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Ruger LCP Ka-Booms?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Curator, Apr 16, 2013.

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  1. Curator

    Curator Member

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    A recent Ruger LCP Ka-boom at a local range has me concerned about the safety of these guns. I know the folks at Ruger have done their homework on designing and engineering their products to be safe, however three in a week and not with +p ammo has me scratching my head. None of these were with reloads but "factory" ammo. What do you know about the incident of Ruger LCP issues?
     
  2. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Factory ammo is currently some pretty dangerous stuff. That and people who like to rechamber the same round more than once. The problem is not Ruger, the problem is the quality control of the ammo manufacturers. They have enough lawyers that they just don't care. I can remember back 20 to 30 years ago when you never heard about bullet setback. Now I read it about it on almost every gun forum I look at. And it's always factory ammo. I have seen boxes of name brand factory ammo with primers seated backwards and sideways and cases with no flash hole and bullets so loose in the case you could push it back with one finger. I haven't bought any factory ammo since about 1987. If you want high quality ammo you must learn to reload. If you must use factory ammo in an semi auto pistol, chamber the round one time and then shoot it or toss it. Don't rechamber it. It's not worth the risk.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  3. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Well Ruger isn't completely off the hook. For one thing when a round is fired from the LCP or the P3AT the next round in the magazine is rammed into the bottom of the feed ramp. With softer bullets the bullet gets a nice "smiley". Harder bullets can get set back in the casing raising chamber pressures. Couple that with the paper thin chamber of the LCP/P3AT and you have a potential for problems. I would NEVER fire aggressive ammo in either of those pistols. Its also the reason I got rid of my LCP and switched to the BG380. S&W doesn't have the problems with bullet setback and the chamber is about 3 times thicker at its thinnest point than the others.

    I don't think "factory ammo" is the problem. You can get problems with factory ammo but the same can happen with reloads. You need to inspect your ammo before you load it. If you see anything out of the ordinary toss it. I've fired tens of thousands of rounds of factory ammo in my weapons and so have millions of others with no problems.
     
  4. hentown

    hentown Member

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    Are you saying that three LCP's blew up at the same range in one week? Can you imagine the statistical improbability of that? If that were the case, then I can guarantee you that there was something going on ammo-related and not Ruger-related.
     
  5. sota

    sota Member

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    there's a lot of facts missing that would need to be revealed surrounding this.

    just like the caracal slide breakage.
     
  6. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    I put well over 3,000 rounds through my first P3AT before one of it's rails failed and KT replaced the gun free of charge.

    Many of the rounds fired were Buffalo Bore which we all know is pretty hot and the chamber never failed.

    I think Clark who posts here has also put some of his very hot hand loads through his P3AT and he still has both hands.

    I also would have to see more facts on this incident before I would blame the pistol.

    For example did the batch of ammo have some squibb loads that left the barrel blocked?
     
  7. kanook

    kanook Member

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  8. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article refers to an incident in St Charles County in Eastern Missouri. The OP, from Florida, refers to an incident at a "local" range. Are we talking the same incident here?

    Still, the Missouri S&W incident is documented and the Florida LCP one is not...as of yet.
     
  9. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I would LOVE to see where you say I claimed it CAN'T happen with a S&W? I didn't. Does your post make anything I said untrue NO. The little emoticon doesn't make your point any more valid either.


    No it isn't the same incident. He is using it to try to disprove a point that no one even made.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  10. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    The point is you made an issue of the thin barrel on the LCP vs the thicker barrel on the S&W and here we have an S&W KABOOM!

    I notice you have posted on other boards about this too.
     
  11. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Oops. I have to correct myself. The chamber is not "three times thicker" at its narrowest point. Its just under two times. My LCP measured .03" and the Smith measure .05. Its not a big difference but .03" is really, really thin in my book. The barrel of the Smith is quite a bit beefier if you hold them up next to each other. BTW, I don't think the LCP is inherently unsafe with regular ammo but I would prefer a little more margin of error especially if I want to use stouter ammo.

    The issue of the smileys and bullet setback is well known on the LCP and P3AT. Do a search online and you will find a lot of info on it.

    I checked some of my earlier posts when I had both pistols and I found this thread.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=597546


    BUT, this isn't a LCP vs BG thread I was merely pointing out that the LCP does, in my opinion, have a design weakness personally I would be prudent about what type of ammo I fired in it.

    The LCP is still a great little gun and mine was more accurate than it had any right to be. I fired over 500 rounds through mine with no malfunctions. The only reason I sold it was my wife talked me into selling it to a friend of hers. I wish I still had it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  12. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    Of course, balance that against this from page 12 of the LCP owner's manual:
    or this from the FAQ on the Ruger website:
    I dunno, it seems to me that Ruger is quite upfront about their view on using "stouter ammo" in the LCP. Could they be more clear?

    I can understand wanting more margin of error but it's not like Ruger has been deceptive in any way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  13. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I think most manuals say that. I didn't say Ruger was being deceptive or please show me where I said that.
     
  14. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    I don't have a horse in the race, as I sold my LCP a year or so back, but....
    The barrels are so thin in the LCP, that I was always nervous about something giving way.

    Is there a thinner barrel (Kel-Tec P-3AT?) out in the market today?
     
  15. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    Jon, although I quoted you in my post, I was not trying to refute your position personally or claiming you said Ruger was deceptive. I merely meant to illustrate that Ruger was very clear about using "stouter" ammo. Ever since Corbon years ago began advertising .380 acp as "plus P" and then stating they only meant that is was "higher performance" not higher pressure, since there is no SAAMI standard for .380 plus P, people have referred to "plus P" in .380 as being "higher performance" and/or loaded to the maximum pressure (or beyond). Ruger seems, to me at least, to be saying that over-pressure ammo or ammo advertised to be "plus P" is not recommended. The term "plus P" would seem to have no defined meaning when it comes to .380 acp but it seems reasonable to me that Ruger is saying stay away from .380 ammunition that is loaded beyond "standard" levels, i.e. avoid the "stouter" ammunition from either handloading or certain boutique ammunition companies.

    If someone wants more margin of error, they should do as you have done, and choose a somewhat heavier built gun. That was the point of my post. I merely used a quote from you as a starting point. No attack on you was intended.

    By the way, in reference to
    most Ruger manuals have traditionally said their pistols were able to digest any commercially manufactured ammunition. That the LCP departs from that and specifically says what to avoid is, I believe, informative and significant.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  16. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Also note all stouter ammo is not +p. +p is a designation of pressure but not necessarily velocity. Nor does it have anything to do with the weight of the bullet.

    That being said +P isn't the only ammo I would avoid with the LCP or P3AT. My LCP would crush part of the HP on Gold Dots but the bullet would not set back so that was my preferred load. I made sure my reloads with a LRN had a healthy crimp so it would get a good smiley but no setback. Factory Hornady XTPs have a pretty stiff jacket and the bullet would pretty consistently get set back quite a bit when it hit the feed ramp. I didn't consider them safe in my LCP even if they were standard pressure rounds. A company that hot loads the XTP would be, in my opinion, not a good match for the LCP. I think it would be prudent to keep a close eye on what your LCP does with your ammo for those who own one.

    Sorry Gary, I guess I got used to my words being twisted around so I assumed you were doing the same. It seems LCPs have become like 1911s, AR15s, and Glocks where you just can't have a rational discussion without someone getting in their feelings.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  17. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    No apology necessary, Jon. I should try to be more clear.
     
  18. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Ruger's manual carries what appears to be a standard warning "Do not use "+P" ammunition." There is no SAAMI standard +P ammunition in .380 ACP.

    But just before that it says "No .380 Auto ammunition manufactured in accordance with NATO, U.S., SAAMI or CIP standards is known to be beyond the design limits or known not to function in these pistols."

    FWIW, I miked my LCP and the thinnest part of the chamber measures .038". Probably adequate, but not a lot of margin for error. Old time designers (e.g., Browning) didn't have the modern steels and measuring devices we do today, so they made everything thicker and stronger than it had to be, then made it even thicker and stronger. The result was lot of useless weight and bulk. But one does wonder if the trend to light weight can go too far in the opposite direction, leaving too little margin for mistakes.

    Jim
     
  19. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    That warning has not been typical of Owner's manuals for Ruger pistols, most of which have been over-engineered. With the advent of small Ruger pocket pistols the Owner's manuals have introduced more cautionary warnings. For example, the tiny LCP says "no plus P" while the somewhat larger LC9 says that continuous use of +P will shorten the service life of the pistol but +P+ should never be used. Typically, larger service autos built by Ruger merely state that no known ammo, etc, etc. is beyond the design limits.

    Of course, since their is no SAAMI standard for .380 +P, "No .380 Auto ammunition manufactured in accordance with (U.S. or SAAMI standards) is known to be beyond the design limits or known not to function in these pistols."
     
  20. CZguy

    CZguy Member

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    It's not just about certain firearms. People just seem to be getting more and more thin skinned.

    Time will tell I suppose. I've wondered the same thing.
     
  21. MK75

    MK75 Member

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    I agree that factory ammo may not be the problem. Millions of rounds, by millions of people are fired every day. The odds of it happening 3 times near you. Something else is up...
     
  22. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Gary is right. I checked the Ruger website and they are pretty standard in saying +p and even +p+ is perfectly fine for their pistols even without the "will cause accelerated wear" disclaimer. They do NOT recommend +p for the LCP nor +P+ for the LC9.
     
  23. Curator

    Curator Member

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    A close inspection of the 18 rounds left in the box of ammo that was being fired when the most recent Ka-boom occurred showed:

    Not "Factory" but "new manufactured" ammo. New star-line brass, 100 grain "plated" (not jacketed) .355 bullet, taper-crimped at .940" OAL. The powder charge appeared to be Win231 (not that one can actually identify powder by appearance) or HP38 based on the small silvery flattened ball granules. The charges ranged from a low of 2.4 grains to a high of 4.2 grains (only one) The average was 3.2 grains which is in line with Win231/HP38 published data for loads with a 100 grain slug. (in my experience Win231 usually measures more consistently than this!)

    Cartridges were pulled with an inertia puller which captured all of the powder and the bullet. Pulling the bullets went quite easy with usually only one "smack' required. "Factory" ammo usually requires two or three hard "smacks" to get the bullet to come out of the case mouth. Bullets show a "crimp-groove" where they were taper-crimped into the cartridge.

    Based on how easily the bullets were pulled, I suspect it was possible to experience bullet set-back upon feeding/chambering and subsequent high pressures which caused the catastrophic failure of the LCP. Alternately, poor control of the powder measuring resulted in a excessive charge (4.2 grains is well above the published maximum for Win231 with the 100 grain bullet) The Ruger LCP has a very thin barrel compared to other .380ACP pistols I have examined. There did not appear to be any "bulge" in what was left of the barrel where a bullet might have been lodged due to a "squib" load. The barrel failure was from the breech end, peeling like a banana. The extractor was not recovered, but a piece of metal that was the top of the slide forward of the chamber was also peeled away.

    High Roaders: your opinion: Ammunition fault, Ruger LCP fault, contributing negligence?
     
  24. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Member

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    My first thought was reloads,

    this

    was my second thought.
     
  25. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Sure seeing a lot of kaboom threads lately. wonder if ammo suppliers are rushing the product to the shelves a little too quickly?
     
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