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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Say you're using a good quality semi-custom (Wilson Service Grade, or equivalent), what should you expect in terms of reliability?

Shooting Federal American Eagle and Sellior & Bellot 230 grain FMJ (the two practice hardball loads your gun likes best), should you be happy with 2 malfunctions every 700 rounds?

Is that good, bad or indifferent? If you had 2 malfunctions every 700, would you think it's a problem with the gun, ammo or both?

I'm interested what everyone (including the smith's, ahem :wink: ) have to say.

TIA

EDITED for code and spelling. Hope I got everythign. :grin:


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JacRyan on 2001-10-16 00:26 ]</font>
 

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Two in 700? I'd blame the ammo and walk away a happy guy. Thats 99.7% reliability, pretty damn good as no mechanical device is going to be 100% all the time.

Look at it this way, say you got a jar of beans, all white save for one. Everytime you shoot a round you close your eyes and remove a bean. Once in a while your going to get that black bean. LMAO, but its true. I had a doctor friend tell me thats how an insurance company explained why his liability insurance was so high.
 

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Jack, ammo varies from run to run. I would make sure that your (my) carry ammo is 100% and only use ammo from that production lot (buy as much as you can of your favorite brand, test it and put some aside) then when supply is down get some more and test it.

I wouldn't worry too much about plinking ammo as long as the good stuff works ... You only get alibi's in Bullseye ... Mike

edit: grammer

_________________
"if guns cause crime, then pencils cause miss spelled words" NRA LEAA NAHC

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Randall_1611 on 2001-10-16 00:46 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
All of this ammo was from a sealed case of Federal AE. It also choked once on Win. Q4170, six times on WinClean (I'm not even considering it with that [email protected]!0 and once on Speer Lawman. This out of the last 1,200 rounds fired.

Do Glocks and SIG's malfunction this much? What about CQB's and other top 1911's?

Grrrrrr.
 

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Well Jack, one more thing. Get a cartridge (go, no go) gauge and or chamber check when pistol is down for cleaning. That would help with the occasional bad round or reload. :smile: Mike
 

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I agree that ammo inconsistencies are the likely culprit, however......

It is possible to fire 10,000 plus rounds in a 1911-style pistol without a malfunction at all. I must tell you that I never expect a malfunction. If I have a failure to feed I check the ammo first.

Once a gun is set up and runs perfectly, if you keep it reasonably clean and lubed, it should never malfunction except as the extractor loses tension, has a burr or breaks, causing failure to extract.

While extractors with too much tension can certainly cause failures to feed, once adjusted, extractors don't increase tension, only maintain tension or decrease tension.

I guess I've been lucky or have had good gunsmithing for the last 25 years. My .45's don't burp, pass gas, expectorate, talk back or malfunction. They just don't.

Who's experience is similar? I'll bet a great many of you guys have sweet-running, non-malfunctioning pistols. Let's hear from you.
 

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I'm at roughly a round count of 2500 thru my Wilson Millenium Protector. NO MALFUNCTIONS. Most rounds were my lead reloads, some RN and most LSW. Some of the loads were pretty light, and some slightly exceeded the recommended OAL. But, the Wilson shot everything like a champ. I've shot several boxes of duty ammo (Federal Tactical 230 gr+p) which also shoots great, and to point of aim.
I guess any malfunctions that I couldn't account for (my reloads) would greatly concern me in a carry gun.
 

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Given that any mechanical device can and will fail at some point in time, acceptable reliability for me is 100% unless I caused the malfunction (limp wrist, uncleaned pistol for carry, etc.). Use quality factory loads for defense - assemble quality reload componets if reloading. Experiment AT THE RANGE to find out what works for you, your pistol, and the way you carry/shoot.

Did I mention malfunction drills??
 

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I only own one 1911 currently. It is a factory Colt in .38 super. I have only been shooting it for a few months. And in that time I have fired 1200 rounds of PMC FMJ ammo through it. There has not been a single malfunction at all.

I have test fired at bunch of other 1911's. I have shot .45's, .22's, .40 sw, .45 super, and haven't seen a failure to feed from any of those.

As for shotguns and rifles. I haven't shot many semi-auto or auto rifles so I won't comment. As for shotguns, I shoot 1100 for clays sports and have over 60,000 rounds through it with no malfunctions that couldn't be directly linked to a HORRIBLE crimp. (I need to check my reloads better)

This past weekend I have seen three people with failures to feed in the semi auto shotguns. Two brownings and one berretta, two owners claimed dirty guns and one claimed he had the wrong recoil spring in it for the light loads he was shooting.

So any semi-auto can be reliable. And any can be unreliable.

As for what I would consider reliable. 1 out of 10,000 for my defensive load with proper cleaning intervals. I can not carry concealed, but at my home I have the .38 super loaded and each round is exactly the same length and diameter. My 12ga is also loaded and each round has a perfect crimp and is properly sized. This is the extra step I would take when considering a defensive load vs practice loads. As for practice loads I could even deal with 1 out of 100.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Kavall on 2001-10-16 09:32 ]</font>
 

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Strange thing about FTF's This is from customers and my own shooting. Most seem to be ammo related and most seem to be "bargain" or best price ammo related.

Three cases in particular.

One case of CCI Lawman several years ago was the best I have ever seen for malfunction drills. There were at least two or three FTF's per box.

One case of American Eagle with poor taper crimp.

One case of factory overuns white box. Think it was Federal. The case head was FC Match brass and this would not feed in the last round on two guns using four different mags.

On my 30 K SIG. I get FTF's when there is no TLC meaning a "reasonable" care and cleaning on occasion. Quality ammo and occasional cleaning I never a FTF but that also applies for my 1911's.

My SIG P226 is particularly sensitive to a build up of carbon on the bolt face. I have had light primer strikes FTF's after as little as fifty but usually after a hundred or so of the dirty blazer ammo as well as the generic name brand 9mms.

I hope this helps.
 

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Two malfs in 700 of the hardball it likes *best* is totally unacceptable. JMB demonstrated the original with 6000 straight. Shouldn't Wilson be able to do as well after 90 years of development?
 

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I'd have to agree with some of the previous posters. The "acceptable" failure rate is kind of like the acceptable level of rat poop in peanut butter -- ain't no such thing :smile:.

My BHP.40 made it to 10K+ without a failure until the extractor broke. Same with my Glock 23. I shot (and shoot) a wide range of full-power loads in both with nary a problem. That's as it should be.

I should note, however, that I clean my guns thoroughly after every match or trip to the range, even if I've only shot 20-30 rounds. I suspect that has something to do with the exemplary reliability I've seen so far.

If your gun is still breaking in (less than 500 rounds), I wouldn't worry about a jam/failure or two. After that, though, If you're still having problems I'd have it looked at by a good gunsmith.

Still playing with my Kimber. It's been okay so far. The only problems I've had have been with steel cased Wolf ammo. But I won't trust it as a carry gun until I put another couple thousand rounds through it without a problem.


Chad

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-10-16 09:50 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And the funny thing is, this pistol was just in to Wilson earlier this summer for feed related problems. They buffed and adjusted and gave it a clean bill of health.

For now, I am prepared to accept that it is the ammo. The failures were in two consecutive stages in IDPA, one was a failure to feed and the other a premature slide lock. I'm guessing that the ammo probably came from the same box, so it seems like it might be isolated.

What I plan on doing is measuring each and every round that goes into the pistol. I want to take ammo problems out of the equation, so if it malfunctions I will know with a fair degree of certainty that it is the pistol and not the ammo. With these preparations, I fully expect the pistol to go 1,000+ rounds with no malfunctions.

Now, the question is, what do I need to do to make sure that the rounds are of proper spec. Is measuring the OAL with a micrometer or dial caliber enough? Or should I also do a chamber drop-in check? Is there a simple go/no go die or guage that I can buy to do it all in one simple easy step? Is there anything else that I should be checking?

Thanks all. Looks like this is probably an ammo problem.

BTW, with all the challenges that I've had getting this gun dialed (I believe that I may be there -- at last!) I've gotten really good at recognizing malfunctions and clearing them. When I had the first FTF I actually saw the slide stop short and the round get hung up as I brought the sights back on target for the follow up shot. I immediately racked the slide and lost probably 0.5 seconds. Same with the premature slide lock. Point being, I was extremely surprised that I caught the malfunction before I even tried to pull the trigger again. I've gotten really good at seeing what these hang ups look like versus the slide going into fully battery. At least I can say something good came out of all this (well, more knowledge about 1911's and a great gun included).

EDITED to add that the gun was cleaned thoroughly the night before and these malfunctions occurred in the first six mags.

The pistol has about 3,700 total rounds through it (I don't have my records in front of me, otherwise I could tell you exactly how many). Wilson's says that Federal AE, S&B and Black Hills are some of the most consistent practice hardball loads out there. I guess that doesn't mean perfect.

I'll measure all my rounds and if I don't get AT LEAST 1,000 rounds through it without another hiccup, I'll reassess if this is the right gun for me.

And I loved the peanut butter comment! LOL!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JacRyan on 2001-10-16 10:15 ]</font>
 

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Clint Smith at Thunder Ranch suggests testing your gun and ammo for (500) rounds with zero failures. He said the 501st round might fail but he would feel comfortable after 500. Jeff Cooper wrote many years ago that one should always run the ammo to be carried, to be loaded into the magazines and run through the pistol to be carried. This should detect any faulty ammo. Just be darn careful doing it.
Marty U.
 

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Hi JacRyan, I would be interested in hearing which ammo jammed the most, was it Sellior & Bellot? Did you have problems mostly during a rapid fire drill? I tend to clean my .45 after about 300 to 600 rounds are fired so I don't have a handle on how many rounds will be fired to cause a failure. Be interested in hearing from you on my questions, thanks. For what ever reason my 250gr swc loads seem to work well, S&B can be a problem as far as I am concerned.
 

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Dillon carries a go/no go gauge that's manufactured to SAAMI minimum chamber dimensions (I believe that it's by L.E. Wilson, but don't quote me). Others make similar gauges, but they're not SAAMI minimum dimensions, so are worthless, IMO.

When I started reloading, my reloads were fairly poor dimensionally, but since I started crimping as a separate stage and dropping every round into the Wilson gauge, I haven't had a single problem. I'd highly recommend it for ammo checking.

YMMV

George

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: georgek on 2001-10-16 18:44 ]</font>
 

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My Glock 19 never malfunctioned. Neither has my Sig 228 or my .40 226. My G23 was perfectly reliable until the recoil and magazine springs started weakening and then it FTF frequently---new springs cured the problem.

I've never had a 100% reliable 1911 but they all ran, statistically, above 99%. All the FTF's were high angle jams with Ball ammunition but they never failed with hollowpoints. I never could figure it out until someone told me how inconsistant Ball generally was in OAL and how this played hell on 1911 reliability. I think they probably hit the mark with the Ball comment and most folks only see the Ball related problems since that's what's mostly shot during extensive practice sessions.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: barbrady on 2001-10-17 00:40 ]</font>
 

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Go buy 1000 rounds of S&B.
($165+S&H http://www.natchezss.com)

Start with a clean gun and magazines.
Lube well with CLP or other quality lube.

If it doesn't make it all the way through 1000 rounds without a -bobble-, sell the gun.

I don't know of many handguns that are stone reliable without cleaning after 1000 rounds of ammunition, esp something that has a bit of residue like S&B.


(Failure to lock back on an empty magazine does not count as a malf)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
FortyFive:

I've had my best strings of luck with both S&B and Federal American Eagle. They, along with Black Hills (IIRC) are on WC's recommended list for IDPA/practice ball loads. The problems (EDIT: referring to the two malfunctions this last weekend) all occurred during IDPA, with the FTF during a double tap and the PSL during a single shot.

With each type of ammo I got to about 700-750 rounds with no malfunctions. With the S&B I don't recall what it was that started it (possibly a weak wrist stove pipe by my friend? -- my records are at home), but I decided to try it without the shok-buff. Turns out that changed the timing of the gun and I had *very* frequent premature slide locks with S&B. I think I have that resolved, but I made it about 700 rounds with Federal AE until these two malfuntions this weekend.

georgek:

Thanks for the info. I tried to call Dillon but they're not open yet.

Do you have a product number for this gauge? I couldn't find it on the net. How much are they and what do they measure? Do they measure OAL as well as crimp? I can measure OAL, but haven't figured out a way to determine if a round has the proper crimp.

barbrady and Anthony:

Yeah, I've heard that ball ammo is inconsistent in OAL as well. WC says that S&B, Federal AE and Black Hills are the best "promotional" ball they've found.

But, with Anthony's comment about requiring zero malfunctions in 1,000 rounds, that what I was trying to do with the Federal AE. And I made it up to about 708 rounds (actually, I believe the malfunctions occurred at around 575, as I fired another 150 or so rounds that day with no problems).

So, now the question is, what is the most consistent 230 grain FMJ available? I don't want to have to spend $20 a box to get it, which is why I have been shooting Federal AE.

I shoot frequently and like to load my mags up after a shooting session and leave them loaded til I hit the range again. I don't want to unload Hydra-Shok from the mags and put ball in them as it needlessly cycles the mag springs. Because I had been having good luck with Federal AE, I felt comfortable keeping that as the ammo I use for home defense. (And no, I don't want to get into a ball v. HP debate here. :smile: )

Would you recommend against using Federal AE for home defense? I'm doing this because I want my home defense load to be the load that I shoot A LOT of rounds with, both so I'm used to the POA and other characteristics of the load, I know the reliability in my pistol and I don't needlessly wear my mag springs. Realistically, I can afford to shoot thousands of rounds of Federal AE a year, but wouldn't want to do the same with Hydra-Shok due to the expense. I guess I was hoping that I would get through a case of AE without any problems (that was my goal after getting it back from WC in July).

So, I guess here'e what I'm left with. I put pencil to paper (okay, I cheated and used a calculator) and 2 malfunctions out of 708 rounds is still 99.72% reliable. Is that good enough? Intellectually, I guess it seems like an acceptable reliability for any machine. Particularly when I can perform malfuction drills as fast as I can. But my gut says NO WAY! I want one of those guns (like the recent CQB's) where people feed them the most cruddy rounds they can find and the gun chews them up without a hiccup. I have a WC 1996A2 and am wondering whether I have a lemon. My friends new Kimber CC has been more reliable than my WC, even including the break-in (though he had one FTF with the same case of Federal AE this weekend).

Here's what I'm doing now. Last night I measured the OAL of all my Federal AE rounds. (BTW, this is a major PITA using a dial caliber and chamber check -- barrel out of gun.) All the chamber checks were fine and the OAL was between 1.26-1.27. Most rounds were right at 1.265, which is just about ideal. Should I be worried about the fwe (probably 30%) of the rounds that are at the extremes (1.26 and 1.27)? Should I be separating those and seeing if I get malfunctions with them? Also, what can I do to check the taper crimp?

And at some point AM I HAVING TO SCREW AROUND TOO MUCH WITH A $1,400 PISTOL? I don't know what to say to the guys at WC (great customer service, BTW). I feel petty calling them up with 2 malfunctions in 708 rounds.

Thanks everyone. Grrrrr. This sucks because this is a very accurate pistol and I like it a lot.

EDIT noted in text.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JacRyan on 2001-10-17 11:01 ]</font>
 

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JacRyan, I would not let the numbers become so important you loose track of having fun! Many can claim reliability out to the horizon but trying to match ammo with incident is going to ruin your enjoyment of shooting. I had a .45 that went about 450 to 500 rounds and it got dirty and would fail somehow at that number. I didn't like it but accepted it for the time being. Get the best shooting ammo and stay with it. Be sure to change the recoil spring about every 2,000 rounds and clean the gun often. Lube the gun between cleanings...am I getting on your nerves here(grin)...good shooting Jac..
 
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