Jump to content
UKV - The Place for Precision Rifle Enthusiasts
Brillo

NRA RCO Handloading Rule

Recommended Posts

I was recently informed of the new rule in the 2019 NRA RCO manual on page 1 of the Introduction which is copied directly as follows:

5. Shooters who hand load their own ammunition must provide certification that their ammunition was prepared in strict accordance with accredited published loading manuals and must ensure that the Muzzle Energy (ME) value is within the permitted limits. They must be prepared to provide samples of their ammunition for chronographic analysis.

Any thoughts or comments please. How is this workable and how are we hand loaders expected to comply with this rule?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely this must be a CYA policy statement for insurance or similar in case of accident as I can't see how this could possibly be monitored or enforced

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks as though its a reminder of the hme rules , you’re expected to know if you’re exceeding the hme limit and if you have then you’ve shot an hme card and handed it in to the range office get a photocopy of it for inspection on the range if needed ( at bisley) or an alternative hme procedure on other ranges whislt shooting under the nra.

pretty easy to check , rco asks for say 3 rounds, two are fired over a chrony , 3rd pulled and bullet weighed. 

If you’ve already done an hme card , unlikely you’ll be asked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Artiglio said:

pretty easy to check , rco asks for say 3 rounds, two are fired over a chrony , 3rd pulled and bullet weighed. 

Not a practical option on a rifle range, lot's of issues with authority to possess that type/calibre or ammunition, scales and chronograph calibration and accuracy, delays and arguments. Self certification is also impractical, what form does it take, what happens if there is an error in accredited published loading manuals and who accredits the loading manual. So many holes in this looks like it was thought up by someone of limited knowledge or practical experience of hand-loading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fully agree with Dave T and Artiglio. I can’t see how this can be verified other than the “three rounds” bit. But how can certification be verified? 

It was suggested by the guy who told me about this new rule that signing Quickload data would satisfy the requirement but that’s difficult to verify l

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the only practical option I can think of would be to have a Labradar on the mound measuring vels and if any doubt over projectile weight, a round could be pulled to check that, not the charge weight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The clause regarding hand loading isn't new and it was raised on my RCO course two years ago.  I think DaveT has it about right, arse covering and insurance.

The rules are: if the RCO suspects the ammo is out of range limits he/she should ask/order the shooter to stop using it.  The RCO's word is final on the range.

It's about trusting the shooters to comply with Range Orders for MV and ME.  For example a hot load .308 in a long barrel may well just stray into HME territory,  the RCO can't "detect" that but if there's suspicion then the RCO just stops that shooter.  If the shooter wants to make a complaint then they should be prepared to submit rounds for testing (and that's highly unlikely in my opinion).  We had a chap shooting .243 which, with a light bullet, is over R.O. MV at Kingsbury (MV <1000m/s).  I took his word for the fact that he had chrono'd his loads and they were just under 1000m/s  - he was a known, trustworthy person.  If he was an unknown I would have asked him to stop using the rifle.  If he declined to agree I would have instructed him to stop.  If he argued he would be sent off the range and reported.

I guess if you had a chrono available on the range it could be set up and verified but what a faff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Popsbengo said:

The clause regarding hand loading isn't new and it was raised on my RCO course two years ago.  I think DaveT has it about right, arse covering and insurance.

The rules are: if the RCO suspects the ammo is out of range limits he/she should ask/order the shooter to stop using it.  The RCO's word is final on the range.

It's about trusting the shooters to comply with Range Orders for MV and ME.  For example a hot load .308 in a long barrel may well just stray into HME territory,  the RCO can't "detect" that but if there's suspicion then the RCO just stops that shooter.  If the shooter wants to make a complaint then they should be prepared to submit rounds for testing (and that's highly unlikely in my opinion).  We had a chap shooting .243 which, with a light bullet, is over R.O. MV at Kingsbury (MV <1000m/s).  I took his word for the fact that he had chrono'd his loads and they were just under 1000m/s  - he was a known, trustworthy person.  If he was an unknown I would have asked him to stop using the rifle.  If he declined to agree I would have instructed him to stop.  If he argued he would be sent off the range and reported.

I guess if you had a chrono available on the range it could be set up and verified but what a faff.

Its very simple from an RCO point of view is that he or she has full responsibility for conducting the range and complying with the range orders (non negotiable).Should something go wrong it's the RCO that completes all the paperwork when all the shooters have gone home. 

If it is found that hme tests have not been undertaken when required it is the RCO who is called to task. Even worse if the round leaves the danger area or an action fails  and causes injury everybody is in a world of pain.

We are all classed as competent shooters and this will probably be the first question asked in any inquiry of which you will have to answer ,"yes" or you have admitted you are not. The second question could be tell me what speed or energy your round was? If you know fine. If you don't they will refer you back to your original answer of being competent and perhaps challenge  the answer you gave.

As an RCO of course  I am going to cover my back when conducting on ranges as I will probably be the first person to face an enquiry. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't a new requirement. Some 20/25 or so years ago and long before shooter competence certification was required, somebody in the MoD discovered many civilian users of its ranges used handloaded anmunition. A standard self-certification pro-forma was produced and handloaders and/or users of non-NATO spec factory ammo had to complete it. If commercial factory ammo, details from the manufacturer had to be entered; if handloads details of which loading manual data was used. It was a simple form on the lines of I .....[name].................. hereby certify that my ammunition has been loaded in accordance with data from the ................. handloading manual and is within MoD range specifications. There were spaces for calibre, bullet weight, manual (or chronograph) provided likely MV, resulting ME.

Many of us duly made out these forms, one for each cartridge / handload recipe and took them with us to MoD range sessions. AFAIK, this requirement has never been rescinded and is still in force. I have never heard of anyone being asked to show the relevant authorities such a declaration and within a year or two nobody bothered about it. On the other hand I'm glad to say that I've never been on an MoD range when a serious overload has caused a major firearms failure and death or injury in which case somebody might have asked for the relevant declaration.

I have been near an action blow-up in an early European F-Class Championship meeting at Bisley when Steve Donaldson's rifle action from one of the smaller US action makers in a 308 Win F/TR rifle blew part of the receiver out. The NRA RCOs carted the bits off, fired cases and unused ammo and quizzed Steve on the load. The load and the ammunition / case conditions were soon given the all-clear and metallurgical testing of the remains of the receiver showed flaws that had caused the failure and a warning notice was issued about the make and model of action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few weeks back when I was in the zero range running in,  a long boring day, we ended up chatting to an NRA guy who was just off to an inquiry over what he described as a fairly big blow up which he had witnessed involving a hand load, he had no idea over whether it was a suspect action, or the load over pressured.

The problem is its no good if we are responsible, when there are one or two idiots with the attitude of  "as fast "  as they can get, who will cause problems for all of us.  And I certainly have chatted with people who it has crossed my mind that I'd rather not shoot near them!

The only incident we have had was whilst using reloaded ammo from a "well known" commercial certified reloader/manufacturer, that folded the firing pin into an S shape ( I may have exaggerated , but it was a pretty big scary bang that damaged the firing pin and the bolt), fortunately in an action built like the brick outhouse, but I still returned it to the manufacturer to check it over, and its why we will now only use factory, or reload ourselves,  we need to be aware there are people out there who are a danger to us all.

Have Fun

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being an RCO is an onerous duty but someone's got to do it.  

We have to trust shooters but sometimes that's a real challenge!  I can think of one gentleman who's rifle fell apart on the line due to incompetent assembly after cleaning 🤨  We have no practical way of proving if ammo or indeed a firearm is fit for use so we have to make a judgement.   Home loaded ammunition is practically outside of our control; all I think we can do is ensure we make every effort to gain compliance from reloaders through training, education and peer-group pressure.  Should we get a blow-up we must make every effort to secure evidence and submit to the appropriate authorities for testing as necessary.

My concern is should there be a serious blow-up (is there such a thing as a not-serious blow-up??) resulting in loss of life or major injury and that's shown to be because of incompetent reloading, DIO may well feel they have no option but to ban reloads on Military ranges with all the attendant problems that will cause.

It's essential we all educate our club members, friends and colleagues to only reload to authoritative data using sensible good practice.  I will not hesitate to stop and remove if necessary any individual I suspect has unsafe ammo or firearm, whether I'm wrong or not - it's my signature on the 906 and my neck on the block.

Having said all that, my experience is that >99% of target shooters are safe and sensible persons - long may that be so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

RifleMags_200x100.jpg

Northallerton NSAC shooting.jpg

border_ballistics_UKV_ad.jpg

dolphin button4 (200x100).jpg

CASEPREP_FINAL_YELLOW_hi_res__200_.jpg

rovicom200.jpg

BHTargets200.jpg

Lumensmini.png

CALTON MOOR RANGE (2) (200x135).jpg

bradley1 200.jpg

NVstore200.jpg

Danny Trowsdale 200.png

safeshot 200.jpg

tacfire 200.jpg

blackrifle.png

jr_firearms_200.gif

valkyrie 200.jpg

tab 200.jpg

 

 



×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy