While reviewing data from recent United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) national championship surveys, one statistic stands out, and it’s the overwhelming popularity of Dillon Precision for action shooters that handload or reload. Across the board, the company averaged a whopping 67 percent in the survey results drawn from Open, Production, Limited/L10, Single Stack, Revolver, Carry Optics and PCC division competitors. This is no big surprise, given that most action shooters will expend tremendous amounts of ammunition between practice and match use. It makes sense that many gravitate to Dillon Precision gear, due to its affordability and reputation for quality.
It wasn’t just Dillon either—Hornady was well-represented in the survey data. Although the majority handloaded their ammunition, there were significant numbers of shooters that reported using factory loads—including the usual suspects like Atlanta Arms, Federal and Winchester.
Here we list the handloading and reloading gear of USPSA championship shooters, according to the data compiled from shooters surveyed at the 2018 Nationals. Additionally, we went a bit more in-depth on the PCC data at the end of the article. (Everything is listed in order of popularity as reported by FrontSight magazine in their 2019 annual issue.)
To begin, we examined how many shooters were using handloads versus factory loaded ammunition. Depending on the division, the percentages varied between nearly even ratios in the Carry Optics division, to Open and Revolver, where 91 and 93 percent of shooters were using handloads, respectively.
Moving on to reloading gear, as mentioned above, Dillon was the most popular choice in all USPSA divisions, followed by Hornady and the Mark 7 automated reloading system. See the breakdown of the top three reloading companies in the chart below.
Although not at the heights it was in 2017, where nearly 89 percent of handloaders were using Dillon reloaders, they are still the top company, especially in Single Stack and Revolver. Hornady’s Lock-N-Load system had the most users in the PCC division. Also noteworthy is the rise of the Mark 7 automated reloader, which was a top choice for Open division shooters with a 20 percent share of the total. Below is a chart with all the top models used by shooters at the 2018 USPSA nationals.
Note: No individual model data was available for Revolver division.
Pistol Caliber Carbines
All PCC competitors were using 9mm ammo, with 63 percent handloading and 37 percent using factory loads. Contrast this with the 2017 data, which showed 86 percent of shooters using handloads. All used 9mm Luger for a cartridge.
In PCC, as with the other USPSA divisions, Dillon ruled the roost with 54 percent of shooters using their products in 2018. The most popular reloader models were the Dillon 650 and 1050 with nearly 50 percent between the two of them, with Hornady’s Lock-N-Load rounding out the top three.
For ammunition components, the top bullet manufacturer was Blue with 21 percent, followed by SNS Casting with 14 percent. Titegroup was the most popular powder with 35 percent. Aside from range/mix brass with 32 percent, the most popular brass manufacturer was Starline at 14 percent. CCI captured 24 percent of the primers used, with Winchester and Federal close behind.
As for PCC factory loaded ammunition, Federal came in first place with 19 percent, followed by Atlanta Arms, T1, Winchester and Remington.
We would be remiss without expanding on the automated reloaders reported in the survey. Many shooters mentioned using automated reloaders such as the Mark 7 Autodrive kit for the Dillon 650 (there are more options available now for the new Dillon models released), or the AmmoBot conversion system. Out of these two, the Mark 7 was the most popular by far, especially in Limited/L10 division with 57 shooters reporting they used it. Regardless of the system, the shooters in the division using an automated reloading system represent nearly 25 percent of total Limited/L10 handloaders, which is 11 percent higher than the 2017 number.