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Safety Notice – Incidents Involving Hand Loaded Ammunition

Incidents involving hand loaded ammunition

The NRA recognises that hand loaded ammunition may perform more consistently than factory rounds and is widely used by members striving to improve marksmanship; also it may be the only source of ammunition for historic or uncommon calibres. A large number of hand loaded rounds are fired every year without incident throughout the UK.

Unfortunately ammunition incidents do occur and in recent weeks two members have sustained significant injuries as a result of breech explosions.  Technical investigations are ongoing; the initial evidence suggests the underlying cause in both incidents was a failure of hand loaded ammunition. In one incident it appears that an under charged case caused a gross pressure spike. The likely cause was inadequate control and assurance process in the assembly of the ammunition.

The NRA advises that hand loaded ammunition should only be produced in accordance with up to date load data published by a reputable source. Equipment including presses, measuring tools etc. should only be used in accordance with the manufacturers operating instructions.  Training is important; the NRA provides a hand loading course with an emphasis on safety.

Members are reminded that a key element of the NRA Safe Shooting System is Safe Equipment; the individual is responsible for ensuring that his/her firearm is serviceable and the combination of firearm and ammunition is safe.  The NRA Rules Appendix VI detail the responsibilities of individual shooters using hand loaded ammunition.

The 2021 NRA Handbook is available to download here:

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