In the above lineup are left to right, .45 Long Colt, .45 ACP (or auto-colt-pistol), .44 Magnum, .40 Smith & Wesson, .357 Magnum, .38 Super, 9mm, .32 H&R (Harrington & Richardson) and last but never least the .22 Long Rifle.


     You should know a little something about what type of ammo your particular pistol likes to eat. There are all kinds of ammo made in all calibers. But for starters you've got to be sure to get the right caliber of ammo for your gun.

First thing: check the chamber hood to find out what caliber ammo your gun shoots.


   Now what caliber ammo would be used in the pistol on the right? It's marked "9MM Parabellum" (parabellum means "for war"). The 3rd from the right above, 9mm, is correct. Most semi-automatic pistols have the caliber printed on the hood of the barrel.

   Now that you know what caliber of pistol you've got, you may safely go and buy a box of ammo that is guaranteed to work in it. The ammo is factory fresh, made by a machine and made of brand new components. Take a look at the ammo at the local gun shop. Once you find the right caliber you must choose which type of bullet heads are available

   The kind of shooting you do depends on the type of bullet. For instance, if you're target shooting you'll want a flat-point like the 4th & 6th from right above. Flat-points or wad-cutters will punch a nice hole in the target and score more points. If you're hunting you'll use a semi-jacketed hollow point like the 1st, 3rd, & 5th from the left. These bullets will expand & hold together under heavy impact.

   But bullets are somewhat costly, so can a mortal person make his or her own bullets? The answer is yes, it can be done easier than you think. A bullet is the lead thing that comes out the barrel. A "cartridge" is the whole she'bang. It consists of a casing, a primer, some gun powder, and a bullet head. There are 4 components in a cartridge. The primer is a metal cup that spark when struck by the firing pin. The spark goes through a hole in the base of the casing & ignites the powder. The powder burns rapidly and causes enough pressure to spit out the bullet. Or, if not enough powder, the primer "pop" will be just enough to ruin your day with what's called a "squib".

   The photo on the left shows the simplicity with which a bullet is reloaded. Stuff the primer into the bottom of  the "shell", put the powder in (that's 4.5grains of Winchester Western 231 powder) and seat the bullet. Voila ~

  You can get real fancy and use a Dillon-1000 reloading machine like I did. But we all come home to the simple life. The Dillon RL550 is just fine by me. It can crank out 500 rounds an hour of any caliber.


   A head-stamp can tell you the type of casing. For example the 3 on the right are marked "RP 45 COLT". It stands of Remington Peters .45 Colt.

   If you get into reloading, life can be much easier, but it comes with a cost. An investment in money and your time in learning.

   But for many folks reloading is equally as enjoyable as shooting itself.

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