REMANUFACTURED AMMUNITION vs RELOADED AMMUNITION
We at Great Lakes Ammunition are continually trying to educate the shooting community about things pertaining to firearms and ammunition. As we all know there is an endless array of questions and debate out there about the differences between reloaded, remanufactured and factory new ammunition. The following write up is our attempt to shine some light on this sometimes perplexing subject matter.
Please note that this write up is aimed more at describing the general process of manufacturing ammunition and is not intended to be an all encompassing step-be-step set of instructions.
Reloaded ammunition is ammunition that is produced in lower volumes using a hand operated single or multi stage consumer or hobbyist machinery. The use of these types of machines places some limiting factors on the final product that can be produced. The following is a brief description of the steps used in the reloading process and the limitations of these processes
De-Priming and Case Resizing - Once fired brass cartridge is loaded into the press and then a resizing/de-priming die is used to de-prime and resize the brass case.
The standard resizing die is only capable of resizes the upper 85% of case due to an engagement chamfer that is ground into the bottom of the die. If the once fired case was previously shot in a gun such as a Glock with a chamber that does not fully support the case, there is a possibility that the bottom 15% of the case can bulge to a diameter that is greater than the SAAMI maximum cartridge size tolerance. Henceforth causing chambering issues in some firearms, especially those with match grade barrels.
Primer Pocket Swage - This process resizes the primer pocket and removes the military crimp if it is present.
Depending on the capability of the press being used, this process may not even be able to be performed and can lead to primer seating issues. Single stage presses do not support this process
Priming At this stage a new primer is pressed into the resizes case. A hand priming tool can also be used to press the new primer into the case.
Powder Fill & Neck Belling The powder is now loaded into the primed case. The powder is measured via a powder throw or individually measured. Additionally the neck of the case is belled or expanded to ease in the placement the ball in following stages
These powder throws are not the most accurate and can lead to powder volume variations loaded and depending upon the powder load range that the cartridge is being loaded to, these variations could possibly lead to a dangerously over or under loaded round.
Powder Check - At this stage, the powder level is checked to ensure that the powder loaded into the case is not under loaded or double loaded
Depending upon the equipment being used, this process may not even being performed, so there is no conformation that the correct amount of powder is loaded into the case.
Ball Placement and Seating The ball is placed in the belled case and is pressed into the case to its finished length.
Final Crimp The belling is removed from the case and crimped tightly to the ball that was pressed into the case at the previous stage. At this point you have a completed round.
Commercially Remanufactured Ammunition is ammunition that is produced using specialized automated commercial equipment by a federally licensed and insured manufacturer. All remanufactured ammunition is produced under stringent quality control processes that ensure that all of the SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufactures Institute) specifications are complied with. Additionally, the once fired brass case used in remanufactured ammunition are preprocessed on specialized case processing equipment that transforms the case to like new brass condition. This case preprocessing is one of the big differences between reloaded ammunition and remanufactured ammunition. The following is a description of the steps taken to produce remanufactured ammunition and the quality benefits that are gained via this process.
The once fired case is loaded into the caliber specific case processing machine. This machine performs the following task:
Multi Stage Upper Case Resizing Which gradually reshapes the case without over stretching, fatiguing, and work hardening the brass
Lower Case Resizing The bases of non-rimed cases are resized to SAAMI specification which assures accurate and uniform chambering in all barrel types.
Pressure Checked This ensures that the cases are not cracked, split, or have other case deformities that could make them potentially dangerous
Primer Removal This stage removes the old primer
Primer Pocket Reaming This stage removes any military crimps in the primmer pocket
Primer Pocket Inspection Sophisticated sensors are used to inspect the primer pocket to ensure that it is the correct size with no foreign material present such as ringed primers
Inside Case Inspection - Sophisticated sensors are used to inspect the inside of the case to ensure that no foreign material present
The preprocessed cases and all new premium components (primers, powder, and balls) are loaded into the commercial reloading machine and the case has a new primer pressed in, filled with powder, and a new ball is pressed in
This machine utilizes a multistage sequential loading process that is identical to those used by large commercial manufactures such as Remington and Winchester.
This machine continually monitors 10 key operations simultaneously by using sophisticated monitoring systems. Some of the things that are monitored by this system include;
Case height and primer pocket checks
Redundant pressure checks
Primer loaded conformation
Powder volume checked (accurate to ±0.10 grain)
Bullet seat height checked
All of these measurements make certain that every round is loaded correctly and meets the all of the implemented quality check points for this operation.
At this point you have a finished product, that is visually inspected and packaged into boxes and are labeled and serialized
FACTORY NEW AMMUNITION:
Factory New Ammunition is ammunition produced using the same specialized automated commercial equipment that is used in producing remanufactured ammunition and is produced by same a federally licensed and insured manufacturer. This ammunition is produced under the same stringent quality control processes are used in producing remanufactured ammunition. The only difference between factory new and remanufactured ammunition is the brass case. In factory new ammunition, a brand new never fired case is used, besides that all of the other components used, i.e. the primer, powder, and balls are identical.