Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems


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Erich
March 11, 2013, 12:28 PM
I dont usually gripe about customer service -in fact, my experience with firearms-related customer service - and reloading related customer service in particular - have been very good. But I had a bad experience with Federal just now, and thought Id share it, because it was so unusual in relation to the service Ive gotten on other ammunition issues.

So, yesterday I had brought a brand-new silver box of Federal Classic ammo to the range to try in my new-to-me pre-Model 30 Improved I-frame. The Federal Classic ammo was 98-gr RNL .32 S&W Long, part no. C32LB, lot number 3 19J155. Federal ammo is more expensive in this caliber than Eastern European stuff, but I figured the good thing about using big maker ammo from Federal would be that Id be able to reload the empties. Based on decades of past experience, I figured Id get quality brass after firing the low-pressure .32 S&W Long factory loads.

The ammo shot well enough (group at 10 yards), though was pretty tame (M 667.8/ES 78.95/SD 32.31).
http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-35-53_16.jpg

But wait! Upon firing, I noticed that one round did a very odd spurt of stuff out of the bbl/cyl gap, and was surprised to find that I had to hammer on the ejector rod to get the rounds out of the cylinder. Out of five rounds, four split - and one had its primer pop out the back.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-34_709.jpg

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-51_820.jpg

This was NOT the fault of the gun - I fired four other loadings on the same outing (two handloads - ironically in Federal cases, and two factory loadings by S&B and Aguila) with no problems whatsoever.

So, since this ammo wasnt going to give me the reloadable cases that Id been after, I figured Id contact ATK; on advice of friend, I went to their site and filled out a contact form:

Four out of five cases split on a new silver box of Federal Classic .32 S&W Long ammo, part no. C32LB, lot number 3 19J155. One primer protruded. The cases had to be forcibly extracted by hammering the ejector rod. This was not a problem with the gun, as several other loadings performed flawlessly.

Here are some photographs:

i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-34_709.jpg

i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-51_820.jpg

I deliberately purchased what I thought to be quality Federal ammo because I wanted the spent cases for reloading. Please contact me about this.

I was really surprised when Federal wrote back a terse, Go Away email:

You bought old ammo, it has been sitting on the shelf. The brass split due to stress corrosion cracking. It was manufactured in 2003.

Thanks
Federal Ammunition

I was pretty amazed by this, and responded:
Are you kidding me, or are you just insulting me? I've been happily reloading much of the same brass since the '80s, and you're going to tell me that your new, never-fired brass from only ten years ago will split when fired in a low-pressure factory loading in the .32 S&W Long cartridge.

Ive not heard back. Im not pleased with Federal/ATKs handling of the situation; I would have expected that Federal/ATK would stand behind its products or care more about its customers.

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rcmodel
March 11, 2013, 12:33 PM
The cases had to be forcibly extracted by hammering the ejector rod.Might I suggest for future reference you push stuck cases out one at a time with a ball point pen or cleaning rod.

Much less chance of damaging the gun if you don't hammer on the ejector rod trying to get them all out at once.

The backed out primer indicates low pressure.
All revolver primers back out when fired.
Then normal chamber pressure reseats the cases back on top of them when they are slammed into the recoil shield.

That one didn't have enough pressure to reseat it due to the split case.

The Eastern European stuff such as Sellier & Bellot is excellent brass for reloading.

rc

Otto
March 11, 2013, 01:11 PM
It's bad ammo, there were past threads on this 8 years ago. It has nothing to do with age, cases were seen splitting back in 2005.
Yeah, ATK should replace it....http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-171783.html

Erich
March 11, 2013, 04:33 PM
Thanks, gents - I agree on the S&B brass, rcmodel; it may well be my favorite. Thanks for letting me know it was an issue back then, Otto: I don't think I'll be getting any support from ATK despite the fact that they knew about the problems. It's a shame, as this is the first unpleasant customer service experience I can recall in more than a quarter-century of loading. And, in fact, I have older Federal .32 S&W Long cases that worked very well for loading - which is why I was happy to buy the box of factory Federals. :(

jacksgd
March 11, 2013, 05:01 PM
Erich:

I was just wondering when you purchased the ammunition.

If it was just recently purchased then I would think that the store should be held to some level of accountability for having a recalled product on their shelves.

lykoris
March 11, 2013, 05:15 PM
S&B brass has gone downhill since they were acquired by CBC/Magtech.

I have gone with Prvi for the last 2 years for the stuff Lapua does not make like .30-30

kingmt
March 11, 2013, 05:32 PM
Wait till you contact Remington.

Reefinmike
March 11, 2013, 06:01 PM
Old corroded ammo?!?! Im shooting some pieces of 38 special brass that are from 1965!

on a side note- Kingmt- I had a problem with some 55gr remington 223 bullets. their OAL was all over the place due to really rounded out tips and the cannalure was all over the board as far as location and depth, some just had a few scratches where the canalure was supposed to be. I called them and pulled ten of the worst ones and sent them. About a month later I had a $45 check in the mail to refund me for the 300 I bought. Happy with the situation, but if they wanted to keep a customer, they would have atleast sent back 300 bullets rather than stroking a check and saying "sorry, sometimes our products suck"

kgpcr
March 11, 2013, 06:59 PM
old ammo from 2003?? I have ammo that is 35yrs old and still works great!

mec
March 11, 2013, 11:15 PM
The first lots of 32 magnum ammo split cases very frequently- a substantial number on first firing and more after reloading. Starline brass did not have this problem. I don't know if federal improved their 32 magnum brass- I seem to remember that the problem didn't occur with later baches but I mainly stuck with starline for reloading. Interestingly, I shot a lot of those loads over a chronograph and did not detect any significant velocity variation between cases that split full lenght and those that remained intact. The loads were accurate too.
The response that kcetc got from the factory rep was without factual merit besides being rude. It may be that ATK is more intersted in supplying the Committee for State Security with anti-civilian ammo than maintaining customer relations.

vtail
March 11, 2013, 11:38 PM
You obviously didn't check the expiration date on the box!

MagicD
March 11, 2013, 11:47 PM
Had the same experience with .32 long case splitting this week .Federal 7 out of 50!

ArchAngelCD
March 12, 2013, 12:05 AM
Erich,
I agree, I'm also surprised at how Federal handled this. I would expect them to be better than that. As for "old" ammo, we all know of someone or ourselves who have fired 45 Auto ammo from WWII without a problem. (I have) If Federal wants us to believe their ammo had less than a 10 year shelf life maybe we should stop buying it. That last sentence should be communicated to Federal in your next communication.

rikman
March 12, 2013, 12:22 AM
Sad, I have 45acp brass from 60's-80's with multiple reloads.

KansasSasquatch
March 12, 2013, 12:25 AM
In the last year I've reloaded .38spl brass that I shot 8 years ago and left to rot in a non-climate controlled garage where it's been exposed to plenty of moisture. Haven't had anything like that happen yet.

kingmt
March 12, 2013, 07:26 AM
Let me say I've never dealt with Remington myself but have seen how they treated others. Look at the way they handled the 17HMR problem.

Glad yours was better.

Erich
March 12, 2013, 09:46 AM
Thanks for the supportive comments, folks. :)

luvit
March 12, 2013, 09:52 AM
I don't agree with the email you received.. but there is a lot to consider.
What I would keep in perspective is that at this time they are not only hammered with manufacturing and production, but they are likely overwhelmed in all directions.
I would take the time to make a call them and get a human voice to voice. -- I hope this helps.

.

edfardos
March 12, 2013, 09:53 AM
too much zinc, exposure to amonia, or both.

it's a fluke. Federal brass is reasonable quality.

edfardos

Bovice
March 12, 2013, 10:32 AM
Lol I honestly wouldn't get upset over a handful of brass cases, regardless of who made them. It just doesn't really matter. Ammo companies don't give you a guarantee on reloadability so they don't owe you a thing as long as the initial load fired and didn't blow up your gun.

ArchAngelCD
March 12, 2013, 11:54 AM
I don't agree with the email you received.. but there is a lot to consider.
What I would keep in perspective is that at this time they are not only hammered with manufacturing and production, but they are likely overwhelmed in all directions.
I would take the time to make a call them and get a human voice to voice. -- I hope this helps.

.
I tend to agree. It's more difficult to give a nasty or curt answer to someone's "face" than in an email. I have a feeling the manager of the CS department wouldn't have been happy with the response you were given.

mec
March 12, 2013, 12:44 PM
In many areas of this industry, rudeness is consider the mark of a Real! Man!. If it weren't for that, there would probably be more gun enthusiasts.

jcwit
March 12, 2013, 12:48 PM
I see this all over the gun forum sites. To bad it happened, but I doubt it will have any effect on Federal at all.

Jesse Heywood
March 12, 2013, 01:00 PM
You bought old ammo, it has been sitting on the shelf. The brass split due to stress corrosion cracking. It was manufactured in 2003.

Thanks
Federal Ammunition

Some problems with this statement. First is the statement about old ammo. If ammo gets old and goes bad on a dealer shelf, there should be a process in place to remove the "old" ammo. Legally, it is a huge responsibility.

Second is the argument about stress corrosion cracking. SCC can only occur when 3 factors are combined. Eliminate any of these 3 factors, and SCC cannot occur.

1. A suspect material. Possibilities can include impurities in the metal or damage during manufacture. In brass this is typically the result of excessive cold working.
2. A corrosive environment. Was the ammo stored next to fertilizer, ammonia, manure or such? There is a possibility of contamination from inside the cartridge.
3. Sufficient tensile stress to induce SCC.

Since requirement #1 is completely under the control of the manufacturer, this makes them responsible. #2 can usually be checked by a visual inspection for signs of red or green corrosion on brass. (Other metals do not have visual signs, and this is not a reliable test procedure). #3 occurs when the cartridge fires.

I have presented this info to educate you so you will be able to argue your case when you call Federal.

There are numerous articles found on the web about SCC. I learned about it solving corrosion problems on B-52s before the www.

thomis
March 12, 2013, 02:04 PM
If Federal wants us to believe their ammo had less than a 10 year shelf life maybe we should stop buying it.

Exactly. These ammo companies are cocky right now. They know they offer a commodity that is in such high demand. But its no reason to talk to us like they did in their email response to you. Classless.

KansasSasquatch
March 12, 2013, 05:06 PM
Bovice

Lol I honestly wouldn't get upset over a handful of brass cases, regardless of who made them. It just doesn't really matter. Ammo companies don't give you a guarantee on reloadability so they don't owe you a thing as long as the initial load fired and didn't blow up your gun.

I think the OP's main issue is having a tough time extracting the spent cases. That's not a sign of good reliable ammo.

fguffey
March 13, 2013, 12:56 PM
Chain of custody: Who knows what happen to the box of ammo during its short life of 12 years +/-. I dont, I pulled down 80 8mm Remington mag case I loaded 12 years ago, two of the cases had caked powder that had to be loosened before I could pore from the case. I pulled down 30 300 Win Mag cases, I loaded in 02, I will use the powder, bullets and cases, I will give up on the primers. For me it is not a good habit to load ahead, with the 8mm Remington mag there was nothing to look forward to when shooting them. I am working on a couple of 8mm Wildcats mag type chambers and plan to use the 8mm Rem cases to form the cases, I know, not a good ideal.

Not my business but when I experience a problem with a box/lot of ammo I stop shooting, my curiosity to determine why exceeds my desire to shoot, make smoke and hammer out cases, I have seen some ugly ammo that looked great on the outside, something like looking at hot horse shoes, it does not take me long to look at them, again I do not know what happened to the ammo between being manufactured and fired. I have purchases ammo from business that burned up, I have purchases ammo that was in a business that was flooded. I have acquired ammo from estates that came with high accolades, again, I have a curiosity, my curiosity is greater than my desire to blow something up and or off.

There is no justifiable reason for backing up and doing it again. I had a friend many years ago that was fired for hitting a low underpass, I thought that was a little unfair, I talked to his employer, they said they did not fire him for hitting the underpass, they claimed they fired him for backing up and hitting it again.

F. Guffey

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