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I think I prefer Hand Loads!

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by CrossHairs, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. CrossHairs

    CrossHairs Tigard Active Member

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    Was down at the range this afternoon with my P226 in 9mm. I've put over a thousand rounds through that gun , and mostly hand loads. My XD 5" Tactical has over 5.5K rounds through it, and 99% are hand loads.

    Here's the crazy thing. The general consensus seems to be that handloads are not as reliable as factory ammo. In my XD I have had 1 (that's uno, one, singular) failure to fire.....because of a failure to feed, something that was totally my fault, and something I learned from. In my P226 to date. The very first round I (attempted to) fired was a failure to feed(factory ammo, new pistol). And this is not a boast about my hand loading prowess, I genuinely am surprised at the reliability to date.

    Pulled out some Remington ammo today to shoot for a change, and I had two failure to fire in one magazine. OK Statistically, I'm doing really well. But in one magazine load, I just equaled my existing failure statistics.

    What's your feeling about Hand Loads vs Factory?
     
  2. sheepdip

    sheepdip Redland Well-Known Member

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    i used to load a lot back when i lived on the east side and shot more. we loaded .22-250, .220 swift, .243 win, 6mm rem, .357 mag, .44 mag, .257 bob, .300 savage, .30-06, .300 win mag, .338 win mag. i can only remember one failure. it wasnt a complete fail to fire, but a blown primer. most of what i shoot now was loaded at least ten years ago. i have heard people say that they would only use factory ammo for hunting or critical defense. if that is how they want to do it then thats ok by me. however i dont have a problem with reloaded ammo at all. a little time on the reloading bench soothes the savage beast.
     
  3. djthemac

    djthemac eugene Member

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    1k for 449.00 wwb 45acp vs 178.00 per k for handrolled pretty much seals the deal for me
     
  4. Nutty4Guns

    Nutty4Guns Portland ADHD Superstar

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    My brother reloads for me and I have generally always had better luck with his hand loads than with factory stuff. Especially lately, I think QC for Remington and Winchester has taken a turn for the worse. At least on the bulk ammo they sell.
     
  5. CrossHairs

    CrossHairs Tigard Active Member

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    I think I have to agree....I definately take a great deal more care over the finished product.


    I am so with you on that one. Nothing like pulling on the handle for an hour to make your cares go away....actually, that's not entirely true...cursing at the powder dispenser, or yourself for missing the primer step, or catching a finger between the press and the casing or......well, all of it stops you thinking about the 'other' stuff you might otherwise be stressing over!
     
  6. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I don't know. I haven't shot a lot of factory ammo lately so I haven't had the issue. I certainly know my reloads are built with love and attention and I don't consider them inferior. They are checked with a chrony and I get my choice of bullets and loads and I prefer them.

    I'm wondering about the ftf. I suppose I could get a bad primer in the lot for a reload. It's happened but rarely.

    As for "the consensus is that hand loads are inferior," It depends on who loads them, how complete the equipment is, how knowledgeable the loader is and how much of a detail person he is. There are a couple of guys who's reloads I'd shoot without worry (Deadshot2 on here for instance) but generic "anyone's" reloads, never.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I've got a Sig P-229 with a "round count" well over 40k and a CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical that's catching up with over 25k through it. I can count the number of "dud" reloads on one hand. As for factory ammo? Don't think I've even shot a thousand rounds of that stuff so for me it's hard to compare.

    There's no reason for handloads to be any less reliable than factory, actually handloads should have the edge. Even a handloader "cranking them out" on a Dillon 650 takes more time per round in making sure the powder loads are correct (or for that matter even present) and the primers inserted correctly, than in a factory application. Many of them are just a few QC checks along the way and then let the machine spit them out.

    If a handloader goes about his tasks in a deliberate and accurate manner for all practical purposes the rounds are the same. Only the case is the variable.
     
  8. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    Not that I want to get onto an anti-factory band wagon, we all reload for a reason right? Well, Saturday I went to the range to blow through my last bunch of factory .45ACP ammo. Out of the 200 rounds I shot, 4 of them were squibs - I had never had a squib before, factory or my own loads. All of the ammo had been stored properly, but they all came from the same lot. After I pulled my gun apart to check it out, the firing pin was clean, the action functioned properly and was clean and smooth, aside from a little fouling, the gun didn't malfunction. Shooting conditions were all fine - nothing too cold or wet, and none of the ammo was stored in a mag or near any oil... the common denominator has to be the rounds from Remington (UMC) were screw ups. But in the thousands of rounds I have fired over the years, for these to be the first squibs or misfires, I certainly 'aint complaining.

    As a side note, I lent my .308 to a buddy who was going hunting, and I told him to just use the rounds I made for it and he'd be fine. Well, he didn't end up pulling the trigger on anything, but being polite he purchased me a box of Winchester rounds. I thought that was kind, and since I like the brass, I took the rounds to the range. The pullets were not seated near deeply enough, and the crimp was well below the cannelure. The entire box was bad. I spoke to a local retailer, and he said they recall ammo all the time, so I called Winchester, and they treated me well. So just like anything, if you want it done right, you should probably do it yourself.
     
  9. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    When you say a "squib," are you saying it went "Pop" instead of "bang," or are you saying the primer failed to ignite.
     
  10. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    Great question. Each time I pulled the trigger, the gun made a 'pop' sound (not a bang), and as the firing pin struck the primer, the case either had little or no powder in the case, leaving the slide in the half-cock position and the spent brass was still in the chamber. In each of these misfires, the bullets did in fact leave the barrel, but were only a few feet in front of my feet on the ground.
     
  11. CrossHairs

    CrossHairs Tigard Active Member

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    At least the round left the barrel!

    My intent is not to make this a Factory Ammo bashing thread, but I agree, I think your average handloader does take more time per round, and it comes out in the QC I guess. I just remember reading somewhere when I got into handloading that, if you wanted to do a shooting class, the expectation was factory ammo. I'd have to confirm, but I even think that the certification for the action range at Tri-County requested factory amm (someone may want to chime in on that, although that may have changed along with the certification requirements). I just had it in my head that hand loads were inherently inferior. I guess over time, this has proven to not be the case.

    All I know is, I love to 'roll my own' rounds and I love to shoot...and as long as they go bang (in the right way) then i'll continue to do it. There is something inherently satisfying looking at a box of shiny ammo that you made, and then turning it into tumbler material!
     
  12. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    A lot of ranges don't allow reloads. Frankly, I read a lot of comments (not necessarily here) from "reloaders" who can't be making good loads because they don't have the equipment. They simply can't. They also don't seem to have that "fire in the belly" love for the doing of it, and the learning about it.

    I already mentioned that I wouldn't shoot unknown reloads, from an unknown reloader. They can be dangerous. I can make them dangerous on purpose or by accident. That's why I'm careful, double check and have lots of equipment to check with.

    I do agree that our carefully and knowledgeably crafted hand loads may well be better than factory. I guarantee you that the load I've worked up for my .270 is far more accurate than factory. I've chrony'd, fire formed, neck sized, backed off just away from the lands, etc. etc. and they drive nails, and I know they are at full speed.
     
  13. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I started reloading for my handguns purely from an economical standpoint. I do have a lot of factory loaded ammo, but still reload the majority. To me, buying factory ammo is just a good way to come up with brass.

    I reload rifle ammo because I can get exactly what I want, in quantity, for less than buying new, too. I use reloads for everything except for personal defense, but I'm not "afraid" to do that either.
     
  14. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I have bought exactly two boxes of center fire ammo in the last 20 years - one because I wanted to go out and shoot a new 9mm I bought, and more recently two years ago a box of 30-30 for the same reason. Try this - shoot a five round bench rest group with your favorite rifle and factory ammo - then do the same with trusted, carefully loaded ammo and you will experience one of the reasons to reload. Do not however get into reloading only because you want to save money - which on paper you will but the reality is you will shoot more and invest in more reloading equipment. Get into reloading as an extension of your interest in guns and shooting and make it a symbiotic relationship. Also understand you will never learn it all as your own reloading system will change and you will find you may modify your own system as you add or remove products and equipment. The basics have never changed but technology, equipment and components have and it has never been better.
     
    rrojohnso, deadshot2, SPU and 3 others like this.
  15. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    That's a pretty high failure rate for any factory ammo. I'm sure the mfr would be interested to hear about it, would probably make good on it, and would like to know the lot number.
     
  16. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    I love my hand loads. For me my hand loads are way more accurate. I thought I would not like reloading, but I like it a lot. My though is, with all my down time not doing anything, I might as well save myself some money and reload.
     
  17. giddyupgo55

    giddyupgo55 Vernonia Active Member

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    I've been loading my own for 33 + years now. The only factory ammo I shoot is 22 and shotgun. When I started I did'nt know anyone but my cousin who reloaded so I learned a lot on my own. When it comes to rifle I will weight out each round, and then before I seat the bullet I will check the case again to be sure there is powder in it. The reason for powder check is when I first started I missed putting powder in a couple cases. When I prep the cases they will get inspected at lease 3 time along the way. As far as unknown reloads I was given about 100 300 Win mag reloads,something just did'nt look right so I took them apart. Turns out it was a safe move. Some of them had way to much powder and others had little to none.
     
  18. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    I reload my 45 for about 150.00 per thousand if I use plated ammo.
     
  19. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    I find my Loaded ammo more accurate than factory not to mention the time spent with my boys reloading. Its just a win win all the way around.
     
  20. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention that you are saving money. About half for pistol rounds and considerably more for rifle. To buy rifle rounds that even come close to what my handloads do I would be paying almost $2 per round versus the $0.36 I can create my own for. (Federal Gold Medal Match .308 168 gr @ range price versus 45.5 gr Varget, BR-2 Primer, 168 gr Nosler Custom Comp)

    I'm not familiar with any ranges that don't allow reloads unless it's an indoor range that requires "Lead Free" ammo or frangible bullets. There are a lot of indoor ranges that prohibit any bullet that isn't fully jacketed (although they overlook hollow points) due to the desire to reduce lead contamination in the air. Many reloaders are also "casters" so that may be the source of this info.

    If my range outlawed reloads they'd only have a small handful of shooters there rather than the sometimes hundred or so per day.

    As for equipment, the most important piece of equipment is the one between the ears. To reload good rounds doesn't require expensive equipment. The major part of the process takes place in the loader's thought process. If they are looking for ways to avoid steps or the "cheap way out" it wouldn't matter if they were using the best, most expensive, equipment setup out there. (on that note, how many threads have we read here that ask the question "Do I really have to ________?", usually hoping they can avoid one of the various prep, load, or finish steps that experienced loaders just take for granted.)

    I've seen excellent reloads produced with a Lee "Whack-A-Mole" loader where the rounds are literally hammered together. I've also seen reloads produced on a Dillon XL650 that jammed a 1911 with every shot.