When Reloading Goes Wrong: Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller

I’m going to load a bunch of 9mm today! That was my plan, and I couldn’t wait to go shoot a bunch of the ammo with my Glock 17. Everything was going “great” until I noticed the powder level seemed to be getting higher as I was loading. “That just doesn’t look right” I thought. I took a charged case off the press, and soon determined I was 2.2 grains over my 9mm load- way too far over to risk shooting. I won’t repeat what I said right then: something like @$#&. In disgust, I put the ammo aside in a tub with a sheet of paper laid inside with a Sharpie scrawl that read “Over, not safe”. I didn’t even want to think about breaking down 500 rounds of ammunition with my impact puller. That would probably take (:30 per cartridge X 500 cartridges = 250 minutes = ~4 hours and 15 minutes!). Later I decided it would be a good time to get a press-mounted collet puller. Hopefully that would save some time! Fast-forward a year later and I’m finally getting around to fixing this 9mm ammo. Feels good to take care of this pile of unsafe ammo.

As you saw in the video, this tool is pretty simple, but it’s magic when you need to pull a large quantity of bullets. I wouldn’t attempt this kind of job without such a tool! Here’s a look inside the die opening where the collet sits:


Also pictured above: a “bad” cartridge before the bullet was pulled, the case, powder, and bullet after pulling (note the slightest ring from the taper crimp previously applied). I feel great about reusing these bullets for anything but a bullseye match- I don’t think the crimp groove or any of the “scratches” will affect the re-reloaded ammunition’s performance for most types of pistol shooting.

Here’s the parts and pieces for a typical Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller setup:


Pictured here:

  1. Cam Lock die body
  2. Cam lever
  3. Stem
  4. #9 collet – .338″ – .358″ range (9mm jacketed bullets measure .355″)

In order to use this tool, you’ll need the appropriate collet for each diameter range of bullets you intend to pull. From the Hornady Accessories Catalog:


You can find the Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply (click here for collets).

This puller worked great for me for the ~500 9mm cartridges that I had to tear-down and re-reload. I’m going to order more collets as the need arises, because I really like the way this tool works. Almost makes the process fun! If you’re looking to pull bulk bullets, check out this tool!


16 thoughts on “When Reloading Goes Wrong: Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller”

    1. I use an RCBS bullet puller which is just a little slower than Hornady’s. When done pulling, I pull the decapitated pin out of my decap/sizing die and resize. My thinking is that the mouth has been enlarged some by the bullet. From there, since the primer is untouched, I rekoad as normal. Gavin may have a different process.

    2. Tom- you can think of the re-reloading process as the same as with pre-primed cases. Expand, charge, seat, crimp, that’s it! (no sizing or priming needed)

  1. Gavin:
    It would add some time to the process, but as you recover the powder from the suspect rounds, why not weigh the powder in a digital scale, charge by charge, to determine whether the suspected overcharge covered every round.

    When I have had suspected over or under loads of powder I’ve tried weighing the finished rounds, but the variation in case weight made this “quality control” check worthless. Any other QC suggestions?


    1. Gavin:
      Add to earlier comment–when I had powder control issues early in my reloading career I decided the only safe option was to buy one of the “powder cop” dies. I now use the Dillon tool that measures powder and sounds an audible alarm if the powder is too high or too low in a case. The tool is accurate and has worked very well for me.


      1. Good call, and that’s roughly what I did (mostly aimed at figuring out just how high the charges got (way too high!) and when the overage started.

  2. This is the first walk through of how to set up the Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller that has worked for me.

    Thanks a ton for the work you put into your site. It’s been extremely helpful for some time now.

  3. Thanks Gavin …. I got one of these pullers some time ago and haven’t had the need to use it so your tutorial was very helpful. Probably will go pull some bullets just to give it a go.

  4. Hi Gavin: I totally enjoy your site…Thank you!
    One thing though, about the Cam-Lock Bullet Puller. I went on line and looked at the Hornady 2017 Catalog, page 87 which expressly says: “INTENDED FOR RIFLE CARTRIDGES ONLY — DO NOT USE FOR PISTOL CARTRIGDES.” I am not sure why it says that, is there a safety issue here? Of course you were unloading 9mm pistol cartridges in your demonstration of the Cam -Lock Puller. So I am a bit confused!? Is there another puller intended for pistol cartridges?

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