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Saturday, October 23, 2010

OAL/Crimp Issues in Remington 30-30 Factory Loads
*Updated 11/11/10

I received this from ‘Blake in Georgia’ and am reposting it here as a heads-up to the many folks who like the 30-30, and may be buying up ammo ahead of the hunting season. You can click on any photo in the series, if you wish to view a larger version. My experience with this guy is that he’s genuine- not someone who’d post a BS complaint. Blake wrote:

Alright, I'm experiencing a new phenomenon with my 1989 Glenfield 30A (marlin 336). I noticed that several cartridges that had been worked through the action a couple of times were experiencing some serious bullet setback. They were factory Remington 170gr Core Lokts so I thought maybe a bad batch with poor crimp. I decided Friday that I would carry Federal blue box 170s this weekend for the deer opener. Saturday I carried 4 in the magazine, 1 in the chamber with hammer on half cock. At the end of the day I pulled them out and the bullets in the magazine had moved back about 1millimeter, or enough to halfway cover the crimp mark on the bullet.

Yesterday I only loaded 2 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber and kept 2 in my pocket. When I got in last night I unloaded the magazine through the loading gate and removed the chambered round. The cartridges in the magazine were set back about 1millimeter again, and the cartridge that was loaded directly into the chamber by hand was still factory spec.

Here is a picture of the factory Remington Core Lokt 170s, all 7 had been in the mag and through the action at least once, probably twice or more. The horizontal cartridge is one that is fresh from another box.

Here is a picture of the new factory Federal blue box 170s, all were fresh Saturday morning.

So what's the issue here? I've hunted with this gun or one just like it since I started deer hunting and I've never noticed this happening. Is something wrong with my rifle? It's all original 1989 parts. Maybe two random boxes of bad ammo?

On a side note, should I throw out the really short Remington cartridge? I'm guessing the others will suffer in the accuracy department so I'll save them for plinking. The Federals aren't bad enough yet for me to pass on them but they may be after another trip into the magazine tube.

This was a brand new sealed box. Inconsistent setbacks. J02:

This was a brand new sealed box. DIFFERENT LOT "H24." You can see weird crimp marks on the brass on a couple and still inconsistent setback. H24

Another sealed box. Weird crimps and setbacks. ANOTHER DIFFERENT LOT: K13:

I opened 2 other sealed boxes of Lot H24 and they looked like the others with the weird crimps and setbacks.

Here is what that last sealed box looked like. Lot H17:

Just for a sanity check I went and handled every single other 30-30 cartridge in my box, all 280 rounds, Winchester and Federal. Only one single slightly "off" setback on one cartridge in a box of Federal red box, which is like $9/box at WalMart - I think it's their "house" packaging.

Do I have any course of action here? Should I contact Remington or something? I know I won't be buying ANY MORE Remington ammunition and I hope there is a way for me to get rid of this and recoup my cost.

I wrote that I've left 30-30 reloads in tubular magazines throughout the hunting season; I've also left Federal and Winchester factory loads in 94 Winchesters, stowed in the trunk of a patrol car, for months on end. The soft, exposed point of the bullet gets flattened out but the bullet does not-and must not-set back in the case. When the bullet sets back in a cartridge, it has the same effect on pressure as if you 'shaved the heads' on an engine. You are shortening the compression chamber and pressure can only go up. When it goes up too much, something blows. I added that most of what he photographed would not be unsafe to shoot, except perhaps the shortest one(s). I suggested that of he shot any of the other  inconsistently-seated and crimped cartridges, he should single-load them.

Blake contacted Remington and here’s the results of his first attempt-

Wow, I just called the Remington ammunition plant and got laughed off the phone. They said that OAL cartridge length has no impact on anything and that the ammo is fine no matter how far the bullet is back in the case as long as it's not loose. They said to go shoot a bunch and if there is a problem to let them know. I asked if they would warranty my rifle if their ammo damages it and they just cackled that their ammo won't do anything to my rifle.

Unfortunately right now they just lost a customer from that one interaction and I let them know, although I don't think they care.

But then, there’s that old ‘picture worth a thousand words’ thing and it worked to his advantage-

Ok. I sent an email with all the pictures to the main Remington email address. I then called customer service and spoke to a man who agreed with me that compressed rounds aren't "just fine." He had someone from the ammo plant call me and they are going to send me a FedEx box to send them all 9 boxes.

I guess they'll inspect them and reimburse me.

I was on a work call so I missed the call from Remington and they left a message. It sounded like the lady from earlier who told me they were just fine to shoot even once they are compressed.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how long it takes.

Interesting, indeed. You cannot produce the volume of ammunition that Remington does, without having an occasional problem slip through the QC net. It’s bad when it happens, but the measure of Remington will be how they handle Blake’s problem- and whether they recall certain lots of ammunition.

We’ll keep you posted here.

*Today, 11/05/10, Blake received his response from Remington which reads as follows:

November 2, 2010

Dear Sir,

Thank you for sending in the 162 unfired rounds of Remington R30302 ammunition. Our ballistic technician found insufficient crimp on some of the rounds you returned. The bullets need to be crimped to prevent a telescoped bullet into the shell case. Further testing did not reveal any other defects. We do apologize for the defect and are sorry for the inconvenience.

A sample no charge order for 9 fresh boxes of Remington R30302 ammunition has been placed to replace the rounds you returned. Please allow 15 working days for the order to complete. Thank you for your support of Remington products.

Bill Conrad
Product Service

Now you would think that would settle the matter, right? Well, not quite. Blake received his 'replacement' ammo from Remington today, November 11, 2010. He writes the final chapter in this story, as follows:

I received the 9 new boxes of 170gr 30-30 from Remington today and am not impressed. They all look just like the last batch in terms of weird brass marks, brass lengths, etc. They all look crimped just fine but I can grab some by the case and push them against the notepad on my desk and push the bullet back just far enough that the marks on the bullet slide under the brass. Is that a problem or is it normal?

I will say that visually the quality looks poor compared to Federal and Winchester

This is sad conduct from what used to be a pretty good outfit. I saw little things that pushed me away from Remington ammo, over the years, but I always wrote them off as the production line having a bad day, etc. If Remington is so far gone that they replace lousy ammo, with more lousy ammo, they don't need any of my business. I guess we'll see how many of our fellow shooters agree.


Anonymous Harry said...

A cautionary tale indeed, Sarge. I won't being buying anymore Remington ammo until I hear their QA has improved.

Friday, December 17, 2010 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

After reading about the poorly manufactured ammo i decided to check some remington 150 grain bullets that have on hand. I too noticed some very inconsistant loads, with the same problems mentioned by Blake. I also shoot a Marlin, a model 30as (not a glenfield but probably very similar to Blakes rifle). I have always found this to be a very accurate gun, it is one of my favorites,and have always used remington 150's because they seemed to perform the best in my marlin. Accuracy from what i have seen doesnt seem too suffer with this ammo. But the problems
mentioned by Blake and witnessed by myself definately make me question the quality and safety of this ammo. It is very upsetting to hear of the terrible sevice from the remington factory as well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Sarge said...

Dang Ben, sorry to hear that you got a bad batch too. About all you can do is contact the company and ask if they'll send you a shipping label. Once it got on the way, I believe I'd call and ask for a refund.

Friday, March 25, 2011 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Yeah I think I'll switch back to winchester ammo. Its worth the extra 47 cents per box for the peace of mind. I've never had a problem with winchester ammo in any caliber. Might have to adjust my sight a little.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:56:00 PM  

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