Simply ABC: How to find the truth behind reloading advice

There’s a current show on television about a police officer who claims to solve most cases by the application of his ABC method: never ASSUME anything, never BELIEVE anything and CHECK everything.

That’s a really good method to apply to the internet, particularly about firearms and reloading. 

The only reloading information I believe are the contents of a reputable reloading manual. 

The majority of internet content is uncontrolled — merely a matter of personal opinions. 

Anything you read in a magazine or newspaper — or on an internet site with an editorial process — has passed under the eagle eye of the editor who will have discarded anything dangerous or untrue in content, all being equal. 

So where does it leave the reloader? Personally, I access the internet daily, particularly for firearms and reloading information.

There are tips and little ideas that I have picked up but I have never used reloading information found on the web. 

I use a reputable reloading manual. Just because Joe Blogs had found that 40 grains of XYZ powder brings super accuracy in his new .224 Firecracker rifle, you have no way of knowing just how he arrived at this figure. 

Another reloader takes the information as gospel and blows up his rifle. 

The question is, how does the particular load compare with one or more reloading manuals? 

The other fly in the ointment is that every rifle barrel is a law unto itself. ANY internet load must be compared to one or more reputable reloading manuals to ensure the maximum load is not exceeded.

The same applies to minimum loads. You should not load under those figures specified. 

Someone, somewhere will have entered some data for the most obscure of cartridges, possibly using a powder that is not available locally. If this situation occurs, how do you protect yourself? 

The answer to this question is: research. 

I have come across this very question with two different cartridges. The powders used in the USA were not available locally. 

Eventually, a suitable conclusion was arrived at by consulting several powder-burning rate sheets, and an equivalent, locally available powder was selected. 

I would stress that I proceeded VERY carefully, watching for signs of excess pressure, and eventually arrived at a sensible load that provided maximum accuracy. 

Another challenge was finding a load when the parent case was reduced in length and given a longer neck. Again, research provided the answer.

To summarise, ALL internet information must be thoroughly researched via other publications for reliable backup.

Remember that it is uncontrolled and what is written is unsubstantiated opinion and, in many cases, doesn’t include all the relevant facts and caveats.




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Ron James