Be careful I had an ammo mix up!


July 24, 2009, 11:32 PM
I almost messed up big time. I had been to the range shooting 9x18mm and 40 cal. Some how I got a 40 cal S&W clip loaded with 9X18 mm!!!!!:banghead:

How I did it I am not sure but I am glad I found out when I chambered a round and checked it it fell out. Whew that could have been a real mess if I had mixxed the 40's with the 9X18's. I have gotten rid of the 9X18 for a 38 and checked all my loaded 40 cal Mags to be sure.

Be careful guys I have been shooting for over 35 years and this is the first time I came close to blowing up a gun.

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July 24, 2009, 11:38 PM
I'm glad you noticed before anything went seriously wrong. It's very big you to actually come out and admit something like that. We can all learn something from this.

July 24, 2009, 11:44 PM
Yeah, I had something similar happen once. Caught myself before messing up just as you did, but it's scary.

July 24, 2009, 11:55 PM
It's highly unlikely that you would have been caused personal injury, but it's a good reminder of the lesson to double check.

July 24, 2009, 11:57 PM
I saw a coupe of guys with a new Glock .40 at our club complaining about how in accurate it was and how that "crap Blazer ammo" was splitting every case, when they realized they'd been shooting 9mm Blazer. They soon packed up and left pretty embarrassed.

While clearly shooting the wrong ammo is a bad idea, 9mm in a .40 is not a disaster if it fires, although the potential is there if a round slips off the extractor, "mis-fires", and the lack of ejection after tap-rack-bang is not noticed.


July 25, 2009, 12:53 AM
I got a 9mm round in the middle of a magazine full of .40 S&W in my glock 23. A few rounds into the mag it had an unusually weak report and no recoil. ***? Squib? I opened it up and found a 9x19 case fire-formed to a .40 chamber! Sort of a .357 sig in reverse. The bullet exited the barrel, but didn't hit the target at about 10 yards. Since then I became a little more anal about keeping different calibers of ammo on the bench at the same time if they are similar in size.

July 25, 2009, 01:11 AM
I'll share my experience - Even though it wasn't my fault! :) Happened when I was a kid, somewhere between 6 and 8, but I still remember it. My dad and I were out at the range, and we had several .38 Special guns with us, trying out some handloads. We had two batches of ammo, some +P stuff that we were firing out of revolvers, and some light loads we were shooting from a converted 1911. Good bit goes by, and I'm chewing paper through the 1911, no problems, but you can probably see where this is going. My dad is loading up mags for me as I'm firing, critiquing my shots and grouping (We start young in my family... At this point I had already been shooting for a couple years, I started at about 5)

Slide in a fresh mag, drop the slide, aim, take the shot, and kB! Massive detonation. 1911 falls to the ground, and I'm screaming. Sure enough, a simple mistake, and the +P stuff had been loaded into the 1911. The tiny exposed portion of the cartridge couldn't handle the high pressure loads. It detonated in the chamber and exploded down into the grips, blowing the custom wood grips in two, sending splinters, burning powder, and hot gas back into my face. There was gunpowder embedded in my hands and face, slivers of shrapnel everywhere. And a very traumatized little boy who would "trigger-lock" on the line for a good 6 months, year, not sure how long it was before I could overcome the fear and fire a gun again, but it took a while. I wasn't scared handling them and had no apprehension getting ready to fire one, but my brain just flat out refused to tell my finger to pull the trigger for quite some time after that.

When the cartridge was retrieved, it was impressive, to say the least. There was maybe a 2 or 3mm semi-circle blown out just above the butt of the case, and I mean this thing was perfect. You couldn't have machined a cleaner edge out of this thing. No bulging, no ragged edges, it looked like it had been sawed half-through by the best machining tools known to man.

Worst of all - The damn bullet didn't even hit paper! Years of psychological trauma, and no bullseye to show for it! ;)

I still say the thing eeked out of the barrel with just enough velocity to clear and fell short on the ground somewhere, though, damnit.

chris in va
July 25, 2009, 01:27 AM
One reason why I only have 9mm and 45.

July 25, 2009, 10:21 AM
I was messing around(swaping parts and stuff) with a pair of HK P9s, must have been a 45 and a 9mm, I kinda really forget what I had done, think I was swaping slides or something

But as I inserted a mag, racked the slide....for the life of me I could not figure out why a round would fall out the end of the barrel....again....again.......OH...thats a 9mm and the WHOLE round will slide right down a 45acp barrel........DOH! :uhoh:

Extremely Pro Gun
July 25, 2009, 10:27 AM
One reason why I only have 9mm and 45.

Imagine stuffing that 45 into 9mm mags. :D
I do the same thing. I do have a 357 though.

July 25, 2009, 10:33 AM
sending splinters, burning powder, and hot gas back into my face.

What did your mom do to your dad? :neener:

July 25, 2009, 11:14 AM
Yea Wally that was my concern the 9X18 Mak rounds can stick in the 40 cal barrel and could cause a Ka-Boom. if not caught. Well that is the main reason I don't own a 20 gauge shotgun along with my 12 because I have seen what happens when you load a 20 in a 12 and it is not pretty. Loved that Mak but it was too big for pocket carry so I went to an old bedstand queen 38. I now shoot one cal at a time but that gun and ammo up then get the other cal out.

So becareful and enjoy your shooting safely!

July 25, 2009, 11:48 AM
I almost did the same thing with 9mm Browning and 9x19. Probably wouldn't have been a big deal, but I caught it before shooting.

July 25, 2009, 12:09 PM
What did your mom do to your dad? :neener:
She wasn't happy, I remember that! :) But neither of my parents were the super-over-protective freak-out types, they know that kids will get hurt. They were of the school of thought that unless I was imminent danger of death, it was better to let me do it and figure it out on my own.

"Is the stove hot?" - "I don't know. Touch it and find out." - "Owww!!!!" - "Learn anything?" :)

July 25, 2009, 12:18 PM
A buddy of mine put several rounds of 9mm through his 40S&W Glock by accident. Accuracy was pretty bad, and the brass looked a little goofy afterwards (like a Taco Bell cup), but no harm was done.

July 25, 2009, 12:51 PM
16 ga. will feed and shoot in a 12 ga pump; don't ask me how I know.

July 25, 2009, 08:29 PM
I am glad noone got hurt.

July 25, 2009, 09:42 PM
Couple years ago, I took my old S&W M39 (9mm semi) to the range, along with my PPK/S (.380).

Somehow, I loaded the M39 magazine with seven or so .380's.

The first round fired - held in place by the ejector, but then it failed to eject.

That's when I noticed....

The case was split, but no gas leaked, and no other problems.

Pretty much can't get .380's now anyway, fortunately.... :)


July 25, 2009, 09:53 PM
You guys shooting rifles at the range be extra carefull if you have an old mauser 8mm and a 1903 30.06 springfield The 8mm X57 will chamber very easy in the 30.06 But it will blow the thing up when you touch it off! Lots of guys got hurt just after WW-II shooting bring backs and surplus Ammo mix ups...

Jim K
July 25, 2009, 09:56 PM
Here is an interesting scenario and reading about ka-booms, I wonder if it could explain some of them.

Shooter with a .40 caliber accidentally loads a 9mm as the top round in the magazine and racks the slide, keeping the gun pointed down range. The 9mm round goes into the chamber and slips down the barrel just far enough not to be seen. Shooter pulls trigger and gets a click. Thinking the first round failed to chamber, he racks the slilde again, putting a .40 into the chamber behind the 9mm, and fires. The .40 bullet, happily strolling down the barrel, encounters the 9mm round which is not stuck, but has just enough inertia to cause the .40 bullet to give up a big part of its energy; the result is unpleasant.

The same thing will happen with .40 and .45.

Could this explain at least some of the Glock ka-booms with police guns and departments or officers using both .40 and 9mm?


July 25, 2009, 10:30 PM
My grandfather figured he knew everything. He ruined every gun he owned by the way he cleaned them and so he took a ruined 22 lr single shot and drilled out the chamber to fit a 25 rimfire. He only shot it once.

July 26, 2009, 12:29 AM
On my honeymoon I took a CZ-RAMI in .40S&W and a 1911 in .45ACP with me. Everywhere we went (sans New York State) honored my MI carry permit.

Sure enough, grabbed the 1911 one day, topped of the mag with a .40S&W round, chambered it, and watched the whole round slide down the barrel and hit the floor.

Took me a second to realize what I'd just done.

July 26, 2009, 01:40 PM
A friend of mine and I were out in shooting hand thrown clays, he had a rem 1187 in 12 gauage, I had a rem 1100 in 16 gauge.

As mentioned a 16 gauge feeds into a 12 easily :(

blissfully it did not fire, but it did need to be knocked out with a rod.

Same friend was shooting a mauser and a M1 garand, put an 8mm into the garand, that one did fire and it extracted the head of the case, but the rest of the empty was trapped in the chamber.

Hammered out fine and was none the worse for wear, but still stupid and avoidable :(

July 26, 2009, 03:48 PM
Years ago I bought some "generic" 44 mag shells at a gun show. It was for my 629 Smith. One box I fired felt and sounded different. Brass was harder to get out of the cylinder and was ballooned out. Looking at the shells, I found out it was 41 mag shells in a 44 mag box.

Marlin 45 carbine
July 26, 2009, 03:55 PM
do not take ANYTHING for granted, I can say for sure. I've had 2 'AD's' (or SD's - stupidity discharges) and I'm lucky I was just embarassed as the result.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 26, 2009, 03:59 PM
Hmmm, I didn't know a .38 special would feed & chamber in a 1911. What was your 1911 chambered in, stillaftermath? .45 acp or .38 super or what?

July 26, 2009, 04:16 PM
Does anybody have any experience w/ firing a 9x18 Makarov in a gun chambered for 9mm ? Shell is a little shorter but other than that is should fit pretty good ... mat not have the power to work the action but I wonder if it would be dangerous ... :)


July 26, 2009, 05:16 PM
Mak rounds go in Mak guns only the bullet is bigger around than the 380 or 9mm Luger.

July 26, 2009, 06:03 PM
I wouldn't think firing a 9mm in a .40 could cause a catastrophic failure. Actually I'd be surprised if there was enough pressure generated to get the velocity necessary to cycle the action... You'd be headspacing with the extractor tension I guess.

I've wondered what happens if I load up a 9x18 case and put it into a 9x19 gun. I find 9x18 in my range brass sometimes, and wonder what would happen if one slipped through. It would be headspaced with the extractor as well. My biggest worry would be that the bullet would be loaded, the cartridge would be the same OAL, and that would lead to less neck tension and therefore excessive setback/set forward, etc.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 26, 2009, 06:31 PM
I fired some .32 auto through a .380 auto a few years back. Took me 15 or 20 rounds to figure it out. Poor accuracy. :)

July 26, 2009, 06:43 PM
I gave a older ruger 45 pistol i had to my son=in-law. At the range the first time after the gun was his he loaded the clip and fire it and it fired and jamded up on the brass. It had never in 11 years i had it falled to fire correctly so i said pull back clear the jamb and hold the gun tight ,another jamb. Went to his lane and checked the gun.... He had MY 40cal S&W 180 grain in his 45. Two blowed out and split cases and has been through about 600 more rounds of the right stuff after that screw up. Guess ruger make tough pistol.

July 26, 2009, 08:28 PM
Many single-stack 1911-style in .40 and .45 caliber can accept each other's magazines, and ammunition. I never found the .45 mags reliable when using .40 ammunition, and expect that the opposite is true, too, but while you can't get .45's to chamber in a .40 firearm, the .40's WILL chamber in a .45.... Could get interesting....

And, for something completely different, some revolvers made for the 8mm French Lebel (which is a blackpowder round) can accept the .32 S&W (& S&W Long). Really a bad idea.... (The .32 ball is smaller by just enough to keep the pressures down, and the guns are very large, but....)

You can also raise a burr on a 9mm rim and shoot 'em in a .38 revolver. I would recommend at least a K-frame.... I'm told this was done in the Far East during WWII when 9mm ammunition was a lot more available than .38's in places like Australia.

And, let's not forget the .455 Webley. I'm not sure what the heck it'll do, but it's the British version of the .45 - can't recall if there was a different revolver round than the one's made for a 1911 chambered in that caliber, but something to watch out for if you're into "surplus store" stuff.


July 26, 2009, 08:44 PM
Hmmm, I didn't know a .38 special would feed & chamber in a 1911. What was your 1911 chambered in, stillaftermath? .45 acp or .38 super or what?
You know, I'm actually not too sure. Read it again and you'll see I was about 6 at the time, so that was 23 years ago. :) My dad had some kind of conversion kit that would allow him to swap back and forth between .45 ACP and .38 Special wadcutters. I'd never really thought to look, but looking around now, it seems like this kind of thing is out there, but uncommon enough I can't find any specific kits. I can find reference to Colt offering their Gold Cup Target 1911's with interchangeable parts for .45 ACP, .38 Super, and .38 Special wadcutter, and there are the rare and expensive Jim Clark dedicated platforms, but I'm really not sure at all what specifically I was shooting that day.

I'll shoot an e-mail off to my dad and ask him if he remembers the frame and kit he was using.

EDIT: OK, got a reply from my dad. Sent it in PM to help keep the thread OT, but thought others might be interested to, so I'll stick it into this post.

Colt made kits that was a slide and barrel, the barrel was a re-chambered .38 Super cal. Not sure if they just made them for the military or if it was a general item of trade. The load was a full wadcutter loaded with 5 grains of Unique, a standard .38 Spl load but not for a wadcutter gun! Standard Gold Cup .38 Spl magazines worked, I just recently sold one of the magazines for $100 ! Still have one I think. I also have a S&W M 52 that is a .38 wadcutter gun. It is great fun to shoot.. but I don't ever load wadcutter ammo with full powder charges!

EDIT 2: Er... and a follow up with more info he just sent. :)
Here is some more info, the army marksmanship unit had Colt make a special run of .38 WC guns, chanbered for a .38 SPL cartridge that was rimmless. The case head was cery much like a .38 Super. The cartridge was headstamped .38 AMU for Advanced Marksmanship Unit. The pistol team was using those when I was on the 5th Army rifle team. I used to have a box of brass but I think it is now gone.

junior geezer
July 26, 2009, 09:11 PM
i have direct knowledge of a .380acp fired in a 9mm TT33 tokarev. commercial reloaded 9x19, one round of .380 in box of fifty. the round stripped from the mag and fired. the result: a broken firing pin. apparently, the firing pin first drove the cartridge forward to headspace; then the extended firing pin took up the recoil while serving for the breech. i figured out what had happened the moment i found the one .380 empty in the ammo tray.

July 27, 2009, 07:42 PM
This has happened to me, shooting .40 in a 9mm.
I was in a training class and your partner was supposed to be reloading your mags
while you were on the course. He didn't look to see what ammo my pistol took
and assumed it was 9mm (we had the same brand handgun). Nothing bad happened but
the class had to stop momentarily because I couldn't easily unjam it (case expanded).
Pretty embarrassing.

The Annoyed Man
July 28, 2009, 12:47 AM
I almost messed up big time. I had been to the range shooting 9x18mm and 40 cal. Some how I got a 40 cal S&W clip loaded with 9X18 mm!!!!!:banghead:

I did exactly the same thing a couple of days ago. I was intending to load up a Glock magazine with 9mm, and instead accidentally picked up my USP Compact .40 cal magazine and stuffed it with 9mm ammo. Both pistols were sitting next to one another on the same table. Then, I picked up the USPc and the magazine, walked to the firing line, and inserted the magazine. I didn't notice that I wasn't holding a Glock until I went to drop the slide release and charge the gun. OOOPSIE!!! Fortunately, I never actually released the slide into battery. So, I ejected the magazine and walked back to the table behind me, looking sheepish, while my son rolled his eyes at me.

I can only plead that it was 104 with about 90% humidity, and my brain was apparently no longer firing on all cylinders. Thank God that I discovered the problem before actually pulling the trigger. We called it a day shortly after that.

About 18 months ago, shooting with my wife, she loaded up my Kimber UCII magazine with .40 cal. ammo. I discovered her error when she she released the slide into battery and the first round was a misfeed - which she handed to me to fix.

And a couple of years ago, I was in the local Bass Pro shop waiting to use the range, and a guy was sitting there on a chair with a bemused look on his face. It turned out that he had just purchased a 9mm Glock and a box of 9mm ammo so he could go straight to the range and try out his new toy. Unfortunately, the guy behind the gun counter, while charging him for a 9mm gun, had actually handed over to him a .40 cal gun. The error wasn't discovered until after the customer had capped off a half dozen rounds, and all the spent cases were - of course - badly deformed. At first, the gun counter guy didn't want to take back the "used" .40 cal. gun, even though the purchase was for a 9mm gun, and he was at least partly, if not fully, at fault for the error. However, the word "lawyer" came up, and Bass Pro got busy making it right.

July 28, 2009, 11:33 AM
I've had some ammo mistakes, but from what I've seen it had no obvious drawbacks, and didn't seem to be all that dangerous of a situation...

I've shot -

A 20 gauge round out of a 12 gauge (Ammo mixup. My ammo bag used to be public access, and I also shoot at night. Effects - "Whiff" sound instead of dedicated "BANG!", no recoil, shell would not extract.

A .40 cal out of .45. Effects were a minor crack, slide did not cycle, case fell out of the barrel afterward. I bought a box of .45ACP that was filled with .40S&W, and was "in a hurry (<Read- being foolish)". Academy clerks can't be trusted to know the difference between .45ACP and .40S&W, mostly due to the inability to sort, and keep organized boxes of ammo, since they all can look very similar to the untrained eye, people rely on box headers such as ".45ACP" and various brands therein, but occasionally you'll get the box of .40S&W and not realize it until your gun malfunctions. Don't be in a hurry.. ever.

Jim K
July 28, 2009, 11:54 AM
The condition I mentioned was not just firing the wrong ammo but having the wrong ammo in the barrel when the right ammo is fired. The "20 in a 12" is a good case. Firing a 20 gauge shell in a 12 gauge gun as Winchester AA describes, is fairly harmless. But drop a 20 gauge in a shotgun and its rim stops in the forcing cone. More than one shooter has done so, looked at the "empty" chamber and loaded a 12 gauge behind the 20. The error becomes apparent a few milliseconds after pulling the trigger.


July 28, 2009, 12:23 PM
After my num-nut son in law did the 40 in a 45 thing i to could not believe the 40's even stayed in the mags . After try'n it myself ,yes it was practical to screw up, they stayed in pretty well. I have a 40 witness and 9mm converstion for it so i desided to try the 9mm in 40 mags . No deal ,waon't stay in,thats good i then took all my 9mm mags as i have 4 and with a gray marker wrote 40call and 9mm in large letters on all sides ,Just in case ,dum a** jumps out at me. Try to keep stuff in different area's but you never know.

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