Not long ago at the gun shop, I was lamenting on some simple facts of life. I have little time to shoot the firearms I really love. The Savage 99 rifle and Colt SAA revolver are among these. My friend Clay asked what I would be shooting if I had the time and on my own dime. I didn’t even have to think about.
Posts Tagged ‘Handloading and Reloading’
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 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.
I seem to be one of the few writers to extensively use handloads in testing. I have always done so, and will continue to do so. That’s mainly because handloads offer real economy, custom grade performance, and excellent accuracy potential. Best of all, getting started in handloading isn’t difficult.
Smith and Wesson’s 1935 .357 Magnum was introduced to a handgunning world far different than the one we live in today. Smith and Wesson .38 K frame revolvers, the Colt Army Special, and even the Colt Single Action Army were popular sidearms. The Smith and Wesson Triple Lock was the choice was many professional shooters.
In 1964 there were no surviving bigbore, lever-action rifle cartridges. The Winchester lever-action rifles were long out of production and the Marlin .45-70 rifles only a memory. Marlin saw a market for a bigbore rifle that used a hard-hitting cartridge, which was instantly recognizable as a woods rifle. The result of its market research and testing was the .444 Marlin cartridge.
Among the biggest and most interesting markets for firearms is the cowboy action shooting market. The appetite of the buying public for replicas of the guns of the Old West is a healthy one. The originals are pretty expensive these days. Many were well made of good material, but they are simply are too valuable for most of us to use.
When it comes to shooting pastimes, they can get expensive, quickly. My handguns are rugged and reliable for the most part, but competition shooting may become expensive in both time and money. It sometimes becomes a race for the best equipment, not taking anything away from the skill involved.
We all like to be competitive, which isn’t easy in fast paced shooting sports, such as IPSC or even in local IDPA matches. Custom grade 1911 handguns often cost well over $1,000, and the sky is the limit for a true top-end pistol. With standard and stock categories, and many matches catering to guns that might be carried on a day-to-day basis, there was a niche in the market for a high-quality but affordable competition-based handgun. Competition shooting has grown tremendously in the past decade, contributing its share to the ammunition shortage and making for improvements in factory grade pistols. The 1911 is among the most popular competition handguns.
Customers often ask us what the best long-range rifles are. This is a loaded question since most calibers have a niche they fill or job they do particularly well. In the world of long-range precision, the .338 Lapua has overtaken most of the other calibers in popularity. Despite the lower kinetic energy when compared to the .50 BMG, the .338 currently holds three places in the top 10 longest confirmed sniper kills. It fills the role of an anti-personnel and anti-material round nicely. Civilians and military alike have embraced this cartridge as a young legend, and it is only growing in popularity. However, the .338 Lapua has one distinct disadvantage—it is outlandishly expensive.
Glock’s introduction of the Generation 5 pistol has been much anticipated. The new pistol offers significant changes—more so than any previous generation. The first change to the Glock was the addition of a light rail. Next, came the finger groove frame and the rough texture frame later. However, not everyone liked the finger grooves or RTF frame.
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.
As a person of Scottish heritage, I am adamant that quite a few people today do not really understand how much we gained, or how much we stood to lose, in the last election. Freedom seeking people came to America. So, it was with my hearty Scots as they fled the detested Crown. By the same token, in the South we are accepting refugees from the People’s Republics North of the Mason Dixon line. There are many freedom loving people in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey that have seen the socialist-Marxist creep into government and make life difficult through onerous taxation, regulation, and laws, making honest business practically impossible.