Today on March 25th, 2014 I set out to test some PCP polymer cased ammo in some commonly available military rifles. I drug out a PTR-91 and an FN FAL with the ammo.
I function tested each rifle with 40 rounds of Winchester 7.62×51 beforehand to make sure each gun was in working order. They worked through the brass cased stuff with no problem, but with the polymer cased ammo the following occurred:
With the PTR, the first round caused a catastrophic failure, destroying the magazine:
The PTR ripped the case in half:
I chalked this up to the fluted chamber of the PTR, and assumed that using it in the FAL would be no problem, but I still chose to duck behind the table when firing… and I am glad that I did:
Notice the magazine spring in the top left corner of the photo above.
The floor plate also punched through a range bag and into the wooden table:
This was caused by a traditional case rupture at the junction of the polymer and the steel base:
My arm was hit with debris and some shrap, but nothing to worry to much about.
The magazine was bowed out with such force that my 180 pound body was not enough to bend it back to shape:
Had my hand or arm below the floor plate or alongside the magazine, this could have been really bad. Luckily I was overly cautious and ducked below a table to test it.
The lot number of the ammunition that failed (printed on the inside flap) is X121300001. If you have this ammo, I would advise that you do not shoot it.
After this incident I told our readers I would contact PCP Ammunition and let them know about this failure of the .308 ammo we received for review. I did speak with the company several times expressing our concern for the safety of those using this type of ammunition among other things. The company shares our concern and requested we return the unfired ammunition so that it can be tested. I was told we would be advised of the test results. Of course TFB will share those results with our readers when they become available. PCP Ammunition sent the following statement which we promised to post for our readers.
The failure of the PCP ammunition in the test FnFal was not addressed. In addition one other incident like that which Alex experienced was reported to the company by a consumer.
Senior Writer/Review Manager
Thanks to The Firearm Blog for notifying consumers about the safety concerns in consideration of the failures that were experienced during this particular testing incident. PCP Ammunition is extremely remorseful for this occurrence and quite grateful that no one was seriously injured.
Mr. Alex Capps and several members of the PCP Ammunition team spoke at the Shot Show and PCP Ammunition advised Mr. Alex Capps, as The Firearms Blog representative, that extensive testing was not conducted on firearms with fluted chambers and therefore we advised against utilization of our polymer cased ammunition in firearms with fluted chambers. Unfortunately our polymer case .308 ammunition failed in the fluted chamber.
Conversely, extensive testing was conducted with hundreds of firearms with SAMMI specification .308 chambers with our polymer cased ammunition and a case failure of this type and magnitude was never created in our ballistics lab.
PCP Ammunition has been in research and development of polymer cased ammunition for nearly four years delivering product to US and foreign government agencies with resounding success. The success of our polymer cased ammunition with these customers can be directly attributed to the fact that the number of variables relative to the configuration and chamber arrangements of the firearm are controlled and limited. Conversely, the US commercial market exposes our product to hundreds of thousand firearm configurations and chamber dimension variations, introducing countless variables that are unable to be reproduced in laboratory testings.
In consideration of the above information please understand the intent of our commercial limited release was to expose our ammunition to US commercial market variables which PCP ammunition would never be afforded the opportunity to conduct alone. Being that we never experienced any unsafe conditions though out our four years of research, development, and testing the conclusion was made that safe conditions existed for consumers to use the product and provide feedback relative to performance compared to other factory ammunition.
If you are a PCP Ammunition customer and have not used the ammunition you purchased during our limited release please contact us. PCP Ammunition is happy to facilitate and return and refund for all customers.
Director, Sales & Marketing