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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.

Contact: Nutmeg Sporting Cartridge / 860-379-2938 / [email protected]

[Cross-posted at Yankee Gun Nuts]

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  1. “We buy once-fired brass”

    Is there an easy way to tell whether brass has been fired once or reloaded?

    • Usually, once-fired brass, is bought from police ranges, gunfactory ranges or gunsmiths. The more accurate term ‘fired brass from ranges where they only shoot factory ammo’ never caught on.

  2. I am not a reloading expert, so perhaps someone else could field that question.

    But, Nutmeg is buying their brass from police ranges through a broker, and those ranges are using new factory ammo.

  3. Check and check and thank you, gentlemen. I guess a short answer is: one way to tell is by looking to the source. The reason why I asked is because I’m considering doing my own reloading and if I do I’ll be scrounging brass from my range.

    • I collect the brass I found, but I have a couple boxes of reloaded brass, and I’m finding it annoying: they all seem to have different lengths. Yeah, I need to get a case trimmer, but I swear, some of them are too short for the caliber.

      Auto-loaders (auto-chuckers?), I could see wanting to collect all the brass one could find, since one is either losing the stuff or simply wanting to keep more on hand. But I’m starting to think about just buying new cases, or factory-fresh, and doing reloading on just that brass instead for my reloading on my revolver. At least that batch (or box) will be all the same age, length, and whatnot.

      Anyhow, if you are even thinking about reloading, start keeping the brass now. Even if you don’t reload, I’m sure you can make fast friends if you want to do some brass trading.

  4. I have been buying and firing Nutmeg’s .45 acp. IT IS GREAT AMMO AT A VERY REASONABLE PRICE.

    150 rounds to date through my Colt 1911 Mark IV and not one bad round.

    Keep up the good work. Let me know when you might consider reloading .38 Super and I will be a good customer.

    Gregg R. Nolan
    Wolcott, CT.

    • Hi Gregg,
      Thank you, I appreciate that you enjoy our ammunition. We promise to keep up the same quality and keep delivering ammo at a good cost. Unfortunately we have no plans to make .38 super at this time.
      Have a great day and thank you.
      Dean Blair
      Nutmeg sporting cartridge,LLC.

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