If you are one who has a wide assortment of firearms, then you need to make sure that you segregate your ammo, not only to keep you safe, but to make sure your firearm offers the best performance.
When shooting for practice, or shooting for competition, many shooters will have several different pistols with different calibers. Usually, this never becomes an issue unless you fail to keep your ammunition segregated.
Competitors especially will frequently be seen switching from firearm to firearm, and loading and unloading magazines as they go. The guns will most typically also have different calibers for use. In this instance, a problem may develop as in most of these cases, calibers end up getting mixed up and result in disaster.
Take, for instance, a round of 9mm that was erroneously chambered and then fired from a Glock 23. There wasn’t any problem other than the failure of the cartridge to eject. Again, a round of a .40 S&W that was chambered and fired from a 1911 .45 ACP. Much like the Glock 23, the only failure was of the cartridge to eject.
However, when a .40 S&W was chambered into a 9mm cartridge and fired, there was a different result. Instead of the usual bang typically produced when fired, the gun only offers a “click.” When retracting the bolt, to see what had triggered the effort in ejecting, shiny metal slivers proceeded to spill out of the ejection port area.
After taking a moment to clear the carbine, it seemed the slivers were the remnants of an improperly loaded caliber of ammo—that of a .40 caliber bullet. The chambering of ammunition into a firearm that the ammo was not specifically designed for can be dangerous and life-threatening. In the cases cited above, the outcome could have been much more deadly than it was. It could have also resulted in damage of a catastrophic nature to the firearm itself.
By using the wrong type of ammo, there may result in the release of a high-pressure gas within the barrel of a pistol or its chamber. This action will cause the exceeding of safety parameters that the specifications for the specific firearm was designed to meet.
Only the ammunition of the proper caliber that is designated by the manufacturer is to be used in each and every firearm. All modern models of firearms have caliber and gauge markings that indicate the correct the proper ammo for its use. These markings can typically be found on the firearm’s frame, barrel, or receiver. There will also be a stamp on the head of the ammo itself, another means of verifying you are using the proper ammo.
If at any time you find yourself in doubt as to the caliber of ammo you are using, do not use the ammo. If you failed to segregate your ammo, it is better to be safe than sorry. A good adage to remember is that because the ammo round will fit into the firearm does not necessarily mean it is the proper caliber for safe use.