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Appropriate Number of rounds to test for a CCW

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by sleepyone, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. sleepyone

    sleepyone Well-Known Member

    I was listening to a podcast with Massad Ayoob and several of other firearms experts. It was about an hour long. They were discussing the best PD rounds based on their testing, personal experience and reports from various LE agencies around the country. One of the guys said when testing PD rounds for your CCW the rule of thumb has been to buy 250 rounds, run 200 through the pistol and keep the other 50 for carry. He said that is getting harder to do now for many people with the price of ammo and that some of it getting harder to come in those quantities.

    How many rounds do you shoot before you are satisfied it will cycle reliably? Do you actually test the expansion claims of a particular round or just go by documented results?

    Finally, I just ordered 500 rounds of Winchester Ranger T 165 gr. for my M&P .40 based partly on the podcast I heard and partly on some ballistics test results I saw. I also like the reported fps and energy which is better than the Federal HST but a little lower than the Speer GD. Is anyone running the Winchester Ranger T through their M&P .40 or .45?

    I appreciate your feedback!
  2. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Well-Known Member

    I buy 2 boxes. Run a box, save a box. But I buy a new box every year and cycle the ammo. Being hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I get nervous and change it out. I use the same ammo all year long, from going ice fishing, to fishing in a boat on a hot summer day to fall hunting.
  3. sleepyone

    sleepyone Well-Known Member

    boxes of 20 or 50?
  4. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    I can't afford 250 rounds of HSTs when I buy a new gun.

    When I get the gun to the range, I run 250 or 300 FMJ's, and then one box of my carry load (HST for every caliber).
  5. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    depends on the gun and the ammo, really.

    For example, I don't worry much about a modern defensive pistol, generally I'll run it dirty on cheap ammo and run ~50 rounds through of a given load. More marginal or extremely compact guns might get a bit more, perhaps 100-150 rounds.

    If I've tested a given gun with Gold Dots (for example) I don't worry much about another bullet weight of Gold Dots, beyond the quick 50-round check on a dirty gun.

    Guns that need more testing will reveal themselves rapidly, I've been running on the policy of identifying a few good defensive rounds that run in any given gun (that isn't a range toy) and stocking up on those rounds as I find them in non-chump-size boxes.
  6. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    This seems to have become a pretty accepted standard.

    I do know that when I first started carrying, the 200 cycle of your carry loads was the standard.

    Bear in mind that when you start the testing cycle, any bobble in feeding means that you need to start over from the beginning again.

    I've run the 9mm 127gr and the .45ACP 230gr Rangers with good function and accuracy, but our department only issued the 180gr .40
  7. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    I have been issued 3 new duty pistols OTJ. We qualified a couple of times (100 rds or so) and put them into service.
  8. Bongo Boy

    Bongo Boy Well-Known Member

    I feel you can't trust your carry gun just because it fed a few hundred rounds successfully. I prefer to shoot it each time I go to the range (each week), and I shoot it with a variety of ammo. The 'testing' you're doing is not just that it will cycle a particular ammo, but that the magazines don't gum up, the slide release lever, extractor, mag release and so on don't break.

    But, I handload, so I handload as closely as I can to the carry ammo I use--same bullets and same overall length, at least--and shoot for the closest I can get in terms of muzzle velocity. This allows me to shoot hundreds of rounds of the simulated SD ammo, on a routine basis.

    You can do all this and still have the gun malfunction when you'd least prefer it.

    My feeling is that you don't actually KNOW your gun by shooting a few hundred rounds through it. It may function well, and that's good to know. But knowing it like the back of your hand takes a lot more experience and time, and that should be gained through regular practice. I don't feel this is a prerequisite to carrying the gun, but should be accomplished as a regular part of the routine.

    To me, knowing your gun means several thousand rounds of ammo through it, at the very least--but again, this can be gained over time, and it most certainly doesn't have to be the ridiculously overpriced SD ammo you carry. Few of us could afford to do that, I think.

    Overarching ALL of this discussion, IMO, is the testing of the much simpler stuff such as: can you actually get to your weapon, draw and present it in an reasonable length of time wearing the clothing you actually wear. I don't think too many folks actually practice drawing from concealment to see how badly they fumble around. How well the ammo works is a moot point if it takes you 10 seconds to get the gun into action--you're already dead.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Some time back, I was asked basically the same question and the poster said that he could not afford to buy much of his high priced carry ammo, so he tested with the cheap stuff, and it worked just fine with no problems. I rather strongly pointed out that he then had no idea whether his carry ammo would work. He got in a huff and decided to splurge and fire some of his expensive ammo. He got three or four failures in every magazine!

    So if you want to practice with el cheapo ammo, fine. But for that first 200 round test, go with the carry ammo. How does it make sense to spend a grand or more on a gun you might need to save your life, then be too cheap to find out if it works?

  10. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    I think if it'll cycle 300 rounds of cheapo FMJ, you're past any conceivable "break-in", and you know the gun functions fine. After that, a few mags (I shoot 50 rounds) of carry ammo to verify that it feeds that particular round are all I need. I do rotate my carry ammo out every 3-4 months though, so I do get practice with it.
  11. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Well-Known Member

    My standard practice when getting a new pistol is to run a hundred or so ball through it and then a box of my chosen carry round. Admittedly all my carry guns are of the 1911 persuasion, but this should work fine for anything else. Run enough ball to make sure you've got good mags and such, then verify feeding with the CCW round.
  12. Urban_Redneck

    Urban_Redneck Well-Known Member

    A friend of mine who has carried for 40 years explained that 99.5% of ammo related stoppages will occur at the last two or the first two rounds from the magazine.

    For testing, he suggested that loading the first two and last two with the carry HP and filling the in between with ball rounds. Do this with all your carry mags as many times you can afford, inserting mags from both open slide and closed slide condition.

    One last thing, you should never chamber the same round more than twice as you risk bullet setback.

  13. JERRY

    JERRY Well-Known Member

    some guns are poorly fitted and require hundreds of rounds to break them in before they run correctly....while others run correctly right out of the box or within a few dozen rounds.
  14. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    I did some testing that way in the great ammo drought of 2009 - given limited supplies it isn't a terrible idea.
  15. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    Ummm, not nearly as much as some people do. The last Springfield XDM I bought I ran three magazines through it then went and shot a 3 gun match, no problems at all.

    The last BHP in .40 I bought 5-6 years ago I put two mags through it then stuck it in a holster and started carrying it. Since then it has been through many hundred of rounds without a problem.

    I guess basically I test with each mag I am going to carry with it and call it a day. Sure, you could get better statistical significance if you ran thousands of rounds through it, but then you may start wearing out bits and pieces and you need to start the testing over. And keep in mind it's a mechanical thing, stuff is going to break. Just because it didn't break in the first 250 rounds has absolutely no bearing on whether it will break at 251 rounds.

    In my view you are simply doing a function test. Will it feed the ammo of choice through the magazines you have, and that should be figured out very quickly.
  16. Magichelmt

    Magichelmt Well-Known Member

    I have put 500 rounds through a gun before I add it to my carry rotation. I will run 400 rounds of FMJ and then 100 rounds of HP defensive ammo. Not sure where I got this procedure from. It might have been my grandfather.
  17. smalls

    smalls Well-Known Member

    If the first and last two rounds were trouble, wouldn't it make sense to make those ball, and the rest JHP's?

    I personally run 300 FMJ's, then 50 of my carry ammo on a new gun.
  18. Urban_Redneck

    Urban_Redneck Well-Known Member

    Not if you are evaluating reliability with HP ammo :cool:
  19. smalls

    smalls Well-Known Member

    Ah, gotcha. Misread that, and thought it meant for carry.
  20. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Semi-autos are much more complicated mechanically than revolvers and more sensitive to bullet style and velocities. My standard is 500 rounds of FMJ trouble free. As 9mmepiphany says any bobbles and the testing starts all over.

    Case in point. I have a 30 year old Ruger 9mm that started misfiring. I attributed the problem to a gummed up firing pin spring from WD40, cleaned and replaced the spring. Another 100 rounds later the problem started reoccurring so I plan on replacing the hammer mainspring. After I do the 500 round test will start anew.

    Nor do I just go out and run 500 rounds through the gun. I incorporate it in regular range practice and only shoot until I get tired so I am not reinforcing bad shooting habits. It takes a little more time and expense but the extra confidence I get is well worth it.

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