Redding Reloading and the .17 Hornet

Redding Reloading Equipment is now making a powder measure adapter for their competition model 10x powder measure.  The drop tube adapter allows the handloader to precisely charge .17 Hornet cases.

The measure is designed to provide precise throws of 1 to 25 grains, with the “sweet spot” being at 10 grains.  The drop tube adapter for the .17 Hornet is available now and carries the part number of 03817.

The problem with small rifle cases is the chances of overcharging a case with catastrophic results is much higher than on a larger cased cartridge.  For example, lets say for your given powder, the charge should be between 11.5 grains (min) and 12.2 grains (max.)  If you try to drop 12 grains and accidentally go to 13 grains, you are way over the maximum for that load.

Compare that to a .30-06 where your charge may be between 42.0 grains and 51.5 grains.  If you drop an extra one or two grains on a medium load, you aren’t likely to go over, and if you do, the effect is not likely to be catastrophic.

(Please note that the above powder charges are random numbers pulled out of the air.  Do not use them for any reloading purposes!  Additionally note that I don’t recommend sloppy reloading.  Pay attention to what you are doing and drop the right charge…)


Portable Reloading

Lee LoaderReloading cartridges in the field is something that has been done by hunters and partisans for as long as we have had firearms.  Modern soldiers and sportsmen have access to seemingly unlimited supplies of factory loaded ammunition, but handloading ammo while in the field is still a great skill to learn.  You never know when the zombies may show up, or the Cubans paratroop into your town (see: Red Dawn).

For handloading while on the move, there are two kits made by Lee Precision that fit the bill.  They both work, and both are inexpensive.

The first option is the Lee Loader.   The Lee Loader is a simple kit that contains everything you need to reload a single caliber (minus the components: powder, primer, bullet, brass).  This kit allows you to use a hammer, rock or another heavy object to decap, resize, seat a new primer, add the powder and seat a bullet in about 30 seconds.


Hornady Z-Max Bullets: When Varmints Attack

Concerned about zombie gophers? Maybe a hog that’s turned undead?

Hornady once offered an ammo line they believed was the best ammunition for zombies. Called the Z-Max line, the completely real ammunition used a polymer tipped hollowpoint bullet that was identical to those found in the A-Max line.

Zombie Craze

Depending on when you are reading this article, you may not be aware that a zombie craze dominated pop culture from about 2008 through 2013. There were movies, TV shows and video games around the idea of a post-apocalypse zombie nation.

Hornady Z-Max Ammunition for Zombies

Before the fad faded, the gun and outdoors industries were hit by the same bug.

Gun accessories, knives and other things were offered in zombie green – a near-fluorescent green that people frequently associated with chemical substances that would turn a man into the walking undead.

Here are just a few of the zombie-themed goodies that were offered by companies:

Hornady got in on the act with the Z-Max line of ammunition.

Z-Max: Best Ammo for Zombies

The Z-Max line of loaded ammunition used polymer-tipped hollowpoint bullets. That polymer tip was zombie green, but the rest of the bullet’s construction was identical to the company’s existing A-Max line.

In other words, the difference between the Z-Max line and the A-Max line was purely cosmetic.

That also meant that Z-Max ammunition was serious business.

Specifically designed to “…vaporize zombie varmints,” Hornady claimed the Z-Max bullets had “ultra-flat trajectories” to “send mangy menaces to the varmint graveyard.”

In rifle calibers, the Z-Max loads performed identically to the A-Max loads. Deer, hogs and bear all went down when hit by the Z-Max. I am not aware of any that became zombies afterward.

According to Hornady, the Z-Max bullets are built to “make dead permanent.” I’d still suggest headshots. I’m sure the new technology is good, but the tried-and-true headshot is the reliable method for zombie killing.

My experience with the Z-Max rifle rounds was limited. However, I did have a chance to shoot some and see their results first hand.

Z-Max Review: Hog Hunt

In 2012, I went on a hog hunt with Paul Carlson of Safety the Solutions Academy. Carlson had a new Desert Tech SRS rifle he wanted to test. As it was the middle of an ammo shortage, Carlson was only able to turn up a few boxes of Hornady Z-Max in .308 Win for the hunt.

Hornady Z Max Bullets for Hunting

Carlson flew down to my home state of Florida where we have more feral hogs than retirees.

sighting in the rifle with Hornady Z-Max hunting ammunition

Before heading out to the field, Carlson sighted the rifle in. Five shot groups were all touching with the Z-Max ammo. Not bad for factory stuff sold as a gimmick.

shooting cans to sight in
While my group wasn’t as tight as Carlson’s, it wasn’t bad for my first time shooting the gun.

I also got some time behind the Desert Tech rifle. Like Carlson, I was eating the center out of targets at 100 yards from a prone position. The rifle combined with the Z-Max ammo made it look easy.

heading up river for a hog hunt

Initially, we had a guide take us upriver to a private hunting preserve. However, conditions were not optimal and we had to change our plans.

river hunting in Florida

The guide was fantastic, and he immediately shifted to plan B. He arranged for a hunt on the lands of Ross Hammock Ranch near Inglis, FL. The folks there treated us like kings, and their facilities are top-notch!

Ross Hammock Ranch

Later in the day, we set up in an elevated box near a feeding area the hogs liked to use. As the evening brought dwindling light, we thought that the hogs weren’t coming. So, like rookies we descended from the box.

hunting hogs with Z-Max ammo

Once on the ground, they came in. From a prone position about 85 yards from the hogs, Carlson took a single shot on a sow that had turned to expose her left shoulder.

prone shot on hog with Hornady ammo

The track was short – maybe 15 yards – with lots of blood plainly visible. At the end of the run was a 220-ish pound hog that put meat on the table and in the freezer for both of us.

Hog Hunting with Hornady Z-Max

The Z-Max bullet entered the center of the left shoulder and exited a little lower on the right side of the body. It did extensive damage and caused massive bleeding. The kill was quick and as clean as one could hope for.

After examining the results, neither Carlson nor I could find any performance issues with the Z-Max round.

Hornady Z-Max Bullets for Reloading

Hornady Z-MAX bullets

Hornady also released its Z-Max bullets as a component for all of the handloaders out there.

The green polymer-tipped bullets were initially offered in a variety of popular varmint sizes and weights (see below for the specifics and a video). The company later expanded this to include additional bullet sizes and weights.

The initial Hornady Z-Max bullets manufactured were:

  • 17 caliber (0.172″, 20 grains)
  • 20 caliber (0.204″, 32 grains)
  • 22 caliber (0.224″, 40 grains)
  • 22 caliber (0.224″, 50 grains)
  • 22 caliber (0.224″, 55 grains)
  • 6mm (0.243″, 58 grains)
  • 7.62×39 (0.310″, 123 grains)

I don’t know where the zombie meme ends, but it abated during the past several years. Maybe we’ll someday see a anti-zombie revolver from Taurus called JUDGEment Day.

Last Update: May 27, 2022


Hornady’s Ammo Plant – Home Edition!

Hornady is known for making great ammunition and some really nice reloading tools.  The Hornady Lock-N-Load presses and prep tools are widely regarded as being of excellent quality.  As we approach the new year, Hornady announced several new reloading products including the Lock-N-Load Ammo Plant.

Hornady already makes a progressive press called the Lock-N-Load AP press.  While Dillon Precision is considered “the” progressive press company, I have to admit that the Hornady AP press has been very tempting.  In the Ammo Plant package, Hornady gives you pretty much everything you need to fully automate the cartridge assembly process.  In fact, for the price, this package would be tough to beat.


RCBS Rotary Case Media Separator Review

rcbs media separatorLike a lot of shooters, I reload my own ammunition. Cleaning the brass before running through the sizing and seating processes is always a good idea. I’ve tried washing the cartridge cases with various cleaning products, but have always come back to tumbling with walnut and corn cob media.

Separating the cases from the media has always been a bit of a chore for me. Not terribly difficult, but not very easy either. I have tried different sifters and separators, but never found one I really liked. That all changed when I bought the RCBS Rotary Case Media Separator.

This media separator is simple and it works! Two large halves form a clamshell-like case that catches the media in the bottom half, while the top half closes to trap the dust and significantly reduce noise. Inside the case is the separating device: another, smaller clamshell-like case with sifting holes and rotating handles.

The system is easy. Open the outer case and the inner separator. Pour the media and brass out of the tumbler into the separator. Close the separator and outer case. Turn the handle a few times and you are done. All of the media has dropped into the lower part of the case, leaving you with just shiny brass in the separator.

In my experience, the separator holds about 500 .38 Special cases and media. More than enough for most of the tumblers on the market.

Cleaning the RCBS Media Separator is easy: just wipe it down or hose it off. It is all heavy-duty plastic, so there are no parts to rust.

I was pleased with the ease in which the whole system works. I was also very impressed by the reduced noise from this device as compared to other media separators.

Click here to get your RCBS case separator today from Amazon.