Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller

Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller

Mistakes while reloading can happen to the best of us; whether it’s an incorrect (or forgotten) powder charge, over-zealous bullet seating or a mixup with powder types, accidents happen.  While most folks wouldn’t lose sleep over a couple discarded 9mm or .40S&W’s, more expensive cartridges like .44 Magnum, .50AE or .338 Lapua can be frustrating to waste.  Whatever you reload, a bullet puller is one of those tools you probably never thought about owning, until you needed it…

One of the most popular models on the market today is Hornady’s Cam Lock Bullet Puller.  This is a simple tool designed to thread into a standard, 7/8-14 single stage reloading press, effectively transforming it into a bullet pulling station.

Setup is quick and easy; simply install the appropriate cartridge-specific collet (sold separately) into the die body, and thread the whole thing into your press.  Next, slot a cartridge into the press and raise the ram until the bullet is 90% inside the collet.  Take a moment to ensure this is lined up well, as inserting the bullet too deep can result in the collet mangling the cartridge casing.  Conversely, if the bullet is not inserted far enough, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful pulling the cartridge apart, instead mangling the bullet.  Now begin rotating the tool handle until you can feel the collet begin to contact the bullet.  Back it off about a quarter-turn, and you’re ready to begin disassembling cartridges.

Lower the tool handle completely, causing the collet to grip the bullet, and raise the press handle.  The bullet and cartridge should separate smoothly and cleanly, allowing both to be used again.  Once you’ve got the hang of things, this becomes a very quick and easy process, especially relative to the more common kinetic bullet puller.

While Hornady’s system does work well for the most part, there are some issues you should be aware of.  The biggest problem without a doubt, is the relatively poor collet design.  While the small and medium-sized caliber collets are fairly well built, the larger diameter ones suffer from extremely thin construction.  Starting with .44 and larger, collets can (and do) break periodically, even when operated very carefully.  As many of the more expensive cartridges to reload tend to be big-bore pistol or rifle cartridges, this is far from ideal.

If you reload using cast bullets, you may also find you have mixed results with this tool.  As lead and lead alloys tend towards the softer end of the hardness scale, it’s often very difficult to get the pressure necessary to maintain a solid grip without damaging the projectile.  Even with harder alloys it’s very common for collets to simply ‘slip’ off the bullet.

If you primarily reload small-medium diameter calibers like .223/.308/.357/etc, the Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller can be a great addition to your reloading bench, however if your cartridges tend towards the larger end of the spectrum, this probably isn’t the tool for you.

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