Frequently Asked Questions


Current Demand


We are currently experiencing high demand for our products. We appreciate your patience and support and remain committed to serving all of our customers, from hunters and sport shooters to those who protect our country and our streets.

 

Q. Does the recent news regarding a major U.S. lead smelter shutting down mean you'll have trouble obtaining lead for manufacturing conventional ammunition?
Q. Why is ammunition in certain calibers so hard to find?
Q. Are certain contracts taking ammunition away from civilians?
Q. Is DHS buying more ammunition today than ever before?
Q. Why can't you just make more ammunition?
Q. What is your stance on the current gun legislation?

A Letter to our Customers

Speer Ammo is a committed partner to the shooting sports industry. Despite our consistent and dedicated efforts, there remains much speculation and misinformation regarding the availability of commercial ammunition. Read letter

Q. Where can I find a dealer in my area that carries your products?
Q. I'd like to talk to a Speer representative. When should I call?
Q. Why are your ammunition products and components so hard to find?
Q. Does anyone make empty shot capsules for the 45 Colt cartridge?
Q. I have a competition semi-auto with a vented compensator. I shoot some bulk FMJ bullets I found on sale. The vents are now badly leaded, but these are jacketed bullets. How did this happen and how can I prevent it?
Q. I am loading the 223 Remington. Why doesn't anyone make any 0.223" bullets except for the light weight bullets?
Q. I have a light bullet (e.g. 125 grain) and the only load data I can locate is for a heavier bullet (e.g. 158 grain). I need a safe starting point to develop a load for this lighter bullet.
Q. Why are the recommended loads shown in your loading manual so much different than those shown in my older Speer manual or in other manuals?
Q. I know all loading manuals have reduced maximum loads for liability reasons. How far can I safely go beyond the maximum loads shown?
Q. A friend gave me a paper bag with about half a pound of powder. The powder is shiny black and looks like small pieces of pencil lead. How much of this stuff do I load with a 180 grain bullet?
Q. I just bought a 300 WSM rifle and there is no data in my latest SPEER Manual. What gives?
Q. I need oversized primers. After firing cases with a pet load that my brother-in-law figured out, new primers are too small for my primer pockets. They fall out.
Q. When did SPEER publish its first reloading manual?
Q. How many different SPEER bullet boards have been built?
Q. I reload thousands of rounds every year. Can I buy bullets in bulk instead of 100-count boxes?
Q. The rifle bullet I'm loading has a crimp groove, but the cartridge length recommended puts the groove out of the case. Should I change the seating length to make the crimp groove line up?
Q. I'm reloading 30-30 ammo for my lever-action rifle. Do I need to crimp the bullets?
Q. I bought a reloading die set and there’s a note with the dies that says something like, “Speer does not recommend using their bullets with these dies.” What’s the deal?
Q. I am hunting white tail deer. Would you recommend the use of the expensive Grand Slam bullets over the less expensive Hot-Cor?
Q. What bullet and powder is going to be the most accurate load for my new rifle?
Q. Grand Slam used to have two cores. Now it has one. Why?
Q. I'm shooting 50 grain soft points in a 223 semi-auto and the bullets are coming apart in flight. What's wrong with these bullets?
Q. I'm getting great accuracy using your 308-168 boat tail match hollow point. Can I use this bullet on deer as well as for target shooting?
Q. I just bought a new compact 44 Special revolver for concealed carry, but can't find a factory service load that will mushroom. What do I do?
Q. What happened to your famous Lawman 45 Auto "Flying Ashcan" ammo (200 grain JHP)?
Q. What is the difference between Gold Dot and Lawman?
Q. Can I shoot 40 S&W ammo in my 10mm pistol? The case is identical except for length.


Q. Does the recent news regarding a major U.S. lead smelter shutting down mean you'll have trouble obtaining lead for manufacturing conventional ammunition?
A. At this time we do not anticipate any additional strain on our ability to obtain lead.

Q. Why is ammunition in certain calibers so hard to find?
A. The current market and environment is causing stronger than usual demand for products in our industry.

Q. Are certain contracts taking ammunition away from civilians?
A. No. We remain committed to serving all channels of our business. The majority of our product serves the commercial market.

Q. Is DHS buying more ammunition today than ever before?
A. Department of Homeland Security ammunition purchases have been declining since 2009. It is projected that it will continue on this trend. Read the GAO report.

Q. Why can't you just make more ammunition?
A. Our facilities operate 24-hours a day. We are continually making process improvements to increase our efficiency and investing in capital and personnel where we have sustained demand. We are bringing additional capacity online again this year.

Q. What is your stance on the current gun legislation?
A. We support the second amendment and responsible gun ownership. We remain fully engaged in the legislative and regulatory process to provide the most accurate and comprehensive information to decision makers. Like most major manufacturers in our industry, we are also members of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). This organization helps represent our industry and our customers before federal, state and local government entities. More information about legislation and our industry's positions can be found at www.nssf.org.

Q. Where can I find a dealer in my area that carries your products?
A. Look on this site's main page for the "Dealer Locator" link.

Q.I'd like to talk to a Speer representative. When should I call?
A. We recently launched an improved phone system that ensures you speak with a live agent. Representatives are available to answer your calls between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

Q. Why are your ammunition products and components so hard to find?
A. ATK has achieved its market leadership position in the ammunition industry by delivering innovation and quality. We continue to work seven days a week, making multiple daily shipments to meet the current demand and deliver quality products to our customers.

Q. Does anyone make empty shot capsules for the 45 Colt cartridge?
A. We received so many requests for these that they are now part of the line. See the "Specialty Reloading Products" page for information. Load data for the capsules is on the package label.

Q. I have a competition semi-auto with a vented compensator. I shoot some bulk FMJ bullets I found on sale. The vents are now badly leaded, but these are jacketed bullets. How did this happen and how can I prevent it?
A. 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.

Q. I am loading the 223 Remington. Why doesn't anyone make any 0.223" bullets except for the light weight bullets?
A. 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 Remington is 0.224".

Q. I have a light bullet (e.g. 125 grain) and the only load data I can locate is for a heavier bullet (e.g. 158 grain). I need a safe starting point to develop a load for this lighter bullet.
A. 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.

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Q. Why are the recommended loads shown in your loading manual so much different than those shown in my older Speer manual or in other manuals?
A. The differences in load data reflect changes in the way pressures are measured and changes in components over time. The loads developed in the past reflected the current state of pressure measurement and the components available then. Things change, so always use the latest dat Not all bullets are built alike either, so data for a "Brand-X" bullet will produce different pressures than a Speer bullet. The best action is to use data from the company that made your bullet.

Q. I know all loading manuals have reduced maximum loads for liability reasons. How far can I safely go beyond the maximum loads shown?
A. 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.

Q. A friend gave me a paper bag with about half a pound of powder. The powder is shiny black and looks like small pieces of pencil lead. How much of this stuff do I load with a 180 grain bullet?
A. 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.

Q. I just bought a 300 WSM rifle and there is no data in my latest SPEER Manual. What gives?
A. 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 visiting the "Supplemental Loading Data" page on this web site.

Q. I need oversized primers. After firing cases with a pet load that my brother-in-law figured out, new primers are too small for my primer pockets. They fall out.
A. 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.

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Q. When did SPEER publish its first reloading manual?
A. 1954. Ray Speer, Vernon's son, developed the first one.

Q. How many different SPEER bullet boards have been built?
A. Look under "Specialty Reloading Products" for "Bullet Boards." there, you can download a chronology of the entire series of SPEER bullet boards, complete with approximate production numbers.

Q. I reload thousands of rounds every year. Can I buy bullets in bulk instead of 100-count boxes?
A. Yes, several popular rifle and handgun bullets are sold in Speer Value Packs. Visit the Bullet Selector and look for "Value Pack" in the product description. Value Packs contain between 300 and 1000 bullets, depending on caliber.

Q. The rifle bullet I'm loading has a crimp groove, but the cartridge length recommended puts the groove out of the case. Should I change the seating length to make the crimp groove line up?
A. 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, we determined that crimping was not needed. Having the crimp groove above or below the case mouth has no adverse effects on accuracy or performance.

Q. I'm reloading 30-30 ammo for my lever-action rifle. Do I need to crimp the bullets?
A. Yes, crimping is mandatory for ammo 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.

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Q. I bought a reloading die set and there’s a note with the dies that says something like, “Speer does not recommend using their bullets with these dies.” What’s the deal?
A. Speer never made such a broad recommendation. Speer’s recommendation is: Do 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. We express our thanks to the die maker for allowing us to make contact with so many new SPEER customers.

Q. I am hunting white tail deer. Would you recommend the use of the expensive Grand Slam bullets over the less expensive Hot-Cor?
A. 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 perfect "broadside" shot, where penetration becomes extremely important, even on whitetail deer. It is also a very good feature when hunting whitetail with a Magnum-class cartridge like the 7mm Remington Magnum. The 145 grain Hot-Cor, driven that fast, may show reduced penetration. Going to the tougher Grand Slam will let you take full advantages of the velocity that your choice of the 7mm Mag and a 145 grain bullet offer. Still, the Hot-Cor's 40 years of success tell you that it remains a potent choice today. If you are shooting a rifle with more modest velocities than a Magnum, or need to watch the budget, Hot-Cor is excellent.

Q. What bullet and powder is going to be the most accurate load for my new rifle?
A. Sorry, we don't have your rifle here, nor do we use a crystal ball. What shoots well in our rifles may not work in yours. Each rifle and set of components combine in a unique way, making an exact prediction of accuracy in another rifle 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.

Q. Grand Slam used to have two cores. Now it has one. Why?
A. 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.

Q. I'm shooting 50 grain soft points in a 223 semi-auto and the bullets are coming apart in flight. What's wrong with these bullets?
A. Nothing. Most likely, your rifle has a twist rate of 1-7 inches, intended for 62 grain military ammo. Several bullet makers compared notes and all had the same observation: muzzle velocities over 2800 ft/sec in a 7" twist will tear apart conventional 22 caliber bullets. Try our 62 grain FMJ or 70 grain semi-spitzer to keep bullets together. Handloaders must be aware of twist rate when shopping for a 223 rifle. The standard 12" twist is best for varmint-class bullets.

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Q. I'm getting great accuracy using your 308-168 boat tail match hollow point. Can I use this bullet on deer as well as for target shooting?
A. 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.

Q. I just bought a new compact 44 Special revolver for concealed carry, but can’t find a factory service load that will mushroom. What do I do?
A. Look at Gold Dot ammo. We have a 200 grain 44 Special load whose bullet was designed expressly for 44 Special velocities. It expands at velocities as low as 780 ft/sec in our tests. That's less than most 3" barrels generate with this load.

Q. What happened to your famous Lawman 45 Auto "Flying Ashcan" ammo (200 grain JHP)?
A. That bullet dates to about 1970, when it was state-of-the-art. It was great in some guns and troublesome in others. We replaced it with a 21st century Gold Dot hollow point +P load. The new load gives more reliable expansion, more velocity, improved feeding, and better bullet integrity.

Q. What is the difference between Gold Dot and Lawman?
A. Gold Dot is loaded with premium, service-proven hollow point bullets in a nickeled brass case Lawman is loaded with less-expensive TMJ and FMJ bullets in a standard brass case. Other than that, the attention to detail that is our hallmark is the same for both.

Q. Can I shoot 40 S&W ammo in my 10mm pistol? The case is identical except for length.
A. No. Both headspace on the case mouth. The shorter 40 S&W will not be supported in the 10mm chamber, so headspace control is lost. You'll get misfires, blown primers, deformed cases and, potentially, gas jetting from the action. Always use the correct ammunition for your firearm. Don't cut corners!

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