Winchester 5.56 Ammunition Recall


Winchester is recalling some 5.56 ammunition after catastrophic failures destroyed a number of law enforcement AR15 type rifles.

Here’s a recent teletype regarding the failures:

ATTN: REQUEST FOR NATIONAL BROADCAST – FIREARMS HAZARD INFORMATION
****** CORRECTION TO ORIGINAL BROADCAST SENT 2/25/11 *******
Attention Law Enforcement Agencies, this Police Department is seeking any similar incidences with the .223/5.56 style rifles.

On 02/14/11 an officer was attending an M4/MP-5 class and during a shooting session, the .223 rifle (Stag Arms) experienced a catastrophic failure resulting in an upper receiver cracking and the bolt being pushed into the bolt assembley.

During a SWAT training day on 02/23/11, three more M4 style rifles experienced a catastrophic failure at the same time. All three rifles experienced the bolts being pushed into the bolt assembly, the upper receivers were cracked and / or broken apart, and the lower receivers were bowed outward. The ammunition we used in all the rifles were Winchester RA223R2 Ranger 64 gr. Power Point.

The Rifles were: 1-Colt, 2- Bushmasters and 1 – Stag Arms

Back in January, this teletype was making the rounds:

**ATTENTION ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES**OFFICER SAFETY INFORMATION**THE XXXXXXXX POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS EXPERIENCED THREE CATASTROPHIC FAILURES OF AR STYLE RIFLES/THE FAILURES INCLUDED THE COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF THE UPPER AND LOWERS OF THESE WEAPONS/THE THREE WEAPONS WERE WELL MAINTAINED WITH REGULAR DOCUMENTED MAINTENANCE PERFORMED BY A CERTIFIED ARMORER/THE THREE WEAPONS HAD BEEN IN SERVICE FROM 3 TO 10 YEARS/THE COMMON DENOMINATOR CONSIDERED WAS THE AMMUNITION USED DURING THE FAILURES/THE THREE RIFLES EXPERIENCING FAILURE WERE FIRING WINCHESTER RANGER RA223R2, 64GR POWER POINT, LOT NUMBER 065DK31/OTHER WEAPONS FIRING THE SAME AMMUNITION BEARING A DIFFERENT LOT NUMBER WERE NOT AFFECTED AND PERFORMED NORMALLY/IF YOU HAVE AMMUNITION BEARING THE LAST FOUR DIGITS DK31 IN THE LOT NUMBER IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED YOU QUARANTINE THAT AMMUNITION AND CONTACT WINCHESTER**

The recall info can be found here.

3/1/2011

Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling six (6) lots of its RANGER® 223 Remington 64 Grain Power-Point® (PP) centerfire rifle ammunition (Symbol Number RA223R2).

Lot Numbers (last four characters): DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41, and DK51

Through extensive evaluation Winchester has determined the above lots of RANGER® Law Enforcement ammunition may contain incorrect propellant. Incorrect propellant in this ammunition may cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable, and subject the shooter or bystanders to a risk of serious personal injury when fired.

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® RANGER® 223 REMINGTON 64 GRAIN POWER-POINT® AMMUNITION THAT HAS A LOT NUMBER ENDING IN DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41 or DK51. The ammunition Lot Number is ink stamped inside the right tuck flap of the 20-round carton, as indicated here:

To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Lot Number. If the last four characters of the Lot Number are DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41 or DK51 immediately discontinue use and contact Winchester toll-free at 866-423-5224 to arrange for replacement ammunition and free UPS pick-up of the recalled ammunition.

This notice applies only to RANGER® 223 Remington 64 Grain Power-Point® centerfire rifle ammunition with lot numbers ending in DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41, and DK51. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall.

If you have any questions concerning this RANGER® Law Enforcement ammunition recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224, write to Winchester (600 Powder Mill Road, East Alton, IL 62024 Attn: RA223R2 Recall), or visit our website at www.winchester.com.



Andrew Tuohy

Andrew Tuohy was a Navy Corpsman with the 5th Marine Regiment. He makes a living by producing written and visual content within the firearm industry, and he also teaches carbine courses. He prefers elegant weapons for a more civilized age, and regularly posts at Vuurwapen Blog.


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  • Witt Sullivan

    Again? They had problems with Q3131 doing that a long time ago (7-10 years ago) as I recall.

  • The Other John C

    Luckily I don’t have any of that

  • Lance

    OOOOPPPPPPPPSSSSSS

    Too bad Winchester mil ball ammo is usually great plinking ammo. I hope they get this fixed asap and hope the price goes down too.

  • MeAgain

    I’ll just keep training with Wolf and American Eagle.

  • As a small ammo manufacturer, I have seen componet tolerences decline 5x in the past 3 years. Bad primers, bullets and cases. The one point I cant confirm is that I have seen enlarged primer flashholes in the cases. This can be a big problem. Not being an engineer I know that this can cause catastophic weapons failure. Quality control has gone south. I recieve bulk componets. My last shipment of brass looked like it was rolled around in gravel, dents everywhere, missing priimers and case necks wrinkled. Just my two cents.

  • Lt Mac Ranger Instructor

    Looks like more than just the DK series lot numbers. We have had 2 “catastrophic failures” First a Rock River M4 Entry Tactical, (6) rounds into a magazines loaded with Winchester RA223R 64gr Power-points when the failure occurred…blew out the magazines floor plate, and welded the bolt carrier’s locking lugs together, and bulging the upper receiver out of tolerance. The second a Colt LE Carbine about (10) rounds into the magazine when one of our deputies was firing a qual course shooting in a sitting position, this time it blew out the magazine, bulging out the lower receiver, and splitting the upper like a banana from the charging handle foward, the event was intense enough to blow the bolt carrier group apart and weld the magazine to the magazine well. Deputy suffered minor injuries…..Winchester should be “company” enough and make this right. Will keep you posted in any new developments

  • It seems to me that there is a story that needs to be told here. I cannot say for sure that this is what is causing all the gun explosions that have occurred but there is a trail that anyone can follow. Every cartridge that has a metal casing and a metal bullet needs a waterproofing sealant at the joint. Prior to 1996 a solution of asphalt in trichlorethane was swabbed around the inside of the casing mouth prior to insertion of the bullet. In 1996 the EPA stopped use of almost all chlorinated solvents. The biggest manufacturer switched to latex and it sealed OK but the water dried too slow so in 2002 they investigated a faster way. They tried a system using an anaerobic adhesive and also one that was a solvent free liquid that hardened when exposed to UV light. When tested the cartridges waterproofed with an anaerobic sealant exploded and destroyed two guns. In 2003 the cartridges sealed with UV were fine and passed all their QC tests. I do not know what they are doing at this time but if you look at the website of Hernon Manufacturing and search for ammunition sealants you will find Sealant 59541 that is anaerobic and is designed to penetrate between the bullet and the casing. If you look up Anaerobic Adhesives you will find that their main use is to bond metal to metal.

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  • jerry

    PDX1 DEFENDER 38 special + P 130 gr (winchester elite) had a failure to fire in a Ruger .357 LCR that has had 3000+ rounds thru it with out a hitch…won’t be buying any more Win ammo.