Reloaded Ammunition Strategies

By Kellene Bishop

This evening my husband and I went to the outdoor range for a little practice. As always, we brought a can of several hundred rounds.  Every once in a while I will shoot too limp wristed and get a stove pipe, but tonight it was happening on every single shot I took. Uh, that’s not my shooting, that’s something else. I inspected the firearm repeatedly. The slide smoothly racked back and forth. I was a bit stumped for a moment until I noticed that my husband was having the same problem. Well there you have it.  I think anyone would have a hard time believing he’s limp wristed. *grin* Looks like we’ve got a problem with the ammo.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to want to practice a certain discipline and only be able to do so one shot at a time. Not only is this a poor way to practice (other than practicing how to handle jams in your firearms) it’s obviously a poor way to defend yourself. If your firearm doesn’t perform properly, it causes a much more severe problem in a self-defense scenario than just missing your shot.  In a real scenario of self-defense you only have one chance at using the element of surprise. If you miss with your first shot, you may not get the opportunity for a second.

My recommendation is to always test your cans of reloaded ammo, both with ammo from the top of the canister and ammo from the bottom.  Even those brands with which you have a successful history need to endure your scrutiny. It simply doesn’t make sense to go to all of the trouble to become comfortable and skilled with using a firearm and have the ammunition fail. In my opinion, any ammo failure is the wrong time. (Actually, in this instance the ammo we used was actually loaded specifically for sub-sonic use and unfortunately it was erroneously sold to us along with some other containers. So consider this also a heads up to pay attention to the labeling on the cans as well. Or else you might experience a “ruh-roh” moment as well. )  Once you test the ammunition in a particular can, I would suggest marking it in a very distinctive manner.  We also have a rule that we don’t load any ammo in any of our self-defense magazines without first testing the batch.

This may sound simple, but the best safety disciplines usually are.

Copyright Protected 2011, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.

7 Responses

  1. K, I’ll be the first to just put my ignorance out there – advantages of reloaded ammo over just buying plain new ammo? As a beginner, I’m sure I’ll just stick to the easy and obvious to start with, but I’m always up for learning more so I’ll know the “why” for when I’m ready to tackle new and harder stuff!

  2. No problem. I should have actually thought to clarify that. A lot of folks reload their own ammo. It’s much less expensive that simply buying new ammo. Then there are those who commercially reload ammo and sell it, still for less than brand new. When you’re doing as much practicing as we do, those dollars add up fast. That being said, I only have a couple of magazines that I would have on standby with reloaded ammo and that’s because I use +P for my self-defense shooting as well as new hollow points–though one could reload hollow points if they desired.

  3. When last I bought ammo, reloads were 40% less than new. Makes practicing a lot easier on the wallet. Of course the loads should be as close to factory as possible, so that the recoil and ballistics are the same.

  4. So, where might one find such creatures, becasue I sure don’t see them at Wal-Mart, or if I do, I don’t know what I’m looking at or what to ask for!! And how would you know they were close to factory or not… are there specific manufacturers that you can generally always count on? Thanks for all the info!

  5. “limp wrist” is a myth….”stove pipe” is an actuality….caused by under powered ammunition in direct relation to the rebound spring strength. Purchase ammunition that works…every time in your firearm…factory ammunition from a reputable maker and then keep your weapon clean and be overly familiar with it…it’s a love affair that could save your life.

    • I just love it how men come on this site and post absolute nonsense information. It just reaffirms that companies like Women of Caliber are necessary.
      Sorry, Sebastian, your comment is absolutely wrong which is why when someone is repeatedly stovepiping, I always take their firearm, with their magazine, and test fire. When I get no stovepipe, then I know the problem is NOT the ammo. *sigh*

  6. “lymph wrist” is NOT a myth, I bought a new Kel-Tec .32 and thought that the gun was the problem only to find out that I was the problem.
    Without thinking what I was doing, being used to shooting .45’s and .40’s I was’nt holding the little .32 firmly enough and sure enough it kept jamming on me until I held it more firmly, that fixed the problem.
    Women are’nt the only ones with this problem.

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