Courtesy of Dillon Precision:
We’ve talked recently about the importance of case gauges and the role that they play in making quality, safe, ammunition but it seems like we could talk just a bit more about how often you employ a case gauge. The answer is, as it so frequently is, that it depends upon the situation. Ideally we would all gauge every single round and there are reloaders that do just that. There are also reloaders who employ a gauge while setting the press up and then put it away never to see the warm glow of overhead lighting again unless the reloader changes to a new type or brand of bullet. Somewhere in between dwell the rest of us.
For many the importance of the rounds functioning properly will drive the decision to case gauge or not. If you are loading up for anything important you would be best served to gauge each round. After all who wants to spend money travelling to a big shooting match only to have a round jam up their weapon? The same goes for hunting; you can’t let a bad round ruin the perfect shot. In those circumstances, and many more, you should gauge each round and inspect them to make sure they will function in your firearm.
One variable to consider is the brand of the bullets that you are using for your reloads. Some shooters change brands often as they are chasing the bargain priced bulk ammo and buying whatever is a good deal at that time. That is certainly fine, it’s your money after all, but are you checking to make sure those 115gr 9mm FMJ’s you just bought on sale fit the gauge, and your firearm, like the previous lot did? If not you could be in for a big surprise out on the range. The shape of bullets, even those of similar profile and weight, varies, sometimes greatly. A more pronounced shoulder, meplat variations, even differences in coatings can mean that seating depth and crimp must be adjusted. Failure to make these changes can result in what we’ll just call “negative results.”
These issues are why many who shoot a lot will lay in a large supply of one bullet to insure that they don’t have to go through the hassle of checking and resetting everything. Sometimes shopping for that value priced bullet results in more work than its worth.