These quality control procedures were
developed specifically for reloading 9mm Luger ammunition
for personal use, but may be suitable for other pistol
calibers as well. Following these procedures provides no
guarantee of safety or safe shooting of your reloaded
Reloading Ammunition Safely Depends
On The Following
Quality of Components
Quality, Settings and Adjustments of
Machines and Tools
Safe Reloading Rooms
Quality Control Procedures and Inspections
Human error during reloading is one of
the biggest dangers resulting in injuries or damage. Self
discipline is essential.
MY 9MM LUGER QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAM
One of the first things that I did when
I started to reload was to search the internet trying to
find information how to minimize the dangers associated with
reloading ammunition. I summarized everything and put it
here "Quality Control & Inspection Procedures For
As I became more experienced and
familiar with my own equipment and capabilities I recognized
that I needed to develop a more specific procedure tailored
for 9mm Luger. I now feel fairly confident with the quality
control and inspection procedures on this page.
When I reload
I try to follow all of the recommended safe practices
for reloading including no distractions, no TV, no
I set up my reloading room in accordance with
Safe Rooms for Reloading Ammunition.
I use all of the applicable safety equipment.
I don't reload when I am tired
I keep everything neat and orderly
I reload 9mm Luger using a Lee Four Hole
Turret Press and Lee Carbide Dies. I use an electronic
caliper and a digital powder scale.
When I first started reloading I would
de-prime and clean the primer pockets of all of my cases
(after the cases were cleaned and polished via the tumbler).
I believed that this would eliminate any future problems
that I might encounter with fully seating the primers. I have since learned that this is an
unnecessary step and a lot of extra work. Either with a
"dirty" or cleaned primer pocket, I have never had any
trouble with seating the primer with my Lee Press.
Develop a Chant or Mantra
As I pull the arm down on my
press, at each stage I speak out loud the following:
"Size" to size the brass
"Set" to set the primer into the primer pocket of the
"Charge" to dispense the powder into the casing.
"Check" to look into the casing to make sure the
proper amount of powder has been dispensed into the case
"Half Full". After saying "Check" and just before
saying "Bullet" I say "Half Full" to remind me to look
into the casing. This forces my mind to think and ask
myself "Is the case really about half full of powder". I
do this because this is one of the most important steps
because the amount of
powder placed into a round of ammo cannot be verified by
inspection after the round is assembled.
"Bullet" to place the bullet on the case and set it
to the proper depth.
"Crimp" to flatten the mouth of the case against the
sides of the bullet.
After each round is completed I remove
it and do a "feel test" and inspect it for imperfections. My
"feel test" consists of rotating the round in my fingers to
make sure there are no rough edges, that the crimp is
sufficient and that the primer is set properly.
I then place the completed round in the
ammo box holder. I mark one corner of the ammo holder with a
magic marker to indicate which is "Round #1". I then place
the remaining rounds in an orderly fashion so I can tell
which round is which.
For each box of reloaded ammunition I
complete a work sheet.
After every tenth round I take a powder
charge sample to verify the powder charge weight.
After every 50 rounds I recalibrate my
powder weight scale.
Strong Light Source Or Desk Lamp
Electronic Powder Measure Scale
I perform my final inspection of my
reloads on the following day when I am refreshed and not
tired from the reloading process. I usually perform my
inspections in the morning light with a fresh cup of coffee.
I do not rush my inspections.
I place the reloaded box of ammo and the
Work Sheet on the inspection table. I record
the weights, overall lengths and my observations on the back
of the Work Sheet.
Primer Inspection and Overall Length Check
Before I begin individual inspection of
the reloaded rounds I take the tray of reloads and hold it
sideways against a light to look for raised or protruding
primers and for any rounds with an overall length that looks
different than the others. I then rotate the box and repeat
the primer inspection from a different angle. I then do a
finger feel test of each primer to ensure they are set
Primer Feel Test
Using the tip of my index finger to feel
for a protruding primer. If I feel or see that a primer is
not flush or below flush with the bottom of the case then I
will reject the round and later break apart and reuse the
Next I perform an overall inspection of
all the bottom ends of the newly reloaded rounds. While
still in the tray I examine them all together with a
magnifying glass. I look for obvious flaws and
imperfections. I then remove a round from the tray, weigh
the round, record it's weight and do a "feel test" of the
round before placing back into the tray. I repeat this
process for each reloaded round.
Weighing Each Reloaded Round of Ammunition
Weighing each reload does not provide an
accurate indication that I have a double charge or for that
matter a light powder charge. Because I reload with brass
cases of various manufacturers that have been picked up at
the range, the weight of each case is different. This,
combined with the differences in weights of the bullet and
primer as well as any errors in the powder measure scale
make this weight measurement only a gross indicator of a
The average weight of my reloaded 9mm
Luger ammo is anywhere from 178 grain – 185 grain. Any
reload with a weight falling outside of that range, I pull
it and move it to the front of the ammo box and record it on
the front of the worksheet as well as on the ammo box label.
Any reloads with weights under 178
grains (usually 173-177 grains) I consider "light" loads and
shoot first with extra care and time. I have confidence that
these loads are fine for me to shoot since I have taken
apart and measured the powder charge of several of these
loads and the powder charge was correct. I shoot them first
and I shoot them slowly "just in case". I they turned out to
be actual light loads that caused a
squib I could take appropriate action.
Any reloads with weights over 185 grains
(usually 186-188 grains) I consider "heavy". I shoot these
first as well. Any round with weights over 188 grains I will
break apart and investigate. To date I have found no
overcharges of powder.
I then check the overall length of the
rounds at points near the front of the box, the middle of
the box and at the end of the box to ensure that the die for
the bullet depth did not somehow become "un-adjusted". This
has never happened.
After my final inspection is completed I
fill out the Reloading Label and tape it to the box of
reloads. The label contains all of the appropriate
I also record this information on a
computerized Reloading Log.
I then place the labeled reload box into
my ammo locker. When it comes time to go the range I will
shoot the oldest reloads first.