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Is there anything to look for when buying ammo from an individual?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by hometheaterman, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Well-Known Member

    So I was looking in the weekly classified paper and someone had some Federal American Eagle .40 S&W for $10 a box. I'm planning to buy it, but one concern I had, is there anyway to make sure it's not re loads? He says it's factory ammo and that he'd never buy or shoot re loads, but is there a way to make sure? Any things to look for? Is $10 a box a decent deal? I see it's $14.99 at Natchez, but I don't know how much lower ammo often is if you buy it from another individual like that.
  2. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Well-Known Member

    I'd think that if all the primers are set at the same place then its factory. Most reloads I've seen, including my own, have primers that are a bit up and down.
  3. I won't buy ammo from an individual unless it's an absolute last resort.
    And in your case, merely to save $5 isn't a last resort.

    But, if you insist, look at the cases very closely. Are there any scratches running the length of the case? Scratches that maybe were put there by running it into the sizing die?

    Check to see that the primers look absolutely uniform.
  4. hardworker

    hardworker Well-Known Member

    Look at the brass for scuff marks too. If the brass is scuffed that means it's seen some action somewhere.
  5. ny32182

    ny32182 Well-Known Member

    I'd look at the brass, and specifically the case head area before anything else.

    I don't know about you guys, but I do a uniform job of seating primers and bullets.

    The brass should all be the same headstamp and be in the same condition if it is factory new ammo. If the headstamp looks flattened at all (more noticable after many firings), or the rims dinged up at all, that would tell me that brass has been used before. Every firing will put *some* kind of wear on the rim from the extractor.

    The sizing die will only leave vertical marks if there was debris in it; that would not be typical. What you may see is a more defined concentric line just above the casehead than you would on factory ammo, where the sizing die stopped if it is a reload. This may not be the easiest to recognize if you are not a reloader yourself.

    If it is reloads with clean brass with identical history and few firings, it may just be tough to tell, but look for those signs on the caseheads.
  6. svtruth

    svtruth Well-Known Member

    Count his

  7. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Well-Known Member

    One way to tell is if the primer is the wrong color. I believe there are only three colors out there: brass, silver, and copper. I think Federal primers are silver colored, but I don't use them so check it to make sure.
    Secondly, the brass should be clean and shiny - no powder stains, but a little discoloration can be typical. Headstamps should all read "Federal" of course and be identical. No nicks, chips, indentions, etc on the case head. Primer should be just under flush with the case head. Primer pockets should be rounded. If the pockets have been chamfered (cut at an angle where you can see some of the primer's radius), they are definitely reloads.
    Marks on the case body: vertical lines on the case can be from the sizing die, but are more likely from the magazine lips on a fired case. Cases that appeared scuffed are reloads. Cases may have a horizontal line just above the extractor groove. You have to be careful with this one since it could be that they're reloads, but ammo placed bullet down in a factory plastic container will also get a line there from jostling around.
  8. Sebastian the Ibis

    Sebastian the Ibis Well-Known Member

    Buy a box of Federal American Eagle .40 S&W from your trusty LGS and see if and how they seal the boxes. I've been burned before by someone resealing boxes with glue.
  9. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice. I ended up buying them. Anyway, they don't have any obvious sings to me of being reloads and the boxes appeared to be sealed. The resaon I say this, is I'm sure some of you have seen how the first time you open a box it's kind of hard to get it to open from how the flaps are like tucked together. Anyway, all of the boxes were like that. The only thing I found odd about this ammo is it looked fairly dirty. I will post pictures shortly and see if you guys think it's normal.
  10. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Well-Known Member

    Okay, here are the pictures. I'm starting to think maybe I shouldn't have bought this as after looking at all of the pieces they are dirtier than I thought. I have no idea how they could have gotten this dirty sitting in a box.


    Any idea's what this could be? Does it look safe to shoot? Other than being dirty, I see nothing that would lead me to believe they are reloads, but like always it's very hard to tell.
  11. ny32182

    ny32182 Well-Known Member

    I don't see anything that screams "reloads". Tarnished brass means nothing.

    I think you're over thinking this. Fire away.
  12. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Well-Known Member

    Any idea what that is all over the rounds? If I feel it with my finger it feels smooth, but if I rub it with my finger nail, I can tell it feels slightly different from the rest of the brass. I don't see anything that screams re loads either, but I've never seen any this dirty before either.
  13. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    Minor corrosion to the brass = tarnish. Leave brass, copper, aluminum, silver, etc. to the elements, and a microscopic chemical reaction will take place from exposure to oxygen and other things. I would not shoot some stranger's reloads, but I'd shoot that ammo you have there. However, I'm not you; I'm crazy.
  14. dirtymike1

    dirtymike1 Well-Known Member

    I bought a box of Blazer 9mm from a Walmart once that looked like that. I don't know what possesed me to open the box when the guy handed it to me, but it looked pretty much the same. He said that it may have been nothing more than a few years old in less than ideal storage. Needless to say I swapped out boxes for a fresh looking one but I wonder the same as you, what causes it to look like that,.
  15. oldbear

    oldbear Well-Known Member

    Perhaps this ammo may be best used for range ammo.
  16. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Well-Known Member

    It would only be range ammo anyway. I don't plan to ever carry FMJ rounds.
  17. Packman

    Packman Well-Known Member

    I've bought Winchester White Box 9mm ammo from Walmart that looks like that right outta the box. If you handle it any, it seems to accelerate the wear. So far, they all feed fine and go boom just the way I expect.
  18. DBR

    DBR Well-Known Member

    My experience with Federal 40SW is the brass is softer than other brands. The early Federal 40SW was subject to a recall because the web in the case was too thin and blow outs were not uncommon. I witnessed two myself at a class in 1995. Both were in a Sig 229. Most of the suspect ammo was head stamped "FC" not "Federal".

    I would call ATK and give them the lot numbers. They can tell you when it was made. I exchanged more than 1000rds of "FC" head stamped 40SW ammo with ATK. They paid the freight both ways. They would probably do the same for you if the ammo has any problems.

    The discoloration is most likely from condensation during storage.
  19. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Well-Known Member

    Hmm, I might give them a call and see what they say.

    BTW I'm going to fix the issue with it looking like that. I threw it in my tumbler, but I just wondered what made it do that. I also noticed when putting it in the tumbler that 2 of the 5 boxes looked fine. It was just 3 boxes that looked like that. I wouldn't think they could be too old though since the price tag from a local shop was on there and it says $22.99. I wouldn't think .40 ammo would have been $22.99 for all that long even though this shop is high on it's prices.

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