Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Patrick Demouy

First Reader

Nina Levine


The purpose of this thesis is to educate the reader on the appeal of assembling firearm ammunition from its individual components, a process known as “handloading,” in comparison to factory assembled ammunition. This is accomplished by providing the reader with the benefits of handloading with an overview of the handloading process. Then, an example of a handload development method (Ladder Test) is discussed and performed. The results from the test are then analyzed and explained. Finally, the handloaded ammunition from the test is compared by function and price to factory ammunition from three different market segments.

The project portion of this thesis involved performing a Ladder Test. A Ladder Test involves handloading a series of cartridges, with each successive cartridge receiving a steadily increased powder charge. These cartridges are then fired at a target and the results are recorded.

When done correctly, a Ladder Test should reveal a phenomena known as an “accuracy node,” where the target shows a clear clustering of impacts. The importance of finding, and the uses of, an accuracy node to the handloader are explained in detail. The combination of forces occurring during the firing process that create the accuracy node phenomena are also discussed.

In conclusion, a current market analysis of factory loaded ammunition is conducted. Findings from the analysis are compared to handloaded ammunition. This invites the reader to think critically about how handloaded ammunition fits within the current ammunition market. These findings show why handloaded ammunition can far surpass all other ammunition offerings, especially those of a similar price point.


© 2014, Jeffrey Dalton Snyder