You’re stuck with a lot of loser loads. Now what? READ MORE

Glen Zediker

Last time I threw out a circumstance where, during the will and want to deliver high-volume output a mistake was made and the result is that you’re left with honking pot full of substandard ammo. We talked about what might have gone wrong, but probably the worst is there’s something that’s created a load too hot. Too much pressure. There are other dimensional issues as well that might prevent graceful reuse. But, for the most part, unless the load produced is well over pressure, I’d be looking to send them downrange. Cut my losses, get the cases back, start over.

Directional miscues are pretty clearly decided on how to overome. Bullets out too far? Seat them deeper. It’s not going to be so little that there won’t be some influence, but not enough to escalate pressures.

I can’t say “how much” overpressure is safe to shoot, but can tell you that it’s likely to be a good deal more than you might think. Now, this doesn’t have to do accuracy or manners, just safety. That’s also not a recommendation from me to willingly ignore your own instincts. There’s varying of degrees or levels of abuse to be enured.

Digging all the way out from under this problem is also liable to require the use of specialty tooling, something like, dare I say, a bullet puller. One of these will salvage both propellant and bullet, and give the opportunity to crank right back up and a have another go at it. I have shot a plenty of pulled bullets and into very small shot groups. It was once popular among mil-spec-type target shooters to break down M193, replace the 55 gr. with a commercial 52, 53, or 55 match bullet and head to the firing line. Groups would be about 60-percent smaller. Right, just pull them and replace them. No extra sizing, no nothing.

Forster is my first choice for a bullet puller because it’s simple an fast, and because it allows the reuse of a bullet. It’s tedious, but way on better than the headache created by a kinetic type puller.

Back to the start: preparation prevents problems, as long as paying attention is involved! Taking time to make notes and run a checklist helps keep race cars on the track and airplanes in the air, and handloading ammunition safe. Take the time.

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in Glen’s Top-Grade Ammo. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads. Also, check out our new lineup of eBOOKS!

2 thoughts on “RELOADERS CORNER: Salvage”

  1. My substandard loads are anything I try to load some Speer lead conical nose 9mm bullets that I bought. I usually have excellent results using any Speer bullets I have tried. Jacketed, lead, any of them.
    I have 1500 of these particular bullets and have loaded up 400 with 6 different powders. All of them “pattern” rather than group, from any of 7 different guns that I have tried so far. Frustrating!
    I have just under 150k loaded rounds under my belt over the last 12 years, and I have never had such troubles trying to find a good recipe…

  2. I once made up some lighter 375 H&H loads using flat point cast lead bullets. The plan was to start some basic safari rifle training with a friend and his son. The rounds shot fine in my rifle but wouldn’t chamber easily in his rifle from a different manufacture. Fortunately I had a very large C-clamp in the toolbox and was able to push the bullets slightly deeper into the case; saving the day at the range. When I got home I added a big note to my reloading journal to always check the Seating Depth and Over All Length when starting a reloading cycle. I believe the change in bullet shape from the previous loads I had made affected the seating depth of the finished round; and how it would fit chamber in the rifle.

Leave a Reply