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ftierson May 06, 2004 21:56

Brazilian CBC 7.62 NATO ammo
Does anyone remember the Brazilian CBC 7.62 NATO ammo that was sold about ten years ago. It was sold off at low prices, and then someone (at the direction of CBC, I think) tried to buy it all back because of guns blowing up due to high pressures.

I bought several cases from Ashland Shooting Supplies in 1991, including from the following lots:

Lote.19-3.TRIM.1975 (FAMAE Reengastada 1984)
Lote.19-A 3.TRIM.1975 (FAMAE Reengastada 1984)
Lote.45-1.TRIMESTRE 1977 (FAMAE Reengastada 1982)
Lote.56-2.TRIM.1979 (FAMAE Reengastada 1984)

This ammo was shipped in wooden cases of 1000 rounds, in 20rd brown thin cardboard/paper boxes marked:

20 Cartuchos

Each 20rd box was sealed in a heavy, transparent plastic bag. The ammo was beautiful brass cased, berdan primed, non-corrosive ammo with some of the nicest bullets I've seen in military ammo.

A couple of the wooden cases had a paper label with the following info:

Chile (These in the FAMAE Shield Crest)

Municion Reengastada por
Fabricas y Maestranzas
del Ejercito -1984-

I fired this all up over a couple of years, and it was some of the most consistent 7.62 NATO ammo that I've ever fired. Not one problem of any kind.

Then I received a notice that the ammo was being "recalled" for excess pressure and blowing several guns up. They offered to pay half of the original purchase price to get the ammo back (I originally paid $100 per case, and they offered $50). Of course, my ammo was only a memory by then.

I've always wondered about what happened with all this ammo. Perhaps I'm just suspicious, but did someone end up with a lot of really good 7.62 ammo at bargain basement prices, or did people's guns really blow up?

Did anyone have any experience with this ammo, good or bad?

Andy the Aussie May 07, 2004 01:25

There was a shitload of thhis sold here in Australia in the late 80's and early 90's. Nothing was ever said about it causing problems here but I did stop shooting it because of what I had read in US magazines. I believ I still have 100 or so rounds of it sealed in their little plastic bags here somewhere.


Hail Mary May 07, 2004 15:19

This stuff was definitely super hot and there was indeed a recall. I blew up a 1919 MG with a round of CBC 75 and may still have the case somewhere. The extractor was broken into two pieces. I wouldn't risk messing with this stuff.

Dano523 May 09, 2004 11:29

If anyone wants to unload a case (1K) of it , let me know.

I end up pulling a lot of surplus ammo down and reworking the loads anyways.

dano523 "at"

Court in Fl May 09, 2004 22:37

Yes, I remember that ammo. I never fired any of it myself, but one of our good customers at the range I worked at had a Mauser 98 in .308 blow up on him
shooting this ammo. The gun stayed together but the bolt was seized shut
and the extractor came lose and hit the shooter right in his shooting glasses.
He was not hurt.

I think it was Machinegun News that had a picture of a blown up G-3
that was shooting this ammo.

Stay away from it.

Court in FL.

pogue warrior May 09, 2004 23:58

Wish I'd known this info 10 years ago when I shot this stuff through a 1916 Spanish mauser.
All the stuff I ever saw was made in 1976.

kwilal May 10, 2004 20:13

Bought a case of this CBC 75, years ago when it first came out, decided to use it for getting my brand new National Match M1A on paper. Gun was resting on a table and the bipod, with my left hand wrapped around the magazine. First round good, second round right next to the first, third round kaboom! Head separated and sheared off the bottom half of the bolt, sending the charge down the mag well. Magazine peeled like a banana. Lost all feeling in my left hand and took a few minutes to work up the courage to see if my fingers were still there, as I was at our cabin in the woods and 20 miles from any help or a hospital. I had numerous blood blisters the size of half dollars all over my hand and quite a few cuts. Talk about pain! Came home from vacation the following week and about two weeks later there was an ad in Shotgun News warning folks not to shoot this ammo, had a phone number for some lawyer group. Sent the remainder of my case to a lab in California per lawyers instructions and received a check from the lawyers to replace the gun. Took six months to get the feeling back in my fingertips and occasionally during that time a piece of brass would work it's way to the surface of my skin where I'd pull it out. Learned a valuable lesson that day, only buy ammo made by white people.

WEEWEE May 16, 2004 22:34

I found a guy at a local gunshow selling this stuff for $60 a case. Thought wow cheep ammo I should get some. But I kept thinging to good to be true. So I passed it up. He also had some primed brass from where he was pulling them down for someone. He told me there was some issues with a few lots and he was only pulling down the 1975 dated ammo. He was selling the primed for $40 a thousand. So I bought several thousand form him. I then ordered some surplus 4895 powder and bullets and started loading. I used a light charge of powder and made up some great plinking ammo. Works both my M1A and FAL also shoots very good groups from a Rem PSS sniper rifle.:aug:

ice9 May 17, 2004 13:11

Learned a valuable lesson that day, only buy ammo made by white people.

that's just awesome.

mojo_matic May 17, 2004 15:48

"Learned a valuable lesson that day, only buy ammo made by white people."

Hmmm...I really dig my Port ammo, and passed on a case of Israeli .308 (GREAT deal!) because I read about cases splitting.

If you have any Port, I can pick up that case of Israeli ammo and trade ya' ?!

John Culver May 17, 2004 17:35


Originally posted by mojo_matic
"Learned a valuable lesson that day, only buy ammo made by white people."

Hmmm...I really dig my Port ammo, and passed on a case of Israeli .308 (GREAT deal!) because I read about cases splitting.

If you have any Port, I can pick up that case of Israeli ammo and trade ya' ?!

I always thought the ports were white :)

mojo_matic May 17, 2004 19:39

Portuguese are just as "white" as Brazilians are! ;)

In fact, Portuguese is official language of Brazil. 55% of Brazilian population is "white" (Portuguese, Spanish, German ect.), 38% mixed (whites & blacks), 6% black, and 1% other.

Majority of Brazilian AND Portuguese population IS "white."

...just thinking that if these individuals hate brazilian ammo because it isn't produced by "whites," they probably hate the portuguese stuff just as much! I'll be MORE than happy to take it off of their hands! :tongue:

BroncoMafia May 17, 2004 19:47


Originally posted by kwilal
Learned a valuable lesson that day, only buy ammo made by white people.

LOL :rofl:

Interesting variation on GunPlumbers mantra to "never buy ammo from people who shit where they eat" or something like that.

Did I mention I LOVE Aussie, Hirt, and SA?

Wadman May 17, 2004 21:22


Learned a valuable lesson that day, only buy ammo made by white people.

Does that mean I can take any Malaysian 5.56 off your hands for cheap?

kwilal May 17, 2004 23:35


Originally posted by Wadman

Does that mean I can take any Malaysian 5.56 off your hands for cheap?

Sorry, only have Malaysian 308 in stock. Naturally, whenever I say "I only buy ammo made by white people" there's always gonna be those who will try to read as much (if not more) into my statement.
This statement isn't written in stone and there will be circumstances where it doesn't apply, the Malaysian ammo being one. Who of us wouldn't jump at any 223/308 made in the US if it was going for $129/1000? You'd see the mother of all group buys for that one. Unfortunately, US ammo like that is non-existent, so we go for the next best thing, ammo from western Europe, Portuguese and Santa Barbara and we've all seen what guys will do for Hirtenberger out of Germany. Even the scandinavian countries crank out some great stuff, and we'd jump on it in a minute if it wasn't so expensive. Head east into eastern Europe and you'll see a drop in quality control. Now you're in Russia where ammo until very recently was basically crap. Head south to the African continent and the only country you'd even think about buying ammo from is South Africa, which pretty much means PMP ammo. The only other ammo I've used from this continent is some of the Egyptian 9MM, probably some of the most corrosive ammo to ever hit our shores, with primers that punctured on almost every round. I personally saw it permanently pit a Sten barrel in just one day.
Nothing great out of Asia besides the Malaysian, doesn't say much for the whole continent. Ditto for South America. On the other hand, Aussie and New Zealand ammo ranks right up there with the best.
Let's just take a quick look at some of the ammo that has not only caused people problems the past few years, but also done physical harm as well:
CBC 75 out of Brazil
Chilean 308 (Famae 75) out of Chile
Cavim 308 out of (I believe) Chile
Indian 308 out of India
Some 50 cal Yugoslavian/Bosnian
50 cal AP Dominican Republic
Egyptian 9MM (punctured primers)
I'm sure there's half a dozen more I could name given the time to find my remaining brain cells, but you get the point. Not a racist statement at all, just a keen observation.

kwilal May 17, 2004 23:47

Sorry Wadman, I just looked in the ammo locker and found a 50 cal can (820 rounds) of the Malaysian 223, Ball, M193, Lot 45 dated 7-82. But I still ain't getting rid of it. :) Thought I remember reading a while back that the Malaysian ammo was put together using Aussie machinery and/or components. Maybe one of the guys from down under can elaborate more on this.

Andy the Aussie May 17, 2004 23:52

Sorry was the 7.62 (mostly for a Kiwi contract) that was made in Singapore on Aussie machinery and specs....:)

kwilal May 18, 2004 00:10


Originally posted by mojo_matic
...just thinking that if these individuals hate brazilian ammo because it isn't produced by "whites," they probably hate the portuguese stuff just as much!

You must be one of the ones I mentioned who'll try reading more into my statement than what's really there. Nobody in this whole post mentioned hating Brazilian ammo because it isn't made by whites, I mentioned hating it because IT IS CRAP! SHIT! GARBAGE! Only a fool would continue to use this ammo given all the problems/ injuries/ recalls, etc. That said I'm sure there's a thousand knuckleheads would run out tomorrow and buy a case just to save 2 cents a round. I still have nightmares about some kid shooting a 308 for the first time and ending up chambering one of these rounds. My hands have been pretty much toughened by 30 years of construction and it still turned my left hand into hamburger. God only knows what it would have done to the soft skin of a child.
You can't tell me for one second that the Brazilian government didn't know this shit was bad, that's why they dumped it. The American importer is also to blame for not testing this before putting it on the market. Seems to me that if you're gonna sell ammunition or anything else classified as a "controlled explosion" it better work, and work properly without injury or death. Too many folks looking for a good time at the range this weekend, none of them should ever be the victim of someone trying to make a quick buck on dangerous ammo.

kwilal May 18, 2004 00:13

Thanks Andy, remember it being the 7.62, just couldn't remember the rest.

ftierson May 18, 2004 00:14

I hate to kill all the fun everyone is having here talking about different ammo, but I'm especially interested in the CBC stuff.

My understanding is that much of the CBC stuff that I mention above was reengineered by FAMAE, Chile (the lots so marked above). I'm not sure exactly what that means, since the stuff that I had was identically packaged in plastic regardless of whether it was marked "Reengastada", or not. The headstamp on all was CBC, Brazil.

Any other info/experiences with this ammo?

P.S. I have had pretty good luck with the CAVIM ammo, manufactured in Venezuela. Both berdan and boxer stuff was imported, and the stuff that I have shot includes boxer from both 1991 and 1993. It was a little dirty, but I thought that it performed pretty well. I have heard stories about problems that others have had with some of this. I don't have the lot numbers that I shot immediately at hand, but I'll try and dredge them up sometime.

Personally, I like the Port about the best of the available surplus, even better than the German DAG that was available for a time (although the DAG was good ammo).

I haven't shot any of the Austrian Hirtenberger ammo, but hear that it's pretty good. The stuff that I have seen (soft point) was kind of rough looking to my eyes (especially the lead soft point).

I have also shot some Indonesian PINDAD stuff, which worked pretty well.

Just thought that I'd mention that I have personally had more problems with US manufactured ammo than some of these others. I'm not trying to piss anyone off by saying that either. Most of the more recent problems have to do with underloading, presumably due to the lawyerification (I did make that word up) of America.

kwilal May 18, 2004 00:53


Originally posted by ftierson
Just thought that I'd mention that I have personally had more problems with US manufactured ammo than some of these others. I'm not trying to piss anyone off by saying that either. Most of the more recent problems have to do with underloading, presumably due to the lawyerification (I did make that word up) of America.
What caliber you shooting with the US ammo that's giving you trouble? I've heard others talk of underloading, especially the 7.62x25 ammo for the CZ52. When I mentioned US ammo in my other post, I was, naturally, referring to surplus ammo, not the stuff available to civilians and lawyers.
Wish I could help you more with the CBC stuff, but sent all but one of the 20 round cardboard boxes off to the lab for testing. The box I kept sat on the kitchen counter for years until someone over on the biggerhammer board was asking for samples of bad ammo for a gunshow display so I sent him the box.
I do have a case of the Chilean 308 (Famae) that some folks say they were having trouble with, headstamped NA. F. TO. 75 that I'm just going to tear down and use for loading tracer heads rather than relive old memories, bought it when no other 308 could be found a few years ago, glad I let it sit.
I'll stick with the Port, Hirt, Kiwi and Aussie I've got hanging around for my rifles, reload the Chilean for the 1919a4.

ftierson May 18, 2004 00:55

Thanks, kwilal.

While I was writing the above, you already dragged this thread back.

ftierson May 18, 2004 01:17


You beat me to the punch again...

I blush to admit that my typing skills suck... never took those typing classes back in school. Actually, school was so long ago that we were using stones to scratch on slates...

I was thinking mostly of commercial ammo when writing the above.

8mm Mauser and 7mm Mauser grossly underloaded, as everyone knows.

Current Win. and Rem. and Fed. .22WMR much underloaded compared to several years ago. I still have a batch of RWS .22WMR 40gr JHP that beats 2100 fps out of a 16inch barrel. Most US stuff now less than 1900.

I have had several problems with Federal and Winchester .22LR, for example, Dynapoint, being underloaded to the point that they barely function a Ruger T512, let alone any foreign autos made for real ammo. For example, one lot of recently produced Dynapoint clocks 1015 fps out of a 18inch barrel, and it's supposed to be high velocity stuff. Sure...

I have had some ignition problems with some Win. 12gauge ammo (US made, not the Aussie or French stuff currently being marked as Win.).

I have had some Win. 12gauge Game Loads with small holes burned through the plastic above the head (US produced).

I had to return a bunch of Rem. 165gr SP bullets due to poor workmanship (many creases in the jackets near the tip). Rem. made it good, but it took a long time.

Centerfire rifle ammo seems to be better. But then, I shoot quite a bit of ammo. Most of it isn't commercial rifle ammo (looking at prices will tell you why).

My point wasn't that I have continuous problems with US ammo, but that I have had even fewer with foreign surplus stuff. And I shoot a lot more of the foreign surplus stuff than US manufactured ammo.

It sounds like I was really lucky with the CBC stuff though...

ftierson May 18, 2004 01:21


I forgot to tell you how sorry I am about the M1A and your arm/hand (not necessarily in that order).

Forrest Tierson

BIG DUKE 60 May 18, 2004 04:51

i still have 1 box if you would like to buy

the funny thing is i pulled 2 slugs out of my bbl(HK91)

it kicked the brass out but would not lock on the nexed rd.

slug stuck in bbl just off of case.
did it 2 time' just lucky i gess...

yes the let me know about a month later...:biggrin:
got my money back and still have one box of 20 rds

the 2 slugs have hits in the back from the nexed rd trying to lock...
ill send photos if ya wana see still have the 2 slugs also(packrat)

ftierson May 18, 2004 13:02

Thanks Big Duke, but I think that I'll pass on the box of CBC :) .

By the way, the Win. .22LR Dynapoint that I mentioned clocking at 1015 fps above was lot 2PG82N, and was fired out of a 20inch barrel, not 18Inch as previously stated.

I dredged back through my shooting info, and the last time I clocked the CBC was in 1991.

Here's the info:

CBC 7.62 NATO Comum, lote.19-3.TRIM.1975

Rifle: Interarms Mark X, 24inch barrel

Frontier Sportsmans Club, Colorado Springs, CO
80 degrees F
approx. 6300 ft altitude

10rds fired, velocity instrumental at 7 feet.

2765 FPS
Extreme spread 27 FPS
S.D. 11 FPS

As I first mentioned, this is about as consistent as it gets.

Of course, given what everyone has said, the next round could have been Kaboom...

subgun May 18, 2004 16:45

As my luck would have it, I have four cases of FAMAE .308 that have been in my personal stash for a time along with two plastic 1200 rd bins of New Zealand .308.

ftierson's description sounded familiar so I checked and opened a case.

Wooden crate of 1,000 rds marked "FAMAE"
Plastic bag with 20 rd white boxes marked "FAMAE Chile" 20 Cartouchos de Guerra 7.62 NATO Lot No. 81 ABR 1974

The headstamps starting at 12 o'clock are "F" , "70", "74", and "NA."

The ammo looks OK with green sealant around the primer and bullet.

I am sure that I sold part of the initial shipment and kept four cases for myself but I can't say if my customers shot the ammo and/or had any problems. I had planned on selling this ammo at the next gun show and was going to ask the members their opinion of the ammo made in Chile and New Zealand.

I do not remember any recall notice. Would you trust this ammo or no? I will not try to sell it if the opinion is this lot may be a problem. Totally avoid FAMAE ammo or just the lots discussed?

Thanks for your help.

Jim Greene
Class Two Enterprises, Inc.

ftierson May 18, 2004 17:00


The ammo that I have been talking about is Brazilian CBC manufactured, which has then, in some cases, had FAMAE Chile labels placed on the boxes with the word "Reengastada" and a date (the stuff that I had was marked either 1982 or 1984). These labels were placed on the back of the 20rd boxes (a rectangular white paper label with FAMAE Reengastada and a date). This was sealed in exactly the same plastic bag that non-reengastada marked CBC ammo was sealed in. The dates of the stuff that I had were 1975, 1977 and 1979, as stated above. The headstamp was CBC 7.62 and the year.

This was not ammo produced in Chile by FAMAE.

There may be problems with the FAMAE stuff too, but I have no experience with that.

kwilal May 18, 2004 21:32

Forrest & Jim,
There were a few problems with the FAMAE but from what I recall all of it seemed to center around the "75" dated ammo (like the stuff I have), not the "74" dated stuff Jim has.

Treat that New Zealand ammo like gold, it costs about the same. I bought a case years ago from SOG in Ohio, and still have about 350 rds. left. Seems to be one of the few (if only) military 308 loaded with boattail bullets. I paid $150/1000 for my case, J&G Sales was asking (and getting) around $350 a case when they were selling the same stuff about a year ago, hawking it as Match ammo. Probably some of the finest 308 ever made. Enjoy it.

I'm in the same boat as you, dealing more with surplus ammo as commercial is cost prohibited. I must admit to noticing a drop in the 22WMR's performance, we use to shoot a big chunk of lead in my buddy's backyard years ago, the 22 WMR made as big an indent as a 9MM back then. Don't think it would do that nowadays. Haven't dealt with the commercial 8MM as I've still got half a case of the Portuguese 8MM left. That's held up fine for my FN-49 but the addition of 2 Mauser 98K's along with a Yugo 48 and a Turkish 38 will have me looking for some soon. Anyone had any dealings with the newly-made Hotshot 8MM? Looks like either the Hotshot, or pay Samco $239/800 for the last of the Port. Might just be cheaper to fire up the Dillon and roll my own.
If any of the US 12 Ga. seems on the weak side, let me know and I'll loan you my High Standard Riot Gun. It's a retired Cook County Sheriff's Dept. (Chicago) gun that for some reason just kicks like a mule. I've got a dozen 12 Ga.'s and none of them come close to beating my ass like this gun. 5 rounds and you're guaranteed one hell of a black & blue shoulder.
You mentioned that the CBC stuff you have was supposedly remanufactured by FAMAE. By remanufactured I'm guessing you mean it was tore down and reassembled with the correct powder charge. The original CBC has powder charges ranging all over the scale. I'm guessing that if you were to tear down a dozen or so rounds and found the powder charges to all be within reasonable tolerances of each other, then perhaps it really was remanufactured and would be okay to shoot. Couldn't see them going through all the trouble of repackaging this stuff in FAMAE boxes and not being able to do anything with the CBC headstamp if they hadn't really remanufactured it. Your call I guess. The way things are going it's looking like I'm gonna have to invest in a chronograph one of these days just to see how things are really performing.

ftierson May 18, 2004 22:38


Actually, I don't know what I mean, or they mean, by reengastada.

I don't know what FAMAE did with this CBC produced ammo.

I don't know how they managed to put their little white labels on the back of each 20rd box and end up with a sealed plastic bag just like the original CBC non-reengastada marked ones.

But I'd like to...

As I vaguely remember the info on the recall, I think what was involved was all of the 1975 dated stuff, and any year that was also marked reengastada. But it's been quite a while, and I may be missing something by saying that.

And thanks for the offer of trying the HS Riot Gun. Since my retinas are still attached and I'd like to keep them that way, I think that I'll pass on that offer.

subgun May 19, 2004 16:42

I greatly appreciate the information. I will go ahead with my plans to sell the FAMAE for about $150.00 per case of 1,000 since it appears to be different ammo from the CBC ammo discussed.

I am currently undecided about keeping or selling the New Zealand ammo.

ftierson, I probably purchased both the FAMAE and the New Zealand ammo from SOG as well. During that time frame I was just buying whatever surplus ammo that I could find. That is why I need to clear out a little storage space now...:)

Thanks again for all the infomation gentlemen.


ftierson May 20, 2004 00:04

Does anyone from Imbel know anything about this problem with CBC ammo, or about the FAMAE reengastada angle?

I know that Imbel people check out these boards.

ftierson May 21, 2004 20:29

I dug through my ammo and found a couple of boxes of CBC. Out of curiosity, I pulled apart all the cartridges from one bax and weighed the parts.

The most interesting finding was that the bullets were all very loosely held in the neck. They did not feel loose to the touch, and I didn't pull any bullets loose with my fingers, but it required almost no tightening of the bullet puller collet to pull the bullet from the case. Usually, I have to come down pretty hard on tightening the collet to remove bullets from military rifle ammo. It's possible that bullets are being pushed back deeply into the case when they are being fed into the chamber. I don't remember ever extracting a loaded round from the chamber in all of the rounds of this stuff that I've fired. I can't believe that it didn't happen, but I don't remember ever seeing anything suspicious when firing it. In handgun rounds, pushing the bullet back farther into the case can blow up guns. It will certainly raise pressures in rifles too, but I've never heard of guns being blown up by it.

The Ammo:

20 Cartuchos
lote 12-2.TRIM.1975

this box was not marked reengestada

On the bottom of the 20rd box was:

CGC 57.494.031/0001-63

Headstamp was 120 pattern, with CBC, 7.62 and 75, with green primer sealant.

Following data for 20 rds in one box:

Rd Length Rd Weight Case Weight Powder Wt Bullet Wt

2.794 385.8 195.1 45.5 145.1
2.791 383.9 194.4 45.8 143.5
2.791 384.1 194.3 45.6 144.0
2.793 385.5 195.4 45.3 144.7
2.790 386.5 195.9 45.5 145.0
2.793 384.0 193.6 45.9 144.5
2.792 386.1 195.4 45.6 144.7
2.791 385.4 195.2 45.7 144.3
2.792 385.2 195.1 45.4 144.6
2.795 XXX.X 195.1 45.3 145.2
2.793 384.0 193.6 45.6 144.8
2.795 384.2 194.3 45.3 144.5
2.791 384.4 194.4 45.4 144.2
2.791 383.9 193.0 45.4 145.4
2.792 385.0 194.6 45.4 144.9
2.792 384.8 194.4 45.6 144.8
2.790 385.0 194.8 45.4 144.8
2.793 384.6 194.6 45.4 144.6
2.790 384.6 195.0 45.3 144.4
2.793 384.9 194.6 45.6 144.5

The powder was a ball type powder looking like H335/748, and obviously is a similar burning rate (unless kaboom is in store for the shooter).

The bullets were beautifully finished BT with cannelure, non-magnetic and open base. The diameter of bullets varied from .3081 to .3083".

XXX.X indicates that, being somewhat stupid, I forgot to weigh one round before I pulled it apart. The total should be recoverable due to weights for all components.

The primers were berdan, and the case weight includes the weight of the unfired primer.

As is immediately apparent, this is extremely consistent ammo. Most US M80 ball that I have checked varies by more than this.

I'm sorry about the sad condition of the table. I carefully lined up all the columns, but then they were all screwed up when the post was submitted. The values are Total cartridge length (in inches), total cartridge weight (in grains), case weight (in grains), powder charge weight (in grains) and bullet weight (in grains), in that order.

ammolab May 21, 2004 20:50

CBC ammo
The CBC ammo that gave trouble was way, WAY OVER PRESSURE! Examination of the failed firearms indicated that the pressure was greater than that which could be produced by a full, even compressed case of normal rifle powder. This was not caused by a sloppy production line.
The ammo had been produced for a Police organization in Central/South America and had not been in secure Military Storage before it was sold as Surplus here. You know how people have adjendas with the Police...even more so in areas of Oppressive Police activity like Central America. The Thinking was some rounds were tampered with ( Case full of Pistol powder...bullet reseated...round back into Police Supply ). This would give the 140,000psi needed to bust receivers like we saw a few years ago.

ftierson May 22, 2004 19:29


Do you have any idea about how many instances of kaboom occurred, and any idea of the lot numbers? Is any info about this written up anywhere that is accessible?

Enquiring minds (not THE Enquiring Minds) want to know.

Court in Fl May 22, 2004 22:07

1 Attachment(s)
Hi Guys, I found this in the September 1992 Machinegun News.

Court in FL.

ammolab May 22, 2004 22:11

cbc ammo
It was more than just one rifle damaged...sorry I do not know how many. If I remember correctly just 1975 dates were suspected. CBC set up an Office in the US and published a recall offer on the "bad dates/lots. They worked with Century Arms as well to get back the tampered ammo. I do not have a copy of that recall notice handy, sorry.

Brian in MN May 22, 2004 22:55

I bought a 1,000 round case of the "Reengastada" stuff way back when. Most of it went through a SA M1A with no problems. I tried to shoot it through my first FAL, an Armscorp Israeli, and it would not function. It short stroked every round with the gas system closed all the way. The ammo was gone by the time the warnings came out. Never had any split brass. The short stroking is a bit perplexing as the rifle worked fine with other ammo. Possibly excessive pressure was causing difficult extraction which was made worse by me closing the regulator???? Don't know. Wish I had a few of the empties to look at today.

kwilal May 23, 2004 01:37


Originally posted by ftierson

Do you have any idea about how many instances of kaboom occurred, and any idea of the lot numbers? Is any info about this written up anywhere that is accessible?
Enquiring minds (not THE Enquiring Minds) want to know.

Well, I know of two for sure, the one that blew up in my hands and another M1A that blew up on a guy down at the Illinois State Rifle Association's range outside Kankakee, Illinois about a week later. Heard he got hurt pretty good. Sorry I didn't take any pictures but the computer thing was a distant memory back then and news such as this usually made it as far as the local gunshop, not around the world as it does now.
Looking at the list Forrest posted brought back some memories also. I remember taking the last box of CBC ammo to work and weighing about a dozen on the Mettler scales in the lab. These are $900 scales that go into thousandths of a gram and I recall some rounds having a variance of as much as 1 1/2 GRAMS. Mentioned this to a shooting buddy of mine but he blew it off as different case/bullet weight, which made sense at the time because I never pulled the ammo down. All I know is they were no where near the consistent weights Forrest got. One of these scales followed me home one day and out of curiosity I just went and weighed 10 random Hirtenberger rounds out of a newly opened box. Here's what I got for overall weight:
23.198 Grams (lightest round x 15.43=357.96 grains
23.441 Grams (heaviest round x 15.43=361.69 grains
As you can see, even everybody's favorite Hirtenberger has a wider variance than the ammo Forrest has. I sure wouldn't have any problems shooting the stuff you've got Forrest, it's obvious it's been gone through with a fine tooth comb.
Also went and weighed 10 rounds out of the suspected case of Chilean 308 (75) I have. Most rounds were in the 25.3 to 25.4 area, with the low and high as follows:
25.052 Grams (lightest round x 15.43=386.55 grains
25.656 Grams (heaviest round x 15.43=395.87 grains
Maybe that's why I'm keeping this stuff around to reload with tracers for my 1919a4 instead of shooting it in my other guns.

kwilal May 23, 2004 03:06

After doing a search on the Chilean 308 ammo (FAMAE) I was going to tear down and use for tracers it appears the 75 dated ammo like I have has a reputation for having weak brass and separating, instead of a powder problem as I had thought.
Subgun, if yours is dated 75 also you may want to change your mind about passing bad ammo off to someone else. Guess I'll be pulling it down for bullets only.

ftierson May 24, 2004 03:32

Thanks for all the responses so far.

After seeing Court's photo of the recall notice, I decided to go through some old files and see what I could find. Since I'm pretty bad in the anally retentive department, I tend to save everything. Checking my correspondane for 1991/92, I found a notice from CIA warning about the ammo. I remember that I also received something directly from the CBC representatives, but I couldn't find that. I assume that I filed it somewhere else so I could find it easier in the future :) . I tend to do that sometimes, which means that, since it's out of chronological sequence, I can never find it.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to scan the letter from CIA, so I'll try to write it out.

The letter is dated April 8, 1992, and is on Century International Arms letterhead.

Folowing is the text (original all in bold, which I'm omitting):

Urgent Warning

1975 C.B.C. 7.62x51 MM Cartridges

We have been notified by Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos through their U.S.A. representative that the captioned cartridges may be defective.

Use of the ammunition must be ceased immediately.

Any continued use could result in bodily injury and/or property damage.

Any cartridges in your possession should be returned to the manufacturers' representative at the following address:

Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos
C/O Mr. Gary Fergus
Brobeck, Phelger & Harrison
Spear Street Tower
One Market Place
San Francisco, CA 94105

If you know of anyone who may possess this ammunition, please immediately relay this urgent message to them.

End of original message.

I remember contacting the representative and receiving info for returning the ammo. I remember that message specifically mentioning guns blowing up. I also remember it mentioning more than just the 1975 dated ammo. I think that ammo of any date that was also marked reengastada/FAMAE was also included in the recall.

I originally received two cases directly from Century (for $125/case) and five cases from Ashland (for $115/case). As I remember, the recall offered $50 per case, and they paid shipping.

I'll continue to look for the notice from the representative. I also realize that I have to figure out how to post photos and scanned documents. Being able to take digital photos to begin with would probably help.

Photos of the ammo and box would have saved a lot of my time, and the time of all who have read this as well.

ftierson May 24, 2004 16:09

Ken, after reading your last comments again, I decided to open another box of the same lot and weigh another 20 complete cartridges. These weights, in the order I weighed them, and with asterisks indicating high and low, are as follows:


All weights in grains.

And, for full disclosure, weighed on a Dillon D-Terminator electronic scale, which I check with a 55.2gr Speer .224 Spitzer soft point bullet, originally checked for weight against an old Herter's Model 5 wire balance. I let the scale warm up for 15 minutes before I start measuring (just to be safe).

The bullet diameters of the first batch were measured with a Mitutoyo micrometer.

Length of the first batch was measured with a Midway (Chinese made) dial caliper, which I check against a Mitutoyo vernier caliper that I also have.

Again, this is pretty consistent stuff.

ftierson May 24, 2004 21:46

I finally decided to query Century and CBC directly about this (which I should probably have done to begin with).

I'll let all know what I get from them.

ftierson May 25, 2004 15:07

No help from Century. They just supplied the website and said to check the recalls section, which basically just says what has already been stated here. It does mention that any ammo marked reengastada should be considered part of the recall because CBC had not determined what that meant. Otherwise, only 1975 production was affected.

We'll see what I get from CBC.


ftierson May 27, 2004 15:15

Two days since email sent and nothing from CBC yet.

ftierson June 04, 2004 19:30

Still nothing from CBC...

Will send another email today in case the first was lost.

ftierson July 27, 2004 12:21

The recent post about the ammo failure in a FAL reminded me that I haven't received any replies to my emails sent to CBC.

I have a feeling that this is because of system problems, not from lack of attention at CBC. For example, I can't access the CBC website using Netscape 7.1. I can access it using MS Internet Explorer, but, since I don't read Portuguese, I may have picked the wrong place to send the email.

Spurred on again by present events, I called MagTech (because their ammo is made by CBC), and I was able to get a specific person's email address at CBC. My original question was sent to him, with a reference to this thread on the falfiles. We'll see what we get.

If the response is here, good. If it comes directly to me, I'll share it with all. I especially have a vested interest in the response because I've found that I still have some of this stuff squirreled away.

Hopefully, more to follow...

By the way, if you want to know how to respond to queries (even if not from a customer), call Wanda up at MagTech. She's the best that I've seen in a while. (MagTech, gave her a raise).

ftierson July 29, 2004 16:28

Two days and nothing from CBC yet. And I think that the email went through to them this time.

Probably have to run any response by their lawyers before sending it.


mtang45 July 30, 2004 09:04

I just found this thread. I purchased several cases of the CBC stuff 12-13 years ago. I don't recall who I bought it from, but it was the best deal around at the time. I have shot nearly all of it with no failures or incidences of any kind, and have no idea what lots or mfg dates I have been through. The few hundred rounds that I have left are all marked "Lote.45-1.TRIMESTRE 1977 (FAMAE Reengastada 1982)".

Even though I have had great success in shooting this stuff, reading this thread has made me paranoid to shoot up the rest of it. ftierson, thanks for chasing this info down and please keep us posted on anything you hear from CBC.

ftierson July 31, 2004 13:24

Nothing from CBC yet.

The email address that I received from Magtech is

The persons name is Anderson Luiz according to Wanda, that's first and last in that order, although my guess is that they're reversed.

Please feel free to try for any response.


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