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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some buddies and I had dinner last week and were discussing some reloading issues - and one guy mentioned he was seeing some cracked cases on some of the 10mm brass he was picking up at the range. Consensus seemed to be they probably came out of a Glock ......

After some research - I've found a lot of the Glocks seem to have up to 1/4 " of the brass case ( near the bottom obviously ) "unsupported" by the chamber of the barrel. Maybe that is why they are careful to point out you should not use reloaded ammo in a Glock. I guess I don't see why any mfg would have an "unsupported chamber" designed into a gun / must be some reason ?

What other mfg's have calibers / barrels that do not have fully supported chambers ? If you have models, I'd appreciate it but I'm especially interested in any of the 1911's / Sig's / and Beretta - but would welcome any input. Thanks.
 

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From what I understand, only certain Glocks and the Colt 1911's have the unsupported chambers. This is done to reduce jamming during the feeding of rounds from the magazine, but it also leads to cracked cases and a lack of pressure so discharged rounds wind up doing less damage.

What model Glock was is anyway? I've heard that this is very common with ones chambered for the .40 caliber rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It wasn't my gun - but I understand it was a Glock 22 (.40 S&W). I understand what you said - but I still don't understand why any mfg would think having an unsupported chamber would make a gun feed better - let alone the safety issue.
 

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First off I'm not sure what mfg means.

Second, with the ramp/chamber not being fully supported it allows for more room during the blowback, giving the round more space to slide through before the slide slams back into position, reducing the chances of the round becoming stuck halfway. That's just my understanding of it, I'm not sure if that's really the case or not.

As for the safety issue, it's really a problem for those who do reloads. The brass casing expands to fit the walls of the chamber when the powder explodes, and if part of it's unsupported the pressure causes it to expand moreso. It's really dangerous when the rounds are reloaded for extra power.

Glocks are like Desert Eagles. They're good guns but they can be finicky and require certain treatment to function properly. To some this is more work than they see necessary, to others it's reasonable. That's how I see it.
 

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Unsupported chambers are pretty safe when used with first fire factory ammunition. Reloads and remanufactured ammo is the most common culprit as the brass weakens each time it is resized. One reason reloads are not covered by warranty. All Glocks have unsupported chambers but most problems have occurred in the .40 S&W, 10 mm, and .45 ACP models. The first two are fairly high pressure rounds while the .45 is common and the source I heard thought a number were with reloads/remanufactured brass. The 9mm has been quite safe with only a couple of instances of damage reported. Design needs often necessitate an unsupported chamber and with unweakened brass it is a generally safe design.
 

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Now I have a question. If I got a Glock 21 and used the factory loaded full metal jacket rounds, would I have anything to worry about since they're not reloads?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
mfg is a common abbreviation for "manufacturer" - sorry for confusion.

I've talked to a number of factory reps for Sig and others - and a few good gunsmiths last nite and this morning. Apparently it is true that Glock has up to 1/4" of a case unsupported - based on their design - so the gun will not fail to feed on a variety of ammo - or at least that's what they believe. Most other gun makers don't think an unsupported case is a great idea - and makers like Les Baer and Wilson Combat are proud to offer guns "in fully supported chambers".

If I were shooting a Glock - I would try to make sure I was not shooting hot ammo - whether it's factory or reloads. But if I was shooting reloads in a Glock - I would mark my brass - and only pick up my brass - and discard it after 2 reloads. If I really liked the Glock - I would put an aftermarket barrel into the gun - that had a fully supported chamber. But shooting factory ammo isn't a guarantee you won't have a problem.

Another issue on the Glock, for some reason, they've designed it so the gun can fire up to 1/8" out of battery .... which again makes no sense to me. The combination of the 2 issues - would make me very cautious if I were shooting a Glock - especially in a 10mm or .40 S&W caliber.

I don't think it's fair to say that all of the problems with Glocks have been because of reloads - this Glock design of not having fully supported chambers - is causing cases to bulge and weaken. But using reloads in a Glock may not be a great idea. I'm still shocked that any gun maker would intentionally design a gun with a chamber that does not fully support the round in the chamber - but I will also admit that while I own more than a dozen guns in a variety of calibers - I do not own a Glock. Most of the guns I own are 1911's - and one Sig - but they all have fully supported chambers.
 

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The "unsupported chamber" issue is one that has gained more traction on the internet than in real life. The fact is no manufacturer advises useing reloaded, or handloaded ammunition. Glock .45's as well as all other calibers have been in use for years having fired tens of millions of rounds with complete success. The current Glock .45's are rated for +P+ ammunition. They function flawlessly with it. If an auto pistol won't feed reliably it's worth crap. Glock assures that all of it's guns will feed with any ammunition by offering their guns with a generous feed ramp, or "Unsupported Chamber", it does nothing to reduce the reliability of the gun. It only increases it. Bill T.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No other manufacturers that I'm aware of discourage the use of reloaded ammo like Glock does - but you're right none of them recommend it either. But I think there is a big difference in the 2 issues.

I'm not saying all Glocks - since they primarily have unsupported chambers - will blow up. But what I am saying - is it is a poor way to engineer a gun, in my opinion.

I have a number of guns with fully supported chambers - a Les Baer Monolith, A Wilson combat CQB and a Sig X-Five - all with fully supported chambers and not a one of them - even brand new out of the box failed to feed a single round. Average price of those guns are at or above $2,000 each, way above the cost of a Glock, or a more standard model Sig as an example. But my point is it is possible to engineer quality into a gun without having a round rattling around in the chamber. I find Glocks approach to "providing more room in the chamber" a poor substitute for good manufacturing or good engineering. I'll also admit a Glock was never on my list - but it was primarily because I think the triggers have way too much slack and slop in them - and I've never been a fan of polymer guns in general - although I have shot them pretty well when I've used some of the rental guns at my local range. But since they engineer their guns without fully supported chambers - they are off my list in a big way and a number of shooters I have talked to recently agree with me. None of the guys I shoot with - and some have Glocks - knew they had unsupported chambers - but most of them bought the Glock as a "starter" gun and will trade up to something they really like and can afford down the road. None of them bought the Glock as a long term gun for their collection. However, I will also acknowledge that the Glocks work - and you can't say that all guns work without a failure to feed especially as they are breaking in for the first 500 rounds.

I don't think this issue is overblown at all - I think it's a good thing that we can all understand how manufacturers engineer their guns - and what we should expect or what we are liable to get for our money. I know Glock sells a lot of guns - but in that price range - I would put one of the Sig models up against a Glock anytime - especially in terms of triggers and engineering - but just my opinion on how I'll spend my money.
 

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No other manufacturers that I'm aware of discourage the use of reloaded ammo like Glock does - but you're right none of them recommend it either. But I think there is a big difference in the 2 issues.
Magnum Research, maker of the Desert Eagles clearly state:
http://www.magnumresearch.com/FAQ_deserteagle.asp

Can I shoot reloads in my Desert Eagle pistol?
I am sorry we do not offer any reloading information since we do not recommend reloading in any of our products. Any use of reloads (problems caused by them) void the warranty on any MRI product. However, if you are going to reload we suggest you strictly follow all safe reloading information in a good up to date reloading manual.


I'm not saying all Glocks - since they primarily have unsupported chambers - will blow up. But what I am saying - is it is a poor way to engineer a gun, in my opinion.
Complain enough and they might reduce the extent of unsupported portion of the chamber.
 

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One must remember that the Glock was originally designed as an inexpensive, extremely reliable in all conditions with any ammo gun for the Austrian military. After acceptance and acclaim there, it was adopted by law enforcement. This changed the whole direction of design compared to a gun designed originally for civilian use and I suspect the larger chambers was as an aid to chambering dirty/steel cased ammo and submachinegun ammo (which is even higher pressure usually with thicker casing). The original design was also for 9mm Parabellum rather than .40 S&W which came about later. Pressures are similar but I'd guess the greater area unsupported in the .40 lead to increased problems as the 9mm has not had similar problems that I've heard. The .45 ACP has not had case failures either but then the pressures are much lower. I can't imagine Glock is the only manufacturer with unsupported chambers but with the numbers of them out there and the scrutiny they are under it is no wonder problems with them are so remarked about. Kind of like the "safety issue" with S&W autos in the early days when it was claimed so many officers were harmed due to not remembering to release the safety under stress. Now we hav DAO to solve that problem.
 
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