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Problem with Hornady Critical Defense

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I bought 4 boxes of the new Hornady Critical Defense ammo in 9mm. Yesterday I got a chance to try it out and what a disappointment!! One out of every 3 rounds was a misfire. The hammer left pronounced indentations on the primers but the rounds were duds. Some I even put back in and tried again with the same result. Now I had two hammer indentations on the primer but no fire! :barf:
Today I went to the range and with the same gun (Kahr CW9) I fired my normal carry round, Speer Gold Dot 124 gr. with not a single misfire. Then I ran 50 rounds of Federal American Eagle hard ball with again, not a single misfire.
I'm going to contact Hornady for a refund but needless to say, I would never carry their Critical Defense round.
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A guy was testing a Rorbaugh (sp?) 9mm at the range this Sunday. He was also having problems with Hornady Critical Defense ammo. Same thing, primers indented, but no bang.
 

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Wow, thanks for the heads up. I've read on some gun reviews that used these rounds for testing purposes that accuracy wasn't that great. The big bad Wolf shot better accuracy wise compared to these. Have you tried the rounds in question in a totally different gun, like say a Glock or some other 9mm platform just to be able to definitely say the gun is not at fault? I myself don't see how the gun is at fault. Kahr's aren't exactly some cheap Saturday night specials, and the gun successfully fired standard ball rounds with primers that are at least as hard or harder than the rounds in the Hornady's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanks for the report. I will be sure to never buy or carry this ammo. Could you imagine the consequences in a defense weapon if this happened ? Yikes !!!
I am not trying to badmouth Hornady. I know they make some good ammo. However I was really disappointed in their response that it is my gun and there is nothing they can do. Maybe it does fire okay in Glocks!! I don't own a Glock. My Kahr fires everything else successfully so I'm not buying their excuse. AND after researching this a little I've found out that a good number of people are having this problem with Critical Defense ammo. The guy at Hornady even admitted as much!!
What I don't understand is that they know they have a problem with ammo that is designed to save one's life in a confrontation. It has a high failure rate that could cost one's life and they still want to blame it on the gun????:barf:
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
With a 1 in 3 failure rate, my first suspicion would have been light primer strikes. That's just too high a rate for primer failure. My first move would have been to try it in another 9mm as a test.

You should try talking to Kahr about evaluating your firing system.
You should research other forums on this subject....Many more guns than mine are experiencing the same problem. I did talk with Kahr -- they offered to examine the gun if I have the problem with various ammo but they were very doubtful it is the gun if I have the failure with only Critical Defense ammo.
 

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Excaliber- This is one of the reasons it is imperative that you test your carry ammo in your carry gun. Kudos to you for testing first! I am very disappointed in the response from Hornady, but I am glad you found out at a range rather then when you really needed it :eek:
 

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I was at Clark Custom Guns a couple months back picking up one gun and dropping another for some work. While there the subject of J-frames came up. We talked about our carry loads and one of the gunsmiths had tried the Hornady CD in his J-frame. He ran into the same failure to fire issues.

If a gunsmith from one of the top shops in the country has ammo that don't fire, it ain't the gun.
 

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You should research other forums on this subject....
I have. You should research systems analysis and statistics. The scenario you described argues strongly on first glance the diagnosis is a fire group problem, not an ammo problem. That would be the very first thing to investigate in a differential diagnosis of the problem.

Examination by experts appear to have confirmed that!

The problem is that the HCD ammo appears to have poor tolerance for out-of-spec guns. It is not "bad" ammo, it is simply less tolerant of guns not reliably creating the depth and force of primer penetration the industry standards specify. The problem can be solved by either gun manufacturers paying more attention to primer function, or it can be solved by making primers easier to ignite. But laying the blame on the ammo as "defective" when the gun is not performing to spec. is not a credible analysis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I have. You should research systems analysis and statistics. The scenario you described argues strongly on first glance the diagnosis is a fire group problem, not an ammo problem. That would be the very first thing to investigate in a differential diagnosis of the problem.

Examination by experts appear to have confirmed that!

The problem is that the HCD ammo appears to have poor tolerance for out-of-spec guns. It is not "bad" ammo, it is simply less tolerant of guns not reliably creating the depth and force of primer penetration the industry standards specify. The problem can be solved by either gun manufacturers paying more attention to primer function, or it can be solved by making primers easier to ignite. But laying the blame on the ammo as "defective" when the gun is not performing to spec. is not a credible analysis.
Uhhh, maybe so, but ammo that is touted as "CRITICAL DEFENSE" designed to save one's life but that won't fire in a number of different types and makes of guns and only works if a gun is 100% perfectly in spec is NOT my idea of an ammo I want to use to defend my life. I've tested many different quality hollow points in my gun with NO problems. You can bet one of those will not be Hornady's Critical Defense!! I just hope no one experiences a tragedy from this ammo.
And, keep in mind the rep at Hornady finally admitted to me that they have had an unusual amount of this ammo returned for the same FTF problem. What irritates me is that because the ammo is up to "specs" they won't do anything about it.
 

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Hornady Critical Defense

I have fired several boxes through my Wilson Professional 9mm-no problems with ignition. I did have some feeding problems however. The little rubber tip sticks out past the end of the bullet of would act like a brake pad, stopping the round on the feed ramp. I was able to get around that by just trimming the rubber off flush with the end of the bullet with a razor blade. It now feeds perfectly. I like this ammo because it is very accurate in my pistol and the way the bullet performs.
 

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I wonder, how much usage has your Kahr had? Could it be that you're starting to see the results of a weakening firing pin spring?
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I wonder, how much usage has your Kahr had? Could it be that you're starting to see the results of a weakening firing pin spring?
I replaced the firing pin spring as well as recoil spring not long ago and have only about 120 rounds with the new springs. I'm thinking of replacing the firing pin spring again just in case I got a defective one. I think that's a long shot but maybe worth a try.
 

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I had a Kahr CW9 for 5 months. Unfortunately it spent 3 of those months in and out of the hands of Kahr. Mine would light strike every brand of ammo I tried. At one range outing I had 20% Failures due to light primer strikes. Here are some pictures from my gun.

This first shot shows two different brands of ammo. This was after sending the gun back to Kahr 2 times. The 2nd time they returned it with "No trouble found" written on the work order.




The third time I sent it back i sent it to the Director of the service department. They took good care of it and sent it back to me repaired 48 hours later.

There is a huge difference in the location of the strike and the depth.



My pint is, I wouldn't trust that CW9 for personal protection if you aren't 100% sure the gun will light off even the hardest of primers. I don't like living that close to the edge...

YMMV
 

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As mentioned a while back in this thread, I had 2 rounds out of the first 10 rounds of a box of Critical Defense that did not go bang on the first strike with my Taurus PT-709. I've put more than a dozen other types of FMJ and JHP ammunition - more than 750 rounds - through this same gun with NO issues. Wolf, Golden Bear, Tula, Federal, Remington, Winchester, Speer, American Eagle, and PMC Bronze. Cheap ammo, premium ammo - NO OTHER FAILURE TO FIRE rounds with ANY of these EXCEPT the Critical Defense.

It ain't the gun. Or at least ONLY the gun. The 2 rounds that did not fire in my gun DID fire on the second strike in the same gun. I still have 6 boxes of CD in my safe. I'm going to keep shooting this stuff to see if I get any more no-fires. But I'm not going to count on it to save my life. I'm disappointed in the response that Excalibur got from Hornady - if they freely admit that they've had more of this ammo come back for the same issue than the other things they make, simple problem analysis says there's got to be an issue. But I guess I understand their position - admit an issue, and you've got probably hundreds of thousands of rounds at risk and no way to figure out which ones will fire and which ones won't unless you hit that primer with a firing pin. I've chosen not to be the lab rat. I'll stick to my Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot - I've never had a no-fire with either of these in ANY gun or in ANY caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
As mentioned a while back in this thread, I had 2 rounds out of the first 10 rounds of a box of Critical Defense that did not go bang on the first strike with my Taurus PT-709. I've put more than a dozen other types of FMJ and JHP ammunition - more than 750 rounds - through this same gun with NO issues. Wolf, Golden Bear, Tula, Federal, Remington, Winchester, Speer, American Eagle, and PMC Bronze. Cheap ammo, premium ammo - NO OTHER FAILURE TO FIRE rounds with ANY of these EXCEPT the Critical Defense.

It ain't the gun. Or at least ONLY the gun. The 2 rounds that did not fire in my gun DID fire on the second strike in the same gun. I still have 6 boxes of CD in my safe. I'm going to keep shooting this stuff to see if I get any more no-fires. But I'm not going to count on it to save my life. I'm disappointed in the response that Excalibur got from Hornady - if they freely admit that they've had more of this ammo come back for the same issue than the other things they make, simple problem analysis says there's got to be an issue. But I guess I understand their position - admit an issue, and you've got probably hundreds of thousands of rounds at risk and no way to figure out which ones will fire and which ones won't unless you hit that primer with a firing pin. I've chosen not to be the lab rat. I'll stick to my Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot - I've never had a no-fire with either of these in ANY gun or in ANY caliber.
You're right!! It ain't the gun no matter what Hornady says. My gun has fired without problem any other ammo I've run through it so why are they trying to tell me it's my gun????
Here's the latest (and final) from Hornady....I sent 3 1/2 boxes of the CD back. They then called me as mentioned earlier and told me it was my gun and all they would do is send the ammo back to me. A few days later I received 1 (ONE) box in the mail. I called and was told they would check into it. The next day I got a call from another person saying they would return all three boxes. Wow, what a favor since I paid for it in the first place!!
Again, I beleive Hornady is a good company and a lot of people will not agree with me but I'm done with them. There are too many other companies making quality ammo to put up with this type of hassle. I'll stick with Speer Gold Dot for my carry ammo!
 

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And we argue in another thread if carrying reloads in a SDF is a bad idea or not...;)
Yeah - seems a bit ironic, doesn't it. I think we all expect factory loads to perform 100% of the time. Probably not very realistic considering the number of rounds produced. I've had the occasional round that does not fire, but the sum total of these in all guns is less than a couple hundredths of a percent of what I've shot. To have 20% of the first 10 rounds no-fire on the CD was either a monumental coincidence or there is some kind of issue with this ammo and SOME guns - my 709, Excalibur's CW-9, a Walther PPS on one forum, another one on the xD forum, etc., etc. It seems that a lot of the 'problem guns' are CC guns - the exact market that would seem to be targeted by Hornady for this ammunition. They are not doing themselves a favor by stonewalling the fact that there is SOMETHING going on here. Too many people with too many different guns for this to be a random occurrence. I've put some CD rounds through my M&P9FS with no issues. I'm shooting some of each different lot I have (3 lots in the 6 boxes). But for certain, I will not use this ammunition in my 709.
 

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I don't suppose you saved any of the light strikes to take some pictures of did you? I'd love to see the dimples on the primers.
Both rounds went bang on the second strike in the same gun (Taurus 709). I had shot several rounds of CD ahead of the two problem rounds, and I couldn't identify the problem rounds among ALL of the spent rounds (none of the rounds appeared to be different from the others). Actually, I do still have the spent cases, but I cannot identify the non-fires. I've looked at them with a magnifying glass, and have not even been able to see that these two rounds had a second strike - not a big surprise, though, as the 709 acts like a DA when you have a mis-fire and just hits the round with the striker again. You would think that if the first hit was a light strike that left an impression, the second strike would be even lighter. For this reason, and because I've run a dozen other ammo types through this gun without issue, I do not think the problem is with the gun. It may be a combination of the gun AND the ammo, but it's not the gun.

I have two other lots of 9mm CD that I will try - and I will keep close track of the brass to see if I can get some pics of the problem round if I have another no-fire.
 
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