• 1.- Can I reload my own ammunition?

    Depending on the laws in your country, it may be possible and even fun. However, it is crucial that you take extreme caution during the reloading process. It is imperative that you follow the instructions and specialised texts from the products’ manufacturers, particularly in relation to safety procedures and the powder measurements.

  • 2.- What do I need to reload my own ammunition?

    First of all, it is essential that you have accurate scales to measure the powder in order to control the proper dosage. Additionally, depending on the load you want, you will need volumetric feeders and equipment to crimp the plastic shells or the necessary tools to load and close the metallic cartridge.
    There are reloading kits available for purchase which include the essential tools, tools for proper dosing and measuring instruments.

  • 3.- How do I select each component?

    It all depends on what you want to reload.
    For plastic cartridges for smoothbore weapons, you will need empty shells, primers, gunpowder, wads (made of plastic or other material) and the shot, buckshot or slug.
    For metallic cartridges, you will need the shells, primers, gunpowder and desired gauge that you have to load.
    Always keep in mind that, in your country, there may be maximum limit for active/live cartridges.
    Apart from gunpowder, you are able to purchase components from different manufacturers through your trusted gun shop or over the Internet.

  • 4.- Can I reuse used shells?

    Plastic shells may be used up to 3-4 times, depending on their use and deterioration.
    A reloading press will be needed to load used shells which will push out the fired primer out, insert a new primer and crimp the cartridge.
    For metal cartridges, in addition to reloading equipment to replace the used primers, you will need the correct tools to insert and set the bullet.

  • 5.- What are the main steps to follow to reload used shells?

    External and internal cleaning; recalibration, open/widen the opening, replace the piston, measure and load the gunpowder; and then:
    For smoothbore guns with plastic shell: insert the wad, the shot or slug, and then close and crimp the shell.
    For rifled bore metal ammunition, insert and close the bullet.
    Metal shell ammunition requires an external lubrication before recalibration to avoid it becoming lodged in the barrel.
    If this were to occur, a special tool is needed to dislodge the shell. Reusing this shell is not recommended.

  • 6.- How do I chose the correct dosage for the load?

    It is always a good idea to start with a dosage of 10% to 15% lower than the limits established in the Loading Tables. This is mainly for safety reasons given that there are many variables which influence components, especially with the powder and in this way it is easier to measure the correct amount of powder.

  • 7.- How have the results in these Loading Tables been obtained?

    Tests were conducted in manometre barrels which are equipped with speedometers (measured at 2 metres from the opening) and a piezoelectric pressure gauge.

  • 9.- Do atmospheric changes affect components?

    Single base gun powders (like the majority of MAXAM powders) are strongly affected by temperature and more so by humidity. Low temperatures and high humidity decrease the powder’s performance; whereas, high temperatures and low humidity result in more effective results. For this reason, you should always store powders in sealed containers and in places with controlled temperature and humidity.

  • 8.- Can I measure the speed myself?

    To measure pressure, you would need a manometre barrel with a piezoelectric sensor which is very expensive and difficult to obtain. Additionally, there are chronographs available on the market which can be used to measure speed near the opening which are very accurate.

  • 10.- Does barrel length affect precision and speed?

    Barrel length does not affect pressure; whereas, within certain limits, velocity increases with barrel length.

    However, it is good to remember that in the case of an insufficient load, the wrong piston, or a slower powder dosage, pressure (which normally develops its peak within or near the chamber and then slows very quickly) reaches its maximum speed at the end of the barrel determining what is called a long fire. It is very rare but, in some cases, bulging in the barrel may occur.

  • 11.- Where should reloading components be stored?

    Follow the laws of your country. Always keep them out of reach of children and in a cool, dry place.

  • 12.- Can I mix different powders?

    Never mix powders. Always keep powders in their original containers to avoid confusion because, even though they look similar, many powders have very different behaviours.

  • 13.- What should I do before starting the load?

    Always check the tools you will use. Do not put a load in if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if you are in an anxious state of mind. If you find powder in the dispenser or out of its packaging, never use it.

  • 14.- What should I do while loading?

    Wear safety goggles and always be very aware of what you are doing. If you load using volume dispensers, do regular checks on powder and shot weight.

  • 15.- What should I do upon finishing reloading?

    Check that the dispensers and scales are clean and empty, return components to their original packaging and thoroughly clean your work area and surroundings using antistatic tools. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly.

  • 16.- Does the volume of the shells influence ballistics?

    Very much so. With all other conditions constant, the smaller the volume, the greater the speed and especially the pressure. It is always advisable to measure the internal volume of the shell, especially when changing brand or using military surplus. This can be done easily by filling the shell to its limit with distilled water and weighing it.

  • 17.- Does the distance between the grooves in the rifled barrel influence the internal ballistics, for example, maximum pressure?

    No. With normal rifled barrels used in the production of small arms, the effect is negligible. The path through a rifled barrel contributes to the stability of the projectile in flight (external ballistics). Comparing two barrels with different distances between grooves and attributing this to the difference in pressure and speed is a mistake.

  • 18.- How do barrels of the same calibre often produce such different speeds, especially rifles?

    Often the difference is due to the distance between the chamber and the start of the grooves in the barrel. Also the diameter of the barrel’s borehole can have a big impact on performance but this rarely occurs.

  • 19.- Does the total length of the cartridge influence the internal ballistics?

    It depends on the specific dimension, the gauge’s capacity and the varying entity. For example, a pistol calibre difference of 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm can have an effect of even 20% on the maximum pressure; whereas, the same difference for a rifle calibre, where the length is much greater, will be very small or negligible.

  • 20.- Does the total length of the cartridge influence the accuracy of the rifle calibres? And does a longer length result in better concentration of the bullets?

    Not always since a longer cartridge may improve alignment with the axis of the chamber and the bore. In general, it is in good practice to keep the bullet’s nose near, but not touching the beginning of the grooves. A separation of 0.5mm to 1.0mm is recommended.

  • 21.- Should I use a vibrating polisher to treat the shells?

    It is not necessary. But you should clean and lubricate the shells before recalibration to remove any remnants from a previous combustion and the abrasive particles that can damage or scratch matrices and shells.

  • 22.- Why should I lubricate shells?

    Lubrication allows the shell to enter the chamber and ensures that recalibration is uniform. Some pistol shells, such as cylindrical ones, do not require lubrication if a tungsten chamber is used. Not using lubrication in rifle shells can result in it becoming jammed in the chamber.

  • 23.- How do I remove a stuck shell?

    It is recommended to have a removal tool and follow its instructions. With the right tool, extraction is much easier and does not damage the chamber.

  • 24.- How I can know if there is too much lubrication?

    When this occurs, usually a ridge or a depression on the side of the shell will form. The instructions on the lubricants’ packaging can determine the exact amount.

  • 25.- Should I cut the shell every time I reload and how do I know the length it should be?

    No, it is not necessary to cut each time. The Reloading Handbook shows the specifications of the cut length (“adjust to” length) indicating the minimum length of the shell which is enough to hold the bullet.

  • 26.- Should I clean the primer base?

    It is not mandatory but cleaning allows the piston to lie correctly and helps prevent percussion defects due to incomplete collapse.

  • 27.- Can I replace air rifle primers with primers from handguns?

    No. You should always adhere to the information for the cartridge you want to load and use only those components that are indicated for that cartridge. These have been widely tested and ensure that the reloading data is not dangerous. Adhering strictly to the information guarantees a safe and problem-free reload.

  • 28.- If the bullet has sunk too deep, do I have to dispose of the cartridge?

    No, all you will need is a kinetic extractor hammer and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.

  • 29.- After checking my finished cartridges, I noticed that in some of them the piston protrudes out slightly in the back. Can I correct it by using a piston inserter?

    Absolutely not! It may cause the accidental firing of the cartridge. You must use an extractor to remove the bullet and gunpowder and only then replace the piston. Controlling the piston position must be performed immediately after the insertion operation.

  • 30.- Can I use bullets removed or salvaged from old military surplus?

    Yes, but it is forbidden to use tracers, armour-piercing, or incendiary bullets. The bullet must have the correct diameter and the right weight for your cartridge and gunpowder to be used.

  • 31.- A bullet fell nose first and now the nose is deformed. Can I still use it?

    Yes, it can still be used, although a deformed bullet may be less accurate than a normal one.