Cartridge Reloading
Handgun Ammunition
January 2015
DISCLAIMER: Reloading and use of reloaded
ammunition can be hazardous. Follow best
practices and loading manual recommendations
with respect to limits.
It is not recommended that you experiment
with loading ammunition, follow published
best practices and guidelines.
This course is general introduction, all
loads will not function the same in every
Always wear safety equipment such as eye
shield and gloves. We do not assume liability
for other persons who may use methods or data
from this course.
Introductions – All
Required material for the course
Goals & Objectives
Cartridge Components
Loading - Efficiency through batch processing
Why ammunition fails
Local Materials/Suppliers/Costs
Required material
Handouts, targets, patches, primers,
powder & projectiles included
Bring Ear Defenders & Eye protection
Bring Snacks
Time commitment 4-6hrs
Goals & Objectives
To understand the materials, tools and techniques to reload
handgun ammunition that functions consistently
To reload handgun ammunition safely
To understand best practices for consistent reloading
To demonstrate the impact powders, powder volumes and
projectiles have on functionality and accuracy
An interactive course, please use the tools to reload and
share experiences
If we don’t know the answer to a question, we’ll get you one
What Cartridges Fail
(Fail to Load/Discharge)
Most Of the Time
– Cartridge Overall Length (COL) – Too Long – especially
problematic for semi-auto’s, failure to feed.
Squib Loads – very dangerous – projectile lodged in barrel
– Primer not seated, risk of out of battery discharge for
semi’s and failure chamber or rotate for wheel guns.
– Primer too hard, failure to ignite – not all primers are
– Not enough crimp – failure to chamber
– Too much crimp – shaved lead – failure to chamber
– Cartridge Overall Length (COL) – Too Short – especially
problematic for semi-auto’s, failure to feed – jams on feed
– Bad Primer - Failure to fire
Cartridge Components
Cartridge Components - Primers
Soft Vs Hard
Revolver Vs Semi-Pistol
Crimped primers – Military use
CCI, Federal & Winchester
Federal are softer, use for revolvers
Around 54$ 1000
Cartridge Components - Case
Nickel plated brass
Aluminum – I do not reload – heard you can
Steel – I do not reload – heard you can
Common Problems – Cracked, dented
Sizing - I have never trimmed a handgun case – not bottle necked – little
stretch lengthwise
Reusability – reload until case failure, never seen it happen, occasional cracked
case. Some people only reload 4 times, then discard
Not all brass is the same, I only keep Federal and Winchester 9mm
45 ACP brass harder to find, so not as picky
Prefer nickel, just a nicer looking round
Marking – Mark your cases with a color so they are easily recovered
Cartridge Components - Powders
Metering – affected by shape of flakes – issue for light
Shotgun powders often used for pistols
Burn rates – shorter barrels need to generate speed
quicker then longer rifle barrels
Larger Projectiles, less powder, increased pressure
Cost – cheaper to buy 8lbs vs 1lb containers, but be sure
you will use it
Bullseye, Red Dot, Win 231
Less Common
Vihtavuori, Clays
Cartridge Components - Projectiles
Typically Lead or Jacketed
Projectile Weights - Follow guidelines
Casting your own – need to shoot a lot to make it
worth while
Common Shape
Round Nose
Truncated Round Nose
Semi-Wad cutter
Solid base or Hollow Base
Cartridge Components - Projectiles
Lead – Can “lead” your barrel
Not all 9 mm barrels are the same size – some like .355, some .357
Not all 9 mm barrels are the same shape
Some barrels are not recommended for use with lead - Tanfoglio
Weights - Follow guidelines
Casting your own
Common Shape
Round Nose
Truncated Round Nose
Semi-Wad cutter
Solid base or Hollow Base
Case Preparation
Tumbling with corn cob or walnut media 2- 4 hrs
Inexpensive, perfectly acceptable results
Tumbling with stainless steel media - not sure how
long it takes
Do not remove primers before tumbling in corn
cob/Walnut media – Media will plug primer hole
Cleaning Primer Pocket – it’s your time
Reloading Tools
In the order used
Paper Towels
Powder Measure
Scales – Balance beams & Electronic
Priming Tool – Handheld vs on press
Dies – 2, 3 & 4 die sets
Press – Single stage, Progressive Manually Indexed&
Progressive Auto-Indexed
Shell holders
Case Lube – spray vs pad
Calipers - electronic
Cartridges – Putting it all together
Determine objective for ammunition
Fun – company ammo – don’t worry as much about projectile tolerances
Target shooting
IPSC – Power Factor concerns as well as material concerns
Not all places allows all types of ammo – Lead Vs
Jacketed Vs Steel Core
Determine Powder load
Check books, trusted websites & Make notes
For handgun ammo, once I determined my start load, I vary it my .2grs from my min to my max
as determined from reference manuals
Determine COAL, based on your handgun and reference
Crimp or not to crimp
Cartridges – Putting it all together
Resized - At this point I load test rounds (old
primer, no powder usually 3 to test in gun)
Expand Case Mouth
Throw Powder
Seat Projectile to match desired COAL
Common Mistakes
& Recovery
Primer Sideways
Primer Upside Down
Primer in a cracked case
Not sure about power load
Cartridge disassembly – Demo tools
Safe Disposal – WD40
Shaved Lead
Crushed Cases
Cartridge – Not seating properly in chamber
Hardest case to disassemble = Wad-cutters
Make Some Ammo
Load and shoot ammo:
Jacketed & Lead
38 Special
Semiwad cutter & Wad Cutter - Lead
Mouse Farts
Heavy Loads
45 ACP
Semi-wad cutters
Local Suppliers
Brian Densmore:
– Email: [email protected]
– Ph: 902.568.2990
– Middle Musquodoboit
Jd's Shooting & Fishing Supplies
– Email: [email protected]
– Ph: 902.852.2551
– Prospect Bay
Better Buy Sports – Limited

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