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Thread: Preferred ammunition for self defense?

  1. #1
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    After looking through the ammo I carry in my Taurus PT 1911 I noticed that most rounds looked to be recessed to the point where they are no longer usable. I'm wondering if its because of the type (Federal Hydrashock) because I tested a brand new round and after loading it into the chamber twice it had recessed to the point where I couldn't use it anymore yet when I used my target shooting round (Wolf FMJ) it didn't recess at all.

    Any suggestions on what the problem may be or should I just change my carry ammo?

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    You need to "cycle" your carry ammo.

    The recessing tells me that you have had this ammo for some time as you have obviously loaded and reloaded this particular round several times into your chamber of your carry gun.

    I know self defense ammo is expensive and ammo in general is hard to find but you really do need to change out what you carry from time to time. Shooting the old carry ammo also lets you know how your gun functions with the hotter self defense loads andwhere your point of aim (POA) is.

    How often?
    This all varies to how much you shoot and can afford. But in general every 6 months to at least a year.

    Why? So, like keeping your carry gun clean it ensures you the best chances of your sidearm to function the way you want when the time calls for it.


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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    This is called bullet set-back. It's a problem that occurs when chambering a round more than once. It can and has caused high-pressure situations that lead to kB!'s. Bullet set-back occurs when the bullet impacts the feed ramp on its way into the chamber. Doing this over and over will push the bullet back into the case and reduce the case volume.

    It has been covered many times before on this forum, but the general consensus is the way to avoid it is not to rechamber the round over and over again. I've heard of people that, when they have to unload their sidearm, take the chambered round and put it aside as "once chambered" and use it at the range for practice the next time they go. That way, it's only been chambered twice when it's fired.

    Most rounds you come across will suffer bullet set back unless they have a cannalure and the mouth of the case is crimped into it... not likely with pistol ammo and/or self-defense ammo.
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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    oldkim wrote:
    You need to "cycle" your carry ammo.
    This is an 'okay' suggestion and kind of matches what I said... but let me clarify something.

    Cycling your ammo is only necessary if you're talking about the one you've chambered. There is absolutely no need to change out the ammo that has not been chambered unless you think grit, lint, or gunk has gotten down into the magazine.

    Actually, regularly cycling your good ammo out of your mag will wear down the mag spring. Spring steel is worn down by three things: Use, excess stretching/compressing and excess heat/cold (but we're talking the kind that would likely kill a person).

    I do agree with oldkim that it's good to practice with the ammo you carry and one of the ways I get rid of the chambered round I have is to do exactly what is suggested; I use the ammo in the mag to run the first mag through at the range, then I practice with Winchester White Box (WWB) of the same grain-weight. I use Winchester Ranger SXT ammo, so it's the same grain bullet from the same company that makes my SD ammo... just a little less oomph in the WWB, so I can work on better techniques.
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    Thanks for the advice. I guess my problem started because I don't have my CPL yet so when I'm at home I like to keep one in the chamber but when I OC I have to take out the round, now I just don't keep one chambered. I was worried it might have been because they were Hydrashocks, I'd hate to change ammo because I like how they shoot.

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    oldkim wrote
    The recessing tells me that you have had this ammo for some time as you have obviously loaded and reloaded this particular round several times into your chamber of your carry gun.
    I only had the ammo since mid January of this year and like I said I loaded a "new" round twice before it was no longer usable, I say new because it had never been loaded.

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    All good advice above. If you actually start a discussion on "best" ammo it could start a flame war for days. I personally wouldn't carry Hydra shok anymore due to it's performance after going through thick clothing. If you would like to look at info on different defense ammo, check out this link to ar15.com.

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De..._FAQ/index.htm

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    Misguided Child wrote:
    All good advice above. If you actually start a discussion on "best" ammo it could start a flame war for days. I personally wouldn't carry Hydra shok anymore due to it's performance after going through thick clothing. If you would like to look at info on different defense ammo, check out this link to ar15.com.

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De..._FAQ/index.htm
    +1 on the Hydra shok: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot13.htm
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Bullet setback can be caused by repeated chambering and unloading. I have not had this issue with any of my handguns but it is possible. One thing that I have done to minimize, if not totally prevent this is to polish the feed ramps on the barrels of all my pistols. I don't mean just smooth with some 2,000 grit sandpaper, I mean polish. I use a Dremel tool, a buffer wheel, and some jewler's rouge. The ramps look like concave mirrors. This really helps when your round of choice is a hollow point.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    I don't have that problem when I unload and reload with the same ammo. I shoot a wheel gun!!!:celebrate:celebrate

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    I said I loaded a "new" round twice before it was no longer usable
    Wait--you take a brand-new from the factory round, chamber it twice, and it's already set back so far it's unusable? That seems pretty extreme to me--what about the rest of you?


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    kparker wrote:
    I said I loaded a "new" round twice before it was no longer usable
    Wait--you take a brand-new from the factory round, chamber it twice, and it's already set back so far it's unusable?* That seems pretty extreme to me--what about the rest of yo
    My 1911 will set-back ball ammo after I chamber it about 2-3 times. The Hydrashock I carry I can chamber quite a bit with out setback, actually I have never had any setback with any hydrashock rounds...

    My Sig I have never had a problem with, no matter what I ammo I am using...

    Sounds like there might be a problem with the gun... I do remember reading somewhere online about a setback problem with a PT1911 because I was thinking of buying one... just cant rememberI read it now where now...

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    I've never had noticeable setback in my Sig or the Kimber.

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    Ive never had noticable setback with my USP. I have WWB 147gr JHPs. The last set I just got rid of I had at least 4 months through numerous reloadings. I tried to cycle the ammo around so no single round was getting hit all the time. I checked them a couple times and never saw much difference.

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    MadHatter66 wrote:
    kparker wrote:
    I said I loaded a "new" round twice before it was no longer usable
    Wait--you take a brand-new from the factory round, chamber it twice, and it's already set back so far it's unusable? That seems pretty extreme to me--what about the rest of yo
    Sounds like there might be a problem with the gun... I do remember reading somewhere online about a setback problem with a PT1911 because I was thinking of buying one... just cant rememberI read it now where now...
    I thought it was the gun, however I have no set-back at all from ball ammo (tried some other brands last night).

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    My preferred SD ammo is Winchester Ranger 127gr +P+ 9mm

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    Could just be a bad batch of ammo with bad crimping.







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    FunkTrooper wrote:
    Thanks for the advice. I guess my problem started because I don't have my CPL yet so when I'm at home I like to keep one in the chamber but when I OC I have to take out the round, now I just don't keep one chambered. I was worried it might have been because they were Hydrashocks, I'd hate to change ammo because I like how they shoot.
    Wait... Why do you have to take out the round?

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    Some set back seems normal to me. But there are things you should check if it seems "extreme". In particular, if the magazine catch is plastic on your PT1911 (not sure if it is), then it could be worn down from repeated magazine insertions/general carry wear. This will cause the magazine to sit slightly lower than it should be and when you go to chamber a round it will hit the feed ramp, compress in some, and keep going on its way (or eventually, if your catch is very worn, stove pipe, causing a FTF). I've been there -- done that -- with a Para.

    A catch is < $10. Brownells sells everything you need in terms of replacement parts. I highly recommend metal, as my good old real Colt 1911 doesn't have any plastic on it at all and it feeds and feels damn nice :-)

    And p.s. if you don't feel comfortable with C&L carry on a 1911 you might consider switching to something else. A Para with the LDA trigger, while finicky for the first few hundred rounds, will act a lot like your 1911 but bring you peace of mind if that hammer standing ready to go bothers you...

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    Two things I'd like to add to this conversation. Firstly, I have unloaded and reloaded the same round dozens of times and fired it without fail. There is no need to slam your slide forward, simply guide it till it's in place. (This is with my .40 Glock, btw. The favorite KBoom! gun).

    Secondly, magazines are not the same as they were 50 years ago. I have left clips for my Sig Sauer and Glock loaded for 6-8 months before and shot them off at the range with no failures. Quality handguns are made for rigorous and extreme conditions and preform as such.

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    I don't mind leaving my 1911 C&L, I just thought you can't leave one chambered unless you have a CPL.

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    Trigger Dr wrote:
    I don't have that problem when I unload and reload with the same ammo. I shoot a wheel gun!!!:celebrate:celebrate
    +1!:celebrate

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    FunkTrooper wrote:
    I don't mind leaving my 1911 C&L, I just thought you can't leave one chambered unless you have a CPL.
    There is nothing in the law of Washington that requires that, unless you are in a vehicle. THEN the gun has to be unloaded unless you have a CPL.
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    j2l3 wrote:
    FunkTrooper wrote:
    I don't mind leaving my 1911 C&L, I just thought you can't leave one chambered unless you have a CPL.
    There is nothing in the law of Washington that requires that, unless you are in a vehicle. THEN the gun has to be unloaded unless you have a CPL.
    And to further clarify loaded also means a magazine in a gun, even if a round isn't chambered, in Washington.

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    I don't have that problem when I unload and reload with the same ammo. I shoot a wheel gun!!!



    +2 :celebrate:celebrate

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