If you are into weaponry, you must know that many people prefer reloading their ammunition themselves, instead of simply buying new rounds. There are several reasons for that, and in the next paragraph, we are going to cover that topic, but right now, you should know that you will meet some great benefits if you decide to become an ammo reloader yourself. Also, we are going to present to you all the things you will need for this assignment, as well as with some guidance on how to reload ammo. But bear in mind that this is not a game and that you need to be super careful with these presses.
Why Should You Reload Your Own Ammo?
As we previously mentioned, ammo reloading will bring many great things into your life. It will be a decision you won’t regret, but let’s be clear – you will need to invest in a good reloading press, you will have to be patient and to spend some time practicing, and you will need to dedicate your time to this whole process. Here are the most important reasons you should do it.
Most people start this journey because they are tight on a budget and want to save some money. Reloading ammo will pay off, that’s for sure, but this thing can be tricky because when you have more rounds on disposal, you will probably shoot more. For starters, you need to understand that this endeavor will need a certain investment, first in the reloading press that can cost from one hundred to a couple of hundreds of dollars, depending on its quality. Also, you will need to purchase shell holders, specific dies, and all other pieces of equipment. Now that you have everything you need, the amount of money you will save up depends on the caliber you use since the brass casing is the most expensive part of the round. For example, for 9mm, that’s pretty affordable anyway, you will be able to save up to 20 percent of the cost. But when it comes to more expensive rounds, like .308 is, reloading process will allow you to save more than 50 percent of the total cost.
If you are a passionate gun lover, there is no doubt you enjoy playing with your weapons – using them, cleaning them, upgrading them, and buying adequate gun gear. That’s why we are absolutely sure you will also love reloading ammunition. It is a process that will provide you with a sense of great accomplishment, especially if you enjoy engaging in DIY projects. There will be certain things you will need to master in the field of mechanics, and the time you will spend reloading ammo will definitely be well spent. Experienced shooters say that there’s nothing better than using your own rounds, the one you reloaded with great accuracy, that it’s something that brings even greater joy in shooting or hunting experience.
It will provide great accuracy
Many hunters and shooters decided to start reloading their ammo because that way, they can be sure each round will be more accurate. The reloading process will allow you to have customized ammo suitable for every piece of weapon you own. During the reloading process, you can add or reduce the amount of gunpowder in order to adjust the speed of the bullet as it goes through the barrel. That’s one way you can come to great accuracy. Another is to extend the length of the rounds, which means to set the bullets further away from the brass casings. That will reduce the amount of force the bullet needs to have in order to leave the casing.
It will bypass restrictive gun laws
As it turns out, it’s getting harder and harder to get the ammunition the regular way – by purchasing it in the store or online. That’s because gun laws are becoming more and more restrictive in this field. On the one hand, there are a great number of cities that prohibited online sales of ammunition, and on other, some states like California came out with a bill that demands to have an ammo license in order to purchase rounds. And even then, you can do it only through a licensed vendor. So as you can see, it can be quite difficult to provide yourself with these gun essentials. That’s why reloading presses and reloading processes became the thing many people choose. You won’t have to think about having enough ammunition for the next shooting practice or hunting season.
What do I Need to Reload ammunition?
Certainly, the first thing you need to purchase is a reloading press. It would be best to get a bench mounted one that’s made in a high-quality manner, by the reliable manufacturer. Later on, we will explain what are the main types of reloading presses, and provide you with information that will help you conclude which one could be the best choice for you.
Then, if you want to reload your own ammo, you will need the powder scale. The digital option is way more popular right now because of its accuracy and the fact it is super easy to use. The balance beam scale is another old-school option, but it works just as good if you know how to handle it. Then you will need a powder measure that will dispense the powder into the case. There are two types – press-mounted and bench-mounted. The first one can speed up the reloading process because you can get multiple measures and set them up permanently for different calibers. But if you like to experiment with different powder charges, it will be easier to use a bench-mounted powder measure that can be manually operated.
It is super important to have adequate reloading dies. They are steel made threaded cylinders you need to push the case up into. There are several types of dies available – resizing or decapping die, the carbide sizing die, expanding die, and bullet seating/crimping die. Other necessary stuff for the reloading process are firm and sturdy bench, shell holder, tumbler, bullet puller, storage boxes for loaded ammo, and manual. It is essential to study the instruction details and steps reloading press manufacturers provided for you in order to avoid making mistakes during this process.
How to Reload Ammo?
If you wonder how to reload ammunition, we are going to give you a step-by-step guide that could make it easier to understand and master this process. But bear in mind that we are not talking about any specific caliber and that these steps and the way you are doing them may be a bit different regarding this factor.
First, let us just remind you about all the essential parts of the bullet cartridge. We have the casing, the gunpowder, the bullet, and a primer. When it comes to the way every cartridge works, here is the most simple explanation – the gun hammer will hit the primer, which will then create an explosion that will light up the gun powder and push the bullet out of the barrel.
Now, let us begin with a reloading ammo process.
1. Reloading gun ammo
Clear the casing
The first thing you need to do is to remove any sort of filth or powder residue that’s been left behind in brass cases. You can use a soft cloth and rub the inside of the case with it. After that, you should lubricate it in order to prevent it from getting stuck in the sizing die. Also, you need to make sure every casing is in perfect shape and throw away all of them that have some sort of cracks, bulges, or dents.
Remove the used primer
After this step, you should insert the case into the right place at the reloading press, making sure the handle is up. Then you need to bring the handle down in order to resize the case and to remove the used primer from it. At this moment, you should raise the handle again, take out the casing, and repeat the process with another one. It’s great that some presses allow you to place and do this step on more casings at once.
Insert the new primer
Now that you have removed the used primer, you need to insert a new one. In order to do that, you should put the case in a shell holder, pull the handle up, and place the primer into the primer arm. Then you just need to lower the case onto the positioned primer. The process is done. Check if the primer is aligned with a case and repeat this step with another one.
Reload the casing with powder
You need to understand that the type and amount of powder needed are different for each caliber. That’s why you have to research this subject thoroughly and know the precise details. The next step is to weigh the powder. You can do that manually each time, or you can use calibrated dipper or volumetric powder measure. For placing powder into the casing use funnel, and make sure to get the exact amount. Also, it is important to clean the reloading area from any spilled powder because it can damage your equipment.
Seat the bullet
You need to be careful at this point. You have to place the bullet above the open casing, and then to lower the press handle so that it can make your round compact. Make sure to adjust the seater in the right way so you can be sure the bullet goes as deep into the case as you wish. This step is the final one when it comes to reloading your ammunition. After that, you simply need to place the ammo into the appropriate box that will be stored separately from your guns.
2. Reloading shotgun ammo
Reloading ammunition for a shotgun is a bit different. You should know that each shotgun shell has five components – there is an empty hull, plastic wadding, primer, powder, and lead balls.
Check empty shells
Since the shotgun shell is the only thing that’s reusable in this matter, you need to check if there are any damages around its mouth. The best way to do that is to hold it up to the light and look for splits or some significant wear. If there are any, then you need to throw it away because it cannot be used again after all. It’s generally not good to use those shells that were on the ground, exposed to different soil conditions and risk of people stepping on them, and the best ones are usually those removed directly from the gun.
Remove the spent cap
The second step demands you to place an empty shell that’s in good condition into the reloading press and pull the lever in order to remove the spent cap. That way, you will also resize the cap to the appropriate level according to the specifications.
Fill the shell with powder
Again, when it comes to this step, you need to know precisely what type of powder you need, and what is the right amount you can use. In order to get to that information, consult with an expert or some reliable guide. This phase includes measuring the powder with suitable equipment, just like we mentioned above when we talked about reloading gun ammo and placing a primer.
Place a wadding
You now need to use the lever in order to place a wadding and the right number of shots. Bear in mind that different gauge shells use different sizes of the shots. For example, for the one that’s made from 12 gauge 7.5, 8 and 9 size shots will be appropriate.
Crimp the shell
The last step is to rotate the reloader so you can crimp the shells closed. After that, all you have to do is to place them in a secure box and store them away. Your shotgun rounds are now ready for use.
Types of Reloading Presses
There are three different types of reloading presses you can find in the market. Some of them are better for beginners, some for professional and experienced shooters, some of them are designed to load one round at the time, and some can be much faster and more productive.
Single-stage presses are created in a way that allows them to hold only one dime at the time. They are the most simple versions, and they are most commonly used for rifle ammo reloading. These presses are the most affordable, but also the least productive ones, and they are suitable for people who are learning the process of reloading for beginners. Most things with these presses are done manually, including priming, but some of them have priming attachments.
This is one of the most popular and best-selling reloading presses because it has a priming arm and a press mounted powder measure that will allow you to load a lot of rounds in a short period of time. One of their advantages is that you can purchase empty die plates and then load them with all dies you need for one caliber. The price range of this press type goes from very cheap and affordable to pretty expensive ones, depending on the brand name and quality they are made.
This is the most serious reloading press that’s suitable for people who need to load lots of rounds in the shortest period of time. They are quite complex, and beginners won’t be able to handle them easily. The thing that separates them from turret presses is the fact they have a rotating shell holder plate, and not the die plate. And not only that – at the bottom part they have several shell holder locations, not only ones like a single stage or turret presses. It has the capacity to load hundreds of rounds per hour, and most processes are automated.
If you read this text, there is no doubt you will become an ammo reloading expert. It’s not because we provide you with everything you needed to know, because these are only the essential steps and the whole thing is more complex than that, but because you must be really interested in this subject. And our experience showed that every shooter who engaged himself in this process mastered it completely. It’s something that excites weapon lovers and gives them a sense of great value. We are great reloading supporters, and we believe that there are only benefits you can get from reloading your ammunition. The only thing you need to invest is your time.