What you see above next to one of my presses, is an Impact Bullet Puller. There are several of these models around. If you have a loaded round that you don’t want to shoot, for a variety of reasons, you can usually mount the round in the head of this device. One of the several “collets” will grab the rim of the case, you tighten up the screw cap on the end, then smack smartly on your bench or the ground and the inertia of the round, which stops very quickly on impact, causes the bullet to keep going and fall into the bottom of the head and you collect the bullet and the powder that comes out also.
BUT . . . .
Let’s say you have a .204 round, like I did, which only has a 26 grain bullet seated fully in the case. That bullet is so light; the impact puller will not get it out. I know. I broke the internal aluminum collet trying to get it out. It’s just too light for the inertia to extract it.
Well, I had 30 rounds that I thought were fully loaded from one side of my 60 round loading block, only to find when I finished the other 30 rounds in the block, were actually the ones with the powder, and I had loaded 30 empty cases.
Tried unsuccessfully to get the impact puller to work. I really wanted the primed cases. The bullets are pretty cheap, so I could afford to lose them. I tried a vise holding the bullet and where was no way to grip the case without damage, besides my hand, and that try snapped off the bullet flush with the case (it’s a hollow point and not much mass to the bullet).
Then I thought of one more idea. Use the press and the case head holder; I could exert a lot of leverage on the press, if I could just hold the bullet.
I mounted the round in the press without any die in the top, just the open press and put the bullet in the full UP position.
So, I got an old pair of vise grip pliers, Grabbed but bullet right next to the case mouth, but had to crush the bullet to get a good grip on it.
Then pull the press downward, and out slips the bullet. These were new Hornady cases, with primers and I didn’t want to lose them.
It worked and I’ll always look more carefully, at each case as I place the bullet on it, to make sure it has the proper amount of powder in it. ( I had already actually looked into each case after filling with the powder measure, but the other half contained empty cases and I swapped the case loading block when I placed it on the other table and didn’t look that second time, since I usually have every case in the block full of powder. See how easy it is to make a mistake?)
(Another footnote, I had mixed these empty rounds with other loaded rounds in a box, but it was an easy thing to just weight each round on my powder scale. The loaded ones weighed about 150 grains, and the empty ones just 123 grains, easy to separate for disassembly)