Remington has been distributing bulk ammunition under the UMC label. In gun forums and message boards this distribution has become colloquially known as the “Yellow box” ammo because of it’s prominent yellow box. It’s a giant box of 250 rounds and it’s available in the more widely used calibers – 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP are what I’ve seen on the shelf.
One common complaint about this ammunition is that it’s very dirty ammo. After a using this at the range, I have to agree. Before getting into this more, let’s discuss the hardware involved.
First gun: Smith and Wesson 4026
This gun is a .40 S&W semi-automatic pistol formerly used by the Kansas City Police Department. It is a pretty reliable gun, in my opinion, and from what I’ve read in various online forums, other owners have had little other than positive feedback to provide. It is a heavy gun, as it’s body is full stainless steel, and carrying it in a holster has proven interesting. I do not yet have a CCW permit for Missouri, but if I get one I’m not entirely sure if this will be the weapon I carry or if I’m going to go with something a little smaller and lighter.
Second gun: Taurus Millennium Pro PT140
The PT140 is part of Taurus’ concealed carry line of pistols. It’s a .40 S&W firearm, but the Millennium Pro is available in everything from the .22 LR to the .45 ACP. The gun we are working with was acquired a little over 6 months ago, and so far it’s proven itself to be rather reliable, and we didn’t have any issues with the gun “out of the box” as many have reported on message boards because I also cleaned it after acquiring it to clean out the grease packed into it before it was shipped.
You can read a great review of the PT140 at Christian Gun Owner.
I bought the “yellow box” .40 S&W MC rounds at my local Bass Pro, paying $79.99 for it – equivalent to paying $15.99 for a box of 50 rounds. We expended all 250 rounds through both guns – 125 through each.
There are two things I prominently noticed firing the “yellow box” ammo. First, the ammunition caused a noticeable GSR cloud with smoke coming out of the barrel – as in enough that I could puff it away like in the cartoons. I have never seen that with any other ammunition I’d fired, and I’ve used Remington JHPs, Winchester FMJs and Federal FMJs. Most of these rounds were 165 grain, not 180 grain, but the smoke from the barrel tells me that the powder was not burning nearly as complete as with previously fired rounds.
Second, along with the noticeable GSR cloud was the noticeable GSR spatter that came back onto our arms and deeply colored our hands. Some GSR spatter is expected, but we were noticing this with only one magazine expended, and to a much greater degree than any rounds we’d previously fired. Again this likely means the powder isn’t burning nearly as complete in these rounds.
The ammo didn’t cause any feed or jam issues with the PT140. But the 4026 wasn’t so lucky. The first eight or so magazines (10 rounds each) didn’t have any issues, but then each subsequent magazine had multiple rounds where the cartridge was not getting extracted. I’ve had extraction issues with this gun before and I was told by a friend to just better clean around the firing pin and extractor hook, and it paid off given that I made it through about eight magazines without any extraction issues. Then I think the extractor issues started again because the GSR were starting to clog up the gun a little. From the first magazine that had issues, each subsequent magazine had issues with at least three cartridges failing to eject.
Cleaning the firearms
First, let me say thanks for Hoppes No. 9. Both my father and one of the gun specialists at Bass Pro recommended it. It works wonders, especially dealing with this ammunition. Patience will definitely be necessary while you are cleaning your guns after using this ammunition.
There are two things I noticed: the inside of the bore was not nearly as bad as I thought it’d be, but the chamber and slide didn’t fare so well, with the 4026 faring worse than the Taurus. In the 4026 the GSR had started to cake inside the slide and chamber, which is the reason for the feed issues I mentioned earlier. This is not a good scenario: a couple more magazines of rounds over what was fired and the gun probably would’ve jammed to the point where it would have been unusable and dangerous to fire.
Now I should point out that this was a practice scenario. Ejection issues started only after I’d put at least 75 rounds down range. If this were a self-defense scenario, there would be no issue whatsoever. However given that the CCW course in Missouri requires the firing of about 70 rounds of ammunition, when it comes to that course, the “yellow box” ammo will be avoided and instead I’ll either go with Federals or Winchesters.
The Taurus, as I mentioned, had no feed or ejection issues at all.
So in conclusion, if you use this ammunition for target practice, consider yourself forewarned that you’re going to be doing some heavy-duty cleaning afterward. A facemask at the range may not be a bad idea to avoid breathing in the GSR cloud that may be churned up. Keep some good solvents and cleaners around to get your firearm good and clean afterward. For me, I’m avoiding this ammunition from now on. The Winchester and Federal rounds are not only less expensive, but much, much cleaner when fired.
Is your experience different? Let me know by either writing in the comments section below or by creating a blog post of your own and tracking back to this one (URL below).