FAQs

  • Sep052019
    faqs

    My semi-auto jams now and then, especially with hollow points. What can I do to improve reliability?

    A quick trip to a competent pistolsmith will put matters straight. Polishing the feed ramp and adjusting the magazine lips…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    How many firings can be expected from a case?

    Case life will vary from one firing to a point where you realize they are never going to expire. At…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Do I need to be concerned about the air space between the bullet and powder when using powders like Bullseye?

    No, not when using propellants fast burning powders such as Bullseye, 231, or Unique. This is especially true when using…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    My fixed sights do not allow me to hit point of aim in elevation. What can I do?

    If your handgun is shooting high, either the velocity needs to be increased, the bullet’s weight decreased or both. This…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    I have a .357 Magnum revolver. Is it always necessary to use magnum primers in my gun?

    No. Just because the gun is chambered for a magnum cartridge doesn’t mean that you have to use a magnum…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    My cases extract hard from my revolver even with a mild load. What causes this?

    First, clean each chamber thoroughly. It could be erosion or residue from shooting short cases and then switching to longer…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Why do you recommend to seat the bullet and then crimp in a separate stage?

    Most seating dies will also crimp if the die is adjusted lower. Before the bullet is completely seated, the die…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Why are there small copper shavings each time I seat my pistol bullets?

    You may not be belling the case mouth quite enough to get the bullet started smoothly. Try belling it slightly…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Does my 9mm Makarov use the same bullets as a regular 9mm Luger? I recently purchased a Makarov, but on attempting to load it, found that my reloading dies weren’t sizing the cases down far enough to hold standard 9mm bullets.

    No. The 9mm Makarov is actually a 9.22mm. It uses .363” diameter bullets, while the more widely known 9mm Luger…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Can I use 10mm bullets in my .40 S&W?

    Yes. The 10mm Auto and the .40 S&W use exactly the same bullet diameter.

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    What advantage is there in using carbide pistol dies?

    Carbide dies require no lube because they contain a tungsten or titanium carbide insert. Since this is highly polished, it…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Are short barreled pistols less accurate than longer ones?

    No. They have a shorter sight radius than longer barrels that, in general, makes them harder to shoot accurately. If…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    I want to use my six inch .357 with 158 grain JHC bullets for deer. Will this bullet expand at the longer handgun ranges?

    Yes, assuming of course that your load develops enough velocity at the muzzle. Although this is usually no problem with…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    My handgun cases have a split in the mouth. What causes this?

    To begin with, it’s time to scrap any case when it develops neck splits, regardless of the number of firings…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Why do I have excessive muzzle flash in my pistol?

    Some powders are more inclined to give a bright muzzle flash than others. There are some powders that are given…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    I go on fishing trips each year in Alaska, and want to carry my .44 Magnum in case of an encounter with a bear. What load do you recommend?

    In the 44 magnum, 21.6 grains of Win 296 with the 300 gr. JSP point makes good defense against a…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Do I have to trim my pistol brass?

    Not as a general rule. However, keeping your brass all the same length will keep your crimp uniform. This will…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Why can’t I shoot all your listed .45 Colt loads in my Colt SAA and replicas?

    For one reason, the metal used in the old guns isn’t up to the standards of that used in modern…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    How much taper crimp is enough?

    No more than necessary to remove all signs of any belling and to lay the case mouth flat against the…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    My revolver spits particles out from in front of the cylinder.

    The cylinder is out of time. The chambers aren’t in line with the barrel and it shaves particles of the…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    Can I interchange small pistol primers with small rifle primers?

    No. Pistol and rifle primers have different cup hardness and are made to operate at different pressure levels. Switching them…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep052019
    faqs

    In my handgun, if I seat my bullets deeper, will it raise my pressure?

    Seating a bullet deeper will reduce the capacity of the case. Burning the same amount of powder in a slightly…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Why don’t you make .221” diameter bullets for my 221 Fireball?

    Because the .221 Fireball doesn’t actually use .221” diameter bullets. The “221” in the cartridge title is merely a name,…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I want to use IMR 4350 but can only find Hodgdon and Accurate Arms 4350. Are they interchangeable?

    No, not exactly. While they may not be much different, they are different enough that you should reduce your load…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    What constitutes a hunting load in your manual?

    Pure accuracy without regard for energy and trajectory is not viable in the game fields. Our hunting loads are a…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How did you establish your accuracy load?

    These are loads that have a proven history of working well in many rifles. They generally provide a high level…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How much velocity do I gain or lose when comparing my 26” barrel to your 24” test barrel?

    Many factors influence the velocity of a given barrel. Normally you can expect a gain or loss of 30 to…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How do I establish the proper OAL for my rifle?

    Two factors limit OAL–magazine length and throat length. The heaviest spitzer bullet OAL as shown in your manual for your…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Your catalog lists a .224” diameter 69 grain MatchKing for use in 7”-10” twist barrels. How about my 22-250? Can I use this bullet in my Remington 700 Varmint rifle?

    A longer, heavier bullet in any diameter needs a faster twist to be properly stabilized. Most factory .22-250s are intended…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    A friend of mine shoots an M1 Garand in Highpower service rifle competition. He says I shouldn’t use 4831 powder in my Garand. Why? I told him I didn’t believe a load of 4831 powder that is listed in a manual would be unsafe. Who’s right?

    The problem here is not one of chamber pressure, but of port pressure. Port pressure is the amount of pressure…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Can I use a MatchKing bullet for deer hunting? They shoot just great in my rifle, so they should be just super for hunting use, right?

    No, it’s not recommended. The MatchKing bullets are designed for pinpoint accuracy; with no consideration given to what might happen…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Is ballistic coefficient a major consideration for hunting?

    It depends. If we’re talking about the differences between a Spitzer and a Spitzer Boat Tail, ballistic coefficient can be…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Is military brass interchangeable with commercial brass?

    Military cases such as the .308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO) and .30-06 military brass have thicker case walls, and therefore less…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    In my .270 Winchester, your top load for a 130 grain bullet and H4831 powder fills the case. If I’m compressing the powder slightly when I seat the bullet, can this load be safe?

    There are a number of extremely slow-burning powders that will create this same situation. In the case of these bulky…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Should I free float my rifle barrel?

    In general, most rifles that are properly bedded shoot best when the barrel is free-floated. It is important to understand…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Why are Spitzer (pointed) bullets listed for use in my 30-30 T/C Contender, but not for my Model 94 Winchester Rifle?

    For reasons of safety. Think about the sharply pointed Spitzer nose of one cartridge in a tubular magazine, resting in…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I have a 30-06 Ackley Improved, but I can’t find any loading information for it.

    On most improved cartridges, you can start with a mid-range load of the parent cartridge (in this case a 30-06)…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I’ve heard you get better accuracy when your bullet touches the rifling. I want to do that on my deer rifle. Is there any problem?

    Yes, you usually get better accuracy when you barely touch the rifling, but not always. Loads touching the rifling will…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I worked up loads for my new rifle early this spring and everything was fine with no pressure signs. We went shooting the other day and my rifle really kicked and we can’t get the bolt open. What happened?

    This is an occurrence that usually happens when a near maximum load is worked up during cool weather, but when…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I have a semi-automatic rifle. I’m having problems with some of my handloads chambering. Someone said I need a small base sizing die. What are they talking about?

    A set of dies are generally one of three different types– full length, small base or neck sizing dies. Neck…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Are all hollow point bullets designed for rapid expansion?

    Absolutely not. Our hollow points vary in their jacket thickness, antimony content, distance the lead is away from the mouth,…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I keep blowing up bullets and causing a lot of meat damage on deer, sometimes needing more shots than should be necessary. What should I do?

    Such a situation calls for either lower velocities, less frangible bullets or both. This may be as simple as changing…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Will the maximum load that you show in your manual be OK in my rifle?

    Maybe, but perhaps not. Loads that are shown to be below “maximum” in our test rifles may prove to be…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Why are boat tails better for long range shooting?

    Boat tails have a higher ballistic coefficient than flat base designs. This translates to more retained velocity and less wind…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    What is the difference between turning the outside of case necks and reaming the inside?

    Outside neck turning is done to match case necks to the tight tolerance of chambers with tight necks. Reaming the…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Do I need to weigh each charge?

    Not unless you are working at maximum loads for your rifle. Even coarse grain stick powders can be thrown close…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I worked up a load for my rifle last winter. When I fired the same load this summer, it locked up my bolt. Why?

    Temperature affects the burning rate of powder. This load was apparently near maximum for this rifle at the colder temperatures.…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I’ve heard you aren’t supposed to bottom a carbide sizing die out on a shell holder. Why?

    Carbide is an extremely hard and very brittle metal. This is both an asset and a liability. The carbide’s incredible…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Why are cartridge OAL’s with hollow point and full metal jacket bullets of same weight different?

    Different nose profiles may require some adjustment to their over-all-length (OAL) for proper feeding and functioning. The correct OAL for…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How do I know when my barrel is clean?

    Visual inspection of the muzzle under direct light will reveal if there is any copper present. Careful attention to the…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How long will my handloads last, if stored in a cool dry place?

    When stored in such an environment, cartridges kept in sealed containers will last the best part of a lifetime.

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Can I use cast bullet loads for jacketed bullets?

    No. Load data should be as specific as possible to the bullet used.

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I have the same barrel length, use the same powder charge and bullet as you do in the manual, but my velocities are different.

    It’s not unusual for two barrels of the same manufacturer, using the same loads, to vary 100 fps or more.…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I have some military cases. I got the old primer out with some difficulty and I can’t get new primers to seat. Do military cases use different size primers than commercial brass?

    Military cases have crimped in primers. The crimp has to be removed before primers can be seated. The crimp can…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Can I interchange data from one manual to another?

    No. Each manufacturer uses a firearm that would be different from the other in chamber and barrel specs, making it…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Is load data interchangeable from my handgun to my rifle?

    No. You should stick with the data in your handgun manual while loading your pistols and use your rifle manual…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Are flattened primers always an indication of high pressure?

    Not necessarily. At the cartridge’s ignition, a light load won’t always fully expand the case within the chamber. It does,…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Why do loads vary from manual to manual?

    Good question. First of all, we need to understand that reloading manuals are not carved in stone. Think of a…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I don’t want to waste my time wiping all the sizing lube off my cases after the resizing operation, but I’ve been told not to tumble loaded ammunition. Won’t some lubrication help the cartridge chamber more easily? What happens if it is not removed before shooting?

    Upon ignition, the case expands in all directions, with the case walls tightly gripping the chamber. Almost instantly, the case…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Why isn’t my powder mentioned in your reloading manual?

    No comprehensive manual has the space to show every combination. As a result, there will always be some combinations that…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I don’t like having a bunch of different powders around. Is there any powder that will work well in both my .270 Winchester rifle and .357 Magnum pistol?

    No. Case capacities in these two cartridges are so drastically different, that any powder that might work well in both…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    What is the difference between single shot pistol and rifle bullets?

    Jackets of single shot pistol bullets are thinner to allow reliable expansion at lower velocities. All of our bullets are…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How deep should I seat my primers?

    The primer anvil should be in contact with the bottom of the pocket for uniform ignition. For safety, be sure…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    My reloading manual recommends a charge weight of 55.0 grains of a particular IMR propellant but this much powder won’t fit in my case. I took my wife’s rolling pin and crushed it into much smaller granules. I then weighed out the same charge and it fits fine. Why hadn’t someone thought of this before?

    Because when you broke the powder up, you exposed parts of the kernels without a deterrent coating and changed its…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I have some loaded ammo that is pretty badly tarnished. Can I just put it in my tumbler and clean it up?

    No. Aside from the possibility of a sharply pointed bullet striking a primer and causing a detonation, the deterrent coating…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How can I match that factory load?

    Without knowing what the propellant is and having it available, you can’t. Factories often use a propellant that is specially…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How do I know whether to taper or roll crimp?

    As a general rule, roll crimps are recommended for most revolvers, rifles using tubular magazines and situations that call for…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    How can I change my loads to reduce recoil?

    By using the lightest bullet weights shown, or by using the load showing the minimum listed velocity. Using the lightest…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    Is it necessary to size a new case?

    It may not be necessary if the mouths are not badly dented and have sufficient tension to hold a bullet…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    I’ve worked up to your maximum load in your manual with a standard primer. Can I switch to a magnum primer?

    Not without reducing your load by 5%. Magnum primers give a hotter and longer flame that causes the powder to…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Sep042019
    faqs

    My case head has a shiny mark on it. Is this a sign of high pressure?

    Yes. High pressure will set the cartridge back into the bolt face, causing the brass to flow into the ejector…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Oct242018
    faqs

    Can I purchase factory seconds?

    Yes, you can by visiting our factory outlet located at 1400 West Henry Street. The factory outlet hours are Monday…

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Oct242018
    faqs

    Are tours offered of the Sierra Bullets facility?

    Due to security and safety concerns, Sierra Bullets will no longer be offering tours. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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    Sierra Bullets
  • Oct242018
    faqs

    Where is Sierra Bullets located?

    Sierra Bullets is located at 1400 West Henry Street, Sedalia, MO 65301 (see map)

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    Sierra Bullets