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BOLO Report – Ammunition Cycling and Failure to Fire

The BOLO Report posted a good article on repeated cycling of individual rounds of ammunition causing a failure to fire. The issue came to light after a Georgia-based officer had a failure to fire malfunction during a use of force incident. It was determined that the chambered round failed to fire due to the primer mix being knocked out of the primer during repeated cycling of the same round at night when he unloaded his weapon after work.

While it came to light during an LE incident, the situation is even more likely to occur with military ammo as troops are required to regularly unload their weapons. Oftentimes, that round goes right back into the top of the magazine it was removed from and this is accomplished over and over throughout the course of a tour.

It is important for personnel that do not regularly expend their ammo to rotate their cycled rounds.

Read it here.

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9 Responses to “BOLO Report – Ammunition Cycling and Failure to Fire”

  1. Jim says:

    Per the US Army PM magazine:

    http://i.imgur.com/n7V7z.jpg

  2. Jack Murphy says:

    When I was in we were getting told to discard the round we ejected from our rifle every time we came back onto the FOB for just this reason. I think the fear at the time was that moisture would get into the chamber and foul the round somehow. Not a whole lot of moisture in Iraq during July but you get the idea!

  3. Clayton says:

    I remember when I was deployed this very kind of incident was discussed amongst us after several of our troops noticed dimpled primers after many trips through the clearing barrels. All of us started rotating our rounds.

    • AttackBlue1 says:

      I recall the dimpled primers being the excuse every person that AD’d pulled out whenever they would fail to clear the chamber properly. “It was dented and it just went off at the exact moment I was at the clearing barrell”. It was later proven, as the article points out, that this de-sensitized the primer, effectively ending this excuse.

  4. Jim says:

    We (British Army) have to fire our ready use rounds after 6 months and get re-issued fresh ammunition, due to the problem described above.

  5. straps says:

    This, so far, the most authoritative piece of information I’ve seen on on this topic.

    This echoes posts from trusted members on various forums whose insights have saved my life, but my efforts to get this integrated into TTPs (with the operational and logistical support) have been greeted by demands for the same substantiation I expect of people who justify their actions with “The internet said we should do it this way.”

    You would think that the vaunted military-industrial complex would be all over an operationally justifiable rationalization to (a) rotate ammunition in the field and (b) ensure that a broader base of troops out there maintain (and *gasp* improve) their competency with their weapons by firing this ammo or clearing FTF malfunctions.

  6. TM says:

    Doesn’t the Army recommend shit-canning cartridges that have been chambered more than six times? Or did I just make that up?

  7. Mike says:

    This was also a problem on one of my last ops. It wasn’t just the Primer though, we had a few of our snipers go to unload their weapons and the projectile itself was lodged in the barrel. This was due to repeated rechambering of the same round day after day for about 3 weeks.

  8. Smoke Bringer says:

    Ammunition Manufacturers only design cartridges to be loaded into a chamber once. Setback occurs immediately upon chambering. LEO’s are constantly loading and unloading that same round. Every time you load that same round you are compressing that bullet into the shell casing.
    Increased chamber pressures as a result from setback can make for a an interesting moment.

    My solution is to have people rotate the mags and check the ammo. A simple visual will reveal setback. Keep you powder dry taks on an all new meaning.