My first reloading experience was in Dad’s basement shop, watching, then helping him reload .38s and .30-06. I was about ten, and I still have the trophy he won at a local DCM (Department of Civilian Marksmanship) match with his handloads. Later, during my toolmaking apprenticeship, I moonlighted for a gentleman who made bullet-making dies for the benchrest competition elite. Most top shooters used Bob Simonson’s dies, including the founder of one of today’s premium bullet companies. I learned a ton about accuracy from Bob.
When I began reloading in 1976, my department used .38 Special/.357 Magnum revolvers. Naturally, this was the first cartridge I reloaded. After a few hundred rounds, I started seeing scratch marks on my cases. I sent the die to RCBS, which sent a replacement die with a note asking how long I tumbled my brass to get them clean before resizing them.
For years, many people have said it is unwise to carry handloaded ammo for defensive purposes. This is based on two elements, both of which I believe are mostly myths. The first point of contention is that handloaded (reloaded) ammunition is unreliable.
Bullseye is one of the oldest smokeless pistol powders and still one of the most popular. Since it hit the market 103 years ago, it has been a staple for most handloaders and the backbone of most “accuracy” loads in the popular calibers. In my area, Bullseye is one of the first powders to disappear from shelves, lasting about a heartbeat longer than an econo bulk box of .22 Long Rifle ammunition.
Only a small percentage of the millions of shooters across the country reload their own ammunition. Among those who do reload, not many cast or swage their own bullets. Comparatively speaking, folks who reload shotshells are few and far between. I’m one of the rare birds who fall into all three categories: loading metallic shells, casting/swaging my own projectiles, and loading shotgun shells.
In reloading, a number of factors bear on the accuracy and safety of your ammo. As you reuse your cases, they wear and stretch. At some point they will fail. All things that get used will, and cases are subject to various stresses that ultimately result in failure.
In the beginning, there was Bullseye pistol shooting, and it was good. Then came High Power Rifle shooting, and that too was good. And then PPC (also known throughout the land as Position Bullseye shooting), and Handgun Silhouette, and Combat (now Practical) Pistol, and the same for Rifle, and 3 Gun, and they were all
The high price and limited availability of ammunition remain concerns to all shooters. You can get ahead of the game by rolling your own. I received a basic reloading setup as a Christmas gift in 1974. In just shy of four decades, I’ve loaded tens of thousands of rounds on the same press. In the
In the prior two issues we covered conversion kits that enabled the .22 Long Rifle (LR) cartridge to be fired in firearms designed for larger cartridges. If you believe—like I do—that the .22 LR round is an economical way to practice, your local range is probably littered with the small cases by now. You have
Much to my wife’s chagrin, I rarely throw anything away. The reason (excuse?) is, “I’ll find a use for that later.” I attribute this to being the son of a man who grew up during the Great Depression, when anything that could possibly be used was saved. Then again, maybe I’m just cheap or a