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Discussion Starter #1
Cost issues aside, why should I reload?
Is reloaded ammo more accurate? Why?
Is reloaded ammo more reliable? why?

I have seen the 'it's fun', 'you get too shoot more', etc. answers. I'd like some more practical answers.

I plan on shooting IDPA with my .45
 

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First of all, you will need to achieve a power rating (bullet speed times bullet weight) of 165 with CDP in IDPA. That being said, 165 & above likely may not be the most accurate round possible for bullseye only purposes. You will want to have a power factor comfortably above the minimum so that temperature or altitude changes will not bring it under the minimum, say 168 to 172. Many factors will affect possible accuracy. Each gun is different when it comes to its "best" ammunition. You will have to experiment.

A poor reloader will make less reliable and possibly dangerous ammunition. A good reloader using top components can make ammunition more reliable than factory. My .003 taper crimp is better than most factory ammo, making it more reliable.

Use the history file in the Reloading section to look for strings on people's favorite loads. You will see different primers, cases, bullets, powders, length, amount of powder...etc. Talk to fellow IDPA shooters. Many of them may be reloaders.

Enjoy!!!
 

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I cannot load ammo more accurate than factory match.
I can load ammo more reliable than factory match. That 185 gr SWC is a bear to get to feed well.

I cannot load ammo more reliable than good factory ball. Wolf and WW II surplus as now available cheap do not count. Sometimes, some guns they are ok, but not always. Some new ammo doesn't get it, either. That is what Chico is talking about. Some is fine. Stock up.
I can load ammo more accurate than ball. The shape and open base of FMJ RN is not the best for accuracy, a GOOD cast SWC or JHP will do better.

So what I shoot is a handloaded 200 gr SWC at 850 fps. That is my compromise for function and accuracy. It is hard to buy its equal for IDPA CDP or IPSC L-10.

After Ed McMahon comes to see me with that big check, I will likely buy 185 gr JHP standard velocity Federal or Remington. Or give Black Hills SWCs a try.
 

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Well said Jim...


I kinda' like foolin' with it myself...It's not as much fun as shootin'!!! ...but it's fun in another way. I have had some loads I found that were more accurate and reliable than anything I could AFFORD TO SHOOT A LOT OF!!!
They aren't the cheapest though...Hornady XTPs and lots of experimenting may find something that works better than anything available, who knows...Mine aren't cheap...but I can use them for ANYTHING and feel perfectly safe about it...The playin' around before that found me quite a few loads that ARE cheap and that lets me shoot a LOT!!! I like to shoot a LOT sometimes...Othertimes, I just like to shoot a few times but hit EVERYTHING I shoot at...

Try it...it's certainly less harmful than most other habits

...who knows...Maybe you'll like it!

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I have reloaded in the past and will reload in the near future for the following reasons.
1. Very accurate ammo for cheap. Maybe not better than factory match, but I can play with bullets and powder until I find just the right match for my gun. After finding this ideal load, reloading it is usually much less that comparable factory ammo.

People who say factory ammo can be cheaper and more accurate, may or may not be right, but you never get it both cheaper and more accurate. Good factory ammo costs, usually $15 for 20.

As rifles go, factory ammo is usually not better than 3/4 MOA accuate. Handloaded ammo can be less than .1 MOA accurate in the right gun. When was the last time you saw a BR gun with factory fodder?

2. For hunting. I want a particular bullet for use on game due to it's performance. I can shape the case/ seating depth and powder charge for the desired velocity and accuracy.

I maybe able to buy that bullet in a custom box of ammo, but it will never be as accurate as home made.

3. For wildcats. some rounds like my 375 JDJ are almost impossible to buy.


As for reliability, I've never really had a problem too much with either. I have had a few primer problems with both. Usually primers failing to ignite. If I counted my experience with 22 ammo, factory would definately be less reliable in my book, but centerfire rounds seem about equal. I would guess somewhere around 1 in 1000 is a dude.


For pistols it is hard to say you are beating factory accuracy or cost, but I think my compromise round is better than the factory compromise round. The trouble is that straight wall pistol cases are so undersize for feeding, no matter who loads them that accuracy has little to do with case to chamber fit. It seems like picking the bullet is more important. That can be done either way, but at a big cost difference. If you load for a bolt rifle, you can beat factory ammo in every way. This is due to accuracy and reliability being greatly dependent on fit to the chamber.

Sorry so long. I hope I answered your question!
 

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I'll chime in with a definite yes/no/maybe myself.


When I was buying factory ammo to shoot I would buy what was local at the best price I could find. Unfortunately, week to week, and month to month the selections would tend to change unless I was willing to pay a premium price. So I would end up with Federal, Winchester, PMC, S&B, Remington, etc., etc., over time.

Within any good brand, and certainly within a lot of any given good brand, the product is very consistent; but switching brand to brand gave me some significant variation over time.

Since I'm not going to extraordinary measures for my kind of shooting (bulk bullets, bulk primers, bulk brass) my reloads are no more accurate (and not much less than) factory ammo of similar specs. My reloads are very reliable because they're tuned to my gun.

The cincher for me is that my ammo is consistent through the volumes of rounds I consume. I get very few surprizes with my home rolled.

Of course, the accuracy and reliability of any reload is heavily dependent on the reloader's skill. Caveat Knothead.


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It may have been a Ball yesterday, it might be a Ball tomorrow, it might even be a Ball later on tonight, but right now I say it's a Strike and YER OUT! - Unknown offical officiating a popular game.
 

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In rifle reloading, you can produce ammunition tailored to your rifle that is more accurate than the factory stuff, thought the difference is a lot less than it used to be. Factory ammo has gotten pretty good in recent years.

For bulleye pistol shooting, you can make ammunition as good as factory if you know what you are doing, and the best bullseye shooters can make use of that level of accuracy.

For IDPA shooting, the difficulty of the shooting is much greater than ammo accuracy considerations. Factory ammo is generally more than accurate enough for the most difficult IDPA shot. Some finicky pistols may be assisted by reloading techniques that increase reliability, but most do fine with factory ammo.

Pistol shooters need lots of practice, and reload primarily to be able to afford all the ammo required.

Reloading also allows you to develop specialized ammunition not available from the factories, with non-standard bullet weights or premium bullets. This is one of the most interesting aspects of reloading.

Each of us has different motivations for reloading. Personally, I like having thousands of rounds of custom ammunition neatly stacked and ready for use. Some shrink would probably have a field day with that foible.

Enjoy it for your own reasons.


[This message has been edited by KLN (edited 11-16-2001).]
 

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It's a little hard to judge reliability, factory ammo vs handloads, when neither fails.
I can load as reliably as the factory, apparently. I've just been fortunate enough never to have had a misfire, so all I can say now is, it's a wash on that score.

I can reload rifle ammo that is more accurate than factory ammo in my rifles. If you think about it, that makes sense, since the factory must load stuff that will work pretty well in anybody's rifle. I can fiddle around until I find the load that works best in one rifle - mine.

I haven't bought enough high-end pistol ammo to say whether I can beat the factories there. I can load rounds that do better in my guns than their bargain ammo (white box or yellow box "target"-type ammo), though. But again, I'm experimenting, finding the component combinations that work best in a particular gun; the factories can't do that.

And I have fun doing it.



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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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The following statements are directed toward pistol ammo.

If you do not consider cost in your comparison between factory and reloaded ammo, then the answers to your questions are easy. No, reloaded ammo is not more reliable than match grade factory ammo, and no, reloaded ammo is not more accurate than factory match grade ammo.

Reloading enables you to make match grade ammo, equivalent in all aspects to factory match grade ammo, at a lower price than the cheapest factory ammo.

The "fun factor" is usually cited to justify the time commitment needed to reload quality ammo. If you do not have the necessary time and money is not an issue, do not get into reloading because you are not going to gain anything.
 

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I shot thousands of rounds of 230gr FMJ's...all brands. When I started reloading I experimented with different powders and bullets. 230gr LRN and FMJ's, 230gr JHP's, 200gr LSWC and 185gr FMJ-SWC's. Once I dialed in my reloads, I was amazed at the accuracy my guns could produce! The 185gr only feed in my Wilson CQB, but the 200gr LSWC is the best round yet and consistent.
Also, after 10,000 reloads, I have only had 3 loads that failed to fire!
 

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My answer is that accuracy can be improved over factory loads "in some guns". Some simple want a different OAL or like a specific powder or bullet that isn't available from the factory.

I have one 1911 that refuses to feed a cast 200 grain SWC unless it's seated to 1.250". Once there it will feed without any failures. Factory ammo in this pistol is basically uselesss.

As far as reliability in general, I've had 5 failures with factory ammo over the years, including a .38 Super silvertip that was loaded backwards. I've had not a single failure to fire with reloads in 31 year of reloading.

I can't agree more with KLN in that factory rifle ammo is getting hard to beat. I had to give up trying to beat the remington 180 core-lok load in .303 brit regardless of what I did. Neck sizing, 9 different powders, 5 different bullets, 4 kinds of primers, crimping & noncrimping made no difference whatsoever in bettering the factory load.
 

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My two cents worth.

As Chico mentioned earlier, IDPA and IPSC power factors are an important consideration in reloading. Everyone talks about accuracy comparisons between factory and reloads, but another consideration is shootability. We were not born with built-in Ransom Rests. Generally, the more a pistol recoils, the more difficult it is to control and shoot accurately, especially when shooting IDPA or ISPC. Thats the reason for the popularity of compensated pistols. The point is that factory 230 gr hard ball, for example, has a velocity of 870 FPS while the same major requirement is at least 100 FPS slower. This makes for a milder recoil and faster followup shots. The idea is to achieve major with the most shootable load, regardless of the bullet used. Lets face it, we are not involved in NRA Bullseye competition at 25 & 50 yards. We are talking large cardboard targets at close range. We need some accuracy plus speed.

Besides all this, Reloading is FUN and CHEAP!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm starting to get a better picture of what reloading is all about. I am grateful to all who have responded.

It is extremely precious to me to have people to 'talk' to who share my interests.

As a California resident for over 30 years I know that the thing I miss most from the East Coast where I was born and raised is the true friendships that are forged by time and trial. People out here are, well, not so inclined to form strong bonds of friendship -- at least that has been my experience.

My best friends out here are all military or retired military. I skydived for 10 years before a recent surgery made me hang up my parachute for good. Those guys -- my skydiving buddies -- are the 'best of the best' as far as I am concerned.

Now that I have shifted my interests to pistol shooting, I am seeing the same type of comaraderie that I had while jumping. I hope someday I can meet all of you and personally thank you for the help you have given me.

God bless you all!

gary

Originally posted by chazecon:
My two cents worth.

As Chico mentioned earlier, IDPA and IPSC power factors are an important consideration in reloading. Everyone talks about accuracy comparisons between factory and reloads, but another consideration is shootability. We were not born with built-in Ransom Rests. Generally, the more a pistol recoils, the more difficult it is to control and shoot accurately, especially when shooting IDPA or ISPC. Thats the reason for the popularity of compensated pistols. The point is that factory 230 gr hard ball, for example, has a velocity of 870 FPS while the same major requirement is at least 100 FPS slower. This makes for a milder recoil and faster followup shots. The idea is to achieve major with the most shootable load, regardless of the bullet used. Lets face it, we are not involved in NRA Bullseye competition at 25 & 50 yards. We are talking large cardboard targets at close range. We need some accuracy plus speed.

Besides all this, Reloading is FUN and CHEAP!!
 

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I can reaload "match" ammo that is more accurate and more uniform than factory match ammo. This for bench rest rifle, NOT necessarily for handgun -- which I don't load to match spec.

You can get an idea about "match" loading ammo from Sinclair International:
http://www.sinclairintl.com/

Varmint Al's Reloading Page:
http://www.cctrap.com/~varmint/arelo.htm

And The Accurate Reloading Forum:
www.accuratereloading.com

For competetive handgun shooting, you can load cheaper and more tailored to your spec for an event than factory loads.

ALWAYS you can reload ammo more tailored to your shooting application than the factory stuff. This doesn't mean there's not a bunch of real, inconsistent, crappy junk that comes off reloading benches.

Like shooting, some reloaders are better than others. It's a skill that is not hard to learn, but does require some technical application of specs. and attention to detail.

Don't get into reloading to "save money." It's not going to happen. "Better" ammo???

You betcha!

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I can quickly diagnose any ammo-related functioning problems if they occur (hasn't happened with my standby 200LSWC loads in a LONG time). Also, I think both my reliability AND accuracy are better than what I can buy.

Basically, 1911s and reloading are for finicky people who like to tinker, I've found. Count me in!
 
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