I get many calls, emails, and letters asking about the ‘best’ handgun load. Unfortunately, many correspondents fail to share the intended mission of the load. This has an influence on the desired bullet weight, velocity, and penetration. As an example, I am perfectly happy to run the .44 Special or .45 Colt with a 255-grain SWC at 700 fps for cowboy action or target practice. If hiking in country in which the big cats or bears may be more than a nuisance, I will run the same bullet up to 1,000 fps.
You have to understand the reason you want to reload to determine the best procedures, and level of detail, you want to put in each load. Economy is always one reason, but that does not mean the goal of producing accurate ammunition is in any way lessoned. This means a consistent procedure is required. If you are ready to start reloading, or potentially up your reloading game, here’s how.
The load density formula has provided excellent results for handloaders for many years. The main reason is simply that the load density formula works without fail. Eighty-five percent density is just about ideal, but let’s look at how reloaders have come to that number.
Let’s look at the process of reclaiming the brass for reuse. There is nothing wrong with getting ready to reload by buying new brass. However, after you fire that shiny new brass the first time, you’ll want to prepare it to be used again. You may also scavenge the local shooting range or buy some once fired brass for reloading. Either way, here is your ‘primer’ for reclaiming brass for reloading.
I have used most of the popular old west calibers at one time or another, including the .32-20 and .41 Colt. Some have more merit than others. My favorite, hands down, is the .45 Colt. I began shooting long before Cowboy Action Shooting became popular. Most of us loaded for economy and with a certain number of loads put up for performance.
I am the first to admit that factory ammunition has improved considerably during the past three decades. Consistency, accuracy, and performance are better than ever. This is largely due to the pressure put on factories by handloaders. Today, a handloader can produce more accurate ammunition than the factory.
With Christmas just days away, there is still time to buy that perfect stocking stuffer or additional gift for under the tree. Typically, the problem is deciding what to get. Here are 10 shooting-oriented ideas. The best part? Each of these presents will fit inside a Christmas stocking or fill that last hole under the tree with a guaranteed smile on Christmas morning.
Most feel the .38-44 set the stage for the .357 Magnum revolver—and it did—but the .38-44 is more than a footnote in history. This is a fine revolver that is useful on its own merits. Buffalo Bore is famous for first-class loads that maximize the caliber, and this is no exception.
We’ve chosen the sometimes twisting path to becoming handloaders because we want to improve on-target results. The difference between a handloader and a reloader? My wise-crack answer, which is honest, is that handloaders start with new brass… We’re not about to shoot factory ammo.
The rounds had been assembled in 1998. They fired without any type of problem and with good accuracy. I realize that there have been advances in bullets and powder, but for what I am doing these loads remain ideal.
In the firearms world, I see much hype and overstatement. As such, the real article with genuine performance is often under appreciated.
The new M1000 mechanical scale provides right- or left-handed operation and a wealth of big-time features at an affordable price.
For the rifleman primarily interested in hunting, there are a number of inexpensive but useful bolt-action rifles. These include the Mossberg ATR, Ruger American, and the Savage Axis. Some are offered in a package with an affordable rifle scope. I have fired most and find them worth the money—and some worth a little more.
Bear with me! We’ll get started on the process of handloading next time when I talk about setting up a sizing die. But before that, it’s good to keep in mind what we’re dealing with, and that is a cartridge case, and also what happens to it during firing, which is what we’re setting out to remedy when we reuse it.
In my reloading article for The Shooter’s Log, I gave a caution about respecting one of the differences between semi-auto and bolt-action rifles, and that was with respect to propellant burn rates. The summary reason for the warning is that different rate propellants will “peak” at different areas as