Safe handloading: Shotshell reloading isn’t cooking, it’s baking
By Jason Wimbiscus
Unlike cooking up a metallic cartridge load from what’s in your pantry, different rules serve for shotshell loads, namely, no substitutions.
As I’ve noted in prior articles, metallic cartridge handloaders have it easy compared to us shotshell reloaders. One of the reasons for this is the fact that, in most cases, components for rifle and handgun loads are largely interchangeable. Allow me to elaborate:
Let’s assume, for instance, you want to churn out 100 or so rounds for your favorite .357 magnum revolver. You’re low on funds at the moment, so you need to make do with the components you happen to have on hand. On your bench is a box of Hornady, 158 grain XTP bullets, a healthy supply of CCI 550 small pistol magnum primers, and half a jar of Alliant Unique. Your brass has been scavenged from under the benches of your local range over the course of a few years and is of mixed manufacture.
You peruse your loading manuals and find data that employs 158 grain XTP bullets and Unique powder, but that data calls for Winchester small pistol Magnum primers and Starline cases (most of your scavenged cases are Remington). What is the frugal handloader to do?