Sierra Bullets Advises On Handloading


I’ve always been a cautious hand loader. Working to max loads and over very slowly and carefully. And I sure don’t share that load data with anyone because I’m worried some idiot will just try it right off the bat, blow their hand off and blame me. I have had one or two primers that blew out when shooting other people’s handloads. One in a wildcat .17 centerfire round. There is no room for error when working with .17 caliber centefire rounds. In this case it was the .17 BK.

That is a .357 Maximum case necked down to .17 caliber and used in a single shot rifle made from a Martini Cadet. Velocities exceed 4,200 and yes it is as big a pain in the ass to make as you think.

The other time was shooting a .41mm Swiss. I got powder burns on my forehead from that one. Again, not from my handloads. The other was from another guy’s .17 Remington handload. Face full of gas on that one. Very scary but it can happen in factory loads. My Dad had a 7mm Remington Mag factory round let go on him long ago. You just never know with factory ammo, you take it on faith.


  1. Yikes! What’s the loss rate when forming those cases?

    On the factory ammo issue. A few years ago, I sold a bunch of Federal 22-250 that was locking up actions, blowing primers, etc. Contacted Federal and got a “yeah, we were getting ready to contact you about recalling that lot”.

  2. That’s better than I expected but you still have more patience than me. I get aggravated over a handful of damaged Hornet necks.

  3. Before they quit it in the not too distant past, you could just show up at Sierra’s doorstep, no appointment necessary, and request a plant tour by one of their bullet techs who would quiz you about what kinda stuff you shot and tailor the tour accordingly. Anyway, there was a blowed up rifle on the wall in the tech’s office space, might even have been that one, handiwork of one of the tech’s in fact…….


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