Reloading Training Blanks

Disclaimer:  Guns are dangerous the ammunition is just as dangerous even blanks.  Reloading should be done by a professional, this tutorial is intended to show you the way I reload my training blanks and the tools I use.  This is not a complete reloading course or intended to substitute for one.  If you choose to reload your own blanks seek assistance from a professional that can show you proper gun and ammunition safety.

Author is not liable for the way you choose to use this data and is not responsible for injury and / or death resulting from following the information provided on this page.  Author is also not responsible for damage to property.

So, CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL, this tutorial is just intended to give the idea behind loading your blanks and getting you prepared to be taught by a professional.

Here is a list of my tools / supplies

.45 BRASS Shells

Magnum Primers 

Black Powder

Powder Measuring Kit

Hand Primer with Shell Holder

Depriming / Decapping Die

Depriming Block (custom made)


Florist Foam

Hacksaw Blade (for cutting florist foam)

.38 Shell (for pushing down florist foam)


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Reloading shells / brass should not be reused with live ammo, be sure to set these aside for blanks only.

Step 1 only needs to be performed on new brass

1.  This step is performed on deprimed brass (for information on depriming see step 6).  Start by drilling out the flash (primer) hole with 1/8" drill bit.  A common problem with blanks including the blanks you would get at competition is that the primer will back out, but since the blank lacks the force of real ammunition, the recoil is not enough to reseat the primer.  Drilling the primer hole out 1/8" will make the hole between the primer and powder bigger, this will reduce the pressure in the primer pockets and lets more of the primer spark the powder faster so the primer does not back out and cause high primers.   Ask any mounted shooter, there is nothing worse than a high primer causing your gun not to cycle in the middle of a course!   

Drilling out the primer  is why you do not want to use these brass for normal loading.  The enlarged flash hole will ignite the powder in the brass faster and creating a higher pressure in the brass behind the bullet and if you are already loading near the top end of SAAMI pressure requirements, you could have too much pressure and make the gun go ka-boom.   

2.  Use the hand priming tool to seat the primer.  Ensure the that the primer seats properly by running your finger over the end of the shell to make sure the primer is not higher than the back of the shell.

I use a RCBS hand priming tool with the .45 Shell Holder.  The primer I use is the CCI Large Pistol Magnum Primers

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3.  Load your blanks with the proper amount of powder.  I personally use 1.3cc per shell for my light loads, for a full load I would use 2.2cc.  For a new horse you can start with even less powder.

We use GOEX FFg and FFFg black powder, FFg is preferred since it it courser and the embers will go further.  You can use any REAL black powder but no black powder substitutes.


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4.  This step is going to cap off the shell to prevent the black powder from coming out.  Some people use pressed corn meal, I prefer to use florist foam.  I use a hacksaw blade to cut off a thin slice of foam.  The slice does not have to be thick, just enough to be pressed down into the shell without breaking apart.  Press the slice down onto each shell to cap it.

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Step 5 is optional

5.  Take a .38 shell (or a dowel of similar size) and press the back end (end with primer) down onto the florist foam in the shells.  Press the foam down until it stops.  

I found if you press the florist foam down against the powder the sound is more consistent  with all of your blanks.  If I don't press down the foam I find that some tend to be louder than others.  The disadvantage of pressing down the foam is you don't get the as wide of a spread when shooting.  Although since these are for training it will help you improve your aim.

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***You're now done and ready to shoot blanks!***

Preparing Your Used Blanks for Reloads.

Step 6 is optional but recommended

6.  Run your USED brass through a tumbler overnight to clean the brass when it gets crusted with black powder.  When done be sure to wipe the cleaner off with a towel.

I run my brass in our tumbler with walnut bedding (found in bird section of pet store) with brass polish.  I do this after I have shot through my brass 2 times otherwise they get cruddy.  Also I prefer to NOT deprime the brass until after I tumble the brass.  This prevents the walnut from getting left in the primer hole and creating issues with seating the primer.

7.  Deprime the shell.  I use a depriming die from a reloader.  I put a coupling with a nut on the end of the deprimer so I have a bigger surface to hammer on which would less damage to the tool (so I can still use it in the reloader).  The coupling and nut can be found at most hardware stores, just take your die in.  To deprime I put the shell in my custom made depriming block (more info below).  depriming end down INSIDE the shell then use a hammer to tap out the primer.

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My "depriming block" is made from a small chunk of wood.  We drilled half way into my block a hole just big enough for the shell to sit in.  Then in the center of that hole is another hold that goes all the way through big enough for the primer to fall down.  On the underside of the block we routed out an area for the primers to gather without having to constantly pick up the block and remove the primers.

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****ALL DONE!! ****

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I carry all of these supplies with me to the Hooves 'n Irons mounted shooting practices to reload if I run out and to show others my kit.


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