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Discussion Starter #1
Just opened my first box of Critical Defense ammo in .357 mag. The lot # is 3101527 with gold primers. I'm shooting a S&W 4" model 686. I fired 12 rounds from the box and had problems with 3 of them. The primers seem to be mushrooming up & will not allow the cylinder to rotate. After some effort I can get the cylinder to open and I can see where the back of the revolver has been scratched from the primer. I have 2 boxes from this lot and 3 other boxes from different lots. They all have gold primers. I certainly have no confidence in this ammo to be used for self defense and it's pretty expensive target ammo. Not to mention the damage that it is doing to the revolver. Can someone please contact me regarding this serious issue?

The above is a message that I sent to Hornady two weeks ago with no response yet. Figured I'd give them a chance to respond before going public. Has anyone else had any problems with this ammo? I used Federal Hydra-Shok and Remington Golden Saber with no problems on the same trip to the range.
 

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The marks you see from the primers are actually the soft brass metal from the primer cup rubbing off on the steel of the revolver frame. Primers are made of brass. I have never fired Hornady commercial SD ammo so I cannot offer anything in that area.

Allen
 

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I ran an ammo & caliber test 2 years ago at my gun club. The only ammo that did not go Bang, was the Hornady self-defense ammo. It took Hornady several months before they reimbursed me for my loss. Ammo just did not go BANG!!!:eek: :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Allen, the marks are actual scratches deep enough that I can feel them with my fingernail. Looking at them under a glass, seems like a couple of the primers are actually lifting. In the other cases the spot where the pin hit is mushrooming up enough to stop the cylinder rotation. Like I said, no confidence carrying this ammo but it's pretty expensive and if it's going to keep scratching the gun I don't want to use it at all. I just hope that Hornady stands by their product. I'll call them today.
Are there any manufacturing standards that are supposed to be met? I never thought about this before.
 

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Sounds like the primers cratered around the firing pin.Cratering can be caused by several conditions and not always the fault of the ammo.If it were gun related I would think it would have happened before.Could be the pressures are a bit on the high side.I have fired some through my Chief's Special without any problems but have not fired them a lot. Hornady has always had a good reputation for standing behind their products.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I finally got in touch with a Hornady rep on the phone yesterday. He told me that he, personally, had not received any complaints like mine. Because of the lighter bullet (125 gr.) it is not a hot load. We went thru a couple of possibilities after I e-mailed him pics of the rounds and revolver. Since the casings dropped right out of the cylinder after firing, it probably isn't an expansion issue. They use nickel instead of brass to prevent excessive expansion. I've fired different ammo from different manufacturers in both brass & nickel with no problems. I've had the revolver for 7 years with no previous issues. He told me to open the other boxes from the different lots & see if there is the same issue. I'll then call him with the results. Something I found interesting, though. He said that Hornady has quite a collection of guns that they test fire from. If Hornady or one of their employees does not have my model of revolver, to test, they will contact S&W to get one. Anyway, bottom line is that if any of the ammo is faulty they will make good on it. I don't know exactly what that means but, at least, they seem to be willing to try working it out. Can't get to the range until next week but I'll post again with results.
 

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Maybe with low pressure the case is not expanding enough to stay put in the chamber.Causing the primer to back out slightly on first ignition, then the case moves back in the chamber against the firing pin causing the primer to crater.Nickle cases being slicker that may explain it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Finally got to the range to test my ammo. I found three different lots that are hanging up the revolver cylinder. Called Hornady & they took all my info about the ammo, gun & how I was firing it & what happened. They are e-mailing me a UPS label to send the ammo back to them for testing. Should take about three weeks. He cautioned me to really tape up my shipping box because most of their private returns come back to them damaged. Almost like someone deliberately tried to damage it.
Brings me to another point, though. I never thought about something like this with factory self-defense ammo. I guess, in the future, I will always test a few rounds out of every box of ammo that I buy. I never expect to find myself in a bad position where I need a gun (I have a permit to carry & do) but if I do, I need to know what's in my hand & have the confidence in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update from Hornady. They told me that the lots I sent him used S&B primers which they no longer use. They used these primers in 2011 & 2012 because of shortages. Hornady normally use Winchester primers. They are sending me replacement ammo with the Winchester primers. I feel much better about Hornady service. They took the time to explain their manufacturing processes & what could possibly go wrong & why.
 

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I have their XTP ammo & their Golden Sabor ammo in 9Mm, 45 ACP & 357Mag,40 Cal & never ever any problems with them. I do use them in any of my SD guns with no Hesitations at all.
 

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Golden Saber is Remington. I carried it for exactly one year. Then when I cycled it, one round didn't fire.

Now I carry reloads with Federal Match primers. I've had primer failures with Winchester primers, they're quite hard. Good for carrying, I suppose, good for handling, not so good for shooting, particularly in a weapon that has springs that aren't brand new.
 

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Thank you for the status updates tunnels. Will you buy Hornady Critical Defense ammo again? Did they do a good job of keeping you satisfied as a customer?

I was shooting Hornady Critical Defense this afternoon and I had no problems, looks like same load too, .357 magnum, 125 gr, 1500 FPS, FTX bullet, nickel plated case, gold primer, red plastic in bullet cavity, and a factory crimp. I like the easy recoil, and accuracy was good too.

They claim less flash but I haven't tried it in the dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sorry it took so long for a response. Yes, I will buy Hornady again. There was never an issue with accuracy which would have been a big deal for me. Like I said, they answered my questions and the new ammo, at the range worked fine. Since they do not manufacture their own primers, I can see how this could happen. I guess it could happen to anybody who reloads, as well. Now, whenever I buy ammo, i'll always test fire the box before depending on it for carry.
 
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