What if you were able to get tighter groupings from your ammo and not have to pay the price of premium match grade? If that’s something that interests you, then reloading your own ammo might be the solution for you. It’s a pastime that many shooters take up because you can perfect your own “load” specific to your rifles and pistols to help them perform better for you.
recommended equipment for reloading
Since most of us don’t have reloading presses already at home, there’s a bit of a start-up cost for reloading. This is something that is usually negated over time as you reload more ammo and get out and shoot more often. We’ve all seen times when locating affordable factory ammo is near impossible.
Either a brass tumbler, or homemade solution of hot water and a plastic container will be able to clean your spent rounds. The case cleaner will rid your cases of any dirt or debris and clean it for the next step.
The reloading press does the majority of the work. It’s a mechanical device that will pop out old primers, resize the brass, insert a new primer, and press a bullet into the new casing and crimp it shut.
The dies will be caliber specific and will usually have three different dies used for sizing and decapping, expanding, and seating/crimping.
4. The powder dispenser will precisely dispense a given amount of powder which you will then weigh on your scale for accuracy.
Calipers will help aid in measuring the case’s overall length to ensure that your bullets are seated and will feed properly.
This is a must, as it will give you specific information for reloading certain calibers with whatever machines you use to reload. Their recommendations are something you should always stay within.
Extra Equipment for Certain Rounds
Case trimmer, Chamfer and deburring tool, case lube kit. Lastly, there are certain calibers that are bottlenecked. You will need specific equipment to trim the case, clean it of rough edges and clean it up. (i.e .223, 5.56, .308, 30-30, etc)
prep the case
First you will start with prepping the case. Unless you have brand new brass, you will need to use your case cleaner to properly prep the used brass. This process of cleaning the brass will also ensure that your dies won’t become dirty over the process of reloading. Doing this will help your ammo feed into your gun more reliably. After you’re done cleaning the brass you will deprime the brass by using the dedicated decapping die.
resize the brass
Next you’ll need to resize the brass exterior. When you fire a cartridge the brass will slightly expand in the chamber of a gun. You’ll need to use the resizing die to bring your casing back to the correct dimensions to ensure that they will fit back into your gun. If you’re using bottleneck ammo you’ll need to trim the case and deburr it as well due to the expansion. The last part of resizing the round is reopening the case mouth to fit the new bullet.
prime & charge the cartridge
After it has been opened you’ll prime the cartridge with a new one and then charge the cartridge with the appropriately measured powder. Next, you’ll seat the bullet into the newly primed and charged brass. Seating a bullet properly is crucial for safety. If a bullet isn’t properly seated, the lack of space inside of the cartridge could potentially cause a more pressurized explosion than you intend. Remember: the ignited gunpowder needs room to expand. Finally, crimp the bullet to the case. This ensures that the bullet is properly inside of the case. The opening should be back to spec and there should be tension on the bullet and case interior.
why reload yourself?
There are a few reasons as to why there are so many shooters that decide to reload their own ammo. One of the main ones is that there can be cost savings depending on what caliber you’re reloading. More common rounds like 5.56, 9mm, (amongst others) are mass produced from factories in such large quantities that your savings would be minimal.
When it comes to match grade, larger caliber rounds such as 6.5CM, .308 or .338 Lapua, you should notice a bit more value for your time. This is also true with other calibers that might cost between $2+ per round. This is usually because those match grade rounds are not as heavily produced as common calibers that would be considered cheap or range ammo.
Customization is another big plus for reloading. While you may have a rifle that functions perfectly fine with factory ammo, specializing your load for that particular gun could have some serious performance benefits. There are many factors that go into ammo that can hinder or benefit the performance of a firearm. Adjusting bullet speed can help compensate with barrel whip, changing the length of your round can assist with feeding, and modifying the different bullet types for competition shooting or hunting can also be beneficial.
Lastly, reloading can be a nice hobby while also being productive in making ammo for yourself. Depending on how fast you are and how fancy your reloading setup is, you can potentially crank out hundreds of rounds if not thousands per hour! Some people find the monotony of reloading therapeutic.
get equipped for reloading
While reloading equipment has become popular over the last few years due to the ammo panic, it has been difficult to find. Primers, brass, and equipment have taken the hardest hit, but it is getting better as time goes on. We are working on getting reloading equipment more readily available for you to find in our store. Feel free to ask us about reloading supplies and we will do our best to get you set up properly.