A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Midway USA. Seems some AR-15 ammo I bought last year had a teensy little problem:
We have been notified by Winchester of a recall on a product you purchased from MidwayUSA between December 2011 and April 2012 . . .
The specific information regarding this recall can be accessed at the following location: Recall Details
While MidwayUSA could not have anticipated this situation, we are confident Winchester will make every effort to ensure your satisfaction.
We are very sorry for your inconvenience.
Going to the link (the full info on Winchester’s Web site is here) the issue is that Winchester might have used the wrong powder in some of the rounds from this lot, which could lead to unpredictable results. Including the sort of results that leave people missing important appendages.
As a result of this little oopsie, Winchester wanted me to send what I had left back in for replacement. Going though my ammo box, I discovered that I had fired roughly 300 of the 900 rounds I’d bought. I’d speculate that my box was therefore probably good as I still have all of my body parts attached, but why take the risk when Winchester is footing the replacement bill?
A call to the number provided connected me almost immediately with a friendly Winchester rep who took my address information and will be dispatching a UPS truck to come and pick up the remainder of my ammo. They’ll then send out a replacement and I was given two options. I could have either 1,000 rounds of the 62 grain penetrator ammo that I’d bought, or they’d be happy to send me 2,000 rounds of 55 grain ammo.
That’s pretty much a no-brainer. This is just plinking ammo and my Sig 516 really doesn’t care one way or the other (it really wants 69 grain Sierra HTBT, but that’s a story for another day). I only got the 62 grain stuff because that’s the mil surp that’s available. It’s kind of a pain because a lot of ranges don’t like it due to the penetrator core.
Now, for those who wear their tinfoil hats snug, this little incident does expose the double edged sword of Internet ammo sales. Looking back through my records, I bought this package way back in February 2012. A year later, Midway had no trouble finding me to let me know about the recall.
On the one hand, it does show that should push ever come to shove, Uncle Sam could certainly use the records of the big online firearm supply houses to figure out exactly which houses in each town are more likely to be trouble spots. On the other hand, without Midway’s email, I’d have never have known about this recall and would have simply shot my remaining stock with the best case being that I missed out on a lot of free ammo and worst case being one of the rounds in my package going boom in a really bad way. On balance, I think the good outweighed the bad, but your mileage may vary.
So, in the end, I bought 900 rounds of ammo, shot 300 of them, and then got 2000. Not a bad deal. Cost per round works out to about 15 cents apiece for all 2,300 rounds.
Gotta tip my hat to Winchester for doing the right thing. Sure, they need to replace the ammo for liability reasons, but they could just as easily have done it in a one-for-one even exchange. They didn’t have to offer me 1,000 or 2,000 rounds.
Maybe all that stuff about ammo shortages might be a bit overblown.