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.375 H&H cartridge failure - help??

This is a discussion on .375 H&H cartridge failure - help?? within the .375 & Up forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; Hi everyone, A buddy and I were out shooting yesterday, sighted in my .300 win mag, then we started on ...

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    PeteG is online now AH Veteran
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    Default .375 H&H cartridge failure - help??

    Hi everyone,
    A buddy and I were out shooting yesterday, sighted in my .300 win mag, then we started on his .375.
    Fired off a few rounds from an old box, and then opened up a new box of 300gr pmp. This box was about 3-4 yrs old, always kept in a metal case, cool and dry conditions.
    I fired off a round which spat back some shavings and gunpowder into my face, luckily no damage except for a sore eye where I assume a bunch of burnt gunpowder got to me.
    My buddy fired another round, with no problem, then the third round out of the box, the second he fired, spat back at him too. I dont quite know how to explain it, maybe there is someone out there that has seen this before and can let me know what the possible causes are and why it would have happened. There was no excessive recoil or anything like that.
    It is quite worrying, PMP is the most common ammo here in Zambia, we dont get much choice and when we do it is hellish expensive. PMP is costing us equivalent of $150+ for a box of 20 for the .375.
    I have a picture of the 2 rounds, I hope the quality is ok. If not I will try post new pics this afternoon.
    Cheers
    PeteG
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    mlg
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    To me that looks like a weakness of the case in the belt area. I would not fire ANY more of those PMPs in that rifle. If you get total separation of the case head it could be very unpleasant indeed and result in the destruction of the rifle - and possible consequential injuries.

    Have you recently fired any other ammo through this rifle? If so was the process normal?

    Assuming that you have had no previous problems with the rifle, I would be looking for some other factory ammo! It will be cheaper in the long run!

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    Possibly a bad batch. I'm keen to know what PMP's box looks like. You might have had them for 3-4 years, but how long were they on the shelf before that?

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    mlg - we had fired a few older cartridges from a loose bunch he had, all normal. no issues - also PMP rounds!
    Last fired a bunch of ammo (PMP) in december and it was all normal. Will check the Lot No. on that box with the culprits and hope none of the other 3 boxes he has are the same. We are trying to figure out who, where and when these boxes were purchased to see if we can get hold of PMP and let them know, maybe there was a fault and they know about it?

    Docman - Good point about the shelf storage, who knows how long they had been sitting around. Zambia does not have the best controls etc...

    This is pretty worrying as I use PMP in my .300 win mag, .243, .22 hornet, .357mag, am waiting for delivery of a .416 rem mag, worried about using this ammo now and trying to source other manufacturers is becoming very pricey. Probably worth it though if we are less likely to have a failure!!
    My buddy uses it in his 30-06, 7x64, .357mag too.

    Might be able to get Norma ammo in from Namibia, I have heard it is pretty good, never used it myself though.

    Thanks for the comments so far.

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    I've seen such failures in brass that has been fired MANY times. Work hardening causes such cracking. In new brass it most likely resulted from improper annealing of the brass. If possible you should return it to PMP or the place you bought it. In the US it would likely be replaced free of charge by the mfg. But in your situation.....
    Properly made brass will last a LONG time. I've shot a lot of US ammo from the 40's, along with Portuguese 8mm, British and Indian 303, and even US commercial ammo that was well over 50 years old without any failures.

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    Before you shoot again get some shooting glasses on.

    I hope you can take them ammo back. Not good news for any manufacturer.

    If you happen to have a reloading scale I might just give them all a little review.
    You may see some differences in weight between cartridges and also intact empty brass.
    Maybe it will provide a clue.
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    as mentioned above do not shoot any more of this ammo.

    Eye protection and hearing protection are always needed when shooting.

    The brass looks to be Very poor quality.

    Old ammunition that i have that is 30 to 40 years stills shoots like new and the brass great.

    I purchase only from, Federal, Remington, Winchester, Hornady for the few extra dollars i have not had any issues over the years.
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    mlg
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    PeteG

    Can you contact PMP? I am sure they would be most interested to see those pics & maybe they will replace your ammo.......could be worth a try.

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    Hi all,
    Thanks for the responses and info. I dont know much about reloading etc, it is illegal here!! So i havent the faintest clue what brass looks like after it has been fired many times.
    All in all, we have not had any issues like this before, I have also spread the word amongst friends here to find out if anyone else has had an issue like this. So far nothing negative about PMP.
    My friend is looking for his receipts or at least something to tell him who and when he bought the ammo. I will get an email off to PMP with the lot number and see what they say.

    Thanks again

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    Do you have any photos of unfired ammo from that box?
    It is a bit hard to tell from the photo, specially when it is fired, but it looks to me that it might have been in contact with something that has weakened/brittled the brass.
    Was the brass all shiny and fine before you shot the ammo, or did it have some discoloring?

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    Not sure where "here" is but suspect SA if you are shooting PMP. Reloading is legal, you are limited on the amount of powder. Johan from the Richards Bay branch of KZN hunting holds fairly regular courses that cover all you would need to know, if you are in SA.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteG View Post
    Hi all,
    Thanks for the responses and info. I dont know much about reloading etc, it is illegal here!! So i havent the faintest clue what brass looks like after it has been fired many times.
    All in all, we have not had any issues like this before, I have also spread the word amongst friends here to find out if anyone else has had an issue like this. So far nothing negative about PMP.
    My friend is looking for his receipts or at least something to tell him who and when he bought the ammo. I will get an email off to PMP with the lot number and see what they say.

    Thanks again

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    Agree with all the above. Looks to be a brass issue assuming your guns havent had issues with other ammo. I dont recall ever seeing a belted case split lengthwise like that at that point.
    Norwegianwoods mentioned possible contamination, ammonia will cause this to happen to brass if left nearby for a time. Age is the usual culprit. When old ammo is encountered with tarnished looking brass be very suspect of it, especially if it has green patches on it. I had some verrrry old Remington ammo one time with patches. I used my pocket knife to scrap some off and it went right thru the case into the powder which was all caked up inside on some of it. Others from the same box fired fine. Too old. Pull the bullets and toss the rest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by saeng101 View Post
    Not sure where "here" is but suspect SA if you are shooting PMP. Reloading is legal, you are limited on the amount of powder. Johan from the Richards Bay branch of KZN hunting holds fairly regular courses that cover all you would need to know, if you are in SA.
    Zambia it appears from the post I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteG View Post
    Hi all,
    Thanks for the responses and info. I dont know much about reloading etc, it is illegal here!! So i havent the faintest clue what brass looks like after it has been fired many times.
    All in all, we have not had any issues like this before, I have also spread the word amongst friends here to find out if anyone else has had an issue like this. So far nothing negative about PMP.
    My friend is looking for his receipts or at least something to tell him who and when he bought the ammo. I will get an email off to PMP with the lot number and see what they say.

    Thanks again
    Too bad you do not have the ability to weigh the brass accurately. It would be interesting to see what the results were.

    I guess these boxes should make the trip back to the shop for a trade in or refund.
    Let us know what PMP has to say.
    Good luck.

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    Would help if I learn to read

    With the usual African tradition of customer service can bet that trying to returnng them will be result in a lot of laughter.
    Quote Originally Posted by BRICKBURN View Post
    Zambia it appears from the post I think.

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    PeteG is online now AH Veteran
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    Thanks for all the info.
    We are in Zambia, and saeng101 is right, I may encounter more laughs than a circus if I tried to return any of the ammo.

    The unfired ammo is perfect, no blemishes, spots or discolouration. They have always been kept in the box, not been stored in a belt or anything else.

    I have a pic of the box with the lot number, will email that to PMP today and find out if they know of any issues. Buddy cannot find any receipt or any indication of when or where it was actually bought!!! Not the best scenario when approaching a company about a failed product!! I will have to try anyway.

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