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Having complete confidense in your reloads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by gamestalker, Apr 28, 2013.

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  1. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I've read posts now and then about some that simply don't trust a reload to be reliable enough for self defense carry. These particular posts commonly express a strong impression that reloads just aren't reliable, and shouldn't be considered for a self defense application. When I read these posts, they are nearly always projected in a very " as a matter of fact " manner, as if it's a well accepted and know fact.

    When I decided to start reloading over 30 years ago, my primary inspiration was to effectively reduce, or eliminate the quality control issues I had long encountered with factory ammunition, mostly handgun cartridges. Of those QC issues, misfires were the most often encountered failures, with accuracy, inconsistent velocities, obvious pressure variations, cycling problems, and sometimes an occasional deformity with the case or projectile that originated at the factory manufacturing level.

    So when I began reloading, I had expected to virtually eliminate all of the major problems, and simply because I now had the ability to personally inspect and approve the rounds. At this point in time, and all these years later, I can say with total honestly, that I have yet to experience one single failure with my own reloads. I'm no expert, I'm just a very detail orientated individual. It's reloading, not knitting or pottery, so I approach it with an elevated respect, in that, my life may depend on any one cartridge I build.

    So I guess what bothers me the most, is it seems many reloaders are not performing the process as it is intended and clearly explained in the instructional material.
    And number two being, reloading is being given a false reputation in this respect, as if they are substandard, just because they are reloads.

    The fact is, most who reloaders seem to accept that they will inevitably experience failures of some type, misfires and cycling are most commonly experienced. But also, a not so rare an experience is a KB.

    My point regarding this post, is to impress upon those who share in this wonderful hobby, to take the time and interest to follow the guidelines of the experts who have invested the time and effort to teach us how to do it right.

    Example: the books I learned from back in the day, never stated that keeping brass trimmed to spec. was an option, but rather the proper method. Seat primers to at least .004" below flush. Inspect every case after charging to make sure it has been charged, and appears to be consistent with the other cases. Which type cartridges require a roll crimp or taper crimp, or no crimp at all. Minimum of Double verification of data. Only keep the powder or components being used at the time on the bench. Never assume anything, use the published data and procedures at all times. Perform appropriate work ups any time a primary component has changed. Use clean non contaminated primers, powders, and brass. This is one particular I always go the extra mile on. Brass I use always gets an acetone moistened Q-tip wipe down internally prior to using it. And for brass that has been lubed, I actually dip the cases in acetone, or another residue free solution to remove any remaining film, and then I tumbled to make sure it is completely free of something that could inadvertently foul the primer or powder charge. These elements of reloading, and others I've not mentioned, are easily found in the pages of every good instructional book. And if followed to the "T" will produce ammunition that is significantly higher quality that most any ammunition available off the shelf. Factory manufacturers are constantly posting recalls, the only recall I've ever had to address with my loads, is one's I pulled because I desired to change a characteristic based on an application need not related to a performance failure.

    So please, if you feel the need to post your insecurity regarding reloads for any purpose, try to remember that 99.9% of the time a problem is encountered, it was the result of not performing the process as intended and instructed by the experts, who taught me, and others with a perfect track record.

    As for me, I will not trust my life to factory ammunition, over those loads I personally build. And another aspect that I think contributes to trust worthy reloads in my opinion, is using jacketed projectiles. Not because lead is unreliable, or sub standard. But because lead commonly requires lube to be on the projectile, which in my opinion increases a fouling risk. And even though there are a number of lead projectiles that will significantly out perform a jacketed bullet, jacketed is probably a better option for self defense, but because it doesn't introduce the risk of contamination.

    So if you want to improve your confidence in your reloads, take the time to read your books, and then apply every procedure as presented by the experts. Don't take short cuts that can lead to a failure of any type. And approach reloading as if your life depends on it, cause it most certainly does, and at every level of the shooting sports.

    GS
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  2. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    In over 10 years i haven't had any fail to fires with roll my own ammo. The only fail to fires given had were either 22lr, or every now and then an old mil surp round.

    I would and will depend on my own rolled ammo for hunting, sport, and defense any day before factory ammo. I started reloading 22-250 because a family friend showed me 2 targets. 1 factory ammo and 1 reloads, targets were 500 yards away. I was blown away with the reloads accuracy. So that started the sickness of reloading, now over 15 calibers later, still going strong.
     
  3. ID-shooting

    ID-shooting Member

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    Been reloading ~15 years. Other thsn some issues with a progressive setup early on all my ammo is 100% (i sold that progressive and load only single stage).

    My mentor flat out stated "You are making little bombs, pay attention to what the fark you are doing." Haven't had a problem sense.

    Some of these threads I read with new loaders and the issues they are having scare the crap out of me. I fully expect to read a KIA thread any day. I just hope I am not at the range when it happens.

    I do not know any new shooters/reloaders but everyone in my circle knows I have an open door to share my meager knowlege at any time.
     
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I started reloading to save money (IE: Shoot more). Then when I got comfortable with it, and learned to really work up loads, I began to trust my reloads over most factory ammo.
     
  5. bigdaa

    bigdaa member

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    One failure in 30 years on my reloads. Period.

    There is a worry that if one uses a reload to "blow away" a perp, they will be demonized in a court o-law for doing so.
    I do not have specific cases as an example, but it is often that I encountered this possibility speaking with other shooters.

    Would that stop me from using anything I have assembled to protect my family?

    Not a chance!

    I have fine self defense slugs waiting to become anything I want them to be in my supply closet. Can't wait for the next session.

    Dave
     
  6. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Member

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    The only ftfs I have had was with cheaper Tula primers which I don't carry anyway. I don't keep track but I'd say 2 out of 500 rounds of the top of my head. My carry loads I use all cci primers on top of individually weighed powder charges. No problems yet.
     
  7. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    I have been reloading for 20 years now. I would love to make the claim no issues with mine but unfortunately I can't. Though the issue is minor I have had it happen with all manufacture primers. I have had tula, wolf, cci, federal primers all not go off on the first try in standard no altered firearms. Tula seems to be the worst especially here lately and that is mainly with 9mm. Having said that I have never had a problem with with Federal large pistol primers in my 44mag or 45 acp platforms, neither have I had any problems with Federal large rifle primers in 500S&W or 460Mag. RIght away some might think I am not seating the primer deep enough which is what I thought initially, but sometimes the second strike will not fire the round. I always bring the rounds home disassemble them and they have all checked out fine I even re-weigh the powder. I have tried putting the empty primed case in a different firearm and typically still can't get them to fire, just a bad primer.

    With the number of rounds I have reloaded the number of times this has happened is under .01%. Considering I have had the same sort of failure with factory rounds at about the same rate (very low failure) I have come to trust my reloads but still carry factory for a number of other reason which I will not mention in this thread (risk of hijacking :) ). What it boils down to for me is training, being physically and mentally ready for when a stoppage happens it is cleared rapidly from muscle memory because of the number of hours you have put in training.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  8. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I've been reloading for a long time also, and still use a single stage press, but may go progressive or at least turret soon. I trust my reloads 100%, and find I get better accuracy in general than bulk ammo. I don't use it for carry for potential legal reasons, YMMV.

    If it weren't for reloading, I wouldn't be shooting right now due to lack of ammo availability.
     
  9. wackemanstackem

    wackemanstackem Member

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    Right on Gamestalker! I think the biggest problem is new people getting into the hobby who just dont know or care what they are actually getting into.And with this comes problems that then lead to bad raps for the guys that do it right.I can tell you this nothing but my reloads go in all my guns ,havent had a factory load in the my guns in 30 yrs.If I ever and I hope I dont ,have to defend myself I know my loads will do the trick.One thing I do find interesting with all this craze now is the ammo makers are selling these new so called home defence loads for high dollars and people think they are getting some super load ,am sure you know as I do we have been making these loads for a long time tried and true.You can also look at things like youtube that peolpe have easy acsess to and think they can jump right into, something that looks easy to the untrained eye but as we know takes alot of knowledge to be done right.I reload because I enjoy it and its a great winter time hobby for me.As you know there comes great satisfaction from building your own bullet then busting the center out of a target.There is always going to be people who do things just because they can not because they truly enjoy it and want to do it right.
     
  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have some guns that I have carried with nothing but reloads. My first priority is to know that the gun runs. 20 rounds of some designer SD ammo is not enough to give me piece of mind.
     
  11. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    In almost thirty years of reloading I've had no FTF. The only reason I use commercial ammo for SD purposes is because I have heard that prosecutors can use reloads ("killer ammunition, your honor!") against you.

    I take pride in the reliability of my reloads. I stay focused on the process and don't try for speed. Easy to do since I enjoy the activity. I've been able to help a few folks get started in reloading and it is satisfying.

    Jeff
     
  12. Match10

    Match10 Member

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    Almost 50 years reloading, and no problems. There have been a few FTF but has always been traced to a weak ignition system on the firearm. No squibs, no over pressures.

    I have a routine, which includes checking the powder levels of the rack before I seat bullets and I do not load progressive.

    I, in fact, know my handloads are better quality than factory loads. There is a procedure and routine with rules that you follow on my bench.
     
  13. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Member

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    I have perfect faith in my hand loaded ammunition and without a doubt would trust my life to it.

    Making superior and reliable ammunition isn't much different than making tomato sauce.

    Loading%20Recipe.png

    Making ammunition for an accomplished reloader is a relatively easy task much like making tomato sauce is an easy task for anyone familiar with a kitchen. However, the easy stops there! You want really great full flavored tomato sauce? That changes things. You don't start with a jar of Ragu. Around here you start with a trip to The West Side Market and head for the fresh produce section. You buy about 25 to 30 pounds of fresh Italian plum tomatoes. Next to the fresh garlic, parsley, oregano and round up all the ingredients. Every single component you buy for your sauce must be the very best and as fresh as you can find. There is no substitute or good enough. Only the best fresh components.

    Next you begin your case prep, err sorry tomato prep. by thoroughly cleaning your tomatoes. You blanch them in boiling water and allow them to cool and then peel them removing any and all impurities from your cases, err rather tomatoes. Yes, this is time consuming and requires great attention to detail. You trim your brass to make it perfect and you trim your tomatoes to make them perfect. Anything less and garbage in / garbage out.

    We carefully blend all our ingredients paying close attention to how much of each. We measure each and every ingredient carefully using our undivided attention. Anything less will make for either really lousy sauce or a hell of a bad bang. Neither being good for one's health.

    Overall and on a serious note, yes I trust my life to what I load for home defense. We set our own stringent quality control procedures when we care about what we are loading.

    Ron

    P.S. Really great and fresh tomato sauce can be frozen. I like to make 7 gallons at a time! :)
     
  14. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    How do you know that? You're using the exact same components the factories are. Only difference is you're introducing the possibility of human error at every step in the process.

    If you've been reloading 1,000 rounds/month for 50 years (I doubt that, but we'll give it to you), then the total amount of rounds that you've reloaded is 600,000 rounds.

    A quick search shows that Remington was making 1,500,000,000 rounds per year in 1992. I would imagine that it's considerably more now. At 1,000 rounds per month, that would take you 125,000 YEARS just to equal their output from 1992.

    If you've ever pulled one cartridge apart in your 50 years of reloading for any reason at all, then your loads are most likely much lower quality than factory.
     
  15. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I'm fine with my methods. In 1969 I had a squib and nearly ruined a revolver getting it out and have had no OOPS! since, thank you Jesus. Actually I'd trust my hand crafted ammo with my life as much as or more than mass produced factory ammo...
     
  16. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I had a FTF with a 44 spl round I dropped the hammer twice and nothing happened. When I got home I broke down the cartridge and discovered there was no primer compound :eek: After that I inspect primers before seating.
     
  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Wow! I wouldn't think you know what you're talking about. A bunch of numbers to attack a poster? Do you think machines that mass produces/spit out thousands of round per hour are more accurate than a human doing one at a time?
     
  18. champ0608

    champ0608 Member

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    I've been loading .45 acp for my carry 1911 for 12 years (all with the Lee Classic Loader mind you) based on the philosophy that I trust myself much more than I trust a faceless minimum wage factory worker or worse yet, some automated machine.

    I was 21 when I started, and was shooting a lot at that point. My first thoughts were that I'd save money reloading. With time, I just really began to enjoy the process (I love having a project to do, and loading a couple hundred through a Lee Loader is a project)

    Eventually I realized that my reloads were very consistent, very accurate, and most importantly, very reliable. All of that combined with trusting the manufacturer (me), saving money, the satisfaction of doing it, and the added bonus of rarely needing to walk into a gun store is plenty enough motivation for me.

    In that time, I've probably loaded 25,000 rounds. Early on I was having trouble getting them to cycle correctly, but my loads were weak and I wasn't creating enough pressure. I've since got that corrected and haven't had a single issue in 10 years (better than I can say for any manufacturer's ammunition.)
     
  19. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

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    45 auto -

    The quantity in numbers that factories push out cannot even hope to equal the quality I can as I assemble ammunition with a purposeful eye on details.

    I've seen factory ammo that had the necks literally shredded and crumpled as it went though the seating process. And that crap actually ended up in a box that got sold.

    I've seen primers seated backwards. I've seen a handgun go kaboom on factory loads. And I know without a doubt they were factory loads.


    Don't make the mistake assuming that a factory's mass-production line means quality ammunition is coming off of it.

    I trust what I make with my own two hands. I don't trust factory ammo. I've seen too many examples of the garbage they've put out over the decades to think otherwise.
     
  20. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    Rolls Royce hand builds each individual automobile.
    Chevrolet spits out millions per year.

    By your logic, Chevrolet must be superior to Rolls Royce.
     
  21. wackemanstackem

    wackemanstackem Member

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    45 auto you are missing the whole picture ,its not not that the big ammo companys cant make better ammo than us its that dont want to.They are mass production with many thousands of defective shells that you never see trust me if the thruth be told there defective rate is way beyond mine.I can count on 1 hand in 40 plus yrs of bad bullets and they where all in my first couple yrs havent had a prob in 35 yrs .The big boys could make bullets better than I am sure of that ,but they dont for a reason its the cost factor.They have much better tech than I will ever have but I know from my yrs of reloading I can make a helluva bullet if I want to and it will shoot!
     
  22. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    At every step where it is possible to introduce human error, it is also possible to introduce human give-a-darn. That's what I do.
     
  23. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    I trust and carry my reloads everyday. I do load my defensive ammo on my single stage press, weight each powder charge, double check cases for right powder level and hand prime the cases checking for fully seated primer. I have shot enough of my bulk rounds loaded on the progressive to fully trust them as well, I just like to take some extra time with important defense or hunting rounds. I have had a missed primer and a couple FTF with cast bullets and the usual feed or function issues when working up a new load but once I have a proven load its good to go.
     
  24. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    Yep, the reason that EVERY major firearm manufacturer recommends using ONLY handloaded ammo and NOT factory ammo in their firearms is because of the vastly higher quality and fewer problems caused by the handloaded ammo! :neener:

    That could be easily answered by taking a poll on how many people on here would prefer to shoot other people's handloads or factory ammo.

    Almost every week I have someone at the range offer me some of their handloads. I've never taken them up on the offer.

    I have had handloads given to me by other people. They've all been pulled down.

    I believe there was a poll on here a while back about whether posters would shoot other people's handloads. Maybe I'll try to find it if I get bored enough.

    Ok, found the thread:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=628887&highlight=handload+poll

    Looks like about 45% would shoot the reloads, 55% would not.

    What do you think the percentage would be if it was 100 rounds of factory ammo instead of 100 rounds of reloads?

    Overall, why do you think reloads have such a bad reputation for quality, even among reloaders?

    Could it be because they realize how easily it is to make a mistake?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  25. Cleftwynd

    Cleftwynd Member

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    Most handloads are tailored to a specific firearm, and not quality checked by YOU! I trust my handloads over ANY factory rolled, handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Too bad you don't trust yourself 45.....
     
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