There are several reasons why a person would need to pull a bullet from a rifle or pistol case. The main reason would be a botched reloading job; split case, shaved bullet, primer issue, etc. The other most common scenario is reloaded ammo one acquires that you have no clue what it is loaded with. It is always the wisest choice to never shoot a reload if you don’t know for sure what it is loaded with, especially if you don’t know or trust who did the reloading. Improperly loaded ammo can lead to serious damage to both your firearm and your body. Dissecting a load will allow you to salvage the brass, primer, or bullet. Unknown powders should always be discarded!
Most methods of pulling will damage the bullet, sometimes to the point where it is ruined. The Lyman Magnum inertia bullet puller seemed like a great way to pull a bullet without marring it. The process seemed simple enough. All you do is match up the proper collet that fits the base of your cartridge, put the round positioned bullet down inside the cavity of the hollowed out hammer, secure it with the locking nut, and then hit the hammer on a solid surface. The inertia generated when the hammer abruptly stops is supposed to transfer to the bullet and keep it moving forward and out of the case.
The problem I had with this device is not that the idea isn’t sound; the laws of physics imply that it is. The problem is that it seems to take more force than the human arm can generate to make it happen!
My first test pull was a standard factory .357 mag. round. I started out striking the puller on a piece of oak. More force was used after each successive blow. And each time the bullet defiantly stayed in the case. Once the piece of oak split I moved onto a harder surface.
Lyman makes two claims on the packaging, “cushioned handle for greater comfort & control” and “constructed from shatter proof plastic”. Both these claims are true! In the five minutes I spent constantly beating the thing against wood, steel and concrete my hand never did get fatigued. And surprisingly enough the puller didn’t shatter. The claim of the bullet coming out easily didn’t happen. I tried several pistol and rifle cartridges with the same negative results.
The only instances where I could get the inertia puller to actually work was in instances where the case was loaded without crimping. It still took a couple of pretty hefty blows in most cases, but the un-crimped bullets would come out. I found that if a case has even the slightest crimp, it is difficult to get the bullet out with this device.
On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give the Lyman Magnum inertia bullet puller a solid 1. My advice would be to save your money and invest in a collet style puller that mounts in you loading press. They cost more, but they do work!