Ultramax commercial reloads issues


June 14, 2012, 11:02 PM
Hello all, finally got around to pulling some rounds apart from a couple of suspect boxes of Ultramax 9mm 125 gr LRN commercial reloads. I bought these some years ago in a couple of 250 round packs from a local sporting goods store that closed down a couple/three years ago.
I went through the first 250 pack with no issues. On the second pack, the 2nd and 3rd boxes of 50 started giving me some interesting issues. I had at least 3 rounds in those boxes that pretty much kaboomed on me in 2 separate guns a couple of years ago. I chalked the first one to a "HUH?" and checked out the gun - Glock 17, no real damage, the mag had blown down, some stinging and powder burns in my trigger finger from blowing out by the trigger opening. The case had ruptured at the Web/head area. But it wasn't one of those big kaboomed cases you see all over the net, just a small blow out. I threw the case away, (I should have kept it), stopped shooting, and checked the gun out thoroughly once I got home.
I should have stopped right there, but some weeks later, tried one of the other boxes and this time in my Beretta 92, had the same issue -- this time it bent the action/transfer bar and the extractor on that pistol and again, no serious damage. I had another one from the first box do the same again in my G17. This last case I kept. I put the rest of the Ultramax ammo, 2+ boxes away, and as I kept meaning to contact the company for refund/replacement, but figured it had been way too long since I had bought it.
So, this week I finally took all the rounds, my trusty kinetic hammer puller and decided to break down all 110 rounds remaining to check out the powder charge. Obviously I have no idea what powder they use, but I was curious as to the consistency of the loads as something wasn't right in that batch.
Now, the kinetic puller can be a little messy, so I can't guarantee the finite accuracy of the measured results, but below is a breakdown of the charges.
I am guesstimating a certain amount for spillage, but tried to be as precise as possible. I measured in 5+ round batches and for some just added the next 5 or 10 powder charges into the pan:
5 rounds 26 grns
10 rnds 52.46
20 rnd 105.6

next box:
5 rnds 25
10 rnds 45.9 :confused: probably a short loaded or nearly squib load
5 rnds 26.5
5 rnds 26.1
5 rnds 27.3
10 rnds 52.6
20 rnds 107.5
30 rnds 161.5
40 rnds 215.6
50 rnds 269.4

So, after all that, I can discern that one box averaged a load of 5.2x grains of powder, but the other box went all the way from 5.0 to as high as 5.5, this is by discarding/ignoring the batch with the squib load. That seems like quite a bit of variance for their loads.

Conclusion -- NEVER EVER buy Ultramax ammo. And next time I have a case failure, contact the manufacturer ASAP!
BTW, on my own crafted reloads the variance from one powder throw to the next is +/-.1 grain.

Has anyone had a similar experience with flaky ammo and recorded the powder charge variations?


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June 15, 2012, 06:24 AM
Well over 5 rounds if each was +.1 that would be .5 total. Without checking each it isn't a good way of checking.

Do you have a guess of what powder was used?

9mm can be over charged by a lot before it will blow up most guns. It will however beat them apart.

I beat it is more likly stressed brass.

June 15, 2012, 09:23 AM

Good point on the over .1 for each. I wasn't relishing the idea of playing whack-a-mole on around 110 rounds, so opted for weighing after each 5 or 10. In hindsight, I shouldn't have been as lazy and weighed each one for a true idea of the consistency.
No idea on the powder they used. Very small flat/thin circles. Not similar to Win231 or Unique - which are the only 2 pistol powders I have on hand.
I'm going to take/post a picture of the blown case I kept. The stressed brass is also a good theory.
Your point on beating up a gun versus blowing up is valid. Those failed rounds were attention getters.


June 15, 2012, 10:48 AM
I agree. this stuff is junk. Had a few .223 that seperated the neck from the rest of the case inside of the chamber of a mini 14.

June 15, 2012, 08:48 PM
Never had any complaints about Ultra myself. Even the best ammo makers have bad batches. Hornady, Corbon, Remington, Eagle...every one of them has had recalls of ammo lots.

June 15, 2012, 10:38 PM
It sounds like Bullseye.

June 15, 2012, 10:53 PM

I think you are on to something with the stressed brass theory.
I loaded up 10 of the disassembled cases with my regular load of Win231 (4.3grn) under a 115 grn Rainier plated. I kept their primers.
Tried them this afternoon - First one to be test fired blew as well -- I'll post some pics tomorrow -- BTW, I'm using a Glock 17 with a Lone Wolf match barrel, so no bad unsupported factory Glock barrel.
So, now I have 9 more rounds to pull - and 100 other primed brass that is going to be discarded.
Any thoughts?


June 16, 2012, 08:23 AM
What size is the bullets? Measured not read.

June 16, 2012, 10:57 AM
I had some in 45acp a few years ago that made me never want to buy again either. The dirtiest and smokiest I have ever used. Some of them even shot out what seemed to be sparks. My gun was full of black soot after. Nothing seemed overcharged but it was definately not good ammo.

Ky Larry
June 16, 2012, 02:07 PM
I had several boxes of UltraMax .38 Spl. As noted above, it was dirty and smoky, like old Unique. Accuracy was okay but nothing great. No problems with function. I've reloaded the brass (mostly Win and Fed+P) many times without problems. Don't think I'll buy any more of their ammo.

June 16, 2012, 02:17 PM
First one to be test fired blew as well
Any thoughts?

Pull the bullets and save them for reuse, then smash all the brass in a vice so you won't be tempted to try it again.

Blowing cases is bad for the gun, and bad for your shooting.

I imagine I would develop a incurable flinch after blowing that many cases in that many guns!!


June 16, 2012, 02:25 PM

The lead rounds from the original Ultramax loads are 126 grn LRN, they measure out at .356-.362 That might be from some burrs or edge from their crimping?? or from my pulling?

The Rainier that I loaded are 115 copper plated and measure out at .354-.355.

June 16, 2012, 02:32 PM

Yeah, I'm leaning towards decommissioning those cases. As to the flinch, note, those failures have been over some long time period except for yesterdays. It won't cause me to flinch, but I don't want to be loading up cases and wondering when, not if, they'll fail.

Makes me wonder, from all the numerous reloads I've done, going on multiple firings for some cases -- not nearly the number fired some of you here have gotten out of cases, just what is wrong with either their process, cases, etc... Or is it just dumb luck that made at least 4 bad cases out of 250?


June 16, 2012, 11:56 PM
Sounds like the bullets are oversized.

June 17, 2012, 01:07 PM

Yes, I agree, those LRN are oversized -- maybe they were meant for 357/38?
But, I'm wondering about the brass, because one them blew out using a 115 plated sized as .354-.355.

As RC suggested, maybe it's best to just destroy the brass.

June 17, 2012, 10:33 PM
I think I would.

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