Reloading Rounds for the GLOCK Barrel - Update 2011
First, I AM NOT recommending that anyone do anything on this page because I am reporting on it. Before doing any type of reloading, do your own research including your own loads, bullet case appearance, size, etc.
Since writing the article on the GLOCK review page, I have researched what it would take to safely reload for my GLOCK barrel.
The reason I looked into it is because (1) I have to reload to shoot the volume I do each month and (2) cases used in any other gun (barrel) reloaded will not feed in my Bar Sto barrel used in my 40 caliber GLOCK.
Therefore I am limited to only brass fired from the Bar Sto making it impractical to try to pick up good brass fired from numerous other guns in our group and keep it separated.
The first thing I did was experiment with some mild loads and found out something interesting. The mild reloaded rounds (4.7 grains of Hodgdon Titegroup behind a Rainier 165 grain round nose plated bullet) do not bulge when shot through the GLOCK barrel.
The way I reload for firing through my GLOCKS is to simply keep the load in the moderate range with a bit lighter bullet than what I shoot from factory loads.
This coupled with a good deal of research from experienced shooters, a couple having fired over 150,000 reloaded rounds through GLOCK barrels over the course of a decade.
Here is the conclusion of these shooters. Reasonably reloaded rounds are not dangerous to shoot in GLOCK barrels. Lead is. Now don't get me wrong. A weak case with a with a correct moderate load may split when fired but probably will not damage or ruin your gun.
Over-pressure from faulty loading or barrel leading will blow it to pieces. According to the experienced reloaders and shooters failure resulted only when using lead bullets, each one individually loaded, measured and chronographed.
No failures with plated or jacketed bullets. And since plated bullets are only a few dollars more per thousand, that's just the good sense way to go.
I stressed out and wrung my hands about this for some time, but I have come to this conclusion. GLOCK barrel chambers are looser, consequently give less support for bullet casings. This may or may not be a factor in a bullet actually blowing up.
Keep in mind, guns of all kinds blow up, and more GLOCKS blowing up is consistent with more GLOCKS than any other brand being in circulation. Lead fouling and faulty over-loading appears to have more to do with pressure explosions than any other factor.
So here is the bottom line: I now shoot any factory new ammo through my GLOCK or any other handgun. I then use that ammo to load lighter practice loads and continue to load those shooting them through my GLOCK barrel.
I use only copper plated or jacketed bullets with even burning powder which is manufactured specifically for handgun ammo. This leaves the brass relatively straight and undamaged from the GLOCK.
I've put around 3000 rounds through my GLOCKs this way, and can give a conclusive report from my personal experience.
Again, don't do this because I do it. I have done my own shooting tests, close examinations of brass condition, load testing, and consultation with shooters of vast experience. I accept the possibility that I could have a gun explode in my hand if I make a single mistake (many of which are available). I am also avoiding the apparent single biggest factor - lead.
I'll continue to shoot this way and report on the results periodically as I pile up the experiences.
NOTE: Update 10/2011 - To date I have had 2 bullet cases rupture in the gun in the last three years. Interestingly none of them were in GLOCKs. And none of them did any damage to the guns. They were reloads in cases that had simply had enough. The calibers were .45 ACP and 38 special +p.
They were not overloaded, just weak cases from multiple use. But being correctly and moderately loaded, they did no damage to the gun or me. Careful reloading with non lead bullets has been the key to safe shooting for me.
Good shooting and be careful.