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Reloading Frequently Asked Questions

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The latest reloading data for cartridges and Speer® bullets developed after the release of the Speer Reloading Manual #14 can be found on our website. They're free to download.

In 1954, Ray Speer, Vernon's son, developed the first one.  

Each firearm and set of components combine in a unique way, making an exact prediction of accuracy in another firearm impossible. Any accuracy load we list would only show that it was the most accurate load in our test gun, and may not be as accurate in your gun. Only your gun can show you what is best through your testing the components you are interested in using. 

The differences in load data reflect changes in the way pressures are measured and changes in components over time. Loads developed in the past reflected the current state of pressure measurement and the components available then. Things change, so always use the latest data. Not all bullets are built alike either, so data for a "Brand-X" bullet will produce different pressures than a Speer bullet. Use data from the company that made your bullet. 

You can't go beyond safely. Speer load data at the maximum levels reaches the pressure limits established by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI). Do not exceed these maximum loads. And NEVER start with the maximum load. We provide start loads so you can work up incrementally to see if, for some reason, the maximum loads are not appropriate for your particular firearm. 

The physics of loading cartridges indicates that a heavier bullet will build pressures faster than a lighter bullet owing to its mass. The greater mass of the heavier bullet resists change (acceleration) more than a lighter mass so the powder charges for the heavier bullet will nearly always be lower than those for the lighter bullet of the same construction. This indicates that, without other data to follow, the heavier bullet data can be used as a starting point for the lighter bullet. 

Unlabeled powder cannot be reliably identified and should be treated as scrap. Its non-approved container is also a safety hazard. Discard the powder in a manner consistent with your local disposal regulations. 

You are on thin ice! You have produced a handload with so much pressure that you've deformed the case head. Pressures have to be at least 20 percent over safe levels for this to happen. Stop, scrap any remaining ammo, and use published data from now on. 

Speer never made such a broad recommendation. Our recommendation is to not apply a crimp to any bullet that does not have a crimp groove. The die company in question markets a die to produce a "factory crimp" and recommends it be used on any bullet. Speer's tests, and those by another bullet maker and an independent gun writer, show that crimping a bullet that doesn't have a crimp groove degrades group size by an average of 40 percent. Other than the crimp die, we have no problem with our bullets in that firm's dies, although our preference is for RCBS® products. 

Changes in raw materials beyond our control made it hard for us to maintain the previous bond we had between the front and rear cores. We tested alternatives extensively and found that the single, ternary-alloy core gave better accuracy and increased retained weights by an average of 14 percent. 

Grand Slam provides a thicker jacket than its Hot-Cor equivalent. It will open just as fast, but will have somewhat deeper penetration. This helps at those times you don't have a broadside shot, when penetration becomes extremely important, even on whitetail. It is also a very good feature when hunting whitetails with a magnum-class cartridge like the 7mm Rem. Magnum. The 145-grain Hot-Cor, driven that fast, might show reduced penetration. Going to the tougher Grand Slam will let you take full advantage of the velocity the cartridge and a 145-grain bullet offer. Still, the Hot-Cor's years of success tell you it remains a potent choice today. If you are shooting a rifle with more modest velocities than a magnum, Hot-Cor is excellent. 

The designation "223 Remington" is a cartridge name and does not relate to the exact bullet diameter required. The proper bullet diameter for the 223 Rem. is 0.224-inch. 

That cartridge and several others were not standardized when the last Speer Manual went to press. However, you can find supplemental data sheets for this and other new cartridges and bullets by downloading our Reloading Data Sheets. 

No. Not all rifle cartridges require crimping. The groove on the bullet is positioned for those that need the crimp. If the recommended seating length puts the crimp groove above or below the case mouth, crimping is not needed. Having the crimp groove above or below the case mouth has no adverse effects on accuracy or performance. 

Yes, crimping is mandatory for ammunition to be used in any rifle with a tubular magazine. The pressure of the magazine spring and the vibration of recoil can cause the bullet to "telescope" into the case, resulting in poor feeding and increased pressure. When loading for a tubular magazine rifle, always select a bullet with a crimp groove, and one that has a flat point to prevent in-magazine firing. 

No. Match BTHP bullets, regardless of make, were designed to punch little holes in paper. On a game animal, the expansion characteristics are unpredictable. If the bullet disrupts on the animal, the wound track will be similar to that of a varmint bullet, with too little penetration for humane kills. At longer ranges, the match bullet will act like an FMJ and fail to expand at all. 

We received so many requests for these that they are now part of the line. See our Empty Shot Capsules for options. Load data for the capsules is on the package label. 

No. The shorter 40 S&W will not be supported in the 10mm chamber. You'll get misfires, blown primers, deformed cases and, potentially, gas jetting from the action. Always use the correct ammunition for your firearm. 

Those ports are lead-fouled because the lead bullet core is exposed at the bullet base. Hot powder gases pick up lead from the exposed core and deposit it in the vents. The cure is to switch to Speer TMJ® bullets. The core base is fully encased and cannot be melted.