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Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

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

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  1. Erich

    Erich Member

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    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).
    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.

    2013-03-10_11-34-34_709.jpg

    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 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

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    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
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  3. Otto

    Otto Member

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  4. Erich

    Erich Member

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    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 Member

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    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.
     
  6. lykoris

    lykoris Member

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    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 Member

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    Wait till you contact Remington.
     
  8. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    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 Member

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

    mec Member

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    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 Member

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

    MagicD Member

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

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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.
     
  14. rikman

    rikman Member

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

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    luvit Member

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    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 Member

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    too much zinc, exposure to amonia, or both.

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

    edfardos
     
  20. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    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.
     
  21. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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.
     
  22. mec

    mec Member

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    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.
     
  23. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    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.
     
  24. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    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.
     
  25. thomis

    thomis Member

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    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.
     
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