Variations In Primer Crimping. A—No crimp, as on National Match ammunition. B—Ring crimp, as on Cal. .30 Ml. C—3 point crimp, as on .50 Cat. ammunition and many foreign cartridges.

than military calibers is sometimes encountered with the primer crimped in also, so a litde extra power or leverage in the reloading cool is not out of place at all on this operation.

The need for removing the crimp from the primer pockets of cartridge cases only exists where the primers have been crimped in and the crimp must be removed before new primers can be seated. We have already gone through the mechanics of reloading and what is written here is intended to apply to the operation of reloading tools with particular reference to the effect that their improper operation can have on the ballistics of the ammunition. Therefore, those litde details that have no direct reference to the operation of reloading tools or machines will not be repeated in any detail.

378 RePriming.

When it comes to seating new primers, we are up against a real job. The manufacturer of ammunition does this with machines that automatically feed the cartridge cases and the primers in, and position the two in such a way that the seating punch will force the primer squarely into the primer pocket to the proper depth; the travel of the primer punch being adjusted to push the primer in just so far and no more. Naturally this is far enough to press the edges of the primer anvil against the bottom of the primer pocket, but not enough to cause any disturbance Dr breakage of the primer pellet. This can be done in the factory very nicely because of the rather expensive and ingenious machines used for the purpose, and the fact that all the cartridge cases have primer pockets of a uniform depth and all the primers are uniform within certain small manufacturing tolerances.

The rcloader is not in such a favorable position. As often as not he is using cartridge cases from different lots and which are frequendy of different makes, with primer pockets that are not all the same depth. As likely as not he is using primers of a different make than the cartridge cases and I am sorry to say frequendy pushing them down on top of a lot of dirt and corruption at the bottom of che primer pocket that decreases the depth of the latter. In addition, the rcloadcr is using a loading tool that cannot possibly seat a primer properly if the operator does not use care and judgment in performing the operation.

Priming Punches. It is certainly desirable, but not absolutely necessary, that the shape of the business end of a priming punch conform very closely to the shape of the primer being seated. This is cspccially true of the new non-corrosive primers, the priming pellets in most of which arc quite easily cracked or broken; the softer and thinner the priming cup is, the more desirable it becomes to have a priming punch that fits the primer. With a hard stiff primer almost any priming punch, whether flat or concaved will push the primer in satisfactorily because the *79 pressure required to scat the primer is less than that required to deform the cup. With primers having soft thin cups, of which there arc many on the market, all of which are crowncd or rounded on top, pressure applied with a flat punch will flatten the center of the primer and may {but will not necessarily) crack the pellet inside. On the other hand, if a punch is used with a deeper concavity than the contour of the primer cup, the pressure will be applied at or near the edge of the cup and it may push the edges down at a greater rate than the remainder of the primer, leaving the crown projecting slighdy above the head of the cartridge case when the primer is seated to the bottom of its pocket.

There are two methods of governing the seating of primers. One is by the sense of touch, wherein it is possible to feci the primers scat against the bottom of the pocket. This method is practicable with light hand tools* and with miscellaneous cartridge cases it is one of the best, if not the best, method of doing the work because the operator knows by the sense of touch when each primer is properly seated, regardless of any little differences in the force required to accomplish this from one cartridge case to another. Any slight marking of the primer cup by the punch is not likely to do any harm, but if there is any considerable marking of the cup because of an improperly shaped primer punch, the remedy is to get a different shape of punch if of the interchangeable type and if not to use a different brand of primer which is harder and stiffcr and will resist this deformation.

The second method of seating primers is similar to that used by ammunition manufacturers; namely, a priming punch which is adjustable and whose travel can be definitely limited. A reloading tool equipped with such a punch will only do its best work when the punch is properly adjusted and when the cartridge eases all have primer pockets of uniform depth and arc supported in such a way that

280 the bottoms of the primer pockets will always be positioned at a uniform distance from the primer punch. If miscellaneous cartridge cases are used or the travel of the primer punch is not properly limited, such a tool would defeat its own purpose for while it might exert the proper pressure and scat some primers very nicely, others could be compressed too much or else not solidly seated to the bottoms of the primer pockets.

The importance of seating primers properly has been gone into thoroughly in the chapter on primers, but as seating primers is one of the most vital, if not the most vital operation in loading or reloading ammunition, some repetition is permissible. As far as the ballistics of the ammunition are concerned, the reloader can only use primers as he gets them and can do nothing about any faults in ignition that may be due to the primer itself. Whdc as igniters some of our present primers leave a lot to be desired, they can in general be classihcd as good, if they are properly seated, but there arc some of them that will not be good if they arc not seated with care.

The anvils must be in contact with, and consequcntiy iirmly supported by the bottom of the primer pocket. Failure to scat them to the proper depth, or to seat them with so much pressure that the primer pellet is broken inside of them, will adversely affect the accuracy of the ammunition, and don't get the idea that just because a primer punch fits the crown of a primer that the primer can be rammed in without consideration of the force applied to it. If the anvil is not properly supported or the priming pellet is damaged, the flash from the primer will be different from those that are properly seated. The flash will usually be deficient, but in some primers may actually be excessive. This will cause a difference in the initial ignition of the powder charge and the rate of burning, whkh in turn will affect the barrel vibration and barrel time of the bullet; that is, the time it takes the bullet to get out of the muzzle of the gun and will cause the bullet

281 to leave at a slighdy different point in the cycle of vibration of the muzzle, which may either throw the shot up or down. Wild shots in a group arc usually attributed to defective bullets or variations in powder charges, but the reader would be surprised to see some of the things that an improperly seated primer can do.

Many reloading tools combine the operations of expelling fired primers and seating new ones. This is unsound practke but is no reason for condemning a reloading tool providing its design permits the two operations to be separated. The only trouble is that most of these tools have a tremendous leverage available for sealing the primer. Furthermore, these tools are for the most part of heavy construction, making it very difficult for the operator to "fed" the primer when it arrives in contact with the bot-

torn of the primer pocket and it is necessary to use such 283 is especially desirable when seating cast bullets, as it abso-

tools with great care in the priming operation if material lutely eliminates the possibility of shaving metal off the fluctuations in the muzzle velocity are to be avoided. side of the bullet and furthermore, insures that the bullet

Resizing Cases. will start straight into the neck of the case. This is ex-

Some bench reloading tools or machines are provided plained elsewhere. This method of seating bullets cannot with means for resizing cartridge cases full length. This be carried out if the operations of reducing the neck and is a great convenience where the cartridge cases must be expanding it are combined. If an expanding plug is used resized and is a curse where they should not be, bccausc that is large enough to open the mouth of the case sufE-

the poor novice whose knowledge of reloading is quite ciendy so that a bullet may be entered easily, the expansion probably limked to the directions he gets with his reloading will exist throughout the length of the neck which has tool, religiously pumps his cartridge cases in and out of been pulled over the expanding plug and the neck of the the resizing die because the directions for operating the case will not hold the bullet at all.

tool tell him to do it. Sometimes the resizing of the cart- Some reloading tools that do not support the body of the ridge case is coupled up with the dccapping operation. case while the neck is being resized have a tendency to size

This is fine for reloading military ammunition where the the necks slighdy off center. This may be due to variations reloaded ammunition must be interchangeable in a number in thickness or hardness around the case neck aggravated of different guns and where the cartridge cases must be by lack of support in the tool. It is not a desirable con-

resized whether they ought to be or not, but for the in- dition but it doesn't have any appreciable affect on ac-

dividual reloading for one gun, the idea is not so hot. The curacy unless under some exceptional circumstances. This danger of head separations from this cause has been gone may sound "fishy" to the theorist who argues that if the into in Chapter One under the subject of resizing cartridge bullet is not concentric with the body of the cartridge case cases, but in addition, resizing the cases destroys the per- it will not be in line with the axis of the bore. As a feet fit of the case in the chamber that was attained by 282 matter of fact, if the bullet is concentric with the body of firing it. But a reloading tool is no more to be condemned the cartridge case it will not be in line with the axis of bccausc it combines these two operations than because it the bore unless the cartridge case is a perfect fit in the combines the operations of expelling fired primers and chamber. If the fired cartridge case will go in the chamber searing new ones, as it is usually possible to adjust the before the neck is reduced it will go in afterwards, regard-

decapping punch downward so that the primer is expelled less of how the neck is reduced. As has been pointed before the cartridge case is forced completely into the out above, when a cartridge is fired in a normal chamber resizing die, permitting the neck of the case to be resized having a tolerance of several thousandths of an inch, the and possibly causing some slight reduction of the forward gasscs expand the case to the limits of the chamber at an part of the case, which does no harm. ^y in their development and before the bullet corn-

Whatever the procedure is, all the cartridge cases should mcnces to move forward. This leaves the bullet tempo-

be treated alike. When an unresized cartridge case is put rarily suspended and without support and it is purely a into a chamber, the case is to all intents and purposes in matter of chance as to just how it "whops" up against the intimate contact with the chamber walls. On the other ^'oat 0f the rifling when it moves forward regardless of hand, a cartridge made up with a resized case will fit in whether it is concentric with the body of the case or not. more or less loosely in the chamber and when fired the 184 Regardless of the exact methods used to reduce and ex-

gasses must perform the work of expanding the case to pand the necks of cartridge cases, all reloading tools pro-

the limits of the chamber and forcing out the air between vide some means for doing this and doing it satisfactorily, the case and the chamber, this air having a sort of cushion- The exact method used is largely a matter of preference, ing affect. This is not of serious consequence, but any Resizing the necks of cartridge cases is advisable in load-

reloader who wishes to get the best out of his reloaded "Ac cartridges and is an absolute necessity when load-

ammunition must bear in mind that uniformity is the ^cm with jacketed bullets. Many jacketed bullets very essence of accuracy and everything possible should be have no cannelures in which the cartridge case may be done to keep barrel time and barrel vibration uniform. crimped and if they do have they are usually so shallow

Muzzle or Neck Resizing. This operation is not that the expanded mouth of a iircd cartridge case cannot of much importance except as an aid to holding the bullet. ^ crimped on to them securely enough to hold them in

It is divided in two parts, the reduction in diameter of the Placc certainty. Lead bullets can usually be held in outside of the ease ncck and the subsequent expansion of Placc by crimP al^e and sometimes with beneficial the inside to the proper diameter or dimensions for the results as we will see later, but generally speaking the bullet. These two operations are frequently combined in operadons of resizing and expanding necks of cartridge reloading tools by the simple expedient of having the ex- ^^ should ** performed on rifle cartridges, panding plug and resizing die assembled in such a way Chamfering Case Mouth. When cartridge cases that when the reduced neck is withdrawn from its die it w trimmed to length during their manufacture they are it pulled over the expanding plug. This is O. K. but a usually cut off square on the ends. As the cutting is done better job can be done by divorcing the two operadons and from the outside towards the center, the inside edge of the expending the mouth of the case to a diameter that will mouth of the case is left quite sharp. As the cutting tool permit the bullet to enter freely for a short distance. This becomes dull a burr is set up on the inside of the case mouths. If these cases arc to be loaded with lead alloy bullets, this burr is removed by a chamfering or bevelling cut to permit the entrance of the bullet without scraping or shaving metal from the side of it. This operation is considered unnecessary on cartridge cases that are to be loaded with jacketed bullets because the danger of deformation of the bullet is not present, inasmuch as the bullet jacket is practically as hard and indeed sometimes harder than the cartridge case. In reloading ammunition, cartridge cases that were originally loaded with jacketed bullets are frequendy reloaded with cast bullets and it is advisable for the reloader to examine his fired cases and those that are not properly bevelled on the inside edge should be so bevelled or chamfered that there will be no danger of the sharp inside edge of the mouth deforming the bullets when they are seated. A sharp knife is about as good as any- 285 thing for this purpose or a reamer may be used.

This little operation, which is very simply performed with any sharp instrument, doesn't pertain direcdy to the use of reloading tools proper, which is the subject of this chapter. Nevertheless, it has a great deal to do with the satisfactory seating of bullets and conscqucndy with the results obtained with any reloading tool.

Crimp Removal. Another litdc detail that docs have a great deal to do with the reloading tool is the matter of the removal of the remaining crimp from fired cartridge cases. Not all, but the majority of commercial or sporting cartridges are crimped; chat is, the mouth of the cartridge cases are turned inco a groove in the bullet to aid in holding it in place. Crimping cold works the mouth of the case, hardening or stiffening the brass slighdy. As has been pointed out, when a rifle is fired the cartridge case is expanded to the limits of the chamber. Whether the pressure and the time for which it is exerted on the case is sufficient to flatten out the crimp entirely, I do not know, but if the gasses do this, it is certain that the hardness and resilience of the crimp causes it to spring back part way after the pressure has dropped, and fired cartridge cases that have been crimped are usually found so small at the mouths that new bullets will not enter them. This crimp must be removed and furrhermniy, it should be removed before the cases are chamfered. Reaming this crimp out is a makeshift, and repeated crimping and reaming to remove the remaining crimp after firing will evenrually shorten the cases. This in itwlf i< nnt harmful, in fact it isn't a bad idea on rifle cartridges because such cases, when fired with heavy loads, have a tendency to lengthen. However, the evil lies in the fact diat the cases become of unequal length and this in turn promotes uneveness in the crimping when they are reloaded.

The proper way to remove remaining crimp is by bending it out by forcing the ease agaiusL a cone shaped plug or shoulder. Snmc reloading tools lack any means for per- ¿86 forming this operation and their design is such that they cannot perform the job well at all, but it can be done quite satisfactorily and rapidly by standing the cases on their bases on a bench or table, inserting a tapered plug successively in the mouths of each cartridge case and striking the upper end of the plug a light, sharp tap with a stick of wood. A few trials will serve to show how hard to hit the plug without flaring the mouths of the cases excessively, although a slight flare is not objectionable. Any object of convenient size and shape can be used for this purpose as the sole function is to get the crimp out of the way so that a new bullet can be seated and there is no need for any complicated apparatus to do it. This litde operation also aids in removing dents and at least partially trues up the mouths of cases that have been bent. The common cylindrical form of expander is worthless for removing the crimp; with it the crimp is pushed back while the plug is entering and being withdrawn from the case, but as soon as the plug is out, the crimp springs back nearly to its former position. If the expanding plug has a shoulder on it against which the mouth of the case can be forced in the expanding operation, it makes a very convenient way of doing the job, but unfortunately all reloading tools cannot use a plug of this type.

Powder Charging.

The necessity for uniform powder charges and the methods of weighing and measuring them are taken care of elsewhere in detail, and no further space need be given to it here except to say that for best results the powder measure should be entirely divorced from reloading tools or machines. Factory ammunition is charged with powder by mechanical means, but we have already seen that unrelenting vigilance and inspection are necessary in order to do this successfully. The affect of variations in powder charges is to cause variations in muzzle velocity, even when the ignition is uniform.

287 All reloading tools have a die, punch, plunger or screw which serves to seat the bullets in cartridge cases, with the exception of some special loading dies on hand tools made for special cartridges. These bullet seating punches arc adjustable so that the depth of seating of the bullet can be accurately controlled. These seating punches may be roughly classified into two general types: those that seat bullets from their points and those that seat from the ogive, or the curved or tapered portion of the bullet.

The ones diat seat from the point will give greater uniformity of depth of seating, as thry will seat the bullet exactly the same distance from one cartridge to another. Those that seat from the ogive'will not do this because there is apt to be some slight differences in the curvature of the ogives of hull els. This is «jwially tme of jacketed bullets and because of variations in the bullets there will be some variation in the over-all lengths of the cartridges in which bullets are seated by this method, which means that there is some variation in the depth of seating of the bullets. As in all other operations in making ammunition, a certain tolerance is permissible in the bullet seating depth and both types of scaring punchcs can be considered as satisfactory, even though point searing is slighdy preferable.

It is advisable but not always necessary, to use a bullet seating punch or screw that conforms closely to the shape of the bullet being seated. This is especially true when seating cast bullets. All of the reloading tool manufacturers can furnish bullet seating attachments that are satisfactory for use with any one of the many cast bullets that are avail able, regardless of who they are made by. If an improper bullet seating punch is used with a cast bullet it will cause some slight marking or deformation of the bullet nose or point when the bullet is seated, but this is seldom sufficient to be of practical importance as far as the flight of the bullet is concerned. However, in ordering these items or in ordering your reloading tool the purchaser should specify what bullet he intends to use in it and if it is a cast bullet 388 he should give the name of the manufacturer of the bullet mould and the manufacturers complete number for the bullet. If there are any letters connected with the number, be sure to give those also.

Seating Depth of the Bullet.

Most modern tables of charges give, in addition to the weight of charge and other pertinent information, the depth of seating of the bullet that was used to obtain the ballistics shown in the table. This depth of seating may be expressed in terms of the actual distance that the bullet is seated in the neck of the case, or in the over-all length of the cartridge. The writer prefers the latter method, because cartridge cases and consequendy cartridge case necks are not all of a uniform length. If the bullets are all seated to a uniform distance by measurement on the bullet itself, the bullets will be at slighdy varying distances from the bases of the cartridge cases. On the other hand, if the over-all length of the cartridge is taken as the unit of measurement, the bases of the bullets will be at a uniform depth regardless of any litde differences in the length of the case necks. The variations in cartridge case lengths arc normally small but they lengthen out to a greater or lesser extent from repeated reloading and must finally be trimmed or reamed back or the mouths of the cases will butt into the forward shoulder of the chamber. Under ordinary conditions the difference in the relation of the base of the bullet to the powder charge, or the capacity of the cartridge, as between measuring the actual seating depths of the bullets and the over-all depths of the cartridges, will be slight indeed, but when we work in the other direction we find another factor.

If the cartridge cases are of different lengths and the bullets are seated to a uniform depth according to the measurement on the bullet itself, the bullets will be at varying distances from the throat of the rifling. On the other hand, if the measurement is taken by over-all length on the cartridge, the bullets will be a uniform distance 289 from the throat. If one bullet moves from .004" or .005" or possibly more than another before coming in contact with the rifling, it will strike a harder blow than it will in moving a shorter distance and will certainly have some varying affect on the barrel vibration. Therefore, by measuring the over-all-lcngth of the cartridge we have a slight advantage in both directions.

The depth of seating of bullets as given in tables of charges need not be adhered to except when loading the heaviest recommended charges. Under such circumstances the seating depth given in any table should not be exceeded. It may be decreased with beneficial results for reasons that will be discussed later. With reduced powder charges an increased seating depth is permissible, but seldom desirable.

If the mouths of the cases have been opened up suffi-cientiy so that the base of the bullet can be entered into the neck for say 1/10" or more with the fingers and the case mouths have been chamfered or bevelled, cast bullets can be seated perfecdy all the time. If on the other hand, the expander used leaves the neck of the case a size that requires the bullet to be forced in, the chances arc not so good, for in this condition the base of the bullet must be placed against the bevelled mouth of the case and twisted a litde to make it stick in place; perched in this precarious manner there is no telling what may happen to it when it is put into the loading chamber of the tool. As often as not the bullet is dislodged by contact with the inside of the chamber and is dependent upon Lady Luck to steer it into the mouth of the case again. Flaring the mouths of cartridge cases helps to avoid trouble when the case necks are under size.


Some cartridge case necks have cannelures in them; that is, a groove rolled in around the neck of the case. Factory ammunition is loaded with the cases in a vertical position 290 and these cannelures are put in to limit the depth of seating of the bullet. Occasionally, cases that happen to be thin at the neck will be so large that the bullets would drop right down on to the powder if there were no cannelures there to stop them and such cartridges would have to be scrapped. In reloading cannelured cases it is desirable to use bullets that will give the cartridge the proper overall length, without forcing the base of the bullet beyond the cannelure. If bullets are seated so that their bases go in beyond the cannclurc the cases will be bulged at the cannelures and the ammunition will probably not chamber. This trouble can be remedied by placing the necks of the loaded cartridges one at a time on a flat strip or plate of steel and rolling the cartridge with another flat piece, at the same time applying considerable pressure. Between the rolling and the action of firing, the cannelures will usually be flattened out suficiendy with one or two re-loadings so that they will cause no further trouble.


When ammunition for any arm is reloaded without resizing the case necks sufficiendy so that the tension of the case neck alone will hold the bullet in place securely, the cartridge cases must be crimped or turned over onto the bullet to hold the latter in place. Cartridges for use in rifles having tubular magazines must be crimped and crimped quite heavily and it is desirable to have the bullets in such cartridges seated friction tight as well. When cartridges are inserted into a tubular magazine they He end to end and compress the magazine spring, which exerts pressure on the column of cartridges to force the rearmost cartridge back into the carrier when the latter is in its lower position. When the rifle is fired the column of cartridges docs not recoil at the same velocity as the rifle as they are" not held rigidly in place, being supported at the front end by a compressible spring. As a result, a considerable part of the energy of recoil is stored up in the magazine spring which subsequendy exerts this stored up force on the column of cartridges, driving them to the rear. This force tends to shove the bullets back deeper into the cartridge cases and the crimp helps to resist this. In uncannelured cases, the crimp may be insufficient to keep the bullets from being forced back into the ease. This is especially true when the magazine is nearly empty as the reduced compression of the magazine spring permits a greater move-

Bullet crimps and cartridge cannelure»..

A—Bullet crimped Into mouth of case. B—-Imperfect crimp, deeper on right side than on loft. C—45 Auto ease, with square shoulder at mouth and case canneiured to prevent bullet from seating too deep, n—same as C except case Is Indented Instead of canneiured.

ment of the cartridge column and consequendy the cartridges attain a higher velocity of movement in the magazine under the impulse of the spring.

An old method of aiding in chccking the receding of the bullets into the cases is to indent the neck at several points just in the rear of the location of the bullet bases. Of course, if the cases are canneiured this need not be done, but if the case has no cannelure or if the cannelure is shol out and experience shows that the bullets do recede into the cases, it is about the only remedy that can be applied.

indenting case nccks has an objection when cast bullets are used. A cannelure will support the base of the bullet all the way around, giving a uniform distribution of the stress on a bullet base. Indentations are so localized that when a bullet is forced back against them, nicks or depressions are put in the bullet base at the points of indentation. If the condition is bad enough, it will have a slight detrimental affect on accuracy, but as most tubular magazine rifles do not develop the highest degree of target accuracy anyway, this is probably of litde practical importance. In any event, a good heavy crimp will help to prevent the bullets from receding.

Revolver and automatic pistol cartridges must be crimped quite heavily, as the resistance offered to the forward movement of the bullet by the crimp is an important factor in promoting proper combustion of the powder charges. The one noteworthy exception to this rule is the .45 Colt Automatic pistol cartridge. This can-ridge should never be crimped, as it is positioned in the chamber of the pistol by the square forward edge of the case contacting a corresponding shoulder in the chamber.

Crimping is also advisable in rifle cartridges using light charges of quick burning powders and is sometimes desirable with heavier loads in single shot rifles and repeating rifles having box magazines.

In all reloading tools, crimping is accomplished by forcing a coned or tapered shoulder in the loading chamber against the mouth of the cartridge case, or -vice versa.

This is usually accomplished at the same time that the bullet is seated to the proper depth. As most reloading tools have that portion of their loading chambers that receive the neck, made large enough to handle cartridge cases that have been expanded by previous firing and have not been resized, these chambers are slighdy over-size for cases the necks of which have been resized. This frequently causes a resized case to slide a litde bit to one side or the other, causing the crimp to be turned over a litde more heavily on one side than the other. This unevenness in crimping, while not desirable, docs not have a serious affect on accuracy as is commonly supposed, but the unevenness can be at least overcome to some degree by partly crimping the cartridge, then turning it around 180 degrees before completing the crimping. The condition is found alike in the straightline, as well as the tong types of tools.

^ Water-proofing Ammunition.

Ordinarily, there is no object in water-proofing hand-loaded ammunition. Such cartridges are usually fired within a relatively short space of time after being loaded and under conditions where water-proofing would be unnecessary. However, if one wishes to water-proof his ammunition, it may be done as follows.

After the cases are primed, put a drop of lacquer on each primer. Ordinary quick drying, clear lacquer may be used. It can be applied with a tooth-pick or any other slender stick which, when dipped into the lacquer, will pick up a drop. The excess lacquer should be wiped off by rubbing the head of the case across a piece of cloth laid flat on a table, after the lacquer has flowed all around the edge of the primer.

This lacquer around the primer should be allowed to dry thoroughly before seating the bullets. This is especially necessary with short cartridges where the bullet occupies a considerable part of the space in the case. If bullets arc seated in such cases before the lacquer is dry, the bullet, acting as a piston, will compress the air in the case, forcing it out around the primer and breaking the seal.

If the mouths of the cases are to be water proofed also, they must be resized so the bullets will be held friction tight. After the cases arc charged with powder, a thin coat of lacquer should be applied all around the insides of the nccks and allowed to partially dry before the bullets are seated. As the bullets are pushed down, their bases will shove the gummy lacquer along, forming a thick seal around the base of the bullets. A bit of actual experience is necessary here in order to do the job right. Do not use so much lacquer that it will flow or run down on the powder and do not scat the bullets too soon after applying the lacquer, as it may still be soft enough to run down after being scraped up and formed into a seal by the bullet bases.

394 Inspection.

It may appear to some readers that my many comments on inspection are exaggerated, but they are not. Not much mention of its importance has previously been made in books on handloading because, until quite recendy, loading tools performed their operation one at a time, or in such a way that the reloader could always see just what was going on, readily observing any defects in the components and loading while doing the work. In other words, the inspection took place without conscious effort or thought on the part of the individual.

In recent years, a demand has arisen for loading tools which will load ammunition rapidly and a number of new tools have made their appearance on the market which combine the necessary operations so as to produce ammunition more rapidlyJ regardless of any other considerations. Now let's take a look at this demand. Does it arise with people well informed on ammunition and handloading? It does not! It comes from the rank and file with a superficial knowledge of handloading or none at all, folks who have a yen to spend less time reloading ammunition and more time shooting it, which is a very good idea indeed if carried out intdligcndy. Whether some of the newer tools and machines have been turned out by mechanics or firms with the business acumen to take advantage of the sucker demand, or by those with no more knowledge of handloading than the demanders, I don't know and care less. Neither do I mean that every loading tool that comes out is bad just because it is new. As a matter of fact, most of them can be used with safety and satisfaction if the user will observe the fundamental principles of cartridge loading, the first and most important of which is inspection.

In the manufacture of new ammunition with modern precision machinery it might appear that the product would flow through the machines and comc out perfect with a litde watchfulness and gaging here and there, but it will not. Taking the .30-06 military cartridge as an example, the number of manufacturing operations varies a litde with 295 different manufacturers but there are about xxo of them and they all have to be inspected. Of the total labor cost of manufacturing this cartridge, making the clips, bandoleers, boxes, tin liners, packing the ammunition, sealing the cases and marking them, 15% is for inspection. The cost of inspecting the ammunition is about 55% of the labor cost of making the cartridge case alone. If the reader were to go through an ammunition factory he would probably come out with the impression that about 50% of its employees were inspectors, and these inspectors that one sees devoting all their time to such work does not include the gaging and watchfulness of the machine operators themselves.

In reloading ammunition, safety depends largely upon cartridge cases which have been strained more or less by previous firing and it is necessary to pay attention to inspection all along the line. This necessity becomes more important as the power of the reloads increases and any reloading tool should be used in a way that will permit careful and continuous inspection, regardless of how slow the operation of the tool bccomcs in so doing. Remember, it is brains rather than hands that make safe and satisfactory ammunition. If you do not use the brains, you may suddenly find yourself with half a handgun missing from above and a couple of fingers off from below, or you may come out with an eye or two gone and a puss full of brass and steel fragments. Intelligent handloading just can't leave inspection out.

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