FAQ #15 ( Sierra HPBT )

Subject: Sierra Match King

Question from “Lee Kiser” Sat, 30 Mar 1996

In your writing: “Sierra calls their whole seris of HPBT bullets, the “MatchKing” series.” Check their Sierra 165 gr. BTHP Game King bullet. Not their whole BTHP seris is Match King. Happy Shooting & Loading.

Lee Kiser

I will check Sierra’s catalog again….it was just the ones I saw that all were called that….but I guess I am not surprised that a HPBT bullet is used for game, especially long range varmint shooting. Thanks for calling it to my attention. Regards to you and thanks for visiting my web pages. M.D.

FAQ #16 ( Roll Crimp )

Date: Sat, 30 Mar 96

From: Jay Summach

Have you advice on the choice between rollcrimping vs. tapercrimping reloads for the .38 special?

I usually put a roll crimp on all my lead bullets and a little bit of roll crimp on the jacketed ones that have a crimp ring on them. Roll Crimping will shorten the case life over the taper crimp, but I don’t want bullets getting loose. Since we are not talking about .357 mag, the Special loads are usually mild and almost any kind of crimp will work if the case was sized properly and the mouth not belled out very much. Just enough crimp to take out all the belling will usually work. I just like to put a good crimp to hold by bullets on pistol loads like the .38 Special. Of course, on cartridges like the .45 ACP which headspace on the case itself, you must use a proper taper-crimp. Thanks for the e-mail.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #17 (.40 S&W )

Date: Tue, 2 Apr 96 From: jmilty@sound.net
Subject: .40 S&W Loading


For the last 3 years I’ve been having a lot of success using Winchester WST powder for a variety of calibers. For the .40 caliber, my favorite load is 5 grains of WST behind a 175 grain LSWC bullet. Oddly enough, I found that I can continue to use 5 grains of WST for 200 grain LSWC .45’s, and 148 grain LWC .38’s.
Using lead bullets, I’ve found that using the 5 grains of WST does not lead up my guns, and I can clean my 5″ .40 caliber barrel with just a couple of passes.

FAQ #18 ( VihtaVuori )

Date: Tue, 2 Apr 96
Subject: RE: VihtaVuori
From “L. G. Huitt”

VihtaVuori Oy Company, Ammunition Unit
SF-41330 VihtaVuori, Finland

You mention burn rates for ALL powders in your ref to the above Company; do they compare the typical American powders vs theirs or only against their own? It would probably be copyright infringement, but it would be neat to have that page on the net. Any info would be helpful since I am trying to get rid of some old powder (PB, Herco, RedDot) via .30 carbine loads on a one time basis – mostly because of the cost of 2400 that I have used for years and I inherited this other stuff with a trade. Thanks,

L. G. Huittt

They do have a FREE powder booklet showing loads for all popular calibers of ammo and it was in the front of the booklet where this info was listed. You should try a local reloading house for your free copy or contact the company directly. Any store that sells their powder should have these free handouts and they are dandy. I hear good things about this company and that their powder is especially CLEAN burning….but sometimes on the expensive side. However. the comparison to other mfgrs like Alliant, Accurate, Hodgdon and IMR was very interesting. I am afraid I could not duplicate their entire chart without permission of the company, which I may seek in the near future. I thank you for the suggestion and idea. Thanks for reading my pages so carefully.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #19 ( 9mm luger load )

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 96
From: Peter Rijnvis
Subject: Additional Reloading Data

I ‘ve got some good results myself when using following data:

For: 9mm luger

Powder: Vihta Vuori Oy N330 4.3 gr.

bullet: Lead 125 grain Semi Wadcutter

FAQ #20 ( bullet deflection )

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 96
From: Mark Yecha

Mr. Smith.

I recently toured your reloading page on the net and was pleasently surprised. Keep up the good work. I was a little miffed however at your commments on the .270 Winchester. I was dissappointed to see the old wives tale of round nosed bullets being less less likely to deflect than spire pointed bullets still being perptuated. The fact that all bullets can deflect regardless of their configution is well documented. Any differences between a round and spire point bullets has proven to be undetectable. Since the .270 Win was introduced and the era of hypervelocity began, this incorrect line of thinking has followed this fine cartridge. I suggest you do further research in this area and consider rewriting your comments on bullet deflection. Also, why have you not included the 130 grain load that made the .270 famous… 60 grains of H4831. It is the .270 load that seems to shoot well in most rifles. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Dear Mark: Thank you for your comments. Regarding bullet deflection, I know only what I have been told. If you have source information regarding bullet deflection in heavy bush on RN vs. Spire Point bullets, I would like to have it. In any event, your comments are valid and I will post them in my next set of FAQ’s for my web pages. I will also look at the load you suggested for the .270 and include your info. I used primarily the loads that were listed in my powder mfgr’s listings and that could be why this bullet or powder combination was left out. I will check on it.

Thanks and regards, M.D.

FAQ #21 (444 marlin and the cast bullet )

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 96
From: Nancy & Pat Raymond

I am still looking for any help on loads for the 444 marlin. I use a 250 gr cast bullet. I am going to have to use a new powder because of not being able to get Hodgons any longer in my area. I am going to use win. 784 I am looking for a good starting for the cast bullet. They are gas checked. and plenty hard. Any help would be great. I hope to use the gun this year for our spring bear hunt and would like to have the load all worked up by then. Please Email any tips you can give me. Or if you know of any one else who shoots the 444 give them my Email raymond@ViaNet.on.ca address. THANK YOU


Pat, the very best advice I can give you is to call the powder manufacturers you CAN buy in your area (I have their numbers and addresses on my powder page) and ask them what is the closest thing THEY have to H784. I am sure they will have a recommendation for you and give you some loads over the phone, in addition to sending you their books (but I don’t think they normally list the .444 Marlin). At least with an equivalent powder, you can work up some lighter loads and add to them till you feel you are about there for your hunting load. I think you will find Accurate in Tennessee one of the most cooperative companies around. They show several loads for the .444 using their new powder, XMP-5744 for cartridges such as this. They don’t show a load for the 250 grain cast in the book I have. They are easy to talk with and I would ask for their best tech. consultant: Ted Curtis. He is an ACE in reloading experiences…and worked up loads for the new copper plated bullets now on the market. I’m sure you can get what you need.

Regards, M.D.

FAQ #22 ( Universal vs. Clays powder )

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 96
From: “Mark L. Del Gallo”

I am an IPSC Shooter and in the last year or so the Para P-16 holding 18 rounds (with base pad extender) has become a popular gun for IPSC shooters. Also, since IPSC shooters are always looking for ways to reduce recoil, they tend to go to heavier bullets (to reduce muzzle energy) while still achieving Major Power Factor (= velocity x bullet wt (grains) = 175000+).

Please be advised that lots of new loads are passed by word of mouth and can lead to trouble. I was “burned” on one of these “word of mouth” transactions. The source was competent and it turns out that the confusion came from the fact that Hodgdon makes two similiar sounding powders: “Clays” and “Universal Clays”

I was told that a loading for the 200 grain bullet (jacket not specified) existed using “Hodgdon Clays” powder to make major power factor. I have blown cases with loads around 3.7 grains of Hodgdon Clays (NOT UNIVERSAL CLAYS). The cases which do not blow out will bulge severely. I mentioned this to a friend who discoverd that Hodgdon UNIVERSAL Clays MAY have a load to make major power factor using a 200 grain bullet. I will be testing to see if “UNIVERSAL Clays” will allow a Major Power Factor load using 200 gr Lead bullets. For sure, (regular) Hodgdon Clays will NOT allow reaching Major Power Factor using the 200 grain (Lead) bullet.

Therefore the WARNING you should post is this:

For 200 grain (.40) bullets DO NOT use “Hodgdon Clays” powder to make Major Power Factor (=velocity >= 875+ ft/sec). However, “Hodgdon UNIVERSAL Clays” powder MAY have a charge that allows making major Power Factor using a 200 grain bullet. (I do not know this for sure at this point)

Again, I will test “Universal Clays” powder to see if Major Power Factor can be reached with a 200 grain (lead) bullet. By the way lead bullets are cheaper (and allow more practice).

Thanks again for that good info. I can certainly see where the confusion could occur with similar named powders. I used the Hodgdon loads right out of their manual. They usually just shorten the name of Universal Clays to “Universal” which is similar in properties to Alliant’s Unique. I will post your comments in my new section Shooting FAQ’s in the very near future and I thank you for your comments and experiences. I know a lot of shooters are very interested in loads that keep them in the “Majors” without so much recoil which can reduce accuracy.

Regards, M.D.

FAQ #23 (Building a reloading bench )

Date: Thu, 4 Apr 96
From: Jesse Atencio

Nice Page! I would also like to ask you a question. Do you have a source for plans for building a reloading bench? I would like to build such a bench instead of making due with items at hand that were never designed to be used as one. Thanks for your time in advance. Keep up the good work!!

Jesse Atencio

Fairbanks, Alaska

Jesse: I have seen plans in several books I have browsed in my local gunshops. I can’t remember the titles, but I think one was a Lyman Reloading Manual. I am sure the best source would be a local shop in the book section, or perhaps a large book store like Books-a-million or similar. Then, there are the mail order companies that could sell you one of the books if you knew which one you wanted. I don’t have any specifics. Actually, I think I would buy one of the Sears pre-fab regular workshop benches that fit my need and mount my reloading stuff on it with peg board on the wall above the bench to make shelving and hangers for the various tools and accessories. It would be sturdy, easy to build and very serviceable, even for other projects if you unbolted the press from the table (which is what I do when I won’t be shooting for a long time).

FAQ #24 ( Bullet FYI )

Date: Tue, 9 Apr 96
From: Sal & Barbara Aparicio

Sal: I have added more info to my “bullet” pages with phone numbers and address for a whole lot more that are not on the web. Remington, Hornady, Winchester, etc. They will all send you a free catalog if you want it…so will the powder mfgs. if you want reloading data from them. There is a new bullet company making PLATED bullets that I am really high on…and that is:

Rainier Ballistics Corporation

4500 15th Street East

Tacoma, WA — 98424

Voice – (800) 638-8722, Fax (206) 922-7854

Also, HardCast bullets (I have a link to them) in California has a great deal on their plated bullets. I just bought 1,000 from them. I next will try the Rainier bullets which look like they may be better being swaged and then plated, rather than cast and then plated. Just keep looking, there is a ton of sources out there and not all on the web. That’s why I am trying to include so much about them on my web pages. You can see the bullet pages are not finished yet

Regards, M.D.

FAQ #25 ( Starting out )

Date: Tue, 9 Apr 96
From: EMillsjr@gnn.com

My name is Ernie Mills, and I am a 24 year-old shooting enthusiast. Needless to say, I don’t have much money. The college that I just graduated from has it all.

I am looking for a way to save a little money while having the fun of loading my own ammo. I don’t know much about reloading, but I’d love to learn. Do you have any suggestions for some one whoo is just starting out.

Sincerely yours,

Hi Ernie: Yes, there are ways to get into reloading cheaply. First, you can often go to a indoor shooting range and get used brass very cheaply, sometimes for free. If you just hang around someone shooting, ask them if they save their brass, and if not, offer to pick it up for them and offer to put it to good use. Sometimes, a shooting range will let you scavenge their lanes when they are empty and pickup whatever brass you can find.

Gun shows have great deals on powder, bullets and primers for reloading. And I suggest the RCBS single stage press. You may even find one used at a sporting goods store or gun shop. You can also buy re-loaded ammo for only a little more than what the components cost, if you want to shoot it first and then reload it, and this gives you brass cases to work with. My pages show you the steps in reloading and you just shop around for the best deal on conponents. Some of the mail-order companies on the web have good deals on bullets and stuff, too. Check out all the links and compare prices to local stores, shooting ranges, etc. Buy a fast burning powder like Bullseye, #2, or W231. These work for a large number of handgun cartridges AND you generally use about 1/2 as much of this as the slower burning powders. Now, there are advantages to slower burning powders, like lower pressures and faster bullets on some loads, but for STRICT ECONOMY, use the powder that goes a long way. It won’t save a whole lot, but every penny counts. One pound could reload 1750 .38 special cartridges at 4 grains each, compared to 875 cartridges using 8 grains of a slower burning powder. You decide if the savings is worth it.

Well, that is just a skim of how to do it cheaper. If you will collect tire weights and other scrap lead, melt and pour your own lead bullets, you can REALLY lower the cost of reloading. See my pages on making your own bullets and what is required for that. So, good luck Ernie!

Best regards, M.D.

FAQ #26-#29 (378 Weatherby)

Date: Wed, 10 Apr 96

Dear Mr. Smith, I read with interest your loading data for my favorite large/dangerous game cartridge the 378 Weatherby!! My experience with this round is from loading bench to taking game in the fields of Alaska where I live. The 378 is indeed a wonderful cartridge but it does have it’s quirks while the 270gr. bullet indeed can be driven at 3100fps I’ve had 2 of the Hornady’s blow up after hitting shoulder areas of moose, fortune smiled on me that I shot a moose instead of one of the resident brown bears. I tried the Barnes “X” but at the high muzzle velocities jacket fouling was unacceptable. I have since settled on the 285gr. Speer “Grand Slam” really a nice bullet, driven at 2900fps w/105gr. of IMR4350 and a Fed 215 this combo still shoots flat AND holds together.

Jerry Carrell

Jerry: I really appreciate your first hand experience and knowledge about the 378. I will post your e-mail on my next set of FAQ updates and add your data to my 378 page in the near future. I have never shot the 378 and the data was strictly from the powder handbooks. Thanks again for your first-hand experience with this monster cartridge.

Jerry: Another Update. I just got off the phone with Bob Palmer at Hornady (1-800-338-3220) and he had some interesting observations to make. First he wondered if you were using the 270 grain Spire Point or Round Nose. He said either bullet at over 3,000 fps at short range would over-expand. They were designed for longer range. I told him what you said about the Speer and he said “perhaps” as it was made a different way, but he suggested you look at the Hornady 300 grain Round Nose or better yet, the 300 grain Boat-Tail-Spire Point for Elk and Moose. They were made directly from input from a lot of hunters using the .375 caliber bullets for large game. Of course, if you wanted NO expansion, he suggested the Hornady 300 grain FMJ-RN. They are nice folks there and Bob is especially nice to talk with. Hope this further information is useful for you

Regards, M.D.

FAQ #30 ( new to reloading )

Date: Mon, 15 Apr 96
From: Tom Gardner

Thanks for all! Really appreciate the seemingly unbiased information about our sport. Just restarted reloading. Using a LEE PRO 1000 (against many peoples advice) for the 9mm. So far, so good. The instructions are not the best, and slow and steady are the rules. Keep the primer ramp full, and watch what you are doing, and it seems to work pretty well. Using Bullseye powder, and judging from what you say, it looks like a good choice.

Tom Gardner

Tom, attaboy! Keep on slowly and carefully and you will become a good reloader and have a lot of fun learning as you go along. My MOST careful advice (besides wearing good protective goggles when you reload) is to double-check the powder stage. Make sure there is never a case missed or one with a double load of powder, since either case can be explosive. With a double load, the gun can blow up…with only a primer and no powder, the bullet will likely lodge in the barrel, and the next round would be an explosion. If you get distracted and are not sure about a round, discard it. It’s not worth the risk.

I don’t know if the 1000 is a progressive or single stage press or not. The progressives are easier to get powder messed up in if you redo another stage and forget about the powder….with single stage, you usually charge the cases in a holding block and can visually check all cases before you begin to seat the bullets in each, so it is much safer from my point of view. Good reloading to you.

Regards, M.D.