A lot of shooters prefer to reload their own ammo. Aside from having a personal say in the quality of the bullet, reloading ammo also saves you a lot of money. This is because the price of pre-loaded and primed ammo is a lot more expensive compared to an unloaded ammo.
However, self loading your own ammo is not that easy. You need a lot of experience and knowledge to pull this off successfully. You’ll also need specialized tools that can help you reload your ammo such a s a reloading die, powder trickler, and powder scale. Besides having those equipment listed above, having a high quality bullet puller is also very important.
When creating your own ammo, you might make mistakes when filling your gunpowder or setting the shell. When this happens, you’ll want to take apart that ammo safely. This is where bullet pullers do their job, they extract the bullet and let you redo that cartridge.
In this article, we’ll talk about what exactly is a bullet puller, what it does, why you need it, and to top it off, we’ll also recommend the 5 best bullet pullers on the market today.
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What is a Bullet Puller?
If you’re someone that’s new to reloading your own ammunition, you might not be familiar with bullet pullers. Simply put, a bullet puller is a tool that lets you correct your mistake when loading a bullet.
For example, if you accidentally load the wrong type of powder, the wrong amount of powder, or any other common mistakes, the bullet puller allows you to start over. It does this by enabling you to pull the bullet (projectile) from a loaded case so you can fix the mistake.
Bullet pullers typically come in two varieties, an inertial puller and a screw-in die for your reloading press. An inertial puller or sometimes know as a kinetic puller looks like a hammer. You put the case in the mouth of the puller and hit it against a tough surface, loosening the bullet.
Screw-in dies on the other hand include collets to hold onto the bullet while you use your reloading press to pull the bullet from the case.
Having a bullet puller is necessary as a fail-safe mechanism when you make mistakes. Believe me, making mistakes when reloading shells is pretty easy, even if you’re experienced.
How to Pick the Perfect Bullet Puller for Reloading?
Now that you know why it’s important to have a bullet puller, you need to know what to look out for when buying one. Here are 5 things to consider when you’re shopping for that perfect bullet puller
- Time and quantity
There are two types of bullet pullers on the market today, inertial bullet pullers and cam-lock ones. Inertial bullet puller also known as a kinetic bullet puller is shaped like a hammer. The cam lock or the screw-in die on the other hand is usually mounted on your reloading press.
Kinetic bullet pullers rely on the friction created by hammering the shell to pull the bullet out of the cartridge. Keep in mind that kinetic bullet pullers need a lot of strength to be used. It may even take several swings before the bullet is sufficiently loosened.
On the other hand, cam lock pullers rely on your reloading presses hydraulic arm to separate the bullet from the casing. This requires much less physical effort and is ideal for people that have large batches of ammunition to break apart. If you’re old or have physical disabilities, it’s also recommended to use a cam-lock puller compared to a hammer puller.
Time and Quantity
If you’re a person that likes to immediately fix your reloading mistakes on the spot, then using a kinetic puller might be a great no-frills option. However, if you’re the type to stockpile defective ammo and then reload them in one go, opting for the cam-lock option is better.
Separating the bullet from the case using a cam-lock bullet puller is quicker and requires less physical effort compared to using a kinetic puller. When reloading a lot of bullets, this will save you time and your arms will also thank you for it.
For kinetic bullet pullers, you don’t need any other tool. However, if you’re using the cam-lock option, you’re going to need a reloading press that works with that particular bullet puller. If your current reloading press is incompatible, this might mean that you need to buy a different set of bullet puller.
The durability of your bullet puller is extremely important. Considering that it’s going to face a lot of physical force, having a weak bullet puller is a recipe for disaster. Usually, a bullet puller’s durability is determined by it’s build quality and the materials used.
Make sure to buy a bullet puller that has a good build quality to ensure reliable long term usage. Also pick one that incorporates durable materials such as hardened plastic, polycarbonate, or metals.
Having a puller that has a good grip is very important, especially for those of you who prefer using inertia pullers. If you’ve unloaded several hundred bullets at a time, you’re hand would probably be pretty sore. This is exacerbated by poor grip ergonomics of the bullet puller.
Because of that, you’ll want to pick a bullet puller with a well designed grip that’s comfortable and easy to use. Everyone’s hands are a little bit different, because of that, it’s better to try it yourself, or at least read a review first before buying.
The Best Bullet Pullers – Top 5 Picks
OUR #1 CHOICE
[su_service title=”RCBS 9440 Bullet Puller” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#2D3092″ size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]
The RCBS 9440 is specifically designed to easily pull jacketed bullets from the case without causing damage to the case or the bullet. This cam-lock puller uses a standard issue 7/8 inch -14 threads which is very easy to use and integrate into your reloading press.
Besides the puller, all you need to pull bullets from shells is a working reloading press that’s compatible with the RCBS 9440.
All you need to do is set up a die in the press with the caliber of bullet you want to separate. Place the cartridge and the bullet inside the press. Lift up the handle, tighten your collet, and pull down the handle. The bullet is easily pulled out by the hydraulic force of the reloading press.
With this cam-lock puller, you won’t have to hammer away like you normally do with inertial bullet pullers. This conserves your strength and is easier on your tendons. It’s easier to separate ammo using this compared to using a kinetic puller.
Best of all, you can purchase additional collets that service different calibers to use with this device. This is useful if you’re the type of shooter that uses many types of ammo during shooting sessions. However, be aware that you won’t be able to use this puller for non-jacketed bullets or lead bullets.
The RCBS 9440 is very well made and is built with the highest quality materials. It’s perfect for those who are looking for a puller that’s easy to use, dependable, and long lasting. If you’re in the market for a cam-lock bullet puller, the RCBS 9440 is probably one of the best if not the best.
[su_service title=”Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller 050095” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#2D3092″ size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]
The Hornady Cam-Lock bullet puller is another great cam-lock puller from a big brand. The Hornady 050095 is very versatile because it can be used with most reloading presses that use standard 7/8 -14-inch threads.
This was one of the first bullet pullers specifically designed to be mounted directly onto your reloading press. This makes it extremely easy to use and will ensure you can separate bullets quickly and efficiently. You can instantly separate your bullet from the cartridge if you make a mistake when reloading it.
The Hornady 050095 puller takes just seconds to pull out a bullet from the cartridge. It is also designed to ensure that the round does not break inside the cartridge. It’s probably one of the safest pullers on the market today along with the RCBS 9440.
Because this is a cam-lock puller, there is very little need to use your own physical strength to separate the bullet. This puller uses the strength of your reloading press to remove the bullet from the casing.
All you need to do to separate the bullet with this bullet puller is to simply place the cartridge into the reloading press. Then, you raise the cartridge into the puller and clamp the puller down on the bullet. After that, you raise the press arm and presto, the bullet is out of the cartridge. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can pull bullets really quickly with this cam-lock bullet puller.
This puller is also very versatile, you can simply change collets if you want to reload a different kind of ammo. However, keep in mind that this only works with Hornady collets that are sold separately.
Overall, the Hornady 050095 cam-lock bullet puller is one of the best cam-lock bullet pullers on the market. If you’re in the market for a cam-lock bullet puller, this one will not disappoint.
[su_service title=”Lyman Magnum Inertia Bullet Puller” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#2D3092″ size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]
The Lyman Magnum inertia bullet puller is a high quality kinetic bullet puller that’s very affordable. This is ideal for those who like the traditional way of removing ammo, by hammering it.
What we liked about the Lyman magnum is that it’s well designed. The handle is designed and molded like a regular screwdriver handle, which is very comfortable to grip. Besides being easy on the wallet, this bullet puller is also easy on the hands.
This bullet puller is perfect for smaller caliber rounds, but it’ll still work with larger rounds as well. You can easily pull out 5.7 x 28FN rounds or larger with this kinetic bullet puller.
The body is made out of a combination of durable plastic and aluminum, it won’t easily break with regular usage. This ensures that it’ll last for a long time if you use it with care.
This bullet puller is designed to protect the bullet and the case and to remove bullets gently. This will make sure that you’re able to separate the bullet from the casing without damaging either.
Overall, the Lyman Magnum inertia bullet puller is a high quality kinetic bullet puller that’ll do what it needs to do quickly and efficiently. This is also quite cheap compared to other bullet pullers while giving you great features such as a rubber grip.
If you’re in the market for a great quality kinetic bullet puller that’s not too expensive but has a lot of features, the Lyman Magnum bullet puller won’t disappoint.
[su_service title=”RCBS Pow’r Pull Kit” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#2D3092″ size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]
The RCBS Pow’r Pull kit is a great kinetic bullet puller from renowned reloading brand RCBS. It provides you with an ergonomic handle that’s comfortable to use for a long time. This makes fixing your reloading mistakes a lot faster and more efficient.
It comes with three different cases that can accommodate 5.7, .22, and other cartridges associated with these bullet families.
This kinetic bullet puller is made out of highly durable plastic that will weather any punishment you can throw at it. The bullet puller uses a one-piece construction so there is virtually no weak link in it’s construction. It’s also very well built and will last a long time. In general, this bullet puller lives up to RCBS’s high standards in build quality and reliability.
Lots of friends attest to the durability of the RCBS Pow’r Pull kit. This thing can reload thousands of rounds without cracking.
The hammer head is see-through so you can visually inspect the cartridges during the separation process. This puller’s long handle also gives you a lot more momentum when performing the task. Coupled with the ergonomic handle, your hands won’t be too sore after using it for a long time.
However, the twist off back cap can get loose quite easily after a few hits. Besides that, the handle is also hollow so it’ll vibrate and move side-to-side. Over time, this might cause your hand fatigue due to the side-to-side motion of the handle.
Overall, if you’re in the market for a high quality bullet puller that’s inexpensive and does the job well, the RCBS Pow’r Pull is the product for you
Inertia vs Cam-Lock Bullet Pullers
We’ve discussed the difference between inertia bullet pullers and cam-lock ones at the beginning of this article. However, if you’re still confused about the two different types of bullet pullers, this is a more in depth explanation of the two.
The inertia based bullet puller uses weight and inertia to remove the bullet from the case. The cartridge is held in place at the back of the puller and uses the momentum from your swing to dislodge the ammo. This is why you need to strike a hard surface and strike it hard.
When imagining this, you may think that this is a very dangerous way of removing the bullet. How can it be not? You’re basically asking the round to blow up right!
Well no, this is actually a very safe way of dislodging a bullet from it’s casing. And in most cases, this is the method that shooters use. Because it’s very easy, can be done anywhere, and doesn’t need a big tool like a reloading press.
Even if you’re a beginner, you’ll find that hammering your bullet using a kinetic bullet puller is a safe and effective strategy to separate it. However, you should be aware that this takes a lot of muscle power and practice to successfully execute.
For a complete beginner, you might need to whack the cartridge about 10 to 20 times to properly dislodge it. You should also hammer away at a hard surface such as concrete to maximize the force generated.
The cam-lock bullet puller or frequently referred to as the collet bullet puller on the other hand requires you to use a reloading press. This puller uses the hydraulic handle of the press to grab and pull the bullet from the casing. Because of that, you don’t need to exert yourself physically to use it.
This process is more time consuming if you’re only separating a few bullets. It takes a lot of time to set up the cam-lock and the reloading press. While if you’re using a kinetic puller, you just need to hammer the bullet into a wall.
However, if you’re separating a lot of bullets, in the range of hundreds of bullets, then it’s quicker to use a cam lock. You won’t get tired because you don’t need to exert yourself too much when separating the bullets. All in all, both have different qualities and uses.
Frequently Asked Questions When Buying a Bullet Puller
People ask a lot of questions when buying their bullet puller. Because of that, we’ve compiled the most asked questions regarding bullet pullers and bullet pulling in general. See if your question has been answered below!
Q: Why use a bullet puller?
Answer: People make mistakes when reloading their shells. Sometimes, you put too much gunpowder or even use the wrong powder. Bullet pullers exist to help you undo that mistake and give you a clean slate. It does this by removing the bullet from the casing so that you can empty the case and redo the reloading process.
Even for professionals who rarely makes mistakes, having a bullet puller is very handy in case of an accidental mistake. It’ll help you save money in the long run because you won’t ev
Q: What type of bullet puller should you choose?
Answer: There are two different types of bullet pullers, kinetic ones and cam-lock ones. Choosing between the two generally boils down to what you’re comfortable with and how much bullet you’re going to separate. If you’re a hobby shooter that only reloads a couple of shells once or twice every month, an inertial puller is better. However, if you’re a hardcore shooter that shoots hundreds of rounds every week, it’s better for you to pick a cam-lock puller.
Kinetic bullet pullers are generally easier and more straightforward to use. However, they require you to exert yourself physically. If you’re not up to that and have a reloading press handy at home, pick the cam-lock over the inertial bullet puller.
Q: How to use a bullet puller?
Answer: The general rule of thumb is that you hammer the bullets with an inertial puller and you put it in the press if you’re using a cam-lock bullet puller. But actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. You actually have to see the instructions that comes with your bullet puller. The instructions will explain in a step-by-step basis on how to use the bullet puller correctly.
To give you a better idea of how to separate a bullet from the casing, here is a great video by Ultimate Reloaders
Q: Can bullet pullers pull all kinds of bullets?
Answer: Actually it depends on the bullet puller. All bullet pullers will specify what kinds of round will they pull in their specification sheet. Look at that before you buy to make sure it supports the bullets you’re shooting.
For cam-lock pullers, they can usually be used with most kinds of bullets. You’ll just have to find the collet that’s suitable for that type of bullet.
There is no right answer for the question of the best bullet puller. Which bullet puller is the best highly depends on your needs and constraints.
For beginner reloaders that are just starting to reload and don’t have a full set of gear, a kinetic bullet puller would be better because they’re so easy to use. However, they do require a lot of strength to use and your hand will quickly hurt if reloading massive amounts of ammo.
If you’re an enthusiast reloader, a cam-lock option might be better for you. They’re better for reloading and separating lots of rounds. They’re also easier on your hands if you’re reloading a lot. Unless you’re absolutely sure that you won’t make a mistake when loading your rounds, you need to buy a bullet puller.
All of the pullers reviewed in this article are high quality ones, albeit at different price points and offering different features. You won’t regret purchasing any of them that’s for sure.