Very few things are more disappointing to a shooting enthusiast looking forward to a fun day at the range than having a gun that refuses to feed or eject while using the ammunition available. If the gun appears to be in good working order and the ammunition appears to be in good condition, you might be dealing with a case of ammunition sensitivity. While ammunition-related issues can affect any weapon, a discussion of semi-automatic models is a good way to cover the majority of them.

People who are new to shooting or concerned with ammunition issues always wonder why they are having problems with products that have a proven track record of reliability. It’s pointless to try to categorise ammunition into “good” and “bad” categories. Instead, it’s more accurate to conclude that the shoe doesn’t always fit. When comparing similar models that come off the same assembly line, each gun has minor dimensional variations, let alone the far more distinct differences that show up when comparing makes, models, and brands.

It’s not only a question of cost, but of proper gun-to-cartridge compatibility. You’ll find loads that match (run reliably) as you go up and down the ammo price scale, as well as sideways through ammunition brands. The only way to know for sure which loads would work is to “try them out” at the shooting range. You’ll find a wide range of low-cost loads that will run without a hitch all day, as well as premium loads that will. However, not every choice of gun ammunition will be a good fit. Here are some factors that might cause jamming for you to keep an eye out for.

Bullet shape

There are several different bullet weights and styles available within each calibre option, including lead round nose, flat nose, ballistic tips, and jacketed hollow points. The tip of the bullet can catch at the chamber mouth, resulting in a failure to feed, based on the depth and angle of the pistol’s feed ramp or magazine follower.

Cartridge case

Since brass has been a popular case material for a long time, cartridge casings are often referred to as “brass.” Cartridge cases, on the other hand, may be made of brass, steel, titanium, or a combination of these materials. An aluminium head, stainless steel cylinder, and nickel coating make up some cartridges. Many companies are also working on polymer cases. Under each category, you’ll find various metal treatments, such as the copper-washed, polymer-coated, lacquered, and zinc-plated steel cases.

When a bullet is shot, the fairly soft cartridge case is exposed to high temperatures and pressures, causing it to stretch and expand briefly before snapping back to its original size and shape. In some cases, the form of the cartridge case is altered only enough to cause it to stick in the chamber and not eject properly, depending on the gun’s chamber and the cartridge case material.


All guns have differences, and this can sometimes include the cartridge chamber. However, cartridge dimensions can vary too! Despite the fact that ammunition manufacturers strive to follow precise cartridge dimensions, there are often minor variations in the final product that are difficult to detect with the unaided eye. This is common not only through brands, but also within batches of ammunition produced during the same shift on the same machines. Low-quality ammunition exhibits these variations in the form of poor accuracy, decreased reliability, and pressure variations. Variations in decent and high-quality ammunition are so small that they go undetected for hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds.

Which bullet tips are best?

While the best tip for your gun may depend on your chamber size and other specifics, there are favoured tips that you may want to explore:

Full Metal Jackets (FMJs)

Because of the hard outer copper jacket that encases the softer and more malleable lead heart, Full Metal Jackets will maintain their shape even in the most severe conditions. It is not only resistant to the elements in the field, but it is also easier to feed into automatic weapons and protects the bore when solid core armour piercing rounds are used. For most shooters, the only saving grace is that when hitting soft targets, the bullet appears to retain its shape. The bullet does not mushroom as much as softer point bullets.

Ballistic Tip

Famous within the target shooting world, it is manufactured towards those looking for match grade abilities and high reliability to feed. When the polymer tip of a bullet collides with a soft target, it is pushed into the heart of the bullet, resulting in a fast and uniform expansion with full takedown strength. By combining the efficacies of soft point durability, hollow point lethality, and unprecedented ballistic accuracy, this design allows a projectile to have the best of both worlds.