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American Handgunner Jul/Aug 2010 - Page 106
THE Roy Huntington INSIDER These cases demonstrate what can happen if handloads are not properly assembled. From overcharges causing splits, bursts and stretching of primer pockets to simple abuse of the cases, these are all disasters. TM JuNk ReloAds Jeff’s pic shows three common problems. The case on the left is compressed (usually from seating a bullet with no belling on the case), center one is split after firing and shouldn’t be reloaded and the third has a Here are several types of .45 ACP handloads, with a factory load at far left. Note the hand- case mouth dented and crushed from either loads have no unsightly rings, bulges, or marks and generally look clean and sharp. being stepped on or improper resizing. n a recent Speak Out letter, a reader asked why our test guns always seemed to run fine. I explained one of the reasons is we shoot good quality ammo and stay away from junk reloads. I recently answered a note from reader Danny Comsa who wanted to know: “What exactly is a junk reload?” There are indeed “good” reloads and “bad” reloads. Gunstores often buy reloads from local sources. Sometimes the reloaders are good and offer correctly re-sized cases, well-made lead bullets seated correctly, with These .380 Auto handloads show two problems. The top punch of the seating die has a sharp edge and is cutting the bullet noses. That will not affect function or accuracy but is unsightly. Note with the cast bullet handload at right that a ring of lead has been peeled from the bullet during its seating. That can affect both function and accuracy. i proper lubricant, primers seated correctly, etc. and basically offer ammo of high quality and consistency. Chances are good the cases have been tumbled and are clean and shiny too. And a real positive note is if they are packaged in boxes as opposed to plastic baggies! Then there are the “other” guys. Poorly sized cases, haphazardly cast bullets with defects, no lube, primers seated at differing depths or crooked (or missing), cases bulged, split or nearsplitting, dirty, erratic powder charges, stained, corroded cases and a general These .380 Auto handloads have bulges because the expander plug of the case mouth belling die is too long. Even though they actually functioned perfectly, if someone were selling them I would avoid them. insider look of being haphazardly made. I’m sure you’ve all seen reloads like these. The next time you’re around some reloads, take a hard look at them. Check the condition of the cases, primers for consistent depth of seating, bullets for looks (are they neat, consistent and evencolored, or blotchy, with casting flaws?), check rims to see if they are nicked, if the cases have any splits or obvious “thinning” where they are ready to split, crimps that are inconsistent (or non-existent!), case mouths nicked or crushed or cases bulged. Are the cartridges clean — or greasy feeling? If you find more than a couple in a box with minor problems — beware. Do you want to risk a $2,500 custom gun to save a few bucks? Good quality reloads may have cases slightly stained (that’s fine) but all the other signs should be of care and attention to consistency. Often, ranges who sell bulk reloads buy at price-points. At that “bulk” price range, most reloaders don’t even inspect the final products, and you’ll find trash-reloads mixed in with good stuff. I often see guys buy new guns — even expensive ones — then complain when they start to have problems with them. Almost 100 percent of the time it comes down to poor quality ammo and/ or after-market el-cheapo magazines. Think of a well-cared for used car the insider Continues on page 104 106 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JULY/AUGUST2010