Bullet Points – Reloading for Customization

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Dan and James of ammosmith.com come on the show to discuss customization.

One of our listeners offers his process for selecting a powder for reloading.

1)Loading manuals (compare several because they don’t always agree, use different components, and different guns)
2) Barrel length compared to what the manual used (like you said…shorter barrel, use one of the faster burning loads listed in the manual).
3)Charge weight (less powder means less expense, but several factors affect safety and uniformity)
a. Compare charge volume for safety. It’s easy to double charge a low volume of powder in a large case, so I choose a charge weight that will overflow the case if you accidentally double charge it.
b. Meterability- Fine grain ball powders meter more uniformly through a powder than flake or extruded versions
c. Case volume for uniformity- A small charge in a large case will lay along the bottom of the case (not in contact with the primer) and cause velocity uniformity issues.
4)What powder I have on hand- I try to buy powders that may be used in several different cartridges. For example, I have lots of Blue Dot because it works in a wide range of larger cartridges. I keep Unique and Power Pistol for the small to medium cartridges. For riles, IMR 3031 covers a lot of cartridges I normally shoot.

James talks about his solution for using small powder charges in large cases.  You can find polyfill at your local fabric store.  It is like quilt filling.  After you charge the case, insert a tuft of polyfill on top of it to keep the powder directly over the flash hole.

James will be testing a product from Southwest Shooting Authority called PB Blocker.  This product is supposed to greatly reduce and in some cases, eliminate lead fowling when using cast bullets in a stock Glock barrel.  Look for the video review on the ammosmith youtube channel and we will discuss the results right here on the show.

Rob answers a question from a listener about reloading or handloading for shooting competition:

…I’ve recently gotten into IPSC shooting. I’m new and still learning, but it would be nice if you did a show on how to reload for IPSC competitions. Specifically, how do you work up to a good competition load when handloading? What are the mandatory velocities for different competition calibers (9mm, .40 Cal, 45 ACP) I don’t know much about the competitive world yet, but out here that’s about the best way to “train” (given our strict ranges).

Rob shares his experiences in handloading for the Area 5 Championships.

Power Factor = (Weight of the bullet in grains) x (Velocity in feet per second) /1000

Example:  147 grain bullet x 900 fps /1000 = 132.3

Minor Power Factor for USPSA, IPSC, or IDPA = 125
Major Power Factor for USPSA or IDPA = 165
(Major Power Factor varies in IPSC depending on the division)

Rob started with the minimum load in the reloading manual and worked down from there.  I chronographed 10 bullets at each .1 grain increment until I reach the appropriate velocity.

Be sure that you don’t try to get the velocity too low.  It can be very disappointing to miss your power factor.  Be sure to take the temperature into consideration when loading for a match.

James adds his experiences with changes from temperature variations.  Always reload in weather that is similar to where you will be shooting or adjust accordingly.  Also try to choose powders that are known to be less temperature.  This info can be found many places including web forums, but call manufacturers and confirm.

James mentions a manufacturer warning about Blue Dot Powder.

Rob also changed the recoil spring to correspond with the light load.

James also mentions that reduced recoil loads will greatly reduce wear and tear on the brass and firearm.

Dan tell us about customizing his .45-70 loads for hunting, plinking, etc.

James tells us about customizing the 9.3×62.   It just happens that the 9mm Makarov uses a bullet of the same diameter, but about a third of the weight.  James uses a light load of unique with a Hornady XTP Hollow Point to create a small game load that has barely any recoil.  Something similar can be done with .30 Carbine bullets and .30-06.  James also loaded up a “buckshot load” in .357 Magnum for his mother.  He can’t count, but at least he was helping his mother.(5 shots x 3 lead balls = 15 projectiles)

Rob talks about using custom reduced recoil loads to introduce inexperienced or recoil sensitive shooters to more powerful guns.  James adds on that everyone should have some reduced recoil loads with them at the range to use if you share your gun with a new shooter.

Dan talks about customizing your ammunition for maximum potential.  He mentions the anemic 10mm factory loads and Rob chimes in with the 6.8 Rem SPC as another example.

Dan talks about using reloading to produce obsolete ammunition or ammunition that is not in production.  This can turn a family heirloom or piece of history into something so much more than just a piece of art on display.

James mentions a method of measuring and determining the caliber of an old gun that may not be well marked.  He uses Cerrosafe casting alloy.

Dan reminds us of one of the biggest reasons to reload custom ammunition:  Load tuning for accuracy.

Rob offers up a “Reloading Tip of the Week”:

Cover your reloading equipment when not in use.  Throw a garbage bag over the presses or even your chronograph.  You can also use a pillowcase or shop rags.

Please call (660) 207-1239 and leave questions on the voicemail or e-mail me.

One thought on “Bullet Points – Reloading for Customization

  1. Rob are you really James Robideau, alias A64375? Keep up the good shooting. I've heard rumor that if you work hard enough the Springfield can be shot as well as the Glock. good luck.Ken RihanekTY66904

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