Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner

Carelessness at the Range

2747 Views 13 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  hoot
I have a confession to make in hopes that it will remind others to be careful.
Last week I was at the range target shooting with two Sigs, a 239 in 9mm and a 229 in .40 S&W. After firing a box plus of 9mm's I turned to the 229, opened a box of Remington 180 gr. FMJ ammo, loaded the mag, jacked the slide, squeezed off a shot, and immediately knew something wasn't right. The round had certainly fired, but recoil was mild and the slide hadn't cycled. So I removed the mag and opened the slide. Out fell a 9mm case that had fired and expanded in the .40 chamber. Since a 9mm cartridge will drop through the chamber and out the barrel of a .40, I assume that the extractor was somehow able to hold it in place. (Accuracy by the way was lousy as one would assume, 10" low at 10 yards.)
How I was careless enough to put a 9mm in the magazine is beyond me. Actually I had put two in, ten .40's topped off with two 9's. Since I try to be so very careful, I've been embarrassed and depressed ever since. But the Sig appears to be fine as it functioned smoothly thereafter.
However, I have a question: What possible damage could result from a smaller caliber round being fired in a semiauto? --c
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Hey Corky,

Don't take it too hard, neighbor. You are in good company. I learned the lesson of having more than one caliber of ammo on the bench at the same time in a similar fashion.......I tried to chamber a .243 Winchester round in to a 7X57mm rifle. Luckily it didn't fit.....remember I said not to take it too hard? Here's why:

Several years ago a friend and I were instructing a class in our state's concealed carry course at a local range. My friend and partner was the armorer and chief firearms instructor for a good size local police department for 28 years and was also one of the best pistol smiths I've ever seen. He had done some repair work on a .40 caliber auto pistol for a fellow and we decided to test fire it after all the students had gone home. He fired most of a mag before he figured out why it was throwing bullets five feet off at 25 yards, and guess what, yep, he had loaded the mag with 9mm rounds. I'll bet there's not one guy on this forum who hasn't either done something similar or come mighty close to it. It goes with having guns of several calibers in which the cartridges tend to look similar. And look at the bright side......you learned something very important and didn't get hurt doing it.

If it was me, I'd have the pistol looked at by a good smithy just to be safe. Firing a smaller cartridge than a gun was chambered for may or may not damage a semiautomatic pistol, depending on the gun and the calibers involved. But it's not a safe thing to do in most cases. Hope this helps and happy SIGging.

See less See more
While I have never done it, I have seen 44 Mag fired in 45 Colts (split cases) and 40 S&W fired in 45 ACPs (split case but it did eject!). One of the reasons I have never done it is that I limit my available types of ammo to 9, 38, 41 and 45 for handguns and 556, 762 and 545 (now) in rifles. But I want to add 16 to my 12 ga. only shotty gun stuff. That may be a mess! Good thing they are colour coded...
In the future I will take to the bench one gun at a time with its ammunition. Both will be removed before I take another pistol and its ammo from my range bag. Such a simple solution.

I met a guy at a range who bought a Wetherby rifle that was chambered for a "common" caliber but the salesman gave him Wetherby magnum ammo to fire in it. This is back when Wetherby came out with a lower price rifles. He said he almost died and was lucky he lived. Super nice guy, but he was badly scared and physically challenged to the point where I'm not sure if this guy worked since his accident. My encounter with this guy really sticks with me because the guy never had anything negitive to say about the secquence of events that led up to his accident. For all this guy went through, he had a positive attitude about everything.
I just had no idea this was possible, firing a 9mm in a .40 chamber. I do see all the time guys with 38Super pistols firing 9mm, but both cartridges are quite similar, although I'd never do that to my Stock Custom.
I'm glad you're alright. I just read another story about a similar incident on another board so no, you're not alone.
You have already decided on the solution I was going to suggest.
I once inadverdantly loaded .40 caliber rounds into my .45 1911, a whole magazine. :-[ The cases wouldn't extract and I fired 4 rounds before I realized what was wrong. :-[

Welcome to the club :-/

don't be to hard on yourself but instead treat it as a very good lesson.
i have seen many times at work the wrong ammo being loaded into the wrong guns, and have also done it myself.

one example was a live 357 round stuck in a 44magnum lever action barrel. the gun sat in the locker with this round down the spout for 6 days. only to be discovered when the next person who used the rifle tried to load the 44mag. fortunately it would not allow the breach to close but i hate to think what would have happened if it had have set of the primers??
:-[ lucky for us the person in question quit his job not long after as he continually issued wrong ammo.

Ive also seen 9mms go off in .40Cal's and 357Sig's too without any ill effects (so far)

another one to watch out for and just as equally as important happened to me just 3 days ago.

i loaded a 9mm into a Glock 17. the shell in question had a "proud primer". i racked the slide and when the breach closed the bullet fired. there was no fire pin indent on the case, the breach block simply fell onto the primer and set it off. lucky for me the gun was down range in a safe direction, but i was well aware of the situation before loading the gun in any case.

yes probably a silly thing to do. next time i will discard the faulty ammo and send it off to be crushed in an industrial furnace at the reloading factory.

at the end off the day stay alert, ALWAYS practises safe handling methods and DOUBLE check everything.

safe gunning to all, BB.
See less See more
Thank you for taking the time to share your story. An accident can happen at any time and an extra reminder is always a good thing. I am glad you were not injured and I assume the sig will be fine as it is a first class weapon. Just be sure to fully inspect all areas for any bulging or tiny cracks/fractures. Stay safe.
The biggest danger of firing a 9mm in a .40 chamber is that it'll lock your gun up during a firefight. The smaller case is unsupported, so the pressure is expended in destroying the case, and the bullet doesn't travel nearly as fast, nor is the recoil energy always sufficient to cycle the action. I've seen this happen to a friend, who was shooting his carry ammo so he could start fresh. The ammunition in his .40 Glock mags had ridden on his duty belt for at least three months, and one of the rounds in the gun was a 9mm. Below is the result. The round didn't cycle the action, though it did eject the empty. I heard a BANG! BANG! BANG! POP! and immediately yelled at him to cease fire, thinking that he might have gotten an underpowered round that could have left a bullet stuck in the barrel.

Apparently the 9mm round got into the magazine when he was reloading after a range trip. We habitually carry several different calibers of weapons to the range, and this appears to be a case where the refilling of mags was done in a somewhat disorganized fashion.
See less See more
When I first got my Taurus 9mm, I went down the road to the closest gunshop that was open at the time. It was nice, not having to drive across the county.

I asked for 9mm ammo, and went home and shot it. I couldn't figure out why the heck it wouldn't cycle as it was obviously 9mm, reading

9mm Makarov​

on the box of Blazer ammo.

I looked the stuff up on the internet, and went back and explained things to the owner. He apologized, but wouldn't make things right with either a refund or another box of ammo.

That incident was a learning experience for me, and colored my relations with that gunshop for years afterward.

Josh <><
See less See more
Thank God for happy endings, my Dad used to make us clear the chamber and look down the bore of our shotguns before we loaded up, and like the man said color coded helps (shotguns anyhow). I have never seen a proud primer incident... muzzle control saves the day!

Reminds me of the time when I went to the range with lots of mags, loaded for both 9 and 40 Hi Powers.

Nothing was hurt but my pride.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.