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PMC ammo versus Speer or Federal?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Monkeyleg, Jan 15, 2004.

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  1. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    After reading the "Kimber quality" thread for the past couple of weeks, I decided it was time to take my Pro Carry--the pistol that I have for defense--out once again for another reliability test.

    It's always been loaded with Federal 165 gr HydraShoks, and I've never had any problem with feeding (of course, I don't burn through a hundred or two rounds @$1.00 per round at a session). For general reliability testing with factory ammo, I've always used Speer Lawman or Federal American Eagle. Or I've used my own reloads, which is when the majority of the rare feeding problems happen.

    Today the shop was out of the Speer or Federal FMJ stuff, so I bought a couple of boxes of PMC 230 gr FMJ's. I shot up three mags of the HydraShoks without any problem. When I went to load the mags with the PMC stuff, I could feel the difference. On one mag-a Shooting Star that came with the pistol--I had a hard time even getting the rounds into it. The Wilson 47D's loaded alright, but the loading felt different.

    Anyway, I decided to shoot rapid-fire to see if I could get a jam. I did. I got one (or was it two?) with the Wilson mags. The Shooting Star mag, of course, jammed at least once on every loading.

    I've already PM'd 1911Tuner to see if he'll go over the pistol just to make sure everything is right.

    But I wonder how much of an issue the PMC ammo is. Has anyone else had issues with that brand?
     
  2. 45R

    45R Member

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    My Kimber Custom II Target eats .45ACP PMC like candy so does my Sig.
     
  3. horge

    horge Member

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    I've only shot PMC Starfires in

    .380 ACP through a Bersa Thunder 380 (my piece)
    .45 ACP through an Armscor GI 45 (rented)

    No feeding problems, even with double taps and rapid strings.
    I'm thinking, if their Starfire JHP feeds so well, their FMJ ought to as well.
    Heck of a snappy recoil though, and I wonder if maybe unfamiliarity with it could lead to 'technical' limp-wristing?

    JM1.00
    (PhP1.00 = US$.02, roughly)


    horge
     
  4. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Thanks for the responses. As far as limp-wristing goes, that's not a factor. Two-handed grip, strong side forearm straight, and the "Ayoob death grip" on the pistol.

    If 1911Tuner doesn't have the time in the next few weeks, I'm going to buy a few hundred rounds of Speer ammo and try this again. It's curious that a pistol would shoot with almost no malfunctions whatsoever with hundreds or more rounds of one brand but yet have two malfunctions with 100 rounds of another.
     
  5. Hal

    Hal Member

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    Kind of. PMC just doesn't "feel right" to me. Nothing I can put my finger on, and it's always fed and gone bang. I've noticed that when reloading PMC brass, stuck or sticky cases in the die - crushed cases - loads with bullets that go in crooked et al are usually PMC brass.

    I prefer Winchester - and (unlike a lot of others, I've had good luck so far with) UMC for "cheap" shoot-em-up stuff.

    PMC as a whole, has a lot of fans here, so maybe I've just gotten some odd lots or something. The problems you had fitting the rounds seems to jive with statements I've read in the reloading forum of PMC having "thick" cases.

    Anyhow, I don't care for the stuff but beacuse it's not that common around here it's not a big issue. Given my druthers, I'd pick something else unless the PMC was a super price.
     
  6. SMLE

    SMLE Member

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    I've fired several hundred rounds of PMC 165grn flat point FMJs in my Beretta 96 without a single problem. I cannot recall ever having an ammo related issue with any handgun, rifle or shotgun using PMC ammo. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I'm going to keep using the stuff for now.

    Sounds like perhaps the seating die at the factory got a little out of adjustment and some long rounds slipped past QC. Go to a different store and buy a box from a different lot.
     
  7. riverdog

    riverdog Member

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    I only buy PMC by the case. I've used it as range fodder for my Glock G21 and recently with Colt, Wilson and Les Baer 1911's. It's loaded to standard 850 FPS specs and in general is good stuff. It compares well to Federal AE and Speer IMO. I prefer Fiocchi though; it is cleaner than PMC, FedAE or Speer and runs a little hotter, but still within standard pressure limits. YMMV
     
  8. horge

    horge Member

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    Hal,

    Now that you mentioned it, (and I have to apologize for not noting it earlier for monkeyleg), my piece seems to chamber a wee bit slower/"thicker" on the PMC's. Perhaps it's just a slight difference in the sound the slide makes as it returns to battery, coupled with the different recoil that creates this impression. Ah d'nno...

    The static cartridges sure measure out fine, but...
    I'm wondering if PMC cases aren't a bit on the thin or soft side, and the force of getting kicked into the breech causes some fleeting deformation (a slight expansion in diameter), increasing the friction with the mag lips.
    Any weakness to the casing walls might also translate into enough deformation to make ejection 'feel' different.

    Just rambling.
     
  9. Smoke

    Smoke Member

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    Are these the aluminum cased PMC?

    Just curious. I've fed PMC through most every gun I own at some time or another. Never had a problem.

    Smoke
     
  10. horge

    horge Member

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    Hmmm, I'd always assumed PMC were steel case.
    Too shiny to be aluminum (okay, okay...Aluminium)
     
  11. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    :confused: All of the PMC I have bought has been brass cased. :confused:
     
  12. horge

    horge Member

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    Mr. Bear

    My bad :eek: ... I was talking about the PMC Starfire JHP's.

    I haven't even seen any PMC hardball for sale on this side of the big urinal, and maybe those are the brass-cased cartridges you are familiar with.
     
  13. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    Horge, in the case of Starfires, the cases are nickeled brass.

    Just thought that'd help you sleep better at night. ;)
     
  14. horge

    horge Member

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    Thanks, Snowdog :)
    The color threw me off.

    Exquisite timing, as I'm right now off to have dinner,
    then it WILL be time to sleep better, tonight.
    :D

    horge
     
  15. Hal

    Hal Member

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    yep - the cases were/are brass.

    I was somewhat surprised that I didn't/don't like the stuff. If you search for opinions on PMC it's clear that those few of us that don't like it for one reason or another are vastly in the minority.

    Come to think of it, IIRC, I have a full case of PMC 9mm sitting in the bottom of the safe as ballast. Kind of a rainy day fund of 9mm ammo :D too much trouble to bend over and dig it out/it's working just fine as ballast so why spoil a good thing.

    *shrug* Oh well, since the 9mm and .45acp market have so many other offerings that I prefer, it's really a non issue for me.
     
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    PMC History

    Monkeyleg said:

    It's curious that a pistol would shoot with almost no malfunctions whatsoever with hundreds or more rounds of one brand but yet have two malfunctions with 100 rounds of another.

    The problem is likely related to the overall length of the round. PMC runs
    to 1.260 to 1.265 inches overall...or hardball spec. The length of the
    round magnifies a light stem-bind condition, and makes the pistol
    more prone to fail to return to battery. The bullet profile may also be a factor in the stem bind. A different magazine with a slightly earlier release point or a stronger spring may cure it, but it's better to address the problem within the gun than do a band-aid fix that requires a proprietary magazine...all of which may not work. If the pistol won't feed factory hardball, it needs to be corrected...period. Most of these issues are
    a simple matter of optimizing everything...fine tuning.

    Extractor tension is a little more critical in the chopped pistols, too. Most
    require a little less than the Commander and Government Model class
    of pistols. The reduced slide mass is the key player, and not even the stouter recoil spring found in these guns can always make up the difference. The stronger recoil springs and high slide speeds make magazine timing more critical. Damn things can be persnickety sometimes.
    FWIW, I won't carry one with a slide shorter than Commander-length,
    and those only after thorough testing.

    Years ago, PMC was shipped in components from the U.S. to Korea to be assembled and shipped back as finished ammo, and I'm fairly sure that the
    components were made by Olin Winchester for all PMC calibers...powder and all. When PMC was made in Korea, it was true mil-spec and loaded to the upper end of the pressure/velocity range. Chronographed averages ran from 835-860 fps and things were good. PMC 5.56 chronographed
    3250-3300 fps in 20 inch AR-15 barrels, while Winchester USA (White Box)
    typically ran 100 fps slower, and it was the same for 7.62 stuff. Now
    that it's under different controls, it's not marked in military designation,
    and the velocities have fallen off. PS80-84 were good years for PMC.
    True Nato-Spec ammo.

    PMC .45 has been downloaded since Eldorado got involved, and the velocities run to 790-820 fps. Still good, but not quite "Hardball".

    The brass is still hardball-spec as to the thickness, which is why it feels
    different than commecrial brass going into a sizing and expander plug. This
    provides a high bullet pull and frictional seat, and helps work against
    bullet setback. The asphalt cement sealer on the bullet helps, too, and
    protects the powder charge from contamination. The most recent batches
    that I've bought don't seem to have the laquer sealed primers. though.
    Too bad.

    Sellier & Bellot is hotter, but doesn't have the thicker, mil-spec brass. Good
    ammo for the price, but bullet setback is an issue due to less friction between case and bullet. Setback will occur within 3-5 repeated chamberings even with a good ramp and throat. Easy to correct by
    applying a little firmer taper crimp on the ammo before using it. It will
    still set back, just not as soon. PMC won't set back to any practical degree.
    On the odd occasion that I use Sellier & Bellot for carry ammo, I run the
    rounds into my seater/crimp die to make the crimp firmer and reduce the OAL to about 1.250 inch, which makes for smoother feeding and bumps the velocity up a bit.

    Just a bit of trivia for the ammo students.

    Tuner
     
  17. keederdag

    keederdag Member

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    PMC=Yuck!!! I have never had any truly positive experiances with this brand. I kinda wonder why a person would venture to use it, as it's price is comperable to much better/more noteworthy ammo makers products. As far as El cheapo practice stuff, why not the USA Walmart stuff???? OR S&B...these are hard to beat????:confused:
     
  18. Hal

    Hal Member

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    tuner -
    Interesting stuff. thanx.


    "Birthday June 15, 1952
    Biography Too old to fight...Too tired to run"

    not bad for a "young punk kid" ;)
     
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