Can Not Pull Bullets


December 28, 2003, 09:55 PM
I have a hammer-type puller. I overloaded some 44mag rounds and tried to pull the bullets to disable them, but it seems the crimp is too tight. I banged it 20 times, and no movement. All I want to do is disable the rounds -- not save the components.

Is there a good way to disable these very dangerous rounds?

Thanks. 44

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December 28, 2003, 10:22 PM
Until recently - when I got some collet pulling stuff ...... all I have had for many years is the inertial type.

Now if crimp major then yeah . it will be difficult ... some rifle rounds can be stubborn too.

Persevere .... in the end you will succeed but - may I suggest this ........

Make sure you are hitting a VERY solid object ...... I have an old anvil I use to do this ... every bit of impact energy MUST go into accelerating the bullet. After 20 whacks you may well see little effect ..... but quite simply - keep going ..... unless your crimp is case damagingly-excessive ... I really would expect things to eventually ''give''.

On impact - that bullet effectively becomes very heavy .... and should not resist indefinitely.

Oh and another small point .. technique. Don't hold unit like a hammer .... hold it loosely between thumb and two fingers ..... and as well as bringing arm down .... flick wrist as well.

Hope it will succeed with patience. It's amazing those pullers don't bust but .. still got mine!!:)

December 28, 2003, 10:22 PM
Soak them in WD40 maybe?

December 28, 2003, 10:38 PM
A good crimp is needed om a heavy recoilling handgun, so your problem has come up for many of us.
The usual advice to first seat the bullet deeper works only with jacketed bullets, not with lead.
The secret is in the wrist. The object is to achieve the greatest velocity you can and arrest it as suddenly as you can. A smooth steel anvil does not damage the plastic puller.
It is hard to get enough speed by swinging your arm; it is necessary to add a flip of the wrist to the motion. A full arm swing could break the puller, as could a glancing blow on the anvil. If you break an RCBS or Dillon, it will be replaced at once, no questions asked.
Fourty four bullets are heavy and respond well to inertial pullers. It's the .17 calibers that are really difficult.
I like to use a shellholder from the press rather than the usual collet supplied with most pullers. For rimmed cases a simple washer is even better.
Cheers from Darkest California,

Sheesh! all those answers while I was hunting and pecking.

December 28, 2003, 11:17 PM
You want to hit the end grain of a 4x4, or a big piece of firewood. Anything else and your puller will not live long. Hit it like you MEAN IT!! One hit and any bullet is out regardless of crimp or sealer or anything else if you really give it a crack.

Mal H
December 28, 2003, 11:47 PM
44, The advice given above is all spot on considering my experiences with an inertial puller. A very hard whack is necessary for those stubborn bullets, but they will eventually start out. One thing I've learned is to use a Karate/Aikido mindset when using it. Try to think of a point beyond the hard surface you are hitting and aim for that point instead of the top of the surface. Golfers and baseball players call it follow-through, it works. You'll get a lot more speed at impact.

I use an 8x8 inch chunk of heavy hard wood to hit.

December 29, 2003, 12:57 AM
And make sure the collet that is holding the round in there is real tight! I was whacking forever thinking loose was better... until I read the instructions!

December 29, 2003, 01:37 AM
Thanks all. I think I get the idea. I'll have another go at it first thing tomorrow. 44

December 29, 2003, 02:07 AM
You got to whack that thing hard, flick the wrist, and upon contact the handle should be as straight & parralel to the floor as you can get it.

If you're not trying to recover componants, just seat the bullet down all the way and shake the powder out, squirt a lil oil in on the primer below the bullet and toss.

Northwest Cajun
December 29, 2003, 09:25 AM
Try removing the collet and using a standard rcbs or lee shell holder. The gunsmith I use suggested it when I first started reloading. In fact I have never used the collet. I also wack it on concrete covered with a scrap piece of carpet. If I want to reuse the bullets I'll put a few stryfoam pellets from an old beanbag chair in the head so the tips wont be smashed.
try it


December 29, 2003, 11:03 AM
One thing I've learned is to use a Karate/Aikido mindset when using it.
Ah, Zen and the art of handloading.
When you pull the bullet from my hand Grasshopper.... :D

BTW, you're getting good advice 44 -- take it from a guy who refused to ask for directions when he got his first bullet puller. If I recall, I spent my first week with an inertial puller hopping around and grunting like a caveman trying to make the bullet come out. Then I gave up and asked. Hit in on something? You're supposed to hit it on something???:o :D

Mike Irwin
December 29, 2003, 01:01 PM
I did this years ago. Overloaded some .357 Mag. that I roll crimped the living hell out of.

I finally had to MAKE a bullet puller using a pice of strap iron and a hardened bolt.

I drilled the iron and dropped the bolt through, and positioned it over the die hole in my rock chucker.

I put the round in the shell holder on the ram, then ran it up to the point where I could use an electric screwdriver to turn the bolt into the bullet.

Then I simply withdrew the ram.

I reused the bullets for plinking.

December 29, 2003, 09:19 PM
I really got after it today, beating the hammer on end grain, concrete, an anvil. Really whacked it on all these surfaces, plenty of times, same round. It probably had 200 hits. But the bullet didn't move.

For now, I put the 10 rounds to soak in a jar of WD-40, as Blackcloud6 suggested. It might kill them, or maybe lube them for another try.

I tried a few 44mag rounds loaded by another guy (different bullets, different crimp) and the puller worked in only about 5 blows on end grain. So it's not the fault of the device.

My bullets are 44mag, 210gr Win Silvertip bullets.

Thanks for all the help. I'll clean them up in a week and try again. 44

Mike Irwin
December 29, 2003, 09:26 PM
WD40's not going to do a damned thing for you.

The lock between the bullet and the case is the roll crimp.

The harder the roll crimp, the harder it is to move the bullet.

At this point you're going to have to resort to a solution like mine.

Try running the case up on the press arm and grabbing the bullet with a vice grip.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
December 29, 2003, 10:24 PM
I have worn out dozens of hammer type bullet pullers and you have to balance the life of the puller with getting the bullet out. Luckily the majority of ammo I produced was taper crimped which made it easier but hitting a chunk of steel sure got the bullet out in a hit but wrecks hammers in a short time.

My compromise was a 18 inch tall, foot round piece of oak I cut and saved when doing my winter firewood and it was hard enough and the hammers lasted longer and I used that chunk for years making the ends really smooth for a seat for reloading room visitors.

Paul Jones

Black Snowman
December 30, 2003, 12:24 PM
If you're not worried about rescuing components then 2 pair of pliers and a lot of twisiting and pulling and swearing will normally do the job. I have to use my inirtial puller on my concrete basement floor and even then .44 is a chore and .50 AE is impossible.

December 31, 2003, 01:01 AM
There was a discussion long ago @ here ( ... somewhere in a search, (although seems pix are disabled) there's one of Coin's toothpaste in his puller. Fun days. :D

Too, 44. If you don't care about the components, & don't have a collet puller, use your press.

Shell holder, etc. like you would load, but with no die on your press. Ride cartridge to top, grasp bullet with pliers held at rights angles to ram axis & retract ram to low position.

Should pull bullets & save everything else.

Bullets'll be scored, but bet that really make a hoots diff for "pratcise" pistol ammo though may trash anything to do with anything reall accurate-wise.

December 31, 2003, 11:18 AM
if all you want to do is disable them and not save components, why not just get a pair or vicegrips and squeeze the middle of them with it. that way you cant chamber them in anything, and just toss them out.. just a suggestion. either that or dig a hole in your backyard and bury them..

December 31, 2003, 09:09 PM
I hate to confess this, but I just noticed the giant diagram on the back of the package showing the right way to put the collets in the hammer: Flat face of the collet goes against the flat face of the opening in the hammer. Then the big nut goes on.

Well, all this time I had the collets in backwards. I had the side of the collets with the big radius facing inward - so I guess the collet squeezed inward when the blow was struck, rather than smacking flat-faced against the flat shoulder, as the instructions call for.

When I put the collets in right, the hammer pulled the problem bullets in 12 hits. (Dry, no WD-40.) Before, they did not budge in 200 hits.

Other bullets that were taking 20 hits with the collets in backwards now take 3. (I'm hitting on the end-grain of a four-foot-long pine 2x4, upright on a concrete floor.)

I appreciate all the help with this false alarm screw-up. 44

December 31, 2003, 09:15 PM
Oh my ....... HAHAHAHA! :D

Hey dude - i ain't laughin at you ..... just the event .... and why? Cos i did the same in early days ... yep .. did it myself! ..... not mind you with ''terror crimps'' like yours may have been. :p

I apologize in fact for not having mentioned the collet aspect .. did not occur to me.

Well .... not to worry - we have all learned the hard way on various things .... and am just glad the dilemma is solved.


December 31, 2003, 09:32 PM
Takes a big man to tell on himself.

I am just glad you got it working.

January 2, 2004, 03:48 PM
"...Anything else and your puller will not live long..." Nonsense. I've used a rock for years. No fuss. No bother. No need for a heavy crimp on a .44 mag either. Get a lump of granite and keep whacking until the bullets come out. Whack hard.

January 2, 2004, 04:48 PM
The newer plastics are well suited for use on a hard anvil. Older ones were good, but I surmise that age may have taken a toll on the plastic.
The smooth steel does not chew up the face of the "hammer".
I've been working on a couple hundred .38 wadcutters. But in the unlikely event of a failure, I live so close to RCBS that warrenty replacement is easier than a trip to the Post Office, and cheaper too.
I just telephoned Huntington's (RCBS is clised until Monday,) and confirmed that the accepted technique is with a heavy steel anvil. Softer surfaces cushion the blow and necessitate more blows.
Regards from Darkest California,

Phil in Seattle
January 3, 2004, 01:23 AM
Flat face of the collet goes against the flat face of the opening in the hammer. Then the big nut goes on.

Interesting I found that mine from Midway works the opposite way. If I put the flat down the collet would spread and jam the nut on when I tried to take it off.

I use the flat edge of a weight plate to hammer on 3-4 blows is the most anything has taken.

Plus I bought the Hornady Cam lock puller for when I have more than just a few of anything to break down.

January 3, 2004, 01:09 PM
That looks like the one I have. Got mine from Midway too. If I put the flat collet face against the flat face of the hammer, it works great. But hardly works at all the opposite way.

By the way, I soaked 10 of the bad rounds in WD-40 overnight to disable them. Next day when I pulled them, I saw that the WD-40 had gotten in and completely soaked the powder. 44

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