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FAQ Of Reloading Brass

Everyday someone new takes up the task of reloading their ammunition. In fact, with the concerns over gun and ammo sales of the last few years, many have taken up the craft simply to ensure their inventory of ammo is stocked. With that, however, often comes the same questions being asked amongst newcomers. Because of that, we felt it necessary to answer a few questions that often find their way into online forums.

Are rifle and pistol primers interchangeable?
No. Each cartridge as a specific primer that should be used and you should only use those primers meant for the cartridge and caliber you are reloading. Interchanging them could prove to be unsafe, especially to a newcomer.Rifle primers tend to take more force to ignite, therefore pistol firing pins often do not have enough force. However, some experienced reloaders have been able to safely use small rifle primers in round meant for handguns. You should never, however, use pistol primers for rifle rounds. This could cause an extremely unsafe shooting scenario.

Primer is protruding after cartridge is loaded. Can I use the primer tool to set it further?
No! This will more than likely cause the primer to ignite and the round to fire. This should never be done. Instead, if you notice the primer is protruding from the seat after reloading is complete, use a bullet puller to remove the bullet and empty the powder. Then and only then can you reseat the primer. You should also never assume the round is safe to fire with the primer protruding. This could cause a premature firing when the round is chambered in the gun. As a rule, always check the seating of the primer before continuing to load powder and bullet.

Are “pulled” or surplus military bullets safe to use?
Yes. Always to check the bullet size and ensure it is the correct length and diameter for the cartridge and powder you are intending to use. Also, you will want to individually inspect each bullet completely to ensure it is solid and without damage.

Can I use a bullet that was dropped on the ground?
If you drop a bullet, most likely it will become damaged and unusable. Some reloaders will go ahead and use it. This can, however, lead to an inaccurate shot, as well as the bullet fragmentation in the barrel, depending on how damaged it is. If you do drop a bullet on the ground and still intend to use it, only do so after carefully examining the round for any cracks or damaged tips. Doing so under a magnifying glass is recommended as even the smallest of cracks can cause substantial issues when firing.

What does “air space” mean and how does it affect the round?
The term “air space,” when used in reloading, describes the space inside the cartridge between the powder and the bottom of the bullet. Many newcomers to the craft will see empty space and assume something is wrong. In fact, having empty space between the powder and bullet is completely normal. This air space will not affect your load whatsoever. You’ll see, as you begin to use different powders and reload different calibers, that this space can range from nothing (a compressed load) to almost the entire length of the cartridge, (if you are using a light load and fast-burning powder.)