Some Tips on How to Reload Ammunition

Kraig J. Rice

(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)

Introduction Choose your firearm
Get Your Firearm's Factory Info Buy a Good Reloading Book
Buy a Gun Press or Lee Loader Resize your brass
Push out the old primer Install the new primer
Measure and Load the Gun Powder Loading With Lee Scoops
Insert the (lead) Bullet Water Proofing Your Ammo
Buy a Leather Tote Bag Reloading Shotgun Shells
Tips on Using Black Powder Bullet Acronyms
Some Questions and Answers Using Armor Piercing
Crimped Primers Make Your Own Black Powder
Gun and Powder Laws Chickens In Their Outhouse

Have fun with this hobby


Thank you for visiting my web page. I used to load a lot of ammo. I did it safely and I never had a major problem. I want to pass along a few tips to you so you can do it safely as well. This is a fun and rewarding hobby!

My Viking relatives came to the colony of Massachusetts in 1638 with a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other. Later, the United States had a Revolutionary War. There were 13 colonies trying to break away from the tyranny of England. A strange command came down to each of the patriotic families in the 13 colonies from the Continental Congress. Each patriotic family was ordered to keep their chickens in their outhouse for the duration of the war. This would help the war effort and every patriotic family obeyed those orders. The reason for this order is given towards the end of this web page.

So, you want to save money?

Let's take a brief look at costs. A factory made rifle shell (fully loaded) costs a considerable amount of money at some local sporting goods shops. You may buy a box of 20 and it might cost you an arm and a leg. Ouch! If you do a lot of shooting this hobby can get expensive real fast. Reloading your own is the way to go. You can save roughly 50% or one dollar out of every two. If you buy military surplus you can save even more. Not a bad way to go but you have to be careful if you load your own. I'll try to give you a few tips I learned from when I loaded my own rifle, pistol, and shotgun shells as well as black powder guns.

Choose your firearm (If Necessary):
Take your time and choose your firearm carefully. There are different strokes for different folks. Some guns are louder than others, some kick more than others, some cost more than others, and some don't look the same as others. Choose the gun that is right for you. I had a fellow offer to sell me a .45 automatic pistol one time. I wanted to fire it first to see if I liked it. I'm glad I did. I fired it and it kicked hard and was real loud. I didn't like it. It was a man killer alright but I wasn't hunting any men. I passed on the deal. Instead, I settled for a 9 shot .22 revolver that I could take to the target range or use as a close-range backup gun when I went hunting. It was just more fun to shoot for me.

Some folks like a pistol. Some like a rifle. Some like a shotgun. Some like all of these. Some like to shoot smokeless powder, and some like to shoot black powder. Some like old guns. Some like foreign guns. Don't be in any hurry to purchase your gun. Instead, go with some of your friends or relatives out shooting. Fire their guns. See what you like and what you don't like. Once you know what gun you like, try to find the best buy on it that you can.

Making out your shopping list will depend on how much money you want to spend. Purchase the the finest gun for your use and go for what makes you comfortable and happy. There are fine pistols, fine rifles, and fine shotguns on the market. And you might find one on sale! And no one will think the less of you if you load your own ammo for it.

Sometimes you can save money and get a real good gun by buying military surplus. And the same holds true for purchasing military surplus ammo. I recommend that after you purchase your new firearm you buy some factory made ammo for it and go to the target range and learn how to shoot it. For example, if you buy a new military surplus rifle from the U.S. government make sure you wipe all of the cosmoline (military vaseline grease) off of it and especially clean the cosmoline out of the gun barrel first before you fire a round through it. Cosmoline keeps the weapon from getting corroded while in storage. Other than that, your shopping list is going to include most all of the items listed below.

Purchase the right firearm for what you are going to use it for. If you want to hunt ducks and rabbits then buy a shotgun because thats the best gun for that sport. If you go big game hunting then you aren't going to use a small caliber gun but a large one. If you want to "plink around" then you don't need a large caliber gun for that but a small one. Check with the laws in your area for what shooting is permissable there. Always abide by the law(s) in your respective area.

Get Your Firearm's Factory Information:
Determine what kind of a firearm is in your possession. If you are going to reload rifle casings for your particular gun then you need to do some research on the maker of your rife to find out what the reloading specs (specifications) are for that model. Loading a .30 06 rifle casing is going to vary from how you load a .50 caliber rifle casing. The same is true if you own a pistol, or shotgun. The same also holds true for black powder guns that use shell casings.

If you own more than one firearm and are going to reload ammo for each one then realize each one is different and has to be treated differently. You don't use the same primers for multiple caliber guns, you don't use the same (lead) bullets for multiple caliber guns, and most of the time you don't use the same powder for multiple caliber guns. For example, you can't shoot a .30 caliber lead bullet from a .50 caliber gun. As the old expression goes, "every lid has to fit the pot."

To get the reloading specs for your particular gun you can write to the manufacturer and request them. Most manufacturers are pleased to share this info with you because they want well satisfied customers as they know that you will be sharing their gun with others you are shooting with and this may make others want to buy their product.

If you don't want to contact the manufacturer and the ammo you are reloading is from a fairly popular gun, most reloading books contain factory load information for you. The amount of gunpowder you place in a shell can be compared to the amount of gunpowder that an ammo factory places inside of it. This is called "the factory load" or more commonly "the maximum load." Many reloaders want each of their shells to contain the maximum load. When reloading any ammo, never exceed the maximum load amount of gunpowder. If you do you could get hurt.

One time I purchased a .30 06 Springfield rifle that once belonged to my late uncle, Wilbur Hale Rice. I called him Uncle Hale. He was my father's brother and had been crippled with polio from the age of 6. He was a good Christian man and I was proud to call him my friend. As an adult he could get around pretty well with crutches and he devoted a lot of his time to his rifle. He reloaded his own ammo for it. He fixed the wood stock so that it only touched the metal in two places. He explained to me that a warped wood stock could effect the metal and thus the accuracy of his shooting. He had a 4x (4 power) scope mounted on it and could easily hit a one inch in diameter disc at 100 yards. He practiced with it a lot and went deer hunting in Texas where he would sit in a hunting tower waiting for his prey.

In order to reload .30 06 shells for it I had to do some research. The rifle was made by the U.S. government and was standard government issue circa World War I. Since it was a popular caliber gun I bought a reloading book at a local gun shop that had all of the reloading info in it that I needed. It had the maximum load info in it that I needed to keep from getting myself into trouble. I never loaded beyond the maximum load amount.

Whether you write to the factory, find the info on the web, or look in a book that has the information- you need to find out the specs for your gun. If you have an old gun or a foreign gun and can't get the factory specs then try corresponding with other gun enthusiasts or getting the information from someone else who has it. If you are not sure about your gun's specs then don't reload any ammo for it nor shoot any factory ammo through it. Old guns were loaded differently than modern guns. They shot different powder for one thing and they used different length brass for their bullets.

I inherited a single shot shotgun from my maternal grandfather. He loved to shoot ducks in Texas during the Great Depression days. It had a Damascus steel barrel but was in other bad shape as well- the wood stock was falling off of it and it was rusty. It hadn't been fired in a long time. I placed a plastic case standard .12 gauge factory loaded shell in it and fired it. The breach blew open on me and some gun powder blew back into my face. It didn't hurt me but needless to say I was not happy with it and I sold it to somebody who thought they could fix it. Some of those old guns weren't chambered for today's longer plastic shells but paper case shells instead- so check out your respective gun and try to get the specs on it before you hurt yourself or others.

This is one example of a reloading book

Buy a Good "Reloading Book":
The reloading manual or book is one of the most important tools that you can own when it comes to loading your own ammunition. Why? Because of safety. Gun powder explodes and when it does it can harm you and no one wants this to happen to you. Inside of most reloading books there is information to help you load your ammo in a safe and sane way. Some books use charts, some use tables, and some use both. I recommend that you look at several to see which is the easiest one for you to understand because some manuals are written for advanced shooters, professional hunters, and competition shooters. If you are a beginner reloader you will need a book that is simple and easy to understand for you and there are many on the market.

Most books will include bullet weight in grains, ballistics info, different types of smokeless powder and how much to use, diameter of bullets, velocity of the fired bullet measured in feet per second, and pressure gradients.

Most important- it will have a maximum powder load amount. Never load any amount of gun powder in a casing beyond this weight as this weight is set as the equivalent to a factory load. The weight of the powder will be in conjunction with the weight of the bullet that you are loading.

Many loading handbooks have all the information you will need to correctly load a specific caliber. Often there are overall length measurements for different types of bullets, crimp diameters, chamber pressures, velocities, and even certain quirks or problems that a specific caliber may have when loading.

Reloading Steps and Equipment:

I am going to explain how to reload using a Lee Loader kit and it will be generally the same thing using a reloading press except you will use different dies for each step when using a press.

Buy a Gun Press or Lee Loader Kit:
You need a tool or two in order to put all of these component parts together. The kind of tools that you buy will depend on how much money you want to spend, and how much loading and shooting you plan on doing. If you only shoot occasionally and you only need one box of ammo at a time, I recommend that you purchase a Lee Loader kit. This is a simple hand loading kit that is efficient, yet inexpensive and it is easy to store away and use. I used a Lee Loader kit for my .30 06 shells and another Lee Loader kit for my .12 gauge shot gun shells at first until I started shooting more. You will need a Lee Loader kit to match each gun caliber that you plan on reloading. Lee Loader makes a respective kit for nearly every popular caliber gun- rifle, pistol, and shotgun.

The Lee reloading business began in the home workshop of Richard Lee in 1958 with the invention of the famous Lee Loader for shotgun shells. Lee Loaders, for rifle and pistol ammunition, were invented in the early sixties.

Each kit comes with one scoop spoon only. Sometimes this one scoop will not be efficient enough. If not, you might want to purchase a set of scoop spoons or a gun powder measuring scale for increased accuracy when loading.

On the other hand if you do a lot of shooting then you will be better off purchasing a reloading press. A good reloading press is usually set up in a spare room somewhere in your house or in your garage. A separate little house away from your main house might be better in case of fire if you plan on storing significant amounts of gun powder there.

A reloading press has a lever that operates a die. One die will press out the old primer. Another die will seat the new primer. A rifle press will usually have just one tube up on top of it for gun powder while a shotgun press will usually have two- one for gun powder and another for shot pellets. The press instructions will allow you to pre-measure the powder that you are using so that the same amount is placed inside of each casing. You manually insert the shotgun wads inside of each casing. Some presses are more advanced than others in this regard depending on how much you are willing to pay. You manually insert the (lead) bullet inside of the casing if loading rifle or pistol ammo. The last step involves crimping the end of the shot gun shell to hold the shot in place. Once you get the hang of it you can go pretty fast. But there is a danger here. If you get going too fast you just might get a little confused and accidentally load a double powder load in one casing. This might happen if you get interrupted while in the middle of loading a shell. If you even suspect that you might have done this then throw that whole box of shells away. You can't take the chance of having your gun blow up in your face. If loading rifle or pistol ammo you have to crimp the brass against the (lead) bullet. There is a special tool in the Lee Loader kit for this. If using a reloading press there is a special die for this.

A friend of my father's invited me over to his house one time. Him and I were going dove hunting together and he wanted to show me his reloading set up. He only shot .12 gauge shotgun shells. He took me in his spare bedroom as his kids were grown up and had moved away. He showed me his "bench press" (reloading press) as he called it and then he told me that he had 1,000 boxes of loaded shells there in that room. He had numerous dressers there and he opened drawer after drawer and showed me his collection. He had boxes of regular loads but also boxes of magnum loads. He loaded all of them himself on his press. He showed me how his press worked and how he could load a box in a short amount of time. I was so impressed that I went out and bought me my own press and reloaded a lot of shotgun shells for myself. Me and him went dove hunting together. Our shells fired perfectly but we didn't hit any doves. Maybe we should have spent more time practicing on the skeet range than at the reloading press.

A brass shell casing being resized inside a press tool

Resize your brass
A shell casing is simply described as an empty bullet. Most refer to it simply as "brass." You can purchase empty shell casings from your local gun store. You can get empty brass casings from a firing range but be sure to get permission first before picking them up. You can save your own empty casings after shooting, or you can purchase casings from others. Most rifle and pistol casings are made of brass and can be reloaded several times.

If you purchase new brass it will come already sized so you can omit this resizing step. However, if you reload brass that has already been used then you must resize it. Brass expands after it has been fired due to the extreme heat and pressure. It rarely goes back to it's original size but stays larger around in diameter. It also expands length-wise and then has to be trimmed in length. Brass casings get brittle and get verticle cracks caused from expansion, heat, and pressure. Never reload a brass shell casing that has a verticle crack in it.

Take your empty brass casing and place it into the Lee Loader tool. In most cases it will not go all the way down- that's because of it's expansion. Take a mallet (rubber) hammer and tap the casing until it is all the way seated. The casing is now resized but leave it in the tool.

Using a rubber hammer is much preferred over using a steel hammer when gently tapping on brass for two reasons:
one, you want to reduce the risk of causing sparks around gun powder, and
two, you want to treat the brass in a more gentle fashion (because brass metal is soft and easily cracked) and you don't want to damage it.

This press tool fits inside the casing and pushes out the old primer

Push out the old primer
Set the Lee Loader tool with the casing still inside of it on the special small round base tool that has the hole in it. The hole will allow the old primer to come out. Take the long steel rod that has the narrow steel end on it and drop it down into the empty casing. Move it around until the narrow steel end penetrates into the small hole at the bottom. Gently tap on the long steel rod until you knock out the old primer. Remove the long steel rod but keep the casing inside of the tool.

Never extract a live primer- this is one way of getting hurt! If you have a live primer in an empty brass casing, place the casing inside of your gun and fire it. It will sound something like a child's cap pistol when fired. Then de-primer the casing.

A primer that has been fired

A new installed primer

Install the New Primer
A primer is a small round metallic object, but it's actually a small explosive device. It is mostly harmless but never hit one with a claw hammer. It fits in the cartridge base. When the gun's firing pin hits it, it explodes. The "explosion" travels through a small hole in the cartridge base which in turn ignites the gun powder and explodes it. This "explosion" expels the bullet or shot out of the gun's barrel.

Make sure you get the right size and kind for the shell casing that you are reloading. Most come in a small box of 100 and you can purchase them at your local gun store. Check with your local gun store owner if you have any questions as most are very knowledgeable in their field. Some primers for regular loads may not be suited for magnum loads. Make sure that the primer fits tight into the shell casing, otherwise, a loose primer may fall out of the casing. If it fits loose throw away the brass. Never try to glue a primer into a shell casing.

Turn over the special small round base tool that has the hole in it on one side so the solid side is facing up. By hand, place a new primer inside of the empty primer hole at the bottom of the shell casing. If it doesn't fit too good that is ok as you want it to fit tight. Then take another long Lee Loader tool that has a hole in one end of it and insert it down into the shell casing. Place this unit on the special base and gently tap on the tool seating the primer into place. The reason the long tool has a hole in the end of it is so that the tapping won't cause the primer to explode. I never had a primer explode on me from this kind of operation if done right.

Make sure the new primer is seated all the way down into the casing. If a new primer will not fit into the brass then double check to make sure you have the right sized primer for that brass. Never try to make a rifle primer fit into the brass of a pistol shell or vice versa unless your reloading book says it is ok. Use the right primer design for the gun design. Never glue a loose primer into a brass shell casing or use clear nail polish to hold a loose primer in place. Throw away any brass that will not hold the right sized primer tightly.

Be aware that there are different kinds of primers:
There are primers for small pistols
There are primers for large pistols
There are primers for small pistol magnums
There are primers for large pistol magnums
There are primers for small rifles
There are primers for large rifles
There are primers for small rifle magnums
There are primers for large rifle magnums

The simplest way to get the right primer is to ask the clerk at your local gun shop. Other than that you can ask a reloading friend, or consult a re-loading handbook manual.

If you are using a press you may have a primer-flip tray. Add primers to the primer hopper. This usually involves some type of primer pickup device (often a long tube with plastic on either end and a pin). Be sure the primers are oriented correctly in the hopper.

Remove the casing from the tool
Take the long Lee Loader tool that has a hole in one end of it and insert it down into the shell casing again. This is the same tool you used to help insert the new primer. Place the casing unit on another special base that has a large hole in it. This hole will allow the casing to come out. Gently tap on the long tool knocking the brass casing out of it's steel holding container.

Measure and Load the Gun Powder:
During World War 2 smokeless gunpowder was named Cordite and it was made a little different than today. Today it is made from nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. Try not to buy gun powder that is really old- some of the explosive components within the powder tend to dissipate in time. Smokeless gun powder comes in small containers of various shapes and sizes. Mostly it is sold in one pound containers or smaller. As a general rule of thumb you can use the same gun powder in shotgun and pistol shells. However, rifles use a slower burning gun powder.

The weight of a (lead) bullet as well as the weight of gunpowder is measured in grains in the United States and Canada. The grain in the year 1758 was the weight of a seed from the middle of an ear of barley. "Grains" is the smallest unit of weight in the English system. This method of measuring weight relied on the relationship between the number of grains of wheat that were equal to one pound. Gunpowder scales for handloading measure in grains:
bullets are generally measured in increments of 1 grain,
gunpowder in increments of 0.1 grains.

Look in your reloading manual or on your powder chart to determine what amount of powder you are going to use. You can either load by weight with a reloading scale or by volume using Lee scoops. I have loaded both ways and each is ok.

Always know what kind of powder you are loading and always know what the factory recommended maximum load is for that powder in connection with the weight of the bullet that you are loading. Never exceed the maximum load limit.

Never load any gun powder of any kind unless you know specifically what kind it is. The safety rule applies here: when in doubt throw it out.

Never substitute smokeless powder for black powder or for black powder substitutes.

Never mix together any two powders, regardless of type, brand, style or source.

We use the Troy ounce when loading gun powder by the grain.
A troy ounce is 480 grains, somewhat heavier than an avoirdupois ounce
(437.5 grains). A grain is exactly
64.798 91 mg; hence one troy ounce is exactly
31.1034768 g, about 10 percent more than the avoirdupois ounce, which is exactly
28.349523125 g. The troy ounce is the only ounce used in the pricing of precious metals, such as gold, platinum, and silver. The grain, which is identical in both the troy and avoirdupois systems, is used to measure arrow and arrowhead weights in archery and bullets and powder weights in shooting. In troy weight, there are 12 ounces in a pound, rather than 16 as in the more common avoirdupois system. The troy ounce may be abbreviated to ozt. In the normal pound (16 oz.) that is used now in the United States, there are 14.58 troy ounces.

This info comes from the web. Web address is

12 ounces= 1 pound; or 5760 grains= 1 pound; or
373.241 721 6 grams= 1 pound; 15.43 grains= 1 gram

Buy a Good Powder Scale:
The measuring scale or gun powder scale measures the weight of gun powder. You will have a reloading book that let's you know the weight of a specific gun powder you can use with a certain bullet that weighs a specific amount.

Loading With the Lee Scoops-
I recommend that you purchase the Lee scoop kit that has plastic scoops in it if you don't want to purchase and use an expensive powder scale. Most gun shops sell this kit. These are yellow plastic scoops that hold a certain amount of powder, and are calibrated in cubic centimeters (cc). Each kit usually contains 15 different powder scoops which can be used for 1300 different loads! For example, a rifle kit includes a sliding chart that shows which scoop is used for which load. The 15 different scoops range from .3 cc's to 4.3 cc's. Complete instructions are included in each kit.

You dip the little scoop spoon into the gun powder and load it into your empty shell casing. However, when you do this you always have to make sure that you never exceed the maximum load. One must pay very close attention when using these scoops, because a scoop of one type of smokeless powder will not weigh the same as a scoop of another type.

How do these things work? When using the scoops you are esentially loading smokeless powder measured by volume. The 15 scoop set comes with a conversion chart for equating the volume of gun powder with it's weight. Ok, let's say I am loading for my .30 06 rifle. The reloading book reveals that I need 13.5 grains of Unique powder. The Lee conversion table converts weight to volume. The chart reveals to me that I need to use a 1.6 cc Lee powder scoop to give me this load. Only place one level scoop full of powder into every shell casing as it doesn't take much. This is a nice load and will work just fine when shooting.

Never overload any shell casing. Use a flashlight to look down at the powder level inside of each casing to make sure you don't have an overload before you load the (lead) bullets.

One fellow I knew bought a Lee Loader kit for his rifle. He didn't want to spend a lot of money at the time. He loaded this way for a long time and shot some deer with his reloaded ammo and so he was a "happy camper."

Insert the (lead) Bullet
Lead is kind of a nick name for bullets- that's because at one time all bullets were made out of literal lead. That's not always the case now. Now there are bullets made of different materials. Some metals are alloy metals including hardened steel and copper. The grain of a bullet is it's weight- so a 168 grain boat-tailed hollow point will weigh 168 grains.

You have to purchase or make the right kind of bullet for the brass that it is going to fit in. You will need a .30 caliber bullet for .30 caliber brass. Don't expect a .30 caliber bullet to fit into a .40 or .50 caliber brass casing- it just isn't going to work. Most bullets come in a small box of 100 or so at a time and can be purchased at your local gun store. Your local gun shop will probably have various boxes of bullets on sale. These might be boat tailed, or sharp point, or armor piercing, or round nose, or wad cutters, or plastic, or what-have-you. You can save money by buying bullets on sale.

There are different types of bullets. A traditional solid bullet will do what it is designed to do. A hollow point bullet will mushroom out when it hits it's target causing more damage. A boat tailed bullet is considered streamlined. An armor piercing bullet will penetrate deep into and through some steel plating.

Don't place a .30 caliber rifle bullet inside of a .30 caliber pistol cartridge. Always match the design of the bullet with the design of the gun. One time a friend of mine loaded some sharp point bullets for his .30 30 rifle. I asked him why he did that and he said that he was out of round nose bullets so he was using what he had. At the firing range I saw him loading 5 sharp point bullets one after another single file into his rifle. The cartridges were lined up inside of the rifle so that the sharp point of one was against the primer of the one before it. I don't think he realized what he was doing- just one good improper jolt and a cartridge could fire that was not seated in the firing chamber. That's a good way to get hurt yourself and maybe hurt someone else as well. I brought the matter to his attention and he unloaded that gun in haste and then shot the bullets in single shot fashion which was safe.

The weight of a bullet is very important. Some bullets are light and some are heavy. Some are meant for close range shooting and some for long range shooting. One thing is important to remember, you have to use the correct amount of powder for the weight of the bullet. Don't falsely assume that all weights of bullets use the same amout of powder. The weight of each bullet will place it somewhere on what is known as the shooting curve. For shooting competition this is critical. You can contact each of the bullet manufacturers for what information they have on the weight of each of their bullets and where each lines up on the shooting curve.

Insert the bullet inside of the casing by hand. When you do this make sure that the bullet is seated at the appropriate depth inside of the casing. Some factory bullets have an indented line groove around them marking this depth. It's not a good idea to have a loaded ammo round that is too long or too short for the gun's chambering. That's why it's not a good idea to use .30 caliber rifle bullets when loading .30 caliber pistol casings. Once the bullet is inserted to the right depth inside of the casing you have to crimp the brass around it tightly using the Lee loader tool for this. Crimping allows the bullet to stay in place. No one wants their ammo to fall apart on them when depending on it for a trophy buck!

I don't recommend that you dismantle old bullets- pulling the lead and pouring the old powder out of the brass unless you know what you're doing. I used to purchase old .30 06 bullets for pennies on the dollar at the local gun shop. Each of those bullets was at least 50 years old and government surplus. They were left over from World War 1. They had black powder inside of them. They smoked when fired and they were corrosive but I knew better than to try to dismantle each one and then reload it. It was easier and safer to shoot them and then reload the empty brass.

For my .30 06 I bought a box of 168 grain boat-tailed hollow point bullets. The weight of this bullet put it in the middle of the shooting curve. This is a perfect sniper's bullet and is accurate within 500 yards. It's a great bullet for big game hunting or target practicing.

Buy a Bullet Holder:
After you finish hand manufacturing each of your bullets you will need a safe place to temporarily keep it while you are making more. Most gun shops carry plastic bullet holders that you can use for this purpose. Pistol bullets are shorter so those containers will be lower in height. Rifle bullets are longer so those containers will be higher. Shotgun shells are greater in diameter so those containers will be wider.

Buy Some "Water Proofing" For Your Ammo:
The American revolutionary war soldiers would always cry out, "keep your powder dry." This is a good idea no matter what time period you may be living in. Are you going to be hunting in the rain? Will you drag your rifle through water infested swamps or travel through damp terrain? If so, it's a good idea to keep your powder dry. This also might be a good idea if you want to make 1,000 rounds of ammo for every gun that you possess and store it for a long period of time. Survivalists live by this idea. How do you waterproof your ammo?

Each gun shop should have some water proofing material on hand for you to purchase. If they don't then you can use the old stand-by: clear nail polish. Place clear nail polish around each primer where it joins to the brass and around each bullet where it joins to the brass. These are the only 2 places where water could seep inside the loaded bullet. Be liberal but don't over-do it. Let this polish dry thoroughly before storing your ammo away. And make sure that you wipe all oil, grease, or vaseline off of each bullet before applying the polish so it will seal and not peel.

One time I was deer hunting alone in the California Sierra-Nevada mountain range. I was at the bottom of a deep gully making my way along. I had my .30 06 rifle with 4x scope. I saw a deer through my scope that was well within range but it's head was stuck inside a large clump of brush so I couldn't tell if it was a buck or a doe. I only had a buck tag and I didn't want to shoot a doe as my co-hunters would laugh at me. So, in a case like that what is the rule? The rule is not to shoot unless you first make sure of your target. So, I didn't shoot. Then it started pouring down rain on me and I was drenched by the time I got back to our camp. I was sure glad I had ammo with me that day that I knew was water-proofed. To this day I don't know if that deer was a buck or doe...but I know I did the right thing...

Buy a "Davy Crockett" Leather Tote Bag:
A friend of mine is a member of a black powder shooter's club. He has so much to carry that he has to have a leather bag (pre 1840). I guess it's like a "Davy Crockett" leather tote bag. He keeps his shot, flints, and wads in it. He can also keep some beef jerky and dried fruit in it. However, he keeps his black powder in a powder horn. That doesn't leave him much room for his tomahawk and Bowie knife.

If you are going out in the sticks to do some hunting you will need a bag of some kind to help haul around your ammo you plan on shooting. Using a bag will save you from cramming your pockets full of bullets. Some hunters use a pack on their back and some carry a kind of hand-held traveling bag that is waterproofed. I haven't seen any deer hunter with a bandalier of bullets extending from his shoulder to his waist.

Reloading Shotgun Shells

If you shoot cardboard (paper) shotgun shells you can only reload these a couple of times before they fall apart. Use non-plastic over-the-powder wads and over-the-shot wads when reloading these. If you use black powder with these paper shells the wax coating on the outside of the shells will melt off after a couple of shootings. The plastic shotgun shells are a little more durable and I recommend them instead of the paper shells.

Let's say I want to load a .12 Gauge 2 3/4 inch shell with 1 1/8 ounces of shot using a Federal 12S3 wad. The casing contains a CCI 209 primer. The book reveals that I can safely load 20.0 grains of Red Dot powder into that casing. I measure out the specific weight of this powder on the powder scale and then place it into the empty shell casing.

Of course, the empty shot shell casing is held securely by a plastic shell holder so it won't fall over and your powder spill out. You can use a little funnel or scoop for pouring the powder into the casing if you want to. Once all of the casings are loaded use a flashlight to look down at the powder level inside of each casing to make sure you don't have an overload before you load the wad and then the shot.

The steps for reloading shotgun shells are nearly the same as for a pistol or rifle- resize the brass, knock out the old primer, insert the new primer, and load the powder.

But shotgun shells require you to insert an over-the-powder wad for the next step. These come in plastic or non-plastic. Non-plastic 1/8", 1/4", or 1/2" thick felt wads are brownish in color and these have to be seated inside of the shell directly over the powder. Press each one down with some downward force but before you do this place the cartridge on the Lee Loader base that has the hole in it. This keeps the primer from accidentally firing. These wads are treated with a fire retardant so they don't catch on fire after shooting. Never use tissue paper or newspaper as makeshift over-the-powder wads as this material will usually catch on fire after shooting.

After you insert your over-the-powder wad you have to add the shot. Shot comes in lead or steel pellets. These pellets are of different sizes. Pellets about the size of BB's are close to #5 size shot used for rabbits and squirrels. #7 or #8 size shot is smaller and is good for shooting game birds like quail and pheasants. Double ought buckshot or size #00 is used for deer hunting in heavy brush. The police also use this in their shotguns for self protection. Some states have made it illegal to hunt big game with a shotgun, and some states want a hunter to use steel shot that after fired will eventually rust away.

The Lee Loader comes with a metal shot-scoop. You can manually load 7/8 ounce, 1 ounce, or 1 1/8 ounce, etc. weight of shot inside each of your shells. If you use a shotgun press the powder and shot are measured and inserted easily. The next step is to crimp each shell so the shot does not fall out. Now you are ready to shoot.

I can't get the end of my plastic shotgun shells to crimp. They just keep on popping up and then my shot runs out of the shell. What can I do?

I can tell you what NOT to do. My friend had the same problem. He took candle wax and placed this wax over the end of each shell. The wax worked well enough to keep the shot from leaking out but he soon developed another problem. We were up in the hills shooting one day when he told me that his shotgun had quit working and that it wouldn't fire anymore. When we got back to base he took his trigger housing mechanism apart and found that it was frozen up with hard wax. The wax had melted into liquid from the heat of the firing chamber and had run down into his trigger mechanism where it hardened. If you can't pull the trigger you can't fire the gun. He had to do a lot of cleaning to get his shotgun back into good shape again.

Some folks use a slender cardboard wad- called an over-the-shot wad to place over the shot inside of every shell they reload. That way if your crimp comes loose on you while you are in the sticks hunting you won't loose your shot.

Can I fire anything other than bird-shot through my shotgun?

Yes. Shotguns often fire large shot or solid slugs out of a smooth bore or unrifled barrel, although some shotguns have rifled barrels. Be careful if your shotgun has a full choke built in at the end of the barrel that might obstruct a large slug from passing through it unhindered. Check with your gun's manufacturer to see what kind of slugs or other items they advise you against shooting through their gun. You can purchase a shotgun with no choke at all, a full choke, or a modified (partial) choke.

Plastic or rubber bullets are sometimes shot by the military and in law enforcement. And during the Great Depression days old farmer McDonald used to load rock-salt in his shotgun to "pepper the back-side" of young thieves swiping his watermellons.

Some Tips on Using Black Powder

I have owned a double-barrel black powder shotgun and a .36 calibre black powder six-shooter revolver pistol. I have also shot my friend's .45 calibre black powder rifle.

Black powder guns come in two different categories: flintlock and percussion cap. Flintlock guns were used in the U.S. Revolutionary War while percussion cap guns were used during the U.S. Civil War. What's the difference? It's the firing mechanism that ignites the black powder. The flintlock uses a flint that strikes metal and causes a spark to ignite the powder. A percussion cap mechanism uses small external fitting primers that explode when struck with a mechanism hammer.

Using a shooting flask or powder horn are good ways to carry black powder with you while shooting. The traditional method of measuring black powder is by volume. You can also carry along a predetermined volume container that you can pour your powder into so you get the right volume for shooting. Some folks call this a "powder jigger." Place your shot or bullets, primers, and wads in your "Davy Crockett" leather tote bag that you sling over your shoulder. You can also keep some beef jerky and dried fruit in it for a snack. A small flask of water might also fit in it, too, that makes it a little heavier and the shoulder strap might start cutting into your shoulder.

You can use pre Lubed 1/8" felt wads safely in your muzzleloader that resist catching fire after being shot.

You can purchase a black powder gun from .30 Caliber up to .58 Caliber.

If you are shooting black powder (without a brass shell casing) a round lead ball is mostly used. You can use it in pistols, muskets or in rifles. The lead balls also vary in size. Just remember a .30 caliber round ball is not meant to be shot from a .50 caliber black powder rifle. Bullets for blackpowder, or muzzleloading firearms, were classically moulded from pure lead. This worked well for low speed bullets, fired at velocities of less than 1000 feet per second. Lead is also cheap, easy to obtain, and melts at a low temperature, making it easy to use in fabricating bullets.

If you shoot blanks in a reinactment event you can use wax, paper, plastic, and other materials that are used to simulate live gunfire and are intended only to hold the powder in a blank cartridge and to produce noise and smoke. Your reinactment club will have certain rules for you to follow in this regards so that no one gets hurt.

The main problems with black powder relative to smokeless powder are:
1. Black powder takes up more room in the shell than smokeless powder.
2. Old guns often have short chambers- the shells must be cut short to     match.
3. Plastic shells melt and paper shells rip.
4. Smoke- sometimes your friends object if you shoot it around them.
5. Rust and corrosion result if the gun is not cleaned soon after firing.

Paper shells work fine- they were originally designed for black powder. I normally use plastic shells as they are easier to obtain and they are easy to trim and crimp.

Black powder can be purchased in various sized containers and is extremely corrosive inside of your metal gun, so some shooters use Pyrodex, a substitute gun powder for black powder. Pyrodex is not as corrosive as black powder.

Muzzleloaders can be safely fired with black powder, Pyrodex, Triple Seven, Black Mag3, Pyrodex pellets, and Triple Seven Pellets.

Black powder, Pyrodex, Black Mag3, and Triple Seven loose powder are all in the category of deflagrating powders. "Deflagrating" is just a fancy way of saying "fast-burning." These powders burn just as fast as they can as long as they can.

British military gunpowder in the 18th century was 75 parts saltpetre to 10 parts sulphur to 15 parts charcoal. High quality, refined sulphur was preferred, as was charcoal made from willow or alder, although birch and beech were acceptable too. In black powder the fuel is carbon- we are burning charcoal. Black powder is horribly inefficient as only about 50% of its mass turns into gas. The rest is solid residue that is forced out the muzzle as white smoke.

My father told me that as a combat infantry soldier during World War 2 fighting through the hedgerows in Normandy shortly after D-Day that the U.S. soldiers were shooting ammo left over from World War 1. This ammo was loaded with black powder. But the Germans were using smokeless powder. My dad said that the Germans knew exactly where the American front lines were due to the smoke from the black powder ammo they had fired. An american artillery cannon could hit a target the size of a bed sheet five miles away. That's how accurate they were. The Germans could do the same with their .88 cannons. So they poured down their artillery shells right on top of the Americans. There were heavy American casualties in the Second Infantry Division as a result.

Use common sense in handling all firearms and ammo

How much room does black powder take inside of a shotgun shell?

When I used to load paper and plastic shotgun shells with black powder it took three times the volume of smokeless powder. There wasn't enough room in the shell to use plastic power piston wads. I had to use fiber wads for over-the-powder and also thin "cardboard" wads for over-the-shot. But they fired good.

What does the "F" designation on a can of black powder stand for?

The grain size of black powder controls its burn rate. The "F" designation is just the screen size used in manufacture and the resultant grain size (coarseness). FFFF black powder is very, very easy to ignite- that is why the common application is as pan powder for flintlocks. FFF black powder is used often in .45 caliber or smaller bore muzzleloaders and sidelocks, FF is the standard for .50 caliber muzzleloaders.

Why are Black Powder and Smokeless Powder Measured in Different Manners?

"Different Powders are Measured Differently. Why, and how?
Note: The term smokeless powder does not refer to black powder substitutes such as Pyrodex, Triple Seven, Clear Shot, and so on, but to modern propellants meant for use only in modern firearms intended for such use. For information on how to measure a black powder substitue, contact the manufacturer of the propellant in question.

Some folks wonder why black powder is not metered the same way that smokeless powder is. To further confuse the issue, both measurements are quantified using the same unit of measurement (grains), even though the measurement processes are quite different. Here is some information which may help clear up the confusion about measuring different kinds of powder.

Both black powder and smokeless powder are measured in grains- but black powder is measured by volume, and smokeless is measured by weight.

The reason is that black powder is a simple chemical compound (made of sulphur, charcoal, and saltpeter) of a given grain size (Fg, FFg, FFFg, etc), and can be relied upon to produce consistent loads when measured by volume.

A volumetric measure (one small scoop, for instance) of FFg black powder can be expected to contain the same amount of powder- therefore the same explosive potential- time and time again.

Smokeless powder, on the other hand, is made in many variations- and the little particles of powder are made in many different shapes and sizes. One type of smokeless powder will be composed of small short cylinders, and another type made of tiny grains resembling grains of sand.

Being composed of differently-shaped particles would be enough to cause volume to be an unreliable measure of smokeless powder, but besides that reason there's also the fact that each type of smokeless powder is chemically different from the other- so a pinch of one vs. a pinch of another will not produce the same pressures and burning characteristics...even if each pinch weighed the same as another."
This article quoted from the web. Web address is

Bullet Acronyms:

AP � Armor Piercing (has a steel or other hard metal core) 
ACC � Accelerator 
BBWC � Bevel Base Wadcutter 
BEB � Brass Enclosed Base 
BT � Boat-Tail 
BTHP � Boat Tail Hollow Point 
CB � Cast Bullet 
CL � Core-Lokt 
DEWC � Double Ended Wadcutter 
FMJ � Full Metal Jacket 
FN � Flat Nose 
FP � Flat Point 
FST � Fail Safe Talon 
GD � Gold Dot 
GDHP � Gold Dot Hollow Point 
GS � Golden Saber 
HBWC � Hollow Base Wadcutter 
HC � Hard Cast 
HP � Hollow Point 
HPJ � High Performance Jacketed 
HS � Hydra Shok 
J � Jacketed 
JFP � Jacketed Flat Point 
JHC � Jacketed Hollow Cavity 
JHP � Jacketed Hollow Point 
JSP � Jacketed Soft Point 
L � Lead 
L-T � Lead Combat 
L-T � Lead Target 
LFN � Long Flat Nose 
LFP � Lead Flat Point 
LHP � Lead Hollow Point 
LRN � Lead Round Nose 
LSWC � Lead Semi-Wadcutter 
LSWC-GC � Lead Semi-Wadcutter Gas Checked 
LWC � Lead WadCutter 
LTC � Lead Truncated Cone 
MC � Metal Cased 
MRWC � Mid-Range Wadcutter 
+P � Plus P (10-15% overpressure) 
+P+ � Plus P Plus (20-25% overpressure) 
PB � Lead Bullet 
PB � Parabellum 
PL � Power-Lokt 
PSP � Plated Soft Point 
PSP � Pointed Soft Point 
RN � Round Nose 
RNFP � Round Nose Flat Point 
RNL � Round Nosed Lead 
SJ � Semi Jacketed 
SJHP � Semi Jacketed Hollow Point 
SJSP � Semi-Jacketed Soft Point 
SP � Soft Point 
SP � Spire Point 
SPTZ � Spitzer 
ST � Silver Tip 
STHP � Silver Tip Hollow Point 
SWC � Semi Wadcutter 
SX � Super Explosive 
SXT � Supreme Expansion Talon 
TC � Truncated Cone 
TMJ � Total Metal Jacket 
VLD � Very Low Drag 
WC � Wadcutter 
WLN � Wide Long Nose 
WSM � Winchester Short Magnum 
WSSM � Winchester Super Short Magnum 
XTP � Extreme Terminal Performance 

Some Questions and Answers

I bought a large box of brass containing 1,000 empty cartridges at a garage sale. It was old stuff and had bluish copper corrosion on each one inside and out. I soaked them all in a light oil (automatic transmission fluid) to stop the corrosion, drained them real good and then primed and loaded them. I want to store them away for an extended period of time. Do you think that the light oil I used will hurt each of those bullets?

Yes, there is a good possibility that it will. Most all oil based lubricants can cause deterioration of gun powder and on firing, the powder may not ignite as well as expected. Maybe you should have fired a primer inside of each empty casing to have burned out the oil inside of it before you loaded them.

Dirty casings can be cleaned before use by using another tool called a vibratory cleaner. It's actually a tumbler. The dirty casings are placed in it along with corn or walnut grindings. After this kind of a cleaning, adding a casing polish will make your brass look almost as good as new! Ask your gun store owner about this technique if you need help in this area.

I recommend that you take all of these bullets, shoot them and then reload them again.

What might happen if I overload a shell?

You are probably going to get hurt if you significantly overload a shell past the factory's recommended reloading limit. The round may blow up in the gun's chamber causing damage to your eye(s) and/or face or worse. If someone else shoots the shell you over-loaded and gets hurt this could cause a law suit against you. Don't shoot any ammo that someone else has reloaded.

I found a bullet one day on a well traveled hunting trail. It was the same calibre as the gun I was shooting that day. I thought about putting it in my gun and shooting it but I had a gut feeling that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. What do you think?

Maybe someone just dropped it by mistake but can you take the chance on gambling with your life? When you find a bullet that somebody has dropped and left it's the same as finding a plastic bottle of coke that has been opened and left on a picnic table. If you are gullible then go ahead and drink it- someone has probably urinated in it. Don't trust ammo that you find- it may be an overload.

I have some .20 gauge shotgun shells. They fit ok inside of my .12 gauge shotgun. I have been tempted to try and shoot them. Should I do it?

.20 gauge shotgun shells are smaller than .12 gauge shotgun shells. Just because a shell seems to fit doesn't mean you can or should shoot it. Do not do this under any circumstances as you are aiming on getting hurt. The design of the shell must fit the design of the gun. Mixing ammo violates this rule. Only shoot the .20 gauge shells in a .20 gauge shotgun.

Can I shoot all .22 bullets through my gun?

.22 bullets can be different lengths yet they are the same calibre in diameter. .22 bullets come in rat shot (a round that is smaller than a .22 short- I don't think they make these any more), bird shot (called dust), .22 shorts, .22 longs, and .22 long rifle. Check the chambering length of your gun. If your gun is chambered for .22 long rifle ammo then you can shoot the rat shot, shorts, longs, bird shot, and long rifle shells in it.

This is not the case for .22 magnums. Only use magnum shells in that kind of gun.

I shot a pheasant one time when using .22 bird shot ammo. You can use this ammo but it is hard on the rifling inside of the barrel of your rifle. Using it with an old rifle that has the rifling worn out of the barrel already is probably better.

An armor piercing shell like this one has to have the nose filed flat to hunt with in California

I bought some .30 06 armor-piercing military surplus bullets from my local gun store. Are these legal to hunt with?

You will have to check the local gun laws for the state in which you live in. The state of California makes you file off the nose of each armor-piercing bullet before you can use it to hunt with. It has to have a flat nose. I asked "why" one time and the response that I got was, "We are afraid that a sharp nosed point on one of those kind of bullets will cause sparks to fly after it hits a rock and may cause a forest fire as a result. The resulting forest fire could threaten your life and the lives of others in the area."

A crimped primer and a deburring tool to remove the crimp

Why were the primers on military .30 06 cartridges crimped?

When firing a bandalier of these bullets through a machine gun in combat any "flying primers" could jam the gun and get a soldier killed as a result. The primers are meant to stay in the casing. To reload these casings buy a hand held Lyman .30 06 deburring tool. Once you remove the old fired primer you won't be able to load a new primer in it efficiently until you ream out the tiny brass ring around the primer hole that held in the old primer. You can buy this deburring tool at most gun shops.

Also this tool is good for trimming back the length of a shell casing. During firing, brass flows length-wise also. Shells have to be trimmed back occasionally. Also getting the burrings (any sharp metal shavings) off of the neck of the casing is important so they don't come off of the casing when fired and possibly jam your rifle.

Can I mount a scope on top of a pistol?

Yes, but the pistol has to be a big one for you to do this. A wooden stock converting it to "a rifle" can also be added to some large bore pistols. Check with the gun's manufacturer to see how to do this and what they recommend.

I have several bent and/or slightly twisted brass casings that I know will chamber into my rifle ok. Will they fire ok?

Probably if your firing pin will hit the primer ok. But you might have problems ejecting the empty cartridge. An empty shell that is jamming your rifle's firing mechanism is called a rifle jam or a "fouled brass." And this can really be frustrating to clear sometimes. You might have to take your trigger housing group apart, use a screwdriver, pry with a knife, or what-have-you in order to solve this problem and clear the jam. If you are out in the sticks when this happens you better be prepared. And all the time you are trying to fix the stix a big buck might be running by well within range- if you snooze you lose. My advice is to toss any bent and twisted brass and don't reload it.

How do I know which grain bullet to buy for my rifle?

You can determine this in a couple of different ways:

You can use the trial and error method- buy a box of each grain of bullet and go to the firing range and shoot several of each. The smallest grouping of bullet holes in the target can indicate which grain bullet is superior. For instance, a 300 Winchester magnum may do better shooting a 165 grain boat tailed bullet. Or write to the bullet's manufacturer to get a ballistics chart for your particular caliber and you should be able to pick the bullet that best suits your needs.

I want to gain the maximum accuracy from my gun. I am concerned about barrel twist, bullet velocity, and shooting trajectory. Is there any book where I can obtain this info?

Yes, there are several. The one by Robert A. Rinker titled Understanding Firearms Ballistics will give you this info. I recommend that you purchase it or obtain it via inter-library loan if you so desire. Look for the info under the Greenhill equation.

I am a beginner. Please explain "grains" to me.

Well, I'll try to explain it...

The weight of a bullet is expressed in grains of weight. The weight of gun powder is also expressed in grains of weight. The relationship between these two weights is very important. The weight of the powder will not change the weight of the bullet but it will change it's velocity and maximum travel distance. And that is what you are concerned about when hunting or for target practice.

There are 252.7 grains in one cubic inch of water. To calculate the total bullet weight in grains, the bullet volume, in cubic inches, is multiplied by the specific gravity value, and then by 252.7. The product is bullet weight in grains.

Powder weight is measured in grains of weight and this weight varies depending on the kind you use. Different kinds of gun powder act in different ways. I can shoot a black powder load in a
.30 06 and the bullet will travel slower than if I used a smokeless powder. So the grains of weight of a powder will vary with the kind of powder that you use, the weight of the bullet you load, and the distance that you want the bullet to travel.

The reason that differing bullet weights are offered for the same caliber cartridge is due to recoil differences as well as the ultimate effect the shooter desires to achieve in terms of bullet performance.

As I mentioned before, bullet grain is how much the (lead) bullet or projectile weighs. What difference does this make? Well, let's say I can shoot a 165 grain or a 185 grain bullet in a .30 06. If the powder charge is constant the lighter the bullet, the faster it will travel and it will have a flatter trajectory. However, the heavier the bullet, the slower it will travel in an arched trajectory. It's not good to use a light bullet to shoot super long distances because it will start tumbling and then go off course. It's better to use a heavier bullet for super long distance shooting. It's more accurate.

Some folks like to use a lighter bullet due to it's flatter trajectory. Some folks like to use a heavier bullet that will have more knock down power at a shorter distance. So it's a matter of your personal choice.

Look at the re-loading book or manual that you purchased. The book will let you know how much gun powder to use in grains in relation to the weight of the (lead) bullet that you use in grains. Well, after reading this you are still probably scratching your head... Get a friend to help you at first as this will make it easier for you to understand.

What do you think of a .44 magnum revolver pistol like the one used in the old "Dirty Harry" movies starring Clint Eastwood?

My friend one time had a .41 magnum pistol revolver. He let me shoot it. He loaded his own shells for it. I watched him one day. I believe he used around 19 grains or so of Red Dot gun powder per casing. That was phenominal because that's the same large amount of powder I used in my .12 gauge shot gun shells or so.

We went to the firing range. I had a rifle and he had his pistol. Our goal was to shoot a 5 gallon steel bucket at 300 yards distance. He said he could hit it with his pistol. I laughed at him because a lot of pistol shooting is done within only a distance of 25 feet- not 300 yards! I hit it easily with my rifle. Then he aimed his pistol at it and fired. He hit it and kept on hitting it. I stood there with my mouth open in awe. I told him I didn't believe it was possible but he said that the .41 and .44 magnum pistols were miniature cannons! In some states they are legal to hunt with. I can see why.

Revolvers aren't as prone to jamming as automatics. The cylinder of a Smith & Wesson revolver rotates counter-clockwise; that of a Colt rotates clockwise.

Marshal Matt Dillon on the western television series, Gunsmoke, carried his .45 Buntline Special revolver with the long barrel. Why? In terms of bullet performance, a longer barrel means greater energy from an identical cartridge.

Are there any exceptions to "the gun and bullet design?"

Some bullets have sabots- sleeves that surround the bullet while it is being fired but that fall off after leaving the firearm. Sabots allow smaller bullets to be fired from larger firearms at higher velocities than they would be fired from smaller firearms.

I hear people talk about "a flat trajectory." What does that mean?

Trajectory is just a fancy word for the bullet's course or "pathway." This has to do with the shooting curve. A fired bullet will have to travel in a higher arc if it is to go farther in distance due to the curvature of the earth and gravity. However, a fired bullet can be shot at a close distance to the target. In that case it doesn't need much of an arc because it isn't traveling that far. If it doesn't need an arc then it can travel level or flat in reference to the shooting curve. Hence, it is called a flat trajectory.

How can I make my own black powder and how do I do it?

I made my own one time. I went down to the local drug store and I purchased all three items at once. The chemist there looked at me and said, "You better be careful with that."
However, it's easier to purchase it.

I bought (fine ground) charcoal, (flowers of) sulfur, and salt peter (potassium nitrate). I used an equal volume of each NOT the equal weight of each. I had a double barrel black powder shotgun. It used percussion caps for the 2 external hammers. I loaded it up and went down to the Russian River where one could shoot in those days near Cloverdale, Calif. I saw a jack rabbit hop into a large clump of river grass and then hide there. I closed in on him and when he ran I shot him but then another one ran from another nearby clump of grass and I just swung my barrel and cut loose but I shot too far to the left of the rabbit. Well, believe it or not, the volocity of the shot was so slow and that rabbit was so fast in making a quick left turn that it ran right into my lead shot. I rolled two rabbits that day with two shots. I had an unemployed friend who had a lot of kids to feed and I took those 2 big rabbits over to his family to eat so they could have a feast.

I am 17 years old. Can I legally purchase a gun and ammo?

No. Federal age requirements for purchasing ammunition are:
Rifle ammunition: You must be at least 18 years of age to order ammunition for use in a rifle.
Handgun ammunition: You must be at least 21 years of age to order ammunition for use in a handgun.

Federal law also prohibits the purchase of ammunition by minors, drug addicts, convicted felons, illegal aliens, the mentally ill and those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Additionally there may be state or local laws that prohibit you from receiving ammunition.

What are state and federal laws in the U.S. in relation to buying guns, ammo and gunpowder?

Contact the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) U.S. Federal agency to obtain the latest info in regards to this matter.

ATF requires an explosives license under the Safe Explosives Act. Any merchant has to have a license to purchase gunpowder and, hence, all small-arms ammunition for sale- at the present, any civilian who wants to purchase gunpowder over 50 pounds has to obtain an ATF license.

If you live in California this field is partially controlled by the California Fireworks Laws. Also all California residents have to have a gun safe or trigger locking device for every gun purchased in that state. No sales of any ammunition will be delivered to Los Angeles, all of Orange County, or San Francisco. Check for other Local & State laws as these may change.

The gun laws for every state at the present time (2007) are on the world wide web at:

What are "rim fire" bullets?

Rim fired cartridges or "rim fires" don't use a center fire primer like most cartridges. The firing pin of the gun strikes the cartridge usually on the side of the base (or on it's rim) which explodes the built-in primer and fires the bullet. Mostly all small .22 caliber bullets are rim fire and it states so on the ammo box. They tend to be reasonably reliable, but are prone to misfire if old or exposed to weather extremes. Cheaper to manufacture, rim fire .22's are the most affordable round available and provide a versatile bullet that is well suited to target shooting, plinking, or small game hunting. Many young folks who grew up in the country learned to shoot using a .22 pistol, rifle or both. You don't reload rim fired brass.

Are there any bullets that I cannot re-load?

Besides rim fire cartridges, there are several types of center fired brass that cannot be reloaded. These include "budget" rounds marketed by the primary ammunition manufacturers under subsidiary enterprises such as UMC (Remington), Blazer (CCI/Speer) and American Eagle (Federal), as well as Russian and other types of foreign ammunition which may utilize either a steel (instead of brass) casing or the "berdon" two-holed primer (instead of the "boxer" one-holed primer).

So why did each patriot family have to keep their chickens in their outhouse?

To help make black powder in order to fight the British with. Why? Because the British had the colonies blockaded from any outside help- especially from the French. We could not import any black powder so we had to make our own. Each family had to make a nitre-bed from animal manure. From the nitre-bed came salt peter, an Oxidizer used in black powder manufacturing.

"So just what is Potassium Nitrate (Salt Peter)? The chemical compound potassium nitrate is a naturally occurring mineral source of nitrogen. It is a nitrate with chemical formula KNO3.

Its common names include saltpetre (from Medieval Latin sal petrae: "stone salt" or possibly "salt of Petra"), American English saltpeter, Chilean saltpetre, Nitrate of potash and nitre. The name saltpeter is also applied to sodium nitrate.

It is the oxidising (oxygen-supplying) component of gunpowder. Prior to the large-scale industrial fixation of nitrogen (the Haber process), a major source of Potassium nitrate was the deposits crystallising from cave walls or the drainings of decomposing organic material. Dung-heaps were a particularly common source: ammonia from the decomposition of urea and other nitrogenous materials would undergo bacterial oxidation to produce potassium nitrate.

Historically, nitre-beds were prepared by mixing manure with either mortar or wood ashes, common earth and organic material such as straw to give porosity to a compost pile typically 1.5 metres high by 2 metres wide by 5 metres long. The heap was usually under a cover from the rain, kept moist with urine, turned often to accelerate the decomposition and leached with water through a screen type process after approximately one year. The liquid containing various nitrates was then converted with wood ashes to potassium nitrates, crystallized and refined for use in gunpowder."
This article quoted from the web. Web address is

The citizens of the Confederate States of America also had nitre-beds as the Union had the south blockaded during the American Civil War. The South had to make it's own gunpowder. Here is an article on the web about it:

Please do not email me with any specific questions regarding guns, ammo, or reloading.
Rather, please check with your local gun store owner or other shooters. Thanks:)

In the light of the current litigious state of our society-
The information contained in this website is for information purposes only and you must assume full responsibility and all risk for the appropriate use of any information, on this site or linked from it. There may be omissions or inaccuracies in such information. The information could include technical or other inaccuracies or typographical errors. This website does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, correctness, or fitness for a particular purpose of the information available through the website, or the website itself, or any other information which is referenced by or linked to from the website. In no event will the owner of this site, or those that have submitted material to it, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you in reliance on such information or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.

Some of the information in this web site suggests the use of guns and explosives, amongst others, that could be exceedingly dangerous if not handled properly. Not everyone is equally skilled or talented in the use of every potentially dangerous item or task. I urge you to take all precautions when dealing with anything suggested here. If you have any doubts about your ability to fully understand or implement any of this information, seek help from a professional.

I thought I would throw in this free bonus download for you called "gun." Download the free Gun.exe program. Once you click on this program on your computer your cursor turns into a gunsight. A left click on the mouse will fire this gun placing bullet holes on your desktop. To close this program press the control, alt, and delete keys at the same time. Highlight gun and close the program. Have fun and enjoy!

Here are a few more pages you might be interested in:

How to survive a nuclear attack

How to store food

Help with the Hunting Unlimited PC Games

World War 2 War Stories of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division

Additional links you might be interested in:
Proof for the Existence of God The Bible Is Special
Teaching Creation Versus Evolution Testimonies of Former Homosexuals

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As of November 21, 2007