrictions. He returned for a follow-up evaluation on 13 December 2006.

The handgun has been secured in the PTLA armory.

PTLA management has initiated an internal investigation.

The remaining box of single round loading magazine ammunition has been removed from service and will be properly disposed of.

PTLA will not use defective rounds for training and will dispose of them.

FM Evaluation:

DOE Facility Representative Input:

DOE Program Manager Input:

Further Evaluation is Required:

No Division or Project:

Protection Technology Los Alamos Plant Area: TA72, Firing Range 1

System/Building/Equipment: Glock 22 Handgun Facility

1 posted on 02/28/2007 11:52:32 AM PST by archy
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To: archy

Ka-Boom!!! This will be all over Glock Talk in about 30 seconds if not there already.


2 posted on 02/28/2007 11:54:50 AM PST by Towed_Jumper (I faithfully fart toward Mecca five times a day.)
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To: archy

so... don't play with your weapon.


3 posted on 02/28/2007 11:57:17 AM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it full of something for you)
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To: Eaker

ping


4 posted on 02/28/2007 11:58:04 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: archy

maybe if cops spent more time on firearms training this wouldn't happen.
and why would you regularly a glock with a round chambered?


5 posted on 02/28/2007 11:58:26 AM PST by absolootezer0 (stop repeat offenders - don't re-elect them!)
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To: camle
so... don't play with your weapon.

Don't clean it either?

6 posted on 02/28/2007 11:58:50 AM PST by SittinYonder (Ic t gehate, t ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille furor gan)
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To: archy
BTTT

7 posted on 02/28/2007 12:01:05 PM PST by Uriel-2012 (you shall know that I, YHVH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Yaaqob.Isaiah 60:16)
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To: archy
the pieces flew everywhere and eventually landed on the ground.

That's good.

8 posted on 02/28/2007 12:01:56 PM PST by null and void (Let's play 6 of global warming...)
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To: archy
Gene Hackman: The gun blew up in his hand which was a failing of that model. You see, if Corky would have had an extra gun, instead of just a big di*k, he would have killed ole Bob for sure.

Don't know why this story brought that line to mind, but it did.

9 posted on 02/28/2007 12:02:19 PM PST by joebuck
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To: archy

Is the barrel rifled so tightly to the chamber that the bullet impacts/engages the rifling upon slide lockup? If not, repeated chambering of a round usually moves the bullet outwards, thereby increasing the space within the cartridge. Sort of like an inertial bullet puller (fast motion/quick stop). The sudden stop on lockup is much more powerful than the initial movement of the slide starting forward, which is the motion which would cause bullet setback.


10 posted on 02/28/2007 12:03:34 PM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: archy

Catastrophic Failure of Semiautomatic Handguns [Glock]:

Its interesting how the title of the story implies there is a problem with Glock pistols when, in fact, its common knowledge [or should be] among people who know their weapons that you do not repeatedly chamber the same round over and over or else you risk this very problem [BOOM!].

It appears that the instructor [or whomever the pistol was assigned to] had not fired his weapon in some time -or- did not heed this warning [re-chambering round].

Train! Train! Train!

g_gunter


11 posted on 02/28/2007 12:03:37 PM PST by g_gunter
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To: archy
Odd.

Rimless cases are supposed to headspace on their mouths when chambered. This sounds like the case mouth isn't and the bullet itself is headspacing the round when it hits the start of the rifling.

OR

Is it the action of the round being slammed home in the chamber and the delay in the bullet's inertia allowing it to be pushed a bit deeper in the case while the case moves into the chamber every time it happens?

OR

I would think the bullet would be pulled out of the case as the case mouth contacts the step in the chamber. Like the way a kinetic bullet puller works.

Just theorizing.
12 posted on 02/28/2007 12:03:37 PM PST by headstamp (Nothing lasts forever, Unless it does.)
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To: ExpatGator

I agree.


13 posted on 02/28/2007 12:04:58 PM PST by headstamp (Nothing lasts forever, Unless it does.)
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To: headstamp

Great minds think alike?

See my post in #10.


14 posted on 02/28/2007 12:05:25 PM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: archy
Hooboy - how many of us spend a day at the range with ball ammunition and then jammed a mag of the considerably more expensive stuff in it after a cleaning? I didn't realize I was doing this until I happened to have a little ramping problem one time that marked the case and I noticed a case with three or four marks on it.

One answer is to practice with your self-defense ammo, recycling it frequently. I was too cheap to do it, frankly. Considering the alternative might be chasing my slide downrange, well, I'm thinking a reconsideration might be in order.

15 posted on 02/28/2007 12:06:11 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: ExpatGator

Yep LOL

Something sounds a bit funky with this "accident".


16 posted on 02/28/2007 12:06:34 PM PST by headstamp (Nothing lasts forever, Unless it does.)
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To: headstamp

"Something sounds a bit funky with this "accident"."

Now is my turn to agree...


17 posted on 02/28/2007 12:08:32 PM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: headstamp
The instructor was preparing for a training exercise and was the only person on thefiring range at the time of the event.

That is convienient.

He wore the prescribed personal protective equipment for firearms use (safety glasses, armored vest, head and hearing protection, nomex gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and safety boots.)

I'm gonna try this at the skeet range.

18 posted on 02/28/2007 12:10:00 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: archy
I would think anybody with a brain in his head would notice a round with the bullet seated substantially deeper than normal.
19 posted on 02/28/2007 12:10:52 PM PST by ozzymandus
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To: Towed_Jumper

The headline on the news tonight will be

"Glock brand handguns nearly kill 1500 Police a day"

or

"Glock Automatic Handguns can be Deathtraps for Police"

or

"Glock Assault Weapons responsible for sensitive information leaks at National Labratory"

or

"Glock's kill more every year than SUV's"


20 posted on 02/28/2007 12:11:33 PM PST by Domicile of Doom (Center amber dot on head and squeeze for best results)
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To: headstamp; ExpatGator
Did you read the rest of the article? they theorize basically an extension of what you were getting at, that the failure was actually caused by an obstruction of the barrel (which is what the photos make it look like):

"There are a ton of folks out there who constantly load and unload the top round in their magazine, and then complain that the overall length is changing. In fact, such battery of the case neck can weaken it so much, that the shrinking tendency will rebound, and all of a sudden, the bullet is gone!

Where? Down the bore! The darn things pop out of the case upon chambering and fly down the bore to create an obstruction for the next round."

21 posted on 02/28/2007 12:11:46 PM PST by verum ago (The Iranian Space Agency: set phasers to jihad!)
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To: camle
so... don't play with your weapon

Great in theory. But cops have to unload every time they deliver prisoners to a jail, often when they attend court as witnesses in jurisdictions where only the court bailiffs/judge's bodyguards are allowed to be armed.

Likewise military *green zone* restrictions on carry of a chambered round require hitting the old *clearing barrel* every time you enter or exit.

And frequent maintenance and inspection, daily at least, requires the same. Neither is this a problem limited to crap ammo, though the .40 S&W round commercial loadings seems to be worse about it than most- and are also very sensitive to the overall length of the loaded round during the feeding cycle. There's a real problem here, maybe a couple. There are likely more than one answers to them, too, rather than any one simple one.

22 posted on 02/28/2007 12:12:17 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: ozzymandus

If the charge is already in contact with the base of the bullet, it might not take much setback to compress the charge ... if in any doubt at all, measure OAL of your carry rounds ... compare against a few fresh out of the box. It can't take more than a few minutes.


23 posted on 02/28/2007 12:13:39 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: absolootezer0
This has nothing to do with training.

This is finally an explaination of the "kaboom" phenomenon, over-attributed to Glocks (note that Sigarms issued a "don't do that", implying the same issue).

This is common behavior, "clearing" it for assorted safety reasons then loading the same ammo later (entering & leaving a cold range, storage, air travel check-in, interstate ground travel, cleaning, etc.). Often will use one kind of ammo (possibly quite expensive) for carry, and another for practice (possibly quite cheap), and load the same ammo in the same mag repeatedly - as the carry load is not often used, a few rounds may get chambered repeatedly.

When chambering a round, the mechanics of chambering can compress the round. Apparently it doesn't take much compression to cause a significant increase in pressure. This is magnified by serious defensive needs leading to use of extra-powerful so-called +P or +P+ rounds, which are straining the limits of safety already.

why would you regularly a glock with a round chambered?

You're missing a key word there. Presumably it's "carry".

It's perfectly normal to regularly carry a Glock with a round chambered: pull trigger, go bang - just what you expect. If you need that bang, you don't want to waste time fumbling around with chambering a round. Also, it gives you an extra round (X rounds in the mag, plus 1 in the chamber).

24 posted on 02/28/2007 12:14:23 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: ozzymandus
I would think anybody with a brain in his head would notice a round with the bullet seated substantially deeper than normal.

Maybe. But less so if it's not the top round in the magazine having been covered by another as magazines are switched and chambered rounds replaced in the magazine in the gun belt pouch rather than always removing the mag from the gun and topping it back up.

I've done it myself, with Browning GPs and M1911s, and others.

25 posted on 02/28/2007 12:15:04 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: archy

Color me skeptical.

You are trying to tell me that a round with a muzzle velocity of 1200-2000 fps simply blows a perfectly good gun apart because the round is pushed a miniscule distance further into the casing?

What is stopping the round from leaving the casing?

Is the burn rate of the powder SO FAST that it is overpressuring the ammunition case AND the the metal of the handgun, simply because it is pressed 1/1000th of an inch further into the case? If so, I'm assuming that handguns just blow up all the time with people who load their own rounds.

This doesn't sound right.


26 posted on 02/28/2007 12:15:29 PM PST by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right....)
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To: headstamp

Methinks it has more to do with the steep feed ramp affecting seating.


27 posted on 02/28/2007 12:16:33 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: ozzymandus

May not take much change in seating. +P[+] ammo (presumably used for serious Los Alamos type security) is already stuffed to the gills, so slightly deeper seating may have a significant effect.


28 posted on 02/28/2007 12:18:59 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: ctdonath2

I was under the impression that some of the KB problem, particularly in Glock's in .40 S&W was shooting lead reloads as opposed to jacketed.


29 posted on 02/28/2007 12:19:38 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: g_gunter
common knowledge [or should be]

Well it's not! I have been loading the same Glacier(sp) round in my 1911 every Thursday for over two years to get ready for work. It won't happen this week.

30 posted on 02/28/2007 12:20:05 PM PST by chesty_puller (USMC 70-73 3MAF VN 70-71 US Army 75-79 3d Inf Old Guard)
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To: Bryan24

Yes, that's what we're trying to tell you.


31 posted on 02/28/2007 12:21:34 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: absolootezer0
and why would you regularly a glock with a round chambered?

Department regulations would be one excellent reason. Another is having attended the funeral of a pal who had carried his handgun with the chamber empty for *safety* reasons.

32 posted on 02/28/2007 12:25:42 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: Tijeras_Slim
I was under the impression that some of the KB problem, particularly in Glock's in .40 S&W was shooting lead reloads as opposed to jacketed.

Yep, almost certainly some have been. Most, however, were not.

33 posted on 02/28/2007 12:26:53 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: verum ago
They claim there was no obstruction but it looks like there was as the barrel barber-poled ahead of the chamber.

I would think a primer would blow out before this would happen IF it was a deep seated bullet instead.

This looks like a classic bore obstruction with the attending air compression by the next bullet splitting the barrel.

If the chamber wasn't jugged, I'm calling this a bore obstruction like you are surmising.
34 posted on 02/28/2007 12:27:31 PM PST by headstamp (Nothing lasts forever, Unless it does.)
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To: verum ago

If this is the case, and the the malf occured on the 1st round with the bullet dislodged from the stretched out casemouth, then the pressures would have been lower and no catasrophic failure would have occured.

I accept that I could be wrong on this, but it just does not make sense as put forth.


35 posted on 02/28/2007 12:27:37 PM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: ctdonath2
Methinks it has more to do with the steep feed ramp affecting seating.

Funny, then, that these problems and *phase three failures to feed* have not been as frequently observed in handguns chambered for the .357 SIG, which uses the .40 S&W cartridge case as its parent dimensions, and usually utilizes the same feed ramp and magazine as the .40 guns, with just a change of barrel [and sometimes, recoil spring] to effect the conversion.

36 posted on 02/28/2007 12:29:34 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: ctdonath2

Well, why isn't ammunition manufactured so that the case has a small lip that physically will not allow the round to be inserted any further into the casing? This is a no-brainer.

If you drop a round of ammo, pick it up, dust it off and inspect it to insure no nicks or gouges, it could STILL blow up because the round was pressed deeper into the casing?

It would seem that the ammo manufacturers would be wide open to a costly lawsuit.


37 posted on 02/28/2007 12:31:43 PM PST by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right....)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
He wore the prescribed personal protective equipment for firearms use (safety glasses, armored vest, head and hearing protection, nomex gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and safety boots.)

I'm gonna try this at the skeet range.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

PULL!


38 posted on 02/28/2007 12:32:01 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: archy

Back in my NRA trainer days, our group tried to discourage the use of Glocks on the range. We referred to them as 'Glops'. We had more trouble with Glocks than any other semi-auto pistol.


39 posted on 02/28/2007 12:33:19 PM PST by Ikemeister
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To: archy

I'd also need a kevlar towel hanging from my belt. :)


40 posted on 02/28/2007 12:33:39 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: ctdonath2

why practice with something different from what you'll be using to protect your life? POI is always different, sometimes drastically. there's no way i would bet my life on the difference.
and i really just don't get carrying a chambered round on a glock. the lack of a positive safety would make me very nervous.


41 posted on 02/28/2007 12:38:33 PM PST by absolootezer0 (stop repeat offenders - don't re-elect them!)
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To: archy

I've got the perfect way to fix this problem. Buy a SIG Sauer P-226. Problem solved.


42 posted on 02/28/2007 12:39:10 PM PST by skimask (People who care what you do don't matter.......People who matter don't care what you do.)
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To: Bryan24
Well, why isn't ammunition manufactured so that the case has a small lip that physically will not allow the round to be inserted any further into the casing? This is a no-brainer.

If you drop a round of ammo, pick it up, dust it off and inspect it to insure no nicks or gouges, it could STILL blow up because the round was pressed deeper into the casing?

It hasn't been a problem with the M1911 .45 pistol and its M1911 Ball ammo, in use with the service handgun from 1911 to 1984 [and since, here and there] and in the Thompson, Reising, M3 and M3A1 and M10 submachineguns in military service, all in the same caliber.

You'd think if anything would squash the bullet into the depths of the cartridge case, it'd be the inertia of a one-pound bolt slamming the cartridge out of the magazine and into the chamber at a cyclic rate of 450 times a minute, [M3/M3A1 greaseguns] 550-600 RPM [later Thompsons and Reisings] and 700-1200 times per minute [early Navy and Marine M1921 Thompsins and Ingram .45 M10s]

But the original .45 Ammo specs were developed for both semi and full-auto use. Good thing, as it turned out, for several reasons.


43 posted on 02/28/2007 12:40:53 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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To: ctdonath2
Sounds more like some foreign object it the barrel to me.
44 posted on 02/28/2007 12:42:42 PM PST by ANGGAPO (LayteGulfBeachClub)
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To: absolootezer0
and i really just don't get carrying a chambered round on a glock. the lack of a positive safety would make me very nervous.

I would with the NY trigger, which is heavier and much like the DA pull of a revolver (which is my preferred item). Also, a most gunfight distances (7 yards or usually less) POI is less of an issue, although you should be familiar with where your gun hits with your carry ammo.

45 posted on 02/28/2007 12:43:21 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Towed_Jumper

I don't like Glocks but this is clearly a case of operator error. I'll rechamber a .22 round once and if it doesn't fire it gets discarded. It's not smart to rechamber a centerfire round. After reading this I think I'll stop rechambering those .22's!


46 posted on 02/28/2007 12:44:14 PM PST by saganite
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To: headstamp
Is it the action of the round being slammed home in the chamber and the delay in the bullet's inertia allowing it to be pushed a bit deeper in the case while the case moves into the chamber every time it happens?

OR

I would think the bullet would be pulled out of the case as the case mouth contacts the step in the chamber. Like the way a kinetic bullet puller works.

And are we talking about a round chambered from the clip by cycling the bolt, or inserting it directly into the chamber and then dropping the bold on it to keep a full mag? It seems the physics would be different for a round already in the chamber than one being stripped out of the clip.

47 posted on 02/28/2007 12:45:02 PM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: ctdonath2
Methinks it has more to do with the steep feed ramp affecting seating.

IMHO, it's exactly that - "setback"

I've run into the same problem chambering the same "carry" .45 ACP JHP cartridge in my 1911 over and over after cleanings, range trips, etc. Eventually, I noticed the round was much shorter than the others and pulled it from service.

Sooner or later, the spring-assisted slamming of the bullet nose into the feed ramp drives the bullet back into the case.

Lesson 1: Rotate your carry ammo in the magazine often

Lesson 2: Inspect and measure your carry ammo occasionally

48 posted on 02/28/2007 12:45:58 PM PST by AngryJawa ({IDPA} GO HUNTER '08)
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To: archy

I've read of this being an issue for the .40S&W round for some time.


49 posted on 02/28/2007 12:46:05 PM PST by Tree of Liberty (Islam delenda est)
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To: skimask
I've got the perfect way to fix this problem. Buy a SIG Sauer P-226. Problem solved

The Secret Service reported breakage of the aluminum frames of their SIG226s as early as the 1990s, as did the West German Bundeswehr with the aluminum frames of their postwar 9mm P1 versions of the wartime steel-framed Walther P.38. So did our local PD, who used SIG226s before they switched to Glocks.

The British SAS and Marine Commandos have been fond of the SIG 226 in 9mm, since they don't rust as badly as did their previous L9A1 Browning GPs, which sometimes exhibited slide cracks when hot 9mm loads are used, officially and intentionally or otherwise.

There really is no one easy, simple answer. But if that pistol and the load you've been using in it works well for you, by all means stick with it.

50 posted on 02/28/2007 12:46:24 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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