fmj bullets shedding their jackets before impacting anything?


June 27, 2010, 03:34 PM
Hey everybody,
I was at the local indoor range this afternoon, and I was doing some drills at 5yrds. I've never really shot closer than 7yrds before. I was shooting federal champion 9mm from my XD. At one point I reeled in my target, and there was a small piece of copper jacket stuck in the paper about 6" from any bullet hole. Is it normal for ammo to do this? I understand I was shooting cheap ammo, but should it do this? I tried to get a pic, but my phone wouldn't focus on it for some reason.

If you enjoyed reading about "fmj bullets shedding their jackets before impacting anything?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 27, 2010, 03:37 PM
No, your ammo should not be coming apart until it hits something!
It certainly should not be disintegrating before hitting a close target!
Are you sure you are using the proper ammo for your gun?

What is this stuff, made in China?

Are you certain no one was fiddling with your target, you know, sticking pieces of copper into the paper that can easily be found on the floor of most ranges!

June 27, 2010, 03:42 PM
Yes, its the proper ammo for my gun. I've shot thousands of rounds of this ammo, and never noticed it until today. I guess its possible that its been happening, and I just didn't notice it because I usually shoot further distances. I'll try buying some better ammo for the next range trip and see what happens.

100% positive nobody messed with the target. I Hung it up when I entered my lane, and did not leave the lane until the end of my shooting session.

June 27, 2010, 03:47 PM
Could be pieces from the jacket coming back off of the backstop.

June 27, 2010, 03:52 PM
Hmm.. interesting idea. I don't remember if they pierced all the way through the paper or not, but they were definately on my side of the target, not the back.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 27, 2010, 04:06 PM
Well, at close range, consider you have a shotgun! :confused:

June 27, 2010, 06:25 PM
I have had pieces of splash embed themselves into my target. Sometimes when you hit the cross bar or when someone next you hits the crossbar you can get splash. I can't think of anything else that would cause that.

June 27, 2010, 06:33 PM
It's possible that it's from someone else's gun. Keep in mind that shed jackets are irregularly shaped and thus will tend to fly erratically. It's entirely possible, likely even, that they came from another person's barrel. I'd suspect a slightly mistimed revolver that's tearing part of the jacket off, not your Federal ammo or your XD.

June 27, 2010, 06:50 PM
I would try and duplicate the problem to eliminate an anomoly. If you can duplicate it try a differend ammo. Try the questionable ammo in another gun (friend?).

I trust you know what you're doing and have checked everything. But did you check the barrel?

June 27, 2010, 06:59 PM
I doubt he'll be able to duplicate it. I'm pretty sure it came from a different gun, and it won't be duplicated because the other guy won't be at the range next time. Unless there's a very obvious bore flaw, it's extremely unlikely that a semi-auto would cause jacket shedding. It's virtually impossible for a semi-automatic pistol to damage a full-sized handgun bullet severely enough to cause jacket separation and still have it feed. I simply see no way for an XD to do that. I also strongly doubt the ammo, since FMJ ammo is a pretty low-tech concept. The most likely candidate is a malfunctioning revolver in a nearby lane.

June 27, 2010, 07:24 PM
I checked the bore at the range right when I noticed the piece of copper. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I've got a couple hundred rounds of this stuff left, so ill head to the range again this week and see if I can replicate it. I've put just shy of 3000 rounds through this gun and I've never noticed it before, but again, I've always shot at larger distances where the jacket pieces might not penetrate the paper.

June 27, 2010, 08:43 PM
Could it be copper washed or plated bullets?

June 28, 2010, 12:03 AM
I have occasionally gotten some back splash.

June 28, 2010, 02:05 AM
I sweep up my club;s range after I'm done shooting, sometimes my mess is all there is, sometimes it is a group I'm with, and sometimes I wonder when the last time anyone did more than scavenge brass was.

Every time, there is copper jacket material scattered for a good 2-3 yards from the steel backstop, sometimes entire jackets rolling around. I'm fairly sure they aren't separating in flight, and I doubt you're getting in-flight separation either.

Go to an outdoor range and put up the biggest piece of paper/cardboard you can (tape together paper grocery bags if you don't have anything huge, I get large paper from the recycle drums at work myself) and put a little target in the center, inspect for non-bullet holes after running 50-100 rounds through. I doubt you'll find any, if you do there is a problem that may or may not need repair or at least an ammo swap.

June 28, 2010, 02:26 AM
I have this happen once in a while at my indoor range. Pieces of the jacket fly back from the backstop.

Wear pants and eye protection. I caught some backjacket in a bare shin and got a scrape one day. :)

Mr. T
June 28, 2010, 02:42 AM
The only time I've heard of jacket separation prior to hitting a target, is when someone has fired a light grain bullet through an AR that had too tight of a twist rate. An example would be firing 45 grain and 50 grain rounds through a 1/8 or tighter twist barrel. Again I've only heard of it....never had it happen to me. I have an XD in 9mm and .45 ACP and fire FMJ's through it all the time for target practice and I've never had it happen. If you can't find any issues with the barrel that are considerably evident, I would agree with the others that you might be getting splash from someone else on the range. The mistimed revolver theory seems to be the most plausible.

June 28, 2010, 05:39 AM
Actually ... now that you mention it ... I have gotten that before, as well. From my 3 inch 1911 using .... I forgot the ammunition. May have been Federal, though. I do use that stuff on occasion. No way to check, of course. 8(

I checked my gun and went on shooting and it didn't happen again.

Uncle Mike
June 28, 2010, 08:50 AM
Could be pieces from the jacket coming back off of the backstop

Yes sir, and often does the exact thing your experiencing!

We have had customers come off the range in a panic, something is wrong with my gun....

BTW...two words for ya. Safety and Glasses. They are a must in an indoor range, or even outdoors shooting at hardened targets.

June 28, 2010, 01:03 PM
It likely splashback.
The bullet went through, hit something behind, and broke into pieces, some of which ricochet back.
It may even be from bullets fired from another gun shooting at a nearby target.

The other likely scenario is that a solid bullet is striking pieces of jacket already present on the floor and near the backstop. This is sending them flying and some are embedding in your target.

I find it relatively unlikely that if it was from your firearm that they would embed in the target and not go through.
At 5 yards even just jacket fragments that went down the barrel should have enough mass and velocity to punch right through the target. Not get stuck in the paper.
A mistimed revolver slightly out of alignment shooting from the stall next to you could certainly be the cause as well. The bullet partially striking the cylinder, and some of the jacket torn off and being deflected to the side at low velocity after it lost most of its velocity in striking the cylinder.

If you enjoyed reading about "fmj bullets shedding their jackets before impacting anything?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!