Hornady made a recall yesterday on multiple lots of ammunition in retail and consumer hands. The lots are custom rounds made for the 500 S&W with 300 grain bullets. The cause for concern is “Excessive chamber pressures”, but in all reality, isn’t that the whole point of the 500 S&W to have excessive chamber pressures?
No, seriously though: The firearms using this caliber may indeed be well built and heavily reinforced, but it is optimized for specific loads not to be exceeded. The amount of damage that can be caused by such a large cartridge is extreme; having excess powder, or non-spec brass, or larger primers than usual, or any other number of concerns, can be deadly, if not simply unexpected.
A weapon made at the limits of cartridge design (like these are) are just barely able to handle loads for which they were built, having excess power can be pretty unsafe.
Hornady is a quality manufacturer, and obviously does not want the potential for a lawsuit or the guilt that comes along with knowing that something other than bears, bad guys and Zombies are being taken out by their ½ inch diameter 300 grain projectiles.
The ammunition in question is a “custom” load in the FTX custom Pistol ammo line (the ones in the craft-paper-brown boxes): 20 count boxes of the 300 grain 500 S&W FTX. The Hornady Item number is (#9249).
The boxes of concern were originally shipped between 09/10 and 10/11 and include boxes from the following FTX lots:
Lot numbers are listed on the sticker on the end of the box on the bottom lend side of the sticker. The problem appears to be localized to these lots only, and likely there has been some extensive research done on Hornady’s end, as they have explicitly stated that the other lots of this ammunition are not to be recalled. I would imagine this is damage control for the recall, and that this ammunition may have concerns in the future.
With any ammunition, if you feel unsafe using the ammunition or it is noticeably different from the normal loads you shoot, there may be cause for concern. If you are observing any differences of note from any ammunition, you should stop shooting and get in touch with the manufacturer. Furthermore, you should obtain written notification or verification as to their specific stance on your ammunition after you speak with them, so you have documentation to back up their representative’s claims.
No doubt in this highly litigious society, ammunition manufacturers have stepped up Quality control and maintain heavy reserves of ammunition for periodic testing. But make sure you are shooting safely, regardless of what the mainstream thinks or says. In the case of excessive charges or unmonitored powder burning, it’s not always as simple as a bit heavier recoil, it can in fact be dangerous.
Hornady, in this case, will make arrangements to any shooter affected by this recall and advise that the owner of these boxes of ammunition call their customer service team at 1-800-338-1242 to start the process of returning the boxes and arrange for replacement.
The press release and recall can be viewed Hornady’s website.