Skip to comments.Reloading Ammo - Questions & Discussion (Vanity)
Posted on 02/03/2013 10:34:59 AM PST by BuckeyeTexan
With ammo being difficult to find lately and selling for much higher prices when it is available, I decided to purchase some reloaded ammo (9mm) and also consider reloading my own. I have no experience doing either. So naturally, I want to ask fellow FReepers for some advice about reloaded ammo.
If your advice is "Don't even think about, idiot." don't hesitate to say so.
Look at the ammo. It should look good almost as good as new.
If the loader listed the load data check it out and see how it agrees with a loading manual. If he doesn’t list the load, I would be inclined to reject it.
If you know who loaded it, just how much do you trust hims?
Learning to load is not very difficult but you do need to be careful.
1st, remember that Glock has different cut rifling and clearly state to owners not to use reloaded ammo. The consensus, however, is that as long as you just reload jacketed bullets, you’ll be OK.
Properly cleaning and inspecting the cases before loading, then paying close attention to weights, length and crimp are the key. Done right, reloads are as good and in some cases better than factory.
Reloading your own lets you adjust powder charge and bullet weight to suit you.
Heck yes invest in reloading equipt and go for it. There are several books available to teach you the dos and don’ts.
ABCs of Reloading is pretty darn good.
As I type this, I am cleaning brass to reload later this afternoon.
Once fired brass is ok, just make sure you check after each firing for damage to case such as separation at base.
Ask your local gun shop if you need help.
Buy a good book detailing reloading, once again your local gun shop can be a great help.
Make friends with someone who reloads.
First off, I don’t ever buy ammo someone I don’t know and trust has reloaded. It’s too risky.
A good beginners kit is sold by RCBS. It comes with a nice single stage press that I’ve been using for more than 10 years. A scale, powder throw, and case trimmer is also included. Get the loading manual published by the bullet manufacturer you intend to use. You will end up with multiple manuals. That’s ok.
A vibratory case cleaner is worth every nickel, too.
Start doing straight wall pistol cases. The calibers you have are examples of that. Break the task into manageable chunks the first few times.
Inspect once fired cases for defects. This goes for factory new cases, too.
Then clean the cases overnight in your tumbler.
Then decap and resize a few hundred. Take a break.
Most importantly, when you’re reloading that’s ALL you’re doing. Make sure you can concentrate completely. Remember, you’re basically manufacturing small explosive devices that YOU are going to set off in the palm of YOUR hand. LOL. You want to make sure it’s done properly.
Have fun. Be safe.
I do not reload but it is not that hard.
I am guessing that 9mm an .380 would use the same dies.
Wideners is a good reloading source
Good to know that about the warranty. Hadn’t even considered it.
Thread for you, dear.
I do not personally know the guy who loaded it. I believe he owns or manages a gun range in Decatur, TX. A trusted friend knows him and buys from him regularly. I will request the load data. Thanks!
Norm Lenhart. He knows EVERYTHING about reloading.
That is rule one, two and Three. You are putting your palm, or a few inches from your cheek and face to someone else's attention span and skill.
I have seen this happen a few times with Glocks.
Just load jacked bullets and avoid +P loadings as the manufacture recommends. All will be well.
I started here first, but I will go there next. :)
I'd also say "as a general rule don't buy reloads from individuals". I own a former Finish Navy Carcano carbine in 7.35 mm Italian. The ONLY source of ammo in that caliber is reloads - usually from other collectors. It hasn't blown up yet and it's a 73 year old product of Italian wartime industry.
There are so many companies producing excellent presses and accessories. I started back in the late 70’s with a RCBS Rock Chucker press, dies, scale, and all the trimmings. I also bought most of the reloading data books; Lyman, Speer, Hornady, etc... and worked up my loads. I make 20 to a batch and then test them at the range for accuracy.
I keep detailed notes on powder charge, primer mfg and group size. I also keep control of the brass and make sure I have a note card that stays with the cases that lets me know how many times the cases have been fired.
I have since moved up to a Dillon 550 press so I can speed up the process.
For rifle cases I use a full length sizing die and I always buy Carbide dies for my pistol rounds. I pretty much stick with RCBS dies but have a couple sets of Lee dies that work well.
I am very careful with my powder charges/weights and can honestly say I have never had a misfire or dud (I have had a handful of factory ammo misfire) and once I get the right powder charge and bullet combination the accuracy is better than any store bought ammo I have used. Then again, I have never purchased the really expensive match ammo that is out there but I have never felt the need to spend that much cash when the ammo I reload suits me fine.
I know the guy that owns probably one of the largest gun stores in the country. His comment about “gun show” ammo: DON’T!!! The majority of people returning to his store asking about warranty repairs and repairs in general have been people that used reloaded ammo.
I reload, but I know me and I know what I do to ensure every single round is perfect as can be, but I still wouldn’t expect you to trust me to make you any ammo. Maybe in some kind of close friendship whereby you see what I do for reloading and you have experience with me shooting my ammo, maybe.
You might find a guy that supplies a lot of ammo but they make ammo with a shoulder shrug if it doesn’t work versus factory ammunition makers that base their entire business on making safe ammo and immediately cease to exist if they make crap ammo.
Even some factories make crap ammo I will not shoot. Some people shoot lots of the stuff and think it is fine, but I’ve had problems that I don’t care to experience with some factory ammo. So even factory ammo should be scrutinized for quality.
Just my 2 cents.
Some 9mm pistols have instructions that warn against extensive firing of unjacketed bullets...something to keep in mind when buying and pricing bullets.
I second what others have said...its scary buying other people’s reloads.
The biggest problem you will have is finding components.
It is hard to find parts nowadays
Wideners is out of stock on primers.
The worse thing that can happen is you get one round with a double charge of powder and your gun goes "boom" when you fire it.
The second worse thing that can happen is you get one round with no power charge, and it goes *pop* when you fire it, and the bullet has just enough oomph to get lodged in the barrel. If you don't realize what happened and shoot again...
So, know thy source of reloaded ammo.
I am riddled with ADHD. So I will definitely take my meds first. Heh. Manageable chunks is good advice. Thanks much.
“All manufacturers say this. It’s for liability only. “
Not true. It is because they have had years of experience with bad quality reloads that have damaged firearms returned for warranty work. I have personally spoken to two very large gun manufacturer CEOs who have backed that statement. They find reloads safe as any ammo when assembled correctly, it is just that reloads compared to factory ammo is radically different. Reloads account for nearly 100% of firearms damaged by defective ammunition so they strike reloads from the warranty.
Reloading allows you to shoot more for your money, but don’t expect to break even on your investment for a good while. Also, you can forget about finding all the components you need right now as they are even more scarce than loaded cartridges. Primers are sold out pretty much everywhere.
Wideners is out of stock on 9mm bullets too.
It’s getting crazy out there.
I had forgotten you have ADHD.
Reloading DEMANDS attention.
I know you are capable of it as you are a coder, and that DEMANDS attention to detail.
Don’t buy reloads from someone you don’t know.
Find a local knowledgeable reloader and ask him to help you get started. Most reloaders love doing that.
Decide how many calibers you want to load. If only 1 and it is simple, you might start with a Lee hand loader. I have used them and they work, with a few cavots.
Start with a single stage press. Lee Classic loaders are pretty decent and inexpensive. (I use a Redding Boss press)
If you shoot tubular magazines or automatics you need to be careful with crimping the brass.
Start with jacketed bullets. Later if you like and are inclined you might think about casting bullets. There is an artform connected to effectively doing that. If you can find a source for cheap wheel weights you can have very good results for many calibers. For anything shooting over 2000 fps, I would not recommend this.
Perhaps you can find a local club that has reloading equipment and folks to teach you.
Check out some of the videos by gavintoobe on youtube, also known as UltimateReloader. I learned almost everything I needed to begin right there:
A few more places to start with
Utube also has quite few videos that can help you get started
Cleaning brass on Superbowl Sunday?
Well yes. I do not do feetsball.
Only problem is your timing.
Tools are available but the reloading components, brass, powder, bullets and especially primers, are as hard to find as loaded ammo right now. Hopefully, the panic buying will soon start to cool off and return to something less frenzied.
I'd still recommend you pursue it. It's a rewarding hobby and allows you to fine tune ammo to your guns and shooting needs.
Generally, it doesn't save you money in the long run as once you start reloading, you start shooting more often and using more ammo!
Yeah, I'm finding that out. What are we gonna do if ammo & parts are still scare come June? Geebus. I have plenty (a subjective term at this point) now, but may not after the shoot.
Tumbling brass is easy.
Set it and forget it!
Hmmm. That’s a dang good idea. Thanks, darlin’.
I will have plenty of ammo.
I can share.
If it gets really bad over the next 4 years
I will go to black powder fire arms an cast my own bullets.
Good advice. I started years ago with the RCBS Rockchucker kit, added an automatic powder dispenser (Hornady) and a tumbler. And lots of dies, bullets, powder and primers. Primers seem to be a bit hard to find at the moment but there are decent options in powders.
Will do. Thanks much. I don’t intend to buy anything, including a beginner’s kit, until I am confident that this is something I can tackle. I approach home improvement the same way. I never messed with plumbing or electrical work until I had thoroughly researched it and talked extensively with a few experts. Now, I do all of my own work. (And save myself a ton of money.) Gonna put in a new breaker panel next month.
I've dodged that bullet (so to speak) MANY times with reloaded ammo, even though I carefully check the cases to see if they have powder in them. It happens to me mostly with very light target loads for reasons that would take me ten paragraphs to explain. I've had about every accident with reloading that you can have, to the point that I'm starting to hate reloading. But that's me.
There's a LOT of good advice above my post, and I'm sure some good below as well. Key among them is don't be distracted, get carbide dies, mostly use RCBS stuff (the Lee stuff is OK, but the only things of theirs I have are the powder scale, which is good enough but barely, their .223 rifle factory crimp die (very good), powder through pistol cartridge flaring die (good for larger loads - DON'T use it for light loads - see above), and their hand primer, which is outstanding, WAY better than the clunky and dangerous RCBS unit, which I also have).
Get a good manual, follow it strictly. The note above about a vibratory tumbler is huge. The rolling ones take forever and aren't as good. Use fresh components. Get a SAAMI cartridge gauge for every caliber you're going to shoot, primarily for semi-auto pistol. I beat my head against the wall CONSTANTLY over loads that are too big for the chamber in one of my target guns. Nothing like cranking out 250 rounds and finding out none of them will fit your gun.
Midwayusa.com is a good place to buy component and tools. If they don't have it, you don't need it. Buy your powder and primers locally since our junior Nazi government makes them charge you an extra $25 to ship powder and primers because they're "hazardous" (if they were REALLY hazardous, do you think they'd ship them?).
I keep my Glock 19 cleaned and oiled regularly and after every trip to the range. Yet after firing about 50-100 rounds, I find that I get frequent jams (1 per 15 rounds) with (only) Winchester ammo. I don’t buy it anymore. I don’t have that issue with any other brand. So, I will definitely not be reloading any Winchester.
Ask around at some of your local gunshops, if there are local clubs that reload someone will know.
I’ve got some of the equipment needed.
I’ll go half with ya on the rest of the stuff and we could build a reloding bench at my place.
It is generally not less expensive unless you either shoot an extreme amount of ammo or you shoot ammo that is hard to find (say certain obsolete or military surplus foreign rifles).
I would suggest taking an NRA reloading class or one offered by a local gun shop or range. It is an art, especially when learning the sings of overpressure and case head separation.
Right now there is a shortage of most reloading components, so it may not solve you current loaded ammo shortage issues.
I would start reloading for a straight walled rimmed cartridge, such as a .38 Special revolver. It will be more forgiving and allow you to develop your technique before you tackle more demanding loads. A 9mm technically head spaces on the forward edge of the case. This can be a problem if you have an bad crimp or you bullet seating depth is way off. A 9mm in a semi auto also has to have a limited powder range for a specific bullet weight or the action will not cycle reliably. Also the bullet Over All Length needs to be just right if you want it to feed reliably from a magazine. Revolvers are much easier to reload for when you start. If you shoot reloaded .38 Specials out of a .357 Mag, you can also survive if you haven't learned how to spot the signs of overpressure.
Now as to saving money. If you buy from a commercial reloading company, you can buy ammo in bulk (500 to 1000 rounds at a time) at maybe a 5% or 10% premium over you cost of reloading, assuming your time has no value. I buy at a gun show large lots of commercially reloaded 9mm, 45ACP the is a great price. The firm reloads for a number of police departments (range practice/qualification ammo) in the area.
It is a great hobby, but one that takes a lot of care to do safely.
It has saved me a fortune on the cost of shooting vintage obsolete caliber military surplus rifles (7.7 Japanese Arisaka, 7x57 Mauser, etc.). It has saved me very little money over the cost of commercially reloaded 9mm or .45ACP that I can buy at large gun shows.