Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

This is a discussion on Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I don’t usually gripe about customer service -in fact, my experience with firearms-related customer service - and reloading related customer service in particular - have ...

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Thread: Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

  1. #1
    Member Array Erich's Avatar
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    Displeased with Federal's response after ammo problems

    I don’t usually gripe about customer service -in fact, my experience with firearms-related customer service - and reloading related customer service in particular - have been very good. But I had a bad experience with Federal just now, and thought I’d share it, because it was so unusual in relation to the service I’ve gotten on other ammunition issues.

    So, yesterday I had brought a brand-new silver box of Federal Classic ammo to the range to try in my new-to-me pre-Model 30 Improved I-frame. The Federal Classic ammo was 98-gr RNL .32 S&W Long, part no. C32LB, lot number 3 19J155. Federal ammo is more expensive in this caliber than Eastern European stuff, but I figured the good thing about using big maker ammo from Federal would be that I’d be able to reload the empties. Based on decades of past experience, I figured I’d get quality brass after firing the low-pressure .32 S&W Long factory loads.

    The ammo shot well enough (group at 10 yards), though was pretty tame (M 667.8/ES 78.95/SD 32.31).



    But wait! Upon firing, I noticed that one round did a very odd spurt of stuff out of the bbl/cyl gap, and was surprised to find that I had to hammer on the ejector rod to get the rounds out of the cylinder. Out of five rounds, four split - and one had its primer pop out the back.





    This was NOT the fault of the gun - I fired four other loadings on the same outing (two handloads - ironically in Federal cases, and two factory loadings by S&B and Aguila) with no problems whatsoever.

    So, since this ammo wasn’t going to give me the reloadable cases that I’d been after, I figured I’d contact ATK; on advice of friend, I went to their site and filled out a contact form:

    Four out of five cases split on a new silver box of Federal Classic .32 S&W Long ammo, part no. C32LB, lot number 3 19J155. One primer protruded. The cases had to be forcibly extracted by hammering the ejector rod. This was not a problem with the gun, as several other loadings performed flawlessly.

    Here are some photographs:

    i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-34_709.jpg

    i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd222/505Erich/Handguns/2013-03-10_11-34-51_820.jpg

    I deliberately purchased what I thought to be quality Federal ammo because I wanted the spent cases for reloading. Please contact me about this.
    I was really surprised when Federal wrote back a terse, “Go Away” email:

    You bought old ammo, it has been sitting on the shelf. The brass split due to stress corrosion cracking. It was manufactured in 2003.

    Thanks
    Federal Ammunition
    I was pretty amazed by this, and responded:

    Are you kidding me, or are you just insulting me? I've been happily reloading much of the same brass since the '80s, and you're going to tell me that your new, never-fired brass from only ten years ago will split when fired in a low-pressure factory loading in the .32 S&W Long cartridge.
    I’ve not heard back. I’m not pleased with Federal/ATK’s handling of the situation; I would have expected that Federal/ATK would stand behind its products or care more about its customers.

    I'm carrying the little Improved I-frame, by the way - it's really something with some of Phil Sharpe's old loads from the '30s!

    bmcgilvray and JSutter like this.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    All of the ammo I have for my 32 Long is very old. It is hit or miss on whether it fires or just sputters out the barrel. I know there were several different calibers for the old 32s and I am never sure if I am getting the correct one until I get home. As you probably already know the 32 Colt uses rebated bullets. Colt case and bullet normally measure .313. The case of the S&W measure .337 while the bullet is .313. The cylinder chamber of the S&W is way to big for the Colt cases. That can result in split cases. I would break out the calibers and see if what they sold you is really what they sold you. I just leave the old Colt on the wifes John Wayne alter. Yours is certianly a better looking gun than mine.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    Senior Member Array GoPackman's Avatar
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    To be honest, I'm surprised by the terseness of Federals' response too. I don't know if the person who wrote back to you was having a bad day or what but that doesn't justify it. Maybe placing a phone call would elicit a different response from them in addition to the explaining the prior email and response.
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    Member Array greyeyezz's Avatar
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    I would be on the phone real quick......

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    Distinguished Member Array grouse's Avatar
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    It dosen't seem Federal is the company it once was. I'm with you on the low pressure falure with ten year old ammo. Federals responce was sure custamor "unfriendly". They should have done something more than just shurg.

    When I was a kid, hell when my Dad was a kid you only bought Federal because all the Winchester & Remington was sold out. Looks like they are coming full circle back to there low quality roots.

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    10yr old, never-fired, factory ammo is known by the manufacturer to have such problems, and such problems are thought to be the normal course of things due to less than 10yrs passing? Hm. Doesn't seem right, not when tens of thousands of rounds from makers of all kinds over the past 20yrs have gone through my guns, much of it far older than 10yrs, quite a bit of it bargain-basement reloads haven't shown a single instance of such a thing ... let alone at an 80% failure rate.
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    Well Erich;

    I'm not happy to read that at all. The only other ammunition I've ever seen with that rate of failure on first firing of factory loads was some Fiocchi .455 factory loads and a .30-40 cartridge factory loaded at the Frankfort Arsenal ... in 1904.

    The I-Frame Smith & Wesson .32 is soooo cute!
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    Senior Member Array GoPackman's Avatar
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    Federal brass is known among reloaders to be softer and thinner than other brass from other manufacturers, i.e., Winchester, Starline, Lapua, Nosler.
    NRA Life Member

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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Try contacting this guy: He's listed on their "Thomas Registry" page. Tell him what you have experienced. Marketing &/or Sales Directors hate to hear this kind of communication, especially if you have already contacted Customer Service.

    Jason Nash

    Director of Marketing and Communications, ATK Sporting Group

    Anoka, Minnesota

    763-323-3878

    Jason.Nash@ATK.com
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    I just have to say you lost me when I saw the pic of the I frame. Wow! That Sir, is nice!

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    Member Array Erich's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the supportive replies. A friend on another board who knows people offered to bring it to the attention of the bigwigs at Federal, but I'm a whole lot less concerned about being made whole as letting people know what kind of support they can expect from Federal/ATK - I've come to expect good CS from reloading/shooting-related businesses, and I was just flat amazed at their lack of caring on this one.

    Thanks for the compliment, PEF! :)
    Shot-placement is king. Adequate penetration is queen. Everything else is angels dancing on the heads of pins.

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    thats very surprising to me...i wonder what happened to the customer service rep that caused him to respond like this lol cranky boss maybe?
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    Senior Member Array mano3's Avatar
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    I've shot stuff from World War II and it performed fine and didn't split!
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    I had a Star 9MM semi-auto in the early 70s. I used to shoot military surplus ammo from Central Europe, Yugoslavia I believe, as range ammo. About a year ago I was going through some stuff stored in the basement & found a full magazine buried in the debris. As a joke I gave it to a neighbor & although the mag didn't fit his Glock (shocking!) he used the rounds at the range & said that all 9 rounds fired & he even saved the brass for future reloading. He asked if I could look around & find some more for him, lol. I have no idea how old the stuff was when I bought it. I'll bet it wasn't factory fresh.
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    That is a poor response from a major business. And as you posted - IME the customer service from the firearms & ammunition related businesses have been much better than this incident.

    Well, except for something Federal did to us, at work, 2/3 years ago. Most of our guys (and gals) carry Sig 226's in 40S&W. LOTNOU50X485 40S&W 180 Grain HST Tactical gave us several squib rounds before our retailer was able to obtain any decent response. One squib round was in a shooting. Our 40 ammo was finally replaced; I still don't know for sure who covered the cost - our retailer or Federal. But it took waaaaayyyy toooo long for that to happen. Oh yeah, that ammo was less than a year old too......

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