Ask anyone who shoots on regular basis about ammunition, and you’re likely to hear a few groans and grunts about the cost of keeping a healthy stock of ammo. Paired with the impact of the ever-changing political environment on gun and ammo sales, the price and availability of ammo can fluctuate wildly, putting strain on a shooter’s wallet and making it difficult to track down the rounds you need from time to time.
There’s a way to boost your ammo inventory that doesn’t involve hoarding cases of your favorite round – the art of reloading. However, it’s not as simple as shoving some powder and a bullet into a spent casing and tossing it in the range box.
Each round, known as a cartridge, features a primer at its rear, powder in the middle, and a bullet at the front end. When the user fires the cartridge, the primer ignites the powder, propelling the bullet forward out of the casing, before the casing is ejected.
(Photo courtesy/Voices of Iowa Blog)
Most modern commercial ammunition comes in either brass or steel cases, the latter of which is generally not reloadable, making brass the best option for reloading. This is evident by steel-cased ammo generally costing less, and explains why most ranges ask you to kindly deposit spent brass into drums or containers near the firing line, as they use the brass to either reload into new rounds, or sell in bulk to reloaders.
As we mentioned, proper reloading requires a battery of equipment, including, most importantly, a press, dies, load data manuals, a scale, shellholders or shellplates, case trimmers, calipers and much more – it’s an exhaustive list.
However, the initial investment in the right reloading equipment can pay huge dividends down the line, especially for those that shoot high volumes of ammo. Besides, it gives shooters and hobbyists another excellent set of skills, and provides value during ammo shortages.
A variety of manufacturers produce reloading equipment, including RCBS, Hornady, and Lyman, among others, and reloading gives shooters their choice of exactly how they want to construct their round, from the type of powder they use to the weight and style of projectile they load.
Most reloaders will tell you that reloading can quickly transform into a labor of love, and experienced reloaders can often make subtle tweaks to their methods to produce custom loads in variable power, and even create completely new rounds.
Reloading ammo, while requiring a lot of time, practice, attention to detail and care, can provide fun and enjoyment to enthusiasts and save shooters a lot of money over time.
Interested in reloading, but need some help getting started? Select NRA Certified Instructors offer Metallic Cartridge Reloading Courses. Visit http://www.nrainstructors.org/search.aspx, select NRA Instructor Metallic Cartridge Reloading Courses, and search for upcoming courses near you.