Rotate Your Ammo

by
posted on July 30, 2013
sinews.jpg (18)

I have three carry guns: A Glock G26 that gets carried a lot, a Glock G19 serving primarily my "truck pistol" and a five shot .38 Spl. revolver with me when I do PT and as my backup gun if I am wearing long pants. For spare ammo, I have a 17-round 9 mm mag as a reload for the Glocks and two, eight-round Speed Strips for the .38.

The revolver is carried either on my left ankle when I have long pants on, or inside a Pistolwear holster in front of my crotch while running or wearing shorts in the summer. Either way, the .38 Spl. and its ammunition get exposed to more sweat and cooties than either Glock, particularly the ammo.

Most shooters know they should rotate ammo in their defensive firearms. I have heard various theories on when to do so—cops have stated they fire their carry ammunition during qualification, and then reload with fresh fodder. That could mean 3, 6 or even 12 months with the same ammo in your gun. Some frugal folks (that includes me) have sometimes downloaded expensive expanding hollow-point ammo and replaced it with FMJ when it is time to train.

For the last few months, I have had very little time to train myself because I've been training others. Finally, I get some "alone" time on my range, so I pull my .38 Spl. out of the ankle holster and plan to put all five rounds onto a steel target. The gun goes bang three times and click twice. I cycle through all chambers again and get one more bang. Another five attempts resulted in five clicks. I reloaded from one of the speed strips and had five good rounds. Of the remaining 11 rounds, I had another failure to fire. These rounds had been in my pocket and in that gun for three months in the Texas heat and humidity, and were exposed to a fair amount of sweat and temperature changes as I went from 100 degrees to 72 degrees, with humidity almost constantly above 70 percent.

As a comparison, all the 9 mm fired without fail, and they had been loaded for about the same amount of time. The fresh box of 50 rounds I pulled out for the .38 Spl. all fired without any problems.

The moral of the story is to rotate your ammo more frequently if it is more exposed to the elements. If you can't get to a range, dump it in a ziplock marked "Not For Carry" and shoot it when you do go train. This advice is not the result of a scientific study—I just wanted to pass on that if I had to use my wheelgun to save my life, 40 percent of the ammo failed to fire the first time around the cylinder.

Not good.

Latest

Mossberg 500 and 590 shotguns
Mossberg 500 and 590 shotguns

Mossberg 500 and 590: America’s Defensive Shotguns

Since 1961, the O.F. (Oscar Frederick) Mossberg company has sold more than 11 million of its Model 500 pump-action shotguns, making it the most popular shotgun of all time, if not one of the most sold guns in any category, period.

Customizing the Colt Detective Special

Got a gun with that has seen better days? Perhaps Grandpa’s favorite gun was obviously “well loved?” Talented gunsmiths and other artisans are out there who can give your favorite firearm a much-needed face-lift.

First Look: Dead Air Armament Primal Suppressor

Dead Air Armament is adding the Primal, a new.46-caliber magnum rated suppressor to their lineup of firearms sound suppressors.

9/11 20 Years Later: A Special Smith & Wesson

There are still heroes in this world. We mourn the loss of one some 20 years later on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Why Defensive Firearms Training is So Important

Yes, you may never have to fire your handgun in defense of your life or family, but the possibility always exists.

Review: Smith & Wesson Shield Plus

In retrospect, Smith & Wesson had nobody to blame for the situation but themselves. The company didn’t invent the subcompact, lightweight, single-stack nine, of course. Walther and Beretta had preceded the original Shield to market by a few years with the PPS and the Nano, respectively, and Kahr had more or less created the niche back in the 1990s.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.