Why I Roll My Own by Lyndon Combs
I am not talking about cigarettes here as many of you probably already know, but I am talking about reloading ammunition. I have been asked this question many times, and yes money, and the ability to custom load the ammunition to the firearm are two very important reasons for me to load my own ammunition, but one of the biggest reason I started reloading was the trouble I have had with the factory rounds I have been buying at my local shops. I can’t single out one particular brand, shop, or cause for these problems because they have happened over time with different manufacturers, and the boxes of ammunition have come from varying sources so I am not here to play a blame game, but to pass along a little information about a problem I have experienced.
The first incident I am going to mention is probably the most common one I have had in the past ten years with factory-loaded rounds. It is with Winchester 170 grain Super X Power Points in my Winchester Model 94’s. I have three 94’s one made in 1970, and two made in the mid 1990’s, and all have had the same defect in ammunition. A split case, all three split in the same area of the case at the shoulder. All three boxes of ammunition came from different sources. The guns have all checked out fine. It has happened many times over the past ten years. I have sent the cases and remaining ammunition back to Winchester each time this has happened. I get a couple of coupons for more ammunition, and a letter saying it isn’t our fault.
Next is with Cor-Bon ammunition. It happened with their .200-grain hard cast .357 magnum-hunting loads. This is one of my favorite factory rounds, and I have had this happen only once with one box of ammo in the three years I have been using this round in my Winchester Trapper. Cases crack down the side about half the way. I had to tap it out of the gun with a cleaning rod. I then shot some through my Taurus Tracker, and had the same thing happen in that gun. I have shot several boxes of this ammo since then, and I have never had this problem again. I still use this round in my Trapper occasionally.
The next problem I am going to talk about is with Remington Golden Sabers. I have had this happen in more than one caliber, but I am going to pass along the experience I had that was more pronounced. In Lexington Kentucky I found three boxes of .357 magnum ammunition. I bought two at one shop and the third at another shop across town. I decided to buy another box as I was checking out the gun shops. All three boxes had different lot numbers, and only the last one looked to have been sitting on the shelf very long. Dust was on the box that is why I know it had been sitting for a little time. With all three boxes I had misfires in my Ruger SP 101. I had to roll the cylinder, cock and fire the gun several times. I would say on an average the primers had to be hit three to four times to get the rounds to finally go off. This is not a fun experience at the range.
My latest problem with factory ammunition was with Hornady, and the Puma 92 rifle in .454 Casull. Case separations. I am not the only one to have this problem in the rifle with this brand of ammunition. I have talked several times with the companies- both Hornady and Legacy the importer of the rifle. Hornady has been very good about the problem, and are still working with the ammo, and a Puma 92. This is an article about ammo so I am not going to mention the bull Legacy had to offer. After developing a theory as to the cause of this problem, I worked on the problem a great deal, and I feel I came up with a solution with my rifle, but I am waiting to hear from Hornady on the findings of their tests.
I shoot a great deal of ammunition in the course of learning a gun, and I am sure that others out there have had no problems with the brands I have mentioned. Just as sure as the fact that I am sure some have had the same problems. I am not unique or an expert on every round manufactured, I can only pass along things I come across in the course of my work.
I am in no way trying to attack, or single out your favorite brand. So don’t get puffed up and feel you have to email me and take me to task like I have called your girl a bad name. I have been reloading for some time, and I reload for several calibers. I have yet to have a problem with my own loads, and I am sure that if you do what is needed to be safe, and work at the process you can have the results I am getting with my loads. Again I am not unique, or a genius at the bench. I am just passing along information that might be helpful to other shooters. Starting with next season I am going to be using only my hand loads to hunt. If you don’t roll your own you may want to give it a try. It has really helped me save money, shoot better, and provided me with better ammunition. Give it a try.