I found me an awfully nasty round of Blazer aluminum, pix of which are included here. So I made the effort to contact the good people of CCI/Speer in Idaho, and sent them back their defective crap, along with the remaining half-box of .45 ammo. Sure is a heckuva hassle shipping it out via UPS on Basin Avenue on Swan Island. Here's my letter to CCI/Speer, in its entirety: "Dear Sir or Madam, Im a long-time customer of CCI and Speer ammunition, especially Gold Dot .45 ACP and Velocitor .22LR, and Ive always trusted them. Thats why I usually buy Blazer ammunition for practice and range use, and why I chose some aluminum-cased .45 for a class in which Im not permitted to pick up my spent cases. Yesterday I was reloading magazines with some of that aluminum-cased Blazer at an outdoor range, and I noticed a defective round just as it disappeared into the loader. What bothers me most about this incident is that I almost missed it entirely - I cant imagine what it wouldve done had I fired it. Id really like to see if it could chamber in my pistol, but I dont want to add any scratches to the case. Im sure youd like to inspect it in pristine condition. Ive included the rest of the box of the ammunition along with the defective round; the remainder of the box was already fired when I found the bad one. Ive taken some photos to post on a forum in which I participate: the Northwest Firearms Community (http://www.northwestfirearms.com/). With your permission Id like to include your response to this letter, since ammunition quality and customer support are always hot topics. This is only the second time that Ive encountered a defective centerfire cartridge from a major manufacturer, and Im very interested in any insights that youd care to share. Sincerely yours,...." And the response is... not in writing. The representative insisted on communicating by phone, so there is no record except my unpleasant memories to share with y'all. This representative - I'll call him Coy, because that's what he was - Started off by explaining that the case had been folded down when the bullet was pressed into the case. Fair enough - and obvious enough. But I made the mistake of asking, "So, that's what split the case?" Coy: "The case is not split, it's folded." me: "Yes, I can see that it's folded over, but it's also split." Coy: "The case is not split, it's folded." me: "But I've seen it, it surely is folded, but it's also split." Coy: "The case is not split, it's folded." me: "It clearly has a fissure down the side where the center of the fold is." Coy: "The case is not split, it's folded." me: "Are you looking at the cartridge right now? Because I'm looking at my pictures of it, and it's split, period." Coy: "The case is folded." It went downhill from there. I have no idea if I caught Coy on a bad day, if he hates his job, if he thinks I'm some kind of chiseler, or what, but I could never break through his wall of absolute denial and intransigence. Personality-wise, I can't imagine a worse choice for customer communication. I'd place him somewhere on the spectrum between porcupine and badger. My next mistake was trying to engage him about rimfire ammunition, and this time the sentence that he kept repeating was about chamber pressure. There was no way to get him to admit that: Work = Fd = change in kinetic energy. The worst part was being told that they don't inspect the ammo, so it's the customers' responsibility to do the QC for them. Coy: "You check that your car has four wheels before you drive it, don't you?" I wish that I were making that last one up, because it's so dumb that it's not even wrong. How to even begin addressing the pile of nonsequiturs and logical fallacies tangled up in that one nonsensical statement? He wore me down, and I was happy to be rid of him. A few days later my prize arrived by UPS: two boxes of Blazer aluminum, for a net gain to me of one and a half boxes. Cash-wise, I broke even, but what I really gained was insight into the way they do business. Thank you very much for the generous gift, Coy, because that's clearly what you think it was. No one at CCI/Speer ever considered offering an apology or any expression of regret that this obvious and potentially dangerous defect left their factory with their name on it. When you've got backorders out the wazoo you don't really need to care about the customers, do you? A few weeks ago I happened into Bi-Mart when they had some .380 range ammo on the shelves: Winchester white box and Blazer brass. I chose Blazer that time. Guess what it'll be next time.