Helps For Handloaders


After years of experimenting John has settled on stick-on rectangles from Uline as his targets.

The first after-market “consumer” cartridge boxes for reloaders I saw needed improvement right off the bat, however they worked much better than the cardboard boxes ammo came in. These plastic boxes consisted of kind of a shoebox arrangement with the lid separate from the bottom which contained plastic partitions to keep the cartridges separated. There was no locking arrangement, but lids were usually so tight they needed to be pried off, or in some instances, so loose they had to be wrapped with a rubber band to keep from spilling cartridges.

The arrival of MTM Case-Gard Plastic boxes from MTM Molded Products Co. turned a handloader’s nightmare into a dream. Now we had sturdy plastic boxes with a locking attached lid. The first ones I saw, and purchased, were 50-round boxes for .44 and .45 cartridges. Now I could place my carefully handloaded cartridges easily into these boxes, snap the lid shut, paste on the label and I was good to go.

John’s favorite targets are red and black 2" x 3" rectangles;
the circles are best for shooting with scopes.

MTM cartridge boxes, left, come in assorted colors and sizes and are
a huge improvement over the Flambeau boxes, right, from 50 years ago.

Buy Plenty

I soon added boxes for the .357 Magnum/.38 Special cases, and then came plastic boxes specifically designed for shorter cartridges such as the .45 ACP and 9 mm. As I expanded my handloading I found I needed not only 50-round but 100-round boxes as well. During my silhouetting days when I used the .30-30 and 7 Rimmed, MTM’s 100-round rifle boxes with an easy carrying handle were necessary pieces of equipment! These boxes could be carried to the firing line without worry about them coming open and cartridges spilling out, and each cartridge was kept securely in place. Over these many years I’ve found it very convenient to add cartridge boxes every time I ordered brass; 1,000 rounds of brass equaled twenty 50-round boxes or ten 100-round boxes.

MTM has a catalog containing dozens upon dozens of plastic products for the handloader and shooter; many more than I can highlight here. I will mention one other handy piece of equipment for those shooting black powder cap and ball revolvers. MTM offers a 14″ x 7.5″ x 9″ Sportsmen’s Dry box complete with a hinged locking lid. Two of these carry everything I need for percussion revolver shooting. Whenever I shoot black powder I simply grab these two boxes knowing I will have everything I need. The only thing they won’t do is clean the pistols after I’m through shooting!

Creative Targets

Once the cartridge cases are reloaded and I’m ready to shoot, I need targets. For several years I used plain white poster board and created my aiming points using a can of spray paint and a template with rectangular cutouts. Then I discovered paste-on 3″ square targets which were orange with a black border. These worked fine until they changed the composition of the stick-on and I found the wind would blow my targets off the paper.

I looked for other possibilities, then I discovered Uline, a company offering all manner of warehouse and shipping supplies. They had exactly what I needed, 2″ x 3″ stick-on rectangular labels. These come in rolls of 500 and are packed two rolls together. You might find something similar at a local office store. I long ago learned rectangular targets worked best for me when shooting open-sighted sixguns. These are offered in 12 different colors, five of which are fluorescent. By experimenting I found the red and black work best for my eyes.

While I prefer the rectangular labels for targets, Uline also offers round labels in the same colors and in sizes from 1/2″ to 4″. I prefer these for scoped handguns, and the larger ones work fine for 50- and 100-yard shooting with open-sighted rifles with bead front sights. All of these labels are totally secure once they are placed on any surface and they will not blow off in the wind.

Using a template I mark four rows of three targets each on a piece of 24″ x 21″ tag board, apply the labels, and I have a personalized target fitting my needs exactly. These are very simple solutions to make a handloader’s life a lot easier.

Subscribe To American Handgunner