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Thread: Factory v.s. the reload

  1. #1
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    From the very beginning I've always reloaded for my weapons, something that has lost popularity it seems. Maybe its amatter of convienence or economics, either way its just not the thing to do as it was when I started into the shooting sports. I've been shooting for a god 40 years or more and have bought and shot a ton of factory ammo. After a couple of years of dealing with mis-fires and other quality issues thatgenerally effected the reliability, and theperformance of my weapons, I decided to start reloading and have never gone back. Over the years I have been forced to purchase factory ammo one occasion so to aquire the brass. Each time I purchase factory I weigh the powder charges to see just how consistent, or more the case, inconsistent they are. And honestly, things have, if anything, only become worse in terms ofboth powder chages being inconsistent, and in the area of cartridge assembly. I've had name brand ammo that has stove piped, mis-fired, produced extraction problems, seating depth issues, extremely inconsistent velocities, and preasure warning signs. On the other hand I've never had one, not one single failure, or unexpected result from my reloaded ammo. I've shot 5 or 6 times more reloaded ammo in the last 40 years than factory too, probably in the hundreds of thousands of rounds. Another positive factor with reloads is the controlled and obtainable velocities, and choices of projectiles. But so far as reloading is concerned, I'm probably at the upper end of extreme regarding my methods as I weigh every charge except shotgun ammo of which I check the charge thrown before starting,and use a chronograph to achieve precision results, a process most reloaders don't really prefer to do. Most reloaders use the most efficient presses to save time, and powder measures, better known as volmetric measuring. In most instances these manners of reloading are safe and reliable, but for the most part its just a cost saving measurethat produces about the same ammo as factory.I've fixed jamming issues for many friends with auto loaders over the years just by reloading for them.

    Gamestalker

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Properly reloaded ammo is always superior. Given the price of loaded ammo, and the tiny price to get into reloading, especially if you get a lee stuff, I don't understand why anyone would buy factory ammo. At least not for practice. I can understand being at a beginners stage where your reloads aren't 100% reliable, but once you figure your stuff out, buying lots of factory ammo is absurd, especially if you aren't rich, and have more than a casual interest in firearms.
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    I reload my own ammo as well I find I get more accurate shots, and my gun seems to be cleaner because I'm a firm believe in quality powder. With me shooting almost 3k rounds a month in 40cal I couldn't afford to not reload.

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    I see your point on pure monetary cost, but until the day a cartridge does not go bang in my gun (and my 9mm has seen a couple thousand rounds at the range and has NEVER failed to chamber, fire or cycle) I prefer the convenience of walking into my local Academy and plunking down for a 250-box of Remington UMC. I have neither the time or inclination to sit in front of a scale, sizer and pressfor hours to make the same number of bullets so I can go out and practice (and if you want to get technical, you should be shooting the same rounds you load for PD on a regular basis, and I haven't everseen bulk JHP slugs to compare with Federal HST or Ranger SXT). If I get into hunting and want to handload for recoil or ballistic reasons, sure, I'll buy (and save) brass and load em myself. However, I've found UMC to be reliable, clean-burning, soft-shooting and accurate; in short it totally meets my needs as a range round and I've never felt the need to reload, certainly not for any reliability or consistency reasons.

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    I fully understand your point and that is also why I said reloading isn't for everyone. But I think you missed my primary point being that I reload for performance reasons. I've chronographed my 9 mm loads and am gettng 1400 fps +/- 10 fps without leaving the upper middle of the road specs.. On the other hand the UMCs, are averaging 1075 +/- 25 fps being that the powder charges are varying by as much as 18%. But I as well understand your qualifying with the same ammo for the PD. I've reloaded for LE friends and family and though its OK, at least in Az. to do that, they always have stressed that I must use the exact same specs all the time for their ammo.. But the realadvantage is when one needs accuracy and velocity standards that surpass any factory such as 7mm Rem. Mag. I'm getting 1 hole groups at 200 yds. at 3800 fps MV@ $6. per 20 roundscompared to the expensive factory stuff 3315 MV +/- 30 - 50 fps @ $35. and upfor 20 rounds. And another positive point is my pressures are nice and low because I'm using a slow burning powder (91% of the casing is powder charged)v.s. factory using a faster burning powder ( 70% +/- 7 - 10 grains )which allows for cost savings.

    Thanks for the time and discussion.

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    Absolutly, the powder is a must in terms of quality. And to use the best of components for reloading is still a massive savings compared to even the cheep factory ammo at W.M.. I use a lot of Lee stuff but my press is an RCBS. My shotgun press is a good ol reliable Mec 600 Jr. and has been as reliable as the day I bought it in 1985-ish. I've used the Lee press and can't find any reason to not trust them as much as an RCBS, good stuff! Two of my boys just bought 40s and I've been reloading for them and can honestly say they are a lot easier to keep clean when reloaded ammo is used, ya, for sure. Maybe we can inspir more people to reload by offering them some help getting started down the right path?

    Gamestalker

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    I have no problem with practicing with reloads, but my instructors in my CWP class, both lawyers/Magistrates, said using reloads as your carry/self defense rounds is just asking for trouble from an overzealous prosecutor. I carry factory loads for self defense, but I will shoot reloads all day long for practice. Also, make sure that the loads you choose to carry function in your firearm of choice, but, again I would say carry factory loads for self defense and practice with reloads. One more thing, if your firearm comes with any kind of warranty, read it, most say use of reloaded ammo voids it, just for your information...... Anyway, Shoot Safe, Shoot Often, and Enjoy..............



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    I'm aware of the self defense issue being the judge or prosecutor can try to raise issues about reloads presenting an extreme deadly round. But in Arizona at least, we are protected by a law that was recently passed ( within the last 2 years ) giving us the unsurpassed right to use deadly force without our intentions being questioned unless their are circumstances that suggest we were commiting a violent crime or other wise involved in criminal activity at the time of the shooting. In other words if we are being threatened and feel our life, or, that of another is in jeporady we don't have to justify deadly force beyond our interpretation and we are legally recomended to use any means necessary to stop the threat. Arizona is one of only several states to pass this law.If a prepetrator were to approach you or anotherand make a threat suggesting great bodily harm or worse, we would be justified in using deadly force to any extent. In fact the way the law is written we are responsible to defend those who are unable to defend their selves in such instances of a threat to cause great bodily harm or death. So if my reloads are going to do a better job of stopping the perpetrator, which would be the case, I'm going to use them so as to be sure he will not be continueing his assault on me or someone else. My Nephew is an attorney, my oldest Son isin federal law enforcement, and my cousin a Governor, and all have said that the above information is not an issue in self defense at all.I'll look up the law and give it to you in the terminology as written.

    And so far as firearm manufacturer restrictions regarding reloads, I think all of them state reloads will void the warranty. But if the reloads are properely made according to specs.,there would never be anyindications that would suggest you were using reloads. If they don't ask don't tell!

    gamestalker

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    Hey I almost forgot to compliment your gun collection, nice! Is thatstainless S&W a model 66 ? I have one exactly like it and absolutly love it. I think I see a S&W model 10 in that collection, or maybe a model 12? I have a model 10 as well.

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    Thanks for the compliment, but the stainless is a Colt DSII in .38 Special and the one you mistook for a S&W Model 10 is a Ruger Security Six .357. The one on the bottom is another Ruger, a Redhawk in .44 Magnum, there are No S&W's in this pic or my collection, however, there are 2 Springfield Armory 1911's, a Taurus PT 1911, a Beretta 21A in .22LR, a Ruger MKII 22/45, a Kel Tec P-11, and a Sig P-226 9MM, can you tell where they are...........and again, thanks for the compliment on my handguns. I like them all, and am proficient with all too. I have a few long guns too........:celebrate:celebrate:celebrate:celebrat e:celebrate:celebrate:celebrate:celebrate:celebrat e:celebrate

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    curtm1911 wrote:
    instructors in my CWP class, both lawyers/Magistrates, said using reloads as your carry/self defense rounds is just asking for trouble from an overzealous prosecutor.
    This sentiment has been written about in gun rags for years but none have never cited ONE SINGLE CASE where this has happened in a SD situation....
    It may have been tried before but, the prosecutor would have to PROVE intent.....if you reload within SAMI specs using legally available components (which you should), there's not much way to show any "evil intent".
    Now, on the other hand, if you were to reload using Teflon coated bullets at max pressures etc...I could see a major problem....

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    I can see a problem with using the infamous "cop killers," but not from using reloads. The difference is, people know about "cop killers," so it would be easy to scare a jury by bringing them up, even if the defense later set the record straight. But reloads are so innocuous and poorly understood that the jury would probably fall asleep if the prosecution tried to "explain" how reloads could indicate bad intentions.

    With that said, I'll likely start carrying "LEO" ammo. Not only is it cheaper than "self defense" ammo, it would be very hard to argue that your ammo choice is any different from a police officer who uses a gun in defense (and we all know that cops are unimpeachable).

    Edit: and with THAT said, I can't wait to buy a Lock n load progressive, so I can shoot as much as I've always wanted to.

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    I'm actually not much of a S&W fan, I just own a few because I couldn't pass up the priceI got them for at a gun show. I don't have a real problem with S&W as mine are all super accurate and never give me any problems, I just think they are overpriced.On the other hand I love Taurus and Ruger just to mentiona few. I have 2 Taurus 40 cal. a PT 40 Pro Milenium sub compact and a PT40 Pro. Bot are amazingly accurate and reliable. I also have a Ruger Super Black Hawk 44 mag. and have had that one for about 27 years, bought it new. And what can I say about taurus 1911s except they are excellent choices for a 1911.

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    That whole cop killer thing that has been exploited by the liberals is absolutly rediculous. It doesn't take a teflon bullet to reload a cartridge with the ability to go through a vest. And so far as preasure are concerned, the higher velocity loads require a slow burning powder which also produces lower pressures. Follwing the sami recomendations is the only way one should reload and legal bullets as well. I'm happy that many of you are familiar with and know the difference between reloading and those who think they know how to reload by manufacturing dangerous ammo that will not only eventually destroy the weapon, but is going to put their life at risk. Its not a question ofif a home made recipe will cause a problem, but when. I've seen home made or improperly loaded ammo blow up the strongest of weapons, both long guns and handguns. A cartridge is a controlled explosion and took lots of qualified people and instruments to develope the loads that are safe in todays guns and should not be further experimented with by those of us who think we can get more bang by adding more powder. There isonly a small margin of exception with compressed loads which aren't for the purpose of higher velocity, butrather to produce a moreconsistent burn rateof slow powder for guys who shoot in a competitive situation.

    You are obviously one of us who knows better than to play with reloading specs. and supports the "relading isn't for everyone" statement I made in an earlier post.

    gamestalker

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    I'm truelly happy you haven't had any problems with factory ammo, but I think I speak on behalf of most activereloaders when I say factory just isn't as reliable as a quality reload is. I'm not saying your going to have a problem with every box of factory, they wouldn't sell factory if it was that bad. Its just that I've had a problem now and then and I've done some serious research on factory loads discovering that they are pretty inconsistent regarding velocities and pressures. In fact, if LE officers were to know just how inconsistent, they would surely choose reloads loaded by an experienced, expert reloader. I've loaded for LE and I always ask them what bullet they want, and what performance they want, and thenload it to those desired specs. A chronograph is a must if you load in my opinion, so you can know what ballistics are going to be, consistently. As I honestly have stated, I've never had one single reload of mine fail me, or perform different than I had expected. I've been reloading since about 1984, I think, maybe longer. Probably 30,000 plus rounds of shotgun shells, and as much or more in handgun and long gun ammo, and I would bet those estimates are low. Anyone who doubts the inconsistency of factory, just weigh a box of the best stuff and you'll see the huge margin of powder chargefrom one cartridge to another. Most mis - fires are due to the primer not being seated all the way and in I've also had rounds jam in the barrel from missing, or inadiquate powder charges. This is a very dangerous risk that can cause a gun to blow up when the next round is fired. Usually not thought to be an ammo problem for the average shooter, but instead something usually thoughtresulting froma worn out gun or malfunctioning one.In comparison I've probably only shot 1/10th of that as factory to have had the problems I've personally experienced.

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    When available home space was greater than it is now, I reloaded for several handgun, shotgun and rifle calibers for approximately 35 years. I used those reloads for several hunting trips to several parts of the US, Canada, and Africa with never a failure. I wish I had the space now to resume reloading.

    Recently I bought 2,000 rounds of PMC 9mm ammo. Seven rounds into the second box of 50, the eighth round failed to chamber in my 6 month old, VERY CLEAN handgun. I'm very glad the round failed to chamber because I discovered that the bullet had lodged a short distance into the chamber. This prevented the next round from chambering.

    I immediately contacted PMC via, snail mail, phone, email and fax. I thought they would respond telling me to return the unused protion and that they would attempt to warn others of a potential problem.

    At no time did I ever ask for any compensation. The only question I asked was how do you suggest I dispose of the remaining 1,900 plus rounds?

    This happened 4 or 5 months ago and I'm still waiting for a reply. The only response I ever received from PMCwas to ask if the gun was clean. This happened at an indoor range with two instructors and the range owner present.

    Anyone wishing more details I will be happy to post the link to another shooting site and copies of the informatiion I sent.



    Mitch



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    curtm1911 wrote:
    I have no problem with practicing with reloads, but my instructors in my CWP class, both lawyers/Magistrates, said using reloads as your carry/self defense rounds is just asking for trouble from an overzealous prosecutor. I carry factory loads for self defense, but I will shoot reloads all day long for practice. Also, make sure that the loads you choose to carry function in your firearm of choice, but, again I would say carry factory loads for self defense and practice with reloads. One more thing, if your firearm comes with any kind of warranty, read it, most say use of reloaded ammo voids it, just for your information...... Anyway, Shoot Safe, Shoot Often, and Enjoy..............



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    Them's some deadly lookin' toes... .68 'n .50 cal at least.



    Aside from that... I agree with 'factory only' for self defense. I don't even mess with HP's or SJHP's... plain vanilla 'Ball' .45acp Sledgehammers. There can be no extra whining from the libs... the local MSM... or any 'group' that I was packin' somethin' other than the military grade Ball ammo my 1911-A1 was built for originally.

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    Hey Mitch,

    I think what I would do firstif you can't get PMC to resolve your problem, is to break out your reloading scale and weigh each bullet to check for powder charges of close to equal to one another or as consistent as can be expected from factory, probably a 10% difference or so from one to another, and then set up your press and re-crimp each round to asure each one is seated properly. It shouldn't take but a couple of hours or so to do that once you'vecalibrated crimp die. At least that way you should be able to shoot the remianing rounds up safely. But your circumstance is just one of many dangerous ones resulting from factory ammo and is being portrayed by the manufacturer, or at least they're trying to portray itas a problem with your firearm, when its clearly an ammo problem.

    gamestalker

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    Thank's for the suggestion Gamestalker. I'll give it a try.

    My concern is their lack of concern for their customers.



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    Its really a catch 2+2 in that if we pursue the issue to the extent of taking it to a legal forum we are exposing more for the liberals to add to their already growing concern regarding firearms. And if we don't then we end up losing money on a product that is clearly defective and with obvious hazard potential. What to do? Do you still have your reloading scale and press/ dies? If so just run each cartridge through the crimp process, and like I stated before, weigh the first fewcartridges and then everything else after that will either be heavy enough to cause the scale to dip or heavy enough to indicate it is charged within acceptable standards. I can't see why you would have to actually check the exact charge of each round so long as you've established a range of acceptance that shows charged, not charged. Usually what happens is someone doesn't watch for powder levels in the factory powder canister and 1 or 2 cartridges that didn't get charged will slip by a not so watchful quality controller. I've had the same thing happen with shotgun shells when buying factory for the hulls. Unfortunatlythis type of problem isoccuring much to often. Back in the late 1980s I nearly blew my Glock up after the same thing happened while shooting up some factory. In that instance the brass didn't eject due to lack of adequate pressures and allowed me to notice the round stuck in the barrel.

    Well, good luck and be careful!

    gamestalker

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    Hey there Liko81,

    Did you read the post about the fellow that had a close call with the ammo that was either under charged or wasn't crimped/ seated properly? This type of problem is indicating just how risky shooting factory can be and especially if you are someone who shoots a lot or more than average. If you've honestly shot thousands of factory and never had a problem your one of the lucky ones. Its not a question of if, but when! I worked in an up scale gun store for about 2 yearsand recall several customers who badly damaged their firearms with factory ammo. One in particular destroyed his brand new A- Bolt 22-250we had just sold him a week or so earlier.It blew the bolt back andbadly bulged the chamber. Of course the ammo manufacturer denied any responsibility as stated on the box of ammo. But his rifle was not repairable and his expensive Leupold was also destroyed. Fortunatly he wasn't badly injured, only a few cuts on his face considering he could have been killed. Please at least be watchful of a problem such as a jam or low recoiling round that would indicate a possible serious issue. And I only say that because you said you shoot a lot which increases the probability of finding one of those rounds that slipped by.

    gamestalker

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    I agree with M1911. In the event your must use your firearm against an adversary, be prepared for some procesecuter blowing that out of proportion. My daughter, an ADA, says she learned in law school to go for the ammo if prosecuting. Her instructors told her "use what the local cops use"! Expect JHP to be referred to as "cop killer" rounds.

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