July 25, 2012
By Marco Vorobiev
Marco Vorobiev was a member of the elite Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He's a U.S. citizen now and conducts training courses that draw on his special forces training. He'll have a new installment every Wednesday.
As we toured the Barnaul Cartridge Plant in the old Siberian city of Barnaul during our most recent trip to Russia, we were granted unprecedented access to the plant's testing facilities.
Just to put it in prospective, it is generally impossible to tour any plants that were part of Soviet military industrial complex, much less to witness their testing procedures. It wasn't the case in Barnaul.
You often hear the ammo manufacturers boast about their testing procedures and Russian plants are not an exception. As a rule they have adopted the military standard testing due to a majority of their activities geared toward the Russia's armed forces. Since the Barnaul Cartridge Plant is looking to expand into the U.S. market, any new cartridge they produce is a subject to same testing.
The parameters are strict. As part of their regular tests the ammo is cooled down to -50 degrees C (-58 degrees F) and heated to +50 degrees C (122 degrees F) before firing rapidly. The guns are also cooled and heated. We witnessed such a test for the newly-introduced .45 Acp cartridges. The test went without a hitch. This only adds to the level of quality confidence for Barnaul ammo.
Test facility personnel
The Shotgun News field editor David Fortier poses with members of Barnaul Cartridge Plant test facility personnel at their indoor shooting gallery.
These are the ovens where ammo is heated to +50 degrees C (122 degrees) before being fired.
Freezers as such are used for cooling the ammunition down to -50 degrees C (-58 degrees F) before rapid fire test.
.45 Acp ammo
.45 Acp ammo is slightly frosted as it is being removed from the freezer. Note the large green box the background. It is another freezer for cooling down guns.
The Sig Sauer P220 loaded with "frosted" .45 Acp ammo is rapidly discharged into the test chamber magazine after magazine with no hiccup.