Why You Should Always Check Your Ammunition…


Paul Carlson of the Safety Solutions Academy posted this photo to his Facebook page today. As you can see, this factory fresh ammunition had a single round with an improperly formed case. I’m guessing that (at the very least) he would have that round stuck in the chamber after firing.

I’ve always recommended that people give their ammo a once-over before loading it up. Ammunition from the biggest (and theoretically best) companies can sometimes ship with some bad loads. I’ve seen match ammo show up with a mix of components in the same box, bullets loaded backward and case mouths partially crushed from improper bullet seating.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    A coworker brought his .45 1911 style pistol for me to check out an unusual malfunction that may have had something to do with ammo. The entire case went down the barrel with the bullet seemingly still in it and stopped 3/4 of the way and then the round behind that may or may not have fired. No kaboom but slide is frozen and wont disassemble.

    • Ken

      Probably bulged the barrel.

    • Dave

      The case wouldn’t be there, thats just a regular squid.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I have pics and you can see brass around the slug inside the barrel.

        • iksnilol

          Can we see some pictures? It sounds interesting.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Not sure if these are real clear…

          • iksnilol

            I can definitely see the brass being somewhere it shouldn’t be. Impressive to say the least.

            Maybe get rid of it before the ATF jails you for making AP pistol ammo (I mean, brass counts as AP, right?).

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Luckily its not my gun or responsibility.
            Looks like a total loss to me.

          • iksnilol

            Just replace the barrel? Or is there more damage?

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Im no gunsmith but it feels/looks like the barrel may have ballooned against the slide completely freezing up the action.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, I see the problem.

            Well well, it makes a cool warning.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Its the weirdest handgun malfunction Ive seen.

          • Aurek Besh

            Worst case, the slide is a loss and would need to be sawed or milled off. Frame will likely still be ok to rebuild with a new slide and barrel. I wouldn’t recommend trashing it, keep it as a conversation piece at the least. 🙂

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Its a cheap 1911 knock off.
            Not worth the trouble to rebuild.

          • Schadavi

            If the cartridge behind it was fired, you can probably throw away the gun. Barrel is most likely bulged against the slide, this most times also damages the frame enough to weaken the material.

            You probably could just replace the barrel. But there is a good chance that one day, the weakened parts give away and take something organic with them…

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Its not my gun but my recommendation was to trash it.

          • Schadavi

            Either directly trash it, or let a very (!) experienced gunsmith have a look at it. The staff at your LGS usually has neither the skill nor the tools to properly judge material damage on a gun.

          • Bob

            Paint it RED and hang it on the reloading bench!!

          • I’ve seen blowups from folks accidentally loading a .40 S&W round in their .45 ACP. The .40 case or whole round ends up down the barrel where it serves as an obstruction for the next .45 round. It is the handgun equivalent of a 20 gauge shell in a 12 gauge barrel.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Again this was a coworkers gun and I wasn’t able to examine the cases but it wouldn’t shock me. This guy bought an AR and asked if 556 and 762 were interchangeable. He’s a bit of a weekend warrior.

          • Limousine Liberal

            “Weekend warrior” is a term that doesn’t cover that level of ignorance.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I know.
            He’s asked me to go shooting with him and I have declined because I fear for my eyes and fingers.

          • Captain Kirk

            Yikes ! Does he know how to read ?

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            He’s a good guy just has zero experience with anything other than shotguns and plinkers I think.

      • Mel

        It’s not a sea creature. It’s a squib.

        • Hilltop

          Maybe it’s an Octopus! Much harder to remove than a Squid.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Isn’t that the round you put in your ears? Doesn’t every box come with 2 of those?

    • Bill

      Everybody knows that you use freshly fired cases for that – it’s the most efficient way of getting toxic heavy metals directly into your brain 😉

  • Mark

    I put a .40 Federal Aluminum Case round just like that (accidentally, of course) through my Glock 23 one day. It shot just fine but obviously failed to extract and caused an epic double feed. It took me 5 minutes to pound the stuck case out of the barrel. Moral of the story: check your ammo before loading it!

  • thedonn007

    Actually, that looks pretty cool.

  • datimes

    Who buys factory ammo?

    • wetcorps

      Anyone who isn’t retired yet? ^^

      • Fred Johnson

        Retirement. That’s when I’ll have the time. All my kids should be self sufficient by then which should reduce my workload as a dad. 😀

        • kipy

          You tell yourself that if it helps you sleep at night lol

      • Captain Kirk

        No kidding…

      • datimes

        You’re right I am retired. I started reloading at 19 and have enjoyed it ever since.

    • FarmerB

      Well – you’re right, you don’t have that problem when reloading lead-free bullets like these ones…

    • Icabod

      True. I reload. However, I size the round as it comes out, and size it again before loading.

  • Bill

    Upside down primers sneak in sometimes. The first step in loading any gun is inspecting the ammo. I have a small collection of funky rounds, and ammo that guys were carrying that was obviously corroded, damaged, or the wrong caliber or gauge.

  • anon

    I saw this exact thing with blazer aluminum case 9×19 at an IDPA match in jacksonville in 2011.

    I was chatting with a guy while he was loading his glock mags, and i noticed it. He was pretty thankful that i pointed it out.

  • Philip Williams

    One of these things is not like the others.

    • That’s one of those fancy new lead free primers!

    • GaryOlson

      Subprime ammo — just like banking only with less bang.

    • avconsumer2

      Looks like one of the CA legal rounds got mixed in.

  • Schadavi

    Also always make sure to check old ammo.

  • Lalahsghost

    Has anyone ever contacted a company about bunk ammo?

    What were your results?

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      These guys found a mouse in a bullet and heard you can get, like, free bullets.

      • Limousine Liberal

        That fact that I am only the second person to ‘like’ this in 7hrs makes me deeply sad.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          I guess that makes us the only old guys who remember that awesome movie.

        • 277Volt

          Several years back when my niece and nephew were 12 and 17 respectively I made sure they watched it. They loved it.

    • Limousine Liberal

      After acquiring 1K rounds of Speer G2 9mm ammo I saw the terrible gel tests on the web. I reached out to Speer and they had me send it all in — replaced it with tried and true 124gr +P GDHPs.

  • Grindstone50k

    I kind of want him to fire it just to see.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Man, I’d be of two very conflicted minds.

    On one hand, I would want to keep it as a conversation piece. On the other hand, I’d love to chamber it and fire it (should be able to knock it right out with a rod afterwards) and keep it, again, as a conversation piece.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      It could be dangerous to assume they only effed up one part of that bullet.

      • guest

        Or one round in that box. I’m wondering what other problems are present in that batch that aren’t so readily visible.

  • Charles

    Had something similar with a Remington .38 Special round. They offered to trade for it but wasn’t worth the hassle to me and apparently not for them either. Note the ring just above the rim, which is why it wouldn’t chamber.

    • Giolli Joker

      That’s a belted case.
      .38 Weatherby Magnum.

      • Captain Kirk


  • Rodford Smith

    I once had a box of factory reloaded 9X19 in which one case was actually a .380 ACP.

    Another time a box of major brand name factory .40 S&W ammo had one round with the primer in sideways.

    • Phil Elliott

      I have Two 9mm’s with no primer and NO flashole, both from a Major Manufacturer

  • Captain Kirk

    Good advice. Of the millions of rounds these factories churn out, Murphy’s Law dictates that some will be less than perfect.

  • jcitizen

    SPACE bullets! 😉

  • jcitizen

    I catch ’em once in a great while – I keep them in my ammo collection, as they are a great curiosity to me. I probably shouldn’t show them to newbies trying to get interested in shooting – they may beg off!