Obsolete Arms and Ammo
By Bob Shell
Apache Junction, AZ --(Ammoland.com)- You just reloaded some nice looking rifle rounds. Sitting there and admiring your handiwork suddenly you get this uneasy feeling that something is wrong.
Your gut tells you that maybe you put in an incorrect amount of powder.
Of course you can’t see the amount of powder so you have two choices. They can be taken to the range and you can hope for the best. Maybe they will or won’t damage your gun so are you a gambler? The other option is to go with your gut feeling and pull one to see if you messed up.
Most cautious and sensible handloaders will take that route. It isn’t that hard to pull a bullet and it might save you a lot of grief.
There are two ways to accomplish this task:
Kinetic Bullet Puller (seen above)
The first is an inertia or kinetic bullet puller. ( http://goo.gl/swppIq ) Basically, it is a hammer that uses a holder to hold the case while the bullet is pulled out by hitting a hard surface a few times. They come with a collet which I throw away first thing. It doesn’t hold the round very well so it gets chucked. I use the appropriate shell holder which works much better.
For pulling most handgun ammo this is the only option as a cullet puller usually can’t grip the bullet. It works pretty well and everything, including powder, stays in the hammer until you dump the contents.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to pull rimfire ammo keeping in mind that the priming compound is located in the rim. Doing so may set it off which will give you a good opportunity to see how good your medical coverage is.
Die and Collets
The other way is to have a die setup with collets ( http://goo.gl/odGzng ) . You screw the die in your press with the collet that matches the caliber being pulled. You set it so the bullet goes in far enough for the collet to grip the body then tighten. Pull on the press handle and the bullet should come out. Loosen the collet and the bullet drops out and the case is sitting in the shellholder with the powder charge intact.
This system works well with rifle bullets that stick out of the case somewhat. But it has to be able to grip the shank of the bullet to work properly. It does not work well with handgun ammo or rifle ammo that is seated real deep.
Neither system is particularly expensive and a well equipped reloading bench will have both options.
Antoher tool that works well and is fast to set up and use with your press is the GRIP-N-PULL. ( www.grip-n-pull.com). These plier style bullet pullers are designed for soft seated bullets. They are not suitable for bullets that are crimped or tightly seated. Made from anodized aircraft quality aluminum to last the owner a lifetime.
Other Reasons to Pull Bullets
There are other reasons to pull ammo. It might be old military that no longer goes off. You might have a few hangfires which can be dangerous so that ammo should be taken apart. I have pulled countless rounds of 303 British and 7.5 X 54 French merely to obtain the projectiles. The cases have Berdan primers and the powder is suspect so it is disposed of.
One thing about military and some other old ammo is that it is very hard to pull. This is usually a result of a sealant that was used many years ago and has dried and hardened. To fix that just seat the bullet a tad deeper in the case, which will break the seal making it much easier to pull. Many times you can hear the seal break.
A couple of years ago my shop had a fire which overheated some of the ammo. While not all of it went off, I was concerned that the heat changed the powder and primer characteristics so to be safe it was taken down. In addition, the brass can get too hot and if that occurs the brass may be too soft rendering it useless to shoot as that can be dangerous.
I have pulled bullets because the ammo sat in water and the powder got wet. Frequently you have to bang the case on its side to get all of the powder out. I size and decap them which aids in drying out the cases.
At various times I picked up ammo that was cheap and reloaded. Since I had no idea who loaded it or how it was done it was taken apart for the components
Bullet Pullers are cheap and easy to use as well as an essential part of safe reloading, They can be used to diagnose and solve many issues related to ammo so be sure and have them on your reloading bench.