Some Bad Factory Safari Ammo - Conclusions Pending

rookhawk

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Friends, I have some updates on these topics to share with you all.

Bad ammo #1 - Nosler 470NE solids. Nosler confirmed that the returned round was bad with a struck primer, no powder, and the bullet slightly protruding from its seated depth. They stated they checked all their remaining stocks and found no other bad ones. My conjecture is that the machine ran out of powder or something happened when starting the assembly line that resulted in a powderless load as an isolated case.

Bad ammo #2 - Federal Premium 375HH 300gr Woodleigh Hydrostatic. Federal's ballisticians ran tests and found the ammo was at 2448fps and 54,000psi as intended. Not defective ammo per Federal's loading parameters.

My personal opinion:

Full confidence in a rare defect with the Nosler safari ammo. I wouldn't hesitate to continue using them, especially now that I know to give them a shake and make sure they have powder in them.

No confidence in the 375HH woodleigh hydrostatic ammo. On multiple occasions, this ammo has just failed to perform. I think I put ~7 rounds into a buffalo? The ammo didn't even exit a broadside zebra or eland? On prior safaris I never recovered an eland hit with it? Based upon how it penetrates, I would NOT rely on 375HH woodleigh hydros for dangerous game work. Just my opinion and I'm sure others will have different opinions. I'm shaken. Extra shaken that Federal says the boxes of ammo sent back were "just fine". Alternative to this, I have used the same Federal Safari 375HH product with the 300gr Swift A-Frame loading on many occasions and I can attest that it works flawlessly and exceptionally. All bullets always recovered on the far side under the skin. All animals promptly recovered. I highly recommend the A-frame soft and highly discourage the Woodleigh hydrostatic in this caliber. Moving forward, my solid of choice for 375HH will be the Sledgehammer, a completely field-tested solution that most PHs swear by.

I'd like to thank Nosler and Federal for responding to my requests and taking the time to test and inspect in response to my concerns.
 

Professor Mawla

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Friends, I have some updates on these topics to share with you all.

Bad ammo #1 - Nosler 470NE solids. Nosler confirmed that the returned round was bad with a struck primer, no powder, and the bullet slightly protruding from its seated depth. They stated they checked all their remaining stocks and found no other bad ones. My conjecture is that the machine ran out of powder or something happened when starting the assembly line that resulted in a powderless load as an isolated case.

Bad ammo #2 - Federal Premium 375HH 300gr Woodleigh Hydrostatic. Federal's ballisticians ran tests and found the ammo was at 2448fps and 54,000psi as intended. Not defective ammo per Federal's loading parameters.

My personal opinion:

Full confidence in a rare defect with the Nosler safari ammo. I wouldn't hesitate to continue using them, especially now that I know to give them a shake and make sure they have powder in them.

No confidence in the 375HH woodleigh hydrostatic ammo. On multiple occasions, this ammo has just failed to perform. I think I put ~7 rounds into a buffalo? The ammo didn't even exit a broadside zebra or eland? On prior safaris I never recovered an eland hit with it? Based upon how it penetrates, I would NOT rely on 375HH woodleigh hydros for dangerous game work. Just my opinion and I'm sure others will have different opinions. I'm shaken. Extra shaken that Federal says the boxes of ammo sent back were "just fine". Alternative to this, I have used the same Federal Safari 375HH product with the 300gr Swift A-Frame loading on many occasions and I can attest that it works flawlessly and exceptionally. All bullets always recovered on the far side under the skin. All animals promptly recovered. I highly recommend the A-frame soft and highly discourage the Woodleigh hydrostatic in this caliber. Moving forward, my solid of choice for 375HH will be the Sledgehammer, a completely field-tested solution that most PHs swear by.

I'd like to thank Nosler and Federal for responding to my requests and taking the time to test and inspect in response to my concerns.
@rookhawk
This is extremely educational . I personally have great admiration for Federal’s Trophy Bonded 500 grain Bear Claw soft nosed factory loads in my .458 Winchester Magnum . I really used to admire their 500 grain Federal Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solid flat nosed bronze jacketed factory loads for my .458 Winchester Magnum , back when the velocity was 2150 feet per second . When I originally authored my book in 1994 , this was the factory load which I recommended for use against Gaur and Asiatic jungle elephant . Unfortunately , Federal has currently lowered the velocity to 1950 feet per second . Which is no longer suitable for thick skinned dangerous game .

I would also encourage you to look at Labor Fur Ballistik ( a German ammunition manufacturing company ) . Their brass jacketed flat nosed factory loaded solids ( in calibres ranging from .375 Holland & Holland Magnum to .500 Jeffery ) are among some of the finest , currently in production .
 

Edge

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Friends, I have some updates on these topics to share with you all.

Bad ammo #1 - Nosler 470NE solids. Nosler confirmed that the returned round was bad with a struck primer, no powder, and the bullet slightly protruding from its seated depth. They stated they checked all their remaining stocks and found no other bad ones. My conjecture is that the machine ran out of powder or something happened when starting the assembly line that resulted in a powderless load as an isolated case.

Bad ammo #2 - Federal Premium 375HH 300gr Woodleigh Hydrostatic. Federal's ballisticians ran tests and found the ammo was at 2448fps and 54,000psi as intended. Not defective ammo per Federal's loading parameters.

My personal opinion:

Full confidence in a rare defect with the Nosler safari ammo. I wouldn't hesitate to continue using them, especially now that I know to give them a shake and make sure they have powder in them.

No confidence in the 375HH woodleigh hydrostatic ammo. On multiple occasions, this ammo has just failed to perform. I think I put ~7 rounds into a buffalo? The ammo didn't even exit a broadside zebra or eland? On prior safaris I never recovered an eland hit with it? Based upon how it penetrates, I would NOT rely on 375HH woodleigh hydros for dangerous game work. Just my opinion and I'm sure others will have different opinions. I'm shaken. Extra shaken that Federal says the boxes of ammo sent back were "just fine". Alternative to this, I have used the same Federal Safari 375HH product with the 300gr Swift A-Frame loading on many occasions and I can attest that it works flawlessly and exceptionally. All bullets always recovered on the far side under the skin. All animals promptly recovered. I highly recommend the A-frame soft and highly discourage the Woodleigh hydrostatic in this caliber. Moving forward, my solid of choice for 375HH will be the Sledgehammer, a completely field-tested solution that most PHs swear by.

I'd like to thank Nosler and Federal for responding to my requests and taking the time to test and inspect in response to my concerns.
In regards to the Federal Hydro’s, even at 2448 fps for that lot, they should have fully penetrated. The lot I used to frontal brain a bull elephant chronographed 2500 fps in my 25” barreled Mod 70 Alaskan. Also shot completely through the head of a Cape Buffalo and it then penetrated into the body. I’ll see if I can sort through the pics as I also sent one through the spine and see if I can find if it exited.

Not doubting your results at all but trying to figure out why they aren’t penetrating. Did the bullets tumble inside the animals? The Hydro is a very long bullet, is it possible the rifling twist is too slow to properly stabilize the bullet In the rifle you used?
 

John J

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My son setting up for his first shot with a 500 Jeff. Norma PH ammo, didn't go off. It's the round on the left, she went off after I took the cartridge out of the rifle inspected the primer and shot it myself. Quite concerning, he thought was messing with him. The recoil is not something to mess with anyone about let alone a young man. It's NIB from Midway USA. I haven't been in contact with Norman about it thus far.
Snapchat-1624073540.jpg
VideoCapture_20210221-195001.jpg
 

baxterb

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Maybe primer wasn't seated fully?

Although I;m a reloader, I know there is really no such thing as 100% handloaded ammo... we are all at the whim of the primer going off...
 

IvW

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That is a mild load.
What rifle is it?
 

IvW

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May be the pictures but it looks like the firing pin is hitting slightly off centre and the firing pin holes seem to be quite deep and a odd shape almost like the front is square?
 

John J

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That is a mild load.
What rifle is it?
The rifle is an Empire. It does look off center. The primer on the left has two strikes and is deeper. I haven't measured it but it's visible. Could have been a bad deal or a lost opportunity if I was after DG with that cartridge in the chamber. The load is not reduced, it's Norma 535 gr factory.
 

IvW

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Norma do not make 535gr loading now, they have 540gr and two 570gr loads. May be old.
Mild and reduced are not the same
 

John J

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Norma do not make 535gr loading now, they have 540gr and two 570gr loads. May be old.
Mild and reduced are not the same
You are correct, it was the 540 gr sold not 535.
 

C.W. Richter

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That's why I load my own. I know the components and how they went together one round at a time on a single stage press.
Exactly. And, immediately prior to safari (Esp. for DG!) You won't hear powder rattling around in a 100% capacity or slightly compressed 105% load!) ;) Accuarate, Deadly! Oh, did i steal someone's tagline?
 

C.W. Richter

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And, for the record, I do respect Wby products but once had a problemo with their factory ammo (it was severely overpressure, causing cases to stick in the chamber.) I wrote 'em a letter, sent 'em the (Norma) ammo and they gave me a voucher for new. I sold the new and began reloading for that gun, as planned, anyway! Nothing like fresh powder, primers and brass for a hunt that, if it winds up badly, that factory ammo was even MORE expensive! ;) Even with handloads made 1-2 years ago (5 yrs+ is getting a bit sketchy IMHO for such an endeavor,) I'll check the sight in with loads grabbed diagonally across the box, just to make sure the rounds and gun are ok! And, always test in HOT weather, in America, for Africa! **TFTD: There must always be powder in the case. Corporate types have to be reminded of this...
 

C.W. Richter

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The ONLY mis-fire I ever had with handloads in a half-century, was while hunting deer in -14F weather in upstate NY, using a Rem 7600 pump action (like a shotgun, the magazine area is wide open-not fully weatherproof.) The gun had been cleaned and oiled with standard gun oil (which was picking up moisture and freezing-the firing pin and bolt were literally frozen in-place!) Solution-keep pulling the trigger, using 4-letter word haiku, until the pin contacted the primer that day and then a thorough cleaning and lubrication with dry graphite from then on, during that kind of weather! ( 0 Handload Failures!) No Click, BOOM (ev time!)
 

bruce moulds

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the problem with wby ammo has in history been due to norma brass.
the pressures were within spec, but the brass was too soft at the base end to withstand it.
i know of 25/06 ackleys that outperformed 257 wbys for this reason.
bruce.
 

TOBY458

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I once had a Ruger M77 35 Whelen that would misfire quiet a bit. And that was with handloads, using new brass. Turns out the headspace was the issue. Once the cases were fireformed to the rifle, the problem went away. I took the rifle back to the shop I purchased it at, so not sure what they did with it after that.
 

Rule 303

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Re the Federal ammo. It is definitely the primer/powder/case that is the problem. They would need to test all of the batches to get a proper result, even then it may only have been a several that were faulty. Every ammo manufacturer will produce the odd dud.

The Hydros work wonderfully. I have only shot pigs with the 375H&H with Hydro's-home loads complete pass through from front to rear. Same with Hydros in 35 Whelen, and 303Brit. In my 416 Rigby, ed for end on a Cape Buff at 50mts, also same on an Elephants head.

Any non expanding monometal should have passed through on those animals you shot if relatively close. Barns are a monometal but expand ie has petals.
 

C.W. Richter

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the problem with wby ammo has in history been due to norma brass.
the pressures were within spec, but the brass was too soft at the base end to withstand it.
i know of 25/06 ackleys that outperformed 257 wbys for this reason.
bruce.
i've actually found norma brass to be thicker, heavier-resulting in greater chamber pressure. In certain calibers (6.5) i've actually walked away from it in favor of more forgiving american brass that expands and absorbs pressure a bit more, allowing for hotter (meaning the same hot load with no overpressure) handloads and good case extraction. I'm sure it's caliber specific. The big problem i had w/ factory norma was in .257 Wby!
 

bruce moulds

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certainly thicker brass will increase pressure with the same load.
but norma used to, and still possibly does to some degree, lacked the correct anneal in the base section to take the pressures it should have.
bruce.
 

fourfive8

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Those pin strikes on the primers do seem pretty deep. That could be a result of excessive pin protrusion or just as easily a generous pin protrusion plus excessive headspace. Extra headspace could explain the FTF on the 1st attempt- if I read the scenario correctly. Faulty factory ammo is very rare but does happen. Most all brands suffer a FTF once in a great while. Hope the real cause is identified. Very disconcerting when this happens! I don't think Norma is alone either, most all brands may suffer the rare FTF.

Not about a FTF issue but a general observation about components.... It is hard to generalize about brands of brass but during my anal-accuracy phase of loading/shooting evolution I sorted brass and attempted to find the brass with the greatest consistency. That was 25 years ago. I checked most of the usual players like- Winchester, Remington, various military arsenals and contractors, foreign military arsenals, Norma, Federal, Hornady and Lapua. I sorted by weight and neck wall concentricity. No brand over time, caliber and different lots had a corner on greatest variation nor greatest consistency. IIRC the most consistent within a couple of calibers I was concentrating on was Norma. I ended using both Norma and Lapua for most of the loading/shooting I did during that phase. :)

However, as @bruce moulds points out, it seems some Norma also suffers from a relatively soft base, lower body section. It shows after the first full pressure load and results in the distended expansion in the area of the base where the web intersects with the main body. Currently for my anal-reliability phase of loading/shooting, Remington seems to be about as good as any. And Lapua is also very good but can be hard or impossible to find in certain calibers. Right now of course we are in a take-what-we-can-get situation sometimes for both loaded ammo and components. :(
 

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