Problems with Federal 115 gr. FMJ in Polygonal Barrel


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ConcernedCitizen
September 4, 2011, 04:01 AM
I'm not sure if this is the right forum, as it's discussing factory ammo and not handloads, but I know that this is a good place to ask ammunition related questions.

Has anybody here had any problems running Federal 115 gr. FMJ through a Glock? Any problems with plated bullets in a polygonal barrel?

I recently picked up a couple of boxes of Federal 115 gr. FMJ from WalMart to run during an IDPA match. I ended up shooting the worst match of my life, even though it felt like I was shooting okay. I just accepted my score and chalked it up to a combination of heat and fatigue, but really felt I should have done better than what the targets showed.

Today, I was chronographing some handloads, and ran some of the factory ammo through to establish a baseline. At 15 yards, resting my elbows on a bench, I could only keep 7 out of 10 rounds on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper!!! The velocity looked normal, and the ES and SD were both good, but the pistol did not like the Federal ammo at all. I ran some Remington ammo through that I had left over from the previous match, and it grouped perfectly, with velocities that almost matched the Federal. For what it's worth, my XD seems to shoot the Federal just fine, but not the G19. I'm still rather stumped as to why the G19 doesn't like the Federal, but the targets don't lie. Everything else before and after shot perfect, but the Federal was all over the place.

When I had first opened the boxes of Federal, I had noticed that the jackets looked off color slightly. Today, after picking up some flattened slugs after shooting a steel plate, I noticed that they appear to be plated bullets, and not FMJ. There were specs of copper on the base of the flattened bullet, but no signs of any jackets to be found. Has anybody else ran across any plated bullets being sold by Federal, under the guise of FMJ? Any similar issues with this ammo in a polygonal barrel?

I think this helps explain my horrible scores, for the most part. I'm not going to blame everything on the ammunition, as I was definitely fatigued that morning, but this really makes me wonder how much was me and how much was ammunition related...

Any similar experiences?

If it helps to keep it from being moved to a different forum, I'll post some chronograph results tomorrow. Thanks!

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Josh45
September 4, 2011, 04:17 AM
This is interesting. My father has a Gen 4 G22 and we have shot handloads with FP and some factory loads and they functioned fine in them. Accuracy...well were beginners but we did put them on paper towards low left and some center.

Tagging this...

lmccrock
September 4, 2011, 08:01 AM
What is the product number? Something like "AE9DP". That would help us compare. That said, I have had no problems with Federal 9mm 115gr FMJ in a Glock 17.

You might go to Federal's website (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/handgun.aspx) and see if it is listed, then try Google. Or ask Federal; they will reply, but it takes a few days, especially with a holiday weekend.

Lee

helotaxi
September 4, 2011, 10:32 AM
When I had first opened the boxes of Federal, I had noticed that the jackets looked off color slightly. Today, after picking up some flattened slugs after shooting a steel plate, I noticed that they appear to be plated bullets, and not FMJ. There were specs of copper on the base of the flattened bullet, but no signs of any jackets to be found. Has anybody else ran across any plated bullets being sold by Federal, under the guise of FMJ? Any similar issues with this ammo in a polygonal barrel?

Doubt that the type of rifling has anything to do with it. Your gun just might not like them.

Highly likely that Federal uses Speer TMJ bullets in their basic handgun ammo. The TMJ is technically a plated bullet but for all intents and purposes is can be treated exactly like a normal FMJ.

rikman
September 4, 2011, 11:58 AM
CC,

Hi, I am a reloader and have a brand new Glock 19 Gen4. I put about 125 rounds mostly Federal 115gr and some WWB 115grs. And I had more FTF/FTE and stove pipes that I lost count! Fed seems to be the worst offender yet some say they had no problems with WWB115 gr.

I spoke to my NRA reloading instructor about this and he mentioned that the "short residence time" of such a light bullet is the culprit. (and heavy spring) I don't understand all of the physics. I'm guessing the short residence time doesn't allow for higher pressures to build for proper function?

I'm waiting for an 043 spring from Glock and going to try 124gr and heavier per Glock.

Rikman

bds
September 4, 2011, 01:41 PM
+1. I usually need to load lighter 115 gr FMJ Winchester bullets to high-near max load data to reliably cycle the slide of my Glocks and obtain good accuracy. I prefer the heavier 124/125 gr jacketed/plated bullets for 9mm Glocks.

I am seeing more and more factory ammunition going the way of plated bullets from FMJ (with exposed lead base).

The labels used are TMJ (Total Metal Jacket), CMJ (Complete Metal Jacket) or simply MJ (Metal Jacket); but Speer has trademarked the term TMJ (http://www.speer-bullets.com/products/handgun/plinker/tmj.aspx), so if you see TMJ on the box, it is probably Speer bullets. I think some manufacturers maybe still be using the term FMJ but actually using plated bullets. Only way to verify is to pull the bullet. When I took apart Speer/CCI Blazer Brass ammunition recently, the bullets were plated.

As to accuracy issue. My experience with various FMJ target ammunition (Federal, Remington, Winchester, Speer/CCI, PMC, S&B, Fiocchi, etc.) has been some variations in shot group accuracy with some lots much worse. For lower priced target ammo, they probably use the cheapest available lot of powder they can contract and accuracy most likely suffers.

I recently picked up a couple of boxes of Federal 115 gr. FMJ from WalMart to run during an IDPA match. I ended up shooting the worst match of my life, even though it felt like I was shooting okay. I just accepted my score and chalked it up to a combination of heat and fatigue, but really felt I should have done better than what the targets showed.

Today, I was chronographing some handloads, and ran some of the factory ammo through to establish a baseline. At 15 yards, resting my elbows on a bench, I could only keep 7 out of 10 rounds on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper!!!
I am inclined to fault the ammunition. My G17/G22 will consistently produce 1"/2"/3" shot groups at 7/10/15 yards respectively with FMJ/plated reloads. With factory target ammo, the shot groups will often increase by 40-60% or more.

ConcernedCitizen
September 4, 2011, 02:25 PM
Thanks for the replies, everyone!

The ammo in question is Federal WM5199 (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=952).

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6207/6112857759_9d93e3944d.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67211025@N08/6112857759/) WM5199 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67211025@N08/6112857759/) by Concerned.Citizen (http://www.flickr.com/people/67211025@N08/), on Flickr

Here is a photo of the bullets in question:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6192/6112857771_5f2dab65ae.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67211025@N08/6112857771/) Bullets (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67211025@N08/6112857771/) by Concerned.Citizen (http://www.flickr.com/people/67211025@N08/), on Flickr

Here is a photo of the targets I shot with the Federal WM5199, and then the Remington UMC L9MM3:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6186/6112857783_4965c9c481.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67211025@N08/6112857783/) Targets (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67211025@N08/6112857783/) by Concerned.Citizen (http://www.flickr.com/people/67211025@N08/), on Flickr

These two targets were shot back to back, at a distance of 15 yards. I shot the Federal target on the right first, and after seeing the horrible performance, shot the Remington on the left to try to see if it was the ammo or the pistol. I had already been shooting most of the morning, so was pretty well warmed up by the time I shot the Federal group. There were 3 shots of the Federal group that were completely off the paper to the right.

Out of the 7 shots that registered on the chronograph, here's the Federal's velocity:

High: 1114
Low: 1094
Ave:1104
ES: 20.0
SD: 6.0

Here's the data from the 8 shots of Remington that registered:

High: 1112
Low: 1079
Ave: 1097
ES: 33.0
SD: 11.2

I still have another box of the Federal, and will likely experiment with it. I'm planning to run it through a few different pistols, and see if the problem is isolated to this one firearm, or if it's with polygonal barrels in general.

I've shot thousands of rounds of the same Federal ammo bought from the same WalMart, and never noticed a problem before. I'm guessing they changed their product line recently, probably as a cost-saving measure. I will be calling Federal on Tuesday to discuss the matter with them, and will be sure to post their response.

rodregier
September 4, 2011, 07:00 PM
Pull one of the projectiles from a cartridge, measure the diameter and section it to see how heavy the jackets are.

bds
September 4, 2011, 09:34 PM
+1. Could you pull the bullets from Federal and Remington to verify?

My guess is that they look like plated bullets.

Nick93
September 4, 2011, 09:47 PM
Concernedcitizen i have some similar problems with plated bullets and poly barrels (from glock 34 and HK usp match ) i use them for "informal" bullseye ( so i can notice the difference clearly) and believe me the plated bullets dont get the sufficient grip in the barrel to be stabilized ... this is because 2 things ... 1) core and the "jacket" have the same hardness ( important for bullet deformation with the lands ) 2) the complete bullet is softer than the regular FMJ or other jacketed designs ( important for getting good grip in the spining process in the barrel) this is because they need to be swagged as most of ammo producers do so the lead core is really soft to get consistent weight and they can make them in less time because harder lead need to be pressed slowly to get consistency ... the poly barrels were designed for jacketed (dont matter if brass,copper or steel) and this can provide some problems in accuracy ...( not hat much ! lol )

Im a bullet maker and i have made a lot of tests, 90% of the time the most accurate bullet is the jacketed with modern cartridges like the 9mm, 40 and others as well ... no matter what type of barrel ... I hate when ammo factories lies in this things ... TMJ rounds are made of gliding metal and a copper cup at the exposed base of a regular FMJ not chemically like the TMJ of speer...

ConcernedCitizen
September 4, 2011, 10:02 PM
Nick93,

Your experiences confirm my original theory. I figured that the jacket and the lead core were too soft for the polygonal rifling to get a good purchase, and probably aren't being spun fast enough to stabilize.


bds,

I don't have anymore of the Remington, as I just finished off what I had left from a previous match. They looked and performed like normal FMJ bullets, so I have no concerns with them. I'll tear down one of the Federal cartridges next week, after I've had a chance to speak with Federal.

I'll try to track down one of the flattened slugs from yesterday's range session. I know someone had picked up a couple, and I'll see if I can get some photos.

If you enjoyed reading about "Problems with Federal 115 gr. FMJ in Polygonal Barrel" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!