Problems with Remington .38 Spl ammo


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bad4dr
April 2, 2010, 06:07 PM
Took my new M&P 340 to the range today to shoot it for the first time. I had two 50-round boxes of Remington Express .38 Special (158 g, lead round nose), one box of Speer +P GDHP, and one box of Remington Golden Sabre .357 Mag 125 gr JHP. The .357 magnum and +P shot perfectly, but the .38 Special left a lot to be desired. In the first box, I had four FTF. I don't know if it was light primer strikes or what, but I had four rounds that didn't go off the first time (when I came around the wheel and hit them again, they went off). Wasn't too happy about that! Also, compared to the .357 and the +P, the primers on the .38 were dirty, like there was dirt or metal shavings in the crease between the primer and the case. Anyone know what the deal is with that? I overpaid for this stuff to begin with ($37/box at Bass pro, not very happy about that, either), and then it has the audacity to be filthy and error-prone to boot! Has anyone else had issues with Remington Express ammo? In fairness, the second box fired without drama, but four FTFs in the first 50 rounds left me pretty steamed.

And for those of you doing the math at home, yes...I fired 100 .38, 25 .357Mag, and 10 +P from my M&P 340 today! Yeehah!!! I would have shot more +P, but I didn't want to be completely out of ammo:)

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Spartacus451
April 2, 2010, 06:31 PM
Get an Apex tactical firing pin. The pin S&W uses is sometimes too short to get good ignition even with stock springs.

GRIZ22
April 2, 2010, 08:47 PM
Get an Apex tactical firing pin. The pin S&W uses is sometimes too short to get good ignition even with stock springs

I've encountered at least hundreds maybe well over a thousand J frames and never saw a firing pin cause problems with stock springs.

I think it may have been a bad lot of ammo for that many malfunctions in 2 boxes (or 10 boxes for that matter). I'd try different ammo and run at least 100 rds of what you intend to carry through it

bad4dr
April 2, 2010, 09:26 PM
I don't think that the issue is with the firing pin. If that were the case, I would have had problems with the .357 and .38 +P rounds as well. And 96 out of 100 rounds of the .38 Spl went off with no issue. I think the ammo was bad. I'll post pics of the primers to show the crud packed in there. It looks like they were buried in sand or dirt, dusted off, and loaded into the box.

Manco
April 2, 2010, 11:32 PM
I overpaid for this stuff to begin with ($37/box at Bass pro, not very happy about that, either),

Why'd you shell out that much dough for .38 Special LRN? :eek: I just looked it up, and it seems that Remington considers this a premium product line, but still, it's just LRN and it's not super-hot Double Tap, either.

Has anyone else had issues with Remington Express ammo? In fairness, the second box fired without drama, but four FTFs in the first 50 rounds left me pretty steamed.

I haven't used much Remington ammo, but that's only because I've never had good experiences with it. I've never tried the Express line, but it sounds a lot like their other ammo. :uhoh:

Also, compared to the .357 and the +P, the primers on the .38 were dirty, like there was dirt or metal shavings in the crease between the primer and the case.
I'll post pics of the primers to show the crud packed in there. It looks like they were buried in sand or dirt, dusted off, and loaded into the box.

That's interesting because the Winchester Ranger Bonded LEO ammo I use for defensive purposes also looks as though it has some crusty crud around the primers. :scrutiny: None of my inexpensive FMJ training rounds from any manufacturer (including Winchester) have this feature, but my other boxes of Ranger-T and PDX1 do. I just figured it was some weird sealant used in their premium self-defense rounds (non-premium rounds are generally not sealed). All of these loads have functioned perfectly for me so far (Winchester primers are generally regarded as extremely reliable). Do your Remington Express rounds have anything like the following around their primers (the only decent picture I could find)?

bad4dr
April 3, 2010, 01:03 AM
Why'd you shell out that much dough for .38 Special LRN? :eek: I just looked it up, and it seems that Remington considers this a premium product line, but still, it's just LRN and it's not super-hot Double Tap, either.

Well, I made a special trip out to Bass Pro Shops thinking that because they're a "big box" retailer they would have cheaper ammo than the local shops. Wal-Mart is the cheapest around here, but they didn't have squat for ammo. BassPro had what I was looking for (.38 Spl and .357), and since I was already there (and out of my way), I just bought two boxes and came home. Lesson learned.

I haven't used much Remington ammo, but that's only because I've never had good experiences with it. I've never tried the Express line, but it sounds a lot like their other ammo. :uhoh:

Based on this experience, I may not use Remington ammo again either. It'sa shame, because the Golden Sabre .357 worked great, and my .45 ACP likes Golden Sabre as well. Maybe I'll just have to stick with GS and ignore all the other Rem ammo.


That's interesting because the Winchester Ranger Bonded LEO ammo I use for defensive purposes also looks as though it has some crusty crud around the primers. :scrutiny: None of my inexpensive FMJ training rounds from any manufacturer (including Winchester) have this feature, but my other boxes of Ranger-T and PDX1 do. I just figured it was some weird sealant used in their premium self-defense rounds (non-premium rounds are generally not sealed). All of these loads have functioned perfectly for me so far (Winchester primers are generally regarded as extremely reliable). Do your Remington Express rounds have anything like the following around their primers (the only decent picture I could find)?
Yes, they look like that, but worse! These primers literally look caked with sand and gunk. I tried to get a picture, but my camera wouldn't focus well enough...it was just grey blurry circles. The +P and .357 primers were sealed, and they had either red or blue dye around the perimeters. These were sealed with silt :mad:

Manco
April 3, 2010, 03:01 AM
Based on this experience, I may not use Remington ammo again either. It'sa shame, because the Golden Sabre .357 worked great, and my .45 ACP likes Golden Sabre as well. Maybe I'll just have to stick with GS and ignore all the other Rem ammo.

People have been able to depend on Golden Saber for a long time now, so maybe I was being a bit harsh on Remington as a brand. I really don't like their .22 LR ammo and their UMC line, though--I've shot cheaper, cleaner, more consistent reloads than that stuff, but Golden Saber is well proven. Who knows, maybe we both just got bad batches, but you know how it goes with shopping and brands--once bitten, twice shy. :uhoh:

Yes, they look like that, but worse! These primers literally look caked with sand and gunk. I tried to get a picture, but my camera wouldn't focus well enough...it was just grey blurry circles. The +P and .357 primers were sealed, and they had either red or blue dye around the perimeters. These were sealed with silt :mad:

I just looked over the newest box of RA40B I have, and some of the cartridges look even worse than the one in the picture, while a few have no visible grit whatsoever. My guess would be that the clear sealant was still a bit sticky when the rounds were tumbled, ironically to clean them up. It's a cosmetic flaw, but it shouldn't make a difference as to the reliability of the primers, I would think, and all such cartridges that I've ever shot have gone bang. If some of yours didn't, then I think it's probably some other issue.

What I've found in general is that the appearance and cleanliness of cartridges can vary quite a bit depending on when they're manufactured (I presume). For instance, I've had a number of boxes of Speer Lawman, one of my favorite lines of training ammo when I can buy it cheaply enough, in which the cartridges were spotted all over with dried lubricant or something--they looked absolutely horrible, but shot just fine as always. Other boxes of the very same line contained all shiny, squeaky-clean cartridges, and they shot exactly the same. Oh, and their CCI primers always look pristine, while Winchester primers always look scratched and even slightly pitted, but putting looks aside, in my experience both types always go bang when struck by a firing pin.

bad4dr
April 3, 2010, 10:45 AM
I agree with you, Manco. The visual appearance shouldn't have had anything to do with whether or not the rounds lit off. It's just odd; the only time I've ever had a round go click was with some crusty, nasty old .22 LR. All my centerfires have been flawless. Until yesterday...

So has anyone else had problems with Remington Express ammo?

wlewisiii
April 3, 2010, 01:40 PM
I have had some need two strikes as well. I've stopped buying Remington as a result. It was the cheap FMJ stuff. I prefer Magtech 158 gr LRN for cheap ammo now.

William

9x19sig
April 4, 2010, 12:29 AM
I just took a look at two boxes of R38S12 (FBI load) 2009 manufacture, all 100 rounds have a gritty looking substance around the primer. I'm going to assume this is a normal characteristic, I fired a few boxes from the same lot out of a 642-1 and a 3" SP101 without issue.

I can't imagine how gritty substance around the primer would cause a FTF on the first try, I would be inclined to think that you may have an issue with your firing pin that may only arise when you use that particular ammo.

docsleepy
April 4, 2010, 01:10 AM
Need to look at the indent the firing pin is making, also need to look at ANY round that doesn't go off (wait a minute, right!) and NOT fire it again until you have carefully examined the primer indentation to decide whether it was struck well enough.

There are specs on how fast, and how hard/far the primer has to be struck. I'm not an expert on those.

If something is wrong with your gun or with the ammo so that the firing pin mechaniically isn't able to make a deep enough or fast enough indentation, THEN even a good primer may not go off. Say, for instance, that the primer pocket was quite too deep and the primer also was not tall enough, so that it was able to be inserted deeply -- and maybe something in your gun also retarded the forward movement of the pin....all together might add up.

But I've never had a S&W J frame not fire -- but my experience is only about 500 rounds so that isn't much.

Stainz
April 4, 2010, 08:56 AM
Remington R38S12 +P 158gr LHPSWCs are my choice for personal protection. They are a quality made product. The similar reloads made by Georgia Arms are nicely made, too. Those are the only commercial rounds in .38 or .357M that I have bought, so I cannot speak to the reliability of commercial ammo - they've all gone bang in my revolvers. My sole J-frame cf is a 642 - and it is 100% reliable with anything. I won't respring a 'protection' gun, either - S&W protects themselves and makes sure their guns will go bang when they need to - erring to more oomph.

I'd clean the gun - and look under the ejector star, particularly where the ejector rod attaches to the star - look for manufacturing crud - even a cotton swipe's thread. Anything there can cause odd misfires. I don't know about the Apex unit, but the C&S firing pin was identical to the OEM unit - it was just the range limiting slot cut in it's barrel that was longer - allowing more movement - to the point where dry firing will then flatten that little fp return spring. As that will end in spring failure, I'd avoid that. The story of short fp's to pass the CA drop test have been over blown, methinks.

I'm betting your problem will be fixed with more ammo - and a good cleaning. My latest new firearm - a new PC627 bought yesterday - came freshly cleaned - from their Performance Center. My other new production S&Ws have generally been nasty - with evidence of their test firing and some manufacturing crud. A good cleaning is a good first step with any 'new' firearm.

Stainz

PS Georgia Arms - and many other small ammo makers - have excellent reputations for making quality ammo at good prices. Order some rather than depend on WallyWorld, etc, to have stock.

PRM
April 4, 2010, 09:21 AM
It happens - I have in the past had some trouble with Remington Ammo. I would not discount the brand. You can get glitches with anything touched by human hands. The bad lot I got had primer issues. I was getting good strikes, but the rounds were not going off. This was occurring 2-3 rounds per box. This was a one time issue. Over the years, I have shot a lot of their ammo with zero problems.

Shoot - Shoot Often - Shoot Some More

bad4dr
April 4, 2010, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the responses. PRM, my problems sound similar to yours. I am getting good primer strikes, just had a few rounds in one box not go off the first time. I chalk it up to a bad lot of ammo. Out of 130 rounds fired, only four malfunctioned. That tells me that the gun itself is fine.

Regarding the gritty primers, it surprised me because that's the first time I've ever seen it. I've been shooting for many years; shotguns, rifles, pistols, even blackpowder. Never have I seen such dirty factory cases. Again, since 96% of them worked just fine, I don't think that was an issue. It was just another thing I noticed about the ammo. In comparison, the Golden Sabre .357 was immaculate. Just found it odd, that's all.

Stainz, thanks for the tip about Georgia Arms. I'm gonna look into that, as one can never have too many rounds on hand :)

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