Trouble with Buffalo Bore ammunition

This is a discussion on Trouble with Buffalo Bore ammunition within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a couple of boxes of Buffalo Bore 38 special ammo that would not fit in a new Ruger LCR revolver. My first thought ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array a__l__a__n's Avatar
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    Trouble with Buffalo Bore ammunition

    I have a couple of boxes of Buffalo Bore 38 special ammo that would not fit in a new Ruger LCR revolver. My first thought was that I would have to send the gun back to be fixed. But fortunately I have the 38 special reloading dies, and a quick trip through the resizing die fixed the ammunition so it fits just fine.

    Has anyone else had this kind of problem?

    This would be a real problem if it happened in front of a bad guy. Now I wonder whether I need to try every round of commercial ammunition I buy to make sure it is properly sized.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Has anyone else had this kind of problem?
    No. Have not had the problem. BB 158 grain lswc is what my LCR is loaded with for carry as we speak.

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    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    My boxes of Buffalo Bore .38 Special 158 grain LSWCGC normal pressure and +P pressure cartridges fit properly (no insertion resistance) into the chambers in the cylinder of my S&W 638, if that is of any help. No running through the resizing die required.

    Of course you should always examine every single round of ammunition you intend to use for personal defense by visually inspecting it for cracks, damaged case mouth, tilted bullet, loose (rotating) bullet, protruding bullet, proper length over-all of the loaded cartridge, presence of a primer, primer not protruding, cartridge fits into chamber, etc. Many people, including me, weigh their self-defense cartridges on a sensitive scale to assure that there is actually a charge of powder inside the case. A squib round on the firing range is bad enough; in a self-defense situation it is absolutely unacceptable.

    I was taught to do all these checks I was a young pup just starting out in shooting. Doesn't everyone do all these checks?

    Have you contacted Buffalo Bore?

    Why are you "fixing" production ammunition instead of sending it back to the factory for replacement? If your cases were not sized or crimped properly (I can't tell which from your description) then Buffalo Bore needs to know the lot number so they can fix their production process and recall that lot from stores. You have a responsibility to the rest of us shooters to tell the Buffalo Bore factory about the problem you encountered immediately.
    Last edited by marcclarke; November 28th, 2011 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Added omitted word "cartridges" in first sentence.
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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    you may have a condition known as 'tolerance stacking'

    perhaps BB's sized that run to the large acceptabl size and your pistol has chambers cut on the small acceptable
    or BB had a bad run...id at least contact them and have a pleasent chat.
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    Member Array a__l__a__n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcclarke View Post
    My boxes of Buffalo Bore .38 Special 158 grain LSWCGC normal pressure and +P pressure fit properly (no insertion resistance) into the chambers in the cylinder of my S&W 638, if that is of any help. No running through the resizing die required.

    Of course you should always examine every single round of ammunition you intend to use for personal defense by visually inspecting it for cracks, damaged case mouth, tilted bullet, loose (rotating) bullet, protruding bullet, proper length over-all of the loaded cartridge, presence of a primer, primer not protruding, cartridge fits into chamber, etc. Many people, including me, weigh their self-defense cartridges on a sensitive scale to assure that there is actually a charge of powder inside the case. A squib round on the firing range is bad enough; in a self-defense situation it is absolutely unacceptable.

    I was taught to do all these checks I was a young pup just starting out in shooting. Doesn't everyone do all these checks?

    Have you contacted Buffalo Bore?

    Why are you "fixing" production ammunition instead of sending it back to the factory for replacement? If your cases were not sized or crimped properly (I can't tell which from your description) then Buffalo Bore needs to know the lot number so they can fix their production process and recall that lot from stores. You have a responsibility to the rest of us shooters to tell the Buffalo Bore factory about the problem you encountered immediately.
    I will contact Buffalo Bore so they will be aware.

    The rounds were crimped, and the ammo did fit in a different revolver (although more snugly than it should). I've fired a few rounds of it in that revolver without issue. It appears to me that it is simply a matter of the final re-sizing step being skipped.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claude clay View Post
    you may have a condition known as 'tolerance stacking'

    perhaps BB's sized that run to the large acceptable size and your pistol has chambers cut on the small acceptable
    or BB had a bad run...id at least contact them and have a pleasant chat.
    Ahem. (Please remember that I am an engineer by training and trade.) No, the maximum tolerance for a cartridge will *always* fit into the minimum tolerance for a cylinder or a chamber. There is no overlap in the specifications. (Please check the specifications for yourself if you don't follow what I am saying.) No engineer would ever design a system where in-tolerances cartridges would not fit into an in-tolerance chamber or cylinder. In the case of the old black powder .38 Special cartridges all these tolerances were worked out about a century ago and locked down by US Military specifications back in the late 1800s or the early 1900s.

    I do agree that the Buffalo Bore cartridges in question were out-of-tolerance (on the large side). This is a production line problem Buffalo Bore needs to be made aware of so they can correct it. The production line manager will have a heart attack when he or she learns that BB was shipping out-of-tolerance cartridges. The CEO will be brought into the loop. The corporate attorney will be brought into the loop.

    Standard procedure for this sort of production-line screw-up is to ask the person reporting the problem to return the ammunition to the factory at the factory's expense and for the factory to replace the mus-manufactured ammunition, usually with an extra box or two of ammunition thrown in for good measure. The corporate attorney really does not want a report of the problem with sample cartridges to be sent up to the BATF (or whatever they are called these days) so the factory will want to handle the issue quietly and discretely and to have the out-of-tolerance cartridges all sent back to the factory for discrete disposal.

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    Member Array a__l__a__n's Avatar
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    FYI, BB responded confirming that their last batch of 20E had some chambering issues in certain revolvers. Mine wasn't their first correspondence on the subject. They say they've corrected the problem.

    I'm sure they produce a quality product and this was a rare mistake. But I think people should be aware it has happened. It's not the sort of thing that should be swept under the rug.

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a__l__a__n View Post
    FYI, BB responded confirming that their last batch of 20E had some chambering issues in certain revolvers. Mine wasn't their first correspondence on the subject. They say they've corrected the problem.

    I'm sure they produce a quality product and this was a rare mistake. But I think people should be aware it has happened. It's not the sort of thing that should be swept under the rug.
    Agreed,

    Thanks for the heads up...
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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a__l__a__n View Post
    FYI, BB responded confirming that their last batch of 20E had some chambering issues in certain revolvers. Mine wasn't their first correspondence on the subject. They say they've corrected the problem.

    I'm sure they produce a quality product and this was a rare mistake. But I think people should be aware it has happened. It's not the sort of thing that should be swept under the rug.
    That is as I expected. I trust you will be compensated.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Buy Double Tap. Also, not knowing how much or what burning rate that powder is, I wouldnt fire it, especially if I had to seat them deeper. You did the right thing.
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    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcclarke View Post
    Ahem. (Please remember that I am an engineer by training and trade.) No, the maximum tolerance for a cartridge will *always* fit into the minimum tolerance for a cylinder or a chamber. There is no overlap in the specifications. (Please check the specifications for yourself if you don't follow what I am saying.) No engineer would ever design a system where in-tolerances cartridges would not fit into an in-tolerance chamber or cylinder. In the case of the old black powder .38 Special cartridges all these tolerances were worked out about a century ago and locked down by US Military specifications back in the late 1800s or the early 1900s.

    I do agree that the Buffalo Bore cartridges in question were out-of-tolerance (on the large side). This is a production line problem Buffalo Bore needs to be made aware of so they can correct it. The production line manager will have a heart attack when he or she learns that BB was shipping out-of-tolerance cartridges. The CEO will be brought into the loop. The corporate attorney will be brought into the loop.

    Standard procedure for this sort of production-line screw-up is to ask the person reporting the problem to return the ammunition to the factory at the factory's expense and for the factory to replace the mus-manufactured ammunition, usually with an extra box or two of ammunition thrown in for good measure. The corporate attorney really does not want a report of the problem with sample cartridges to be sent up to the BATF (or whatever they are called these days) so the factory will want to handle the issue quietly and discretely and to have the out-of-tolerance cartridges all sent back to the factory for discrete disposal.
    As per your statement "Standard procedure for this sort of production-line screw-up", you have encountered cases where manufacturing was more than a bit off from the specs. "I" have seen Max cartridges that would not chamber in Min spec cylinders without effort more than a few times. I have also seen Min cartridges in Max chambers that had to have the hammer dropped twice on them because the first hit was too light or not go off at all. Yet the guns and ammo were within SAAMI (this is also to whom you would report this, if one were so inclined, as the manufactures abide by their standards) specs at opposite ends of the range. This was determined by using cartridge and headspace gauges. So, I guess to the layman, "tolerance stacking", is as good a term as any to provide a moniker for the fringe elements at the edge of manufacturing control.

    I do agree the proper thing to do is contact the manufacturer immediately and advise them of the situation. I still have the one lone round and empty box of Federal Nyclad I bought years ago with the primer upside down just as a reminder to check out all my ammo including my home rolled because crap happens...engineers and specs not withstanding...
    This has nothing to do with "original design" specs and/or the "engineering" of the .38 Special cartridge as it evolved from the .38 S&W.
    It has everything to do with the "working" world and dealing with it. "I" appreciate the OP passing along the info.
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  13. #12
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I reload and in the early learning stages had problems with ammo not fitting right,It varied from over belling the case mouth,to under crimping the case mouth,I rarely have a problem now,latest was I setup to load 380acp for a friend,I needed to use his gun barrel to set up my dies so that I got everything tweeked where the finished round would slide in and out of the chamber easily.
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    Member Array a__l__a__n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmhawth View Post
    That is as I expected. I trust you will be compensated.
    They are sending me new ammo. Buffalo Bore is a class operation, and they are doing the right thing.
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    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a__l__a__n View Post
    They are sending me new ammo. Buffalo Bore is a class operation, and they are doing the right thing.
    Well done. Thank you.

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    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jem102 View Post
    As per your statement "Standard procedure for this sort of production-line screw-up", you have encountered cases where manufacturing was more than a bit off from the specs.
    I have seen cartridges with no primer, cartridges with no powder, cartridges that had their mouth folded over during the bullet insertion process, etc. In all instances the manufacturer's Q.A. inspection process should have caught the defective cartridges.

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