Sunday, November 27, 2011

Forty Short & Wimpy: Still kaBOOMing, after all these years

My Friend Gary the T-Man has started out sending (with permission) quotes from a highly respected firearms training facility.

This is one of the latest (November 23, 2011) "quips":

Subject: [Dtiquips] No Free Lunch!

23 Nov 11

No free lunch! This from a Range Officer with a big department:

"We ruined one of our department's G35 pistols (40S&W) last week.

During a range exercise, one of our Deputies experienced catastrophic
splitting of the pistol's frame, along with ballistic ejection of the
magazine. No significant injury, but the pistol itself is toast!

We found the offending case. It was split its entire length.

We started reloading our own training ammunition a year ago, due to the exponentially-increasing cost of new ammunition. Since, we're had a few incidents, this being the worst.

It seems, with high-pressure cartridges like the 40S&W, expansion during the firing process weakens brass cases far more than is the case with lower-pressure cartridges, and the phenomenon is not confined to Glocks. I suspect this is one reason Glock recommends against using reloaded ammunition, for any purpose!

In any event, we've reluctantly concluded that using 40S&W reloads, even for practice, represents false economy."

Comment: My friend is right! I, along with Glock, strongly recommend
against reloading 40S&W, 357SIG, and 45GAP cases, even once. Ruined guns, and personal injury, will quickly negate any savings in ammunition cost.

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I've been bad-mouthing both the .40 Short and Wimpy cartridge, and Glock pistols, for years. (Search this website for the keyword "Kaboom".) Perhaps I have been overly critical.

On the other hand, in the past 10 years most of the "KaBOOM!" events I have witnessed, either directly or immediately thereafter, have involved either a Glock or a .40 S&W cartridge .. usually both, in combination.

A couple of years ago I conceded that this destructive malfunctions, perhaps caused by this combination, have greatly diminished; most probably because Glock incorporated better barrels (Fully supported) in their .40S&W chambered barrels.

Apparently, this has not yet been entirely successful in totally eliminating the "KaBoom!" factor.


Two of the primary reasons for the alarming amount of explosions of .40S&W ammunition have been (a) competitors reloading ammunition with very fast-burning powder, which reaches a peak pressure exceeding the ammunition design, and (b) using competition-loaded ammunition in pistols without fully supported chambers.

Relatively recent design/production changes, which incorporated fully-supported chambers in GLOCK barrels, supposedly "eliminated" these problems. It now appears that it has reduced, but not entirely eliminated, that problem.

This "KaBoom!" factor is the primary reason why, when I ordered an STI Edge in 2000, I specified 10mm caliber rather than .40 S&W. The Mighty Ten has a much stronger case than the .40 S&W, especially in the region near the base ... where most "KaBOOM!" events occur because the unsupported case AND the relatively weak case design usually result in explosive detonation.

In ten years of competition, I have never experienced a "KaBOOM!" detonation using a 10mm pistol/case, with a fully supported chamber, after thousands of rounds of major-power ammunition with USED ammunition, loading Vihti Vourhi N320 powder behind 200gr Montana Gold bullets.

Glock and Reloaded Ammunition:
Glock has, as the article specifies, ALWAYS warned owners against the use of 'reloaded" ammunition. This article demonstrates why that is a prudent precaution.

Unfortunately, when one is competing with ammunition which can cost approximately $16 per box of 50 (and up!), and expecting to use 'about' 150 rounds of ammunition in a match ... the $45+ cost of ammunition (plus the match fees, travel, etc.) places the cost of competition outside the range of fiscal ability for most of us, except for perhaps one match per month.

Most pistol ammunition is reloadable for $7 to $10 per box of 50 (assuming reasonable retrieval of expended brass), which is sufficient to allow TWO club matches a month, for the same or less price of using factory ammunition. (Probably less for 9mm.)

But Glock says "Do not use reloaded ammunition" for ALL of its products, even the Glock 17.

I agree, the cost of using factory ammunition is FAR less than the cost of replacing a pistol .. or worse, the pain and expense of hospital bills in the worst cases.

Still .... why shouldn't I accept both safety AND economy, if it's available in a different pistol/caliber combination?

Christmas, already?

Do you remember when the Christmas Season started ... well, around Christmas?

Me, too.

No more ...

(H/T: Gary T-man)