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Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Erich, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Erich

    Erich Well-Known Member

    I don’t 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 I’d share it, because it was so unusual in relation to the service I’ve 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 I’d be able to reload the empties. Based on decades of past experience, I figured I’d 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).

    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.



    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 wasn’t going to give me the reloadable cases that I’d been after, I figured I’d contact ATK; on advice of friend, I went to their site and filled out a contact form:

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

    I was pretty amazed by this, and responded:
    I’ve not heard back. I’m not pleased with Federal/ATK’s handling of the situation; I would have expected that Federal/ATK would stand behind its products or care more about its customers.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  3. Otto

    Otto Well-Known Member

  4. Erich

    Erich Well-Known Member

    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. :(
  5. jacksgd

    jacksgd Active Member


    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.
  6. lykoris

    lykoris Well-Known Member

    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
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Wait till you contact Remington.
  8. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    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"
  9. kgpcr

    kgpcr Well-Known Member

    old ammo from 2003?? I have ammo that is 35yrs old and still works great!
  10. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. vtail

    vtail Well-Known Member

    You obviously didn't check the expiration date on the box!
  12. MagicD

    MagicD Well-Known Member

    Had the same experience with .32 long case splitting this week .Federal 7 out of 50!
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. rikman

    rikman Well-Known Member

    Sad, I have 45acp brass from 60's-80's with multiple reloads.
  15. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. Erich

    Erich Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the supportive comments, folks. :)
  18. luvit

    luvit Well-Known Member

    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.

  19. edfardos

    edfardos Well-Known Member

    too much zinc, exposure to amonia, or both.

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

  20. Bovice

    Bovice Well-Known Member

    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.

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