Connecticut has a long tradition of firearms manufacturing, starting with Eli Whitney’s gun factory in New Haven which was the birthplace of mass-produced firearms in America. The most recent addition to the industry is at the opposite side of the state, in Winsted . . .
Army veteran Dean Blair started Nutmeg Sporting Cartridge in 2010 to offer quality reloaded ammunition to gun stores and target ranges in the Northeast. Dean is also a former Marine who worked as a civilian security contractor in Iraq for two-and-a-half years, until a terrible injury inflicted by an ambush sent him home for a long recovery.
Yankee Gun Nuts met with Dean at the Nutmeg Sporting Cartridge production facility. Here’s what we learned:
- Dean has been making ammunition for individual dealers in the area since his return stateside. Nutmeg Sporting Cartridge was a logical step to the next level
- They sell remanufactured target and range ammo to gun stores and shooting ranges
- They concentrate on pistol ammo in 9mm, .40S&W, .45acp and .38 Special (.380 ammo is coming very soon). They also manufacture .30-30 and .45-70 rifle ammo. They do special runs of competition or hunting ammo by request
We asked about “remanufactured” ammo. Here are the bullet points:
- Nutmeg buys once-fired brass that comes off of police ranges. They clean and dry it themselves
- They load the brass with new CCI primers, and new plated bullets from Xtreme in several weights per caliber (except .38 which is an unplated 148gr double-ended wadcutter)
- They use Ramshot Zip powder for all handgun calibers, because “it is fast and not smoky”
Nutmeg uses Dillon equipment to load their ammo:
- Four Dillon Super1050’s and Dean is looking at adding another very soon
- Dillon RF100 primer fillers
We all know that a hobbyist can make ammo in their basement. Nutmeg Sporting Cartridge is bigger than that, but still small enough to maintain quality control
- Dean has four full- and part-time employees, and can bring on more staff as needed
- Their current volume is 9000 rounds per day; that will ramp up as new equipment comes on-line and solid orders come in
To assure quality Nutmeg
- sticks closely to published loading data
- uses quality equipment, and buy brand-name components
- pull every 300th round and dump the powder charge and weigh it on a digital scale to ensure consistency
- place the loaded ammunition into 50-round sizing blocks made by EGW to perform visual and tactile inspections for case dimensions, case length, and improperly-seated primers
- chronograph the ammunition when they develop a load, and then again over time to ensure quality. And they take current production ammo to the range at least once per week and test it in their own guns
(We compared the extreme spread and standard deviation of Nutmeg’s ammo testing to that of factory new ammo, and the consistency seems to be as good. As soon as the weather improves a little we will be testing the ammo ourselves and publishing the results.)
The facility was clean and orderly, with separate stations for the various stages of production.
Dean is in discussions with the shooting school at one of the big gun manufacturers here in the Northeast to become their supplier.
[Cross-posted at Yankee Gun Nuts]