Long Term Pocket Carry... 2 FTE (Duds)

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by mxitman, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. mxitman

    mxitman New Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Well this weekend I finally got to the range, it's been about 4 months since I've shot my P3AT. I wanted to see how it would do in a real world test. I work as a contractor and I'm subject to some nasty areas. I always carry my P3AT in my front pocket of my Carhartt jeans in a uncle mike's size 3 holster. It gets pretty dirty and usually I clean it often but when I went to the range last time I wanted to see how it would do without a regular cleaning or ammo rotation.

    I got it out and pulled the trigger: Bang.... pulled again... Poof...what the ? I pulled the mag out then pulled the slide back and the case was still in there. The case didn't eject, I removed it and then checked the barrel for obstructions..all check good. It seemed like the round was under powered. I looked at the extractor..all looked good.

    I put the mag back in, loaded a round and shot again. Bang,Bang,Poof! Thats not good!. The same as before, I pulled the mag out then pulled the slide back and the case was still in there. The case didn't eject, I removed it and then checked the barrel for obstructions..all check good. It seemed like the round was under powered again. I looked at the extractor..all looked good.

    I had 2 rounds left, I put the mag back in, loaded a round and shot again. Bang,Bang.

    I'm not feeling too confident now in using this ammo. I'm using .380 ACP 90 grain Federal HydraShok JHP. I didn't rotate them and they had been banging around in my gun for the last 4 months. I'm not sure what happened, I have had no problems with these rounds before and in fact bought several boxes and tested them before loading them in my P3AT. I ended up shooting another 100 plus rounds of 4 different kinds of 380 ammo...even reloads and had no problems at all, no FTF or FTE on any of the other rounds.

    There was definitely a difference in sound on the 2 FTE rounds.

    I'm glad I was at the range and not where I needed it the most. The funny part was watching all the lint blow into the air when I shot the first couple rounds. I'm sure there will be some of you criticizing me for not cleaning it, but in the real world I don't want to shoot a gun that I have to clean before I go to the range, or have to worry about pulling it out in a bad situation because I haven't cleaned it or rotated the ammo in a month or two.

    What do you think?

  2. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 13, 2005
    I sounds to me as if the powder in the cartridges became contaminated during carry somehow.

    I use very little oil and mostly grease when lubricating my P-3AT for this very reason - so oil won’t drip into or around the ammo. I use oil in only two places; on the trigger axis, and the hammer block and hammer axis area only. Even then I use a gel-oil which doesn’t run.

    I also use no oil in or on the mags. When I clean the mags I disassemble them, spray all the parts inside and out with silicone spray, then wipe them dry before reassembly. This leaves everything lubed but dry.

    Oil - Primus Light Viscosity Lube Gel ( http://www.iqproducts.com/new/primis/primis_lubegel.htm ) Wal-Mart auto section.
    Grease - Slide-Glide Lite ( http://www.brianenos.com/pages/slide-glide.html ) Ordered from site.

    Hope this helps,

  3. shep854

    shep854 Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Birmingham, AL
    It confirms the importance of ammo rotation and regular cleaning. While you might get away with neglecting either/both, you just proved to yourself that you might not. That doesn't sound like a fun game to play.
  4. Sounds like a wonderful learning experience! good you were aware enough to check for squibs.

    Some use a thin film of finger nail polish on the primer and around the case rim to help reduce contamination risk.
  5. sirlancelot

    sirlancelot New Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    thank you for the range report.

    took my kel-tec hiking and all that sweat made for a rusty gun ( having the slide plated )

    now i'm wondering about the ammo that's been in the gun for over a year now :-X

    have noticed the lint that accumulates in the little kel-tec and make the effort to clean it once a week.

    the cor-bon powerball brass is getting a little cruddy , time for some new ammo !

    THE_HUNTER New Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    I use Flitz Gun Wax on and in my carry pistols and dry lobe them with Moly Lube. I never want oil getting on my clothes or oil dripping on my primers.
  7. torrent

    torrent Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    I'm willing to bet that it was either one of two things: 1) sweat (moisture) contaminated the powder, 2) it was bad ammo to begin with. I like to shoot up my old stuff every couple of months and buy new ammo when I notice the brass cases don't shine like they used to. You're right in that it would have been bad if you had needed the ammo to fire and it didn't. Now you know...
  8. Checker4Tix

    Checker4Tix Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    The ONLY failures of any sort I've ever had with my P3AT were two extraction failures I experienced after carrying my little buddy for more than 3 months without cleaning. Someone here (Bobo?) suggested that while my gun may have been clean, it was probably bone dry. As KT's seem to like to be well lubed, I've gotten into the habit of cleaning and re-lubing my carry gun every two weeks, regardless of whether or not it has been fired. I've not experienced a single failure since that time.

    I have no idea if you happened to have a bad couple of rounds of ammo, or if they were somehow damaged during carry. That seems unlikely to me, but I'm by no means an expert. However, about a year ago I found two fully loaded magazines of 40 S&W Hydra-Shocks that I had stored in my un-insulated attic for the better part of 10 years. They were dusty so I cleaned them off. Despite the vast temperature extremes they had experienced during that time, all 26 of them fired without any failures through my Glock 23.

    Not sure this is of any help, but I'd rule out a dirty gun before anything else. Then you'll be feelin' the love.
  9. phil_evans

    phil_evans New Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    austin tx
    i carry dpx cartridges, i paint the primer and circle the bullet and case with nail polish.
    after around 6 months i shoot these at the range and replace with 7 more nail polished cartridges.
    for me, it provides peace of mind, that my pistol can get soaking and will still work properly.
  10. indyjoe

    indyjoe New Member

    Jul 19, 2008
    I've often wondered about doing the nail polish thing, but never heard of someone doing it. Seems like the P3AT in pocket carry is more likely to have sweat contamination and any other of my typical carry methods. I'll probably do this as well for piece of mind.
  11. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    About a year ago, I did a series of water soak tests with various 380 cartridges. Some brands let the water right in (Corbon) while most survived a few hours worth of soaking. Only 1 was sealed tight enough to prevent water from causing "poof" problems - Federal Hydrashok.

    I took all of them apart, and could see that the Federal was the only round that applied a seal of pitch between the bullet and the jacket. That's roughly 1/4 inch deep tar pitch seal we'er talking about. I tried simulating this seal feature on other brands using liquid bandage, but it didn't improve the results much. I really don't see how anything applied to the outside could be nearly as good as a built-in seal.

    So, I'm surprized by the failure you observed. I suppose that excessive oil could eat through the pitch, but also wonder if Federal quit sealing their rounds  :-/. If you would like to test your sealing method - just drop several sealed rounds in a cup of water for 1-7 days, then try to shoot them - one at a time - checking for squibs between shots by running a bore snake through the barrel after each shot (don't forget to check the last shot).
  12. lop

    lop Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2008
    On a related note:
    I had read in an nra mag about putting tape over a barrel end to keep out contamination. On test guns it improved shooting in 75%. improvement were minimal as were the ones that worked worse with tape. In both cases the diffenence would not impact the p3's usage, but a barrel cover would work well in a lint and dirt heavy invironment. I use those little yellow ear plugs at work and in the shop. I've been thinking they would work well in a barrel end as a lint/dirt block. What are the thoughts out there?
  13. twyacht

    twyacht New Member

    May 19, 2008
    Rotate, your ammo and your mags, if the magazine has been "loaded" for awhile unload it, let the mag spring "relax", and load another.

    And like I like to do: "Get to the range and use it" :cool:
  14. indyjoe

    indyjoe New Member

    Jul 19, 2008
    wheelguy, how did you determine water leaked in. Is it easy enough to see, or did you test fire or light the powder?
  15. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    Test fired at a 7 yard target indoors. The less affected ones went "poof", the Corbons went "click", and the intermediates had a noticeably weak kick. 2 of the intermediates that felt very weak actually didn't make it to the target! Zero effect on the Federal HS, however, even after soaking for 7 days. Perhaps a similar test could be conducted using gun oil. Please post if you do one - and be vigilant about checking for squibs. I didn't have any, but probably would have seen one had I continued to test.
  16. sirlancelot

    sirlancelot New Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    after reading this post and waiting for my slide to come back ( 2 weeks to the day ) was happy with the plating and now just have to get used to the "new" look :)

    decided to kill some plastic milk jugs while testing my old ammo ( inspired from another web page) and all systems good !

    the old powerball stuff worked fine ( this was the same stuff that was in the gun when it rusted up ).

    tried some old MagSafe that that been lying around. don't know what that stuff does , but took a bath after it hit the water jug :p

    tried some PMC ball ammo and some other old stuff laying around. wish i could have recovered the spent rounds , but they disappeared !

    right now have some MAGTECH +P85 gr JHP that did well at the range and it was a nice excuse to get out and shoot :cool:
  17. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    FYI - MagSafe is NOT SAFE in this weapon according to all accounts I have seen. Yes, power is nice, but it could just blow up in your hand. On the other hand, Buffalo Bore has plenty of power and appears to be ok for the P3AT by my own experience.
  18. indyjoe

    indyjoe New Member

    Jul 19, 2008
    I worry about penetration with MagSafe anyway in a low power round like a .380. I'd rather a traditional high quality hollow point, especially in the winter. (Although in the winter, carrying something larger caliber should be possible.)
  19. sirlancelot

    sirlancelot New Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    FYI - MagSafe is NOT SAFE in this weapon according to all accounts I have seen.

    good to know. it did make an impressive splash , but didn't penetrate the second water jug.

    (Although in the winter, carrying something larger caliber should be possible.)

    that's my idea too. the magsafe round didn't get that "18 inches" of penetration , so i'll stick to the powerballs

    plus after going through withdrawal without my little kel-tec thinking another carry piece should take up residence in the old gun safe.

    maybe a S&W 340 could keep me company on those cold winter nights :)
  20. burley

    burley Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2006