Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I have always made it a practice to not shoot reloaded ammunition if I had NOT reloaded it myself... and I tend to load some fairly radical stuff, myself. About 6 years ago, and toward the beginning of the ammo crunch, I was living in Oregon and I had just purchased a new Glock 26 (9x19mm) from a locally-owned, trusted gun shop. I took my new prize home, and cleaned and lightly lubed it. I had no room to setup my reloading press where I lived, but I still liked to practice. The cost of a box of new 9mm FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) practice ammunition (and all others) had just about doubled overnight! The price of my G26 had a significant impact on my wallet, and my dealer said there were no savings to be found on factory ammo. Then came this little "ray of sunshine"...

He had just spent $17K on a completely automatic, Dillon commercial reloader, and had some 9mm, 115gr FMJ  reloads available for about $7 less (per 50) than factory ammo. Thinking that this would be an affordable way to test my new G26, I grabbed what remained of a box of 9mm factory Remington loads (about 15 rounds), ran by Wil's and bought 50 rounds, and then I was off to the range!

Loaded up my old Remington ammo, and went thru the first magazine flawlessly. For each squeeze of the trigger, there was an appropriate and expected **BANG**, and there was light showing thru the 15 holes in the black part of my target. I loaded up another magazine, pushed it into place, addressed my target, and squeezed off the first round. Something didn't feel right... the slide had failed to "return to battery" (go all the way closed as it should)! I looked down into the port, and the first empty case had failed to eject for some reason, and the nose of the next round was pressed against the back of that case, holding the slide open. I cleared the jam, removed my magazine, and extracted the empty case by working the slide. I was concerned about the failure to extract... since my other Glock 9mm had never failed to anything, and it was about 20 years old then. I did a quick field strip of the G26, removed the barrel, and held it up to my eye - I could not see daylight - an indication that there was an obstruction in the barrel, which ended my day at the range.

Upon returning home, I placed the G26 barrel vertically into a wood vice, slipped a brass rod into the chamber until it rested on the obstruction, and gave it one rap with a hammer. The bullet fell clear, and - in compliance with Newton's law of gravity - landed on the floor. I picked it up, grabbed my digital micrometer, and checked the diameter three times (0.399", 0.040", 0.399") which is 0.044-0.045" larger (45/1000") than the 0.355" diameter of a 9mm bullet. That's only about the size of an angel's pubic hair, but it moves the bullet diameter from 9mm up to .40cal! This called for a trip back to my trusted gun dealer, who became absolutely livid over the error, refunded the cost of the ammo (Glocks are indestructible), apologized, and explained that he didn't operate the machine himself. He had hired somebody who was (ostensibly) knowledgeable in the mechanics of reloading to monitor and feed the Dillon reloader. Inattention cannot be condoned when one is involved with gunpowder, or any other component used in the production of ammunition!  My experience was not one of "clear and present danger", other than for the fact there was a firearm involved. The conditions created by an incorrect projectile size posed no particular threat to life or limb, whereas an error in any other aspect could prove fatal to the shooter. When you trust others, you do so at your own risk!

Here's the way I see the ammunition situation today...
1. It was a manufactured shortage, created by the government, when DHS ordered 4 BILLION rounds of assorted (9mm, .40S&W, 5.56mm & 7.62mm) ammunition. This rendered the manufacturers equipment inaccessible for production of civilian orders.
2. It was an attempt to create a de facto means of eliminating civilian firearms. Without ammo, a firearm is only useful as an impact weapon - like a club, or a baseball bat.
3. The nonavailability of the most popular ammunition is finally beginning to relax, but that doesn't mean it will return to 2008 pricing. It's difficult for retailers to surrender that extra profit.

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