Ammo warnings/Info


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.308 AMMO VARIABLES……..Updated 06/06/2017….


Rick, thanks for getting back to me quickly.  Yes this is my worst nightmare…never thought it would happen to me.  I didn’t know about BVAC, I bought 4 boxes when ammo was a take what you can get thing and I haven’t had any problems when I shot it through my old Polytech M14/S & Kel Tec RFB and I shot a box on 6 November at my range’s local “Guns of Autumn” event without any issues.  I didn’t know it was factory reloads, if I did then I never would’ve fired it through my FG42.  Anyway, what happened was when I pulled the trigger there was a big cloud of white smoke and I could’ve swore that the rifle jumped forward out of my hands.  I didn’t feel excessive recoil as much as it felt like getting a pretty hard slap on my jaw.  The magazine base plate, spring & follower blew out but the magazine body stayed in the rifle.  It locked up hard and is still in partial battery with the fired brass still chambered.  Even if I wanted to shoot the gun it would be impossible at this point.  I only made the comment about gluing the stock to imply that it more that likely won’t need to be replaced as it should be able to get repaired.  I will need your address to ship it to and I believe that I will need to ship some of the ammo separately as guns & ammo can’t be shipped together from what I understand.  Believe me this sucks on the highest order and I baby the hell out of this rifle to prevent exactly what just happened.  I’m glad that I’m OK, but I’m pretty pissed about what happened.


Another no damage – just irritating…….   The new commercial .308 being marketed in the blue box under the Colt name but zinc coated steel made in Russia????  Shoots great, until the mag gets half empty and then they start stubbing and pushing bullets back into cases……

The case is not crimped and if you push hard enough with your hand with the bullet tip against a desk or something you can push the bullets back into the cases as well. Not easy but if we can do it with our hands then the rifle has no problems doing it.

I am sure it works great in shallow feed ramp rifles like the M1A or FAL but the FG42 has more of a ramp and those last few rounds just don’t want to feed….  I think a stiffer mag spring would cure this but in stock form most of the mags fail to have enough tension to make this ammo work reliably.


This one is a little different – no damage done but a learning curve. We have always said “new commercial is good to go” and there is a LOT of new made commercial ammo manufactured overseas on the market these days and accounts for probably the least expensive .308 available.

The ammo we have fired in this category out of the .308 FG42 is: Brown Bear, Silver Bear, Tula, Wolf Poly, and PMC. All has functioned 100% – albeit not very accurately – but works great otherwise. So whats the issue you say? This is the problem we found – that might affect you as well so keep this in mind when shooting the cheap stuff.

We recently had a request to check out one of our .308 FG42′s and since we don’t have a designated “full production” .308 rifle available to send out the shop mule got the nod. This is the original .308 FG that was built from an otherwise unfit for sale 8mm receiver. It has been cobbled, re-barreled, scraped in shop experiments and revived, and otherwise rode hard and put up wet for more than 10,000 rounds of any and everything we could lay hands on – then never cleaned. Yeah, that rifle. But also the rifle that goes bang every time and is the go-to gun for “so you just want to shoot the FG?”.

Anyway……   So off it goes and we aren’t worried as it just never fails….   You know where this is going…..  Yep…  Seems it worked with their PPU brass and South African ammo very intermittently and they finally had to just give up on it, as a no go. No way we say – that rifle never fails! We get it back and strip it down and can’t find anything wrong. Then we go shoot it – it works flawlessly. We are shooting the ammo we always do at this point….

After some head scratching my oldest picks up the cases and we look them over. What we find is all the fired steel cases measure between 1.990″ and 1.995″ OAL while the brass cased NATO Lake City and Federal Match are 2.010″ OAL and the South African and PPU brass come in at 2.030″ – 2.045″. Big deal you say? Well maybe.  The barrels are being chambered for the “standard” sizes of .308 by our barrel maker.  There is a standard throat length.  Which seems to be about 2.015″.  What this means is the steel cased ammo along with the NATO spec Lake City, and Federal Match are all under this length and have no problems.  By contrast, the ammos that have a OAL that exceeds this chamber throat depth, gets the neck of the case jammed into the start of the rifling.(see photos) This makes extraction much more difficult as we found, and although it doesn’t stick the case every time, it is happening often enough, to be unreliable.

So this is just one more thing to keep in mind when choosing your ammo type and brand for your rifle.

And thanks to the guys that borrowed the rifle and brought about this new knowledge! Wish they would let me name them……  Maybe later….


8mm Ammo warning.

From the owner of one of our rifles:

I bought 240 rounds of the stuff since it was described as new manufacture commercial grade non corrosive 8mm FMJ  to use in my FG42. As a caution I decided to fire some in the regular bolt actions. Rick, this stuff is just crap.  When I attempted to chamber a round in the FG42 it stuck in the chamber, with the bolt not able to go fully into battery, because the case size is out of specification,  We removed the round and then placed a German test round in the FG42 /  chambered perfectly and extracted  as expected.  We then fired some commercial Remington 8mm through the gun and it functioned perfectly. 

When chambered in the bolt guns we honestly had to force the bolt closed by pounding on the handle and when fired the necks were split on 1/2 the cases.

  I do not know much Spanish but NO BUENO is the verdict on this ammo.  I imagine that if you forced some of this stuff into one of your  FG42s and got it to fire there is a high probability of damage to the weapon / since it is being sold as new and not surplus you may want to tell buyers  that using it voids the warranty  on the gun.


Rick, thought you should know,

The new made Romanian FMJ 8mm ammunition sold by Sportsman Guide IS absolutely terrible ammunition. Today at the range, we tried it in 5 different Mauser 98 rifles [ 1 CzechVZ24, 1 Yugo M48,2 matched Kar98k rifles and 1 matched Gew98] WITHOUT EXCEPTION it was difficult to chamber, and required pounding the bolt handle into position to fire, upon firing .50% of the steel cases had split at the neck, extraction was very difficult.
The problem appears to be that the cases are not manufactured to required specification. They are noticeably different [ wider/ thicker ] when compared to other standard 8mm cases as well as the several original German test rounds I own. The base of the case is also thicker than standard. 
Furthermore,the new made Romanian 8mm commercial ammunition would neither chamber nor fire in my SMG FG42. 
This stuff is SH!T and should be avoided like the plague. It makes the surplus Turk 8mm look great.



Can’t elaborate enough right now but if you own – or are in line for one of our semi auto FG42′s then you already know that shooting mil surplus or reloads voids the warranty with respect to any ammo related damage done to the rifle but this is a little more specific.
DO NOT shoot Turkish ammo in this rifle unless you wish to cause serious damage/destruction to the rifle and/or yourself. From everything I have recently gathered off the net it is fine in bolt guns but specifically NOT for semi autos. This seems to be due to the slower burning powder they used to develop the higher muzzle velocities they wanted. This is great in bolt guns but plays absolute hell with higher port pressures in semi autos. I have a LONG list of references and a simple Google search will find you plenty as well.
And yes I know some of you either have – or know someone that has fired half a million rounds out of a such and such semi auto without issue but is is a very big “Hell No” in our rifle! Feedback welcome as always – and more info forthcoming as is possible.

Turkish 8mm – Don’t let this be your FG42!


Yes it hurts to post these pictures of a rifle recently returned to us for “repair”. First, my thanks to the owner for his complete honesty in what he was doing when this happened and his willingness to allow us to post these pictures as a warning to others.  The rifle was returned with a note that among other things described how the rifle “kicked like a mule” when this occurred – I bet it did! The recoil – from a rifle that normally has the recoil impulse of an AK – was enough to literally split the butt stock while absorbing the impact. In all honesty I am amazed it did not blow the buffer/bolt/carrier assembly out the rear of the rifle as well. Good heat treated steel, and luck were on the side of the shooter this day. The rifle still dis-assembles and manually cycles as if nothing has ever happened.

BUT…..   Although the apparent damage is only to the wooden butt stock the rifle may have suffered unseen stresses and until all parts are tested we will not know the true extent of damage – or the cost to repair it back to a safe shooting condition. I should emphasis this is due to shooting mil surplus ammo – 1941 date Turkish – and so therefor is not covered by the warranty!

The reason for posting this is not to embarrass the owner of this rifle but to try to keep it happening to anyone else! Next time you start to feed the rifle that handful of cheap surplus or reloaded ammo just remember these pictures and decide if your luck will hold, what damage will be done to you or the rifle if it doesn’t, and how much new ammo you could have used instead of gambling!

Actually doesn’t look too bad from this angle……..

Yes I can see a sliver of wood, a case with a piece of paper, and a swelled magazine housing but……….

Ok, now maybe it did mess things up…..

Offending case……

Another view – nuff said?


  • Steve Cogswell (2115 days)

    It’s comforting to know the rifles can stand up to a casehead rupture without catastrophic failure, but it’s painful to see it.
    Kudos to the owner for sharing.

  • GS455 (2076 days)

    The overwhelming amount of milsurp is fine. Turks is known to be hot loaded, often has loose bullets and brittle brass cases. I had several rounds fall apart in my new M76 several years ago. I was similarly clueless . I am very blessed this did not happen to me. Since then I have only fired this in my Persian Mauser. Shucks they probably love each other anyway and it’s fairly accurate .

    Firing military surplus ammo is a gamble the same way firing a gun that has been assembled from a kilt is also a gamble . Overwhelmingly both are fine. But a little research Q and A on number of military shooting forums would have instantly educated this shooter. Shooting brand new ammo, especially 8mm, is prohibitively expensive for shooters like us. the vast majority of us shoot surplus ammo or reload our own.

  • GS455 (2075 days)

    I posted an at-length comment on this earlier in the morning. Does it require approval to be shown?


  • Rick Smith (2071 days)

    Hi Kevin,
    Yes I have to sort through the spam and “un-spam” approve things. I just went through over 1,300 spams to glen out 4 “not spam” comments.


  • Hi! I’ve been following your site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!

  • Jon Krueger (1871 days)

    Don’t scapegoat the blame onto the ammo, the blame lies with your knock-off American rifle. The original German rifle would eat any abd all 7.92mm ammo with ease, including Turkish ammo. German military specs required all rifles to run on all kinds of ammo, because you never knew where your ammo might come from. It might well be captured enemy ammo.

  • Jon Krueger (1869 days)

    The problem is SMG’s repro rifle not the Turkish ammo. The original German rifle was designed and built and tested to function with way-over-pressure ammo. So the gun would function with any ammo troops might seize from any enemy. SMG is just trying to scapegoat their guilt for a building crappy rifle onto an innocent bystander – Turkish ammo makers.

  • Rick Smith (1869 days)

    Hi Jon,
    I will just respond by saying I think you are wrong and haven’t researched your subject well.


  • JEFF CHEN (1831 days)

    Anyway to attach a bumpfire stock to this or can you make one specially for this fg 42 model.

  • Rick Smith (1830 days)

    Hi Jeff,
    Since the FG42 has a spring loaded buffer the stock is attached to I would think it would be a no in the eyes of the ATF.


  • timmy (1821 days)

    Turk ammo is known crap and has destroyed a lot of machineguns and semi auto rifles in the few years its been here in the US as surplus. The original German guns wouldn’t handle it either. Age has done it in and while some guys think its great to see flames and crap flying I think its sad that they defend crap as good ammo. There is a lottery ticket in every batch of that ammo here in the US and someone has to find it. If you value your eyesight, face and other body parts don’t shoot this crap in semi’s and full autos. I’ve seen the repairs a friend has done over the years and its sad to see historic guns destroyed to save 3 cents a round on ammo. Crap is crap and even though these new semi FG’s aren’t original German guns they are well done and handle more than they should. The ammo is at fault. Shoot crap ammo at your own risk…..


  • Brandon (1821 days)

    Did you ever consider making a 30-06 variant of this?

  • Rick Smith (1821 days)

    Hi Brandon,
    Not really since the 06 round is longer, there are no mags to feed it correctly that I am aware of besides the BAR mag whose feed lips are nearly the same as FAL mags which don’t work in the rifle. And the ammo is hard to get or expensive in that caliber which is a major complaint of the 8mm version. Which is why we make the rifle in .308.


  • Gregg (1820 days)

    Check the Web for info on using Turkish 8mm ammo in any semi-auto or full auto firearm. In simple words, DO NOT DO IT!
    The ammo is loaded to full 8×57 standards, and it was ment for use only 98 Mauser Bolt Action Rifles, period!
    The gas pressure curve is way to high for use in any gas operated firearm, and the recoil impulse is too high to be used in any recoil operated firearm.

  • Bill Kestell (1820 days)

    @Jon Krueger … did you bother to look at the brass? Turk ammo is CRAP and I won’t even use it in my bolt guns. Rick’s FG42s are as good as it can get and it’s quite clear that you are NOT the owner of one. I smell a TROLL (and an extremely ignorant one at that)!

  • John D (1816 days)

    Very impressed with you gentlemen and what excellence in production passion brings. As far as Jon Krueger comment is considered the Turks surplus ammo has been through decades of extreme Turkish heat and cold in poorly kept 3rd world “where? houses” it was assembled with bare hands, which human skin oils carry acid with. This degrades ammo over time. If that wasn’t bad enough the Turks at this time used the wrong burning materials powder and later tried to cover their mistake by saying they meant to use these materials. If that wasn’t bad enough the casings were unusually thin and of non-standardized quality. How is the rifle do blame is beyond me.

  • Grant (1811 days)

    I agree that the Turkish 8mm with the cupro-nickel bullets in bandoleers for 3 cents a round is probably crap. I have a few rounds of it, and I will not shoot it in anything that could break. I wouldn’t fault SMG if I blew up one of their builds with this stuff.

  • Andy Marcell (1790 days)

    Regarding Turkish ammo in 8X57mm. I had a virtually new Egyptian FN 49 self destruct while firing a string 10 shots. The rifle is ruined; which is hard as they were built like tanks. Also some Turkish bolt action rifles are built on earlier Mauser M95 or M93 type actions or GEW 88 commission rifles;none of which can handle these wildly overloaded rounds. Be careful shooting is supposed to be fun not a path to the hospital.

  • Fumunga (1783 days)

    I’ve shoot Turkish ammo through my G43 and was fortunate it did’nt blow up.
    The case necks had erroded and ruptered. I thought it was the rifle, but after
    reading all these comments I’m of the opinion, can you afford to lose your
    rifle, hand, eye or life over a little bit money you’ll pay for extra for better

  • Vern (1781 days)

    Painful to see the damage. A good rifle holds together, a Great rifle protects it’s Shooter.

  • Rick Smith (1779 days)

    Thanks Vern,
    We feel the same and were very happy the rifle didn’t come apart on the shooter.


  • Bill Cavazos (1769 days)

    Hi Rick. Still admiring your fg42. I still want to see an accuracy test on your fg. Using good hornady 8×57 or 308 shooting to 100 yards with a 6x scope or better. Have you guys done it yet? I know your rifle will do well. Noticed your fg42 action locks before firing. Please, thanks
    P.S. I want to be able to take your rifle on safari. Let us know
    Bill C.

  • Rick Smith (1768 days)

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for your interest but no, we have not tried that ammo. And if it has large exposed lead tips it will not feed in the rifle anyway. The rifle is not “by virtue of the way it fires” inherently accurate and from the reports we have gotten it will shot into 1″ – 1 1/2″ at 100 with good ammo but only when held in a shooting vice. Same rifle shot off the bench will only do 2 1/2″ – 3 1/2″ because, again of the way it fires.
    Short of redesigning the firing mechanism and deviating away from the original design there is no way to make it much better. Maybe one day we will make a more modernized version but for now we only have time for building this one.


  • I remember the Turkish ammo well…. there was actually a date range to avoid for the Turkish ammo, but must people just tried to stay on the safe side and not use any one it for semi-auto’s. We used too have Browning 1919A4 shoots, and at the time, we all used to use custom shorty barrels in 8mm (I had a twin 1919A4 mount that used with the early crank-fires, so you could turn the single crank, and it would operate both rifles for a combined 1100 rounds per minute rate of fire. it was easy to spot the turk ammo in a 1919A4 with a 16inch barrel. the muzzle flash was tremendous to say the least. Browning had a saying, that he designed all his machine gun’s to be more than strong enough, and then he doubled it.. which is why a lot of us, used to shoot the Turkish ammo in the 1919A4. and from time to time a gun would blow up, and you would break out the small sledge hammer, because the top cover would be bent in the shape of a banana, and while still on the weapon, it would be bent back into shape, and firing resumed. not something you can do with many firearms.

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