It’s the Little Things


I’ve been slaving over the loading bench all day working up some .45-90 ammo for an upcoming long-range match and some new pronghorn loads. As luck would have it an acquaintance dropped by while I was busy resizing some virgin .270 WSM brass and questioned my persnicketiness. Why on earth would I take the time to resize virgin brass right out of the bag?

Modern manufacturing has made it a rare thing to send an out-of-spec product out the door. The tolerances held today deliver products that are virtually identical in every way. Still, stuff happens.

More than 25 years ago another shooting buddy—who has now gone to his reward—opened up a brand new box of 7 mm Remington Mag. brass, set the primers and stuffed them with powder and bullet just before the elk opener. He, too, thought that resizing and trimming virgin brass was a waste of time. A couple of days later on opening morning he felt rather dumb when several of his precious handloads failed to chamber. Later we found out why. A lot of them had a burr on the OD of the neck. They looked fine to the casual eye, but you could feel it with your finger.

Producing good handloads is all about consistency—doing the same thing, the same way, every time, to each and every cartridge you load. Maybe I did waste a few minutes resizing, checking case length and deburring the case mouth. But each of these will chamber in my rifle. I know that because I chamber every round I take on a hunt before the hunt. It’s the little things that can bite you in the hiney.

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